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Why Prophet Muhammad married Aisha when she was only 9?

The question of Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) marriage with Sayyidah Aisha is the one hurled against Muslims in almost every discussion. And it takes much time for people to understand the whole issue only because they fail to understand historical things in their right perspective considering the situation in those particular times. Agreed that a Prophet’s deeds should be above any question in all times and this is true indeed, but there are certain things in which change is inevitable subject to valid reasons and Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) marriage with Sayyidah Aisha is one such case. One who fails to understand the times and all the factors related to issue in hand can never understand the happenings through the history.

Islamic Law regarding age of marriage:

In Islam there is no fixed age of marriage, whenever a person reaches the age of puberty he or she is fit for marriage. Nikah, the marital contract, may be made earlier but consummation of marriage can take place only after puberty is attained.

The age of maturity through the ages and over the regions:

The wisdom behind Islam not fixing an age is evident, different people reach the age of puberty at different times. And the general trend also varies over the time and across the regions with variant climate conditions. For instance, people living in regions of low altitudes attain puberty earlier then those in high altitudes regions. Similarly people in warm climates attain puberty earlier then those in cold climates. Now keeping all this in mind consider that when Holy Prophet (PBUH) married Sayyidah Aisha while she was nine it was some 1400 years back and it happened in Arabia, a region with relatively lower altitude and hot climate as one of its most salient features.

Leaving all the history aside, even now puberty at nine is no wonderful a phenomenon. Experts now suggest that age 7 (even 6 for some races) and not 8 should be considered precocious (i.e. early) for puberty among girls. Below is a reference that a nine year old Thai girl even became a mother.

Sayyidah Aisha was fit for the marriage, considering the puberty factor and physical bearing:

It is rather erroneous to say that Sayyidah Aisha (RA) was a child bride. She was a grown up girl.

Sayyidah Aisha herself narrates; ‘Holy Prophet (PBUH) married her when she was six years old and consummated the marriage when she was nine years old…’ (Bukhari, Hadith 4738)

Having known this, let me draw your attention to another saying of Sayyidah Aisha which Al-Tirmidhi has narrated under a Hadith in his collection’s Book of Marriage, Chapter 18. It goes as:

Sayyidah Aisha said: ‘When a girl is nine years old, she is a woman (meaning, she has attained puberty).’ (Tirmidhi, Hadith 1109)

Moreover, through certain narrations we come to know of the fact she was going through her puberty. Modern science testifies that puberty causes hair loss and this is exactly what we read in a Hadith:

Narrated Sayyidah Aisha: “The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj then I got ill and my hair fell down…” (Bukhari Hadith 3605)

So this makes it absolutely clear that Sayyidah Aisha’s marriage was consummated at an age, she herself says was that of puberty. The general tone of her statement also conveys that it was normal in those times and in that environment.

It also needs to be mentioned that even before the Holy Prophet (PBUH), she was engaged with Jubair bin Mut’am whose parents dissolved the engagement when her family embraced Islam.
All these details kill the argument that Holy Prophet (PBUH) had intimate marital relations with a child, for in that particular sense she was no more a child and she herself testifies that being a nine year old she was a woman then having attained puberty.

Moreover, she was quite healthy and fit. She herself says:

‘My mother intended to make me fat to send me to the (house of) the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). But nothing which he desired benefited me till she gave me cucumber with fresh dates to eat. Then I became fat as good (as she desired).’ (Abu Dawud, Hadith 3903. Albani classified it as Sahih)

About Sayyidah Aisha playing with dolls etc:

Another issue concerning this marriage is the fact of Sayyidah Aisha playing with dolls and other toys. The question raised is that playing with toys is an innocent child act, and it proves that she was a child when she was married to the Holy Prophet (PBUH). This much is true but the point missed is that Holy Prophet (PBUH) did have an understanding of this fact and he did not expect or force her to behave like his other wives e.g. like aged Sayyidah Sawda (RA). Infact we find that Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave her ample chances to fulfill her desire of playing with her friends and made her feel comfortable.

Sayyidah Aisha narrates: ‘I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.’ (Bukhari, Hadith 5665)

Sayyidah Aisha reported: ‘By Allah, I remember the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) standing on the door of my apartment screening me with his mantle enabling me to see the sport of the Abyssinians as they played with their daggers in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH). He (the Holy Prophet) kept standing for my sake till I was satiated and then I went back; and thus you can well imagine how long a girl tender of age who is fond of sports (could have watched it).’ (Muslim, Hadith 1481)

These two narrations show that Holy Prophet (PBUH) did care for the natural urge of his young wife for amusement. And this is also a proof that her marriage at the age of nine did not bar her from the enjoyment craved for at that age.

Holy Prophet (PBUH) consummated the marriage with Sayyidah Aisha when she was nine as she had attained puberty and, as she herself said that at nine a girl is rather a woman, but he did not burden her with tough responsibilities of a wife and provided her ample opportunities to enjoy her age.

This infact shows the wisdom of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that he did present a role model for all the people to come to care for all the needs of a wife. She married women of all age groups, elder to him like Sayyidah Khadija (RA), of his own age like Sauda (RA), younger but mature of age like Zainab (RA) and much younger like Sayyidah Aisha (RA).

Sayyidah Aisha’s marriage and consent issue:

Next comes the issue of her consent. Her nikah, the marital contract, was made when she was six but the marriage was consummated when she was nine. Now had she showed her displeasure about this marriage when she was nine, and thus a woman according to her own testimony, then marriage would haven been null and void, but it never turned up like that. She did not show any such notion and similarly never in her later life did she ever give any such impression. She rather always showed her love for the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

Wisdom behind this marriage:

We know that Sayyidah Aisha (RA) was considered the most learned among the all the Companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The following testifies to this.

Abu Musa al-Ashari says: "Never had we (the companions) any difficulty for the solution of which we approached Aisha and did not get some useful information from her". (Tirmidhi, Hadith 3883. Albani classified it as Sahih)

She narrated some 2210 Ahadith from the Prophet (PBUH) and this was possible only because she lived with him for nine years and that too at a young age when people have a sharp memory and great sense of observation. Then she lived for about 46 years after the death of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and continued to teach the people matters of religion especially those related to household affairs and marital life. No other wife of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did the similar job that may be compared with her blessed endeavors. This shows the Divine Wisdom for it was not the Prophet himself but Allah that ordained this marriage. She herself reports;

Allah's Messenger (PBUH) said to me, ‘You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, 'Uncover (her),' and behold, it was you.’ (Bukhari, Hadith 6495)

Thus do Allah’s plans work in a marvelous way!


[The post was last updated on 2/3/2010]

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    2. great job brother
      but more and more of us should read it and try to spread it, in order to remove misconceptions about islam.

    3. May ALLAH Subhan grant u the great rewardz and higher distinctions in duniya and aakhira aameen summa aameen

    4. Masha-Allah brother...you are doing gr8 job...Kindly take on some more misconception like these...May Allah reward you!

    5. well u cleared a lot but i want to ask few questions as u said that this was the marriage of a young girl at a age of nine was a common practice at that time .It was at that time right but if u see today as us say that it is a practice in today's world tooo so can it be justify if it happens today as the maturity level of today and that time is quite different today it takes time for a girl to be mature mentally physically she can be mature but mentally it takes time so will it be right to this today?because if u see the marriage of HAZRAT FATIMA was taken place at the age of 18 and secondly u said HAZRAT MOHAMMAD (S.A.W) first engaged with HAZRAT AYESHA AND THEN married her it means that engagement is allowed in islam as i heard alot that it i custome that we have adopted from hindus

    6. Assalamo Alikum sister!!

      First of all sorry for a delayed response.

      1-It was absolutely right at that time. As to issue whether its allowed or not, one must keep one thing in mind that the willingness of the girl is required. Holy Prophet (SAW) emphasized it a lot and practically did show through his later marriages and the same is evident in case of Sayyidah Fatima (r.a.). Now one may ask why the same was not categorically asked from Sayyidah Aisha (r.a) so there are many things in it to be considered. Firstly the complete set of Marriage Laws was not fully explained by then. Holy Prophet (SAW) knew that it was the will of Allah and so did Sayyidina Abu Bakr. This case cannot be used as a proof to marry childs without asking their will. If one is then its valid if on being in good senses they do not have any objection, the same happened in the case of Sayyidah Aisha (ra)that she never had any objection on it.

      2-I have used the word 'engaged', it should not be understood in the way we generally take i.e.in the meanings of 'mangni' rather it means 'NIKAH'. The NIKAH was done earlier and betrothal (Rukhsati) later.

      Hope it makes the matter clear.

      Do write again if something still remains confusing. And Please let others know of the blog if u think it reasonable.

      Jazakillahu Khair

    7. well your answers clear me alot
      i want to ask two more questions well if them man want to give divorce he just have to say three words and the divorce is happened right ?but as it i said that islam give the right of divorce to woman also and it is in mention in nikah nama so i want to ask what is the procedure of woman given divorce same as that of man or different and what is the difference between "khula" and divorce?and the second question i would not be able to translate it in eglish i am posting it in urdu hope u unterstand well the hadith says that HAZRAT MOHAMMAD (S.A.W) SAYS THAT:"agar ghair Allah ko sajdah karnay ki ijazat hoti to main biwi say kehta kay wo apnay husband ko sijdah karay" why he said so?

    8. Great work indeed...I must say! Masha'Allah!!
      I've been searching some material on the same topic these days...Thnx to Allah SWT that he put this thought in my mind to visit the center...oh, i mean "ISLAMIC INFORMATION CENTER" where i found this link....!
      Jazaak'Allah khair akhi..!!
      Do convey my regards to akhi Awais as well..!!
      Qasim Ikram.

    9. Thanks a lot for the Knowledge

    10. Thanks for your research - Salaam :-)

    11. Dear Waqar,

      I read your all answer, believe me you cant imagin the pleasure that i felt after reading this.

      I believe and want to realize this truth to every one, after all it is all about our mother, Hazrat Aysha Saddeeqa (R.A)

      May Allah Reward You For This.


      Abdullah Rasheed

    12. I have read through the explanations of the reason why Muhammad (PUBH) married Aysha (ra). Well described. But I have small confusion. A muslim must believe in Allah and Muhammad(PUBH) to be a proper mulim.Muhammad (PUBH) is an IDOL for all muslims. He is undisputedly the universal role model. His steps muslims follow as sunnah. My question is should a man over 50 yr old marries a girl of 6 in todays world, is it acceptable? I think if anyone does so we will call it a child marriage. And child marriage is banned from most of the countries because of many reasns like scientific and social. If so then we cant follow Muhammad (PUBH) in this case. If so how can he be an IDOL or role model for mankind whereas he did something which we can't do now? Thanks.

    13. @ above

      The issue is dealt with in detail here;



    15. thaks alot i was in very big confusion now am free of tentions...may ALLAHgive you lot of success

    16. subhan allah.aap is trah wazai tour pr malumat fraham kratai rhe. muzaffar

    17. Excellent work brother.. Jazakallah

      People with ill intentions use the topic discussed to disgrace muslims.. with the research and knowledge, that you have provided, inshaAllah, we will be able to give them a shut up call..

    18. Asalam u elekum wa rahmatullahi waqar bhai, this is the most popular article on your blog.

    19. MashaALLAH
      u r gem! u r doing good work keep it up
      May ALLAH SWT bless u with more and more duniyai and deeni knowledge ameen summa ameen
      - Ahmar (Soul)

    20. jazakAllaho khair


    22. Ma sha Allah, great job. You can add more though... in the U.S. the legal age of marriage was 12 in some states in the 19th Century. It was commonplace; there were no schools back then, so there was no reason to stay single. Plus Arabia in the 7th Century was brutal. It was hard for a single woman to survive at that time.

    23. Masha Allah, Allah will blessing and reward you.

    24. Also, there is something to add here.

      Marriage of Prophet (pbuh) to Aisha is also commanded by Allah. There is a narration saying he got a dream where Archangel Gabriel came to him showing him a veiled woman and the Gabriel told him "this is your wife". And when the Prophet (pbuh) opened the veil it was Aisha.

      And also, one of wife of Prophet (pbuh), 'Umm Salamah, is a widow with children from his previous husband.

    25. Amazing! Non-Muslims should take a look at this one too! A Must Read!

    26. can you please answer this this hadith says that she didn't reached puberty Sahih Bukhari Volume 8, Book 73, Number 151 here is the link http://www.sahih-bukhari.com/Pages/Bukhari_8_73.php

      1. It is about the her playing with the dolls. How does playing with the dolls proves she had not reached puberty? it only proves she was still small and no one denies that. In fact this issue is already discussed in the article under a separate heading, "About Sayyidah Aisha playing with dolls etc" along with other related narrations.

    27. yes but it also says that (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) btw i am a muslim the reason that i am asking this is because the non muslims use this to prove she was not in puberty when the prophet consumated the marriage and i would like a answer to refute them on this point and could you say where i can find the heading Sayyidah Aisha playing with dolls can you maybe give the link of the heading i cant find it on this website jzk

      1. It is NOT a part of the hadith. It is a comment quoted from Fath al-Bari. In fact it is not even the saying of Ibn Hajr the author of Fath al-Bari rather it is what he quoted from al-Khattabi. Plus it does not actually refer to puberty, it is about mental maturity like grown up women. The actual words used are (غير بالغ) which can be used both for physical maturity (puberty) and true mental maturity in the sense of seriousness like a comparatively older in age person and here the context implies it is in the later sense.

        That she was not like grown up women is not denied and the point is already addressed.

        Here on this page use CTrl+F to search for "dolls" and you will find the heading. It is right here in this very article to which you are commenting.

        Jazak'Allahu khair

      2. Jazak'Allahu khair this helped me very much the reason that i couldn't find it at the first was because the last part was not in your version of the hadith the part that was in brackets but now i understand it and may allah reward you :D

    28. May Allah bless you!

    29. Great thanks for the article.

    30. Pls see this video. Masha Allah very good. why did prophet Muhammad pbuh marry Aisha ra

    31. May Allah (SWT) Reward you for your well written and researched article on the Mother of the Believers. Some of your readers may not be aware, that even though the enemies of Islam harp on the age of Aisha (RA) which is 9 or 10 at puberty (which was normal for that time period), in contrast, the Jewish Talmud permits adults to have sex with girls who are 3 years and 1 day old.http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message1723428/pg1

    32. Assalamo alaikom

      Great article.
      There is a little typo : "She married women of all age groups" It should be "He married..."

    33. Assalamu alaikum.I could not find tirmidhi hadith no 1109.plz give me source

      1. Wa alaikum assalam wr wb

        In Jami' Tirmidhi it is mentioned without Isnad under Hadith No. 1109. See here
        It is not given in the translation but in the original Arabic it is there. See the last line in the Arabic.

        In another work, however, it is mentioned with Isnad.

        A student of Imam Ishaq bin Rahawayh and Imam Ahmad, Harb bin Isma'il Al-Kirmani (d. 280 AH) states:

        حدثنا إسحاق، قال: أنبا زكريا بن عدي، عن أبي المليح، عن حبيب بن أبي مرزوق، عن عائشة -رضي الله عنها-، قالت: إذا بلغت الجارية تسعا فهي امرأة

        Ishaq [bin Rahawayh] narrated to us on the authority of Zakariyya bin 'Adi from Abu Malih [Al-Raqiy] from Habib bin Abi Marzuq that Aisha (rA) said: "When a girl reaches nine years of age she is a woman."

        -*- Masa'il Harb bin Isma'il Al-Kirmani (Al-Taharah wa Al-Salah), Ed. Muhammad bin Abdullah Al-Sari' (Beirut: Al-Rayan Publishers, 2013) 587, No. 1289