Islam Notable Women

The Age of Hazrat A’ishahra at the Time of Her Marriage to the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa

First ever serialisation of the newly translated Volume II of Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad’sra outstanding biography, Seerat Khatamun Nabiyyin, on the life and character of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
Translated from the Urdu by Ayyaz Mahmood Khan


Now that it has been proven that on her nikah[the official Islamic marriage ceremony], Hazrat ‘A’ishahra was seven years of age, the subsequent calculation is not a difficult one. It has already been mentioned that the marriage[1] of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra took place in Shawwal 10 Nabawi[2] and this is the date which is accepted by most historians. In other words, in Shawwal 10 Nabawi, Hazrat ‘A’ishahra was seven years of age, or very close. After this, the migration took place in Rabi‘ul-Awwal 14 Nabawi.[3] In this manner, the time between the marriage and the migration equates to three years and a few months, and at the time of migration, the age of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra is established as being 10 years and some months. After this, we now ascertain the time period between the migration and rukhsatanah[after nikah, when the couple start living as husband and wife]. As such, it is accepted that the migration took place in Rabi‘ul-Awwal and for this reason, the first year after migration was nine and a half months. Then, since the rukhsatanah took place in Shawwal 2, the second year was also nine and a half months. If both of these time periods are added, we find that the era between the migration and rukhsatanah equates to 19 months, i.e., one year and seven months. If this is added to the period prior to migration, the total turns out to be the very same 12 years, which we have proven from another angle. In summary, irrespective of whether we perform the calculation according to the estimate of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra or whether we do so based on her date of birth, in both cases, the result is that on the occasion of her rukhsatanah, Hazrat ‘A’ishahra was 12 years of age and not nine years. Most definitely, the belief of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra that she was nine years of age at the time is based on an incorrect estimate or calculation. It seems that when Hazrat ‘A’ishahra ignored the remaining months until the start of the following year and estimated her age as being six years, she did not take into account the period in between thereafter when performing her calculation, and roughly estimated her own age as perhaps being nine years at the time of her rukhsatanah, and therefore, this idea firmly took root in her heart. In addition to this, until then, a calendar system had not yet become customary and the Hijri calendar system was yet to be officially devised and formulated. Furthermore, the time period between the marriage and rukhsatanah was spread across two different categories of years (i.e., the Nabawi years and Hijri years). It is plausible, therefore, that Hazrat ‘A’ishahra perhaps committed a mistake in calculation by an oversight, and then this incorrect notion became so deeply rooted in her heart that for the rest of her life thereafter, she never happened to take notice of this miscalculation. However, in any case, if it is correct that Hazrat ‘A’ishahra was seven years of age, or around this age, when her nikah took place, the estimate of her being nine years of age at the time of her rukhsatanah cannot be correct in any case. This is a question of mathematics, which cannot be proven wrong by any other argument. In summary, irrespective of which angle this issue is analysed from, the age of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra proves to be 12, or close to this, at the time of her rukhsatanah. Moreover, if the date of her rukhsatanah is declared to be Shawwal 1 A.H., even still her age is established as being 11 years. Hence, the approximation of nine years is incorrect and inaccurate.

However, hypothetically, even if the age of nine years is accepted as being correct, there is still no point of objection, because it is not out of the ordinary for a girl to mature at the age of 9 or 10 years in a country like Arabia. Even in our own country, India, some girls who possess extraordinary faculties of development mature at an age of 10. In actuality, the age of maturity depends primarily on weather and climate, food and the surrounding environment. In colder countries, and especially in such countries where hot spices are used in foods to a lesser degree, girls generally mature at a later age. As such, in England and other such countries, on average, the age of maturity is 18 years, and girls are generally married at an age of 20 years; rather, in many cases, at an even older age than this. However, in our country, if at the age of 20 a girl is still sitting unmarried, people generally begin to raise fingers, alleging that there must be something wrong with her and this is why she has not been able to find a match yet. The reason being that here, the age of maturity is 13 to 14 years, on average. Since the country of Arabia is even hotter and dryer than India, the average age of maturity is even less than that of India, and many girls can be found who reach the age of maturity at 9 or 10. In these circumstances, for Hazrat ‘A’ishahra to mature at the age of 9 or 10 years and become fit for her rukhsatanah cannot be considered strange at all; especially if it is taken into account that Hazrat ‘A’ishahra possessed faculties of development which were higher than average, as Sir William Muir has also accepted in his book.[4]

In any case, Hazrat ‘A’ishahra had now fully matured. At the time, the mother of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra was residing in the suburbs of Madinah in a place named As-Sunh. The women from among the Ansar gathered there and adorned Hazrat ‘A’ishahra for her rukhsatanah. Then, the Holy Prophetsa went there himself, after which Hazrat ‘A’ishahra bid her home farewell and entered the household of the Holy Prophetsa.[5] The dowry was set at 500 dirhams,[6] or in light of various narrations 400,[7] i.e., 100 Rupees more or less, which was paid in cash at the time of the rukhsatanah.[8] From among all the wives of the Holy Prophetsa , Hazrat ‘A’ishahra was the only one who was unmarried prior to marrying the Holy Prophetsa.[9] The rest were either widows or divorced and Hazrat ‘A’ishahra would at times count this unique aspect as being one of her distinctions. At the time of the rukhsatanah of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra, the Holy Prophetsa was approximately 55 years of age. Taking into account the young age of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra, the Holy Prophetsa would treat her very lovingly and take special care of her emotions. As such, on one occasion when some Abyssinian swordsman began to demonstrate an acrobatic spectacle of lances in the presence of the Holy Prophetsa and his Companionsra, the Holy Prophetsa instructed them to show their demonstration in the veranda of the Masjid-e-Nabawi, and held Hazrat ‘A’ishahra himself standing along the wall of his residence, whilst shielding her from the public, so that she too could enjoy their acrobatic display; until Hazrat ‘A’ishahra did not become content with this military demonstration herself, the Holy Prophetsa continued to accompany her.[10] On another occasion, the Holy Prophetsa raced Hazrat ‘A’ishahra. On the first occasion, Hazrat ‘A’ishahra managed to outstrip the Holy Prophetsa, but after some time, when the Holy Prophetsa raced her again, she was left behind, upon which the Holy Prophetsa smiled and said, , meaning,2015-June-Arabic_Inserts-Finalised-V1_pdf__1_page_There you are, ‘A’ishah, now the debt has been repaid.[11] At times, when some of the friends of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra would gather in her home, and amuse themselves by singing innocent couplets the Holy Prophetsa would not object in the least. As a matter of fact, on one occasion, when Hazrat Abu Bakrra saw this and attempted to slightly reprimand the girls, the Holy Prophetsa stopped him saying, “Abu Bakr, let it be. Today is the day of ‘Id and girls enjoy entertaining themselves.” But when the Holy Prophetsa turned to the other side, Hazrat ‘A’ishahra made an indication to the girls herself and saw them off.[12] Despite her young age, the intelligence and memory of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra was absolutely remarkable, and under the education and training of the Holy Prophetsa she developed astonishingly at a most extraordinary pace. In actuality, this was the very purpose of the Holy Prophetsa in bringing her to his home at such a young age, so that he could train her from a tender age according to his wishes, and she could receive the longest possible opportunity to remain in his company; so that she could be made fit for the sensitive and magnificent work which fell upon the wife of a law-giving Prophet. As such, the Holy Prophetsa succeeded in this purpose and Hazrat ‘A’ishahra rendered such service in the reformation, education and training of the Muslim women, as is unparalleled in the history of the world. A very large and significant portion of the Ahadith of the Holy Prophetsa are based on the narrations of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra. As a matter of fact, the number of her narrations alone reach a grand total of 2,210.[13] The level of her knowledge and wisdom and deep understanding of religion was such that the most eminent Companionsra accepted her as an authority and would benefit from her grace. It is even related in narrations that after the Holy Prophetsa, the Companionsra were not confronted with a single scholarly issue for which Hazrat ‘A’ishahra did not have an answer.[14]
There is a statement of ‘Urwah bin Zubairra on record that:

In knowledge of the Holy Qur’an, in knowledge of the law of inheritance, in knowledge of lawful and unlawful things, in the science of jurisprudence, in poetry, in medicine, in knowledge of the narrations of Arabia, and in the science of genealogy, I have not seen a greater scholar than ‘A’ishahra.[15]

In virtue and contentment, she possessed such a great status that on one occasion, she happened to receive a sum of 100,000 dirhams from somewhere, and before sunset, she had distributed the entirety of it in charity, even though she did not have anything to eat for that evening in her own home.[16] It was due to these very praiseworthy attributes, which had begun to show their splendour even in the era of the Holy Prophetsa, that she was held especially dear by the Holy Prophetsa. At times, he would say, “From among all the people, ‘A’ishahra is most beloved to me.[17] At another instance, the Holy Prophetsa said, “There have been many excellent models among men, but very few among the women.” Then the Holy Prophetsa named Asiyahra, the wife of Pharaoh and Maryra, the daughter of ‘Imran, then he continued by saying, “‘A’ishahra possesses such superiority over the women, as Tharid, which is among the best foods of Arabia, possesses over other foods.[18] On one occasion, some of the other Azwaj-e-Mutahharat[19] complained to the Holy Prophetsa about Hazrat ‘A’ishahra, but he remained silent. However, when his wives persisted, the Holy Prophetsa said, “What shall I do with these complaints? All that I am aware of is that I do not receive revelation from my God in the quilt of any other wife, but I often receive this revelation in the quilt of ‘A’ishahra”.[20] Goodness gracious! How holy was the wife who was endowed with this distinction, and how holy was the husband whose criteria for domestic love was nothing other than sanctity and purity!

At this instance, it is also necessary to mention that the marriage of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra took place under specific divine indication. It is recorded in a Hadith that prior to her marriage, the Holy Prophetsa saw a dream in which an angel presented a silk cloth to the Holy Prophetsa and said, “This is your wife.” When the Holy Prophetsa opened it, he found upon it a portrait of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra. However, the Holy Prophetsa did not mention this dream to anyone, and understood that if this dream was to be fulfilled in the literal sense, then Allah would arrange for it Himself. As such, this bond was ultimately established on the proposal of Khaulah bint Hakimra.[21] It is also mentioned in the Ahadith that in her last days, Saudah bint Zam‘ahra gave her own turn of company with the Holy Prophetsa to Hazrat ‘A’ishahra, and in this way Hazrat ‘A’ishahra received a double opportunity to benefit from the company of the Holy Prophetsa. In that era, the Shari‘at was being revealed, and the foundation of new rules of practice were being established in every matter. For this reason, when Hazrat Saudahra grew old and became unable to fulfil her duties as a spouse completely, she thought to herself that in this state, perhaps the Holy Prophetsa would seek a separation from her; so she offered her turn to Hazrat ‘A’ishahra herself, and submitted to the Holy Prophetsa that, “O Messenger of Allah! I no longer require my turn.[22] This surmise of Saudahra was absolutely false and was merely an unfounded doubt. However, since the Holy Prophetsa was especially concerned for the education and training of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra and since she was worthy of receiving special attention due to her age and characteristics, the Holy Prophetsa accepted this proposal of Saudahra. Nevertheless, even after this, the Holy Prophetsa continued to regularly visit Hazrat Saudahra, and like his other wives, he would show affection towards her and take care of her comfort.

There is a difference of opinion with respect to the literacy of Hazrat ‘A’ishahra. However, it is established by a narration in Bukhari that she was in the possession of a written manuscript of the Holy Qur’an,[23] wherefrom she personally dictated various verses to a Muslim from Iraq, which in the least, proves that she could in fact read. It is most probable that after her rukhsatanah, she learned how to write, though various historians have stated that she was unable to write.[24] Following the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, Hazrat ‘A’ishahra lived for more or less 48 years, and met her beloved Creator in 58 A.H., during the month of Ramadan. At the time she was approximately 68 years of age.



  1. That is, the formal announcement of the marriage, after which the Holy Prophetsa and Hazrat ‘A’ishahra were contractually bound together in a tie of matrimony.
  2. Muhammad bin Sa‘d, At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, First Edition, Vol. 8, Dhikru Azwaji Rasulillahisa/A’ishata bintu Abi Bakris-Siddiq (Beirut, Lebanon: Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, 1996), 271.
  3. Abu Ja‘far Muhammad bin Jarir At-Tabari, Tarikhur-Rusuli Wal-Muluk (Tarikhut-Tabari), Second Edition, Vol. 3, Dhikrul-Waqtilladhi ‘Umila Fihit-Tarikh (Beirut, Lebanon: Darul-Fikr, 2002), 5.
  4. * Sir William Muir, The Life of Mahomet (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1878), 117.

* Sir William Muir, The Life of Mahomet (London: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1878), 187.

  1. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabu Manaqibil-Ansar, Babu Tazwijin-Nabisa ‘A’ishah, Hadith No. 3894.
  2. Sahihu Muslim, Kitabun-Nikah, Babus-Sidaqi Wa Jawazi Kaunihi, Hadith No. 3489.
  3. Muhammad bin Sa‘d, At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, First Edition, Vol. 8, Dhikru Muhuri Nisa’in-Nabiyyisa (Beirut, Lebanon: Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, 1996), 327.
  4. Muhammad bin Sa‘d, At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, First Edition, Vol. 8, Dhikru Azwaji Rasulillahisa/‘A’ishata bintu Abi Bakris-Siddiq (Beirut, Lebanon: Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, 1996), 274.
  5. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabun-Nikah, Babu Nikahil-Abkar, Hadith No. 5077.
  6. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabun-Nikah, Babu Husnil-Mu‘ashirati Ma‘al-Ahl, Hadith No. 5190.
  7. Sunanu Abi Dawud, Kitabul-Jihad, Babun Fis-Sabqi ‘Alar-Rijuli, Hadith No. 2578.
  8. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabul-‘Idain, Babul-Hirabi Wad-Daraqi Yaumal-‘Id, Hadith No. 949.
  9. , Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani, Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, First Edition, Vol. 4, ‘A’ishah Ummul-Mu’minin (Beirut, Lebanon: Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996), 389.
  10. Sunanut-Tirmidhi, Kitabul-Manaqib, Babu Fadli ‘A’ishah, Hadith No. 3883.
  11. Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani, Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, First Edition, Vol. 4, ‘A’ishah Ummul-Mu’minin (Beirut, Lebanon: Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996), 389.
  12. Muhammad bin Sa‘d, At-Tabaqatul-Kubra, First Edition, Vol. 8, Dhikru Azwaji Rasulillahisa/‘A’ishata bintu Abi Bakris-Siddiq (Beirut, Lebanon: Daru Ihya’it-Turathil-‘Arabi, 1996), 276.
  13. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabu Fada’ili Ashabin-Nabisa , Chapter 34, Hadith No. 3662.
  14. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabu Fada’ili Ashabin-Nabisa , Babu Fadli ‘A’ishahra , Hadith No. 3769.
  15. Holy Wives of the Holy Prophetsa.
  16. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabu Fada’ili Ashabin-Nabisa, Babu Fadli ‘A’ishahra, Hadith No. 3775.
  17. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabun-Nikah, Babu Nikahil-Abkar, Hadith No. 5078.
  18. Allamah Shihabuddin Al-Qastalani, Sharhul-‘Allamatiz-Zarqani ‘Alal-Mawahibil-Ladunniyyah, First Edition. Vol. 4, Saudah Ummul-Mu’minin (Beirut, Lebanon: Darul-Kutubil-‘Ilmiyyah, 1996) , 380.
  19. Sahihul-Bukhari, Kitabu Fada’ilil-Qur’an, Babu Ta’lifil-Qur’an, Hadith No. 4993.
  20. Ahmad bin Yahya bin Jabir Al-Baghdadi Ash-Shahiru Bil-Baladhuriyyi, Kitabu Futuhil-Buldan, First Edition, Amrul-Hazzi, Al-Mausu‘atu Bi-Shari‘in Babil-Khalq (Egypt: 1901), 478.