isha, the most brilliant woman, and Prophet Muhammad’s third and youngest wife have always been under attack by various religious groups in modern times. But people hardly know what important roles she played in Islamic history. In Islamic kinds of literature, her name is thus often introduced by the term “Mother of the Believers” signifying to the depiction of Muhammad’s wives in the Qur’an. Aisha had an important role in early Islamic history, both during Muhammad’s life and after his death. In Sunni tradition, Aisha is portrayed as learned and intrusive. She contributed to the spread of Muhammad’s message and served the Muslim community for 44 long years after his death. She is also known for narrating 2,210 hadiths, not just on matters related to Muhammad’s private life, but also on topics such as legacy, pilgrimage, and eschatology. Her intellect and knowledge in various subjects, including poetry and medicine, were highly praised by early luminaries such as al-Zuhri and her student Urwa ibn al-Zubayr.
Her father, Abu Bakr, became the first caliph to succeed Muhammad, and after two years was succeeded by Umar. During the time of the third caliph Uthman, Aisha had an important part in the conflict that grew against him, though she did not agree either with those responsible for his assassination or with the party of Ali. During the reign of Ali, she wanted to avenge Uthman’s death, which she attempted to do in the Battle of the Camel. She participated in the combat by giving speeches and leading troops on the back of her camel. She ended up losing the battle, but her involvement and determination left a lasting impression. Because of her participation in this battle, Shia Muslims have a generally negative view of Aisha. Afterward, she lived quietly in Medina for more than twenty years, took no part in politics, became committed to Ali, and did not oppose caliph Mu’awiya.
Some traditional hadith sources state that Aisha was a sweetheart to Muhammad at the age of 6 or 7; other scriptures say she was 9 when she had a small marriage ceremony; some sources put the date in her teens, but both the date and her age at marriage and later consummation with Muhammad in Medina are sources of controversy and discussion amongst scholars. Aisha was born 613 or early 614. She was the daughter of Umm Ruman and Abu Bakr of Mecca, two of Muhammad’s most trusted companions. But hardly there is any information about Aisha’s childhood years.
The idea to match Aisha with Muhammad was suggested by Khawlah bint Hakim after the death of Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid. After this, the previous agreement regarding the marriage of Aisha with Jubayr ibn Mut ‘im was put aside by common consent. Abu Bakr was uncertain at first “as to the propriety or even legality of marrying his daughter to his ‘brother’.” Muhammad, however, responded that they were brothers only in religion. British historian William Montgomery Watt suggests that Muhammad hoped to strengthen his ties with Abu Bakr; the strengthening of ties commonly served as a basis for marriage in Arabian culture. Controversy on Aisha’s age and marriage yet to behave arguments but no answers, because there was no official registration of births at the time that Aisha was born, so her date of birth, and therefore the date of marriage, cannot be stated with certainty. Her age is not mentioned in the Qur’an. All discussions and debates about her age at marriage rely on, firstly, the various ahadith, which are regarded by most Muslims as records of the words and actions of Muhammad and as a source for religious law and moral guidance, second only to that of the Qur’an. Unlike the Qur’an, not all Muslims believe that all ahadith accounts are a divine revelation, and different collections of ahadith are given varying levels of respect by different branches of the Islamic faith. Sunni, various branches of Shia (such as Ismaili and Twelver), Ibadi, and Ahmadiyya Muslims all regarding different sets of ahadith as “strong” or “weak” in the power of their evidence, depending on their perceived provenance. Aisha’s age at the time of her marriage is frequently mentioned in Islamic literature. According to John Esposito, Aisha was married to Muhammad in Mecca in 624CE, after Hegira to Medina and the Battle of Badr. Several scholars interpret this to indicate that she reached puberty at this age, although her age at the time is the subject of dispute. Al-Tabari says she was nine at the time her marriage was consummated. Sahih al-Bukhari’s hadith says “that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old.” Other sources differ on the age of marriage but agree that the marriage was not consummated at the time of the marriage contract. All biographical information on Muhammad and his companions was first recorded over a century after his death, but the ahadith and sīra (traditional Islamic biographies of Muhammad) provide records of early Islam through an unbroken chain of transmission.
Various ahadith stating that Aisha was either nine or ten at the time of her consummation come from collections with sahih status, meaning they are regarded as reputable by most Sunni Muslims. Other traditional sources also mention Aisha’s age. Marriage at a young age was not unheard of at the time, and Aisha’s marriage to Muhammad may have had a political connotation, as her father Abu Bakr was an influential man in the community. Abu Bakr, on his part, may have sought to further the bond of kinship between Muhammad and himself by joining their families together in marriage via Aisha. Leila Ahmed notes that Aisha’s betrothal and marriage to Muhammad are presented as ordinary in Islamic literature, and may indicate that it was not unusual for children to be married to their elders in that era. Aisha’s age at marriage has been a source of controversy and debate, and some historians, scholars, and writers have revisited the previously accepted timeline of her life, some writers have calculated Aisha’s age based on details found in some biographies. In many Muslim traditions, Aisha is described as Muhammad’s most beloved or favoured wife after his first wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, who died before the migration to Medina took place. Aisha was jealous of Khadija bint Khuwaylid who was the first wife of the Prophet Muhammad, saying, “I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadija though I did not see her, the Prophet used to mention her very often, and whenever he slaughtered a sheep, he would cut its parts and send them to the women friends of Khadija. When I sometimes said to him, “(You treat Khadija in such a way) as if there is no woman on earth except Khadija,” he would say, “Khadija was such-and-such, and from her I had children. Aisha and Prophet Muhammad would often have races with each other, “I had a race with him (the Prophet), and I outstripped him on my feet. When I became fleshy, (again) I raced with him (the Prophet), and he outstripped me. He said: This is for that outstripping.” to conclude we can see very cordial relations between Prophet and his wives; only he knows why are people making it a political tool for today’s time?
(Information collected from Various Sources)
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