Waqar Akbar Cheema
With the onset of modernity, the biographic details of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) have come under a lot of scrutiny along with, in some cases, attempts at revisionism. One such controversy is surrounding the age of Khadija, the first wife of the Prophet, at the time of her marriage to him. This paper surveys the various transmitted opinions regarding her age at the time of her marriage, and, with analytical rigour, establishes that the traditional convergence on the forty-year opinion has substantive backing from the earliest sources as compared to the recently resurgent twenty-eight-year opinion.
It is generally agreed among historians, both Muslim and orientalist, that at the time of her marriage with the Messenger of Allah – may the peace and blessings of Almighty Allah be upon him – his first wife, Khadija, was forty years old. In recent decades, however, some scholars have articulated the opinion that she was in fact twenty-eight. Among those who have popularized this opinion are Dr. Hamidullah and Dr. Akram Diya al-‘Umri. More recently, popular speakers like Dr. Yasir Qadhi have suggested that her being twenty-eight at the time of the marriage is in fact the stronger opinion. In an age where the biographic details of the Messenger of Allah have become the subject of a lot of discussion, this new opinion has brought with it the suggestion that the traditional and more well-known opinion is based on apologetic considerations. It is, therefore, important to undertake a rigorous analysis of the available information. This paper is an attempt at doing the same.
There are quite a few opinions transmitted about the age of Khadija at the time of her marriage with the Prophet. Oddly, thirty and forty-five years are also mentioned as her age, but the most widely discussed are the Forty-Year opinion and the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion.
2. Evidence for the Forty-Year Opinion
The evidence for the popular Forty-Year opinion is of two types. Firstly, there are reports that clearly mention the age of Khadija at the time of her marriage with the Prophet, and secondly, there are narrations that mention her age at the time of her death in the tenth year after the proclamation of the message.
2.1 Reports Plainly Mentioning the Age
There are four reports that establish the Forty-Year opinion. Two of these reports come from Hakim bin Hizam, the nephew of Khadija:
أخبرنا محمد بن عمر. أخبرنا المنذر بن عبد الله الحزامي عن موسى بن عقبة عن أبي حبيبة مولى الزبير قال: سمعت حكيم بن حزام يقول: تزوج رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – خديجة وهي ابنة أربعين سنة ورسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ابن خمس وعشرين سنة. وكانت خديجة أسن مني بسنتين. وولدت قبل الفيل بخمس عشرة سنة وولدت أنا قبل الفيل بثلاث عشرة سنة.
Muhammad bin ‘Umar [al-Waqidi] said that al-Munzar bin Abdullah al-Hizami narrated from Musa bin ‘Uqba that Abi Habiba, the freed-slave of al-Zubair, said, I heard Hakim bin Hizam say: The Messenger of Allah married Khadija when she was forty and he was twenty-five. Khadija was two years older to me. She was born fifteen years before the Incident of the Elephant and I was born thirteen years before it.
أخبرنا محمد بن عمر. أخبرنا مغيرة بن عبد الرحمن الأسدي عن أهله قالوا: سألنا حكيم بن حزام أيهما كان أسن رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – أو خديجة. فقال: كانت خديجة أسن منه بخمس عشرة
Muhammad bin ‘Umar [al-Waqidi] reported that Mughira bin Abdul Rahman al-Asadi narrated from his family, who said: We asked Hakim bin Hizam who was older, the Messenger of Allah or Khadija? He said: Khadija was fifteen years older to him.
The third narration comes from Nafisa bint Munya, the very person who brought Khadija’s proposal to the Messenger of Allah. Towards the end of her report about the proposal and the marriage she mentions the ages of the couple. Muhammad ibn Sa’d states:
قال: أخبرنا محمد بن عمر بن واقد الأسلمي. أخبرنا موسى بن شيبة عن عميرة بنت عبيد الله بن كعب بن مالك عن أم سعد بنت سعد بن الربيع عن نفيسة بنت منية قالت: … وتزوجها رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وهو ابن خمس وعشرين سنة. وخديجة يومئذ بنت أربعين سنة. ولدت قبل الفيل بخمس عشرة سنة
Muhammad bin ‘Umar [al-Waqidi] narrated from Musa bin Shaiba, who narrated from ‘Umaira bint ‘Ubaidullah from Umm Sa’d bint Sa’d that Nafisa bint Munya said: … The Messenger of Allah married and he was twenty-five years old. At that time Khadija was forty years old. She was born fifteen years before the Event of the Elephant.
Moreover, al-Waqidi (d. 207/737) reports:
حدثنا محمد بن عبد الله، عن الزهري، قال: وحدثنا كثير بن زيد، عن المطلب بن عبد الله بن حنطب قالا: كانت أول امرأة تزوجها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قبل النبوة خديجة بنت خويلد … ثم تزوجها رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وهو يومئذ ابن خمس وعشرين سنة وخديجة ابنة أربعين سنة
Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah narrated to us from al-Zuhri and Kathir bin Zaid who narrated to us from al-Muttalib bin Abdullah bin Hantab: The first wife of the Messenger of Allah before the pronouncement of the Prophethood was Khadija bint Khuwaylid.… Then the Messenger of Allah married her when he was twenty-five and Khadija was forty years old.
Likewise, al-Tabari (d. 310/923) quotes:
قال هشام بن محمد: نكح رسول الله ص خديجة، وهو ابن خمس وعشرين سنة، وخديجة يومئذ ابنة أربعين سنة.
Hisham bin Muhammad [al-Kalbi] stated: The Messenger of Allah married Khadija when he was twenty-five years old and Khadija was forty years old.
2.2 Reports about Khadija’s Age at the Time of Death
It is established that Khadija died in the tenth year after the Prophet’s proclamation of the message, twenty-five years after her marriage with the Messenger of Allah.
As to her age at the time of death it is reported by al-Bayhaqi (d. 458/1066):
مصعب بن عبد الله الزبيري قال: … بلغت خديجة خمسا وستين سنة،
Mus’ab bin ‘Abdullah al-Zubairi said: Khadija reached the age of sixty-five years.
عن هشام بن عروة قال: توفيت خديجة بنت خويلد رضي الله عنها وهي ابنة خمس وستين سنة
Hisham bin ‘Urwa said: Khadija bint Khuwaylid died at the age of sixty-five.
محمد بن صالح، وعبد الرحمن بن عبد العزيز، قالا: توفيت خديجة لعشر خلون من شهر رمضان وذلك قبل الهجرة بثلاث سنين وهي يومئذ بنت خمس وستين سنة
Muhammad bin Salih and Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Aziz both said: Khadija died ten on the 10th of Ramadan. It was three years before Hijra and Khadija was then sixty-five years old.
Likewise, al-Waqidi reports through the same narrators from the first report above:
حكيم بن حزام يقول: توفيت خديجة بنت خويلد في شهر رمضان سنة عشر من النبوة وهي يومئذ بنت خمس وستين
Hakim bin Hizam said: Khadija bint Khuwaylid died in Ramadan in the tenth year of the Prophethood. She was then sixty-five years old.
Similarly, in the report of al-Zuhri and al-Muttalib bin Abullah bin Hantab, it is stated:
وتوفيت خديجة لعشر خلون من شهر رمضان في السنة العاشرة من النبوة قبل الهجرة بثلاث سنين وهي بنت خمس وستين سنة
Khadija died on the 10th of Ramadan in the tenth year of Prophethood, three years before Hijra. She was sixty-five years old.
2.3 Comparison with the age of Hakim bin Hizam
As already noted Hakim bin Hizam was a nephew of Khadija, though only two years younger to her. It is narrated from multiple sources that he died at the age of 120 in the year 54 A.H. This means he was thirteen years older than the Messenger of Allah which in turn proves that Khadija was fifteen years older than the Prophet and, therefore, confirms the Forty-Year opinion.
3. Evidence for the Twenty-Eight-Year Opinion
In terms of explicit narrations the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion is based on the following two accounts.
أخبرنا هشام بن محمد بن السائب عن أبيه عن أبي صالح عن ابن عباس قال:كانت خديجة يوم تزوجها رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – ابنة ثمان وعشرين سنة
Hisham bin Muhammad bin al-Sa’ib reports from his father [Muhammad bin al-Sa’ib al-Kalbi] from Abu Salih that Ibn ‘Abbas said: At the time of marriage with the Messenger of Allah, Khadija was twenty-eight years old.
عن محمد بن إسحاق، أن أبا طالب وخديجة بنت خويلد هلكا في عام واحد، وذلك قبل مهاجر النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم إلى المدينة بثلاث سنين، ودفنت خديجة بالحجون، ونزل في قبرها رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، وكان لها يوم تزوجها ثمان وعشرون سنة
Muhammad bin Ishaq said: Abu Talib and Khadija bint Khuwaylid died in the same year. This was three years before the emigration of the Messenger of Allah to Madina. Khadija was buried in al-Hajun. The Messenger of Allah buried her in her grave. She was twenty-eight years old when the Messenger of Allah married her.
4. Comparative Analysis of Evidence
The comparison between the evidence for the two opinions discussed above can be made along a number of lines.
4.1 Number of Narrations
The difference between the numbers of narrations for the two opinions is very significant. For the Forty-Year opinion we have three reports from Hakim bin Hizam, one from Nafisa bint Munya, and a report each from al-Zuhri, al-Muttalib bin ‘Abdullah bin Hantab, Hisham bin Muhammad al-Kalbi, Mus’ab bin ‘Abdullah al-Zubairi, Hisham bin ‘Urwa, Muhammad bin Salih, and ‘Abdul Rahman bin ‘Abdul ‘Aziz. On the other hand there are only two reports for the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion – one from Ibn ‘Abbas through the two Kalbis and another from Ibn Ishaq.
4.2 Authenticity of Narrations
All but one of the narrations for the Forty-Year opinion come through Muhammad bin ‘Umar al-Waqidi who, though severely criticized, is known for his extensive knowledge and is recognized as indispensable when it comes to historical accounts about the biographic details of the companions and the campaigns of the Messenger of Allah.
For the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion, the narration from Ibn ‘Abbas comes through the notorious link “Abu Salih – Muhammad bin Sa’ib al-Kalbi” which falls in the “chain of lies.”
Furthermore, scholars have stated that al-Waqidi, despite the criticism he has received, is far better than the two al-Kalbis. Ibn Taymiyyah states:
ومعلوم أن الواقدي نفسه خير عند الناس من مثل هشام بن الكلبي وأبيه محمد بن السائب وأمثالهما
It is known that for people al-Waqidi is better than Hisham bin al-Kalbi and his father Muhammad bin al-Sa’ib and the likes of them.
4.3 The Original Informers
For the Forty-Year opinion, the original narrators are Hakim bin Hizam, who was the nephew of Khadija and only two years younger to her, and Nafisa bint Munya, who carried the proposal and its acceptance. For the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion, the only companion narrator, Ibn ‘Abbas, was born after or about the time of death of Khadija. All the other narrators for the two opinions are from later generations.
4.4 Consistency of Narrations
The reports for the Forty-Year opinion are consistent in that its narrators, including al-Waqidi, the main narrator, relay no other opinion, whereas Hisham bin Muhammad al-Kalbi who falls in the chain of Ibn ‘Abbas’ narration for the Twenty-Five-Year opinion is also quoted by al-Tabari as giving the Forty-Year opinion.
4.5 Acceptance with the Scholars
Even in terms of acceptance with the scholars, both early and late, the Forty-Year opinion tarries better than the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion.
Al-Waqidi, besides giving the numerous reports for the Forty-Year opinion, states:
ونحن نقول ومن عندنا من أهل العلم إن خديجة ولدت قبل الفيل بخمس عشرة سنة. وإنها كانت يوم تزوجها رسول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – بنت أربعين سنة.
We and the scholars around us [all] say that Khadija was born fifteen years before the Event of the Elephant and when the Messenger of Allah married her she was forty years old.
Likewise, another early authority al-Baladhuri (d. 279/892) states:
وتزوج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم خديجة وهو ابن خمس وعشرين سنة، وهي ابنة أربعين سنة. وذلك الثبت عند العلماء
The Messenger of Allah married Khadija when he was twenty-five years old and she was forty years old. This is established with the scholars.
Along with the narrators of the Forty-Year opinion, the scholars who preferred the Forty-Year opinion by either narrating only this or narrating this positively (bil-jazm) and the other(s) in a doubtful tone (sigha al-tamrid) include: Ibn Habib (d. 245/860), al-Mutahhir al-Maqdisi (d. circa 355/966), al-Mawardi (d. 450/1058), Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d. 463/1071), Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597/1201), Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari (d. 630/1233), Ibn Sayyid al-Nas (d. 734/1334), Ibn Jam’ah al-Kinani (d. 767/1366), al-Maqrizi (d. 845/1441), al-Malti (d. 920/1514), and al-Zarqani (d. 1122/1710).
On the contrary, there are not many scholars who preferred the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion. While al-Hakim (d. 405/1015) gives a narration of Ibn Ishaq (d. 151/768) in favour of this opinion, it is neither found in Ibn Ishaq’s work on Sirah nor in Ibn Hisham’s better known rendition of the same. At the least, I failed to find any well-known author of the Prophet’s biography referring to it except those from very recent times. Al-Hakim is apparently the only classical scholar who preferred the Twenty-Eight-Year opinion. After giving Hisham bin ‘Urwa’s narration for the Forty-Year opinion, al-Hakim states:
هذا قول شاذ، فإن الذي عندي أنها لم تبلغ ستين سنة
This is an anomalous [shadh] opinion. In my view she did not reach sixty years of age.
Similarly, In al-Bayhaqi’s above mentioned narration of Mus’ab bin ‘Abdullah regarding Khadija’s age at the time of her death quoted on the authority of al-Hakim it is stated:
ويقال خمسين سنة وهو أصح
And it is (also) said, she was fifty years old at the time of her death. And this is more correct.
Though it is not very clear whose statement this is, al-Hakim’s or that of al-Bayhaqi himself, the fact that al-Hakim said he believes Khadija did not reach the age of sixty suggests that this comment also comes from him.
Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373) mentions both the opinions but does not put his own weight behind either one.
5. ‘Rational’ Argument on Biological Grounds
In the past century, however, we have seen people using rationalist arguments based on biological contentions to undermine the Forty-Year opinion and highlight the other opinions. This has been done by scholars from both the orientalist camp and (mostly) non-traditionalists in the Muslim camp.
Among the orientalists, Montgomery Watt (d. 2006) says:
The age of Khadijah has perhaps been exaggerated. The names of the seven children whom she bore to Muhammad are mentioned in the sources – al-Qasim, Ruqayyah, Zaynab, Umm Kulthum, Fatimah, ‘Abdallah (at-Tayyib), and at-Tahir; of these the boys all died young. Even if, as one of Ibn Sa’d’s authorities says, they came at regular yearly intervals, that would make her forty-eight before the last was born. This is by no means impossible, but one would have thought it sufficiently unusual to merit comment; it is even the sort of thing that might well have been treated as miraculous. Yet no single word of comment occurs in the pages of Ibn Hisham, Ibn Sa’d, or at-Tabari.
Dr. Muhammad Hamidullah (d. 2002) writes:
According to most chroniclers, she was forty years old at that time, but Ibn Habib and Baladhuri assure us that she was only 28.
In notes to the above he adds:
this latter reports [sic] seems preferable on biological grounds, since seven children were born to her from the Holy Prophet.
The same has been mentioned by Dr. Akram Diya al-‘Umri and Dr. Yasir Qadi. Hakim Niaz Ahmad, in his uselessly laborious work on revisionist contentions around the age of Aisha, also questions the Forty-Year pinion about age of Khadija for the same kind of ‘rationalist’ contentions.
As accepted by Watt, bearing children during her 40s is by no means impossible for a woman. This is especially true if we consider the following observation made by an expert of genealogies Al-Zubair bin Bakkar (d. 256/870):
وسمعت علماءنا يقولون لا تحمل امرأة بعد ستين سنة إلا من قريش، ولا بعد خمسين إلا عربية.
I have heard the scholars saying, ‘No woman bears a child after sixty except if she is from the Quraysh nor does she bear one after fifty except if she is an Arab.
Al-Jahiz (d. 255/869) makes a similar observation:
أنه يقال إن النساء لا يلدن إذا بلغن الستين إلا ما يحكى عن نساء قريشٍ خاصة
It is said that women do not bear children when they reach sixty, except for what is told of the women of Quraysh in particular.
This proves that it was not weird for an Arab or Qurayshi woman to bear children during her 40s or even 50s. The statement of al-Zubair bin Bakkar comes with the mention of a woman who bore a child in her 60s. Another possible example can be Umm Ayman who was married to Zaid bin Haritha and bore him Usama bin Zaid when she was nearly sixty years old..
According to most authorities Khadija had four daughters and two sons. The youngest of them was ‘Abdullah about whom the scholars differ on whether he was born before or after the proclamation of the message. The latest estimate is that he was born a year after the proclamation of the message when the Prophet was forty-one and Khadija fifty-six. Therefore, it makes little sense to advance biological reasons or lack of awe on the part of early historians to question what has been widely accepted from the earliest times.
The well-known opinion that Khadija was forty years old at the time of her marriage with the Messenger of Allah is overwhelmingly strong in terms both direct and indirect evidence. Compared to it the other opinions, including the Twenty-Eight-Year one, are either signally weak, or altogether baseless.
References & Notes:
 Al-Zarqani, Sharh Mawahib al-Ladinya, Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-‘Ilmiyya, 1996, Vol.4, 364
 Al-Nawawi, Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa al-Lughat, Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-‘Ilmiyya, Vol.2, 342
 Ibn Sa’d, Muhammad, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiyya, 1990, Vol.8, 13
 Ibid., Vol.8, 12
 Ibid., Vol.1, 105
 Ibid., Vol.8, 174
 Al-Tabari, Muhammad bin Jarir, Tarikh al-Rusul wal Muluk, Beirut: Dar al-Turath, 1387 AH, Vol.2, 180
 Al-Bayhaqi, Abu Bakr, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiya, 1988, Vol.2, 71
 Al-Hakim, Abu ‘Abdullah, al-Mustadrak, Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiya, 1990, Vol.3, 201 No. 4838
 Ibn Sa’d, Muhammad, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol.8, 14
 Ibid., Vol.8, 15
 Ibid., Vol.8, 174
 Al-Busti, Ibn Hibban, al-Thiqat, Hyderabad: Da’ira al-M’arif, 1973, Vol.3, 71; al-Baghawi, Abu al-Qasim, Mu’jam al-Sahaba, Kuwait: Dar l-Bayan, 2000, Vol.2, 112; al-Nawawi, Tahdhib al-Asma’ wa al-Lughat, Vol.1, 157; al-Sam’ani, ‘Abdul Karim, al-Ansab, Hyderabad: Da’ira al-M’arif, 1962, 214
 Al-Hakim, Abu ‘Abdullah, al-Mustadrak, Vol.3, 200 No. 4837
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Tahdhib at-Tahdhib, Hyderabad: Da’ira Ma’arif an-Nizamiya, 1326 AH. Vol. 9, 366-367
 Al-Dhahabi, Shams al-Din, Tadhkira al-Huffaz, Beirut: Dar al-Kitab, 1998, Vol.1, 254; also al-Dhahabi, Siyar al-A’lam al-Nubala, Cairo: Dar al-Hadith, 2006, Vol.8, 158; and al-Hamawi, Shihab al-Din, Mu’jam al-Adaba, Beirut: Dar al-Gharab al-Islami, 1993, Vol.6 No. 1096
 Al-Suyuti, Jalal al-Din, Tadrib al-Rawi fi Sharh Taqrib al-Nawawi, Dar al-Tayba, n.d., Vol.1, 198
 Ibn Taymiyya, Majmu’a al-Fatawa, Madina: Kind Fahad Printing Press, 1995, Vol.27, 469
 Al-‘Asqalani, Ibn Hajar, Fath Al-Bari, Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifa, 1379 AH, Vol.11, 90; also see al-Dhahabi, Siyar al-A’lam al-Nubala, Vol.4, 383
 Ibn Kathir attributes to al-Waqidi the opinion that Khadija was forty-five years old, al-Sira al-Nabawiya, Beirut: Dar al-Ma’rifa, 1976, Vol.4, 581. However, it is untenable as it is not substantiated by any chain of narrators or a reference to an earlier work.
 Ibn Sa’d, Muhammad, Tabaqat al-Kubra, Vol.8, 13
 Al-Baladhuri, Ahmad bin Yahya, Ansab al-Ashraf, Beirut: Dar al-Fekr, 1996, Vol.1, 98
 Ibn Habib, al-Muhabbar, Beirut: Dar al-Afaq al-Jadida, n.d., 79
 Al-Maqdisi, al-Mutahhir, al-Bad‘ wa al-Tarikh, Port Said: Maktaba Thaqafa al-Diniya, n.d., Vol.4, 138 and Vol.5, 10
 Al-Mawardi, Abu al-Hasan, A’lam al-Nubuwwa, Beirut: Maktaba al-Hilal, 1409, 180
 Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr, al-Isti’ab fi Ma’rifa al-Ashab, Amman: Dar al-A’lam, 2002, 888 No. 3279
 Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu al-Faraj, al-Muntazam fi al-Tarikh, Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-‘Ilmiya, 1992, Vol.2, 315
 Al-Jazari, Ibn al-Athir, Usd al-Ghaba, Beirut: Dar al-Fekr, 1989, Vol.6, 80 No. 6867
 Ibn Sayyid al-Nas, ‘Uyun al-Athar, Beirut: Dar al-Qalam, 1993, Vol.1, 64
 Al-Kinani, Ibn Jam’ah, al-Mukhtasar al-Kabir fi Sirat al-Rasul, Amman: Dar al-Bashir, 1993, 91
 Al-Maqrizi, Ahmad bin ‘Ali, Imta’ al-Asma’, Beirut: Dar al-Kotob al-Ilmiya, 1999, Vol.6, 29
 Al-Malti, Zain al-Din, Ghaya al-Sul fi Sira al-Rasul, Beirut: ‘Alam al-Kitab, 1988, 32
 Al-Zarqani, Sharh Mawahib al-Ladinya, Vol.4, 364
 Al-Hakim, Abu ‘Abdullah, al-Mustadrak, Vol.3, 201
 Al-Bayhaqi, Abu Bakr, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, Vol.2, 71
 Watt, Montgomery, Muhammad at Mecca, London: Oxford University Press, 1953, 38
 Hamidullah, Dr., Le Prophete de l’Islam: Sa Vie et Son Ouvre/ The Life and Work of the Prophet of Islam, Translated by Dr. Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi, New Delhi: Adam Publishers, 2007, 49. This is really a strange assertion on the part of Dr. Hamidullah as we have seen above both Ibn Habib and al-Baladhuri preferred the Forty-Year opinion over the Twenty-Eight Year opinion.
 Ibid., 54
 Al-‘Umri, Akram Diya, al-Sira al-Nabawiya al-Sahiha, Madina: Maktaba al-‘Ulum wa al-Hikam, 1994, 113
 See his video lecture, “Seerah of Prophet Muhammed Episode 9 – Marriage to Khadija & Re-building Kaa’ba”, Time Slice 21:39 – 24:44
 Ahmad, Hakim Niaz, Kashf al-Ghumma ‘an ‘Umar Umm al-Umma – Tahqiq ‘Umar Aisha, Karachi: Mashkur Academy, n.d., Vol.2, 3-5
 Al-Baghdadi, Khatib, Tarikh Baghdad, Beirut: Dar al-Gharb al-Islami, 2002, Vol.15, 11
 Al-Jahiz, Abu ‘Uthman, “Fakhar al-Sudan ‘ala al-Bidan” included in Rasa’il al-Jahiz, Cairo: Maktabat al-Khaniji, 1964, Vol.1, 213; elsewhere al-Jahiz records statements suggesting that Arab women used to maintain good looks till they were well advanced in age, al-Mahasin wa al-Aḍdad, Beirut: Maktaba al-Hilal, 187. This is not to suggest that women above forties appeared like girls but perhaps this is one reason it was not considered weird or abnormal to marry older women. This answers Hakim Niaz Ahmad who could not make sense of the Prophet marrying a 40-year-old lady at the age of twenty-five, and instead attributed it to an alleged desire on the part of Muslims to see something ‘unnatural’ in Prophet’s conduct, Kashf al-Ghumma, Vol.2, 3
 Zaid was ten years younger to the Prophet (Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat Al-Kubra, Vol.3, 32) whereas Umm Ayman had nursed him (Al-Bukhari, Al-Sahih, Hadith 3737). Zaid and Umm Ayman were married after the Prophet had pronounced the message (al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak, Hadith 6910) This means Zaid was about thirty-five and Umm Ayman nearly sixty years old when Usama was born.
 Ibn al-Qayyim, Zaad al-Ma’ad, Beirut: al-Risala Publishers, 1994, Vol.1, 101
 Al-Faluza, Muhammad Ilyas, al-Mawsu’a fi Sahih al-Sirah al-Nabawiya, Makkah: Matabi’ al-Safa, 1423, 139
Published : March 17, 2016 Last modified : December 4th, 2017