Why Did Ayesha Get
Married So Young?
A young Muslim school girl wrote to us, asking about the age of Ayesha at the time of her marriage with prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. She like many Muslims today was concerned about this issue due to questions coming from non-Muslims.
Here's her question:
HELP! I am 9th grade student of Catholic school here in Karachi, Pakistan.Help us please! We have been given assignment: "Why did Muhammad marry an immature, nine year old girl?"
The teachers here at St. Patrick's Church of course, are not Muslim and they are giving us this assignment to explain something we don't know anything about.
Here is the assignment question to us Muslim students:
Question: Why did the Holy Prophet marry Ayesha when she was too young? They told us she was only six years old.
Here is the simple answer:
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, DID NOT marry a girl who was too young to be married.
If she was too young for marriage, then he would not have married her. Allah used our prophet, peace be upon him, to give us the example of what is permitted and what is not permitted in all things he did.
Let's start at the beginning and put this all in perspective, inshallah.
First of all, not all questions are really true questions. Sometime people put statments in the questions but they are not true.
Therefore, we have to clarify some facts before we go any further:
"Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, did not marry Ayesha when she was an immature little girl."
Let us rephrase the question in the proper way, inshallah:
Did Muhammad, peace be upon him, marry a girl too young for marriage?"
And the answer is: "NO. He did not"
This is a misunderstanding of stories (ahadeeth) of Muhammad, peace be upon him, in Saheeh Al Bukhari.
OK! So - What Was Ayesha's Age At Marriage to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)?
From: "Answering Harsh Questions About Islam" - by Sheik Yusuf
Note: 1. It was the custom of the Arab people to make arranged marriages of their children to insure tribal relations and protect social status, etc.
Note: 2. Ayesha's father (Abu Bakr) was the one offering her in marriage to the prophet, peace be upon him.
Note: 3. Her parents had already offered her in marriage to someone else before offering her in marriage to the prophet, peace be upon him.
Note: 4. Islam came to correct all of the wrong things people were doing.
Also check out other "Harsh Questions" about Muhammad (peace be upon him) on www.ProphetOfIslam.com
First, consider the source of information. What we know of the relationship between Aisha and Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is coming directly from Aisha herself. So this is the place to start.
We know that she is one of the major narrators of ahadeeth (traditions, narrations and stories of the prophet, peace be upon him). According to scholars count, she has narrated over 2,200 authentic traditions, more than many of the companions of Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Her parents offered their daughter in marriage to Muhammad, peace be upon him, as was customary in their culture at the time. However, the prophet, peace be upon him, did not accept this and they waited a a few of years, and then again offered their daughter to him in marriage.
From the hadeeth narrated by Aisha herself, it appears she was at the age of 6 when her mother came to her while she was playing outside in the dirt. Her mother took her into their home where her father, who was a life long best friend of Muhammad, was sitting with the prophet, peace be upon him, and the offer of marriage was being discussed. She then tells us she went back outside to play. This was at the age of six.
Cleary she was offered to him in marriage, but obviously it was not accepted until some years later, when she again narrates a similar incident and at that time she was married to the prophet, peace be upon him.
She tells us they had consumated the marriage when she was old enough and ready (and she tells us she was pleased about it).
Next, we have to understand that Islam is all about "Rights and Limits". The Quran clarifies what everyone's rights are and what the limits are as well.
At the time of this occurance, women around the world had very little or no rights in those days and the men knew no limits in their dealings with the women.
One of the problems was that a man could marry off his daughter at any age and she could not refuse.
It was at that time when Allah revealed the verse in the fourth chapter of the Quran, entitled "The Women" to offer protection for women in such circumstances. Read:
"O you who believe! You are forbiddent to inherit women against their will." - Surah An-Nisaa' (Chapter 4:19)
It was through this matrimony of marriage to the prophet, peace be upon him, that we found the example of the meaning of the limitations set forth by Almighty God (Allah) in His Quran.
Let's go over the information in more detail:
First of all, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was offered the marriage to Ayesha by her father and mother on more than one occasion. Once when Ayesha was six, her mother summoned her into the house where she heard the proposal of marriage being offered by her father to his life long friend, Muhammad, peace be upon him, as was the custom of the Arabs in those days. Muhammad, peace be upon him, did not accept this offer at that time, even though it was customary for them, as she was not yet of age.
[Note: it is her father offering the marriage to his lifelong friend (Muhammad, peace be upon him)] The prophet, peace be upon him, did not marry her and take her to his home at the time and she says she returned back to place outside.
She did not marry him and returned to her friends and went back outside to play. [Again - please note: they did not get married at all on this occassion]
A few years later when she was old enough to marry according to Islam (she was able to bear children) she did accept the proposal of marriage and she did marry the prophet, peace be upon him.
We find that the girl must be old enough to have children and to be able to determine what her will is. The prophet, peace be upon him, married her at the youngest age a girl can get married. That is, she was old enough to be considered eligible for marriage and having enough wisdom to make such a choice even at her young age.
Also, she was a virgin. This was to show Muslims about how to treat the young girls when they get married and not to rush into having sex with them until they are ready and fully prepared.
All of this is recorded in the hadeeths narrated by Ayesha herself in regard to the treatment that she received from the prophet, peace be upon him.
Now we call attention to something very interesting about the subject of adultry and what some people accused Aisha of doing while married to the prophet, peace be upon him.
As a reward for her commitment to Allah and to Islam, Allah honored her in surah an-Nur by clearing her of any suspicion of illegal sex with a companion, as some liars had charged against her. There were ten verses revealed in regard to this incident alone about Ayesha.
Surah An-Nur (chapter 24, verses 11 - 21)
Surely, Those who brought forth the slander (against Ayesha) are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. No - it is good for you. Every many among them will be paid that which he has earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share in it, his will be a great torment.
Why then, didn't you (the) believeing men and the believing women, when you heard it (the slander) think good of your own people and say, "This is an obvious lie"
Why didn't they produce four eye witnesses? Since they have not produced witnesses, then for Allah, they are liars.
Had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy unto you (those who did not defend Ayesha) in this world and in the Hereafter, a great torment would have touched you for that whereof you had spoken.
When you were propogating it (the lie) with your tongues and uttering with your mouths something of which you had no knowledge, you considered it a small thing, while with Allah - it was very great.
And when you heard it, why didn't you say, "It is not right for us to speak of this. Glory be to You (O Allah) this is a great lie"
Allah forbids you from it and warns you not to repeat the like of this forever, if you are believers.
These verses make it clear for believers. We must never engage in accusing anyone of adultry or fornication, without being an actual eyewitness to such an act. Even then, it requires four eyewitnesses, all at the same time. Spreading such tales around is nothing but the worst kind of slander and it will be a source of punishment for those who do so.
MOTHER OF THE BELIEVERS
Ayesha was also given the distinct title of Ummul Mu'mineen (Mother of the Believers) even though she never had a single child. Allah has honored her so much for her patience and dedication.
Again, it is Ayesha herself, may Allah be pleased with her, who tells us in her own words all about the offers of marriage from her father to the prophet, peace be upon him, and of the actual marriage when it did take place years later. She also describes in glowing terms their engagement, marriage, life together and life after his death - all in the best of terms.
Ayesha never said a single bad thing against her husband and described him as the best of men and the example of the Quran itself. She learned from him and passed on the most valuable knowledge of family relations in general and marriage in particular through her explanation of her own relationship of our prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
She tells of running races and playing together, enjoying sporting and competition events together, and mentions her personal intimacy with prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, in the most wonderful terms. Her advice and instructions to both men and women regarding establishing and maintaining the best relationship between man and wife is still the best of counsel we find today.
As noted above, even Allah the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, has defended her honor and integrity in His Book.
Ayesha gave a beautiful account of marriage to the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. She mentioned the detailed descriptions of events and happenings before and during their marriage. And very important - she demonstrated here continued commitment to the memory of her husband, peace be upon him, and her firm belief about being reunited with him in the Paradise.
You could really say about their story - "..and they all lived happily ever after - in Paradise."
This represents the very best of marriages between a man and a woman in human history.
COMPARED TO ROMEO AND JULIET
Now let's Compare the English Classic of William Shakespere's "Romeo And Juliet" to the story of "Muhammad and Aisha"
William Shakespeare might have done the western world a much better service if, instead of telling a story of two young teenagers sneaking around behind their parents backs, having an affair, then when they couldn't get what they wanted, both committed suicide (by the way, according to Judaism, Christianity and Islam - they both went to Hell forever) -
Shakespere could have done the world a much better service by telling the true story of "Muhammad and Aisha" = these were real people, who did believe in the One God of Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus (peace be upon them), they lived blessed lives on earth and will live beautiful lives in Paradise - "Happily ever after" (really!)
GOODNESS COMES TO BELIEVERS
I would like to encourage all of our brothers and sisters everywhere, to keep in mind what Islam teaches us regarding all such issues:
Goodness only comes to those who are the true believers and the bad only reaches those who deny Almighty God and are of the evil doing disbelievers.
This life is but a test for all of us. And in the end, Allah Almighty will bring us all back in front of Him, for the Judgment. Then the disbelievers will see what it was they were denying and lying about.
We ask Allah the Almighty One God to guide all of the people and save all of us, ameen.
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