‘Aa-isha’s age at Marriage

How old was ‘Aa-isha, Mother of the Believers, beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad (sAaws), daughter of the first Khaleefa, renowned scholar, and military general, at the time of her marriage? 6? 9? 17? 20?

Photo of a traditional Yemeni wedding (NOT a picture of ‘Aa-isha)

This issue is the focus of attacks against the character of Prophet Muhammad, the status of the Sharee’a, and the morality of the Sahaaba (Companions of Prophet Muhmammad). The usual story is that she was contractually married at 6, and consummated her marriage at 9. This version of the story is used to launch slanders of pedophilia at the Prophet and the Muslims.

However, it’s much deeper than that. Here are 3 articles- one Sunni, one Shee’i, and one Lahori Ahmadiyya- exploring the issue, and revealing the depth and breadth of Islamic thought:

Our Mother A’isha’s Age At The Time Of Her Marriage to The Prophet
This is a scholarly, and thus convoluted, article. It discusses the marriage and child-bearing age at the time of revelation (1400 years ago). Then it discusses certain narrators, revealing the sciences of evaluating hadeeth (narration) narrators, and of evaluating the validity and strength of chains of narration. It then goes into actual ahadeeth (narrations) that discuss the likely year of ‘Aa-isha’s birth and marriage in relation to other events (birth records were not kept at the time and the calendar counted months, not years). NOTE: It is written scholar-to-scholar, not scholar-to-public, so it requires a high reading level and some patience.

Was Hazrath Aisha 9 years old when she got married?
This article represents Shi’a scholarship. They have a different approach to ahadeeth, so their sources, and evaluation of sources, varies. This article explores the issue mainly by using ahadeeth to establish dates, clarifying, again, her birth and marriage date and age.

Age of Aisha (ra) at time of marriage
This is a Lahori Ahmadiyya article. It is the easiest to read. It focuses on the work of a scholar named Muhammad Ali, and more or less summarizes his research. It concludes with a discussion of marriage and childbirth age amongst Christian populations. While many Muslim scholars consider Ahmadiyya beliefs to be heretical, I have included this article because it references sources (see the footnotes) that Muslims generally consider valid. Therefore, it is a good point for further research.

The views here represent the research and views of their respective authors, websites, and presenters. They are not necessarily mine. I am not endorsing any particular group or point of view. As a Muslim, I accept what I find to be true whatever its source. I do endorse the view that whoever claims ‘Aa-isha was a child bride or victim of pedophilia needs to consider this in their research, and in their discussion of the matter.

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