Ayesha - Child Bride?
What Was Ayesha's Age At Marriage to Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him)?
When people come to us and say, “Why are you in a religion which promotes terrorism? Why does your religion teach you to kill all the people, all the Jews and the Christians? Why are you instructed in your book to beat your wives? Why do you have to abuse people? How come in your book your men can get four wives but a woman only can have one husband? Why do you worship a black box in the desert, but you tell everybody you’re worshipping God? How come you guys are kissing the ground 5 times a day?”
And these are all questions which I have heard from people and more, they say some horrible things against our Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). And they insult his bride, and they call her a child bride, and they say how could such a thing, bla bla bla.. and they go on and on and on, but they do it in a nasty way, not nice at all.
How should we respond? What should we do?
I’m reminded of one of our brothers from Egypt who was telling that when he heard how the people were handling the Quran, that he became sick, he became very ill. He couldn't imagine such a thing, he just wanted to die, it was so horrible to imagine people doing something to Quran.
I remember how I felt on the night when someone walked up to me, he was an Arab but he was a Christian, he was a preacher for the Christians here in the United States, and he came to me with such an attitude and he said, “What do you say about a 53 years old man having sex with a 6 years old girl? Ha!”
The feeling in my stomach was like somebody hit me. Immediately I was hot all through my body and all I can think about was to shut up this man’s mouth because of the foul stink from this statement that he made, which is totally unwarranted and not true, not a true statement and we all know that.
But it is something popular that these people have been promoting from a long time. Some of them out of ignorance, but some of them on purpose because they read Arabic and they know what it really said, but they don't care.
What I said to him was wrong and what I did to him was wrong, it really wasn't right, wasn't in Islam, I have an excuse but that's all it is, it’s an excuse. I was very upset.
I threw off my coat, I rolled up my sleeves and I said to him right in his face, real close, “Everything depends on your question; if your question was rhetorical or if you are trying to insult my Prophet?! If the latter is true, I am going to take you out back and beat your head off your shoulders”.
He said, “NO NO NO, it’s rhetorical, it’s rhetorical.” I said, “Rhetorical questions don't need an answer.” So I put my coat back on and walked away and left him standing there, but that is not the right way to do this in Islam, really it’s not, this is not correct, but I was so upset, I couldn't think, but I made it a point to go and talk to the scholars and ask them how should I have responded. When they found out what I did, they laughed, they said it was funny but still wrong, it’s wrong, because this man has the right to know the truth, even though he came in an evil way, and he is a human being and you have to give him respect, even though he didn’t give you respect, he didn't give respect to the Prophet (Peace and blessings be upon him), but you are not at war with him, you did accept him, you shook hands with him, you were talking to him, you were at peace with him when he said it. Basically, you don't have the right to declare any kind of war on this guy or beat him up, regardless of how angry you are, this is your problem. They were right, and then they reminded me of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and he didn't act this way. In fact I would like to share with you one of many examples, but in interest of time I will share with you one.
Once while he (Peace and blessings be upon him) was sitting with Abu Bakr, some person came up behind Abu Bakr and began to curse him and curse him in a bad way and insult him and insult his family and insult everything about his tribe, just trying to get him stirred up, but he didn't move. When the man changed the direction of his insults and began to say “And your Prophet so and so bla bla bla,” then it was too much for him, like me. He got angry and he jumped up and when he jumped up, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) stood up and walked away.
Immediately Abu Bakr left the situation and went after Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and he said, "O Rasul Allah. O messenger of Allah, why did you leave us?" He said, "Because as long as you were sitting there quiet and patient there was an angel behind you saying, 'Abu Bakr is on the truth, Abu Bakr is on the Haqq, Abu Bakr is on the truth,' but as soon as you became angry, the angel left, and I do not sit in circles without angels."
This was to teach us a very good lesson about patience. We have to be persevering and steadfast. The word for persevering, steadfastness and patient in Arabic is what? Sabr. We must have Sabr, and Allah tells us in Quran "Wa Tawasaw Bil-Haqqi Wa Tawasaw Bis-Sabr", to encourage and exhort each other in truth and righteousness and all that Islam stands for, the Haqq of La ilaha illal-Lah, and to encourage and exhort each other in patience.
So this is very important before you even learn what to say is how to say it. Before you worry about “What should I say when they say this or they say that,” worry about how you react, because if you show anger, you already lost, you’ve lost to the devil himself. You will never get your point across because they’re not going to listen to you, they’re going to be defensive. They started offensive and you come back offensive and now they’re going to be defensive and nothing is going to happen positive, is it? NO.
We didn't come here to debate, we’re not debaters, we came with a message. A messenger presents the message. How can you present a message to somebody and you’re not set up for that? Look like a messenger! Act like a messenger!
If you knock on somebody's door and you’re saying, “Western Union telegram,” you’re a messenger. Knock, knock, knock.
They open the door, "WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT? WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
And you said, "Hey, I'm not going to give you your message, you just lose buddy."
No, you can't do that! They will fire you.
You have to say with a smile, "Western Union!"
The man replies, "Western Onion! That's why your breath smells so bad!"
"No, I said Western Union sir."
"Oh yeah? What do you want?"
"I have a message for you."
"I got one for you: COME BACK LATER!" Smack!
If you work for Western Union, you will come back later, he told you to come back later. You didn't like it, did you?! But you are a messenger, and if you would do that for money, If you’d put up with that for Western Union, then why don't you do even more for Allah?! Did that make sense or no? And this is what the Ulama’, the scholars told me, they said, "Yusuf you didn't do the right thing". I said, " Yes, but I felt good afterwards." They said, "This is from Shaytan and you don't work for Shaytan, you work for Allah."
Let me give you an example of what they taught me, when anybody comes to you with anything, whether it's nice, or not so nice, or even evil, and when they say it your response is always the same: "Thank you for asking me about my religion." They are going to go, "Huh?! I didn't ask you about your religion, I’m trying to start a fight boy." and again say, "Thank you for asking me about my religion." And you’re going to shock him, and he’s going to go, "What are you retarded? What’s the matter with you?" But then you say, "In Islam we have two things that are very important:
First we must always tell the truth. I have to say the truth or I can go to hell forever".
The second is there is proof for every single thing in Islam, it’s recorded and it’s known and even if I didn't tell you the truth, you can go and find out by yourself and verify it, because everything in Islam is recorded. You don’t have to have a dream, you don’t have to get the holy ghost in you to give you a good feeling. You just know the truth from the truth itself, the proof is there. You want to know what Islam says? Go look in the Quran. Does the Quran exist today as it did at the time of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), yes or no? Yes it does. Does the bible exist today as it exist at the time of Jesus? No, it doesn’t. So you don’t have what we have, we have the proof.
Now I’m not saying I’m right, I’m not saying Quran is right, I’m just telling you it’s there, if you want to know what Quran says, it’s still there you can look at it.
And if you want to know what Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) did or said or taught, it’s all preserved.
Now, the next thing is I have to tell you that sometimes questions are not questions; many times they’re statements with a question mark. So we have to straighten out the question.
And finally, if while I’m giving you the answer you find yourself saying, 'Hey! That's pretty nice, I like that'.. 'Gee, that’s something I didn’t know'.. 'Hey, this is good for me.' If you hear yourself say any of those words would you be prepared to consider worshipping God without partners? Because you see, that’s all Islam is about, worship God, no partners, because I’m ready to give you the answer if you’re ready to hear it.
You’ve already delivered the message, did you know that? Even if he walks away, you said it; "Islam is about worshiping God without any partners", you’re off the hook! If he runs away, too late, you said it, you delivered it! Now if he wants to know the answer to the question, and you don’t know, you say: "Give me your number and as soon as I get this, I’m going to get you the information and where the proof is, and I’ll call you." If you do know the answer then you tell him.
The answers to these questions which I just mentioned are on our website called: www.ShareIslam.com
I’m reminded by the way of what happened some years ago when I was in Toronto Canada. And after I gave this talk, a you man by the name of Jeff, came to me and he said, "How come you guys worship a black box in the desert?" And I told everybody, "Sit down, sit down, start over again. Go ahead, we got somebody here who has a question." And I went through the steps just like I told you. Explained to him what the Ka’bah actually means to us, and how it’s on the ancient site of the Abrahamic faith. And he was so pleased with this answer, and next thing he decided ok I’ll make Shahadah right now, and he became a Muslim. I guess he’s still in Islam doing all right, I don’t know. The last time I heard, he was doing pretty good.
Now, that’s not from me by the way, this is from Allah. You can do the same thing if you just follow the rules; just follow the thing we just said.
First: Thank you for asking me about my religion.
Second: We have two things in Islam, which is we must always tell the truth or we can go to hell. And second we have the proof. You can verify what I said from the documents that have been preserved for 1400 years.
Then mention to them that sometimes the questions are twisted and we have to straighten it out. But then while you’re listening to this, if you like any of it, would you be prepared to consider worshipping God without partners? And then go forward.
Now, Lets take the case of Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her).
And the man said to me, "How do you respond to a 53 years old man having sex with a 6 years old girl?"
"Well, I think it’s pretty sick. That’s the answer to that, that’s kind of weird. And it’s forbidden in Islam for a man to just have sex with a 6 years old girl or a 16 years old girl, or a 26 years old girl, or a 36 years old girl, or 106 year old girl unless he’s married to her, because it’s not permissible in Islam to go around having sex outside of marriage. Is that true? So no, this is totally out of Islam, and I agree with you that’s bad".
Now you have to straighten out the question.
The man said, "No I’m talking about Muhammad, he did so and so...”
You say, "Excuse me, before you talk about Prophet Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and before you talk about Ayesha, his WIFE (May Allah accept from her), I would like to ask you: do you know where this story comes from? Where did you get the story from?"
"Well, I got it from an email."
"OK! For us as Muslims, email and internet doesn't really count. We need to find out who really said it. What is the real proof? Is there any proof what so ever of such a statement?"
Well he’ll tell you no he doesn’t have a clue, because most of them don’t know where it came from. But if they said, "There’s something on the internet, let me get the email, and they show it to you, and it says it’s in Sahih Al-Bukhari, and it’s in Hadith number 476 in volume number 5". And I’m not sure where it is, I’m just saying if he said it.
You ask him, "OK fine. Did you read it in Arabic? Because there was no English language at the time of Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him), ok? And who is the one who reports this thing?
The story, first of all, is reported by Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her), she is the one who reports the story. What did she say?
Wait a minute; before we talk about what she said, I'm going to ask you a question. Do you accept her testimony as being valid, permissible evidence in a court of law? Because you are charging somebody by a heinous crime by saying that you said the way you said it. In fact in Islam, if you don’t have 4 witnesses to this, you can be in big trouble, we don’t allow people to assassinate the character of anybody, you’re not allowed to say this against a woman or a man or anyone.
So who said it? Ayesha said it? Good. Do you accept her testimony?"
"Ok, do you accept her testimony in everything or just the things that you like? Do you consider her to be truthful? We do, we will accept anything she says, but do you accept that?"
Now he’s going to think about that, because guess what she said? She said, "There is no God to worship except Allah".
"Do you accept what she said as true or not? Or do you consider her to be a liar? Because if she’s a liar, there’s no sense in even going any further. But if she said the truth, then let’s go further."
And they’ll say, "Ok, I’ll take it."
"Let’s move forward, here’s the story from Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim. It says that Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her) tells us that her mother came to her while she was outside playing in the dirt with her friends, and the mother said, 'Come inside'. The mother took her inside. Who? Mother! You know what a mother is, right?"
I do that with them by the way when I’m talking, "You know what a mother is?", and they go like, "What are you trying to say?" because you’re the guys who’re making these horrible remarks, not us.
"Her mother took her in the house to meet who? Her father, because the mother and the father were making a marriage proposal for her to the best friend of her father, which is Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him). Abu Bakr and Muhammad were friends since they were youth, best friends, and it was the custom of the Arabs to marry their daughters to their friends, regardless of ages. It was also the customs of the Arabs that you could marry a girl at any age, and if she was an orphan girl only one moth old, they could still marry her just to get the money, they did it.
But if you read closely, you'll see that she said that she went back outside and was playing in the dirt.
How did you get sex out of this story? How did you get sex out of this story? I'm looking at it in English; I’ll be happy to get somebody who speaks Arabic and read it to you and see if there is any sex mentioned in there, I don’t think you’ll find it, because it’s not there. And if she went back outside to play in the dirt, I guess she didn't get married either, did she?! No she didn't.
In fact we find that was several years later when the same offer was brought up again, and she again was taken in the house by her mother to her father, the father again is offering his daughter in marriage and this time it’s accepted. What was the difference of the two occasions? Because Allah said in the Quran in chapter 4 verse 19, for the believers not to inherit women against their will. You can marry a woman except by her permission, and she’s not considered a woman until she’s old enough to have babies, and she can not make a decision for marriage until she’s old enough. That’s Allah. You can put it on hold if she said, 'When I grow up I want to marry this man.' OK we can put that on hold for you, but when you grow up then you’ll decide.
And she did not marry him until she was old enough to have babies. And even then it doesn’t say 'sex', you can read it if you like. It says they went off and he played and she played, and they ran and chased each other and had fun together and she said, 'He used to chase me and I would outrun him until I became older and heavier and then he could outrun me'. She talked about playing tricks on him, that she would stand behind him and make him stand for a long time so she could peek over his shoulder and watch people doing such things as acrobatics and so on, and throwing spears in the Mussala area in the Masjid, yes or no? She played other tricks on him too, she and one of her dear friends, which was Hafsah, played a trick on Muhammad (Peace and blessings be upon him) and said to him, 'Your breath smells bad' when it really didn’t, because they were trying to keep him from going to Zaynab’s house to get honey, so they told him the honey made his breath stink, played a trick on him.
She talks about sex in other Hadith (narrations) in a beautiful way that she explains to us how a man should be careful with his wife, and how he should treat her, and how he should give benefit to her before he takes benefit for himself, and how they should come together, and how they should enjoy each other, and Allah even tells us in the Quran that one is the covering to the other in a beautiful way, and how afterwards what you should do, and how you clean yourself and hygiene, especially after intercourse, is very important in Islam. The Europeans at that time were spreading disease all over the place because they didn't know how to clean themselves but the Muslims did. Oh yes.
In a study about Spanish history in the Muslim period, you find the Muslims never had the black plague, although many of the Europeans came to study there and they had it but it didn't spread amongst the Muslims because they knew how to do what ? To clean themselves, to have hygiene, and Muslims didn't have sex with these people because they didn’t have sex except in marriage, Muslims don’t do that".
Having said all of these things I want to sum up this. That it was Ayesha who taught us how to behave as real gentlemen with our wives because she was the best of the best of all of the women of all the scholars of Islam. Yes, she is the number one scholar, so certainly we are going to take everything she said. She is the one who taught us about having sex and what real sex is about and the responsibility, and the love and the passion that goes along with it, details.
Now I'm going to ask you one final question before I leave, you're telling the person this: What will happen if we would take all of the Hadith or narrations about Ayesha and about Muhammad as being married together, everything about them and their relationship, let's take it -and by the way, he never cursed her, he never put her down in front of people and she never cut him down ever, ever- and he died while she was still a younger woman. And she lived many years after that never married another man, never wanted any other man, and always spoke highly of her husband in the most positive manner, every single word. Tell me today, do you know any woman who will do that, even if her husband is still alive.
So you cannot compare these people to people that you read about in the checkout line in the grocery store in a trash magazine, OK? Those are less than animals that you are reading about and you comparing them to angels. I am serious. I will challenge you: Let's take all the narrations translate it to any language you like, we'll say English, we're going to take all this information about Muhammad and Ayesha and we will remove the dates because we don't want anybody to know when it happened, we're going to remove the geographical location because we don’t want anybody to know where it happened, and we're going to remove the names so they won't know who the people are. But other than that, we are going to leave the story exactly as is. Then I want to take this all and put it down as one book, and then I want you to take this to any psychiatric, any psychologist, any marriage counselor or social worker that you have ever thought about, Dr. Phil or whatever they call him on the T.V., anybody! Let them read and then ask them, “what do you say about this relationship?”
And they are going to tell you: This is the story that William Shakespeare should have written instead of Romeo and Juliet. because in the end, these people don't kill themselves. This is the love story that could only be made up because it is not possible; it is the story you wish you could live. It is too perfect; that is what they are going to tell you.
Now you come back and ask me your silly question again, and you see it is not true, you see that Islam is coming to bring a special message from the Rabb Al-Alamin, The Lord of the worlds has used this as the most classic of all love stories on earth. And we invite you to read more about it at www.IslamsWomen.com
Sheikh Yusuf Estes