The Islamic Prophet Muhammed & his wife Aisha
It is believed in the Islamic community that the teachings of the Quran were passed down during the time of Muhammed, and for them, it is believed to be 100% correct and unaltered in over 1400 years. However, contrary to what some right wing propaganda may claim, there is no mention of Muhammad or his marriages. So the only point of reference that we have to investigate the claims that Aisha was allegedly between the ages of 6 & 9 years old when she married Muhammad are what are known as Hadiths. Hadiths, for those of you who do not know, are a collection of narratives, sayings and teachings of Muhammed documented following his death. It is important to understand and point out that the Hadiths between the two major sects of Islam, Sunni’s and Shi’a’s differ, but that is a different topic altogether. So we are going to generalise here slightly just to highlight a few points, using the majority following of Islam which is the Sunni sect.
According to the Hadiths, specifically Sahih Bukhari which is generally accepted across Sunni Islam as being the most authentic, Aisha is reported to have said that she was a “young girl” at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Quran, was revealed. According to historians, the 54th chapter of the Quran was revealed 9 years before what is known as Hijrah, or the migration of Muhammed and his Muslim followers to Medina from Mecca, around 622 CE. Note the words “young girl” and not the term infant; it is suggested Aisha was born towards the end of 613 CE or early 614 CE. If this were the case, and the 54th chapter was supposedly revealed 9 years before 622 CE, that would mean Aisha would have not even have been born. So already, this raises serious question about her age at the time of marriage. Also, the first revelations were made to Muhammed in 610. If he was 53 when he took Aisha as his wife, and she was supposedly 6 years old, that would mean that Aisha was born in 617 CE, and so therefore would not have been born when chapter 54 was revealed, as this was 4 years prior.
Aisha’s father, Abu-Bakr, married 2 women prior to the formation of Islam (in Muhammed’s time). Aisha was born to the latter wife, her half-sister Asma was born to Abu-Bakr’s first wife, and it is known that the age difference between the 2 was around 10 years. It is also recorded that all 4 of Abu-Bakr’s children (2 children from each wife) were born before the formation of Islam as a religion (the last 22 years of Muhammed’s life, circa . 610. Given the approximation that Muhammed was born around 570 CE, he would have been 40 at the time, and if 613 CE is to be believed as Aisha’s year of birth, it would mean Aisha was born 3 years past the first revelation to Muhammed by the Angel Gabriel as is believed by Muslims. The “first year” of Islam is defined by the lunar calendar which Muslims follow, and where the traditional Gregorian Calendar is marked by BC/AD or BCE/CE, the Islamic calendar is appended by the letters AH (Anno Hegirae – “in the year of the Hijra”). So the start of the 1st year of AH is the equivalent of 622 AD or CE. On that basis, if it is widely reported and accepted that Asma was a decade older than Aisha, and that when she passed away in 73 AH she was 100 years old, that would mean that Aisha was 93, suggesting that she was born actually born in 601/602 CE. Think about that; if she was a “young girl” then when Al-Qamar was revealed to Muhammed (622 CE), it would mean she was approximately 19/20 years of age. These dates and ages are approximate, so give or a take year or two, but we are still nowhere close to the suggested age of 6, or even indeed 9. Muhammed’s consummation of marriage is said to have been in 2 AH, so that would suggest that Aisha was between the ages of 20 & 23 if the above is to be accepted.
Another point that raises questions are the Battles of Badr and Uhud, which took place in 624 CE (2 AH) and 625 CE respectively. It is recorded that one of Abu-Bakr’s children, his son Abd Al-Rahman, did not convert to Islam, and opted to fight against the Muslims in the Battle of Badr. His age is recorded as being of around 21/22, which would place his year of birth at around 602/603 CE. Although it is accepted he was older than Aisha, there is little evidence to suggest that this was much more than a few years at best. Add to this the fact that it is recorded Aisha went into the battle alongside Muhammed, it being common practise that women accompanied the men in order to tend to wounds and assist them whilst they were out in battle. It is also recorded in the Hadiths that no one below the age of 15 was allowed in the battle of Uhud, so even if Aisha was 15 at the time, that would suggest that she was born in 610 CE, so at the time of the revelation of chapter 54 of the Quran, she would have been 3 years old. That’s not a young girl, that is still an infant or toddler. Aisha is supposed to have married Muhammed 1 year after the Hijrah. So let’s say she was 3 at the time the 54th chapter was revealed; she married the prophet 10 years later, so she was 13, and if the marriage was consummated 3 years later as is suggested by those who argue that she was 6 at marriage, then it means she was 16 when she had sex. Correct us if this is stated incorrectly, but the age of consent in the UK is 16 is it not?
Another factor to consider would have been Muhammed’s daughter Fatimah, born of his relationship with his first wife Khadijah. Fatimah is recorded to have been born when the Prophet was 35 years of age, and to have been 5 years the senior of Aisha. This then would mean she was born in the year 605 CE, meaning Aisha was born in the year 610, again reiterating the fact that if this was true, that Aisha would have been 13 at the time of marriage, and 16 at the time of consummation.
These are but a few observations; the fact is we are talking about a period of over 1400 years ago, no one can say for sure, unless Stewart Green for whom this article was originally written, or anyone else, is holding out on us and has a time machine. There are many articles written by historians and various scholars alike. Not all agree, and the viewpoints vary from one person to the next. But certainly, for all the arguments thrown about regarding Muhammed’s wife Aisha, there are just as many arguments ,if not more, to suggest that the claims Aisha was 6 years old at the time of marriage to Muhammed, is factually incorrect.
One thing is for certain, of the reports, and the citations used by right wing groups and Islamophobes; this topic is used as a form of attack against Muslims to peddle their Islamaphobic thoughts and ideologies, and without doubt, the figures most certainly do not add up, and so the foundations for their arguments hold no weight.