Hector wrote:DEBUNKING PARWEZ'S APOLOGETICS THAT AISHA WAS NOT NINE-YEARS-OLD
Some modernist Islamic apologists try to cast doubt on the age of Aisha when she married and had sex with Muhammad despite the many sahih hadiths in which Aisha explicitly and directly states that she was nine years old at the time.
This article seeks to debunk one such Islamic apology from Parwez at http://www.tolueislam.com/Parwez/tkn/TK_III.htm
In the interest of intellectual curiosity I will attempt to add to this debate. However, I will apply the following rules, modeled on Islamic ones so as to be fair to both sides of the argument.
Rule No. 1: More ‘authentic’ narrations have precedence of less ‘authentic’ ones.
Rule No. 2: Internally contradictory arguments are automatically discredited and disqualified.
Rule No. 3: Imprecise dating is given less credence than more exact ones.
I note that Islamist Apologies of Aisha’s Age have common threads:
1. They generally use non-sahih material to debunk sahih hadiths.
2. They utilize indirect evidence in preference to more direct evidence.
3. They generate contradictory ages, betraying their spurious data and inconsistent logic.
I note the starting point in Parwez’s polemic is the age difference between Muhammad’s daughter, Fatima Zahra, and Aisha. Parwez uses suspect data to infer this, and bases his entire argument on this inference. However, the biography of Fatima Zahra is uncertain. Nobody knows for sure when she was born. Although her date of death is known, her age at death is uncertain. Therefore, to use Fatima Zahra’s life history to infer Aisha’s age is a logical fallacy.
Further, his polemics are not consistent with the traditional Muslim understanding of Muhammad’s biography. According to tradition, Muhammad was born around 570 AD, received his Revelation in 610 AD, migrated to Medinah in 622 AD and died in 632 AD. This means that he was aged 40 when he began his apostolic career, aged 52 when he migrated, and died when he was 62 years old.
The Islamist seems unaware that he has debunked himself by producing several different and conflicting estimates of Aisha’s age. These estimates range from 15 to 19. They cannot all be correct. In fact, it would be fair to say they are all wrong as will be proven below.
I am greatly indebted to the following for this analysis:
* Dr Shaykh Gibril Fouad Haddad, teacher of Fiqh at Sunnipath.com and Livingislam.org at http://www.ummah.org.uk/forum/showthrea ... ge=7&pp=20
* The muslimhope website at http://www.muslimhope.com/aishanine.htm
Ayesha's® Age at the time of her marriage
The logic that is usually presented to support the marriage of minors is that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) married Ayesha® when she was six years old, and that by the time she was nine, she was sent off with him. As this is a very important matter, we thought it proper that the research on this issue be included here. For the first time, it explains a very important and rather crucial fact.
There are a few matters that are unanimously agreed to in our society; that is nobody has any difference of opinion about them. One of these is that Ayesha® was six years old at the time of her Nikah, and that by the time she was nine, she was sent to live with her husband. This misconception is accepted as a fact, to the extent that nobody ever feels the need for any research in this respect. Its foundation is based on those accounts that are in the compilations of "Bokhari", "Tabri" and "Tabqat Ibne Saad" and others. However, one finds in these and other similar history books, such assertions that in fact contradict these accounts. On the contrary, they prove that Ayesha® was much older at the time of her marriage.
This is UNTRUE. All the sahih hadiths of Aisha’s age are totally consistent that she was aged six when she was betrothed (zawaj), aged nine when she married (nikah) and consummated her marriage (i.e. had sex) with Muhammad.
Only by the introduction of non-sahih materials is the Aisha Age issue blurred.
Before we analyze this matter in light of historical evidence, it is necessary to understand one or two vital pre-requisites. Firstly, the laws in The Quran concerning marriage and divorce were revealed long after the migration of Nabi Muhammad (PBUH) from Makkah to Madina. Ayesha's® Nikah or sending-off happened either before or during the years of Migration. Therefore it is obvious that it happened before the relevant Quranic laws were revealed. As would be discussed later it was customary among Arabs to negotiate or finalize a proposal before marriage. This was the same as what in our society is called as giving one's word or getting engaged. The Quran mentions Nikah only, it does not mention any promises or engagements. As such, when those historical accounts state that Ayesha's® Nikah was performed at the age of six and she was sent-off at the age of nine, they were according to Arab society, reporting on getting engaged or the proposal being fixed; and 'sending-off' meant marriage. However, the real crucial question as to how old she was at the time of marriage, still remains.
Parwez is confused: Aisha’s zawaj was performed when she was six and her nikah was performed when she was aged nine, according to Imams Bukhari and Muslim.
In Sahih Bukhari, vol. 7, #64, the root word used is "dakhala". From the Hans-Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary p273, it means "to enter, to pierce, to penetrate, to consummate the marriage, cohabit, sleep with a woman".
This is corroborated by the hadith of Sunan Abu Dawud Vol. 2, Number 2116:
Aisha said, "The Apostle of Allah married me when I was seven years old." (The narrator Sulaiman said: "Or six years."). "He had intercourse with me when I was 9 years old."
Secondly, Arabs did not have any calendar at that time, so they could not fix the date, day or month and the year of an occasion like we do today. The Hijra year was in fact first recognized in the time of Omer®. Till then they used to fixe the time of death or the birth of a person with reference to some special occasions or they referred to the birth of other children. Even in our society, elderly ladies fix or estimate or determine ages in this manner. For example, they will say that when Kangra was struck by an earthquake, Zaid was still a nursing baby and Umar was born three years after Zaid. Even our Messenger of God (PBUH) has been mentioned in history as having been born in Am Alfeel, the 'year of Elephants', which is the time when the governor of Yemen attacked Makkah with an army of elephants. It is obvious, when the time references to events are fixed in this manner, then it would not be surprising if ages varied, not by months, but by years. (Further examples would-be given in this section). Furthermore, if on the occasion of birth you do not mention the month, but just count the year, then when fixing somebody's age the difference of more or less of a year would be quite likely. For instance, if it is said that so and so was born in 1920; then if that person was born in January, the year 1920 should be counted while calculating the age; but if that person was born in December, then the age would be counted from 1921. Therefore for the purpose of estimating time in our history, this phenomenon should be kept in mind.
This is untrue. There are many sahih hadiths where Aisha herself tells of her age. To infer an inaccuracy in these testimonies is tantamount to accusing Aisha of being unable to count. Besides, the point remains unchallenged even if we were to accept Aisha’s age to be either eight or ten.
Thirdly as mentioned above, we started our calendar during the time of Omer® and on a regular basis it was promulgated from the time of Migration (Hijra). Although migration happened in the month of Rabiul Awal, the year of Hijra was counted from Muharram and the whole year was completed. Prior to the Migration, years were counted from the time when the Messenger of God (PBUH) started receiving the Revelation. He was forty years old when he was made the Messenger of God, (PBUH) and after that he stayed in Makkah for thirteen years. Then he migrated. That is, at the time of Migration he had completed fifty-three years of his age, and the fifty-fourth year had started. If the year of revelation is included, that is the fortieth year of his age, then the time of Migration would be the fifteenth year of the Revelation. On the other hand, if this first year is not included, then it would be the fourteenth year of Revelation. It is necessary to keep these points in mind because they affect the problem under consideration.
The ambiguity here is in the range of a few months at most, not years. To infer from a fuzziness of a few months to derive an ambiguity of two years is disingenuous, as Aisha would know when she was aged nine or seven or eleven.
(1) "Asad Alghaba" (Vol. IV, p. 377) mentions:
Fatima® was approximately five years older than Ayesha®
Therefore to gauge the year of birth of Ayesha®, we will have to find Fatima's® year of birth.
Even if we were to accept this, we note that Asad Alghaba does not carry the distinction of being sahih. Therefore, if calculations derived from non-sahih material contradict that of multiple and consistent sahih hadiths, it is clear that the non-sahih material is in error and not the sahih hadiths.
This is a logical fallacy in which the Islamist utilizes suspect source material to refute more authoritative (and hence considered genuine) data. Using Fatima’s age difference with Aisha to refute the Aisha’s Age sahih hadiths is a logical fallacy because the biography of Fatima is conflicting. Nobody knows for sure when Fatima was born, and though her death was well-recorded her age at death is not known for certain.
The traditional account is that she was born on Friday, 20th jumada ` th-thaaniyah in the fifth year after the declaration of the prophet - hood (615 AD), which means she was about the same age as Aisha. If so, she was about 1 to 2 years younger than Aisha, not five years older. Sunan Nasa’i vol.1 #29 p.115-116 said she was 10 years older than Aisha (see below). Thus, her date of birth is uncertain.
Shaykh Gibril Haddad also showed that Ibn Hajar reported two different versions of when Fatima was born.
Gibril Haddad wrote:Ibn Hajar mentions two versions: (1) al-Waqidi's narration that Fatima was born when the Prophet was 35; and (2) Ibn `Abd al-Barr's narration that she was born when he was 41, approximately one year more or less before Prophethood, and about five years before `A'isha was born. The latter version matches the established dates.
In conclusion, Fatima’s birth date is uncertain. Despite this, Parwez used a non-traditional estimate to cast doubt on Aisha’s age, when the traditional account exactly matches the established facts.
(2) "Asad Alghaba" quotes again:
Abbas® went to Ali's® place, where he heard Fatima® saying to Ali®, "I am older than you". This prompted Abbas® to say that Fatima® was born when the Quraish were building Kaaba, and Ali® had been born a few years earlier (Vol. IV p. 280).
This is a blatant error. If Fatima is older than Ali, then Ali cannot have been born ‘a few years earlier’ than Fatima. Straight away, this argument collapses due to a stupid Islamist error.
The same book mentions at another place on (p. 377):
Fatima® was born in the year when Kaaba was being built, and Messenger of God's (PBUH) age was then thirty-five years.
"Tabqat Ibne Saad" (a book) tells us (Vol. VIII, p. 11):
Fatima® is the daughter of Allah's Messenger (PBUH). Her mother is Khadija®, daughter of Khuwailad bin Asad bin Abdul Uza bin Qasa. Fatima® was born to Khadija® during those days when the Quraish (the tribe) were building the "House of God". And this happened five years before revelation.
At another place it says:
Once Abbas® visited Ali's® house. There, Fatima® was saying to Ali® that she was older than him in age. Abbas® informed her, "Look Fatima, you were born during that time when Quraish were building Kaaba and the Messenger of God (PBUH) was thirty-five year old. And listen, Ali® you were born a few years before that" (Vol. VIII, p. 17).
The most charitable interpretation is that Fatima herself was unsure of when she was born, because she believed that she was older than Ali, although Abbas claimed that Ali was born a few years before her. In light of this uncertainty, can a sound determination of Aisha’s age be derived? The answer must be no.
One finds this statement about Fatima's® death in "Isteeab" (a book):
How old was Fatima® at the time of her death? There is difference of opinion. Zubair bin Bakar quoted from Abdullah Bin Alhasan that he was with Hasham Bin Abdulmalik, and Kalbi was there, too. Hasham inquired from Abdullah bin Al-Hasan "O Abu Mohammed, how old was Fatima® daughter of Allah's Messenger (PBUH)?" Abdullah Bin Alhasan replied, "Thirty years". After this Hasham asked Kalbi, "How old was Fatima®?" Kalbi answered, "Thirty-five years". This made Hasham point out to Abdullah Ibne Alhasan, "O Abu Mohammed, listen to what Kalbi is saying" Hasham preferred Kalbi's statement more. This made Abdullah Ibne Alhasan remark, "O leader of the Momins, ask me about my mother, and ask Kalbi about his mother". (Vol. VI, p. 752).
Fatima® died in 11 A.H. If she was thirty years old at that time, then she must have been born five years before the Revelation to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). (The difference of months should be taken into account).
There is no doubt that, like other incidents, one finds many accounts about Fatima's® age at the time of her death. For example one quotes her age as twenty-four years; another estimates it at a little over eighteen years. But it appears that the correct estimate is that she was about thirty years old at the time of her death, and that she was born about five years before the Revelation.
This shows that Ayesha® was born when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was forty years old, about five years after the birth of Fatima®, meaning the year when he was made the Nabi (PBUH) (Refer to historical account at the end).
This is uncertainty heaped upon uncertainty. If Fatima’s age is uncertain, it is impossible to use Fatima’s age as the starting point to calculate Aisha’s age. The axiom “garbage in garbage out” is applicable in this case.
Parwez provides no evidence as to why he deems the estimate that Fatima died when she was about thirty years old to be correct – I suggest this is merely supposition and wishful thinking devoid of evidence. He claims that Fatima died in 11 AH, implying she was born in 19 BH, before the beginning of her father’s apostolic career. Parwez also claims Fatima was born five years before the Revelation, imply the date of Revelation to be 14 BH.
These facts do not accord with the traditionalist views. Fatima was born in the fifth year of Muhammad’s apostolic career, not before. She was aged only 18 years when she died, not 30. It is generally accepted that Muhammad died in 632 AD when he was 62 years old. We also know that Fatima died about four months after Muhammad. If we accept the traditional view of her birth date, then she was aged 18. However, if she was aged 30 when she died, she would have been born in 602 AD when Muhammad was only 32 years old.
However, Parwez accepted the assertion in Asad Algabra and Tabqat Ibne Saad that Muhammad was 35 years old when Fatima was born. Clearly the arithmetic is wrong here, proving Parwez’s account to be inconsistent with his asserted claims and thus must be in error.
Also, Parwez’s account of Fatima’s birth would date the Revelation in 14 BH when the traditional account is that it was in 610 AD or 12 BH.
In conclusion, Fatima’s age at death is highly uncertain. The traditionalists say she was 18 years 7 months old when she died. However Imam al-Baqir said she was aged 23. Sunan Nasa’i said she was aged 29. I must say that the traditionalist account is the most consistent of all the estimates of Fatima’s age at death.
http://home.swipnet.se/islam/A_Personal ... a(a.s).htm
The most predominant view in the traditions transmitted by our traditionists is that Fatimah az-Zahra' was born in Mecca, on the twentieth of Jumada 'l-Akhirah, in the fifth year of the Prophet's apostolic career. It is also asserted that when the Prophet died, Fatimah was eighteen years and seven months old.
It is reported on the authority of Jabir ibn Yazid that (the fifth Imam) al-Baqir was asked: "How long did Fatimah live after the Messenger of Allah?" He answered: "Four months; she died at the age of twenty-three." This view is close to that reported by the traditionists of the (Sunni) majority. They have asserted that she was born in the forty-first year of the. Messenger of Allah's life. This means that she was born one year after the Prophet was sent by Allah as a messenger. The scholar Abu Sa'id al-Hafiz relates in his book Sharafu' n-Nabiyy that all the children of the Messenger of Allah were born before Islam except Fatimah and Ibrahim, who were born in Islam.
Reference: Abu Ali al-Fadl ibn al-Hasan ibn al-Fadl at-Tabrisi (c. 468/1076 - 548/1154)
muslimhope wrote:Sunan Nasa’i vol.1 #29 p.115-116 actually says that Fatima was 29 years old when she died (six months after Mohammed), which makes her ten years older than A’isha. So somebody forgot a date somewhere. The authoritative hadiths of Sunan Nasa’i would generally be trusted more than Ibn Hajar, Regardless, though A’isha was younger.
(3) If we accept the account that Ayesha's® age was six years at the time of Nikah or engagement as correct, then it would mean that she was born in the fourth year of their calendar. This would be the fourth year after the Revelation or when Messenger of God (PBUH) was forty-four years old. Since the occasion of Nikah (or engagement) is also quoted as having happened in the tenth year of Revelation, this meaning that Messenger of God (PBUH) was fifty at that time. This statement has many reasons to be wrong. For example, Ibne Saad has quoted in "Tabqat" to have said that when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) sent his proposal for Ayesha® to Abu Bakr®, he replied, "O Messenger of Allah (PBUH), I have already promised her to Mutam Bin Adi Bin Nofil Bin Abd Munaf for his son Jabeer. Therefore, give me enough time to get her back from them" So Abu Bakr® acted accordingly.
Parwez continues to confuse zawaj and nikah. Further, Ibne Saad’s story does not prove when Aisha was born.
If Ayesha® was six year old at that time, then it would mean that she had been engaged to Jabeer at the age of four or five years. One never finds such examples among Arabs, that they would get their four or five year old girls engaged for marriage.
This is mere opinion and the logical fallacy of argumentum ad ignorantiam. Besides, the fact that Muhammad did not always conform to the standards of the Arabs of his time, but instead lived by a different rule, suggests that it is impossible to infer anything pertaining to Muhammad’s behavior from the culture of his time.
Nevertheless, it appears Parwez is plain wrong.
Gibril Haddad wrote:- Abu Tughlub ibn Hamdan married the daughter of `Izz al-Dawla Bakhtyar when she was three and paid a dowry of 100,000 dinars. This took place in Safar 360 H. (Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil).
- Al-Shafi`i in al-Umm reported that he saw countless examples of nine-year old pubescent girls in Yemen. Al-Bayhaqi also narrates it from him in the Sunan al-Kubra as does al-Dhahabi in the Siyar.
- Al-Bayhaqi narrated with his chains in his Sunan al-Kubra no less than three examples of Muslim wives that gave birth at age nine or ten.
- Hisham ibn `Urwa himself married Fatima bint al-Mundhir when she was nine years old (al-Muntazam and Tarikh Baghdad).
- `Umar married Umm Kulthum the daughter of `Ali and Fatima at a similar age per `Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn `Abd al-Barr and others.
Besides, "Bokhari" quotes in (Vol. 2, p. 204):
Ayesha® said, "When verse (54:46) of Surah Al-Qamar (The Moon) was revealed, I was a toddler playing about".
Surah Al-Qamar (The Moon) of the Quran was revealed in 5th year of Revelation Ayesha® must at least have been of such an age at that time, that she knew that these were Quranic verses, and also that she remembered this incident afterwards. If we can imagine the fourth year of Revelation as her year of birth, then in the fifth year she would be a year old. A baby of one year cannot walk or play about much, and neither is it possible for such a small child to remember Quranic verses. Contrary to this, if her year of birth is considered to be the first year of Revelation, then she would be about five or six year old at the time of Surah Al-Qamar's revelation. At that time she would have been about five or six years old; and capable of remembering something about Quranic verses. (In this respect, it is worth noting that account which has been written at the end).
Since the unsubstantiated opinions of Islamic scholars, however eminent, are not sahih, it is disingenuous to use the revelation of Surah Al-Qamar to infer Aisha’s age. This is merely uncertainty heaped upon more uncertainty.
Further, the precise date of the revelation of Surah al-Qamar is unknown. There is no verifiable evidence to back Parwez’s claim that Surah al-Qamar was revealed in the fifth year of the Revelation. This is merely unsubstantiated opinion devoid of evidence. According to Ibn Hajar, Maududi, and other traditionalists Surah al-Qamar was revealed 5 years before Hijrah, i.e. in the seventh year of the Revelation. Zahid Aziz said it was revealed before 6 BH. Maulana Muhammad Ali claimed it was revealed no later than the fifth year of the Revelation (i.e. 7 BH). Khatib said it was revealed in 8 BH. Moiz Amjad does not name his source for his claim that the verse was revealed in 9 BH. The point is that the precise date of revelation of Surah al-Qamar is unknown, and using an imprecise date to calculate Aisha’s age is not only ridiculous but stupid. However, if an estimate must be used, then why not use Ibn Hajar’s estimate which is more authoritative and traditionally accepted than Parwez’s unnamed source?
Shaykh Haddad confirms this. He also proves that the traditional estimate of the revelation of Surah al-Qamar is consistent with Aisha’s age being nine years.
Gibril Haddad wrote:The hadith Masters, Sira historians, and Qur'anic commentators agree that the splitting of the moon took place about five years before the Holy Prophet's (upon him blessings and peace) Hijra to Madina.
Thus it is confirmed that our Mother `Aisha was born between seven and eight years before the Hijra and the words that she was a jariya or little girl five years before the Hijra match the fact that her age at the time Surat al-Qamar was revealed was around 2 or 3.
A two year old is not an infant. A two year old is able to run around, which is what jariya means. As for "the comments of the experts" they concur on 6 or 7 as the age of marriage and 9 as the age of cohabitation.
Note how Parwez attempts to claim that Aisha remembered this event when she was a toddler –a misreading of the hadith. There is a more valid explanation that he conveniently omits and that is, Aisha calculated the timing of the Surah al-Qamar’s revelation by working backwards in time, and deduced that when the surah was revealed she was a toddler. She didn’t have to know or remember Quranic verses when she was a toddler as Parwez claims. Being Muhammad’s companion, she most likely knew the timing of the verse revelations, and could easily calculate how old she was when Surah al-Qamar was revealed. To claim that she ‘remembered’ or ‘knew’ the Quranic verses when she was a ‘toddler’ is a proposition that cannot be supported by the most direct and literal reading of the hadith.
All the accounts written above attempt to explain that Ayesha® was born when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was in his fortieth year of age.
(4). The incident that is considered as Nikah or engagement, happened in Shawal (a lunar month) in the tenth year of Revelation, ("Tabqat Ibne Saad" Vol. 8, p. 40) when the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was fifty years old. As such, if the first year is not counted, this, makes Ayesha's® age approximately ten years at that time. If you count the first year then her age would be eleven. The issue of real importance is of actual marriage and not the engagement, so we should go further.
This argument introduces an error where none exists. Aisha herself testified that she was nine years old, therefore unless she could not count, she cannot possibly have been ten or eleven.
This line of argument is a logical fallacy of omission (by ignoring the sahih Aisha age hadiths). If one considers all the evidence, it is clear there is NO inconsistency. Aisha was aged nine when she married and had sex with Muhammad.
Again, Parwez mistakes nikah for zawaj, thereby adding three years to Aisha’s age.
(5). As regards marriage, consensus of opinion agrees upon its taking place after the Hijra (The Migration). Therefore we should first examine the timing of Migration.
How many years did the Nabi (PBUH) stay in Makkah after the Revelation? There are varied accounts about this. One of these states that when the Revelation descended upon him, he was forty-three years old, and he stayed in Makkah for ten years after that.
Another account runs like this:
A person came to Ibne Abbas® and said that the Revelation descended upon the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) for ten years in Makkah, and for ten years in Madina. Ibne Abbas® said, "Who says this? The Revelation descended upon him in Makkah for fifteen years or more".
In an another account, however, Ibne Abbas® has also been quoted as saying that he stayed in Makkah for thirteen years. Thus it is generally accepted that the Nabi (PBUH) stayed for thirteen years, and after that he migrated. (Refer to "Tabqat Ibne-Saad" Vols. 1, pp. 333-334; "Tarikh Tabri" Vol. I, p. 54 and 135-36). Per chance, I have in front of me the Urdu translation of these Vols. that were published in Hyderabad Deccan, India. Both these references are from there. The reason for the contradiction that shows up between thirteen and fifteen years, may be because the Messenger of God (PBUH) was fifty-three years old and fifty-fourth had started when he migrated; and he was in his fortieth year when the Revelation commenced. Now if the fortieth year of this age is not counted then the stay of Makkah would be of thirteen years, and the Migration would have commenced by the beginning of the fourteenth year. If the fortieth year is counted then the stay in Makkah would be of fourteen years, and Migration would then happen in the fifteenth year. Most probably Ibne Abbas® was quoting the same in that account. Taking this into consideration, Ayesha® was either thirteen years old at the beginning of Migration; or she might have completed her thirteen years and would be in her fourteenth year; or she might have completed her fourteenth year, and would be in her fifteenth. (Again refer to the account quoted at the end).
Therefore, due to the inherent inaccuracy and uncertainty, it is impossible to use Muhammad’s stay in Mecca as the starting point to calculate Aisha’ age. The axiom “garbage in garbage out” would immediately rule this out. Hence, all derivations based on this line of argument are suspect and should be ignored due to their spurious data material.
The calculation of Aisha’s age to be 13-15 at the time of the Migration presupposes she was born when Muhammad was 40 years old. This has already been debunked as the premises are suspect, for example, the supposed age of Muhammad when Fatima was born and that she was five years older than Aisha.
According to traditional, and more authoritative, accounts, Fatima was not born five years before Aisha but two years after. Fatima was also not born when her father was aged 40. The Muhammad = 35 years when Fatima was born is further debunked when one does the arithmetic on Parwez’s own account. He should have been only 32 years old, not 35.
(6). Now we have to see how long after the Migration, she got married? According to the general records, at the time of matrimony or engagement Ayesha's® age was six years and at the time of the send-off she was nine years old. Her wedding took place in the month of Shawwal (10th Lunar Month) at Madina. As she got engaged three years before Migration, according to this account she should have married in the first year of Migration, during the month of Shawwal. But this is not true for the following reasons:
a. In "Tabqat Ibne Saad", Ayesha® has told in detail that when the Nabi (PBUH) and Abu Bakr® migrated to Madina, the Nabi (PBUH) left his daughter and Abu Bakr® left his family behind in Makkah. After their resettlement they called them to Madina ("Tabqat", Vol. VIII, p.43).
b. In Bokhari's compilation, Ayesha® is quoted to have said, "When we came to Madina, I had fever and I lost all my hair on my head. Then when my hair started-growing again and become shoulder length we got married.
("Bokhari", Vol. II, p.204).
These assertions show:
(i) Ayesha® remained in Makkah for a while after the Migration. It should be remembered that the Migration occurred during the month of Rabiul Awal (3rd Lunar Month).
(ii) After coming to Madina she lost all her hair from her head, due to her illness.
(iii) After all her hair grew again and became shoulder length, did she get married.
If it is accepted that she was sent off in the first year of Migration in Shawwal, (10th Lunar Month) then it means that the above mentioned incidents happened within eight months. (From Rabiul Awal to Shawwal). If it is accepted that after the Migration, it must have taken her three or four months to come to Madina from Makkah, and she remained sick for a month, then this would leave only three or four months till marriage. It is clear that in this time, new hair cannot grow shoulder length under any circumstances. This is so obvious that even Ainee, "Bokhari's" narrator had stated that her wedding took place seven months after Migration. She was sent off, after the Battle of Badar in Shawwal, 2 A.H. (Ainee's Vol. VIII, p .96).
c. "Istiab", too, has supported this as follows:
The Messenger of God had engaged Ayesha® three years before Migration in Shawal, tenth year of Revelation, and he brought her home eighteen months after Migration in the month of Shawal. (Vol. II, p.744)
d. In "Asad Alghaba" it is stated:
Fatima®, daughter of the Nabi (PBUH) was married four months after Ayesha's® marriage". (Vol. IV, p. 377)
Fatima® got married in Muharram (1st month of Lunar year). Hence the question is in Muharram of which year of Migration? "Bokhari" (Vol. III, p. 8) gives a long narration of it as follows:
Ali® 'cousin of the Nabi (PBUH)' said that he had one (female) camel that he received as his share from the booty of the Battle of Badr, and one more (female) camel that the Messenger of God (PBUH) gave him out of his share. (This constitutes a gift from the bounty of the commander, which is one-fifth of the spoils of war as per Quranic injunctions). I thought I could bring Fatima®, daughter of the Nabi (PBUH) home in marriage. I talked to a goldsmith from the Banu Qainuqah tribe that he should come along with me to get some Azkhar grass. I intended to sell it to the goldsmith, and whatever money I would collect, I would use for the wedding party.
After that it has been described how Hamza®, the Nabi's (PBUH) uncle, ripped open these camel's stomachs, but as this is irrelevant to our purpose, it has not been copied here.
This makes it quite clear that till the Battle of Badr, Ali® had not been married. The Battle of Badr was fought in Ramadhan (9th Lunar month) 2 A.H. Therefore, the earliest his marriage could have taken place, would be in Muharram 3, A.H. ("Asad Alghaba" had erroneously written it as 2 A.H.).
Since Ayesha® got married four months earlier, her marriage could have happened in Shawwal in the second A.H. and not in the first A.H.
The logic and the data source are suspect for this line of reasoning.
a. Tabqat Ibne Saad is not sahih.
b. The claim that Aisha’s married Muhammad when her hair was shoulder-length is suspect. Bukhari claimed her hair grew again in 5:234 without mentioning the length. Abu-Dawud said in 41:4917 that Aisha’s hair had come up to her ears.
The rest of the case is entirely composed of supposition: namely “if” this and “if” that.
There is no evidence Aisha took three to four months to travel from Mecca to Medinah – this is mere supposition devoid of proof.
In any case, Imam Muslim claimed that Aisha’s hair came down to her ear lobes (8:3309). This can mean either Aisha lost the hair from the top of her head only, or that she had lost the hair from the base of her head and her hair length was down to her ear lobes. Therefore, it may not take as long as the Apologist claims for Aisha to have grown her hair to shoulder-length again.
c. Istiab is not sahih.
d. Asad Alghaba is not sahih. In any case, the apologist admitted that Asad Alghaba is prone to error as he claimed Ali’s marriage as 2AH instead of 3AH.
Therefore, the Islamist case is based entirely in supposition and non-sahih material.
(7). The above details explain that Ayesha® was fifteen years old at the time of her marriage if her year of birth is not added; but if it is added then, she would be sixteen years old. This is two years older than she was at the time of Migration.
The entire case is suspect as it depends on Aisha’s age at the time of the Migration, put here as between thirteen and fifteen. This is based on the conflicting accounts of Muhammad’s stay in Mecca, Fatima’s birth date and age difference with Aisha (see points 1 & 2), and the spurious date of revelation of Surah Al-Qamar (see point 5).
According to the account from Abbas® which has been quoted earlier, the Messenger of God (PBUH) remained in Makkah for fifteen years after the Revelation. There we tried to explain the discrepancy in the duration of the stay whether it was thirteen or fifteen years. But if the account that the Nabi (PBUH) stayed in Makkah for full fifteen years and migrated in the sixteenth year is taken as literally correct, then this makes Ayesha's® age as seventeen years at the time of marriage. Ibne Abbas® account is supported by "Tabri's" following statement.
"Ibne Abbas® and Ibne Khantalah related that Messenger of God (PBUH) died at the age of sixty-five. ("Tabri" translated in Urdu, Hyderabad, India Vol. I, part III, p. 599). In brief, he became a Nabi at the age of forty, remained in Makkah after that for fifteen years, and thereafter was in Madina for ten years; sixty-five years as a whole".
Again, this presupposes that Aisha was born when Muhammad was 40 years old. This has already been debunked.
Secondly, it appears that Parwez is not the least perturbed by the inconsistency that arises. Here he claims Aisha was aged 17 at the time of the marriage. However, in the last section he claimed she was 15 or 16.
Besides this evidence, there is another stronger testimony that tells us that Ayesha® was seventeen years old at the time of Migration. As such she was nineteen years old at the time of her sending-off from her house. Asmaa®, daughter of Abu Bakr®, was Ayesha's® elder sister. Sheikh Wali-ud-Din Abi Abdullah Mohammed Bin Abdullah Khatib writes about her in his book (Akmal Fi Asma Ur-Rijal):
Here is Asmaa®, daughter of Abu Bakr Siddique®. She is famous as Zat Al-Nataqain, because the night the Nabi (PBUH) migrated, she tore her scarf into two pieces. She used one piece to tie her tiffin carrier, and the other was used either to fasten the leathered water carrier or as her head-scarf. She is the mother of Abdullah Bin Zubair®, embraced Islam in Makkah. It is stated that at that time only seventeen people had embraced Islam. She was ten years older than Ayesha®. After her son Abdullah Bin Zubair's® dead body, which had been hung on a wooden peg following his murder, was taken down and buried, she died about ten or twenty days later, at the ripe old age of hundred years. It was year seventy-three of Migration (A.H.). Many people have quoted her for the Nabi's (PBUH) customs and historical accounts. (Akmal has been published with Mishkat's Urdu translation. See p.472)
Asmaa® was one hundred years old at the time of her death in the year seventy-three of Migration (A.H.). This tells us that her age at the time of Migration, was twenty seven years. Since Ayesha® was ten years younger than Asmaa®, Ayesha® was approximately nineteen years old at the time of her marriage.
This also conforms what Kalbi said to Hisham Bin Abdul Malik (Ummayad Caliph), that Fatima's® age was thirty-five years. Thus it can be estimated that if Ayesha® was seventeen years old at the time of Migration, then Fatima® would be approximately twenty two years old and nearing thirty-three at the time of her death. If the year of birth and the year of death, too, are added then she would be thirty-five years old.
Akmal Fi Asma Ur-Rijal is not sahih. This account is promulgated by Muslim historians, none of whom are sahih.
In any case, the above details explain the fact that Ayesha's® age at the time of her marriage was seventeen years according to some accounts, or nineteen years according to others. It was definitely not less than fifteen or sixteen years. Therefore, all these historical accounts show that she was nine years old at the time of her marriage; that she used to play on the swings with other children; that even after her marriage to the Nabi (PBUH) she used to play with her dolls, are not rational and are hence unacceptable. The Nabi (PBUH) got his own daughters married, and none of them was sent-off as a minor. Fatima® was married off last, and she was at least twenty one or twenty two at that time. This was the marriage age, although Ali®, to whom she was to be married, was present in the house all along.
Parwez does not appear to realize he has debunked himself. Here he claims Aisha was aged 19 when she married Muhammad. However, in the last two sections he claimed she was aged 15-16 or 17. Now we have three differing estimates, each of which contradicting each other and destroying the credibility of Parwez’s methods.
Secondly, all these accounts of Aisha’s ages between thirteen and nineteen are not rational as their source data are non-sahih or contradictory. In contrast, the sahih hadiths are clear and consistent in claiming Aisha’s age to be nine years old when she married and had sex with Muhammad.
Thirdly, he dismissed the fact that Aisha was still playing with dolls without providing any supporting evidence. The fact is, he had already made up his mind that she was aged between 15 and 19, and the doll-playing is merely an embarrassing fact that completely debunks his case.
Shaykh Haddad also challenges the accuracy of Parwez’s information, thus casting doubt on his source material.
Gibril Haddad wrote:Well, Ibn Kathir based himself on Ibn Abi al-Zinad's assertion that she was ten years older than `A'isha, however, al-Dhahabi in Siyar A`lam al-Nubala' said there was a greater difference than 10 years between the two, up to 19, and he is more reliable here.
Ibn Hajar reports in al-Isaba from Hisham ibn `Urwa, from his father, that Asma' did live 100 years, and from Abu Nu`aym al-Asbahani that "Asma' bint Abi Bakr was born 27 years before the Hijra, and she lived until the beginning of the year 74." None of this amounts to any proof for `A'isha's age whatsoever.
Using inaccurate data, Parwez assumes Asma was older than Aisha by 10 years when a more reliable source says the age difference is up to 19 years. Taking this more reliable information calculates Aisha’s age at around nine years old, completely in accordance with the sahih hadiths where Aisha herself said she was nine years old.
Finally, it seems prudent that I should repeat once again that important fact about history that I have mentioned many times before. It is a fact we find many conflicting narrations about the same event. For example Tabri himself has all these statements about the age of the Nabi (PBUH) saying that he was sixty years old, sixty-three years old or also that he was sixty-five years old. ("Tabri" Vol. I, part II). Take, for instance, the accounts about Fatima's® death. It has been narrated that she remained alive only three days after the Nabi's (PBUH) death; or one month; or two months; or three months and five days; or four months and some think she lived for six months after his death (The Nabi's (PBUH) biography by Shibli-Vol.1, p. 427). This difference is, nevertheless, of a few days or months, but in the case of Sodah's® (The Nabi's (PBUH) wife) death, Waqdi writes that it happened in 54 A.H.; but Bokhari writes in history that the death occurred during Omer's® period of caliphate, that is before 23 A.H. (The Nabi's (PBUH) biography by Shibli-Vol.1, p. 404). Just see how glaring the difference is.
Therefore, it is imprudent to blindly use Tabari as a source of factual material in calculating Aisha’s age when there are perfect good sahih hadiths that are all consistent in that she was aged nine when she consummated her marriage to Muhammad. He reports many narratives, some of which are conflicting. However, despite this, Tabari is consistent in his view that Aisha was aged nine when she consummated her marriage to Muhammad.
‘Aisha was 6 (or 7) years old when she was married, and the marriage was consummated when she was nine years old. al-Tabari vol.9 p.129-131. Muhammad b. ‘Amr is one of the transmitters.
‘Aisha was 6-7 when married, and came the marriage was consummated when she was 9-10, three months after coming to (sic – from) Mecca. al-Tabari vol.7 p.7. The chain of transmission includes an unnamed man from the Quraysh.
Besides, Sawdah’s life story is a red herring to the question of Aisha’s age.
If these contradictions do not touch a Quranic principle or reflect adversely upon the Nabi's (PBUH) character, then either of the accounts could be acceptable without objection. For example, Sodah's® death whether it happened in 23 A.H. or 54 A.H. does not affect The Quran or the character of the Nabi (PBUH). But for those accounts and matters that do reflect upon the Nabi (PBUH) or The Quran, utmost care should be taken about them. The principle in this respect should be that anything that goes against The Quran or the character of the Nabi (PBUH) can never be true, no matter how authentic it is regarded by the standards of history. The narrations and statements on historical events cannot reach an absolute level of surety. The Quran in comparison, is a certain evidence, and it is definitely known fact that the Messenger of God (PBUH) never said or did anything that would go against The Quran, or against human honour! Therefore, we should always rate opinions below sterling facts. If we are careful enough about our history then this would save us from many entangling problems in respect of Islam. Importantly, this would also extricate us from unjustified criticism which daily the non-Muslims direct at us, on the basis of these historical narrations. A vital need of the day is that the history of Islam's early phase be reviewed according to the above standards, so that all the false and fabricated narrations that mar the character of Messenger of God (PBUH) and his companions be deleted from the history of Islam. Unfortunately until someone can do that, we should always assert that such accounts are of doubtful authenticity and that more research is needed to ascertain their status.
This last passage is a massive red herring. Aisha’s age was never recorded in the Quran. She is not even mentioned in it.
Further, it is a circular argument: Reject all accounts that adversely reflect on Muhammad, but accept all accounts that reflect well on him, because anything that goes against the Quran and or the character of the Nabi can never be true.
This entire Islamist case is built on supposition and non sahih material in its attempt to estimate Aisha’s age when she married and had sex with Muhammad. In particular, it assumes Aisha was born when Muhammad was forty years old. However, it can be seen that this premise was derived from various uncertainties:
a. Parwez mistakes zawaj and nikah. He claims Muhammad waited three years after nikah before he consummated the marriage. This is not true as the sahih hadiths said Muhammad consummated the marriage when Aisha was aged nine.
b. the age difference between Aisha and Fatima – the Islamist assumes Fatima was older than Aisha by five years based on a non-sahih source. The generally accepted account is that Fatima was younger than Aisha by two years.
c. the date at which Fatima was born. Fatima herself was unsure of when she was born.
d. there were also conflicting accounts of Fatima’s age when she died, and
e. the date of revelation of Surah al-Qamar – Parwez’s version is based on an anonymous and unsubstantiated opinion of Islamic scholars and hence, is not sahih. The traditional account is totally consistent with Aisha’s age being nine years when she consummated her marriage with Muhammad.
f. the Islamist also provides different estimates of Aisha’s age, varying from 15 to 19. Now, any rationale objective person would see that these different estimates, taken from different lines of arguments and data sources, debunk each other. They cannot all be correct. Some, if not all, are patently wrong. Which is correct and which are wrong? Sadly, the Islamist is not bothered with this contradiction and the fact that his arguments are self-debunking.
Therefore, it appears the Islamist has not proven his case that the traditional account, of Aisha’s age of nine when she married and had sex with Muhammad, is in error.