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Aishas Age of Consummation

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Some [[apologists]] have recently claimed that Aisha was actually older than nine [[Islamic Lunar Calendar|lunar years]] at time of the [[The Meaning of Consummate|consummation]] of her [[marriage]] to Prophet [[Muhammad]]. They have attempted to explain that Aisha was in fact not nine-years-old as the [[Sahih]] hadiths of her own testimony claim, but some other ages derived from misquotations, indirect sources, fuzzy dating techniques and slander. These dubious research techniques have led to several conflicting ages to be proposed for Aisha at the time of consummation, including 12, 14, 15, 17, 18 and 21 years. This article analyzes every single argument that has been put forward, and provides additional information on the origins and history of the "Aisha was older" apologetic arguments, and the only logical purpose behind making them.
ce The arguments raised by some apologists have given many the false impression that Aisha's age is a long contested issue in [[Islam]], and that it is a valid argument over interpretation that could eventually lead to reforms within mainstream Islam. This is certainly not the case. There is no argument over interpretation. The text clearly say one thing and one thing only. For those who have actually read the source material, it is disingenuous to claim otherwise. Lying about what sources say may be effective in apologetic pieces, but they are useless if the intentions behind them are to reform the religion. There is not a single serious Muslim scholar, someone who is accepted in the Muslim world and by mainstream Muslims as being representative of their beliefs, who would repeat these claims. Thus, the only purpose they serve is to deflect valid criticism from a belief that continues to result in millions of young girls being forced into [[Contemporary Pedophilic Islamic Marriages|pedophilic child marriages]] by individuals, and even entire nations, all of whom explicitly use Aisha's relationship with Muhammad as justification. ===History=== The majority of Muslims today, including both scholars and the general Muslim population, agree that Aisha was 9 when her marriage to Prophet Muhammad was consummated. This has been the mainstream Muslim understanding throughout Islam's 1,400 year history.  The first ever pro-Muhammad and provably faulty objection raised to Aisha's age was by Maulana Muhammad Ali who lived from 1874 to 1951.<ref name="Zahid Aziz"></ref> He is neither a respected nor a notable figures as far as Islam is concerned, since he belonged to the [[Ahmadiyya]] whose beliefs drastically differ from mainstream Islam. The Ahmadiyya and their writings are also heavily focused on missionary work. Adding to Ali's objections, there is Habib Ur Rahman Siddiqui Kandhalvi (1924-1991) who in his Urdu booklet, "Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat" (English trans. 1997), laments that he is "tired of defending this tradition" that is "laughed" at and "ridiculed" by English-educated individuals he meets in Karachi who claim it is against "sagacity and prudence" and "preferred English society to Islam over this", and he readily admits his "aim is to produce an answer to the enemies of Islam who spatter mud at the pious body of the Generous Prophet".<ref>All Habib Ur Rahman Siddiqui Kandhalvi quotations are taken from the Preface of the 2007 English translation of his Urdu booklet, "''Tehqiq e umar e Siddiqah e Ka'inat''", translated by Nigar Erfaney and published by Al-Rahman Publishing Trust under the title, "''Age of Aisha (The Truthful Women, May Allah Send His Blessings)''"</ref> A posthumous [[fatwa]] was issued against him in November 2004, labelling him a "Munkir-e-Hadith" (hadith rejector) and a "Kafir" (infidel) on the basis of being a rejector of hadith.<ref>The original fatwa and the English translation branding Habib Ur Rahman Siddiqui Kandhalvi's beliefs outside of Islam, thus making him a 'kafir', can be viewed here: [{{Reference archive|1=|2=2012-09-24}} Fatwa's on hadith rejectors?]</ref>
More recently, there is Moiz Amjad (who refers to himself as "The Learner"). He readily admits to having lifted these faulty arguments from them, summarizing and presenting them in response to a Muslim asking him how he can respond to Christians who called Muhammad a pedophile (i.e. all of his arguments, like Ali's and Kandhalvi's before him, were apologetic in nature rather than scholarly).<ref>See: "[ What was Ayesha's (ra) Age at the Time of Her Marriage?]", by Moiz Amjad.</ref> It was at this very recent point in history that the arguments originating from the Ahmadiyya in the 1920s and 1930s finally achieved a little popularity among a few orthodox Muslims. However, this popularity seems to be strictly limited to articles or arguments on the Internet. Clearly a knee-jerk reaction to the avalanche in online criticism of Muhammad's life, as opposed to a tangible shift in beliefs.
 The following series of arguments were presented by Moiz Amjad. We have chosen to analyze and respond to them specifically, due to his polemics encompassing every single claim made by other modern-day apologists who sometimes use a few, or even all of them as their own. They do this often without acknowledging Amjad as the true source of their claims.  ===First Argument: Number of Narrators=== {{Quote|1={{Cite web quotebox|url= -age-at-the-time-of-her-marriage-to-the-prophet-pbuh-5107|title= What was Ayesha's (ra) Age at the Time of Her Marriage to the Prophet (pbuh)? |publisher= Understanding-Islam|author= Moiz Amjad|date= May 1, 1998|archiveurl=|deadurl=no}}|2=Most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn `urwah reporting on the authority of his father. An event as well known as the one being reported, should logically have been reported by more people than just one, two or three.}} This is a classic ''Straw man''. There is no requirement in Islam for multiple narrations. Even a single sahih hadith is sufficient to establish Islamic laws and practices. Shaykh Gibril Haddad also refutes the claim that most of these narratives are reported only by Hisham ibn Urwah. {{Quote|{{cite web quotebox|url=|title= Our Mother A'isha's Age At The Time Of Her Marriage to The Prophet|publisher= SunniPath|author= Shaykh Gibril F Haddad|series=Question ID: 4604|date= July 3, 2005|archiveurl=|deadurl=no}}|2=Try more than eleven authorities among the Tabi`in that reported it directly from `A'isha, not counting the other major Companions that reported the same, nor other major Successors that reported it from other than `A'isha.}} ===Second Argument: Locality=== {{Quote|1=[ Moiz Amjad]|2=It is quite strange that no one from Medinah, where Hisham ibn `urwah lived the first seventy one years of his life has narrated the event [from him], even though in Medinah his pupils included people as well known as Malik ibn Anas. All the narratives of this event have been reported by narrators from Iraq, where Hisham is reported to have had shifted after living in Medinah for seventy one years.}} Another ''Straw man''. There is no requirement for a hadith to be narrated in Medina for it to be considered sahih. Also, many events in the Prophet’s life were narrated by single narratives as well. Does that make them invalid? No. To demand multiple, independent narrations from Medinans is just setting up a standard that does not exist – i.e. a straw man. Shaykh Haddad also refutes this argument by listing the people from Medina who reported this event. {{Quote|1=[ Gibril Haddad]|2=Al-Zuhri also reports it from `Urwa, from `A'isha; so does `Abd Allah ibn Dhakwan, both major Madanis. So is the Tabi`i Yahya al-Lakhmi who reports it from her in the Musnad and in Ibn Sa`d's Tabaqat. So is Abu Ishaq Sa`d ibn Ibrahim who reports it from Imam al-Qasim ibn Muhammad, one of the Seven Imams of Madina, from `A'isha. All the narratives of this event have been reported.
In addition to the above four Madinese Tabi`in narrators, Sufyan ibn `Uyayna from Khurasan and `Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya from Tabarayya in Palestine both report it.}}
===Third Argument: Reliability of Hisham===
{{Quote|1=[ Moiz Amjad]|2=Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb, one of the most well known books on the life and reliability of the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) reports that according to Yaqub ibn Shaibah: "narratives reported by Hisham are reliable except those that are reported through the people of Iraq". It further states that Malik ibn Anas objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq (Vol. 11, pg. 48 - 51).  The actual statements, their translations and their complete references are given below: [[File:tehzeeb-001.gif]] Yaqub ibn Shaibah says: He [i.e. Hisham] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after shifting to Iraq. (Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqalaaniy, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol. 11, pg. 50)    I have been told that Malik [ibn Anas] objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq. (Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b, Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami, Vol. 11, pg. 50)}}  According to Shaykh Haddad, Amjad’s third argument is either misrepresentation or a lie. Apparently, the slander against Hisham ibn Urwah is unfounded and unsupported by closer reading of Amjad’s own reference. {{Quote|1=[ Gibril Haddad]|2=Rather, Ya`qub said: "Trustworthy, thoroughly reliable (thiqa thabt), above reproach except after he went to Iraq, at which time he narrated overly from his father and was criticized for it." Notice that Ya`qub does not exactly endorse that criticism. As for Malik, he reports over 100 hadiths from Hisham as is evident in the two Sahihs and Sunan! to the point that al-Dhahabi questions the authenticity of his alleged criticism of Hisham. Indeed, none among the hadith Masters endorsed these reservations since they were based solely on the fact that Hisham in his last period (he was 71 at the time of his last trip to Iraq), for the sake of brevity, would say, "My father, from `A'isha? (abi `an `A'isha)" and no longer pronounced, "narrated to me (haddathani)". Al-Mizzi in Tahdhib al-Kamal (30:238) explained that it became a foregone conclusion for the Iraqis that Hisham did not narrate anything from his father except what he had heard directly from him. Ibn Hajar also dismisses the objections against Hisham ibn `Urwa as negligible in Tahdhib al-Tahdhib (11:45), saying: "It was clear enough to the Iraqis that he did not narrate from his father other than what he had heard directly from him". In fact, to say that "narratives reported by Hisham ibn `Urwa are reliable except those that are reported through the people of Iraq" is major nonsense as that would eliminate all narrations of Ayyub al-Sakhtyani from him since Ayyub was a Basran Iraqi, and those of Abu `Umar al-Nakha`i who was from Kufa, and those of Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman from Kufa (the Shaykh of Abu Hanifa), and those of Hammad ibn Salama and Hammad ibn Zayd both from Basra, and those of Sufyan al-Thawri from Basra, and those of Shu`ba in Basra, all of whom narrated from Hisham!}} ===Fourth Argument: Hisham's Memory=== {{Quote|1=[ Moiz Amjad]|2=Meezaan al-Ai`tidaal, another book on the [life sketches of the] narrators of the traditions of the Prophet (pbuh) reports that when he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly (Vol. 4, pg. 301 - 302)
The actual statement, its translation and its complete references is given below:
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