Yesterday on Today FM’s The Last Word with Matt Cooper, I and Ali Selim discussed the recent controversy in an Irish school where a pupil brought in a copy of the Charlie Hebdo magazine for discussion in a class about France. We also discussed the depiction of Mohammad and Jesus in Islam.
At the end, a listener asked a question about Mohammad marrying Aisha at age nine, and I said that both this and Mohammad hitting Aisha in the chest were in the Hadith. Ali Selim denied that these things happened, and said that if I could not produce the Hadith I should listen to him.
Obviously, I did not have the Hadith in the radio studio, so I said that I would come back to it. Here are two Hadith extracts referring to these issues. As with any controversial passage in the Quran or Hadith, there are arguments about interpretation, but it is wrong to try to close down the discussion by implying that, without having the Hadith to hand, the references do not exist.
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 234
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became Allright, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). 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.
The Book of Prayer
Book 4, No 2127
I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O ‘A’isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allaah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allaah and His Prophet would deal unjustly with you?