The Truth About the Age of Ayshah and Her Marriage to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
by Yusuf Estes
Many things are being said about the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) these days. Some of the accusations are downright amazing and chilling even to consider someone would say it, much less be involved in this type of slander and smear campaign.
Let's consider some of the questions and what facts really exist about these concerns. Let's set the record straight once and for all.
A Brief Overview of Basic Facts
What is the true historical evidence about the person life of prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)? What was his life style? What about his marriage to Khadijah (his first wife)? How did the offer of marriage to Ayshah really take place? Who made the offer? Was there any coercion or compulsion? What was her attitude? How did she reflect on it in later years? What did she have to say about it all? How did she feel about their love and intimacy?
He was the most honest and fair of all the people living in his community. None was respected more for honesty, integrity, sobriety and humbleness.
He had no bad habits and did not engage in drinking or relations with women, although it was common place amongst his people.
He never took a girlfriend nor a mistress in his life and never even attended parties or the like at anytime in his life.
His first personal encounter with a woman was his own wife, Khadijah, and that was for marriage. He was 25 years old and she was 15 years older (40).
He was only married to Khadijah until her death at the age of 65 years old.
There was a long time of mourning and sadness during which he was offered marriage to several women of their families.
He did not accept the first offer of marriage to Ayshah when her father had come to him with the proposal, instead he married an older, large woman named Sawdah.
Ayshah had been offered in marriage and engaged prior to being offered to the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. That marriage never took place.
When Ayshah was older, again her father offered her in marriage and the proposal was accepted.
The whole family was happily involved and most elated in having the prophet of God as their close relative through marriage.
Ayshah herself was very happy with this marriage as is evidenced by the hundreds of teachings she later related after his death (peace and blessings be upon him).
Details of Clear Proofs and Evidences
What is the truth behind of the age of prophet's wife, Ayesha?
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) did not go to Ayesha at all. There was only the offer of marriage, never anything less than this - and the offer was not from the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) to Ayesha - it was from her father to the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never had sex outside of marriage.
First of all, let us be crystal clear about a very important subject. The prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) never had sex at all, until after being married, at the age of 25, to a widowed woman, Khadijah, who was 15 years older than he was.
When his wife Khadijah died a number of people tried to encourage the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to take another wife and get married again. Ayshah's name was mentioned, but he chose to marry Sawdah, who was known for her big size.
All of this is well documented and preserved in the annuls of Muslim scholars for fourteen centuries.
How was Ayesha viewed by others at the time and throughout the history of Islam?
She was highly respected as the daughter of Abu Bakr, a man known as "As-Siddiq" (The one who verifies truth). Abu Bakr was the life long friend of the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the first man to accept Islam after revelation of Quran started.
What was Ayesha like?
Ayesha was very intelligent and brilliant in her mind and excellent in treatment of her parents. She was known to give full respect to her husband, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. She was once accused by some hypocrites of immorality, but in her innocence she did not even know what she was being accused of until her mother explained it to her. And it was Allah who cleared her name forever, by mentioning her purity and innocence in the Quran (Surah An-Nur chapter 24). She became the first of women scholars and teachers of Islam. No other woman narrated as many hadiths as Ayesha.
Marriage offer first came from who?
Khawlah (a Muslim companion woman), suggested the marriage of Ayesha to the prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). He did not accept it.
Who next offered her hand in marriage to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?
Abu Bakr had offered his daughter in marriage to someone else prior to the offer made to the prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. Abu Bakr sent his wife out to bring in his daughter to offer her in marriage to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and then she returned back outside to play. The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did not accept even though it was very much the custom of the time to accept such an offer of marriage from someone as close as Abu Bakr was to the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. There is an ayah in the Quran related to this topic, in Surah An-Nisa', chapter 4, verse 19 - telling us women cannot be inherited against their will. This was the first time for such a ruling in favor of women and it came about to protect women from the very thing people are now trying to accuse our religion of supporting. The truth bears out over the falsehood, in this case very clear.
What did Allah reveal in the Quran about forced marriages and child brides (not old enough to be married)?
"O you who believe, it is for not legal for you to inherit women against their will. And don't make it difficult for them so you can take from what you have given them (marriage dowry) unless they commit open immorality. And live with them in goodness (Al-Marufi). Because if you dislike them, it could be you dislike something and Allah makes in it a lot of "khair" (good)." [Noble Quran 4:19]
How long before the next offer of marriage by her father to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)?
When Ayesha was a few years older, her father Abu Bakr, again had the mother bring her into the house to offer her in marriage to the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did accept this offer made some years later, when Ayesha was old enough according to Islam (able to bear children).
Was she now considered by Allah to be old enough for marriage?
Yes. This time is was accepted and plans for the marriage were set in place. She tells us of the excitement, preparation and wonderful experience of her being offered and accepted in marriage to the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and their closeness and intimacy. All of this is described in the most beautiful context with nothing left out and yet nothing disgusting - only beauty and enjoyment as described in her own words. The lessons she taught have helped married couples in Islam to know what the limits are and how to share the most pleasure between a married couple in both physical and spiritual ways.
Did she want to be married to him?
Yes. She tells us this was exactly what she wanted all along. The hadiths (narrations by Ayshah) are very clear about all details and must be read in order to fully appreciate the fullness and completeness of their relationship together.
How did she reply to her father's offer to the prophet, peace and blessings be upon him?
She was very shy and said her silence was understood by her father that she was indeed, accepting the proposal for marriage. This is mentioned by her, along with other important information for Muslims to know about marriage proposals, dowry and proper ways to approach the father or guardian of a woman with the topic of marriage.
What was Ayshah's status after marrying the prophet (peace and blessings be upon him)? (A Brief Overview)
No other woman was loved more by our prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).
He wanted to die with his head in her lap (and he did).
They were in total love with each other the way everyone would love to be in love.
Their romance is known to all of the Muslim world and how much they really enjoyed each others company - always.
They planned on being together in Jannah.
She never said a single bad word against her husband during his life, or after his death. Is there a woman living today who could compare to this great woman?
What was the "norm" regarding the subject of marriage at the time of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and Ayesha?
Actually, the people of Arabia had the custom of marrying off any of their girls at the age of the beginning of their monthly cycles.
Even the Arch Bishop of Canterbury would not have been blamed for marrying a young girl back one hundred years or so as this was still accepted at that time.
Consider the Catholic Church claims that Mary, may Allah's peace be on her, was married to Joseph before having Jesus (peace and blessings be upon him) and her age was just a year or two older than Ayshah's age, but Joseph was mentioned as being in his 90's! (we do not have this story in Islam, because Mary is considered a true virgin and never married and never had other children except for Jesus Christ (peace and blessings be upon him).
The marriage of Ayesha to Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is nothing less than the best love story ever written.
Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet leaves much to be desired by comparison. Consider the contrast and be honest in your conclusion:
Romeo and Juliet both were running around behind their parents back - with someone whom they did not approve of at all - their families were fighting each other in a feud and they forbid them to be together at all.
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was being offered the hand of the daughter of his best friend, Abu Bakr in a marriage environment. All of the family members were happy about this and had approved of the marriage.
Romeo and Juliet had their affair in secrecy without the benefit of clergy (not married).
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and Ayesha waited until after marriage and even after a courtship period described in beautiful details by Ayesha herself.
Romeo and Juliet both committed suicide. According to Judaism and Christianity as well as Islam - anyone who commits suicide will go to Hell forever.
Ayesha and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) both believed in One God - the God of the Jews and the God of Christ (peace and blessings be upon him) and they both preached a message of salvation through direct repentance to Almighty God.
Above all, they will be together in the Paradise where they will live - happily ever after.
Honestly - Which one is the true romance story?
We pray to Allah to accept this humble effort to clarify misunderstandings and remove doubts some people may entertain regarding the relationship of two of the greatest personalities ever to come forth on this earth, ameen.
Dear reader, thank you for taking the time to read and review this important subject and for keeping an open mind and heart regarding Islam's treatment of women and marriage in general and the relationship of our prophet, peace and blessings be upon him and his wife, Ayesha. If you would like to know more about Islam (www.WhatsIslam.com) or the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him (www.ProphetOfIslam.com) or the status of Islam's women (www.IslamsWomen.com) please visit our websites or look for other publications by the author.