Aisha bint al Siddiq

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Aisha bint al Siddiq

 

Beloved reader, we now present before you the life of Umm al Mu’minin Aisha bint al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anha. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had bestowed her with acute intelligence, a sound mind, and great knowledge. Her contribution to the legacy of Islam was profound just as her narrations are many. She bared to the world the blessed life of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, expounding on its many angles. Together with this, her divinely inspired juristic reasoning led her to be the teacher of the ummah in its entirety. She is Umm al Mu’minin Aisha bint al Imam al Siddiq al Akbar. The daughter of the vicegerent of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Abu Bakr ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Quhafah ‘Uthman ibn ‘Amir ibn ‘Amr ibn Ka’b ibn Sa’d ibn Taym ibn Murrah ibn Ka’b ibn Lu’ay. She is the Mother of the Believers, the noble Consort of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She is amongst the most well versed in the sciences of the Qur’an, Sunnah, Fiqh, Arabic literature, Arabic poetry, and medicine.

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam says:

 

كمل من الرجال كثير ولم يكمل من النساء غير مريم بنت عمران وآسية امرأة فرعون وإن فضل عائشة على النساء كفضل الثريد على سائر الطعام

Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained perfection except Maryam—the daughter of ‘Imran, and Asiyah—the wife of Fir’aun. And the superiority of Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid[1] to other meals.[2]

 

What knowledge, intellect and deep understanding did she possess to receive such an accolade! ‘Allamah al Dhahabi radiya Llahu ‘anhu writes regarding the Mother of the believers, the noble Consort of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, “She is the most knowledgeable woman of this ummah without any doubt.”[3]

She was born in Makkah al Mukarramah eight years before the emigration and was married to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the second year after the Hijrah. She has narrated from him more than any of his other wives and was from amongst his most beloved of wives.

 

‘Amr ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu once asked the Prophet of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “Who amongst people are most beloved to you?”

He replied, “Aisha.”

I then said, “And from the males?”

He replied, “Her father.”[4]

 

Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu paying tribute to her knowledge says:

 

ما أشكل علينا أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حديث قط، فسألنا عنه عائشة إلا وجدنا عندها منه علما

When we—the Sahabah—were faced with difficulty in understanding any narration, we went to Aisha and promptly found her to have some knowledge regarding it.[5]

 

She was unique in her understanding of matters with her sound mind, sharp intellect, deep knowledge, and enviable memory. It was her insatiability of the sciences that led her to question and seek clarification on matters she did not fully grasp. Take for example, when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whoever is taken to account on the Day of Resurrection will be punished.”

Aisha said, “Has not Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala said, ‘He will soon have an easy reckoning?’

The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “That is not the reckoning, for that is only the presentation of deeds. Whoever is thoroughly taken to account will be punished.”[6]

Her exposure to the Qur’an from a young age through the recitation of her father is one of the reasons that established her as an authority in the science of tafsir (exegesis of the Qur’an). We can appreciate this sentiment through the following statement of hers:

 

The verse:

بَلِ السَّاعَةُ مَوْعِدُهُمْ وَالسَّاعَةُ أَدْهَىٰ وَأَمَرُّ

But the Hour is their appointment [for due punishment], and the Hour is more disastrous and more bitter.[7]

was revealed upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in Makkah whilst I was playing as a young girl. Additionally Surah al Baqarah and Surah al Nisa was revealed to him whilst I was in his presence.[8]

 

She was honoured by being the only consort who would attest to the revelation, as has been narrated from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:

والله ما نزل علي الوحي وأنا في لحاف امرأة منكن غيرها

By Allah! revelation does not descend upon me when I am under the (same) sheet with any woman except Aisha.[9]

 

Furthermore, she would question Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the meaning of certain verses and the indication of others. She was therefore blessed with being in his company at the time of revelation thereby listening to the revelation immediately, together with gaining the understanding of the said verses from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam himself. Consider all of this with her knowledge of the Arabic language, her eloquence, and fluency of expression.

Looking at her accomplishments in the field of hadith, we find her to be amongst the giants of this field. She is in the top tier of narrators, together with Abu Hurairah, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, and Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhum. Her narrations are however unique as they deal with the noble actions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, more so those moments which pertain to his marital and private life, which none besides his noble consorts had access to.

It would be unwise to think that she reached this status solely due to knowledge. Her good actions were far greater than her knowledge. One is astounded reading through her life story, her patience in teaching the masses, her steadfastness in the worship of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and standing before him. Her nephew, Qasim ibn Muhammad rahimahu Llah, relates:

 

كنت إذا غدوت بدات ببيت عائشة أسلم عليها فغدوت يوماً فإذا هي قائمة تسبح وتقرأ فمن الله علينا ووقانا عذاب السموم انا كنا من قبل ندعوه انه هو البر الرحيم وتدعو وتبكي ترددها فقمت حتى مللت القيام فذهبت إلى السوق لحاجتي ثم رجعت فإذا هي قائمة تصلي وتبكي رضي الله عنها.

I would begin my day passing the house of my aunt, Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, greeting her. On one such occasion I came by her home whilst she was standing in prayer, crying, whilst reciting and repeating the verses:

فَمَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْنَا وَوَقَانَا عَذَابَ السَّمُوْمِ

So Allah conferred favour upon us and protected us from the punishment of the Scorching Fire.

إِنَّا كُنَّا مِنْ قَبْلُ نَدْعُوْهُ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْبَرُّ الرَّحِيْمُ

Indeed, we used to supplicate Him before. Indeed, it is He who is the Beneficent, the Merciful.[10]

I waited till I tired of standing and carried on to the market place fulfilling my needs of the day. Much later I returned only to find her standing in prayer just as she was when I had left her.[11]

 

Subhan Allah, such steadfastness and perseverance in worship!

لفضلت النساء على الرجال

ولو كان النساء كمن ذكرنا

 If all women were like her, they would be given preference over men too.

 

‘Urwah ibn Zubair rahimahu Llah mentions regarding her:

 

كانت عائشة رضي الله عنها لا تمسك شيئًا مما جاءها من رزق الله تعالى إلا تصدقت به وتصدقت بسبعين الف درهم وانها لترقع جانب درعها

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha wouldn’t come by any provisions expect that she would give it in charity. She had, in one day, given in charity seventy thousand silver coins, whilst her garment was filled with patches.[12]

 

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala tests those slaves of his whom he loves, and the severity of the test is according to one’s level of faith. Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was slandered in the incident of Ifk whilst only twelve years of age. She says, “My tears were incessant, and I never had a wink of sleep, my parents feared my crying would claim my life.”[13] Ibn Kathir radiya Llahu ‘anhu says, “Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala responded on her behalf and revealed her innocence in ten verses of the Qur’an which will be read till the end of time, thereby elevating her status and proving her chaste nature while she was still a young girl. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has given testimony to her purity and has promised her forgiveness and noble provision. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is pleased with her, pure and chaste, truthful and noble, Aisha, Mother of the believers, noble Consort of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha passed away at the age of sixty-six, etching a rich legacy into the sciences of hadith and Islamic jurisprudence, having committed to memory thousands of narrations from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She lived on after Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, clearing misconceptions and exemplifying the Muslim women. She had amassed all angles of Islamic knowledge hadith, fiqh, and tafsir supplementing it with her knowledge of medicine, poetry and genealogy. ‘Urwah ibn Zubair rahimahu Llah says regarding her:

 

ما رأيت أحدا أعلم بالقرآن ولا بفريضة ولا بحرام ولا بحلال ولا بشعر ولا بحديث العرب ولا بنسب من عائشة

I have yet to come across someone more knowledgeable than Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha in the sciences of the Qur’an, in the intricacies of inheritance, in the matters of the lawful and unlawful, in poetry and history of the Arabs, and in genealogy.[14]

 

‘Allamah al Dhahabi makes mention of her in the following words:

 

وكانت امرأة بيضاء جميلة ، ومن ثم يقال لها : الحميراء ، ولم يتزوج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم بكرا غيرها ، ولا أحب امرأة حبها ، ولا أعلم في أمة محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم ، بل ولا في النساء مطلقا ، امرأة أعلم منها

She was of fair complexion, beautiful and therefore known as Humaira(little red one). Apart from her, all the other wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were previously married and his love for her was unparalleled. I do not know of any women in this ummah or otherwise more knowledgeable than her.[15]

 

May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala be pleased with her and shower her with his choicest blessings.

As I conclude this brief glimpse into the life of this great stalwart of Islam, I ask of you, where are the women of Islam today in relation to the fields of knowledge in which she excelled, hadith, fiqh, and tafsir.

 

NEXT⇒Umm Salamah al Makhzumiyah


[1] An Arabic dish prepared from meat and bread.

[2] Sahih al Bukhari, 3230; Sahih Muslim, 2431.

[3] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 2 pg. 135.

[4] Sahih al Bukhari, 3462; Sahih Muslim, 2384.

[5] Jami’ al Tirmidhi, 3883; Mishkat al Masabih, 6185.

[6] Sahih al Bukhari, 3462; Sahih Muslim, 2384.

[7] Surah al Qamar: 46.

[8] Sahih al Bukhari, 4707.

[9] Sahih al Bukhari, 3564.

[10] Surah al Tur: 27,28.

[11] Sifah al Safwah, vol. 2 pg. 31

[12] The latter portion of the narration is found in Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, vol. 8 pg. 66 and Hannad ibn Sari in Zuhd, 612. The beginning is part of narration found in Sahih al Bukhari, 3314.

[13] Sahih al Bukhari, 3910; Sahih Muslim, 2770.

[14] Hilyat al Awliya’, vol. 2 pg. 50; Mu’jam al Kabir, vol. 23 pgs. 128/294; Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, 26048/31038.

[15] Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 2 pg. 135.