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Hazrat Aisha’s age was 16, not 6: 'Weak' Hadith responsible for controversy

Sacred chamber where Prophet and Aisha used to live
By Dr Mike Ghouse*

Muslims must take the responsibility to end the age-old controversy about Hazrat Aisha’s age at the time of her marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) – it was 16, not 6 (minimum was 16, Max 23 per different calculations). The Hadiths published were in good faith, but no one ever checked their authenticity, and they kept passing on from scholar to scholar and book to book. 
Thanks to 9/11, Muslims have started questioning and correcting the Hadiths, Seerah, and mistranslations of the Quran. Now, the Ulema have to issue an opinion, also known as Fatwa, to end it and remove those Hadith entries.
Mustafa Akyol, a scholar of Islam, implores Muslims to stop deifying “the received traditions” and critically study their religious past, shedding rigid legalism and close-mindedness.
Someone else used the phrase “copycat Muslims” to identify scholars who copied what was given to them and passed it on without researching or questioning it.
Muslims have witnessed grave mistakes in Hadiths and Seerah, and the Triumphalist Muslims did not even spare the Quran in mistranslating a few verses.
Thanks to several sane scholars post 9/11, who have pointed out these mistakes and made the corrections, including the false translations in the copy of the Quran by Hilali Khan from Madinah, Saudi Arabia. Corrections are coming!
Can we blame the average Muslim for believing that the Quran translations and Hadiths are words of God and the Prophet, respectively? No, we cannot. The ordinary Muslim believes that Maududi, Ibn Tamiya, and Ibn Kathir’s words are equal to the word of God. They are simple folks who want to live their lives in peace and don’t have the time to get rattled up determining what is right or wrong.
And because no one had the strength to correct the errors, they have become a source of Islamophobia, and harassment of Muslims every now and then, somewhere or the other.
The controversy comes from the following Hadith, “That the Prophet (ﷺ) married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old.” Sahih al-Bukhari 5134, Book 67, Hadith 70, and several other Hadiths.
The Prophet did not marry a six-year-old Hazrat Aisha; it goes against everything he has taught. A woman must be an adult to make her own decisions regarding faith, marriage, and divorce.
Thanks to the Muslim scholars of post 9/11 for seriously questioning her age and digging into the history, cross-checking, and determining Hazrat Aisha’s age to be 16 (16-17) at the time of marriage to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
There is a line in the Urdu language, “Islam zinda hota hai her karbala ke baad” meaning Islam comes alive after every Karbala. 9/11 was our Karbala and has led to many corrections of mistranslations of the Quran, but no one has dared touch the Hadiths and Seerah, they are our sacred cows.
A quote from the article written by Faizur Rahman, “One Islamic preacher Abu Ammar Yasir Qadhi, has the temerity to write in his book, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran, that the Sunnah of the prophet can abrogate the Quran.” Zakir Naik has the guts to say that Hazarat Aisha was 6, and so did a Saudi Preacher.
Do you blame the Islamaphobes for pointing out the Hadith about Hazrat Aisha’s age? They are merely telling what is in our secondary books, like Hadiths, even though they are called Sahih Hadiths, some of them are flawed. Once, Robert Spencer, said in an argument with me on Fox News with Sean Hannity, “As long as your books cite the Hadith, I will keep quoting it. Can any Muslim claim to know more than Ibn-Kathir?”
The meanness in humans comes alive when someone creates an enemy out of someone or the other. The meanness among several of our fellow humans lits up when someone denigrates the prophet. Instead of condemning the individuals who have rattled up their peace of mind, they join the chorus. Shame on them, it is not good for their mental health.
Until the Hadiths, Seerah, and Quran mistranslations are corrected, the right-wingers will keep throwing it at us. Our responsibility is to read, understand, and update the errors made in compiling the Hadiths; the Quran is the only perfect book for Muslims, not the secondary books.
“Your” (the average Muslim) permission to talk about Islah comes from the Prophet himself when he said I am leaving this book to “you” to read, understand and follow. Did he say, you need to go Al-Azhar, Abubakr, Omar, Uthman, or Hazrat Ali? 
The Shia among us believe that he assigned that role to Hazrat Ali at Ghadeer Khum, and the Sunnis believe he did not assign it to anyone. Ultimately, the responsibility is placed on the individuals, each one of us is accountable for what we believe and how we act towards fellow humans.
Forgive Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal and do what the Prophet did when the urchins pelted rocks at him on his way to Taif
The test of the Hadith is – does it present the Prophet as Mercy to humanity? Is Allah the Rahman and Raheem? Do we see Allah as Rabbul Aalameen and its full implications? Is Prophet “Ours” or belongs to all? Do Muslims limit him to a Muslim Prophet? Yes, they do? But he is the prophet of humanity.
Efforts continue worldwide to end the denigration of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the man of peace and non-violence.
Mike Ghouse
The way Nupur Sharma narrated the Hadith in a derogatory manner is unacceptable. The poor woman was merely communicating what the Modi Sarkar was permitting her to say – and now that she is caught, the Modi government is unwilling to take the responsibility. The responsibility squarely rests on Prime Minister Modi as he has created such a bad environment, and I urge him to apologize to the Muslim community as his praishchit (repentance).
The Quran calls Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) the Rahmatul Aalameen (21:107) “We have sent you ˹O Prophet˺ only as a mercy for the whole world.” We can comfortably say the whole universe, the entire domain of the creator.
To put this controversy to an end, Muslims have a few choices to consider:
  • Forgive Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal and do what the Prophet did when the urchins pelted rocks at him on his way to Taif – he prayed that God helps the urchins with common sense. They need to know that Prophet was a mercy to humanity, and as his followers, Muslims will forgive the miscreants.
  • Reject the Hadith as weak and full of contradictions. Remove it and highlight all such Hadiths.
  • Imam Bukhari’s collection of the sayings must be questioned and subjected to what Prophet stood for, mercy to humanity, and God, who is Rahman and Rahim. Remember, Quran is the only and only authentic book for Muslims, all others are opinions. Yes, Sahih Hadith has many errors.
It is time for Muslims to follow the Quran, which the Prophet said was the book to follow after him, and review the Hadiths. We need not be copycats, deifying traditions and hanging on to the dished-out Hadiths. Hadiths, also called Hadees, are the sayings and practices attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
The Quran is a book of guidance to create cohesive societies where God’s creation, all humanity, lives securely regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, culture, or other uniqueness. God did not deliver the Quran to a group called Muslims; it was for the Aalameen, the entire universe*, and its elements to live in harmony.
Those who follow the Quran are responsible for mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill to restore harmony. God created everything in peace and harmony and expected us to maintain it.
The Nupur Sharma incident should wake Muslims up. The present-day Muslims are responsible for cleaning the secondary books – any book other than the Quran.
The origins of Islamophobia are traceable to the fear-mongering Hadiths, Seerah, and the wrong translations of a few verses in the Quran. When you hear the Islamophobes misquote Islam, we get outraged, but our ire should be directed at those Hadiths and not the so-called Islamophobes. They are merely quoting what is in the books, and Muslims have a responsibility to correct the books.
Interestingly, there is another controversy brewing – It is the marriage of Ma-Sita’s marriage to Shri Ram was also mentioned to be 6, but that is not true either and the arguments made are similar.
If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam.
----
*Social scientist, author (“American Muslim Agenda”); director, World Muslim Congress, wedding officiant at Interfaith Marriages, founder, Center for Pluralism, Washington DC. All about him here. Click here for references

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