HELP! I am 9th grade student of Catholic school here in Karachi, Pakistan. Help us please! We have been given assignment: “Why did the Prophet marry a six year old girl (Ayesha)?”
(Why is it, the best schools in Pakistan are all Catholic?)
1. This was not her age at marriage.
2. Her parents offered marriage of their daughter to Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him).
First of all, not all questions are fair. Sometime people put statements in the questions which are not true. Therefore, we have to clarify some facts before we go any further:
“Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) did not marry Ayesha when she was only 6 years old. Her parents offered marriage as was customary in their culture at the time. However, the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) did not accept this and they waited a number of years before offering marriage to him again.”
Next thing is, we have to understand that Islam is all about “Rights and Limits”. The Quran clarifies what everyone’s rights are and what the limits are as well.
It was through this matrimony of marriage to the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) that we found the example of the meaning of the limitations set forth in the fourth chapter of the Quran, entitled “The Women”:
“O you who believe! You are forbidden to inherit women against their will.” [Noble Quran 4:19]
Women around the world had no rights in those days and men knew no limits in their dealings with the women. One of the problems was that a man could marry off his daughter at any age and she could not refuse.
Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) was offered the marriage to Ayesha by her father and mother on more than one occasion. Once when Ayesha was six, her mother summoned her into the house where she heard the proposal of marriage being offered by her father to his life long friend, Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) as was the custom of the Arabs in those days. Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) did not accept this offer at that time, even though it was customary for them, as she was not yet of age.
Note: her father is the one offering the marriage to his lifelong friend (Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him). The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) did not marry her and take her to his home at the time and she says she returned back to play outside.
Again – please note: they did not get married at all on this occasion
A few years later when she was old enough to marry according to Islam (she was able to bear children) she did accept the proposal of marriage and she did marry the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him).
We find that the girl must be old enough to have children and to be able to determine what her will is. The Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) married her at the youngest age a girl can get married. That is, she was old enough to be considered eligible for marriage and having enough wisdom to make such a choice even at her young age.
Also, she was a virgin. This was to show Muslims about how to treat the young girls when they get married and not to rush into having sex with them until they are ready and fully prepared.
All of this is recorded in the Hadiths narrated by Ayesha herself in regard to the treatment that she received from the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him).
As a reward for her commitment to Allah and to Islam, Allah honored her in Surah an-Nur by clearing her of any suspicion of illegal sex with a companion, as some liars had charged against her. There were ten verses revealed in regard to this incident alone about Ayesha.
“Verily! Those who brought forth the slander (against Ayesha) are a group among you. consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment.
Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander) think good of their own people and say: “This is an obvious lie?”
Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they have not produced witnesses; then with Allah they are liars.
Had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy unto you in this world and in the Hereafter, a great torment would have touched you for that whereof you had spoken.
When you were propagating it with your tongues, and uttering with your mouths that whereof you had no knowledge, you counted it a little thing, while with Allah it was very great.
And why did you not, when you heard it, say: “It is not right for us to speak of this. Glory be to You (O Allah) this is a great lie.”?
Allah forbids you from it and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever, if you are believers.” [Noble Quran 24:11-21]
Ayesha was also given the distinct title of “Mother of the Believers” even though she never had a single child. Allah did honor her so much for her patience and dedication.
Finally, Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, tells us in her own words all about the offers of marriage from her father to the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him) and of the actual marriage when it did take place years later. She also describes in glowing terms their engagement, marriage, life together and life after his death – all in the best of terms. She never said a single bad thing against her husband and described him as the best of men and the example of the Quran itself. She learned from him and passed on the most valuable knowledge of family relations in general and marriage in particular through her explanation of her own relationship of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him).
She tells of running races and playing together, enjoying sporting and competition events together, and mentions her personal intimacy with Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) in the most wonderful terms. Her advice and instructions to both men and women regarding establishing and maintaining the best relationship between man and wife is still the best of counsel we find today.
As noted above, even Allah the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, has defended her honor and integrity in His Book. Her own account of marriage to Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and her many detailed descriptions of events and happenings before and during their marriage and her continued commitment to the memory of her husband and faith in their reuniting together in Paradise can only lead us to believe, in fact, this was indeed the best of marriages in human history.
A Comparison Between: The English Love Story “Romeo & Juliet” and Muslims Love Story of: “Muhammad & Ayesha”
Shakespeare could have done the western world a better service, instead of telling a story of two young teens sneaking around having an affair behind their parents backs, and then committing a double suicide – when they didn’t get their way, in “Romeo and Juliet” –
Suppose he had told the true story of “Muhammad and Ayesha” – these were real people who believed in God and lived a blessed life on earth and will live together in Paradise – “Happily ever after.”
Goodness only comes to those who are the true believers and only the bad reaches to those who are the disbelievers.
This life is but a test for all of us. And in the end, Allah will bring us all back in front of Him for the Judgment. Then the disbelievers will see what it was that they were denying and lying about.
We ask Allah to guide all the people and save us all, Ameen.
Sheikh Yusuf Estes
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