Aisha bint Abu Bakr was the third wife of the Prophet Muhammad, and may have been a child bride. Her father was one of Muhammad's closest advisers, the first convert to Islam, the compiler of the Qur'an, and the first Muslim ruler or caliph.
Aisha was the source of many of the sacred Islamic texts known as the Hadith, and was considered the most reliable of the wives as she was said to be the only one still a virgin when they married. It's been suggested that up to a quarter of all Sharia law is based on her narrations.
Sunni muslims hold Aisha in high esteem and believe she was Muhammad's favourite wife. He strenuously defended her against his companions' accusations of her adultery, and he is said to have died with his head in her lap. Shia muslims take a more negative view of her, claiming she stirred up trouble amongst the Prophet's family.