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I want to know if there are any records of women who were unmarried (not divorced or widowed) for a long time(more than 20 years) during the time of Prophet Muhammad. Because if it was a tradition at that time to give women in marriage at an early age, I would like to know what were the longest they had been delayed.

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    There's not much which was documented neither during the days of the prophet nor in pre-Islamic Arabia. Also as there are disputes about the ages of rather known people such as 'Aisha and Khadija -at their marriage with the prophet-. How would we know that the age of a rather unknown Muslima at the time of her first marriage would have been reported somewhere. This is just my logic it is however posisble that such a report exists. – Medi1Saif Oct 6 '18 at 19:42
  • For example Wikipedia suggests that Asma' the daughter of abu Bakr was born 27 years before Hijra and married a-Zubayr before the hijrah and was pregnant with her first (born) son 'Abdullah which may lead to the conclusion that her marriage age might be around 25 years. – Medi1Saif Oct 8 '18 at 7:37
  • @Medi1Saif It was a curious question. I did not want an accurate answer, rather reports which may exist in documentaries. Thank you for the above example. – Crimson Oct 8 '18 at 10:29
  • Then you should re-phrase your post, for example you might ask are there records of women that have been unmarried until the age of 20 or later? – Medi1Saif Oct 8 '18 at 11:51
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There are two findings that might be of use for your inquiry:

Asma' the daughter of abu Bakr the older sister of 'Aishah and the wife of az-.Zubayr ibn al-'Awwam and mother of 'Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr (who was her first -born- son). According to Muslim sources and as stated in wikipedia she was born 27 years before the hijrah and married short before the hijrah and was pregnant with 'Abdullah when moving to Medina. This leads to the conclusion or assumption that she might have been around 25 years old when she got married.

Also note there's a woman who never got married among the sahabh this woman is called Umm Shareek and she was one of the believing women who gave herself to the prophet () mentioned in (33:50):

... and a believing woman if she gives herself to the Prophet [and] if the Prophet wishes to marry her, [this is] only for you, excluding the [other] believers. ...

and further

You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will of them or take to yourself whom you will. And any that you desire of those [wives] from whom you had [temporarily] separated - there is no blame upon you [in returning her]. That is more suitable that they should be content and not grieve and that they should be satisfied with what you have given them - all of them. And Allah knows what is in your hearts. And ever is Allah Knowing and Forbearing. (33:51)

Ibn Sa'ad narrated in his at-Tabaqaat al-Kubra the following statements: In the following I'll translate from Arabic, these translations are mine take them carefully.

  • قال الواقدي حَدَّثَنَا مُوسَى بْنُ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ التَّيْمِيُّ، عَنْ أَبِيهِ، قَالَ: «كَانَتْ أُمُّ شَرِيكٍ امْرَأَةً مِنْ بَنِي عَامِرِ بْنِ لُؤَيٍّ، وَإِنَّهَا وَهَبَتْ نَفْسَهَا لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ فَلَمْ يَقْبَلْهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ فَلَمْ تَتَزَوَّجْ حَتَّى مَاتَتْ
    Al-Waqidi (Muhamamd ibn 'Umar) said: Musa ibn Muhammad ibn Ibraheem at-Tayyimiinformed us from his father who said: Umm Shareek was a woman from the bani 'Aamir ibn Lu'ay, and she was amoing the women who gave themselves to the Messeneger of Allah, but he didn't accept her and she remained unmarried until she died. (See #11964 here)

    This suggests that she is from Quraish as Lu'ay is among the clans of Quraish.

  • وقال الإمام الشعبي في تفسير قوله تعالى: {تُرْجِي مَنْ تَشَاءُ مِنْهُنَّ} [الأحزاب: 51] قَالَ: «كُلُّ نِسَاءٍ وَهَبْنَ أَنْفُسَهُنَّ لِلنَّبِيِّ -صلّى الله عليه وسلم- فَدَخَلَ بَعْضَهُنَّ وَأَرْجَأَ بَعْضًا فَلَمْ يَنْكِحْنَ بَعْدَهُ، مِنْهُنَّ أُمُّ شَرِيكٍ» (See also in tafssir ibn Kathir)
    The imam a-Sha'abi said in his tafseer on Allah the Almighty's words: (You, [O Muhammad], may put aside whom you will) (33:51): "All women gave themselves to the Prophet Allah's prayers and blessings be upon him, so he toke some and put aside some others and they didn't marry after that among those was Umm Shareek. (Wak'i narrated something similar as stated in the Hadith #11965 in the link above from ibn Sa'ads Tabaqat).

Ibn Sa'ad on this topic narrated different narrations on this topic one of them saying the prophet () accepted her, but divorced her before consummation of the marriage. The above statement also could lead to the interpretation that he either refused her or divorced her after consummation.

Imam a-Dhahabi quotes her in his Siyar a'alaam an-Nubala' as follows:

أم شريك امرأة أنصارية . النجارية .
Umm Shareek, a woman fom among the Ansar from the family of an-Najjar.

عن قتادة : أن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم قال : إني أحب أن أتزوج في الأنصار ؛ ثم إني أكره غيرتهن قال : فلم يدخل بها .
Qatadah said: The prophet Allahs prayers and blessings be upon him said: I'd love to marry a woman from among the Anssar. but I hate (reject) their jealousy so he didn't consume the marriage.

نعم ، وروى عروة بن الزبير ، عن أم شريك : أنها كانت فيمن وهبت نفسها للنبي صلى الله عليه وسلم .
Yes and it was narrated from 'Urwah ibn az-Zubay from Umm Shareek that she was among those women who have given themselves to the prophet Allahs prayers and blessings be upon him (this was also compiled in Musnad Ahmad see here in Arabic)

Ibn 'Abd al-Barr in his Al-Istee'ab fi Ma'rifati al-Ashaab الاستيعاب في معرفة الأصحاب (a collection of biographies of Sahabah) however tried to find a midway solution as in the narrations of historians Umm Shareek was said to be from among the muhajereen and some refer to her as a Dawsiya (from the tribe of Daws in Zahran) or al-Ansariyah (in many ahadith) and he said she might have been married either to a person from this tribe or from the bani an-Najar (who are from the Khazraj in Medina). There's also an attribution to the tribe of Kinanah mentioned in the Arabic Wikipedia site on her. Most of these narration agree that she was called Ghaziyah bint Jabir ibn Hakim غزية بنت جابر بن حكيم.

Imam at-Tabarani called her: غزية بنت جابر بن حكيم الدوسية أم شريك Ghaziyah bint Jabir ibn Hakim a-Dawasiya Umm Shareek in his al-Mo'ajam al-Kabir -see here in Arabic- when confirming that she was among the woman that gave themselves to prophet().

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