Deaths of Abu Talib and Khadija.
In 619 C.E. Abu Talib and Khadija died. Among the Muslims the year 619 C.E. came to be known as ‘The Year of Sorrow’. Abu Talib had been more than a father to the Holy Prophet. In spite of the strong pressure of the Quraish he had protected the Holy Prophet. Khadija had been for the Holy Prophet more than a wife. She had placed all her wealth ,which was considerable, at his disposal. She had given him love. She was the first person to be converted to Islam, and had been a pillar of strength for the Holy Prophet as well as the Muslims.
The passing away of Abu Talib and Khadija created a great vacuum in the life of the Holy Prophet, and he felt very lonely and disconsolate. In this hour of bereavement Abu Bakr tried to console the Holy Prophet, and he spent most of his time in his company. It was the endeavor of Abu Bakr that he should as far as possible fill the vacuum created by the deaths of Abu Talib and Khadija.
Holy Prophet’s marriage with Sauda.
At the instance of Khawla bint Hakim the Holy Prophet married Sauda bint Zama’a. Sauda was an elderly lady and was among the early converts to Islam. She was a good housewife, and looked very well after the house and the children of the Holy Prophet.
Proposal for engagement to Ayesha.
Khawla bint Hakim suggested to the Holy Prophet that he should marry some young lady as well who could keep him company. Whom could he marry, inquired the Holy Prophet. Khawla suggested that Ayesha the daughter of Abu Bakr would be a good choice.
TheHoly Prophet left it to Khawla to pursue the matter with Abu Bakr. Khawla approached Abu Bakr, and his wife Umm Ruman and made the proposal for the engagement of Ayesha to the Holy Prophet. Abu Bakr felt honored at the proposal, but his difficulty was that Ayesha was already engaged to Jubayr son of Mut’im, and it was against Abu Bakr’s code of conduct to break his pledge. When this difficulty was brought to the notice of the Holy Prophet, he said that God would Himself provide a way out of the difficulty.
Abu Bakr called at the house of A1Mut’im. Al-Mut’im was still a disbeliever, and Mu’tim’s wife said to Abu Bakr “O son of Abu Qahafa, suppose we married our son to your daughter, you would turn him into an infidel, and convert him to your religion”. Abu Bakr made no reply, but turning to Mut’im said, “What does she mean? ” Mut’im said indifferently, “She is saying what you have heard.”
Abu Bakr said, “This means that you repudiate the engagement.” “So let it be,” said Al-Mut’im.
Ayesha’s engagement to the Holy Prophet. At the repudiation of the engagement by Al-Mut’im, Abu Bakr felt happy, and returned home relieved of a great burden. God had Himself provided a way out of the difficulty. Abu Bakr hastened with the good news to Khawla, and asked her to invite the Holy Prophet to his house. The Holy Prophet responded to the call, and formally asked for the hand of Ayesha. Abu Bakr was overwhelmed with joy and emotion and said, “O Prophet of God, all that I have is yours”.
At a simple ceremony Ayesha was engaged to the Holy Prophet. It was, however, decided that the actual marriage ceremony would be held later.
Age of Ayesha.
In most of the accounts that have come down to us, it is stated that at the time of her engagement to the Holy Prophet, Ayesha was a girl of six or seven years only. This appears to be an understatement. We have it on record that when Abu Bakr became a Muslim his children included Abdur Rahman, Abdullah, Asma, and Ayesha. Abu Bakr became a Muslim in 610 A.D. and Ayesha must be at least eleven or twelve years of age at the time of her engagement, and not six or seven years.
Abu Bakr’s relationship with the Holy Prophet.
After the engagement of Ayesha to the Holy Prophet, the new relationship further strengthened the bond, between the Holy Prophet and Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr was now not merely a follower or a disciple; he was the Holy Prophet’s father-in-law as well. That added to his stature, and Abu Bakr felt elated at the honor.