The age of 'A'isha bint Abu Bakr at the time of her nikah (marriage)

Abu Bakr married twice, and fathered four children, before the beginning of the Revelation (i.e. at least 13 years before the Hijrah): 'Abdullah, Asma, 'Abdur-Rahman, and 'A'isha. This is uncontested and well-known to the Muslims. 'A'isha was betrothed to Jubayr ibn Mut'im ibn Adi, before Abu Bakr accepted Islam in the first year of the Call (12-13 years before the Hijrah). This is uncontested. When Abu Bakr planned to go to Abyssinia during the fifth year of the Call (8-9 years before the Hijrah), Mut'im broke off the engagement because Abu Bakr had accepted Islam. This is uncontested.

'A'isha remembered the Revelation of a verse known to have been revealed in the fifth year of the Call or before (i.e., 8-13 years before the Hijrah). This is uncontested. 'A'isha was betrothed to the Prophet two years after the death of Khadijah, or a year before the Hijrah. This is uncontested. 'A'isha did not accompany her father and the Prophet during the Hijrah, but arrived in Madinah later, and became sick so that all of her hair fell out. This is uncontested. 'A'isha moved in with the Prophet a year or two after the Hijrah, or two to four years after her betrothal. This is unclear from the various reports, which give different time periods, but all are agreed as to the general time frame.

'A'isha was widowed in 11AH (the 11th year of the Hijrah). This is uncontested. She was a widow for about forty years and died in 50AH. This is uncontested. Among the people who report these facts is one Hisham bin 'Urwa, the grandson of Asma and 'A'isha's grand-nephew, who lived in Madina for 71 years and then moved to Iraq, who reported that 'A'isha died in 50AH. This is uncontested. 'A'isha's older sister Asma was ten years older than 'A'isha. Asma was 27 at the time of the Hijrah, making 'A'isha 17. This is uncontested. Asma died at the age of 100 in 73AH. 23 years earlier, when 'A'isha died, Asma was 77. This is uncontested. Thus 'A'isha was 67 when she died in 50AH, seventeen at the time of the Hijrah, sixteen at the time of her betrothal to the prophet, and nineteen when she moved in with him.

All of the reports saying that 'A'isha was six at the time of her betrothal to the prophet come from Iraq, as do all of the reports that she was nine when she moved in with the prophet. There are no reports of this from Makkah or Madinah. This is uncontested. Most of these reports from Iraq came through Hisham bin 'Urwa, Asma's grandson, mostly from his father. This is indisputable.

Hisham bin 'Urwa is said to have reported (1) that 'A'isha was nine in the second year of the Hijrah, (2) was widowed in the eleventh year of the Hijrah, and (3) died in the fiftieth year of the Hijrah ~ when his grandmother, ten years older than his great aunt 'A'isha, was 77.

The same person who said 'A'isha was nine in 2AH also said she was 67 in 50AH. So the only reports that 'A'isha was six, or nine, come from someone who also reports that she had to be sixteen when betrothed, and nineteen when she moved in with the prophet. And every other report showing her to be much older than six is uncontested and considered reliable, while Hisham's reports from Iraq are considered unreliable for obvious reasons.

Hajj Abu Jamal

Last modified on Monday, 25 February 2013 12:42

David Rosser Owen Shaykh Daoud lives in London. He is a follower of the Naqshbandi Sufi Order and of the Shafi’i Sunni school. He is fluent in Malay (both Jawi and Rumi), and a couple of other languages. He studied diniyyah, fiqh, tajweed, and tasawwuf with Shaykh Ahmad Labib (Azhari) and Ustad Muhammad Dahlan Arshad (Azhari).
He has various ijazahs – in fiq’h and diniyyah through Shaykh Ahmad Labib, and mashayakhah in tasawwuf through Shaykh Abdullah Daghestani. He is the khalifah for the British followers of Qibrisli Shaykh Mehmed Nazim Adil efendi Haqqani.
He is an alumnus of SOAS (where he read Arabic and Malay), the University of Kent (where the subject of his Research was “The American Colonial Government of the Southern Philippines, 1898-1946″), and the Cordwainers’ Course in Saddle, Bridle and Harness-making. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists and of the Guild of Master Craftsmen, and a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland.
He has done various things such as being a regular officer in the British Army (active service in Brunei at the end of the Azahari Rebellion, and in Sabah, Singapore, and Peninsular Malaysia, during most of the Confrontation War), a professional journalist, a schoolmaster teaching history, an academic historian, and a saddler. He currently makes leathergoods, specifically sporrans and other highland regalia. He has translated some of the short surahs of the Quran into Scottish Gaelic.
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