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Aisha bint Abi Bakr, Part 1

Aisha bint Abi Bakr claimed that she was the Prophet Muhammad’s second wife,[1] although this was not strictly correct.[2] She is known as Aisha al-Siddiqa (“the Truthful”)[3] to complement her father, who was also known as al-Siddiq.[4] This byname originally referred, not to Abu Bakr’s personal honesty, but to his “testimony to the truth” of Muhammad’s miraculous Night Journey.[5] Muslims consider Aisha another major “witness to the truth” of Muhammad’s prophetic office. The Syrian scholar Ismail ibn Umar ibn Kathir wrote:

A great deal of the knowledge that we still have today, about how our beloved Prophet lived and behaved, was first remembered and then taught to others by Aisha … This is what makes it so much easier for those who wish to follow in their footsteps to try and follow their example.

Aisha’s witness has bequeathed to the world a wealth of truth about the nature of Islam.

Aisha’s Background

Aisha was born in Mecca “at the beginning of the fourth year of prophethood,”[6] i.e., between 25 October 613 and 19 February 614.

Her father was the cloth-merchant Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah from the Taym clan of the Quraysh. “He was a man whose society was desired, well liked and of easy manners … of high character and kindliness. His people used to come to him to discuss many matters with him because of his wide knowledge, his experience in commerce, and his sociable nature.”[7] His generosity had made him popular in the city.[8] Abu Bakr’s first wife was Qutaylah bint Abduluzza from the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh. She bore him a daughter, Asma.[9] He then married his business partner’s widow, Umm Ruman (Zaynab) bint Amir. She was an immigrant from the Kinana tribe whose only relative in Mecca was her young son, Tufayl ibn Al-Harith;[10] Muhammad once said that she looked like a houri.[11] She was the mother of Abu Bakr’s first son, Abdulrahman.[12] Qutaylah then bore him a second son, Abdullah;[13] but soon afterwards, Abu Bakr divorced Qutaylah.[14]

The family lived near Khadijah’s house[15] and must have known Muhammad for several years before the latter declared himself a prophet in 610. Abu Bakr “did not hold back or hesitate.”[16] He was the first male outside Muhammad’s family to convert to Islam.[17] “When he became a Muslim, he showed his faith openly and called others to God and his apostle… He began to call to God and to Islam all whom he trusted of those who came to him and sat with him… He brought them to the apostle when they had accepted his invitation and they accepted Islam and prayed.”[18] The earliest Muslim historian, Muhammad ibn Ishaq, lists fifty people who became Muslims through Abu Bakr’s preaching,[19] which was probably the majority of the earliest converts.

Aisha was born in the year when Islam was first publicly preached in Mecca[20] and she never knew any lifestyle other than Islam.[21] She grew up in a household where her mother was the only wife and she had four much-older siblings. The records also mention several servants.[22] Aisha was still a baby when a pagan neighbour, Al-Mutim ibn Adiy, proposed that she marry his son Jubayr. Abu Bakr informally accepted this proposal but he did not enter a binding marriage contract.[23] Aisha’s paternal grandparents, already in their 70s at the time of her birth, lived nearby.[24] Her grandmother, Umm Al-Khayr bint Sakhr, was a Muslim,[25] but her grandfather, Abu Quhafah ibn Amir, remained a pagan. When he spoke disparagingly of Muhammad, Abu Bakr hit his father’s chest so hard that the old man became unconscious.[26]

Aisha was less than three years old when the Quraysh declared a blockade against the Hashimite clan.[27] Abu Bakr considered leaving Mecca to join the exiles in Abyssinia. But he found a protector who agreed to keep the neighbours from harassing him on condition he confined his religion to the privacy of his home and did not try to convert anyone else. Abu Bakr kept to the letter of the agreement and stopped preaching outside his home; but he found a way to break its spirit. He built a mosque in the courtyard of his house, where he once again read the Qur’an out loud. When women and youths flocked to hear his preaching, the men challenged his duplicity, and Abu Bakr renounced his protection.[28] Nevertheless, the worst recorded attack on Abu Bakr is that “one of the loutish fellows of Quraysh” once threw dust on his head,[29] an understandable expression of annoyance under the circumstances. Aisha recalled that the ayat Quran 54:46, concerning the occasion when the moon was miraculously split in the sky, was first recited in Mecca when she was “a little girl at play,” three or four years old. She did not, however, claim to remember the miracle itself.[30]

When Aisha was six, the blockade against the Hashimites was revoked, and the clan emerged from hiding in the mountain ravine. After that, Muhammad came to visit her father every morning and evening.[31] Aisha never met his wife Khadijah,[32] who returned to Mecca in poor health and died shortly afterwards.[33]

Reasons for the Marriage

When Khadijah died in April 620, “the Prophet was terribly grieved over her,”[34] and “people feared for him.”[35] After only a few days, Khawlah bint Hakim, the sister-in-law of his friend Umar,[36] decided that he needed a new wife. She called on Muhammad to tell him that she knew of both a maid and a matron whom he might marry and asked which one he would prefer. He immediately responded that he would take them both.[37]

The maid was Abu Bakr’s daughter. It is often claimed that Muhammad married her “to reinforce the friendly relations already existing with Abu Bakr.”[38] In one sense this is true: Abu Bakr was one of the few men in Mecca who would still have been willing to give him a daughter.[39] But this assertion mistakes cause and effect. The marriage did not “promote” any alliance with Abu Bakr; rather, it was the existing close bond with Abu Bakr that made the marriage possible. Did Muhammad’s request to his friend even reflect Khawlah’s original intention? The oral traditions about Muhammad’s life were first put in writing long after his death,[40] and it could be that they have been distorted by narrators who did not know about the interview with Khawlah until they also had hind-knowledge of its result. It is not impossible that Khawlah originally mentioned “Abu Bakr’s daughter” without giving the name, and that she had actually been referring to his elder daughter Asma. Regardless of whether or not Khawlah was complicit in the eventual outcome, what happened was that Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, completely overlooked the sixteen-year-old Asma[41] and asked instead to marry the six-year-old Aisha.[42]

It is also suggested that Muhammad “married Aisha for the benefit of Islam and Humanity … From her, 2210 Hadith have come... Many of her transmissions pertain to some of the most intimate aspects of personal behaviour which only someone in Aisha's position could have learnt.”[43] This makes no sense. If Muhammad had wanted the traditions about his life to be securely transmitted to posterity, he would not have relied on the hope that his young widow might later think of it; he would have arranged to have them committed to writing during his lifetime. He never did. Further, if he had believed that a wife was the best kind of chronicler, he would have chosen an adult spouse who knew how to write. Aisha could in fact read[44] but she never learned to write.[45]

What Muhammad later said was that Allah had instructed him to marry Aisha. He said the angel Jibreel had appeared to him in a dream, holding a veiled child and saying, “Messenger of Allah, this one will remove some of your sorrow. This one has some of the qualities of Khadijah.” Then he lifted the veil, revealing that the child was Aisha.[46] In a second dream, Jibreel showed him Aisha’s portrait painted on silk, promising, “She will be your wife in Paradise.”[47] If Muhammad really had any such dream, it is disturbing that he would act on it so literally.

Muhammad’s decision to marry Aisha was made less than three weeks after Khadijah’s death[48] while he was grieving. He was not necessarily making wise decisions, even from his own point of view. There is little doubt that Muhammad’s choice of Aisha over Asma was influenced by Aisha’s personal qualities. That she was very pretty was conceded by people who had no vested interest[49] as well as by those who might have been biased.[50] She was slim and light-framed[51] with a fair, rosy complexion and perhaps also red hair,[52] which she wore plaited.[53] Her nephew later said, “I did not see a greater scholar than Aisha in poetry, Arab history and genealogy,”[54] and it was said that there was no one else “more intelligent in opinion if her opinion was sought.”[55] While we might question whether Muhammad was aware of her intelligence when she was only six years old, she had indeed “some of the qualities of Khadijah,” who is described as “determined and intelligent”.[56]

Marriage Contract

When Muhammad made his formal request for Aisha’s hand, he did not mention that Allah had “commanded” him to marry her.[57] Abu Bakr hesitated at first, saying, “Would this be suitable, since she is like my brother’s daughter?” But Muhammad said that their brotherhood was purely spiritual and did not preclude such a marriage.[58] Abu Bakr had to break off Aisha’s informal engagement to Jubayr ibn Al-Mutim, but this proved easy, as the pagan family no longer wished to risk that their son might convert to Islam.[59] So Abu Bakr married his daughter to Muhammad in May or June 620. Unlike Abu Bakr’s previous agreement with Al-Mutim, his contract with Muhammad was not a “betrothal” or “engagement” (as some English translators have suggested) but in every way a legally binding marriage, which could only be dissolved by death or divorce.[60]

Soon afterwards, Aisha was sent to Muhammad with a basket of dates. As soon as they were alone in the room, Muhammad “stretched out his blessed hand and grabbed her clothes.” Aisha “glared” at him and exclaimed, “People call you The Trustworthy, but to me you are The Treacherous!” She shook him off, rearranged her clothes and went to complain to her father. Abu Bakr showed no anger or even surprise; he only told her that she was now married to Muhammad, who was therefore treating her like a wife.[61] While there is no record that Muhammad attacked Aisha again as long as she lived in her father’s house (he had probably not expected that a child as young as six would resist him), it is sufficient evidence of his sexual intentions towards her that such an attack should have occurred even once.

Although Aisha heard her father’s words, it seems she did not really understand them, for she later claimed that she had not known that she was married until the very day of the consummation.[62] That Aisha did not know that she was married was, of course, nothing unusual. Throughout history and in nearly every culture, betrothals have been arranged over cradles, and women in particular have been married without their knowledge, understanding or consent. The fact that Aisha was a child is barely an issue here; no woman of any age should be married without her own consent, whether she is six, sixteen, thirty-six or sixty. However, it is unlikely that any seventh-century Arab grasped “informed consent” in the way the modern West understands it. Muhammad’s similar failure to grasp it betrays that he was no prophet or pioneer of human rights but was simply a normal product of his own culture.

Muhammad instructed Umm Ruman, “Take good care of Aisha and watch over her for me.” The family therefore gave Aisha a “special position”. One day Aisha complained to her father about her mother. This made Abu Bakr was angry with both of them. Umm Ruman “came after” Aisha, who hid behind the front door, “weeping with great distress.” When Muhammad arrived for his daily visit, Aisha told him everything. Muhammad’s eyes “overflowed with tears” as he reminded Umm Ruman, “Didn’t I tell you to watch over Aisha for me?” Umm Ruman tried to give her side of the story, but Muhammad replied, “So what?” Aisha’s mother had to promise, “I will never trouble her again.”[63] As the specific details have been omitted from this story, it is not apparent whether it was Umm Ruman who was a difficult mother or Aisha who was a difficult child, or even whether it was Abu Bakr who was a difficult husband and father; but it is certain that Muhammad was interfering with another family’s affairs without any interest in knowing all the facts.

In 622 Abu Bakr accompanied Muhammad on his flight (Hijra) to Medina. He took all his savings with him, leaving nothing to support his family, much to the consternation of his elderly father. Asma had to fool her grandfather, who was blind, by touching his hand to a cloth covering a pile of stones and letting him believe they were a sack of coins.[64] Fortunately it was only a few months before Abu Bakr sent for his family to join him in Medina. Aisha had an adventure on the way: “My camel broke loose. I was sitting in the howdah with my mother, and she started exclaiming, ‘Alas, my daughter! Alas, you bride!’ But they caught up with our camel after it had safely descended the Lift Valley.”[65] After the dry heat of Mecca, the emigrants found Medina damp and cool, and several of them were struck by fever. Aisha was bemused by the delirious ramblings of two of Abu Bakr’s servants and asked Muhammad what it meant. Some of the Muslims were so weak that they said their prayers sitting down until Muhammad advised them, “The prayer of the sitter is only half as valuable as the prayer of the stander.” Thereupon they “painfully struggled to their feet.”[66] Then Aisha herself became feverish for a whole month, and her hair fell out.[67]


After Aisha had recovered, “and my hair had grown back past my earlobes,”[68] Abu Bakr approached Muhammad and asked him if he would like to consummate the marriage. He did not explain why he suddenly lost his scruples over child-marriage; but Aisha’s illness would have hinted at her mortality, while the flight to Medina must have altered the political landscape unrecognisably, so perhaps Abu Bakr felt the need to confirm his continuing importance in the Muslim hierarchy. The family landscape had also changed, for Abu Bakr had lately acquired a new wife, Habibah bint Kharijah, a Medinan woman whom he visited in the suburbs at a discreet distance from the mosque.[69] Perhaps he expected this marriage to produce new financial burdens, although in fact Habibah’s only child, Umm Kulthum, was not to be born until 634.[70] It is worth noting that Habibah’s grandfather was still alive and apparently fit and active.[71] This suggests that Habibah was a very young woman, which might also have caused Abu Bakr to revise his ideas about the suitable age for a girl to marry.

Muhammad did not express any outrage or disgust at this invitation; instead of correcting his friend’s morality, he merely confessed that he had no cash to pay the dower. Abu Bakr replied that he would provide this.[72] The earliest source states that it was a sum of 400 dirhams[73] (about £2,000), but others say 12½ ounces,[74] which would have been worth 500 dirhams (£2,500). It is also said that that dower was “some household goods worth 50 dirhams[75] (£250), so perhaps part of the value was paid in kind.

Umm Ruman tried to fatten Aisha up before sending her to Muhammad’s house. Several types of food failed to replace the flesh that she had lost during her illness “till she gave me cucumber with fresh dates to eat. Then I became fat as good.”[76] In April or May 623 Aisha, now aged nine, was playing on a swing with some friends when her mother called her over. Still breathless, Aisha was taken to the little house that had just been built into the wall of the mosque, a hut of unbaked bricks with a palm-branch roof, perhaps five metres by four in size.[77] When she was brought inside, where some ansar women wished her good luck, “it occurred to me that I was married. I did not ask her, and my mother was the one who told me.”[78] For some reason, Umm Ruman then departed, leaving the ansar women to wash and perfume Aisha, dress her up in a red-striped gown and comb her hair. When her father’s friend Muhammad arrived, she was surprised, suggesting that she had still not guessed the identity of her bridegroom, but not afraid. The women left the house, and Muhammad sat her on his lap.[79] The consummation was not marked by any kind of wedding party or public celebration: “neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered for me.”[80] This possibly indicates that, while the Muslim converts did not question Muhammad’s judgment, he knew only too well what his Jewish neighbours would think of his bigamy.[81]

Aisha often said, “I was preferred over the wives of the Prophet,”[82] and asked rhetorically, “Which of his wives is more fortunate than I?”[83] She was always very proud of her position as the beloved of the Prophet and never recognised that she had been raped. She spoke calmly of the way Muhammad sucked her tongue[84] and took baths with her in the same tub,[85] and of how she would then wash the semen off his clothes[86] and anoint him with perfume[87] (his favourite was dhikarat al-tayyib, a blend of musk and ambergris[88]).

Aisha’s acceptance of the situation does not alter the fact that a fifty-two-year-old man should have known better than to engage sexually with a nine-year-old. Most cultures throughout history have understood that a girl should not be touched before puberty. The Jews in Medina most certainly understood it.[89] Muslim apologists have tried to plead that Aisha was an early developer for whom “it is most likely her puberty started at 8, and continued till she was 9, and once she was going through puberty and her menses, this made her a lady and not a girl anymore.”[90] But this is not correct. Aisha had still not reached menarche by the age of fourteen and a half, more than five years after the consummation of her marriage. She several times described her fourteen-year-old self as a jariya (“prepubescent girl”)[91] and in July 628 was still playing with dolls, which were forbidden to adults but permitted to prepubescents.[92] Although this could not have been predicted on her wedding day, she actually belonged to the 10% of girls who are latest in reaching puberty.[93] At nine, she would have been flat-chested and only three-quarters of her future height; nobody could have mistaken her for an adult. Unlike the informed consent issue, which simply reveals that Muhammad was a product of his culture, this act of paederasty betrays that Muhammad was morally inferior to his own culture. He rejected the moral norms of his wisest contemporaries and abused a little girl for no better reason than that Abu Bakr had made it easy for him to do so. He demonstrated for once and for all that he had no timeless, universal moral insight to offer the world – in short, that he was not a prophet.

Relationship with Muhammad

Aisha was to remain Muhammad’s favourite wife.[94] He claimed that Aisha was dearer to him “than butter with dates”[95] and superior to all other women in the same way that a meat stew was superior to plain bread.[96] When a companion asked him, “Whom do you love most in this world?” he replied, “Aisha!” When the young man protested that he had meant male persons, Muhammad corrected his reply to, “Her father.”[97] He made himself a doorway in the mosque wall close to Aisha’s house-door,[98] presumably to visit her more conveniently. At table he would eat meat from a bone that she had bitten and drink from her cup.[99] As he once sat repairing his sandals, Aisha stared at him until he asked why. She replied, “Al-Huthali’s poem was written for you! He said that if you looked to the majesty of the moon, it twinkles and lights up the world for everybody to see.” Muhammad walked over to her, kissed her between the eyes, and said, “I swear to Allah, Aisha, you are like that to me and more.”[100] She once asked, “How is your love for me?” and he replied that it was, “Like the rope’s knot.” After that she would often ask, “How is the knot?” and he would reply, “The same as ever!”[101]

Muhammad allowed Aisha her playtime. Her collection of dolls included at least three shaped like female humans[102] and a stuffed horse with wings. Muhammad questioned her about this anomaly but he laughed when she reminded him that Solomon was supposed to have owned winged horses.[103] Strangely, neither of them mentioned that Muhammad himself claimed to have ridden a winged horse a few years earlier.[104] Aisha said that (presumably after she grew older) she used to hide her dolls under a garment when Muhammad entered, “but she did not stop.”[105]

At first her playmates “felt shy of Allah’s Messenger”[106] and “used to hide themselves” when Muhammad entered her house, “but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.”[107] At festival time her friends sang badly and beat tambourines in her house, although Muhammad came to lie down there. Abu Bakr rebuked them: “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet!” But Muhammad told the girls not to stop their play for him.[108] Later that day, some Abyssinian guests put on a display in the mosque courtyard to demonstrate their prowess with shields and spears. Women were not really allowed, but Muhammad circumvented the regulation by standing in front of Aisha at her front door, screening her with his cloak, so that she could watch the performance without being seen.[109] She once beat him in a running race. Later, after she had put on weight, they raced again, and he won, remarking, “This pays you back for that other time!”[110] Given the chance to mount an unbroken camel, she drove it “round and round” until Muhammad had to remind her to be gentle with the animal.[111]

But what these “innocent” episodes demonstrate, above anything else, is that Aisha was a child. A grown woman does not play with dolls and swings. Aisha was just a little girl who, like any other little girl, was inconsiderate about noise[112] and could not cook.[113] While (as shown above) she could be surprisingly assertive towards her elders, she was no match for Muhammad on an ongoing basis. In such a situation of power imbalance, she often resorted to expressing her displeasure indirectly, by declaiming, “By the lord of Ibrahim,” instead of her usual, “By the lord of Muhammad.” However, he took the hint.[114]


Muhammad taught that women “have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with the custom.”[115] But he did not provide much food for Aisha, and she was always hungry. She was underweight because she so rarely ate meat.[116] She claimed she never ate barley bread for more than three successive days. Sometimes the family did not light a fire for a month on end because they had nothing to cook but lived off dates and water.[117] A neighbour once sent Aisha a pudding. While she was finishing her prayers, a cat came in and ate some of it, but she had no compunction in eating from the place that the cat had licked.[118]

Muhammad told Aisha, “Beware of sitting with the wealthy, and do not replace a garment until you have already mended it.”[119] Throughout her life, she disliked discarding worn-out clothes.[120] She did own a gown costing about five dirhams (£25), and “no woman desiring to appear elegant before her husband failed to borrow [it] from me.” But the cloth cannot have been of very high quality compared to what became available in Medina in later decades, for although the widowed Aisha continued to wear similar clothes, her slave refused to wear such a coarse gown in the house.[121] The mosque had no indoor toilets, “for we loathe and detest them,”[122] and Aisha did not have a lamp in her house.[123] When her quilt was stolen, it was a real loss, and she began to curse the unknown thief. However, Muhammad told her not to do so, because curses on earth would only lessen the thief’s punishment in the Hereafter.[124]

Charity was a way of life for the Arabs, and of course the Prophet’s young wife had to set the example. In the early years, beggars sat on the Bench in the mosque courtyard waiting for food distribution.[125] Aisha used to count them until Muhammad told her, “Give and do not calculate, [or else] calculation will be made against you.”[126] Sometimes he brought them into her house to be fed, although she struggled to find food “as small in quantity as a pigeon” to serve them.[127] On one occasion a beggar came to her door on a fast-day, and Aisha told her maid to give him their only loaf. The servant protested that there would be nothing to break their fast, but Aisha insisted.[128] On another occasion, a widow with two daughters came begging, and Aisha’s larder was reduced to one date. She handed it over, and the widow divided it between the children without taking anything for herself.[129] Ibn Kathir, writing seven hundred years after the event, cited this old tradition.

The Prophet had sacrificed an animal, and Ayesha was so generous in sharing the meat out amongst the poor that she found that she had left nothing for the Messenger’s large household except the shoulder of the animal. Feeling a little distressed, she went to the Prophet, and said, ‘I’ve only been able to save this.’ ‘That is the only part that you have not saved,’ smiled the Prophet, ‘for whatever you give away in the name of Allah, you save, and whatever you keep for yourself, you lose.’”

The shoulder was Muhammad’s favourite part of the sheep.[130]

The fact that Aisha had a servant does not indicate very much about the comfort-level of her home. Barira was a slave whom Aisha bought for nine ounces of silver (about £1,800) with the specific goal of immediate manumission. As it happened, Barira had nowhere else to go, so she chose to stay with Aisha as a domestic maid.[131] Muhammad put up the silver, which only proves that (largely through the successes of his wars and robberies[132]) he by now had some money in his coffer. But he spent his money on arming his warriors,[133] bribing the double-minded[134] or assisting the poor[135] (which included such acts as manumitting slaves). According to Aisha, it did not translate to food for his household. “The Prophet of Allah liked three worldly objects – perfume, women and food … He obtained women and perfumes but he did not get food.”[136] The servant Barira was an extra mouth for Muhammad to feed, and she must have been as hungry as her young mistress.

After the conquest of Khaybar in July 628, Muhammad was no longer poor, and Aisha was granted a share of the revenues.[137] She hoped that “at last we will eat our fill of dates.”[138] But if her rations improved, she did not remember it afterwards, so the majority of her sacks of wheat and dates must have been sold for cash or distributed to the poor. On the day Muhammad died, he was “King” of all Arabia, but Aisha’s barrel contained only one handful of barley.[139]

See Also


  1. Sahih Muslim 8:3452.
  2. Aisha must have known that Muhammad married Sawdah bint Zamaa in the ninth month and herself in the tenth month of the same year (Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 170-171; Bewley/Saad 8:43, 55; Sahih Muslim 8:3312). However, the sequence of events in Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 128-130 makes it clear that Muhammad did propose to Aisha before he proposed to Sawdah: “Khawlah replied, ‘The Messenger of God has sent me to ask for A’ishah’s hand in marriage on his behalf.’ … Then Khawlah left and went to Sawdah saying, ‘O Sawdah ... the Messenger of God has sent me with a marriage proposal.’” By claiming to be the second wife, i.e., the first after Khadijah, Aisha probably wanted to emphasise that she had been Muhammad’s first choice and was therefore more important than her co-wives.
  3. Ibn Kathir, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
  4. Bewley/Saad 8:46. “Masruq … would say, “The truthful daughter of the true, whose innocence was proclaimed, told me such-and-such.”
  5. Guillaume/Ishaq 183.
  6. Bewley/Saad 8:55.
  7. Guillaume/Ishaq 116.
  8. Sahih Bukhari 3:37:494.
  9. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 193.
  10. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 171; Bewley/Saad 8:193.
  11. Bewley/Saad 8:193.
  12. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 129-130; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 171-172; Bewley/Saad 8:193.
  13. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 193.
  14. Bewley/Saad 8:178: “Abu Bakr had divorced her in the Jahiliyah,” i.e., before Islam, and therefore not, as is sometimes asserted, because of religious differences.
  15. Muir (1861). The Life of Mohamet, p. 100. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  16. Guillaume/Ishaq 116.
  17. Guillaume/Ishaq 115. According to Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 201, one woman, Lubabah bint Al-Harith, claimed that her conversion pre-dated Abu Bakr’s.
  18. Guillaume/Ishaq 115, 116.
  19. Guillaume/Ishaq 115-117.
  20. Guillaume/Ishaq 117.
  21. Sahih Bukhari 3:37:494; Sahih Bukhari 5:58:245.
  22. Guillaume/Ishaq 116, 144, 224;
  23. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 129-130.
  24. Guillaume/Ishaq 225.
  25. Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaba vol. 8.
  26. Qurtubi, Tafsir vol. 17 p. 307. Cited in Radtke, B., & O’Kane, J. (1996). The Concept of Sainthood in Early Islamic Mysticism, p. 142. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press and also in “The Love of Hadrat Abu Bakr”, p. 6, in Tasawwuf. It is said that Allah sent down Quran 58:22 in response.
  27. Guillaume/Ishaq 159-160.
  28. Sahih Bukhari 3:37:494; Guillaume/Ishaq 171.
  29. Guillaume/Ishaq 171-172.
  30. Sahih Bukhari 6:60:387; Sahih Bukhari 6:60:388; Sahih Bukhari 6:60:399; Sahih Bukhari 6:61:515. The Lebanese scholar Dr Gibril Haddad says: “The hadith masters, sira historians and Qur’anic commentators agree that the splitting of the moon took place about five years before the Holy Prophet’s Hijra to Madina,” i.e., in 617-618.
  31. Bewley/Saad 8:55; Sahih Bukhari 5:58:245.
  32. Sahih Bukhari 5:58:166.
  33. Guillaume/Ishaq 191; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 4, 161; Bewley/Saad 8:12, 152.
  34. Bewley/Saad 8:54.
  35. Bewley/Saad 8:44.
  36. She was married to Uthman ibn Mazoon (Guillaume/Ishaq 590), whose sister Zaynab was married to Umar (Bewley/Saad 8:56).
  37. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129.
  38. Why Did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Married Young Aisha Siddiqa (r.a.)?.
  39. For Muhammad’s unpopularity with his pagan neighbours, see Guillaume/Ishaq 191-194.
  40. Siddiqi, M. Z. (2006). Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development, Special Features and Criticism, pp. 8-9. “Hadith which thus spread throughout the vast Muslim dominions had been preserved for a century partly in writing (in the form of laws and letters dictated by Muhammad himself, and in the form of various Sahifahs ascribed to many of his Companions), and partly in the memory of those who had associated with him and watched carefully his words and deeds. After the death of Muhammad, Umar I intended to collect the Ahadith. He gave the matter his careful consideration for one whole month, invoking the help of God in his decision, and seeking the advice of his friends. But he had to give up the great project for fear of the Qur’an being neglected by the Muslims.” Kuala Lumpar: Islamic Book Trust.
  41. Haddad cites Al-Dhahabi in Siyar Alam al-Nubala vol. 2 p. 289: “Asma was ten years older than Aisha.” Haddad points out that Al-Dhahabi elsewhere suggests Asma might have been even older than this, possibly as old as twenty-five.
  42. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:18.
  43. Why Did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Married Young Aisha Siddiqa (r.a.)?
  44. Sahih Bukhari 6:61:515; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  45. Baladhuri, Conquest of the Lands, cited in Mutahhari, S. A. M. The Unschooled Prophet. Tehran: Islamic Propagation Organization. “It is reported that Aisha used to read the Qur’an but she did not write.”
  46. Bewley/Saad 8:54-55; Sahih Muslim 31:5977.
  47. Sahih Bukhari 5:58:235; Sahih Bukhari 9:87:140.
  48. Khadijah died on 10 Ramadan, and Muhammad married Sawdah before Ramadan had ended. Even if he married her on the same day as Khawlah’s visit (the day he also decided to marry Aisha), this was a maximum of twenty days after Khadijah’s death. Common sense suggests that it would have more likely taken a day or two to organise the wedding, which did not necessarily take place as late as the final day of the month.
  49. Sahih Bukhari 6:60:435; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:145.
  50. Guillaume/Ishaq 495; Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  51. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829
  52. In Al-Nasa’i 5:307 and Bewley/Saad 8:55, Muhammad addresses Aisha as Humayra, which means “little red one”. This was not a commonplace nickname, so Aisha’s degree of redness must have been unusual.
  53. Sunan Abu Dawud 1:241.
  54. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 p. 67; Al-Hakim, Mustadrak vol. 4 p. 11. See also Al-Dhahabi, “Aisha, Mother of the Faithful” in Tadhkirat al-Huffaz p. 1/13.
  55. Ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 2, p. 481.
  56. Guillaume/Ishaq 82.
  57. Bewley/Saad 8:55.
  58. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:18.
  59. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129-130.
  60. Ibn Hisham note 918; Sahih Bukhari 1:7:88; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:90; Sahih Muslim 2:3309; Sahih Muslim 2:3310; Sahih Muslim 2:3311; Sahih Muslim 4:3309; Sahih Muslim 8:3311; Bewley/Saad 8:55; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 130-131; Ibn Majah 3:1876; Ibn Majah 3:1877.
  61. Abdulrahman Hamdanius, Al-Shabayat, cited in Maracci, L. (1698). Vita Mahometis, p. 23. Padua, Italy: Seminary Printing Press.
  62. Bewley/Saad 8:43. “I did not know that the Messenger of Allah had married me until my mother took me and made me sit in the room rather than being outside [on the day of the consummation]. Then it occurred to me that I was married.”
  63. Bewley/Saad 8:55.
  64. Guillaume/Ishaq 225.
  65. {{Tabari|39|p. 172}); Bewley/Saad 8:44-45.
  66. Guillaume/Ishaq 413-414.
  67. Sahih Muslim 8:3309; Ibn Majah 3:1876.
  68. Sahih Muslim 8:3309; Ibn Majah 3:1876
  69. Bewley/Saad 8:243. “Habiba bint Kharija ibn Zayd … married Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and bore him Umm Kulthum.” See also Guillaume/Ishaq 227, 234. P. 681 shows that Habibah never resided near the mosque even after Umm Ruman died. See also Al-Tabari, Vol. 11, pp. 151-152.
  70. Al-Tabari, Vol. 11, p. 141 & f769; Bewley/Saad 8:243; Al-Muwatta 36:40.
  71. Al-Wahidi, Asbab Al-Nuzul. Translated by Guezzou, M. (2011). Context of Revelation, Q4:34. Amman, Jordan: Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
  72. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 172-173.
  73. Ibn Hisham note 918
  74. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 173, 189; {{Muslim|38|3318}; Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2101; Bewley/Saad 8:118. The ounces were presumably of silver, since the same weight of gold would have had ten times this value. Perhaps the later chroniclers updated for inflation.
  75. Bewley/Saad 8:44
  76. Sunan Abu Dawud 28:3894.
  77. {{Tabari|39|pp. 172-173; Bewley/Saad 8:121; 65.3/ Ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1:65:3.
  78. Bewley/Saad 8:43.
  79. Ibn Hisham note 918; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:88; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:90; Sahih Muslim 8:3309; Sahih Muslim 8:3310; Sahih Muslim 8:3311; Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4915; Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4917; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 130-131; Ibn Majah 3:1876; Ibn Majah 3:1877.
  80. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 131.
  81. Bewley/Saad 8:143. “They envied him because of the number of his wives and they criticised him for that, saying, ‘If he had been a prophet, he would not have desired women.’ The most intense of them in that criticism was Huyayy ibn Akhtab,” the chief of the Nadir tribe. It is probably not a coincidence that, just five years later, Muhammad’s collection of wives included Huyayy’s favourite daughter. It is not stated, however, that Huyayy had a specific objection to Aisha’s extreme youth.
  82. Bewley/Saad 8:46
  83. Bewley/Saad 8:44.
  84. Sunan Abu Dawud 13:2380.
  85. Sahih Bukhari 1:5:263; Sahih Bukhari 1:6:298.
  86. Sahih Bukhari 1:4:229; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:230; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:231; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:232; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:233.
  87. Sahih Bukhari 1:5:267.
  88. Ibn Saad, Tabaqat 1:2:90:11.
  89. Ezekiel 16:7-8; “Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children” in Judaism 101.
  90. Zaatari, S. “A Detailed analysis of the Prophet's Marriage to Aisha” in Muslim Responses.
  91. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829 also refers to her light weight at the time of the raid on the Mustaliq tribe. Sahih Muslim 4:1940 emphasises her “tender age” at the time of the Abyssinian sword-display, which must have happened after the Order of the Veil, since Muhammad had to screen her, i.e., at earliest in March 628.
  92. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151.
  93. The mean age of menarche was 12½ years. This is quite similar to today, when the standard deviation is about 18 months. So probably only 5% of Aisha’s contemporaries would have been menstruating before age ten, 16% by age eleven, 32% by age twelve, 68% by age thirteen, 84% by age fourteen, 95% by age fifteen and over 99% by age sixteen. These statistics suggest that Aisha did menstruate within twelve months of the doll-playing incident, but the exact date is not recorded.
  94. Sahih Bukhari 3:47:755; Sahih Muslim 31:5984.
  95. Bewley/Saad 8:55.
  96. Sahih Bukhari 4:55:623; Sahih Bukhari 5:57:113; Sahih Bukhari 5:57:114; Sahih Bukhari 7:65:329; Sahih Bukhari 7:65:330; Sahih Bukhari 7:65:339.
  97. Sahih Bukhari 5:57:14.
  98. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 173; Bewley/Saad 8:45.
  99. Nasa’i 1:70.
  100. Sunan al-Bayhaqi #15825.
  101. Ibn Kathir, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
  102. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151; Sahih Muslim 8:3311; Sahih Muslim 31:5981.
  103. Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4914.
  104. Guillaume/Ishaq 182; Sahih Bukhari 4:54:429; Sahih Bukhari 5:58:227.
  105. Bewley/Saad 8:47.
  106. Sahih Muslim 31:5981.
  107. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151
  108. Sahih Bukhari 2:15:70; Sahih Bukhari 2:15:72.
  109. Sahih Bukhari 2:15:70.
  110. Sunan Abu Dawud 14:2572.
  111. Sahih Muslim 32:6275; Sahih Muslim 32:6274. See also Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4790.
  112. Sahih Bukhari 2:15:72
  113. Al-Nasa’i 8917 tells an incident where a co-wife declines to eat Aisha’s cooking and Muhammad also avoids tasting it; since politeness compelled people, even if “not hungry,” to accept at least a small portion, the food is presumably not fit to eat. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829 reveals that Aisha usually delegated the daily baking to her maid and did not even watch the rising dough reliably. In Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 p. 227 (see also Sahih Bukhari 1:7:152), the teenaged Aisha is so jealous of a co-wife’s superior culinary skills that she smashes her dish.
  114. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:155.
  115. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 112-113. See also Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2137.
  116. Guillaume/Ishaq 494; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  117. Sahih Muslim 42:7085; Sahih Muslim 42:7083; Sahih Muslim 42:7086; Sahih Muslim 42:7084; Sahih Muslim 42:7087; Sahih Muslim 42:7089; Sahih Muslim 42:7092; Sahih Muslim 42:7093; Sahih Muslim 42:7097; Sahih Muslim 42:7098.
  118. Sunan Abu Dawud 1:76. This incident probably dates from after Aisha was widowed; but she maintained the habits she had learned from Muhammad.
  119. Bewley/Saad 8:53.
  120. Bewley/Saad 8:52.
  121. Sahih Bukhari 3:47:796.
  122. Guilaume/Ishaq 495.
  123. Sahih Bukhari 1:9:492.
  124. Sunan Abu Dawud 8:1492; Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4891.
  125. Sahih Bukhari 1:10:576: “The Suffa companions were poor people, and the Prophet said, ‘Whoever has food for two persons should take a third one from them.’” See also Muir (1861), pp. 20-21.
  126. Sunan Abu Dawud 9:1696.
  127. Sunan Abu Dawud 41:5022.
  128. Al-Muwatta 58:5.
  129. Sahih Muslim 32:6362; Sahih Bukhari 8:73:24.
  130. Guillaume/Ishaq 516
  131. Bewley/Saad 8:181; Sahih Bukhari 3:47:752.
  132. For the booty from his battles, see Guillaume/Ishaq 324, 326-327, 438, 466; Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 87.
  133. Guillaume/Ishaq 466.
  134. Guillaume/Ishaq 594-597
  135. Guillaume/Ishaq 521.
  136. Ibn Saad, Tabaqat 1:2:90:4
  137. Guillaume/Ishaq 521-523.
  138. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:547. See also Sahih Muslim 9:3506 and Sahih Muslim 9:3510, dating from this period.
  139. Sahih Muslim 42:7091; Jalalayn’s commentary on Q93:8.