that the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death) Sahih Bukhari, Volume 7, Book 62, Number 64)"
From the hadith it is confirmed that engagement was done when Aisha (RA) was 6 and then marriage was consummated when she was 9 years old. It must be noted that the marriage was extremely successful as it is evident from countless hadiths. Indeed, from a Muslim’s perspective the marriage was divine:
Allah’s Apostle said (to me), "You have been shown to me twice in (my) dreams. A man was carrying you in a silken cloth and said to me, ‘This is your wife.’ I uncovered it; and behold, it was you. I said to myself, ‘If this dream is from Allah, He will cause it to come true.’ “” ( Sahih Bukhari,Volume 7, Book 62, Number 15)
Age of Marriage in the Old Ages
Morality is relative not absolute, it varies from culture to culture and society to society. What is perceived to be moral in USA may not hold to be true in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Asia. Morality is also relative to time, fornication/dating little time ago was regarded as taboo and a matter of shame for the family. However, now this is a common habit, dating could start as early as at the age of 10. Another example would be dress code, which was very modest in history but not so now.
Therefore, we need to analyse the age of marriage in history and judge Prophet’s marriage from there. Historically, the age at which a girl was considered ready to be married was puberty; this also was the case in biblical times. In an article called “Ancient Israelite Marriage Customs”, by Jim West, ThD - a Baptist minister writes:
“The wife was to be taken from within the larger family circle (usually at the outset of puberty or around the age of 13) in order to maintain the purity of the family line;”
While discussing the meaning of the word 'almah, which is the Hebrew word for “young woman” or “adolescent female”, Gerald Segal, in his book “The Jew and the Christian Missionary”, Ktav Publishing House,1981, page 28 says:
“It should be noted, however, that in biblical times females married at an early age.”
The Campaign To Raise The Age Of Consent, 1885-1994 (womhist.binghamton.edu/teacher/aoc.htm
)[note the education domain] states:“American reformers were shocked to discover that the laws of most states set the age of consent at the age of ten or twelve, and in one state, Delaware, the age of consent was only seven.”
Thus it was a norm to be married at a young age. This is why the people of Quraish and other Arabian tribes at Prophet’s time found absolutely no fault in their marriage. On the contrary it is evident from countless narrations that the marriage was successful. They detested Islam, they did everything to belittle the Prophet, tried to prevent Islam from spreading and even attempted to kill the Prophet! However, they raised no objection to the marriage of the Prophet to Aisha since at those times such a thing was not considered ‘immoral’.
Nabia Abbott, who is a western female orientalist and has written many anti-islam materials, writes in her book Aishah-The Beloved of Mohammed, Al-Saqi Books, London, 1985, page 7:
“It is not clear just when the marriage actually took place. According to some versions, it was in the month of Shawwal of the Year 1, that is, some seven or eight months after the arrival at Medina; but, according to others, it was not until after the Battle of Badr, that is, in Shawwal of the second year of the Hijrah. In no version is there any comment made on the disparity of the ages between Mohammed and Aishah or on the tender age of the bride who, at the most, could not have been over ten years old and who was still much enamoured with her play.”
Even in our times in certain parts of the world the age of marriage is still relatively low. According to a chart on (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent#Ages_of_consent_in_various_countries ) the age of consent in Mexico and Philippines is only 12. In Guyana, Japan, South Korea, Spain and Swaziland the age of consent is 13. Hence even in ‘Today’s Times’ a young marriage is not abnormal, as some in the west think.