By MUHAMMAD ANDARAAWOOS IBN YUSUF
One allegation that is constantly thrown against the beloved Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam, is that he is a pedophile due to the notion that he married ‘Aisha, radiy Allahu ‘anhaa, at the young age of six years old.
This claim is actually based on authentic ahadeeth from Saheeh al-Bukhaari in which it is written she was merely six years old at the time of her marriage to the Prophet, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam. Muslims tend to find this a difficult topic to answer, however, there are numerous answers that can be given for this very subject which give balance to those who are in search of true facts.
Those who merely read about Islam and fail to study its sciences will find it very troublesome as it involves historical documentation and the science of verifying the ahadeeth. Two sciences those whoare adamant on leveling charges against Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, will fail to recognize.
A very early scholar of Islam, Imaam Malik, rahimahullah, who was born 35 years later after Aisha, radiy Allahu ‘anhaa had passed away, is one of the greatest authorities of Islam, and it’s sciences. He born and lived in the same city as Aisha, radiy Allahu ‘anhaa, which gave him the privilege of personally knowing the Prophet’s, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and ‘Aisha’s family. He also knew many scholars and students had met and learned from Aisha, radiy Allahu ‘anhaa directly. Of course he would have known what age ‘Aisha was when she was born, and what age she was when she died, etc. He would have known of all her sayings as they would have been passed down in the knowledge of the people of Madinah.
However, Imaam Maa’lik, rahimahullah, rejected the ahadeeth about Aisha, radiy Allahu ‘anhaa, being six years old solely due to the fact that nobody in Madinah – the very city where the Prophet sal Allahu alayhi wasallam and Aisha radiy Allahu anhaa lived and are buried – recognized these ahadeeth, nobody in Madinah had ever heard them, and plus they strangely originated in ‘Iraq.
What most people do not realize when it comes to the analysis of hadeeth is that the hadeeth is broken in two parts. The chain of narrators [al-Isnad], and the text of the hadeeth itself [al-Matn]. In the case of the hadeeth about Aisha being six years old, or nine years old, it is said to be authentic due to the chain and not the text. Therefore the chain of narrators is authentic, yet the hadeeth contains false information, and Imaam Maalik, rahimahullah, and the people of Maidnah discredited the authenticity of those ahadeeth based on the information about ‘Aisha merely six at the time of marriage as false.
It is also documented by numerous Islamic historians ‘Aisha, radiy Allahu anhaa, was four years old at the time of first revelation unto Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam. “Iqra Bismi Rabbika alladhee Khalaq – Read in the name of your Lord who created” The very first ayah that was sent down to Prophet Muhammad , sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, in the cave of mount Hira. After this revelation, there was two or three years in which the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wasallam, taught Islam secretly, until he was commanded to preach openly. At this time Aisha, radiy Allahu anhaa, would have been about six or seven years old.
Following the call to preach the message openly, and Prophet, sal allahu alayhi wasallam, declared the message and his Prophet-hood, the Muslims were then persecuted in Makkah for thirteen years. It was at this point of time that the Prophet, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and the believers emigrated to Madinah, and this was the event that marked the first year of the Islamic calendar. The year in which ‘Aisha, radiy Allahu ‘anhaa, is reported to have married the Prophet, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam.
At this point, ‘Aisha, radiy Allahu anhaa] would have been between the age of nineteen or twenty years old. A simple count of mathematics demonstrates that Aisha, radiy Allahu anhaa, was not six of nine years old according to historical sources which demostrate that Aisha, radiy Allahu anhaa, must have been nineteen to twenty years old at the time of marriage.
This is not the only point to substantiate this. When time permits I will write a fully referenced article regarding this issue, as it is one of the most common attacks against the integrity of Prophet Muhammad, sal Allahu alayhi wasallam.