Q: What is the appropriate age for a woman and man to get married; as some girls do not consent to marriage from those older than them in age. And likewise some men do not marry those older than them in age, we hope that you will answer this question, may Allaah reward you with good.
A: I advise the young girls not to refuse a man because of him being older, for example if he was older than her by ten years or twenty years or thirty years – this is not a valid excuse.
The Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam married Aaishah and he was fifty-three years old, and she was nine years old; so being older does not harm.
So there is no problem if the woman were to be older and similarly there is no problem if the husband was older, as the Prophet sallAllaahu `alaihi wa sallam married Khadeejah radiyallAllaahu anhaa and she was forty while he was twenty five, before he received revelation. Meaning she was older than him by fifteen years, may Allaah be pleased with her.
Then he married Aaishah radiyallaahu `anhaa while she was young; six or seven years, and entered upon her (consummated the marriage) when she was nine years old and he was fifty-three years old.
Many of those who speak on radio-stations or television are averse to the idea of there being a difference between the ages of a husband and wife – all of this is wrong; this speech is not permissible for them.
What is obligatory is that the woman looks at the prospected husband, so if he is righteous and suitable then it is befitting that she consents even if he is older than her in age.
Likewise the man, it is befitting that he concerns himself with a righteous, religious woman even if she is older than him – as long as she is young and fertile.
In all, age should not be used as an excuse and should not be a fault, as long as the man is righteous and the woman is righteous.
May Allaah rectify all our affairs.
[‘Fataawaa al-Mar.ah’, Verdicts Relating to Women, pg. 54, Shaykh Ibn Baz]