There are clear contradictions in man made hadith literature regarding at what age the Prophet died. Some say he died at the age of sixty, some say sixty three, while others say sixty five.
Let’s take a look at the narrations:
NARRATIONS THAT STATE THAT THE PROPHET DIED AT AGE SIXTY
Volume 4, Book 56, Number 747:
Narrated Rabia bin Abi Abdur-Rahman:
I heard Anas bin Malik describing the Prophet saying, “He was of medium height amongst the people, neither tall nor short; he had a rosy color, neither absolutely white nor deep brown; his hair was neither completely curly nor quite lank. Divine Inspiration was revealed to him when he was forty years old. He stayed ten years in Mecca receiving the Divine Inspiration, and stayed in Medina for ten more years. When he expired, he had scarcely twenty white hairs in his head and beard.” Rabi’a said, “I saw some of his hairs and it was red. When I asked about that, I was told that it turned red because of scent.”
Volume 4, Book 56, Number 748:
Allah’s Apostle was neither very tall nor short, neither absolutely white nor deep brown. His hair was neither curly nor lank. Allah sent him (as an Apostle) when he was forty years old. Afterwards he resided in Mecca for ten years and in Medina for ten more years. When Allah took him unto Him, there was scarcely twenty white hairs in his head and beard.
Volume 7, Book 72, Number 787:
Narrated Anas bin Malik:
The Prophet was neither conspicuously tall, nor short; neither, very white, nor tawny. His hair was neither much curled, nor very straight. Allah sent him (as an Apostle) at the age of forty (and after that) he stayed for ten years in Mecca, and for ten more years in Medina. Allah took him unto Him at the age of sixty, and he scarcely had ten white hairs on his head and in his beard.
NARRATIONS THAT STATE THAT THE PROPHET DIED AT AGE SIXTY THREE
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 190:
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
Allah’s Apostle was inspired Divinely at the age of forty. Then he stayed in Mecca for thirteen years, and then was ordered to migrate, and he migrated to Medina and stayed there for ten years and then died.
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 242:
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
Allah’s Apostle started receiving the Divine Inspiration at the age of forty. Then he stayed in Mecca for thirteen years, receiving the Divine Revelation. Then he was ordered to migrate and he lived as an Emigrant for ten years and then died at the age of sixty-three (years).
Volume 5, Book 58, Number 243:
Narrated Ibn Abbas:
Allah’s Apostle stayed in Mecca for thirteen years (after receiving the first Divine Inspiration) and died at the age of sixty-three.
NARRATIONS THAT STATE THAT THE PROPHET DIED AT AGE SIXTY FIVE
Book 030, Number 5805:
‘Ammar, the freed slave of Banu Hashim, reported: I asked Ibn ‘Abbas how old was he when death overtook the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He said: I little know that such a thing is not known to a man like you who belong to his people. He said: I asked people about it but they differed with me, and I liked to know your opinion about it. He said: Do you know counting? He said: Yes. He then said: Bear this in mind very well that he was commissioned (as a Prophet) at the age of forty, and he stayed in Mecca for fifteen years; sometime in peace and sometime in dread, and (lived) for ten years after his migration to Medina.
Book 030, Number 5807:
Ammar, the freed slave of Banu Hashim, reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) died when he had attained the age of sixty-five.
Now one may ask how we should reconcile the man made hadiths, which state that the Prophet received revelation in Mecca for either ten, thirteen or fifteen years.
What is the correct answer?