Marriage Age of Aisha

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Marriage Age of Aisha

Question: Most sources indicate that Aisha was only 9 years old when the Prophet married her. How would you explain this situation?

Answer (Meral Günel – Theologian):

Aisha got married to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) before the Hijra, but their actual conjugal life started 2 years after the Hijra. When her birthday is taken into consideration, it can be deduced that she was 9–10 years old at the time of their marriage.

When evaluating the marriages of the Prophet, we have to bear in mind the political, social, and cultural conditions of his period. In addition to climatic effects on girls’ physical development, it was not so strange for a mature man to take a young girl as his wife. Moreover, Prophet Muhammad was not the first person who committed this act.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that there is no evidence for any one of his friends or his enemies criticizing him for the number and ages of his wives or his general practice concerning this issue. It is also meaningful that the mushrikun (infidels) who were waiting for an opportunity to slander against him did not criticize him on his marriage to Aisha. If the related geography, socio-cultural atmosphere, the social structure and reasoning behind a particular event is not considered while analyzing it, like in this case, it would be very easy to fall into anachronistic traps.

عَنْ أَبِي مَسْعُودٍ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ ‏"‏ إِذَا أَنْفَقَ الرَّجُلُ عَلَى أَهْلِهِ يَحْتَسِبُهَا فَهُوَ لَهُ صَدَقَةٌ ‏"
Narrated Abu Mas'ud: The Prophet said, "If a man spends on his family (with the intention of having a reward from Allah) sincerely for Allah's sake then it is a (kind of) alms-giving in reward for him.” (Bukhari, Belief, 41)

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