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semar
 
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Quote semar Replybullet Topic: Was Ayesha A Six-Year-Old Bride?
    Posted: 11 October 2006 at 5:12pm

Question:
Dear Scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum.

I was wondering what was the true age of `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her). Do we know what her true age was? I have read in places that the hadiths that say what her age was at marriage are weak hadiths. Is this true?

Thank you for any response.


Name of Counselor: Hwaa Irfan
 
 
Answer:
  
 
Salam, Dino.

Thank you for your question.

The issue of `A’ishah bint Abi Bakr has arisen purely around the fact that she married Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) when she was young and as you said, “Do we know what her true age was?” The problem is that we are dependent on reports of information. Even with accurate reporting, it is difficult to sustain that level of accuracy 100% of the time, all the time.

The true records that are referred to by Muslims for guidance are the Qur’an and the Hadiths (traditions) of Prophet Muhammad, the essence of both of which is the religion of Islam. They are not sociology textbooks although Islam covers all aspects of life. One of the foremost records depended upon is the collection of hadiths of Prophet Muhammad in the Sahih of Al-Bukhari. From the translation of Dr. Amin Al-Masri of Cambridge University, England and Head of Shari`ah at the College of Shari`ah and Islamic Studies in Makkah, we are informed:

 

`A’ishah reported that the Prophet wrote the marriage contract with her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old. Hisham said: “I have been informed that `A’ishah remained with the Prophet for nine years (i.e., till his death).” (Al-Bukhari 7: 65)

The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with `A’ishah while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death). (Al-Bukhari 7: 88)
Islamic scholar Maulana Muhammad Ali was one of the first to challenge `A’ishah’s age. In his books Muhammad, the Prophet and Living Thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad, he states:

A great misconception prevails as to the age at which `A’ishah was taken in marriage by the Prophet. Ibn Sa`d has stated in the Tabaqat that when Abu Bakr (father of `A’ishah) was approached on behalf of the Prophet, he replied that the girl had already been betrothed to Jubair and that he would have to settle the matter first with him. This shows that `A’ishah must have been approaching maturity at the time.

Again, the Isaba, speaking of the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah, says that she was born five years before the Call and was about five years older than `A’ishah. This shows that `A’ishah must have been about ten years at the time of her betrothal to the Prophet, and not six years as she is generally supposed to be.

This is further borne out by the fact that `A’ishah herself is reported to have stated that when the fifty-fourth chapter [i.e., surah] of the Qur’an entitled “The Moon” [Al-Qamar] was revealed, she was a girl playing about and remembered certain verses then revealed. Now the fifty-fourth chapter was undoubtedly revealed before the sixth year of the Call. All these considerations point to but one conclusion, viz., that `A'ishah could not have been less than ten years of age at the time of her nikah, which was virtually only a betrothal.

And there is one report in the Tabaqat that `A’ishah was nine years of age at the time of nikah. Again it is a fact admitted on all hands that the nikah of `A’ishah took place in the tenth year of the Call in the month of Shawwal. This is while there is also preponderance of evidence as to the consummation of her marriage taking place in the second year of Hijrah in the same month, which shows that full five years had elapsed between the nikah and the consummation. Hence, there is not the least doubt that `A’isha was at least nine or ten years of age at the time of betrothal, and fourteen or fifteen years at the time of marriage.
If we dig deeper, we find that the great Islamic historian Ibn Jarir At-Tabari in his History iterated:

In the time before Islam, Abu Bakr married two women. The first was Fatila daughter of `Abdul `Uzza, from whom `Abdullah and `Asmaa’ were born. Then he married Umm Ruman, from whom `Abdur-Rahman and `A’ishah were born. These four were born before Islam.

Looking at `A'ishah's impressions of her early life, we can indeed see that she was born before the Call:

Since I reached the age when I could remember things, I have seen my parents worshiping according to the right faith of Islam. Not a single day passed but Allah’s Messenger visited us both in the morning and in the evening. When the Muslims were persecuted, Abu Bakr set out for Ethiopia as an emigrant. When he reached a place called Bark Al-Ghimad, he met Ibn Ad-Daghna, the chief of the Qara tribe, who asked Abu Bakr, “Where are you going?” Abu Bakr said, “My people have turned me out of the country and I would like to tour the world and worship my Lord.” Ibn Ad-Daghna said, “A man like you will not go out, nor will he be turned out, as you help the poor earn their living, keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the disabled (or the dependents), provide guests with food and shelter, and help people during their troubles. I am your protector. So, go back and worship your Lord at your home.”

Ibn Ad-Daghna went along with Abu Bakr and took him to the chiefs of Quraysh saying to them, “A man like Abu Bakr will not go out, nor will he be turned out. Do you turn out a man who helps the poor earn their living, keeps good relations with kith and kin, helps the disabled, provides guests with food and shelter and helps the people during their troubles?” (Al-Bukhari 3: 37 #494)
570 CE: Prophet Muhammad born
595 CE: Married Khadijah, his first wife
610 CE: Received the revelation that led to his Call to Islam
613 CE: Started preaching publicly
615 CE: His daughter Fatimah born
622 CE: Left Makkah for Madinah
623 CE: `A’ishah entered the household of Prophet Muhammad
625 CE: Battle of Uhud

The famous classical commentator on the Qur’an, Ibn Kathir, wrote in Al-Bidayya wan-Nihaya: “Asmaa’ died in 73 AH at the age of one hundred years. She was ten years older than her sister `A'ishah.”

It might be worth noting that pubescence is characterized by the proliferation of sex cells which begins with the menarche, or first menstruation, in girls. Research has noted that the average age at which the menarche begins has been decreasing among Western European girls and apparently among girls of the United States and Canada, as well, since as far back as 1976. What this means is that we should try to avoid generalizations about when menstruation begins; this differs from culture to culture as well as epoch to epoch. If you want to take this further: puberty comes from the Latin word pubertas, which means “adult”. The Qur’an states what means:
*{And when the children among you have attained to puberty, let them seek permission as those before them sought permission; thus does Allah make clear to you His communications, and Allah is Knowing, Wise}* (An-Nur 24: 59)

It all depends on what one wishes to recognize, the laws of nature or the social laws constructed by man. `A’ishah married willingly under circumstances that supported that marriage, whichever argument one chooses to follow.

Thank you again for your question and please keep in touch.

Salam.

Useful Links:

More About `A’ishah

About the Marriages of the Prophet

====



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Quote semar Replybullet Posted: 11 October 2006 at 5:15pm

The Ancient Myth Exposed

by T.O. Shanavas

A Christian friend asked me once, "Will you marry your seven year old daughter to a fifty year old man?" I kept my silence. He continued, "If you would not, how can you approve the marriage of an innocent seven year old, Ayesha , with your Prophet?" I told him, "I don't have an answer to your question at this time." My friend smiled and left me with a thorn in the heart of my faith. Most Muslims answer that such marriages were accepted in those days. Otherwise, people would have objected to Prophet's marriage with Ayesha .

However, such an explanation would be gullible only for those who are naive enough to believe it. But unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the answer.

The Prophet was an exemplary man. All his actions were most virtuous so that we, Muslims, can emulate them. However, most people in our Islamic Center of Toledo , including me, would not think of betrothing our seven years daughter to a fifty-two year-old man. If a parent agrees to such a wedding, most people, if not all, would look down upon the father and the old husband.

In 1923, registrars of marriage in Egypt were instructed not to register and issue official certificates of marriage for brides less than sixteen and grooms less than eighteen years of age. Eight years later, the Law of the Organization and Procedure of Sheriah courts of 1931 consolidated the above provision by not hearing the marriage disputes involving brides less than sixteen and grooms less than eighteen years old. (Women in Muslim Family Law , John Esposito, 1982). It shows that even in the Muslim majority country of Egypt the child marriages are unacceptable.

So, I believed, without solid evidence other than my reverence to my Prophet, that the stories of the marriage of seven-year-old Ayesha to 50-year-old Prophet are only myths. However, my long pursuit in search of the truth on this matter proved my intuition correct. My Prophet was a gentleman. And he did not marry an innocent seven or nine year old girl. The age of Ayesha has been erroneously reported in the hadith literature.

Furthermore, I think that the narratives reporting this event are highly unreliable. Some of the hadith (traditions of the Prophet) regarding Ayesha'

s age at the time of her wedding with prophet are problematic. I present the following evidences against the acceptance of the fictitious story by Hisham ibn 'Urwah and to clear the name of my Prophet as an irresponsible old man preying on an innocent little girl.

EVIDENCE #1: Reliability of Source

Most of the narratives printed in the books of hadith are reported only by Hisham ibn `Urwah , who was reporting on the authority of his father. First of all, more people than just one, two or three should logically have reported. It is strange that no one from Medina , where Hisham ibn `Urwah lived the first 71 years of his life narrated the event, despite the fact that his Medinan pupils included the well-respected Malik ibn Anas . The origins of the report of the narratives of this event are people from Iraq , where Hisham is reported to have shifted after living in Medina for most of his life.

Tehzibu'l-Tehzib , one of the most well known books on the life and reliability of the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet, reports that according to Yaqub ibn Shaibah : "He [Hisham ] is highly reliable, his narratives are acceptable, except what he narrated after moving over to Iraq" (Tehzi'bu'l-tehzi'b , Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni , Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami , 15th century. Vol 11, p. 50).

It further states that Malik ibn Anas objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people in Iraq : "I have been told that Malik objected on those narratives of Hisham which were reported through people of Iraq " (Tehzi'b u'l-tehzi'b , Ibn Hajar Al-`asqala'ni , Dar Ihya al-turath al-Islami , Vol.11, p. 50).

Mizanu'l-ai`tidal , another book on the life sketches of the narrators of the traditions of the Prophet reports: "When he was old, Hisham's memory suffered quite badly" (Mizanu'l-ai`tidal , Al-Zahbi , Al-Maktabatu'

l-athriyyah , Sheikhupura , Pakistan, Vol. 4, p. 301).

CONCLUSION: Based on these references, Hisham's memory was failing and his narratives while in Iraq were unreliable. So, his narrative of Ayesha's marriage and age are unreliable.

CHRONOLOGY: It is vital also to keep in mind some of the pertinent dates in the history of Islam:

a.. pre-610 CE: Jahiliya (pre-Islamic age) before revelation

b.. 610 CE: First revelation

c.. 610 CE: AbuBakr accepts Islam

d.. 613 CE: Prophet Muhammad begins preaching publicly.

e.. 615 CE: Emigration to Abyssinia

f.. 616 CE: Umar bin al Khattab accepts Islam

g.. 620 CE: Generally accepted betrothal of Ayesha to the Prophet

h.. 622 CE: Hijrah (emigation to Yathrib , later renamed Medina )

i.. 623/624 CE: Generally accepted year of Ayesha living with the Prophet EVIDENCE #2: The Betrothal

According to Tabari (also according to Hisham ibn 'Urwah , Ibn Hunbal and Ibn Sad), Ayesha was betrothed at seven years of age and began to cohabit with the Prophet at the age of nine years.

However, in another work, Al-Tabari says: "All four of his [Abu Bakr's ] children were born of his two wives during the pre-Islamic period" (Tarikhu'

l-umam wa'l-mamlu'k , Al-Tabari (died 922), Vol. 4, p. 50, Arabic, Dara'

l-fikr , Beirut, 1979).

If Ayesha was betrothed in 620 CE (at the age of seven) and started to live with the Prophet in 624 CE (at the age of nine), that would indicate that she was born in 613 CE and was nine when she began living with the Prophet.

Therefore, based on one account of Al-Tabari , the numbers show that Ayesha must have born in 613 CE, three years after the beginning of revelation (610 CE). Tabari also states that Ayesha was born in the pre-Islamic era (in Jahiliya ). If she was born before 610 CE, she would have been at least 14 years old when she began living with the Prophet. Essentially, Tabari contradicts himself.

CONCLUSION: Al-Tabari is unreliable in the matter of determining Ayesha's age.

EVIDENCE # 3: The Age of Ayesha in Relation to the Age of Fatima

According to Ibn Hajar , "Fatima was born at the time the Ka`bah was rebuilt, when the Prophet was 35 years old... she was five years older that Ayesha " (Al-isabah fi tamyizi'l-sahabah , Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani , Vol. 4, p. 377, Maktabatu'l -Riyadh al-haditha , al-Riyadh, 1978).

If Ibn Hajar's statement is factual, Ayesha was born when the Prophet was 40 years old. If Ayesha was married to the Prophet when he was 52 years old, Ayesha's age at marriage would be 12 years.

CONCLUSION: Ibn Hajar , Tabari an Ibn Hisham and Ibn Humbal contradict each other. So, the marriage of Ayesha at seven years of age is a myth.

EVIDENCE #4: Ayesha's Age in relation to Asma's Age

According to Abda'l -Rahman ibn abi zanna'd : "Asma was 10 years older than Ayesha (Siyar A`la'ma'l-nubala ' , Al-Zahabi , Vol. 2, p. 289, Arabic, Mu'

assasatu'l-risalah , Beirut , 1992).

According to Ibn Kathir : "She [Asma ] was elder to her sister [Ayesha ] by 10 years" (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah , Ibn Kathir , Vol. 8, p. 371, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi , Al-jizah , 1933).

According to Ibn Kathir : "She [Asma ] saw the killing of her son during that year [73 AH], as we have already mentioned, and five days later she herself died. According to other narratives, she died not after five days but 10 or 20, or a few days over 20, or 100 days later. The most well known narrative is that of 100 days later. At the time of her death, she was 100 years old." (Al-Bidayah wa'l-nihayah , Ibn Kathir , Vol. 8, p. 372, Dar al-fikr al-`arabi , Al-jizah , 1933)

According to Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani : "She [Asma ] lived a hundred years and died in 73 or 74 AH." (Taqribu'l-tehzib , Ibn Hajar Al-Asqalani , p. 654, Arabic, Bab fi'l-nisa ', al-harfu'l-alif , Lucknow ).

According to almost all the historians, Asma , the elder sister of Ayesha was 10 years older than Ayesha . If Asma was 100 years old in 73 AH, she should have been 27 or 28 years old at the time of the hijrah .

If Asma was 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah , Ayesha should have been 17 or 18 years old. Thus, Ayesha , being 17 or 18 years of at the time of Hijra , she started to cohabit with the Prophet between at either 19 to 20 years of age.

Based on Hajar , Ibn Katir , and Abda'l -Rahman ibn abi zanna'd , Ayesha's age at the time she began living with the Prophet would be 19 or 20. In Evidence # 3, Ibn Hajar suggests that Ayesha was 12 years old and in Evidence #4 he contradicts himself with a 17 or 18-year-old Ayesha . What is the correct age, twelve or eighteen?

CONCLUSION: Ibn Hajar is an unreliable source for Ayesha's age.

EVIDENCE #5: The Battles of Badr and Uhud

A narrative regarding Ayesha's participation in Badr is given in the hadith of Muslim, (Kitabu'l -jihad wa'l-siyar , Bab karahiyati'l-isti`anah fi'

l-ghazwi bikafir ). Ayesha , while narrating the journey to Badr and one of the important events that took place in that journey, says: "when we reached Shajarah ". Obviously, Ayesha was with the group travelling towards Badr . A narrative regarding Ayesha's participation in the Battle of Uhud is given in Bukhari (Kitabu'l -jihad wa'l-siyar , Bab Ghazwi'l-nisa ' wa qitalihinna ma`a'lrijal ): "Anas reports that on the day of Uhud , people could not stand their ground around the Prophet. [On that day,] I saw Ayesha and Umm-i-Sulaim , they had pulled their dress up from their feet [to avoid any hindrance in their movement]." Again, this indicates that Ayesha was present in the Battles of Uhud and Badr .

It is narrated in Bukhari (Kitabu'l-maghazi , Bab Ghazwati'l-khandaq wa hiya 'l-ahza'b ): "Ibn `Umar states that the Prophet did not permit me to participate in Uhud , as at that time, I was 14 years old. But on the day of Khandaq , when I was 15 years old, the Prophet permitted my participation."

Based on the above narratives, (a) the children below 15 years were sent back and were not allowed to participate in the Battle of Uhud , and (b) Ayesha participated in the Battles of Badr and Uhud

CONCLUSION: Ayesha's participation in the Battles of Badr and Uhud clearly indicates that she was not nine years old but at least 15 years old. After all, women used to accompany men to the battlefields to help them, not to be a burden on them. This account is another contradiction regarding Ayesha's age.

EVIDENCE #6: Surat al-Qamar (The Moon)

According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha was born about eight years before hijrah . But according to another narrative in Bukhari , Ayesha is reported to have said: "I was a young girl (jariyah in Arabic)" when Surah Al-Qamar was revealed (Sahih Bukhari , kitabu'l-tafsir , Bab Qaulihi Bal al-sa`atu Maw`iduhum wa'l-sa`atu adha ' wa amarr ).

Chapter 54 of the Quran was revealed eight years before hijrah (The Bounteous Koran , M.M. Khatib , 1985), indicating that it was revealed in

614 CE. If Ayesha started living with the Prophet at the age of nine in 623 CE or 624 CE, she was a newborn infant (sibyah in Arabic) at the time that Surah Al-Qamar (The Moon) was revealed. According to the above tradition, Ayesha was actually a young girl, not an infant in the year of revelation of Al-Qamar . Jariyah means young playful girl (Lane's Arabic English Lexicon ). So, Ayesha , being a jariyah not a sibyah (infant), must be somewhere between 6-13 years old at the time of revelation of Al-Qamar , and therefore must have been 14-21 years at the time she married the Prophet.

CONCLUSION: This tradition also contradicts the marriage of Ayesha at the age of nine.

EVIDENCE #7: Arabic Terminology

According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal , after the death of the Prophet's first wife Khadijah , when Khaulah came to the Prophet advising him to marry again, the Prophet asked her regarding the choices she had in mind. Khaulah said: "You can marry a virgin (bikr ) or a woman who has already been married (thayyib )". When the Prophet asked the identity of the bikr (virgin), Khaulah mentioned Ayesha's name.

All those who know the Arabic language are aware that the word bikr in the Arabic language is not used for an immature nine-year-old girl. The correct word for a young playful girl, as stated earlier, is jariyah . Bikr on the other hand, is used for an unmarried lady without conjugal experience prior to marriage, as we understand the word "virgin" in English. Therefore, obviously a nine-year-old girl is not a "lady" (bikr ) (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal , Vol. 6, p. .210, Arabic, Dar Ihya al-turath al-`arabi , Beirut ).

CONCLUSION: The literal meaning of the word, bikr (virgin), in the above hadith is "adult woman with no sexual experience prior to marriage."

Therefore, Ayesha was an adult woman at the time of her marriage.

EVIDENCE #8. The Qur'anic Text

All Muslims agree that the Quran is the book of guidance. So, we need to seek the guidance from the Quran to clear the smoke and confusion created by the eminent men of the classical period of Islam in the matter of Ayesha's age at her marriage. Does the Quran allow or disallow marriage of an immature child of seven years of age?

There are no verses that explicitly allow such marriage. There is a verse, however, that guides Muslims in their duty to raise an orphaned child. The Quran's guidance on the topic of raising orphans is also valid in the case of our own children. The verse states: "And make not over your property (property of the orphan), which Allah had made a (means of) support for you, to the weak of understanding, and maintain them out of it, clothe them and give them good education. And test them until they reach the age of marriage. Then if you find them maturity of intellect, make over them their property..." (Quran , 4:5-6).

In the matter of children who have lost a parent, a Muslim is ordered to (a) feed them, (b) clothe them, (c) educate them, and (d) test them for maturity "until the age of marriage" before entrusting them with management of finances.

Here the Quranic verse demands meticulous proof of their intellectual and physical maturity by objective test results before the age of marriage in order to entrust their property to them.

In light of the above verses, no responsible Muslim would hand over financial management to a seven- or nine-year-old immature girl. If we cannot trust a seven-year-old to manage financial matters, she cannot be intellectually or physically fit for marriage. Ibn Hambal (Musnad Ahmad ibn Hambal , vol.6, p. 33 and 99) claims that nine-year-old Ayesha was rather more interested in playing with toy-horses than taking up the responsible task of a wife. It is difficult to believe, therefore, that AbuBakr , a great believer among Muslims, would betroth his immature seven-year-old daughter to the 50-year-old Prophet. Equally difficult to imagine is that the Prophet would marry an immature seven-year-old girl.

Another important duty demanded from the guardian of a child is to educate them. Let us ask the question, "How many of us believe that we can educate our children satisfactorily before they reach the age of seven or nine years?" The answer is none. Logically, it is an impossible task to educate a child satisfactorily before the child attains the age of seven. Then, how can we believe that Ayesha was educated satisfactorily at the claimed age of seven at the time of her marriage?

AbuBakr was a more judicious man than all of us. So, he definitely would have judged that Ayesha was a child at heart and was not satisfactorily educated as demanded by the Quran . He would not have married her to anyone.

If a proposal of marrying the immature and yet to be educated seven-year-old Ayesha came to the Prophet, he would have rejected it outright because neither the Prophet nor AbuBakr would violate any clause in the Quran .

CONCLUSION: The marriage of Ayesha at the age of seven years would violate the maturity clause or requirement of the Quran . Therefore, the story of the marriage of the seven-year-old immature Ayesha is a myth.

EVIDENCE #9: Consent in Marriage

A women must be consulted and must agree in order to make a marriage valid (Mishakat al Masabiah , translation by James Robson, Vol. I, p. 665).

Islamically , credible permission from women is a prerequisite for a marriage to be valid.

By any stretch of the imagination, the permission given by an immature seven-year-old girl cannot be valid authorization for marriage.

It is inconceivable that AbuBakr , an intelligent man, would take seriously the permission of a seven-year-old girl to marry a 50-year-old man.

Similarly, the Prophet would not have accepted the permission given by a girl who, according to the hadith of Muslim, took her toys with her when she went live with Prophet.

CONCLUSION: The Prophet did not marry a seven-year-old Ayesha because it would have violated the requirement of the valid permission clause of the Islamic Marriage Decree. Therefore, the Prophet married an intellectually and physically mature lady Ayesha .

SUMMARY:

It was neither an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as seven or nine years, nor did the Prophet marry Ayesha at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

Obviously, the narrative of the marriage of nine-year-old Ayesha by Hisham ibn `Urwah cannot be held true when it is contradicted by many other reported narratives. Moreover, there is absolutely no reason to accept the narrative of Hisham ibn `Urwah as true when other scholars, including Malik ibn Anas , view his narrative while in Iraq , as unreliable. The quotations from Tabari , Bukhari and Muslim show they contradict each other regarding Ayesha's age. Furthermore, many of these scholars contradict themselves in their own records. Thus, the narrative of Ayesha's age at the time of the marriage is not reliable due to the clear contradictions seen in the works of classical scholars of Islam.

Therefore, there is absolutely no reason to believe that the information on Ayesha's age is accepted as true when there are adequate grounds to reject it as myth. Moreover, the Quran rejects the marriage of immature girls and boys as well as entrusting them with responsibilities.

T.O. Shanavas is a physician based in Michigan . This article first appeared in The Minaret in March 1999.

© 2001 Minaret

Extracted 09/06/02 from The Minaret

Salam/Peace,
Semar
The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"
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Quote rami Replybullet Posted: 18 January 2007 at 11:27pm
bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

assalamu alaikum

Br semar i would advise removing the above article as it contains false referencing to say the least.

Our Mother A'isha's Age At The Time Of Her Marriage to The Prophet
Answered by Shaykh Gibril F Haddad

To begin with, I think it is the responsibility of all those who believe that marrying a girl as young as nine years old was an accepted norm of the Arab culture, to provide at least a few examples to substantiate their point of view. I have not yet been able to find a single dependable instance in the books of Arab history where a girl as young as nine years old was given away in marriage. Unless such examples are given, we do not have any reasonable grounds to believe that it really was an accepted norm.

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

- Abu Tughlub ibn Hamdan married the daughter of `Izz al-Dawla Bakhtyar when she was three and paid a dowry of 100,000 dinars. This took place in Safar 360 H. (Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil).

- Al-Shafi`i in al-Umm reported that he saw countless examples of nine-year old pubescent girls in Yemen. Al-Bayhaqi also narrates it from him in the Sunan al-Kubra as does al-Dhahabi in the Siyar.

- Al-Bayhaqi narrated with his chains in his Sunan al-Kubra no less than three examples of Muslim wives that gave birth at age nine or ten.

- Hisham ibn `Urwa himself (whom the objector claims to know enough to forward the most barefaced judgments on his reliability) married Fatima bint al-Mundhir when she was nine years old (al-Muntazam and Tarikh Baghdad).

- Our liege-lord `Umar married Umm Kulthum the daughter of `Ali and Fatima at a similar age per `Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn `Abd al-Barr and others.

- And our Mother `Aisha herself was first almost betrothed to Jubayr ibn Mut`im before her father dropped that option when he received word from the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless and greet him and be well-pleased with them.

In my opinion, the age of Ayesha (ra) has been grossly mis-reported in the ahadith. Not only that, I think that the narratives reporting this event are not only highly unreliable, but also that on the basis of other historical data, the event reported, is quite an unlikely happening. Let us look at the issue from an objective stand point. My reservations in accepting the narratives, on the basis of which, Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (pbuh) is held to be nine years are: 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.

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.

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, even though in Medinah his pupils included people as well known as Malik ibn Anas.

Not so. 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

Nor by narrators from Iraq, where Hisham is reported to have had shifted after living in Medinah for seventy one years.

Not so. 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.

Nor was this hadith reported only by `Urwa but also by `Abd al-Malik ibn `Umayr, al-Aswad, Ibn Abi Mulayka, Abu Salama ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn `Awf, Yahya ibn `Abd al-Rahman ibn Hatib, Abu `Ubayda (`Amir ibn `Abd Allah ibn Mas`ud) and others of the Tabi`i Imams directly from `A'isha.

This makes the report mass-transmitted (mutawatir) from `A'isha by over eleven authorities among the Tabi`in, not counting the other major Companions that reported the same, such as Ibn Mas`ud nor other major Successors that reported it from other than `A'isha, such as Qatada!

Tehzibu'l-tehzib, 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. (vol11, pg 48 - 51)

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!

Mizanu'l-ai`tidal, another book on 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)

An outright lie, on the contrary, al-Dhahabi in Mizan al-I`tidal (4:301 #9233) states: "Hisham ibn `Urwa, one of the eminent personalities. A Proof in himself, and an Imam. However, in his old age his memory diminished, but he certainly never became confused. Nor should any attention be paid to what Abu al-Hasan ibn al-Qattan said about him and Suhayl ibn Abi Salih becoming confused or changing! Yes, the man changed a little bit and his memory was not the same as it had been in his younger days, so that he forgot some of what he had memorized or lapsed, so what? Is he immune to forgetfulness? [p. 302] And when he came to Iraq in the last part of his life he narrated a great amount of knowledge, in the course of which are a few narrations in which he did not excel, and such as occurs also to Malik, and Shu`ba, and Waki`, and the major trustworthy masters. So spare yourself confusion and floundering, do not make mix the firmly-established Imams with the weak and muddled narrators. Hisham is a Shaykh al-Islam. But may Allah console us well of you, O Ibn al-Qattan, and the same with regard to `Abd al-Rahman ibn Khirash's statement from Malik!"

According to the generally accepted tradition, Ayesha (ra) was born about eight years before Hijra. But according to another narrative in Bukhari (kitabu'l-tafseer) Ayesha (ra) is reported to have said that at the time Surah Al-Qamar, the 54th chapter of the Qur'an, was revealed, "I was a young girl". The 54th surah of the Qur'an was revealed nine years before Hijra.

Not true. 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 (upon him blessings and peace) Hijra to Madina.

Thus it is confirmed that our Mother `Aisha was born between seven and eight years before the Hijra and the words that she was a jariya or little girl five years before the Hijra match the fact that her age at the time Surat al-Qamar was revealed was around 2 or 3.

According to this tradition, Ayesha (ra) had not only been born before the revelation of the referred surah, but was actually a young girl (jariyah), not an infant (sibyah) at that time. Obviously, if this narrative is held to be true, it is in clear contradiction with the narratives reported by Hisham ibn `Urwah. I see absolutely no reason that after the comments of the experts on the narratives of Hisham ibn `Urwah, why we should not accept this narrative to be more accurate.

A two year old is not an infant. A two year old is able to run around, which is what jariya means. As for "the comments of the experts" they concur on 6 or 7 as the age of marriage and 9 as the age of cohabitation.

According to a number of narratives, Ayesha (ra) accompanied the Muslims in the battle of Badr and Uhud. Furthermore, it is also reported in books of hadith and history that no one under the age of 15 years was allowed to take part in the battle of Uhud. All the boys below 15 years of age were sent back. Ayesha's (ra) participation in the battle of Badr and Uhud clearly indicate that she was not nine or ten years old at that time. After all, women used to accompany men to the battle fields to help them, not to be a burden on them.

First, the prohibition applied to combatants. It applied neither to non-combatant boys nor to non-combatant girls and women. Second, `A'isha did not participate in Badr at all but bade farewell to the combatants as they were leaving Madina, as narrated by Muslim in his Sahih. On the day of Uhud (year 3), Anas, at the time only twelve or thirteen years old, reports seeing an eleven-year old `A'isha and his mother Umm Sulaym having tied up their dresses and carrying water skins back and forth to the combatants, as narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

According to almost all the historians, Asma, the elder sister of Ayesha was ten years older than Ayesha.

Well, Ibn Kathir based himself on Ibn Abi al-Zinad's assertion that she was ten years older than `A'isha, however, al-Dhahabi in Siyar A`lam al-Nubala' said there was a greater difference than 10 years between the two, up to 19, and he is more reliable here.

It is reported in Taqri'bu'l-tehzi'b as well as Al-bidayah wa'l-nihayah that Asma died in 73 hijrah when she was 100 years old. Now, obviously if Asma was 100 years old in 73 hijrah she should have been 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah. If Asma was 27 or 28 years old at the time of hijrah, Ayesha should have been 17 or 18 years old at that time. Thus, Ayesha, if she got married in 1 AH (after hijrah) or 2 AH, was between 18 to 20 years old at the time of her marriage.

Ibn Hajar reports in al-Isaba from Hisham ibn `Urwa, from his father, that Asma' did live 100 years, and from Abu Nu`aym al-Asbahani that "Asma' bint Abi Bakr was born 27 years before the Hijra, and she lived until the beginning of the year 74." None of this amounts to any proof for `A'isha's age whatsoever.

Tabari in his treatise on Islamic history, while mentioning Abu Bakr, reports that Abu Bakr had four children and all four were born during the Jahiliyyah -- the pre Islamic period. Obviously, if Ayesha was born in the period of Jahiliyyah, she could not have been less than 14 years in 1 AH -- the time she most likely got married.

Al-Tabari nowhere reports that "Abu Bakr's four children were all born in Jahiliyya" but only that Abu Bakr married both their mothers in Jahiliyya, Qutayla bint Sa`d and Umm Ruman, who bore him four children in all, two each, `A'isha being the daughter of Umm Ruman.

According to Ibn Hisham, the historian, Ayesha accepted Islam quite some time before Umar ibn Khattab.

Nowhere does Ibn Hisham say this.

This shows that Ayesha accepted Islam during the first year of Islam. While, if the narrative of Ayesha's marriage at seven years of age is held to be true, Ayesha should not have been born during the first year of Islam.

Rather, Ibn Hisham lists `A'isha among "those that accepted Islam because of Abu Bakr." This does not mean that she embraced Islam during the first year of Islam. Nor does it mean that she necessarily embraced Islam before `Umar (year 6) although she was born the previous year (year 7 before the Hijra) although it is understood she will automatically follow her father's choice even before the age of reason.

Tabari has also reported that at the time Abu Bakr planned on migrating to Habshah (8 years before Hijrah), he went to Mut`am -- with whose son Ayesha was engaged -- and asked him to take Ayesha in his house as his son's wife. Mut`am refused, because Abu Bakr had embraced Islam, and subsequently his son divorced Ayesha (ra).

Not at all, there is no mention of emigration in Tabari's account of Abu Bakr's discussion with Mut`im. Nor did he ever ask him to take `A'isha because there had been only some preliminary talk, not a formal arrangement. Umm Ruman, Abu Bakr's wife, reportedly said: "By Allah, no promise had been given on our part at all!" Rather, al-Tabari said that when news of the Prophet's interest in `A'isha came, he went to see Mut`im. Then Mut`im's wife manifested her fear that her son would become Muslim if he married into Abu Bakr's family. Abu Bakr then left them and gave his assent to the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace.

Now, if Ayesha was only seven years old at the time of her marriage, she could not have been born at the time Abu Bakr decided on migrating to Habshah. On the basis of this report it seems only reasonable to assume that Ayesha had not only been born 8 years before hijrah, but was also a young lady, quite prepared for marriage.

Your assumption fizzles at the root when you read al-Tabari's positive assertion: "On the day he consummated the marriage with her, she was nine years old."

According to a narrative reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal, after the death of Khadijah, when Khaulah came to the Prophet advising him to marry again, the Prophet asked her regarding the choices she had in her mind. Khaulah said: "You can marry a virgin (bikr) or a woman who has already been married (thayyib)". When the Prophet asked about who the virgin was, Khaulah proposed Ayesha's name. All those who know the Arabic language, are aware that the word "bikr" in the Arabic language is not used for an immature nine year old girl. The correct word for a young playful girl, as stated earlier is "Jariyah". "Bikr" on the other hand, is used for an unmarried lady, and obviously a nine year old is not a "lady".

This is ignorant nonsense, bikr means a virgin girl, a girl who has never been married even if her age is 0 and there is no unclarity here whatsoever.

According to Ibn Hajar, Fatimah was five years older than Ayesha. Fatimah is reported to have been born when the Prophet was 35 years old. Thus, even if this information is taken to be correct, Ayesha could by no means be less than 14 years old at the time of hijrah, and 15 or 16 years old at the time of her marriage.

Rather, Ibn Hajar mentions two versions: (1) al-Waqidi's narration that Fatima was born when the Prophet was 35; and (2) Ibn `Abd al-Barr's narration that she was born when he was 41, approximately one year more or less before Prophethood, and about five years before `A'isha was born. The latter version matches the established dates.

So our Mother `A'isha was nineteen to twenty years younger than her sister Asma' (b. 27 before Hijra-d. 74) and about five years to eight years Fatima's junior.

These are some of the major points that go against accepting the commonly known narrative regarding Ayesha's (ra) age at the time of her marriage. In my opinion, neither was it an Arab tradition to give away girls in marriage at an age as young as nine or ten years, nor did the Prophet marry Ayesha at such a young age. The people of Arabia did not object to this marriage, because it never happened in the manner it has been narrated.

Those that itch to follow misguidance always resort to solipsisms because they are invariably thin on sources. In this particular case "the Learner" proves to be ignorant and dishonest. It is no surprise he moves on every single point, without exception, from incorrect premises to false conclusions.

Hajj Gibril


Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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rami
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Quote rami Replybullet Posted: 18 January 2007 at 11:41pm
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

However, such an explanation would be gullible only for those who are naive enough to believe it.

this is by far the most idiotic statement of the entire article, it was common practice up until the 19th century throughout the entire world to marry women at an extremely young age. If any person knows the history of modern western schooling which began in Prussia and the effect it has had on society you would know that it has increased adolescence by about 10 years.

In 1923, registrars of marriage in Egypt were instructed not to register and issue official certificates of marriage for brides less than sixteen and grooms less than eighteen years of age. Eight years later, the Law of the Organization and Procedure of Sheriah courts of 1931 consolidated the above provision by not hearing the marriage disputes involving brides less than sixteen and grooms less than eighteen years old. (Women in Muslim Family Law , John Esposito, 1982). It shows that even in the Muslim majority country of Egypt the child marriages are unacceptable.

This is hardly evidence for anything, 1923 was around the time the Arab world was declaring its independence of Islam and anything Islamic. lets not forget the Ottoman Khalifah you know those guys in turkey who we swore an oath to, lets not forget the
Balfour Declaration of 1917.


Edited by rami
Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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Quote raushan Replybullet Posted: 23 July 2009 at 2:56am
It is widely believed that Hazrat Ayesha’s age was seven years when she was married to the Prophet (Pbuh) and she was 9 when she came to live with him but this is wrong. The fact is that she was 17 when married and 19 at the time of her rukhsati (departure from her home to the husband’s house). There are too many indisputable evidences in favour of this. A few of those are listed below:

1. Imam Waliuddin Muhammad Abdullah Al-Khateeb, the author of famous work on Hadith, namely Mishkaat was also an acknowledged expert of Asma-ur-Rijal (the unique art of research on people). He registered the following about Hazrat Asma at the end of Mishkaat.

“She is Asma, the daughter of Abu Bakr Siddiq...She is the mother of Abdullah Bin Zubair...She was 10 years older than her sister Ayesha...She died at the age of 100 in Makkah in 73AH...”(Mishkaat, Asma-ur-Rijal)

There is unanimity among all the scholars of Asma-ur-Rijal and historians on the above-mentioned facts.

It can be easily computed from above that being 100 years old in 73 AH, Hazrat Asma, daughter of Hazrat Abu Bak’r was at least 27 (100-73) years old at the time of Hijrah of the Prophet (Pbuh). If she died in the beginning of 73 AH, then her age was (100-72) 28 years at Hijrah. It is stated above that she was 10 years older than Hazrat Ayesha. It means Hazrat Ayesha was 18 years old at Hijrah. She came into the Nikah of the Prophet (Pbuh) one year before Hijrah and she shifted to the Prophet’s house two years later. Clearly, she was 17 at the time of nikah and 19 at her rukhsati.




2. The historians have placed Hazrat Ayesha between No. 17 and 20 in the list of those who were earliest to embrace Islam. Ibne Ishaq, the earliest authentic Islamic historian has placed her at No. 18. We also know that Hazrat Umar was the 40th person to embrace Islam and he entered into the faith in the first year of prophethood. It means Hazrat Ayesha was among those few who embraced Islam almost immediately after the declaration of prophethood. She must have been at least 5 years old to be categorized in the list of those who embraced Islam. Therefore her age was 18 when Hijrah came about 13 years later.
Now imagine this. The saying goes that she was 7 at her nikah i.e. 8 at Hijrah that occurred 13 years after the declaration of prophethood. If it were true the declaration of prophethood occurred 5 years before her birth. Did she embrace Islam 5 years prior to her birth?

3. There are indications that she was among those who went to war of Badar but her presence in the battleground of Uhad is beyond doubt. It is in many authentic books of Hadiths and history that she was among those women in Uhad who were carrying water to the injured Sahaba. Now remember the incident of two young boys Rafe and Samra who were 13 and the Prophet (Pbuh) was not permitting them to join forces for their age but later agreed to their pleading as they were very enthusiastic. If Hazrat Ayesha was 10 when Uhad came about in 2 AH, was it possible that a new bride of 10 would have been permitted while the young boys of 13 were refused permission to go to Uhad? On the contrary if she was 18 at Hijrah her age was 20 and fit to take care of the injured in the battlefield when Uhad took place.

There are quite a number of other irrefutable evidences of her age being 19 when she entered into the Prophet’s home 2 years after her Nikah to him.





The wrong notion of her being 7 at marriage is widely accepted (and many Fiqh deductions are erroneously made on its basis) as there is a false report narrated by Hashsham bin Urwah in all the six most authentic collections of Hadith i.e. Sihah-e-Sittah! Hashsham bin Urwah was a very reliable narrator according to all scholars but this fact skipped the scrutiny of the famous Muhaddiseen of Sihah-e-Sittah that Hashsham became forgetful and unbalanced at his old age when he shifted to Iraq. The said report was narrated by him while he was in Iraq. Hashsham was the teacher of Imam Malik and he has accepted a number of Hadiths narrated by him in his collection of Hadith, Muatta. It was none other than Imam Malik, Hahsham’s disciple who declared after Hashsham shifted to Iraq that none of his former teachers’ statements were reliable any more because of his mental condition. The compilers of Sihah-e-Sittah, all being non-Arabs were not aware of it.

Now you know that when Hazrat Ayesha came to the Prophet’s house she was a major. The age difference is still considerable but no law of any land objects to the union of mutual wilful consent of two majors. Remember also that the Prophet (Pbuh) possessed exceptional health at 53 with all his hair black and he being stronger than most youngsters. Besides he was an ideal husband and the history testifies to his ideal care of his young wife with all the psychological considerations.
http://www.islamicvoice.com/march.2001/dialogue.htm#haz
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Quote sumuque Replybullet Posted: 27 January 2010 at 11:20am
Salam to all

I want to know what is the minimum age of marriage in Islam ?

Thanks
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Quote semar Replybullet Posted: 27 January 2010 at 12:24pm
Salam,
I am not scholar. As far as I know there is no exact age, but they use "baligh" is the limit that  people start will be responsible of their act. People consider baligh is when people start have desire to the opposite sex and one of the sign is when the girls start have menstruation and the boys start produce sperm (have "wet" dream).


Edited by semar - 27 January 2010 at 12:25pm
Salam/Peace,
Semar
The Prophet said: "Do not eat before you are hungry, and stop eating before you are full"
"1/3 of your stomach for food 1/3 for water, 1/3 for air"
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Quote sumuque Replybullet Posted: 27 January 2010 at 8:18pm
Salam

Thanks semar for reply. There are few things which I want to understand. Baligh is a term which as you explain can be a point where a girl can be married, however, Aysha was married when she was six ? Does it mean She was also Baligh at that time ?

Further I was reading verses of Sura Talaq, 65:4 which says and I quote;

"65:4 And those of your women as have passed the age of monthly courses, for them the 'Iddah (prescribed period), if you have doubts (about their periods), is three months, and for those who have no courses [(i.e. they are still immature) their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is three months likewise, except in case of death] . And for those who are pregnant (whether they are divorced or their husbands are dead), their 'Iddah (prescribed period) is until they deliver (their burdens), and whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make his matter easy for him"

Now according to this verse Iddah period for girls who are still immature is also three months ! Does it not imply that girls who are not mature yet can be married according to this verse ?

Thanks

Salam
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