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A further exchange on Ayesha’s(ra) age…

By: admin

َQuestion

Dear brother

assalamu alaikum

After I forwarded your answer to these Christians that is what they sent me.:

Hi Fab,

thanks for the email.  But I find it woefully lacking in actual quotes.  The response is filled with “so and so said such and such”.  That doesn’t cut it.

In my paper, that deals with Ayesha and her age, I not only say who says what, but I provide the entire quote.  You need to do the same.

And, the man which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari.  Well, Tabari also says Ayesha was 9… did your “learned” one miss that?  If you need the reference, check my paper.

Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Ayesha‘s age in that.  Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you’re going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions.

Finally, there is Abu Dawood‘s quote as well…. all exclusively saying Ayesha was 9.

Don’t forget, Islamic custom says men can marry girls after their first menstruation.  Girls today have them as young as age 9.

If you could find that actual quotes from the author’s your scholar is quoting from, that would be beneficial. Otherwise, his argument is only hot air; it lacks real substance.

Can you comment please? Thank you,  jazaka Allah khairan. I liked the new articles and I forwarded them to the brothers and sisters. May Allah use them for His cause.

Answer

My answer was for your satisfaction, not for a debate, and I therefore avoided all the actual quotes. However, I am extremely sorry for any disappointment that it may have caused.

In any case, I provide below my references as well as my answers to the “comments” of your Christian friend:

The First Argument

My first argument was:

Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah reporting on the authority of his father. An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three.

I am sure your Christian friend can see that this argument does not need any reference. It is a simple fact.

The Second Argument

My second argument was:

It is quite strange that no one from Medinah, where Hisham ibn `urwah lived the first seventy one years of his life has narrated the event [from him], even though in Medinah his pupils included people as well known as Malik ibn Anas. All the narratives of this event have been reported by narrators from Iraq, where Hisham is reported to have had shifted after living in Medinah for seventy one years.

Again, the argument that all those who heard this narrative from Hisham ibn `urwah were Iraqis, is a simple statement of fact. This can be checked in the biographical sketches of these narrators in any of the books written on the narrators.

The Third Argument

My third argument was:

Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb, one of the most well known books on the life and reliability of the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) reports that according to Yaqub ibn Shaibah: “narratives reported by Hisham are reliable except those that are reported through the people of Iraq”. It further states that Malik ibn Anas objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq (Vol. 11, pg. 48 – 51).

The actual statements, their translations and their complete references are given below:

قال يعقوب بن شيبة: سبت لم ينكر عليه شيء إلا بعد ما صار إلى العراق.

Yaqub ibn Shaibah says: He [i.e. Hisham] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after shifting to Iraq. (Tehzeeb al-TehzeebIbn Hajar Al-`asqalaaniy, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol. 11, pg. 50)

بلغني أن مالكا نقم عليه حديثه لأهل العراق

I have been told that Malik [ibn Anas] objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (Tehzi’bu’l-tehzi’bIbn Hajar Al-`asqala’ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol. 11, pg. 50)

The Fourth Argument

My fourth argument was:

Meezaan al-Ai`tidaal, another book on the [life sketches of the] narrators of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) reports that when he was old, Hisham’s memory suffered quite badly (Vol. 4, pg. 301 – 302)

The actual statement, its translation and its complete references is given below:

في الكبر تناقص حفظه

When he was old, Hisham‘s memory suffered quite badly (Meezaan al-Ai`tidaalAl-Zahabi, Arabic, Al-Maktabah al-Athriyyah, Sheikhupura, Pakistan, Vol. 4, pg. 301).

The Fifth Argument

My fifth argument was:

According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijrah. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (Kitaab al-TafseerAyesha (ra) is reported to have said that at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Qur’an , was revealed, “I was a young girl”. The 54th Surah of the Qur’an was revealed nine years before Hijrah. According to this tradition, Ayesha (ra) had not only been born before the revelation of the referred surah, but was actually a young girl (jariyah), not an infant (sibyah) at that time. Obviously, if this narrative is held to be true, it is in clear contradiction with the narratives reported by Hisham ibn `urwah. I see absolutely no reason that after the comments of the experts on the narratives of Hisham ibn `urwah, why we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

The actual statements referred to in the above paragraph, their translations and their complete references are given below:

حدثنا إبراهيم بن موسى، حدثنا هشام بن يوسف، أن ابن جريج، أخبرهم قال أخبرني يوسف بن ماهك، قال إني عند عائشة أم المؤمنين قالت لقد أنزل على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم بمكة، وإني لجارية ألعب (بل الساعة موعدهم والساعة أدهى وأمر)

Ayesha (ra) said: I was a young girl, when verse 46 of Surah Al-Qamar, [the 54th chapter of the Qur’an ], was revealed. (Sahih BukhariKitaab al-Tafseer, Arabic, Bab Qaulihi Bal al-saa`atu Maw`iduhum wa al-sa`atu adhaa wa amarr)

The Sixth Argument

My sixth argument was:

According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha‘s (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

A narrative regarding Ayesha‘s (ra) participation in Badr is given in MuslimKitaab al-jihaad wa al-siyar, Arabic, Bab karahiyah al-isti`anah fi al-ghazwi bikafirAyesha (ra) while narrating the journey to Badr and one of the important events that took place in that journey, says:

إذا كنا بالشجرة

When we reached Shajarah.

It is quite obvious from these words that Ayesha (ra) was with the group traveling toward Badr.

A narrative regarding Ayesha‘s (ra) participation in the battle of `uhud is given in BukhariKitaab al-jihaad wa al-siyar, Arabic, Baab Ghazwi al-nisaa wa   qitalihinna ma`a al-rijaal.

عن أنس رضي الله عنه قال لما كان يوم أحد انهزم الناس عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال ولقد رأيت عائشة بنت أبي بكر وأم سليم وإنهما لمشمرتان

Anas reports that On the day of Uhud, people could not stand their ground around the Prophet (pbuh). [On that day,] I saw Ayesha (ra) and Umm-e-Sulaim (ra), they had pulled their dress up from their feet [to save them from any hindrance in their movement].”

As far as the fact that children below 15 years were sent back and were not allowed to participate in the battle of `uhud, it is narrated in BukhariKitaab al-maghaaziBaab ghazwah al-khandaq wa hiya al-ahzaab, Arabic.

عن ابن عمر رضي الله عنهما أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم عرضه يوم أحد وهو ابن أربع عشرة سنة فلم يجزه وعرضه يوم الخندق وهو ابن خمس عشرة سنة فأجازه

Ibn `umar (ra) states that the Prophet (pbuh) did not permit me to participate in Uhud, as at that time, I was fourteen years old. But on the day of Khandaq, when I was fifteen years old, the Prophet (pbuh) permitted my participation.”

The Seventh Argument

My seventh argument was:

According to almost all the historians Asma (ra), the elder sister of Ayesha (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha (ra). It is reported in Taqreeb al-Tehzeeb as well as Al-Bidaayah wa al-Nihayah that Asma (ra) died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma (ra) was 100 years old in 73 hijrah she should have been 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah. If Asma (ra) was 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrahAyesha (ra) should have been 17 or 18 years old at that time. Thus, Ayesha (ra), if she got married in 1 AH (after hijrah) or 2 AH, was between 18 to 20 years old at the time of her marriage.

The relevant references required in this argument are provided below:

For the Difference of Ayesha’s (ra) and Asma’s (ra) Age:

According to Abd al-Rahman ibn abi zannaad:

كانب أسماء أكبر من عاشة بعشر

Asma (ra) was ten years older than Ayesha. (Siyar A`la’ma’l-nubala’Al-Zahabi, Vol. 2, pg. 289, Arabic, Mu’assasatu’l-risala’h, Beirut, 1992)

According to Ibn Kathir:

و هي أكبر من أختها بعشر سنين

She [i.e. Asma] was ten years elder to her sister [i.e. Ayesha]. (Al-Bidaayah wa al-NihaayahIbn Kathir, Vol. 8, pg. 371, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabiyAl-jizah, 1933)

For Asma’s (ra) Age at Her Death in 73 AH

According to Ibn Kathir:

وأدركت قتل ولدها في هذه السنة كما ذكرنا ، ثم ماتت بعده بخمسة أيام . وقيل : بعشرة . وقيل : بعشرين . وقيل : بضع وعشرين يوما . وقيل : عاشت بعده مائة يوم . وهو الأشهر ، وبلغت من العمر مائة سنة

She [i.e. Asma] witnessed the killing of her son during that year [i.e. 73 AH], as we have already mentioned, five days later she herself died, according to other narratives her death was not five but ten or twenty or a few days over twenty or a hundred days later. The most well known narrative is that of hundred days later. At the time of her death, she was 100 years old. (Al-Bidaayah wa al-NihaayahIbn Kathir, Vol. 8, pg. 372, Arabic, Dar al-fikr al-`arabiyAl-jizah, 1933).

According to Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalaaniy:

عاشت مائة سنة وماتت سنة ثلاث أو أربع وسبعين

She [i.e. Asma (ra)] lived a hundred years and died in 73 or 74 AH.” (Taqreeb al-TehzeebIbn Hajar Al-Asqalaaniy, Pg. 654, Arabic, Bab fi al-nisaa, al-Harf al-alif, Lucknow)

The Eighth Argument

My eighth argument was:

Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr (ra) reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah – the pre-Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha (ra) was born in the period of jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH – the time she most likely got married.

The original statement in Tabari, its translation and reference follows:

فكل هؤلاء الأربعة من أولاده ولدوا من زوجتيه اللتين سميناهما في الجاهلية

All four of his [i.e. Abu Bakr’s] children were born of his two wives – the names of whom we have already mentioned – during the pre-Islamic period. (Tarikh al-umam wa al-mamloo’kAl-Tabari, Vol. 4, Pg. 50, Arabic, Dar al-fikr, Beirut, 1979)

The Ninth Argument

My ninth argument was:

According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam quite some time before `umar ibn al-Khattab (ra). This shows that Ayesha (ra) accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha‘s (ra) marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha (ra) should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

According to Ibn HishamAyesha (ra) was the 20th or the 21st person to enter into the folds of Islam (Al-Sirah al-NabawiyyahIbn Hisham, Vol. 1, Pg. 227 – 234, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithahAl-Riyadh) While `umar ibn al-khattab was preceded by forty individuals (Al-Sirah al-NabawiyyahIbn Hisham, Vol. 1, Pg. 295, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-hadithahAl-Riyadh).

The Tenth Argument

My tenth argument was:

Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am – with whose son Ayesha (ra) was engaged – and asked him to take Ayesha (ra) in his house as his son’s wife. Mut`amrefused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and subsequently his son divorced Ayesha (ra). Now, if Ayesha (ra) was only seven years old at the time of her marriage, she could not have been born at the time Abu Bakr decided on migrating to Habshah. On the basis of this report it seems only reasonable to assume that Ayesha (ra) had not only been born 8 years before hijrah, but was also a young lady, quite prepared for marriage.

Unfortunately, I do not have the primary reference to this argument at the moment. The secondary reference for this argument is: Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka’inatHabib ur Rahman Kandhalwi, Urdu, Pg. 38, Anjuman Uswa e hasanah, Karachi, Pakistan

The Eleventh Argument

My eleventh argument was:

According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah(ra), when Khaulah (ra) came to the Prophet (pbuh) advising him to marry again, the Prophet (pbuh) asked her regarding the choices she had in her mind. Khaulah said: “You can marry a virgin (bikr) or a woman who has already been married (thayyib)”. When the Prophet (pbuh) asked about who the virgin was, Khaulah proposed Ayesha‘s (ra) name. All those who know the Arabic language, are aware that the word “bikr” in the Arabic language is not used for an immature nine year old girl. The correct word for a young playful girl, as stated earlier is “Jariyah“. “Bikr” on the other hand, is used for an unmarried lady, and obviously a nine year old is not a “lady”.

The complete reference for this reporting of Ahmad ibn Hanbal is: Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Vol 6, Pg 210, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-`arabi, Beirut.

The Twelfth Argument

My twelfth argument was:

According to Ibn HajarFatimah (ra) was five years older than Ayesha (ra). Fatimah (ra) is reported to have been born when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old. Thus, even if this information is taken to be correct, Ayesha (ra) could by no means be less than 14 years old at the time of hijrah, and 15 or 16 years old at the time of her marriage.

Ibn Hajar‘s original statement, its translation and reference follows:

ولدت فاطمة والكعبة تبنى والنبي ابن خمس وثلاثن سنة…وهي أسن من عائشة بنحو خمس سنين

Fatimah (ra) was born at the time the Kaa`bah was rebuilt, when the Prophet (pbuh) was 35 years old… she (Fatimah) was five years older that Ayesha (ra). (Al-Isabah fi Tamyeez al-SahaabahIbn Hajar al-Asqalaniy, Vol. 4, Pg. 377, Arabic, Maktabah al-Riyadh al-Hadithaal-Riyadh, 1978)

These are all the references for the material I provided in my initial response.

Your Christian friend, besides asking for these references has also briefly commented on my reply, he writes:

And, the man, which the paper was quoting from refers to Tabari.  Well, Tabari also says Ayeshawas 9… did your “learned” one miss that?  If you need the reference, check my paper.

Further, I also quote from Bukhari, and there are many quotes concerning Ayesha‘s age in that.  Bukhari is the most highly respected hadith, so, you’re going to have to do better then conjecture and assumptions.

Finally, there is Abu Dawood‘s quote as well…. all exclusively saying Ayesha was 9.

It seems that your friend has missed out on my point on Hisham ibn `urwah. He seems to be unaware of the fact that each one of his quoted statement, whether it is from TabariBukhariMuslim or Abu Dawood, is either narrated by Hisham ibn `urwah or is reported to the respective author by or through an Iraqi. Not even a single narrative is free from either of the two problems.

I have quoted Tabari, Bukhari and Muslim to show that even their own information contradicts with the narrative regarding Ayesha‘s (ra) age. Thus, when the narrative of Ayesha‘s (ra) age is not reliable and when there is information in the same books that contradicts the narrative of Ayesha‘s age, I see absolutely no reason to believe that the information on Ayesha‘s (ra) age is accepted (when there are adequate grounds to reject it) and the other (contradictory) information is rejected (when there is no ground to reject it).

Moiz Amjad(1998)

UIUK

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