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In How old was Aisha when she married the Prophet (s)?, Dr. Jasser Auda writes about ahadith describing Aisha's age of consummation:

... Unexpectedly Allah's Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. -- Sahih al-Bukhari 3894 (sunnah.com)

along with Sahih Muslim 1422 a-d (sunnah.com). He says other Bukhari ahadith logically contradict the "nine years old" narration, giving several ahadith as particular examples. One of these is described as follows:

Bukhari himself also narrates (No. 2176) that Aisha witnessed her father’s attempt to migrate to Abyssinia, which was during the Year 4 of the Message (Year 9 Before Hijra) according to all accounts. This witnessing could not have happened before Aisha herself was born, as the "nine years old" hadith implies!

I surmise this refers to Sahih al-Bukhari 3905 (sunnah.com) where Aisha narrates her father's attempted migration to "the land of Ethiopia" (Abyssinia) in considerable detail.

So the logic is:

  • Aisha witnessed her father’s attempt to migrate to Abyssinia in the year 9 BH. Thus, at this time, she was old enough to form detailed memories.

  • Aisha and Muhammad's marriage was consummated in 2 AH, as per Sahih al-Bukhari 3896 (sunnah.com), which was 11 years later, contradicting their marriage being consummated when she was 9.

I want to fact-check this.

Question: Does Aisha witnessing her father's migration to Abyssinia imply she could not have consummated her marriage at age 9?


From IIDR.org: Dr Jasser Auda is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Center of Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE), Qatar Foundation.

  • related or duplicate: islam.stackexchange.com/questions/5849/… – qdinar Jun 17 '17 at 8:24
  • This was also cited by Jasser Auda; I checked into it and there's a range of dates given for the revelation, so it's a bit less convincing. I wasn't been able to find a way to get the dates to reasonably fit. WikiIslam quote a scholar saying "...her age at the time Surat al-Qamar was revealed was around 2 or 3" but it seems fishy for a 2 to 3-year old to do these things. (This is possibly my next question, but I'm interested in what comes out of this one first.) – Rebecca J. Stones Jun 17 '17 at 11:47
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    It was interesting to read Jasser Auda's account, which is mostly plagiarized from Islam al-Beheiry's article in 2008, which was in turn based on Jamal al-Banna's interview, all of which have been addressed by this answer in Islam Q&A. The changes from one version to another is removal of references to sources that were misquoted or misunderstood or claimed to be authentic when they are not. The content remained without the references. – III-AK-III Jun 17 '17 at 12:38
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When the Muslims were put to test (i.e. troubled by the pagans), Abu Bakr decided to migrate to the land of Ethiopia. THIS HAPPENED WAY AFTER THE MIGRATION TO ABYSSINIA IN 9 BH!

Second part of the hadith:

At that time the Prophet (ﷺ) was in Mecca, and he said to the Muslims, "In a dream I have been shown your migration place, a land of date palm trees, between two mountains, the two stony tracts." So, some people migrated to Medina, and most of those people who had previously migrated to the land of Ethiopia, returned to Medina. Abu Bakr also prepared to leave for Medina, but Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to him, "Wait for a while, because I hope that I will be allowed to migrate also." Abu Bakr said, "Do you indeed expect this? Let my father be sacrificed for you!" The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "Yes." So Abu Bakr did not migrate for the sake of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) in order to accompany him. He fed two she-camels he possessed with the leaves of As-Samur tree that fell on being struck by a stick for four months. One day, while we were sitting in Abu Bakr's house at noon, someone said to Abu Bakr, "This is Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) with his head covered coming at a time at which he never used to visit us before." Abu Bakr said, "May my parents be sacrificed for him. By Allah, he has not come at this hour except for a great necessity." So Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) came and asked permission to enter, and he was allowed to enter. When he entered, he said to Abu Bakr. "Tell everyone who is present with you to go away." Abu Bakr replied, "There are none but your family. May my father be sacrificed for you, O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)!" The Prophet (ﷺ) said, "i have been given permission to migrate." Abu Bakr said, "Shall I accompany you? May my father be sacrificed for you, O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)!" Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "Yes." Abu Bakr said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! May my father be sacrificed for you, take one of these two she-camels of mine." Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) replied, "(I will accept it) with payment." So we prepared the baggage quickly and put some journey food in a leather bag for them. Asma, Abu Bakr's daughter, cut a piece from her waist belt and tied the mouth of the leather bag with it, and for that reason she was named Dhat-un-Nitaqain (i.e. the owner of two belts).

So Abu Bakr's attempt to migrate to Abyssinia was very close to the Hijrah to Medina and we know the Hijra to Abyssinia happened very early in Islam. So they are two different migrations.

The hadith also indicates that Aisha was very young when this happened as she says:

I never remembered my parents believing in any religion other than the true religion (i.e. Islam), and (I don't remember) a single day passing without our being visited by Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) in the morning and in the evening.

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