‘Aaishah RadiyAllaahu ‘Anhaa

Great Women in Islam Aaishah RA
‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was born in 614 CE. Her mother was Umm Rumaan and her father was Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhumaa).

She said that there were nine blessings of Allah which distinguished her from all other women in the world except Maryam bint ‘Imraan, the mother of ‘Eesaa (‘Alayhi-s Salaam).

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) later reported that The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) Muhammad had told her that Jibreel (Gabriel) came to him and showed him a picture of her on a piece of green silk and said, “She is your wife in this world and in the next world.”

Her Marriage to Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam).
‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was the only virgin to have become the wife of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).For her wedding, she was dressed in a wedding dress made from fine red striped cloth from Bahrain and then her mother took her to the newly built house where some women of the Ansaar (of Madeenah) were waiting outside the door. They greeted her with the words, “For good and for happiness, may all be well”. Then, in the presence of the smiling The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) a bowl of milk was brought. The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) drank from it himself and then offered it to ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa). She shyly declined it, but when he insisted she drink as well and then offered the bowl to her sister Asmaa’ who was sitting beside her. The others who were present also drank from it, and that was all there was to the simple and solemn occasion of their wedding.

Small rooms were constructed around the Prophet’s Mosque (Masjid-un-Nabawi), and ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) occupied one of these. It’s walls were made from mud and the roof made of palm leaves and twigs. It was covered with a blanket to prevent rainwater from seeping through. The roof was so low that a person standing upright could touch it. The door never closed and a blanket hung as curtain. Close to the room, on a slightly higher level was another small room. A mat, a thin mattress, a pillow filled with the bark of trees, a water bag, a small plate for dates and a glass for drinking water were all the things in the room. This sparse little room was filled with spiritual treasures.

Her Character.
Her marriage to the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) did not change ‘Aa-ishah’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) playful ways. She was playful and quick witted. Her young friends continued to regularly come to visit her in her own room. The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) would come in and they would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them there. Sometimes he would say, “Stay, where you are,” before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games.

The Messenger of Allaah, Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) was the last of The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) and the best of creation; and ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was a very intelligent and observant young girl with a very good memory. ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) spent the next nine years of her life with The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam), and she grew into womanhood, she remembered all that she saw and heard with great clarity, for to be the wife of The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) was even more than extraordinary.
So much happened around him – the Qur-aan continued to be revealed, verse by verse, and people’s hearts were constantly being turned over and transformed, including hers and she was a witness of so much of all that took place. It is not surprising, therefore, that a great deal of the knowledge that we still have today, about how our beloved The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) lived and behaved, was first remembered and then taught to others by ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa).

With regards to their age difference, it is thanks to this exceptional marriage, between a man nearing the end of his life and a woman still near the beginning of hers, that we know so much about the both of them, and this is what makes it so much easier for those who wish to follow in their footsteps to try and follow their example. Whereas Khadeejah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was already a wise and mature woman when she married The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) Muhammad, ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was a spirited young girl who still had a great deal to learn when she married The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam).

Her Intelligence
‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was very quick to learn, however, for she had a clear heart, and a quick mind and an accurate memory. She was not afraid to talk back in order to find out the truth or make it known, and whenever she beat someone else in argument, The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) would smile and say, “She is the daughter of Abu Bakr (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu)!”
‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) attained a lofty status because of her knowledge. Everyone consulted her on the finer points of religion. Many Hadeeths originated from her 2210 in number. She is one of the four people who have transmitted more than two thousand Hadeeths, the others being Abu Hurairah, ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Umar, and Anas ibn Malik (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhum). Many of these are about some of the most intimate aspects of personal behaviour and hygiene which only someone in ‘Aa-ishah’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) position could have learned.
The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) once said, “Learn some of your Deen from this red haired lady.” Meaning ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa).

Her Kindness.
‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was extremely generous and charitable. Once, when the Muslims were favoured with great wealth, she as given a gift of one hundred thousand dirhams. She was fasting when she received the money, and distributed all of it to the poor and needy, even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after that, her maid servant said to her, “Couldn’t you have brought a dirham’s worth of meat with which to break your fast?”. “If I had thought of it”, she replied, “I would have done so!”.
‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was soft-hearted. On one occasion when a beggar carrying two children came to her door; ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) had only three dates in the house. These she gave her; the woman gave one each to the children and started eating one herself. One of the children ate his share quickly and started looking at his mother eating her date. The woman could not bear her child’s hunger and took the date from her mouth, broke it into two halves, and gave a piece to each of the children. When ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) saw this heart-rending scene she could not control her tears.

Some Great Events During Her Lifetime with Rasoolullaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam).
During the nine years that ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was married to The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) she witnessed many of the great events that shaped the destiny of the first Muslim community of Madeenah al Munawwarah. As the divine guidance continued to be revealed through The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam), ‘Aa-ishah’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) way of life – along with that of all the Muslims – was gradually reshaped and refined.
1. It was during the course of their marriage that she direction of the Qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to Makkah, thereby more clearly distinguishing the Muslims from the Jews and the Christians,
2. It was during the course of their marriage that drinking alcohol was finally forbidden, that it was made clear what food was halaal and what food was haraam,
3. It became necessary for women to wear the Hijaab in public and when praying,
4. The guidance as to how to fast was revealed,
5. Paying the Zakaah became obligatory on all Muslims,
6. and all rites of the Hajj were purified and clarified.
7. It was during the course of their marriage that, amongst others, the battles of Badr, and Uhud, and Al-Khandaq (the Ditch) were fought. These were the three major battles against the Quraish, that shifted the balance of power out of the hands of the idolaters and into the hands of the Muslims. Although she was still very young, ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) participated in them all, bringing water for the Muslims warriors, and helping to look after the wounded. She witnessed life, and she witnessed death – both in the way of Allaah and in the way of the idolaters – and she understood both. Indeed one of the meanings of her name, ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa)’, is ‘life’.
8. It was during the marriage of ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) that the Jews plotted and tried to kill The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) on more than one occasion, without success, and were punished for this. First the Banu Qayunqah and then the Banu Nadeer were expelled from Madeenah; and then Banu Qurayzah – who had broken their agreement with the Muslims during the battle of al-Khandaq and conspired to exterminate all of them.
9. She was present at the Ghazwah of Banu al-Mustaliq. When he went to join the expedition, the lot fell to ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa), and she it was who traveled with him.
10. It was also during the course of ‘Aa-ishah’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) marriage with The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) that Makkah was eventually conquered by the Muslim army,
11. Preparations were made for the first of the many battles that were successfully fought against the Greeks and the Persians after the letters from Muhammad inviting Heraclius and Choroes to embrace Islam and worship Allaah alone had been contemptuously ignored.
12. Amongst the people on what has become known as ‘the Farewell Pilgrimage’ of The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) was ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa), for The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) asked all of his wives, may Allaah be pleased with them, to accompany him, to ensure that they all fulfilled this particular obligation that every Muslim owes to his or her Lord. It was an extraordinary pilgrimage. There never had been, and there never has been, and there never will be, another Hajj quite like it, for at its heart was The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) Muhammad and around him were his family and Companions, may the blessings and peace of Allaah be on them, and during it the verse of the Qur-aan was revealed:
“This day I have perfected your deen for you and have completed My blessing on you, and have chosen Islam for you as your Deen.” (Qur-aan 5:3)

The ‘Ifk (Slander) of ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa).
‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) had borrowed a necklace from her sister Asmaa’ (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) at the time of the small expedition with Banu al-Mustaliq. ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was now thirteen years old, was small, slim, and graceful, so it was difficult for the men who carried her litter to know for certain whether or not she was actually inside it when they lifted it up.
On the way back to Madeenah, after the Banu al-Mustaliq had been subdued, the Muslim army stopped for a rest, but then The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) unexpectedly ordered the army to continue the march back. Unknown to everyone else, ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) had stepped out of her litter for a few minutes and had left the camp, seeking some privacy. On her way back she had noticed that her onyx necklace was missing and so she retraced her steps to try and find it. When she had at last found it finally returned to the camp, it was to find that everyone had gone. The men who had been carrying her litter had thought she was still in it, and had picked it up, strapped it to the camel and marched on.

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa), who trusted completely in Allaah, sat down, and waited, hoping that someone would notice her absence and come back for her. Fortunately she did not have long to wait, for a young Muslim man named Safwaan ibn al-Mu’attal (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu), who had fallen behind the army after taking a rest, reached the camp during the night and found her lying fast asleep. Safwaan (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) immediately recognising her, because he had seen her in the early days before Allaah had commanded Muslim women to wear the hijaab.

“Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon!” – “Surely we come from Allaah and surely to Him we return!”, he exclaimed in surprise, waking ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) up with the loudness of his voice. He did not say anything else, and a‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) put the scarf that had fallen off her head while she was asleep back on, Safwaan (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) made his camel kneel down close to her so that she could climb up on to it; and then, leading the camel with his hand, he set off on foot after the army, hoping that they would soon catch up with it which they eventually did later the next morning, since the army had halted for a rest during the hottest part of the day. Unfortunately, some hypocrites who had seen Safwaan and ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhumaa) arrive alone together began to gossip and spread slanderous lies about them. Eventually the story reached The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) himself and by then the whole community was talking about what might or might now have happened before the two young Muslims. Naturally the Believers were certain that noting bad had happened, but the Hypocrites thought otherwise and were not afraid to insinuate that was the case.

As a result of all this gossip, The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) and his household came under a great strain, and in fact ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) herself fell ill, not because she was aware of what the hypocrites were saying about her, but because The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) did not seem to care for her as much as he had done before the campaign against the Banu al-Mustaliq.
Finally, someone told her what some people were saying. This made ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) even more ill, so with The Messenger’s (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) permission, she went to stay at the house of her parents. When she arrived, she said to her mother, Umm Rumaan, “Mother! What are the people saying?”. She replied “O my daughter! Do not make too much of the business. By Allaah, seldom has there been a woman of beauty with a husband who loves her and who has co-wives but that people say a lot against her.” ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said, “Glory be to Allaah! The people have really been saying this?”. ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said, “I have spent the entire night until morning unable to stop weeping and could not sleep at all. Morning found me still weeping”.

In the meantime, when Safwaan (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) was confronted with the allegations that had been made, he replied, “Glory be to Allaah! By Allaah, I have never removed the veil of any woman!”. Since there had been no revelation to clarify the matter, The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) asked Bareerah, who was ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) ‘s maid servant, if she had seen anything in ‘Aa-ishah’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) behaviour that was at all doubtful. “By Him who sent you with the truth”, she replied, “I have not seen nothing wrong with her, other than that she is a young girl and sometimes she falls asleep while she is kneading the dough and a lamb comes along and eats it!”. Some of the companions who were present scolded Bareerah and told her to come to the point. “Glory be to Allaah!”, she replied. “I know as much about her as a jeweller knows about a piece of pure gold!”.

The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) also asked Zaynab bint Jahsh (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) for her opinion, since he valued it highly. Although she and ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) were frequently at odds with one another and Zaynab’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) sister Hamna, was the one of those who were actively gossiping and spreading the rumour, she replied without hesitation, “O Messenger of Allaah”, she said, “I will not repeat anything that I have not heard with my own ears and seen with my own eyes. By Allaah, I find nothing in her but goodness”.

The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) then tried to vindicate ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa)’s honour by calling everyone to the mosque and publicly defending her reputation, but the hypocrites who had started the trouble in the first place only made matter worse, so that arguments broke out all over the mosque, and people had almost come to blows over the matter before The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) calmed them down and silenced them.

The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) then came to Abu Bakr’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) house, where ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) had been crying her heart out, and in the presence of her parents said the Shahaadah, and then continued, “If you are innocent, then Allaah Himself will protect your honour, and if by accident there has been a lapse on your part, then seek the forgiveness of Allaah and He will pardon you, for when a slave admits a fault and turns to Him in repentance, then Allaah also turns and accepts that repentance”.

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said, “When the Messenger of Allaah finished what he was saying, my tears stopped so that I was not aware of a single tear. I said to my father, ‘Answer the Messenger of Allaah for me regarding what he has said’. He said, ‘By Allaah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allaah’. I said to my mother, ‘Answer the Messenger of Allaah for me regarding what he has said’. She said, ‘By Allaah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allaah’”.

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said, “I am a young girl who does not yet recite much of the Qur-aan. By Allaah, I know that you have heard this story that people are saying and it has become fixed in yourself and you have believed it. If I were to say to you that I am innocent, you would not believe me. If I were to confess to something to you and Allaah knows that I am innocent you would believe me. By Allaah, I can only say what the father of Yusuf said, Patience is beautiful, and Allaah is my protection against what you describe. (Qur-aan 12:18). Then I turned over on my bed, Allaah knowing that I was innocent and hoping that Allaah would proclaim me innocent. However, by Allaah, I did not think that any revelation would be sent down regarding me. I thought too little of myself that something would be said in the Qur-aan regarding me, however I hoped that the Messenger of Allaah would have a dream in which Allaah would exonerate me. She had hardly finished speaking when The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) received a direct revelation of some more ayahs of the Qur-aan, and when it was over, he smiled and said, “Do not worry, ‘Aa-ishah, for Allaah has revealed proof of your innocence”.

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa)’s mother, who had been standing next to her, said, “Get up and thank him”.
“By Allaah!”, exclaimed ‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa), whose title, ‘Siddeeqah’, means ‘The Truthful One’, “I will not thank him and praise him but rather Allaah Who has given the revelation that has protected my honour!”. Then The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) went to the mosque and recited what had just been sent down:

Surely those who fabricate the lie are a group from among you. Do not think it is bad thing for you; no it is good for you. Every man will receive what he has earned for this sin, and whoever had the greater part in it will have a great punishment. Why did the men and women believers, when they heard it, not think good in their selves and say: ‘This is clearly a lie?’. Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they did not produce witnesses, they are certainly liars in the sight of Allaah. If it were not for the grace of Allaah, and His mercy on you in this world and in the next world, an awful doom would have overtaken you for what you repeated. Since you received it with your tongues, and repeated what you did not know anything about with your mouths, you thought it was a trifle, but in the sight of Allaah it is serious. Why, when you heard it, did you not say: ‘It is not for us to repeat this, Glory be to You (O Allaah), this is a serious rumour’. Allaah warns you to never repeat anything like this again, if you are indeed believers and Allaah makes the signs clear to you; and Allaah is Knowing, Wise. Surely those who love to spread around slander about those who believe will have a painful punishment in this world and in the next world; and Allaah knows and you do not know. (Qur-aan 24:11-19).

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) forgave those who had let themselves be caught in the slander and in later years would not hear anything bad said about them. The fact that ‘Aa-ishah’s (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) honour and reputation had been protected by a revelation from Allaah could not be ignored by anyone, and from then on everyone was more aware of her high station with Allaah.

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was once asked to describe The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam), and she replied that he was ‘the Qur-aan walking’, meaning that his behaviour was the Qur-aan translated into action. She did all that she could to do likewise. Thus she not only knew and embodied the Sunnah, but also she memorized the Qur-aan by heart and understood it.

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) had the honour of The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) passing away with his head in her lap. She once had a dream that three moons descended into her apartment. When The Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) passed away he was buried in her apartment. Her father told her that part of her dream came true that day – the first moon irradiated her apartment. Later, her father and then ‘Umar Al-Khattab (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhuaa) were buried next to The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) which fulfilled the prophesy of her dream.

‘Aa-ishah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) passed away of natural causes on 17 Ramadaan, 58 AH, at the age of 66.

Abu Hurairah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhu) led the Salaat-ul Janaazah (funeral prayers). She was buried in Jannatul Baqee’.

May Allah be pleased with this lady of knowledge.

Sources:

Great Women of Islam – by Dar-us-Salam Publications

Wives of The Prophet – Ibn Kathir

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