On Aisha’s Age at the Time of Her Marriage

Quoting 2 texts from https://www.livingislam.org/
authored by Sh GF Haddad and Abd al-Rahman Squires.


The Culturally Accepted Norm of Marrying Early

Marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of Arab/ Semitic culture. As for “the comments of the experts” they concur on 6 or 7 as the age of marriage and 9 as the age of cohabitation.

Some Examples of Age of Marriage in Pre-Modern Arabia

Abu Tughlub ibn Hamdan married the daughter of Izz al-Dawla Bakhtyar when she was three and paid a dowry of 100,000 dinars. This took place in Safar 360 H. (Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil).

Al-Bayhaqi narrated with his chains in his Sunan al-Kubra no less than three examples of Muslim wives that gave birth at age nine or ten.

Our liege-lord Umar married Umm Kulthum the daughter of Ali and Fatima at a similar age per Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn Abd al-Barr and others.

More on ‘Ā’isha’s Age at the Time of Her Marriage


Quotes from:
Aisha’s Age at the Time of Her Marriage

More Wisdoms to the Prophet’s Marriage with Aisha

The marriage of our Mother Aisha with the Holy Prophet ﷺ at an early age, together with her exceptional intelligence, allowed her to be an eyewitness to the personal details of his life and carry them on to the succeeding generations with precision, clarity, detail, abundance, and acumen generally unsurpassed by anyone who ever related from a Prophet in the history of mankind.

Imam Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri said: “If the knowledge of Aisha were added to the knowledge of all women, the knowledge of Aisha would still be better.” No doubt, this everlasting benefit is the greatest wisdom to be deduced from this marriage.

Various Misconceptions Over Her Youthful Marriage

The age of 9 years (for cohabitation) is confirmed by the totality of the reports in the Sahīhs and Sunan.

For example:
The Tabagat of Ibn Sa’d explicitly state (8:217) that Aisha was six years of age at the time of nikah and nine at the time of consummation.

The precise age of 9 at the time of consummation is reported with at least seventeen different chains in the Six Books [of the most reliable hadith collections], nine of them in the Sahihayn, plus three more chains in the Musnad of Imam Ahmad and one more in al-Darimi’s Musnad… The onset of menarche (the first occurrence of menstruation, varies considerably between populations) often took place at eight or nine in the Arabian peninsula at the time.

Al-Shafi’i said: “I saw in Yemen many nine-year old girls who had menses” (ra’aytu bil-yaman banāti tis in yahidna kathiran).

Al-Tirmidhi said in the “Book of the Nikah of the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him!) in his Sunan:
“When the orphan reaches nine years of age and is then married upon her approval, the marriage is permissible.”
A’isha said: “When the girl reaches nine years of age she is a woman.”


Abd al-Rahman Squires wrote:

Part of the wisdom behind the Prophet’s (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him!) marriage to Aisha just after she reached puberty is to firmly establish this as a point of Islamic Law, even though it was already cultural norm in all Semitic societies (including the one Jesus sill grew up in). The large majority of Islamic jurists say that the earliest time a marriage can be consummated is on the onset of sexual maturity (buluugh), meaning puberty. (GFH: Actually, there is the additional pre-condition, before initiating cohabitation, that both spouses must be physically fit for coitus.)

Since this was the norm of all Semitic cultures and it still is the norm of many cultures today: it is certainly not something that Islam invented. However, widespread opposition to such a Divinely revealed and accepted historical norm is certainly something that is relatively new.

The criticism of [Prophet] Muhammad’s ﷺ marriage to Aisha is something relatively new in that it grew up out of the values of “Post-Enlightenment” Europe. This was a Europe that had abandoned (or at least modified) its religious morality for a new set of humanist values where people used their own opinions to determine what was right and wrong. It is interesting to note that Christians from a very early time criticized (again hypocritically) the Prophet’s # practice of polygamy, but not the marriage to Aisha. Certainly, those from a Middle Eastern Semitic background would not have found anything to criticize, since nothing abnormal or immoral took place. It is “modern” Westernized Christians who began to criticize [the Prophet] Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him!) on this point, not earlier pre-Enlightenment ones.

It is upon reaching the age of puberty that a person, man or woman, becomes legally responsible under Islamic Law. At this point, they are allowed to make their own decisions and are held accountable for their actions. It should also be mentioned that in Islam, it is unlawful to force someone to marry someone that they do not want to marry. The evidence shows that Aisha’s marriage to the Prophet Muhammadﷺ was one which both parties and their families agreed upon. Based on the culture at that time, no one saw anything wrong with it. On the contrary, they were all happy about it.

None of the Muslim sources report that anyone from the society at that time criticized this marriage due to Aisha’s young age. On the contrary, the marriage of Aisha to the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him!) was encouraged by Aisha’s father, Abu Bakr, and was welcomed by the community at large. It is reported that women who wanted to help the Prophet’s, such as Khawla bint [Hakim], encouraged him to marry the young Aisha. Due to the Semitic culture in which they lived, they certainly saw nothing wrong with such a marriage.

The Legal Age of Consent in the Late Nineteenth Century in the US

In the late nineteenth century, the “Age of consent” referred to the legal age at which a girl could consent to sexual relations. Men who engaged in sexual relations with girls who had not reached the age of consent could be criminally prosecuted.

American reformers were shocked to discover that the laws of most states set the age of consent at the age of ten or twelve, and in one state, Delaware, the age of consent was only seven. (In the late nineteenth century)

Women reformers and advocates of social purity initiated a campaign in 1885 to petition legislators to raise the legal age of consent to at least sixteen, although their ultimate goal was to raise the age to eighteen.

The campaign was eventually quite successful; by 1920, almost all states had raised the age of consent to sixteen or eighteen.”

Last updated on 2023-08-08 by w3admin

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