5 Facts About Aisha And Muhammed’s Marriage

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Kaleef K. Karim

Content:

1. Was Aisha’s Marriage Common In History?
2. Khawlah Suggested The Prophet To Marry Aisha
3. Aisha And Dolls
4. Jariyya – Young Lady
5. Aisha Reached Puberty Before Marriage Was Consummated

Introduction,

Among the claims made in regards to Prophet Muhammed’s marriage to Aisha is that such a marriage was uncommon. Some online detractors even go the extend to avoid and deliberately make out to their readers that such a marriage was unheard off in history.

Indeed there are a number of authentic reports in Sahih al Bukhari and other sources which say that her marriage was consummated at the age of 9 (or 10 in some other sources). This was the time she had reached the age of puberty. Although this age is something that has been accepted among the conservative Muslims in the past and today, there are some 20th century proponents who have pointed out based on external evidence from a number of authentic reports that her age was older than what is commonly accepted among Muslims. I won’t go into much more detail on this here, as there may be an article on this matter in the near future to see if what is presented has any validity.

1. Was Aisha’s Marriage Common In History?

Yes, her marriage was very common. Among the ancient cultures and societies it was custom when a girl hits puberty she was transitioned into adulthood. This was the stage where girls who hit puberty were deemed to be a woman, and a time for them to be married off.

The Bible for example gives us many instances where Prophets married very young girls, for today it may shock some readers, but these type of marriages were very common.

1.1. Prophet Jacob’s daughter, Dinah was given away in marriage when she was below the age of 9-years-old to Shechem. The marriage didn’t last long as Dinah’s brothers murdered members of Shechem’s family due to Shechem’s act before the marriage: “Bible: How Old Was Dinah When She Was Married To Shechem?

1.2. There is also the case wherein King David in his old age wasn’t getting warm in his bed. His nurses (doctors) proposed to bring a young girl to warm him up. To bring him back to his youthful strength. This is while King David was 70-years-old, the girl Abishag was no older than 12-years-old when she was married off to him: “King David’s Marriage To 12 Year Old Abishag – Bible“. Another two piece articles have been written about this incident, please see here, and here.

1.3. The most common marriage that is widely known among scholars is that of Isaac and Rebecca. Some very early scholars have pointed out that she was no older than 3-years-old when she was married off to Isaac. However, this number is not in accord with the Biblical text. I wrote a very detailed article on this showing that Rebecca was anything below the age of 9, but not three. The Biblical text support the evidence provided that Isaac was 40-years-old when he married 8-year-old Rebecca: “The Age Of Rebecca When She Married Isaac – Biblical Perspective“. Here is another piece on Rebecca and Isaac’s marriage.

1.4. The apocryphal writings report that Mary was 12-years-old when she was given away in marriage to 80-year-old (other reports say 90-year-old) Joseph the carpenter. Some modern Christians uncomfortable about this account have dismissed it. Mary being married off at 12-years-old is not just reported in apocryphal writings, this is well attested also by some of the earliest Church fathers: “Mary the wife of Joseph The carpenter”.

1.5. There is also the case with Moses and his men marrying prepubescent girls, this is related in the Biblical verse, Numbers 31:18.

1.6. Away from the Bible, just over 100 years ago, the age of consent in America and Europe was 10, and in the State of Delaware it was as low as 7: “Age of Consent in European and American History“. The New York Times, in 1895 mentions the age of consent laws in a publication: “The Age Of Consent Laws In America, 1800s“.

Scholars have pointed out that what we call “child-marriage” today was never brought up. A female was deemed to be an adult the moment she hit puberty. Same was the case for boys, they were deemed be an adults the moment there were signs of pubic hair or had a wet dream.

If one thinks these above cases are only in the past, they are mistaken.

In 1972, a case was brought in Pinellas County, it was said that Sherry Johnson, of Tallahassee, was raped at the age of 10. As a result of this she got impregnated by the perpetrator. Sherry Johnson’s mom gave approval for her daughter to “marry the 20-year-old” man. The law did not prohibit the couple from getting married, even though he was a lot older. [1]

Away from the 1970s, between 2000 and 2010 over 240 thousand children were married off in America. The youngest girl married was 12-years-old. The vast majority of the time the men were a lot older than the girls. Despite this, such marriages continue to this very day in many Christian, Jewish and even secular communities. [2] [3]

With parental consent a 12 to 14-year-old can be married in some states in America:

“A handful of other states sanction extremely early marriages with parental consent: In Alabama, South Carolina and Utah, girls can marry at 14; in New Hampshire it’s 13; in Massachusetts and Kansas, 12.”(“Early marriage survives in the U.S.”, last acessed 27th february 2017, online source, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-0412120359dec12-story.html#page=1)

Here is New Hampshire’s Law:

“The state of New Hampshire requires males as young as 14 and females as young as 13 to obtain parental consent before a marriage license will be granted. The statute does not provide specific exceptions, but allows the judge to grant marriage license requests if he or she believes it is in the couple’s best interests.” (“New Hampshire Marriage Age Requirements Laws” (Last accessed 19th February 2017), online source, http://statelaws.findlaw.com/new-hampshire-law/new-hampshire-marriage-age-requirements-laws.html )

As recently as 2014, in Spain a girl of 14 years-old could get married by Law. They lifted the age from 14 to 16 years of age as pressure was mounted on the government. [4]

As we have read so far, Aisha’s marriage 1400 society was normal, very common among the ancient cultures and all the way to the present day.

2. Khawlah Suggested The Prophet To Marry Aisha

The Prophet Muhammed (p) became sad at the loss of his beloved wife, Khadija. He had four young children to bring up by himself. To heal his wounds at the demise of his wife, Khawlah bint Hakim offered to search around to find him a new wife. She went over to the Prophet Muhammed (p) and suggested two options, one was the virgin, Aisha the daughter of his closest friend from Jahiliyyah days, Abu Bakr, and the other was a former widow, Sawdah bint Zamah [5]. Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya – Ibn Kathir quotes a Hadith from Musnad of Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal on this:

“Imam Ahmad stated in the Musnad, of A’isha, ‘the mother of the faithful,’ that Muhammad b. Bishr related to him, from Bishr and Muhammad b. Amr, who was told the following by Abu Salama and Yahya: ‘When Khadija died, Khawla, daughter of Hakim, the wife of Uthman b. Maz’un, came and said, ‘O Messenger of God, wouldn’t you like to get married?’ He replied, to whom?’
‘To either a virgin or to someone previously married, as you wish.’
‘And who would the virgin be?’ He asked. She replied, ‘That creation of God you enjoy above all others, A’isha, daughter of Abu Bakr!’
‘And who would the previously married woman be?’ He asked. ‘Sawda, daughter of Zam’a,’ she answered. ‘She has expressed belief in you and has become your follower.’
‘You may go,’ he told her, ‘and make mention of me to them.’ ‘She entered Abu Bakr’s house and said to his wife, ‘Umm Ruman, what goodness and blessings God brings you!’ ‘How do you mean?’ She enquired. ‘The Messenger of God (SAAS) has sent me to ask to become engaged to A’isha!’
‘See Abu Bakr when he comes in,’ she replied.
‘Abu Bakr did come and Khawla said, ‘O Abu Bakr, what goodness and blessings God brings you!’
‘How so?’ he asked.
‘The Messenger of God (SAAS) has sent me to ask to become engaged to A’isha!’ … Umm Ruman told me, ‘Mut’im b. Adi has asked for her in marriage to his son; and, I swear, Abu Bakr went in to see Mut’im b. Adi who had his wife, Umm al-Sabi, with him. She commented, ‘Well, son of Abu Quhafa, are you perhaps having our friend change his religion and join yours if he gets married into your family?’ Abu Bakr asked Mut’im b. Adi, ‘Is this how you respond?’ He replied, ‘It’s she who said that.’ ‘And so Abu Bakr left, God having relieved him of the promise he had made to Mut’im. He returned home and told Khawla, ‘Call for the Messenger of God (SAAS) to come to me.’ She did so and he agreed to her (Aisha) marriage to him (Muhammed)…” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 2, page 94 – 95)

Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-Muluk – Abu Ja’far Muhammad b Jarir al-Tabari [6]:

“The Reason Why The Messenger of God Asked for the Hands of Both A’ishah and Sawdah in Marriage and the Received Reports as to with Whom He First Contracted the Marriage
… When Khadijah died, Khawlah bt. Hakim b. Umayyah b. al-Awqas, wife of Uthman b. Maz’un, who was in Mecca, said [to the Messenger of God]. ‘O Messenger of God, will you not marry?’ He replied, ‘Whom’? ‘A Maiden,’ she said, ‘if you like, or a non-maiden.’ He replied, ‘Who is the maiden?’ ‘The daughter of the dearest creature of God to you,’ she answered, ‘A’ishah bt. Abi Bakr.’ He asked, ‘And who is the non-maiden?’ ‘Sawdah bt. Zam’ah b. Qays,’ she replied, ‘she has [long] believed in you and has followed you.’ [So the Prophet] asked her to go and propose to them on his behalf. She went to Abu Bakr’s house, where she found Umm Ruman, mother of A’ishah, and said, ‘O Umm Ruman, what a good thing and a blessing has God brought to you!’ She said, ‘What is that?’ Khawlah replied, ‘The Messenger of God has sent me to ask for A’ishah’s hand in marriage on his behalf.’ She answered. ‘I ask that you wait for Abu Bakr, for he should be on his way.’ When Abu Bakr came, Khawlah repeated what she had said. He replied, ‘She is [like] his brother’s daughter. Would she be appropriate for him?’ When Khawlah returned to the Messenger of God and told him about it he said, ‘Go back to him and say that he is my brother in Islam and that I am his brother [in Islam], so his daughter is good for me.’ She cae to Abu Bakr and told him what the Messenger of God had said. Then he asked her to wait until he returned. Umm Ruman said that al-Mut’im b. Adi has asked A’ishah’s hand for his son, but Abu Bakr had not promised anything. Abu Bakr left and went to Mut’im while his wife, mother of the son for whom he had asked A’ishah’s hand, was with him.” (The History Of al-Tabari (Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-muluk”) – The Last Years Of the Prophet [Translated and annotated by Ismail K. Poonawala, University of California, Los Angeles – State University Of New York, 1990], volume IX (9), page 129 – 130)

al-Bayhaqi:

“This is an account of the same circumstances related by al-Bayhaqi through Ahmad b. Abd al-Jabbar, as follows, ‘Abd Allah b. Idris al-Azdi related to us, from Muhammad b. Amr, from Yahya b. Abd al-Rahman b. Hatib who reported, ‘A’isha said, ‘When Khadija died Khawla, daughter of Hakim, came and said, ‘O Messenger of God, would you like to be married?’ ‘To whom?’ he enquired. ‘It could, if you wish, be to a virgin or to a woman previously married,’ she replied. ‘Which virgin, and which previously married?’ he asked. ‘The virgin could be the daughter of that creation of God whom you love best; the previously married woman would be Sawda, daughter of Zam’a. She has expressed belief in you and become your follower.’ ‘Make mention of me to them, he told her.’” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammed (‘Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya’) [Translated by Professor Trevor Le Gassick, Garnet Publishing – Copyright 2000, The Center for Muslim Contribution To civilization], by Ibn Kathir, volume 2, page 96)

And:

“In other words the messenger of God desists from marrying? He said: And who [do you suggest]? She said: Do you want a young woman (bakra) or an old woman (thayiba)? He said: So who is the young woman? She said: The daughter of the most beloved of Allah’s creation to you, ‘Aisha bint Abi Bakr. And he said: Who is the older woman? She said: Sawdah bint Zama‘ah. He said: So go and mention me to both of them.“ (Abu al-Qasim al-Ṭabarani, al-Mu‘jam al-Kabir (Cairo: Maktabah ibn Taymiyah, 1994), 5923:23. Nu‘im bin al-Ḥakim al-Naysaburi, al-Mustadarak ala al-Ṣahihayn (Beirut: Dar al-Kutub al-‘ilmiyah, 1999), tradition 2704, 2:181. Isnad graded Sahih) (“A Modern Matn Criticism on the Tradition on Aisha’s Age of Marriage: Translation and Analysis”, p. 18-19, source)

We gather from the above reports that the marriage of Aisha was suggested by Khawlah who was a close family friend. She encouraged Prophet Muhammad to marry Aisha ‘to form a close relationship with Abu Bakr’s family’.

Another important information that needs highlighting here is, the above reports tell us that Aisha was already engaged to Jubayr Ibn Mut’im Ibn Adi, a young man who had not embraced Islam at the time. This shows that marriage of the Prophet (p) and Aisha was not uncommon. As far as history is witness, there was nothing unusual about this marriage.

Barnaby Rogerson comments on this, regarding Khawlah suggesting the marriage and saying that the marriage was consummated years later when Aisha had physically matured, “after her menstruation”:

“After Khadijah died the Prophet’s household and his daughters were cared for by Khawlah, the wife of one of his loyal followers. After the first period of mourning had passed, Khawlah suggested that he should find another wife. She herself put forward two candidates, the very beautiful Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr, and Sawdah, a motherly thirty-year-old. Muhammad chose both of them Sawdah, of the Muslims who had taken refuge in Abyssinia, had recently been widowed. She was therefore immediately available and moved in to take charge of the household. Aisha, then still a pre-pubescent virgin, was betrothed by her father BUT DID NOT PHYSICALLY BECOME MUHAMMAD’S WIFE UNTIL SHE WAS CONSIDERED SEXUALLY MATURE, AFTER HER MENSTRUATION.” (The Prophet Muhammad: And the Roots of the Sunni-Shia Schism [Hachette Digital, 2003], by Barnaby Rogerson page 55)

 

3. Aisha And Dolls

Narrated ‘Aisha: I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah’s Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari, volume 13, page 143) (Sahih Al-Bukhari, volume 8, Book 73, Number 151)

The above report(s) is often cited by some critics as evidence that Aisha played with dolls, therefore she was a prepubescent girl after her marriage was consummated. This claim has no foundation, given that we have many reports, which tell us that Aisha hit puberty long before the marriage was consummated with Prophet Muhammed (p).

It should be noted the part where it’s in brackets,

(“The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for ‘Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty”.)

This is not part of the report, it is in fact a commentary of Sahih Bukhari titled ‘Fath-al-Bari’, written in the year 1428, by Shafi qadi, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani.

The claim that “Aisha playing with dolls proves she was too immature to marry Muhammad”, this is baseless. Not only do we have historical evidence proving that Aisha hit puberty, the BBC America produced a documentary which show women above the age of 18 play with dolls:

“Monica Walsh, a 41-year-old wife and mother of a 2-year-old daughter from Orange County, N.Y., has one doll – “Hayden.” And, yes, she told Lauer, she plays with her doll “the same way a man might make a big train station and play with his train station or play with his sports car, his boat or his motorcycle.”
Fran Sullivan, 62, lives in Florida and has never had children. She brought two reborns to New York, “Robin” and “Nicholas,” and said she has a collection of more than 600 dolls of all kinds, including a number of reborn dolls.” (“Bogus baby boom: Women who collect lifelike dolls”, by Mike Celizic, online source (last accessed 8th February 2017), http://www.today.com/id/26970782/ns/today-today_news/t/bogus-%20baby-boom-women-who-collect-lifelike-dolls/ )

 

The BBC UK (2013) also published an article on this, titled “Teddy bears: Adults on their stuffed toy companions”, showing how grown up women play with teddy bears often:

“I have a small brown bear, Frank by name. He is so called because he is an earnest, honest, upright bear. He was given to me by a friend, as a promise that he would come home to me – and Frank. Frank had looked after my friend when his life went wrong. My friend never came home, he went to France and found someone else. Now Frank and I look after each other and we go everywhere together. Frank is a very special wee bear and very knowing. He has a beautiful soul. I will love him always. He is a good listener and he is my best friend. Heather, Rutland

My partner and I have 17 teddy bears which we’ve collected over the last five years, one of whom is my partner’s best friend and has been since he was 18 months old. Our teddies are a huge part of our lives. They travel the world with us and I couldn’t “bear” to leave any of them at home. Laura, Exeter, Devon.” (“Teddy bears: Adults on their stuffed toy companions” (BBC Magazine., Published 8 February 2013), online source (Last accessed 8th February 2017), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21367728 )

Additionally, this is also supported by the New York Times. [7]

Dr. Juliette Peers says that it was very fashionable for adult women to carry dolls in public in the early 20th century:

“As dolls were becoming closely identified with medicalized norms of girls’ behaviour, many adult doll-type products began production in the 1920s and 1930s. Some of these, such as the Lenci felt dolls from Italy, crossed over from adult mascot or living room decorations into the realm of children’s toys. Others-such as the pinchusion dolls and porcelain dolls in the shape of hair tidies, bookends, perfume bottles, vases powder bowls, powder puffs, lamp bases and face brooches- would have been familiar items to the younger teen at least in their personal home environment and their mother’s room, if not standing on the girl’s dressing table o decorating her bedroom. DURING THE 1920S, IT WAS TRENDY FOR ADULT WOMEN TO CARRY DOLLS IN PUBLIC, especially in urban areas, as a fashion accessory, and perfume flasks, purses and handbags were produced with doll or teddy bear faces. The Nancy Ann Story Book Company of California produced small dolls in series that encouraged young girls to collect the whole set. The Nancy Ann Dolls crossed over from the younger to a young ADULT AUDIENCE, who regarded them a mascots and ornaments. Because the Nancy Ann dolls were extremely popular, the company had to switch to locally produced dolls when the supply sources in Axis countries became unavailable during World War II.” (Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia [Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (editors), GP – Greenwood Press, 2008] by Dr. Juliette Peers, volume 1, page 28)

And here:

“Collectible dolls are often given as presents to girls by doting parents and grandparents, as well as being bought as personal items by adult women.” (Girl Culture: An Encyclopedia [Claudia Mitchell, Jacqueline Reid-Walsh (editors), GP – Greenwood Press, 2008] by Dr. Juliette Peers, volume 1, page 36)

The above instances on dolls, show that just because one has a doll or plays with one it does not equate to the person being a child. As the above evidence has demonstrated, adult women play with dolls also. Therefore, this claim that Aisha was prepubescent for merely playing dolls is baseless, since we know that grown women in this very era play with dolls.

4. Jariyya – Young Lady

In order to cast doubt on Aisha’s marriage being consummated at the time when she hit puberty, some critics have claimed that the Arabic word Jariyya used in a number of instances with Aisha shows that she did not hit puberty before her marriage was consummated. For this they don’t present any evidence, other than make claims and play with words. The following Hadith is used for their claims:

“On that Allah’s Messenger called Buraira and said, ‘O Burair. Did you ever see anything which roused your suspicions about her?’ Buraira said, ‘No, by Allah Who has sent you with the Truth, I have never seen in her anything faulty except that she is a girl of immature age, who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough for the goats to eat.’” (Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith volume 3, Book 48, Hadith 829. Eng. Tran., http://quranx.com/Hadith/Bukhari/USC-MSA/Volume-3/Book-48/Hadith-829/ )

Br. Bassam Zawadi gives evidence that there is nothing in the Hadith that suggests that she was “immature”, in the sense of being prepubescent:

“Looking at the Arabic text, I don’t see word “immature” anywhere. It only states that she is a YOUNG GIRL, which we will already know. But if someone is young that doesn’t necessarily imply that he or she is immature.
Secondly, the companion was not criticizing Aisha for her age. Rather, he was saying that her fault was that she:
GOES TO SLEEP while kneading the flour and the lamb eats that’.
Imam Nawawi (1233 – 1277) states in his commentary:
And the meaning of this statement is that there are no faults about her (Aisha) to begin with. There is nothing wrong about her EXCEPT THAT SHE SLEEPS WHILE KNEADING THE FLOUR. (Imam Nawawi, Sharh Saheeh Muslim, Kitab: Al Tawbah, Bab: Fee Hadeeth Al Ifk Wa Qubool Tawbat Al Qaazhif, Commentary on Hadith no. 4974, Source http://hadith.al-islam.com/Loader.aspx?pageid=261 )

The companion might have attributed her carelessness due to the fact that she was young and did not take seriously her responsibility over her tasks. However, this does not imply she was immature or psychologically incapable of being married.” (“Refuting Sam Shamoun’s Arguments Regarding The Prophet’s Marriage To Aisha”, by Bassam Zawadi, online source (last accessed 16th February 2017), http://www.call-to-monotheism.com/refuting_sam_shamoun_s_arguments_regarding_the_prophet_s_marriage_to_aisha )

Nowhere in the above Hadith does it prove the claims that have been made. In fact we have a number of Hadith wherein it explicitly mentions that she started menstruating while she moved in to Prophet Muhammed’s house. This evidence will be shown later, in section 5.

Br. Bassam is correct here indeed! Jariyya Haditha is used elsewhere by Aisha, and it literally means “young girl” or “young lady”. Being young does not equate to being prepubescent or immature. The main issue as shown was that she sleeps and sometimes neglects certain tasks. The following report has the exact same words used as the above report, notice “young lady” from Aisha’s own statement,

“At that time women were light in weight and were not fleshy for they used to eat little (food), so those people did not feel the lightness of the howdah while raising it up, and I was still a YOUNG LADY [JARIYYA HADITHA]. They drove away the camel and proceeded. Then I found my necklace after the army had gone.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 6, Book 60, Hadith 274, Eng. Tran., https://sunnah.com/urn/180850 )

Furthermore, the word Jariyya is understood by Arabic English dictionaries as being referring to someone who is an adult. They tell us that Jariyya is used for a girl, slave, concubine and it is always used for grown up adult females:

“جَارِيَةٌ Jariya pl. –at, … jawarin girl; slave GIRL; maid, servant; ship, vessel.”
(Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976], page 146)

English-Arabic Dictionary – Professor Francis Joseph Steingass:

“… Jari, flowing, running, current; passing, happening; – 5 jariya-t pl. jawari, slave-girl; GIRL; mercy of God; ship; sun.” (English-Arabic Dictionary: For the Use of Both Travellers and Students [LONDON – Crosby Lockwood And Son 7, Stationers Hall Court, Ludgate Hill, E.C.] by Professor Francis Joseph Steingass, page 214)

Edward William Lane’s Lexicon:

“جَارِيَةٌ A ship; (S, Msb, K ; ) because of its running upon the sea: (Msb : )an epithet in which the quality of a subst. predominates: pl. … (TA.) – The sun; (K;) because of its running from region to region: (TA : ) or the sun’s disk in the sky. (T. TA.) And … The Stars. (TA. [But see art. …]) – The mind: pl. as above. (TA.) – A GIRL, or YOUNG WOMAN; S, Mgh, Msb, K ; ) a female of which the male is termed …; so called because her activity and running; opposed to …: (Mgh : ) and a female slave; (Mgh voce …;) [in the sense] applied even to one who is an OLD WOMAN, unable to work, or to employ herself actively; alluding to what she was: (Msb : ) pl. as above. (Msb, K.) – The eye of any animal. (TA.) – A benefit, favour, boon, or blessing, bestowed by God (K, TA) upon his servants. (TA.).” (Edward Lane’s Lexicon, page 419, online source)

 

Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage – Elsaid M. Badawi & Muhammad Abdel Haleem:

“… j-r-y to run, to flow, to stream, to sail; stream, channel, the way of things; vessel, boat; to continue, to be constant; YOUNG FEMALE, overseer. Of this root, five forms occur 64 times in the Qur’an: … jara 57 times; … jariyatun twice; … jariyat once; jawari three times and … majri once.” (Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage [Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands, 2008] by Elsaid M. Badawi, Muhammad Abdel Haleem, page 161)

 

Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an – Malik Ghulam Farid:

“… [aor. … inf. Noun … and …] …: The water flowed, ran quickly. …: The horse ran. … : A continuous or permanent charity; … also means, a ship (plural lll) because of its running upon the sea; the sun; … Stars (81:17). ); a girl or YOUNG WOMAN; the wind; a female slave; an OLD WOMAN; the eye of an animal; a benefit, favour, blessing or boon bestowed by God upon His servants.” (Dictionary Of The Holy Qur’an of With References and Explanation of the Text by Malik Ghulam Farid M. A., page 134)

 

Dr. Mary Ann Fay:

“The word jawar and its variants (e.g., sing. JARIYA) are only used in connection with WOMEN and should be understood as the female equivalent of mamluk or tabi, that is, as a slave who is manumitted and becomes a client of his/her patron. Like mamluk, the word tabi is used to describe the relationship between men, not between men and women or women and women. Women are ma’tuqa or Jariyya.” (Women, The Family, And Dvorce Laws In Islamic History [Edited by Amira El Azhary Sonbol – Syracuse University Press. – First Edition, 1996], by Mary Ann Fay, page 163)

Professor of History Madeline C. Zilfe:

“Jariya (T. cariya) slave WOMAN; concubine.”
(Women In The Ottoman Empire Middle Eastern Women In The Early Modern Era [Koninlijke Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1997], by Madeline C. Zilfe, page 300 (Glossary))

Professor Joel L. Kraemer:

“Arab WOMEN were also entertainers, singers, musicians and poetesses (JARIYA qayna: ‘female slaver singer’) in royal courts.” (The Cambridge Genizah Collections: Their Contents and Significance [Cambridge University Press, 2002], by Joel L. Kraemer, page 184)

With the above evidences in perspective, Jariya is a young girl and it is used in the sense of a mature woman. Jariya is a person that has passed the age of puberty.

5. Aisha Reached Puberty Before Marriage Was Consummated

It is claimed when the marriage of Aisha was consummated she was a prepubescent girl. This not true when one looks at some of the earliest historical sources of Islam:

Narrated AISHA: (the wife of the Prophet) I had seen my parents following Islam since I attained the age of PUBERTY. Not a day passed but the Prophet visited us, both in the mornings and evenings.” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 1, Book 8, Hadith 465 https://sunnah.com/bukhari/8/124)

The above report is also reported elsewhere but with a slight variation of words. While the above has the word “puberty”, this exchanged with “remember”. While the former Hadith says she hit puberty, this Hadith (below) says that she remembers things. This suggests that at this stage of her life she had reached the mental faculty to discern things:

“Narrated Aisha: (the wife of the Prophet) “I do not remember (A’QAL) my parents believing in any religion other than the Religion (of Islam), and our being visited by Allah’s Messenger in the morning and in the evening. One day, while we were sitting in the house of Abu Bakr (my father) at noon, someone said, ‘This is Allah’s Messenger coming at an hour at which he never used to visit us.’ Abu Bakr said, ‘There must be something very urgent that has brought him at this hour.’ The Prophet said, ‘I have been allowed to go out (of Mecca) to migrate.'” (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 8, Book 73, Hadith 102, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/78/107 )

In the two narrations we have read we see that Aisha had seen her parents follow Islam since she ‘attained the age of puberty’ and in the second report she was mentally mature. She goes on to say that a day did not pass, but that the Prophet Muhammad visited her (Aisha) and her parents. The Hadith reports presented shows that Aisha had reached puberty and had mentally matured to discern things while she still living with her parents, before the marriage was consummated to Prophet Muhammed (p).

Some critics have cast doubt on the Hadith where it mentions that Aisha hit “puberty” and claim that the translation that was made by the renowned scholar Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan is unreliable. As such we looked at Arabic-English Dictionaries on the word a’qal. The late professor Hans Wehr (1909 – 1981) who studied at the University of Munster published a book, “A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic”. He comments on the word “A’qal”:

“… a’qal more reasonable; brighter, smarter, more intelligent | … a’qal al’umr the most reasonable time of life, the years of reason and MATURITY.” (Hans Wehr A Dictionary of Modern written Arabic [Edited by John Milton – Spoken Language Services, Inc. 1976],  page 737)

Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan’s rendering of “puberty” in the first report is line with Professor Hans Wehr’s understanding of the Arabic language.

The narrations presented prove that Aisha had already hit puberty before the consummation of the marriage taken place.

Additionally, we have another narration where science attests that Aisha had hit puberty before the marriage was consummated. The following report states:

Narrated Aisha: The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. THEN I GOT ILL AND MY HAIR FELL DOWN. LATER ON MY HAIR GREW (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Sahih al-Bukhari volume 5, Book 58, Hadith 234)

The above narration is also reported in Sunan Ibn Majah:

“Aishah said: “The Messenger of Allah married me when I was six years old. Then we came to Al-Madinah and settled among Banu Harith bin Khazraj. I BECAME ILL AND MY HAIR FELL OUT, THEN IT GREW BACK AND BECAME ABUNDANT. My mother Umm Ruman came to me while I was on an Urjuhah with some of my friends, and called for me. I went to her, and I did not know what she wanted. She took me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house, and I was panting. When I got my breath back, she took some water and wiped my face and head, and led me into the house. There were some woman of the Ansar inside the house, and they said: ‘With blessings and good fortune (from Allah).’ (My mother) handed me over to them and they tidied me up. And suddenly I saw the Messenger of Allah in the morning. And she handed me over to him and I was at that time, nine years old.” (Sahih) Sunan Ibn Majah volume 3, Book 9, Hadith 1876., Sahih Darussalam, http://www.sunnah.com/ibnmajah/9 )

It’s important to pay close attention to the above two narrations. Some may wonder, what is important about the part in the narration that is capitalized in bold, where it says,

“Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew”

This part of the Hadith shows explicitly from the point of science that Aisha hit puberty before the marriage was consummated with the Prophet (p). Hair loss is common among women. Hair loss happens when a girl goes through changes with her body i.e, hitting puberty.

Shannon Harrison, Melissa Piliang and Wilma explain why, when hair disorders occur:

“DEFINITION
Alopecia is the general term for hair loss. Hair loss can occur from the scalp and any hair-bearing part of the body. Hair has great social and cultural importance, and patients with hair loss experience anxiety and concern…..
PREVALENCE
….The most common form of hair loss is androgenetic alopecia (pattern hair loss), which increases with age; at least 80% of white men show some degree of thinning by the age of 70 year. Androgenetic alopecia OCCURS WITH THE ONSET OF PUBERTY and in males is dependent on circulating androgens. FEMALE PATTERN HAIR LOSS (female androgenetic alopecia) ALSO STARTS AFTER PUBERTY…” (Current Clinical Medicine: Expert Consult [Second edition – Elsevier Inc, 2010], by Shannon Harrison, Melissa Piliang, & Wilma Bergfeld, page 289 – 290)

Dr. Lisa Akbari:

“Studies show that hair loss affects approximately one third of all women. Although hair loss is most commonly seen after menopause, it can begin AS EARLY AS PUBERTY.” (Every Woman’s Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age: Learn What Can Be Done to keep a beautiful head of hair for a lifetime [SourceBooks, Inc – Naperville, Illinois, 2007] by Lisa Akbari page 70 -71)

Scholars Gisela Torres and Stephen K. Tyring:

“Androgenic alopecia may develop in a WOMAN at any time AFTER THE ONSET OF PUBERTY, although it most often occurs during the perimenopausal period or at times of hormonal change.
Primary Care for Women [Second edition – Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2004] by Gisela Torres and Stephen K. Tyring, page 838)

The following facts we can gather from this evidence: (1) Aisha got ill and a lot of her hair started falling (hitting puberty). (2) After a while (months or year(s)) her hair grew again. (3) Aisha states that she was 9 years old when the marriage was consummated and this is when she started living with Prophet Mohammed (p) as the report states:

“(My mother) handed me over to them and they tidied me up. And suddenly I saw the Messenger of Allah in the morning. And she handed me over to him and I was at that time, nine years old.”

The claim that “Aisha was a prepubescent girl when her marriage was consummated”, the evidences presented refutes this. From the perspective of modern science, the scholars attest that Aisha did indeed hit puberty before the marriage was consummated.

Conclusion

Many any of the claims made in regards to Aisha and Muhammed (p) does not hold up when we consulted historical facts. Furthermore the ahadith reports shown explicitly mentioned that Aisha had reached puberty long before the marriage was consummated with the Prophet (p).

Hence, from the original Arabic language, it is clear that Aisha was at the age of puberty when she was married off. The scientific evidence presented on Aisha losing a lot of hair shows that she had begun her first menstrual period before the marriage was consummated. We know from the evidence presented that Prophet Muhammed (p) married her at the time when she was at the age where she was physically and mentally ready for marriage, 1400 years ago.

 

References:

[1] “Law would ban marriage in Florida before age 16” Last accessed 27th February 2017,
http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2014-03-18/news/fl-minors-marriage-legislature-20140318_1_stafford-parental-consent-vital-statistics
[2] “Why can 12-year-olds still get married in the United States?” Last accessed 27th February 2017,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/02/10/why-does-the-united-states-still-let-12-year-old-girls-get-married/?utm_term=.2215ab3c97de
[3] “The Rate Of Child Marriages In America Is Alarming”, last acessed 27th February 2017, https://www.good.is/articles/child-marriage-america
[4] “Spain raises age of consent from 13 to 16”, last accessed 27th February 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/04/spain-raises-age-of-consent
[5] Xavier Williams:
“Ayesha Siddiqua: A woman named Khawlah Bint Hakeem suggested that Prophet Muhammad marry Ayesha, the daughter of Abu Bakr, to form a close relationship with Abu Bakr’s family. She was already engaged to Jober Ibn Al Moteam Ibn Oday. At this time Jober was not yet a Muslim. The people of Mecca did not object to Ayeshah becoming married because although she was young, she was mature enough to understand the responsibility of marriage.” (World Religions, True Beliefs and New Age Spirituality: A New Age Study on How Economic Tides and Parental Conditioning Mold Our World of Ethics, Religions, Beliefs, Sex And Relationships, by Xavier Williams, page 285)
[6] Some have claimed that Abu Bakr’s reluctance actually shows that it probably wasn’t all that accepted to marry your daughter off. In actual fact, the hadith says that Abu Bakr’s reluctance was actually because him and Muhammad were seen as brothers because they knew each other for many years, not because of Aisha’s age some have claimed. Prophet Muhammad replied that they weren’t literal brothers so it was fine. Furthermore, given that Aisha was already in the process of being given away in marriage to Jubayr Ibn Mut’im Ibn Adi shows that the age was not the issue with Abu Bakr.
[7] “Motherhood, Reborn and Everlasting”, last accessed 27th February 2017, http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/motherhood-reborn-and-everlasting/

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8 Responses »

  1. Salam alaikum

    I think I have read about this marriage on the internet -by muslims and disbelievers- more than reading about pillars and basics of Islam or any other aspect of Islam; But your article, as usual, is brilliant.

  2. U r doing a great job i must say … No words for your work !! ☆

  3. Great article brother. Is there any way to contact you?

  4. Well written. Please refute the paedophilia allegation too.

  5. Great article which is a informative and concise rebuttal to the slanderous and hateful disinformation from the uneducated bigots and hatemongers, in regards to the beautiful marriage of the Prophet of mankind (SAW) and the Mother of the Believers (RA)…

    May Allah , be He be Glorified in the Highest, reward you immensely in this short world and in the everlasting Hereafter. Ameen ya Rabb (so be it O Lord).

    Asalamau alaykum my beloved brother…

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