`A’ishah the Mother of the Believers and Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali ibn Abi Talib

If one were to scan through the annals of history, one would find the life stories of many great personalities. Men who influenced the lives of those around them, creating a new way of thinking and in all formed new ideologies. However, most of their lives have been tainted with stories of their greed, lust and hunger for power. As one continues to search through the books of our past, one would come to realise that the most influential people to have lived, were none other than the beloved companions of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. Motivated by none other than Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam himself, their lives tell a tale of honesty, trustworthiness and the ultimate in self-sacrifice. Thus, their noble qualities and outstanding character effectively earned them the title of being the greatest group of people to have ever walked upon the face of the earth, after the ambiya’ `alayhimus salam. This is the biography of one such personality, the beloved of Rasulullah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, Mother of the believers, Sayyidah `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha.

 

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The attitude of Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali towards those who reviled `A’ishah

A man said:

O Amir al-Mu’minin, there are two men at the door who are reviling `A’ishah.

`Ali radiya Llahu `anhu ordered al-Qa`qa` ibn `Amr radiya Llahu `anhu to flog each of them with one hundred lashes and to strip them of clothes, and al-Qa`qa` did that.[1]

 

`Ammar ibn Yasir’s defence of the Mother of the Believers `A’ishah

It was narrated that Muhammad ibn `Urayb said:

A man stood up and mentioned `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha in `Ali’s radiya Llahu `anhu presence. `Ammar radiya Llahu `anhu came and said: “Who is this man who is reviling the wife of our Rasul? Shut up! You ugly, obnoxious and blameworthy man![2]

According to another report, he said:

Get lost, you ugly man, do you insult the beloved of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam?[3]

According to another report:

Mention was made of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha in the presence of `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu, and he said: “She is the wife of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.”[4]

 

`A’ishah the Mother of the Believers and Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali ibn Abi Talib

`A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers radiya Llahu `anha is al-Siddiqah, the daughter of al-Siddiq Abu Bakr `Abd Allah ibn `Uthman, Her mother was Umm Ruman bint `Uwaymir al-Kinani, and she was born four or five years after Rasul’s salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam mission began. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam married her when she was six years old and consummated the marriage with her when she was nine years old, in the month of Shawwal 1 AH (or it was said in 2 AH). She was declared innocent from above the seven heavens. She was the dearest of Rasul’s wives to him and the only virgin that he married.

She was the most knowledgeable of all the women of the ummah; all of the most prominent among the Sahabah would consult her if they were uncertain about any religious matter. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam died when she was eighteen years old, and she radiya Llahu `anhu died on the night before 17 Ramadan in 58 AH. Abu Hurayrah radiya Llahu `anhu led the funeral prayer for her, and she was buried in Baqi` Cemetery – May Allah be pleased with her and make her pleased.[5]

Her virtues are many and well known, and there are sound ahadith describing virtues that were unique to her among all the Mothers of the Believers, including the following:

1. The angel brought her image to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam on a cloth of fine silk[6] before her marriage to him

The two Shuyukh, Bukhari and Muslim, narrated that `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha said that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

I was shown in my dreams for three nights that an angel brought you to me wrapped in a cloth of silk, saying: “This is your wife.” I uncovered your face and saw that it was you, and I said: “If this is from Allah, then He will bring it to pass.”[7]

 

2. The most beloved of the wives of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam

He stated his love for her clearly when he was asked about the dearest of people to him. Al-Bukhari narrated, with his chain of narration going back to `Amr ibn al-`As that Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam sent him at the head of the army of Dhat al-Salasil.[8] He said:

I came to him and said: “Who among the people is dearest to you?” He said: “`A’ishah.” I said: “Who among men?” He salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “Her father.”[9]

Al-Hafiz al-Dhahabi said:

 

This is a proven report in spite of the Rafidi. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam never loved anyone except those who were good, and he said: “If I were to have taken a close friend (khalil) from among this ummah, I would have taken Abu Bakr as a close friend, but the brotherhood of Islam is better.”

So he loved the best man among his ummah and the best woman among his ummah. Whoever hates the two who were beloved to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam deserves to be hated by Allah and His Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. The Rasul’s salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam love for `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha is well known and widely reported.[10]

 

3. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam received revelation when he was under her blanket with her, but never with his other wives

Al-Bukhari narrated, with his chain of narration going back to Hisham ibn `Urwah that the people would try to take their gifts to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam when it was `A’ishah’s day. `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha narrates:

 

My co-wives went to Umm Salamah and said: “O Umm Salamah, by Allah, the people try to bring their gifts when it is `A’ishah’s day, and we want some of this goodness as `A’ishah wants it. Tell the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam to instruct the people to bring their gifts to him wherever he is and wherever he goes.” Umm Salamah mentioned that to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, and she (later) said: “He turned away from me. When he turned back to me, I mentioned it to him again, and he turned away from me. The third time I said it to him, he said: ‘Umm Salamah, do not annoy me with regard to `A’ishah, for by Allah, the revelation never comes down to me when I am under the blanket of any of you except her.’”[11]

 

Al-Dhahabi said:

This response indicates that the superiority of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha to the other Mothers of the Believers was something that was divinely ordained and was not just because he loved her; rather this was one of the reasons he loved her.[12]

 

4. Jibra’il `alayh al-Salam sent his greeting of salam to her with Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam

Al-Bukhari narrated, with his chain of narration going back to `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said to her one day:

O `A’ishah, this is Jibra’il sending greetings of salam to you.

She said:

And upon him be peace and the mercy of Allah and His blessings. You see what I cannot see — referring to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.[13]

 

5. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam went to her first when the verse instructing him to give his wives the choice was revealed

That was also accompanied by the instruction to consult her parents about the matter, because he knew that they would not tell her to leave him. She chose Allah and His Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and the home of the hereafter, and the rest of his wives followed her example.

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated, with their chain of narration back to `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, that she said:

When the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was commanded to give his wives the choice, he started with me, and he said: “I am going to tell you something, but you do not have to rush until you consult your parents.” He knew that my parents would never tell me to leave him. Then he said: “Allah, may He be glorified and praised, said:

یٰاَیُّهَا النَّبِیُّ قُلْ لِّاَزْوَاجِكَ اِنْ كُنْـتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَیٰوةَ الدُّنْیَا وَ زِیْنَتَها فَتَعَالَیْنَ اُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَ اُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِیْلًا ﴿28﴾ وَ اِنْ كُنْـتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللّٰهَ وَ رَسُوْلَهوَالدَّارَ الْاٰخِرَةَ فَاِنَّ اللّٰهَ اَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنٰتِ مِنْكُنَّ اَجْرًا عَظِیْمًا

O Rasul [Muhammad]! Say to your wives: “If you desire the life of this world, and its glitter, then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner [divorce]. But if you desire Allah and His Rasul, and the Home of the hereafter, then verily, Allah has prepared for al-muhsinat [good-doers] amongst you an enormous reward.”[14]

I said: “Do I need to consult my parents about this? I desire Allah and His Rasul and the Home of the hereafter.” Then the other wives of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam did the same as I had done.[15]

 

6. The revelation of verses of the Book of Allah because of her

These include verses that speak about her in particular and others that are for the ummah as a whole. Those that are about her particular, which speak of her virtue and high status, are the verses in which Allah testifies that she is innocent of the accusations and slanders against her. He says:

اِنَّ الَّذِیْنَ جَآءُوْ بِالْاِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنْكُمْ ؕ   لَا تَحْسَبُوْهُ شَرًّا لَّكُمْ ؕ   بَلْ هُوَ خَیْرٌ لَّكُمْؕ   لِكُلِّ امْرِیًٔ مِّنْهُمْ مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الاِثْمِۚ   وَالَّذِیْ تَوَلّٰی کِبْرَهمِنْهُمْ لَهعَذَابٌ عَظِیْمٌ

Verily, those who brought forth the slander [against `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha wife of the Rasul] are a group among you. Consider it not a bad thing for you. Nay, it is good for you. Unto every man among them will be paid that which he had earned of the sin, and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be a great torment.[16]

 

اَلْخَبِیْثٰتُ لِلْخَبِیْثِیْنَ وَ الْخَبِیْثُوْنَ لِلْخَبِیْثٰتِۚ   وَ الطَّیِّبٰتُ لِلطَّیِّبِیْنَ وَ الطَّیِّبُوْنَ لِلطَّیِّبٰتِ ۚ   اُولٰٓئِكَ مُبَرَّءُوْنَ مِمَّا یَقُوْلُوْنَؕ   لَهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَّ رِزْقٌ کَرِیْمٌ

Bad statements are for bad people [or bad women for bad men] and bad people for bad statements [or bad men for bad women]. Good statements are for good people [or good women for good men] and good people for good statements [or good men for good women]: such [good people] are innocent of [every] bad statement which they say; for them is forgiveness, and Rizq Karim [generous provision i.e. paradise).[17]

 

Ibn al-Qayyim said:

 

One of her virtues is that Allah declared her innocent of that which the people of the slander accused her of, and He sent down concerning her innocence revelation that will be recited in the masajid and prayers of the Muslims until the Day of Resurrection. He testified that she is one of the good, and He promised her forgiveness and a generous provision (referring to paradise). He stated that the lies that were told about her were good for her and that what was said about her was not bad for her and did not undermine her position; rather Allah raised her in status thereby, and her goodness and innocence became well-known among all the inhabitants of heaven and earth. What a great virtue this is! About this honour that stemmed from her extreme modesty and humbleness when she said: “I thought of myself as too insignificant for Allah to speak about me in revelation that would be recited, but I was hoping that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam would see a dream in which Allah would prove my innocence.”[18]

This is the Siddiqah of this ummah, the Mother of the Believers, and the beloved of the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam. She knew that she was innocent and had been wronged, and that those who were accusing her were wrongdoers and fabricators. Their accusations also hurt her parents and the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.[19]

 

Ibn Kathir said:

When the people of the slander spoke against her on the basis of fabrications and lies, Allah got angry and sent down, to prove her innocence, ten verses of Qur’an that will be recited until the end of time. The scholars are unanimously agreed that whoever slanders her after she has been proven innocent is a disbeliever.[20]

 

With regard to that which was revealed because of her but for the ummah in general, it is the verse that permits dry-earth to be performed when no pure water is available. This was a mercy and made things easy for the entire ummah. Al-Bukhari narrated, with his chain of narration going back to `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, that she borrowed a necklace from Asma’ and lost it, so the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam sent some of his Sahabah out to look for it. The time for prayer came, and they prayed without wudhu’. When they came to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, they complained to him about that, and the verse of earth-ablution was revealed. Usayd ibn Hudayr said:

May Allah reward you with good, for by Allah nothing happened to you that you dislike but Allah caused it to bring good to you and to the Muslims.[21]

 

7. When the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was ill, he wanted to be cared for in `A’ishah’s house

He salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam passed away leaning on her chest, on the day of her turn. Allah caused his saliva to be mixed with hers during his last moments in this world and his first moments in the hereafter, and he was buried in her house.[22]

Al-Bukhari narrated, with his chain of narration going back to `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, that when the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was ill, he used to go around to his wives and say: “Where will I be tomorrow?” Because he looked forward to being in `A’ishah’s radiya Llahu `anha house. She said: “When it was my day, he settled down there.”[23]

Muslim narrated that she said:

The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam used to check and ask: “Where will I be today? Where will I be tomorrow?” hoping that my turn was close. When it was my day, Allah took his soul when he was between my neck and my chest.[24]

His wives gave him permission to go wherever he wanted, and he remained in `A’ishah’s house until he passed away there. `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha said:

 

He passed away on the day that was my day, in my house. Allah took his soul when his head was between my neck and my chest and his saliva was mixed with mine.

Then she said:

`Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr came in, with a miswak (stick used as a natural toothbrush). The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam looked at it, and I said to him: “Give me this miswak, O `Abd al-Rahman.” He gave it to me and I cut it, then I chewed it and gave it to the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam who brushed his teeth with it while he was leaning on my chest.

Another report adds:

So Allah mixed my saliva with his on his last day in this world and his first day in the hereafter.[25]

 

8. Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam told her that she was one of the people of paradise

Al-Hakim narrated, with his chain of narration going back to `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, that she said:

I said: “O Rasul of Allah, who will be your wives in paradise?” He said: “You will be one of them.”

She said:

I thought that the reason was that he did not marry any other virgin except me.[26]

Al-Bukhari narrated with his chain of narration going back to al-Qasim ibn Muhammad that when `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha fell sick Ibn `Abbas came to her and said:

O Mother of the Believers, you are going to meet those who went ahead of you, the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and Abu Bakr.[27]

 

This is indicative of the great virtue of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha because he confirmed to her that she would enter paradise; he would not have said that on the basis of his own thoughts, so he must have heard it from Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam.[28]

 

9. The superiority of `A’ishah over other women is like the superiority of tharid[29] over other kinds of food

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated, with their chain of narration going back to `Abd Allah ibn `Abd al-Rahman, that he heard Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu `anhu say:

I heard the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam say: “The superiority of `A’ishah over other women is like the superiority of tharid over other kinds of food.”[30]

Al-Nawawi said:

 

The scholars said that it means that tharid is better than broth, and tharid with meat is better than broth without meat, and the tharid that has no meat is better than broth. What is meant by better is that it is more nutritious, more filling, easier to digest, more enjoyable and easier to eat, a person may eat his fill quickly, and so on. It is better than all kinds of broth and all kinds of food. The superiority of `A’ishah over other women is great, as great as the superiority of tharid over other kinds of food. This does not clearly state that she is better than Maryam and `Asiyah, it could be that what is meant is that she is superior to the women of this ummah.[31]

 

These are a few of the ahadith which point to the virtue, status and seniority of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha and to the high esteem in which she held in Islam. Despite that, `A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers, has been subjected to slander, criticism, lies and fabrications by the Rafidi Shi`ah and those who were influenced by their reports. They also discussed sound reports and sound ahadith, but they misinterpreted them and understood them in a way that differed from the actual meanings.

This is what was done by the author of the book Thumma Ihtadaytu, who did not come up with anything new; he simply followed in the footsteps of his predecessors among the Rafidi Shi`ah. He slandered the Mother of the Believers by misinterpreting the words of ‘Ammar:

By Allah, she is the wife of your Rasul in this world and in the hereafter but Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, is testing you by means of her, so that He may know whether you will obey Him or her.[32]

There is nothing in these words of `Ammar that could be understood as undermining `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha; in fact, it mentions her greatest virtue, which is that she is the wife of our Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam in this world and in the hereafter. What virtue could be greater than that?

The aim of every believer is to please Allah and attain paradise, and `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha attained that, according to the testimony of `Ammar radiya Llahu `anhu. He held a different view than hers with regard to that turmoil, but he testified that she would be in the highest degrees of paradise, in the company of the Rasul of Allah.[33]

Thus the sound hadith, which can be attributed to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam, according to what al-Hakim narrated in al-Mustadrak from `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, says that Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said to her:

Would it not please you to be my wife in this world and in the hereafter?

She replied:

Yes, by Allah.

He said:

You are indeed my wife in this world and in the hereafter.[34]

 

This hadith points to one of the greatest virtues of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha. Hence al-Bukhari narrated the previous report from `Ammar under the heading of “The virtues of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha.[35]

As for his words in the last part of the report: “…but Allah, may He be blessed and exalted, is testing you by means of her, so that He may know whether you will obey Him or her,” this is not undermining the position of the Mother of the Believers `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha at all, for the following reasons:

  • ‘Ammar’s radiya Llahu `anhu words represent his own opinion; `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha (held a different opinion and thought that what she was doing what was right. Each of them was a noble Sahabi and possessed a high level of religious commitment and knowledge, so the view of one of them was not binding upon the other).[36]
  • All that may be understood from the words of `Ammar is that she was going against the command of Allah in a particular case, but not everyone who takes a contrary stance is blameworthy unless proof is shown to them and they realise that they are wrong. Otherwise, they may be excused if they did not deliberately go against the command of Allah, because they may have been unaware, or their actions may have been based on misinterpretation, so they are not to be blamed for that.
  • `Ammar radiya Llahu `anhu did not intend thereby to criticise or undermine `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha; his intention was to point out her mistaken stance out of sincerity towards the ummah. Nevertheless, he recognised her status.[37]

According to some versions of this report from `Ammar radiya Llahu `anhu, he heard a man reviling `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha and he said:

Shut up, you ugly, hateful man! By Allah, she is the wife of your Rasul in this world and in the hereafter, but Allah is testing you by means of her, so that He may know whether yon will obey Him or her.[38]

 

The Rafidi Shi`ah says that Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam once stood up to deliver a speech, and he pointed towards `A’ishah’s house and said:

Here is fitnah, from where the horns of the Satan emerge.

This is a slander against `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, as they claim that Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam meant that fitnah would emerge from her house. These are misleading words, which turn the facts upside down and confuse those among the common people who have no knowledge. They explained what the narrator said: “Then he pointed (at `A’ishah’s house),” as meaning that he was pointing towards `A’ishah’s house and that she would be the cause of turmoil. But the hadith does not indicate that in any way whatsoever, and this phrase cannot be interpreted as meaning that by anyone who has the slightest knowledge of what words mean.

The narrator said he pointed ‘towards `A’ishah’s house’; he did not say ‘at `A’ishah’s house’. The difference between the two expressions is quite clear. The report in question was narrated by Bukhari in Kitab Fard al-Khums[39] and was also narrated in the books of Sunnah, the two Sahih of Bukhari and Muslim and elsewhere, with a number of chains of narration and in more than one version. The text states the land referred to, which refutes the claim of the Rafidi Shi`ah, and there is no need to refute the argument in any other way. The following are some of the versions of the hadith via many chains of narration from Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu:

It was narrated from Layth from Nafi` from Ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu that he heard the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam say, when he was facing towards the east:

Verily fitnah is there, where the horn of the Satan will emerge.[40]

It was narrated that `Ubayd Allah ibn `Umar said: Nafi` narrated to me from Ibn `Umar that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam stood at Hafsah’s door and pointed towards the east and said:

Fitnah will appear from where the horn of the Satan is.[41]

He said it two or three times. It was narrated from Salim ibn `Abd Allah from his father that the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said: while facing towards the east:

Verily fitnah is there, verily fitnah is there, and verily fitnah is there, where the horn of the Satan will appear.[42]

In these reports, the direction referred to is clearly specified; it is the east. This explains what is meant by the pointing that is referred to by the Rafidi Shi`ah.[43]

 

In some other versions of the hadith, the country referred is specified. It was narrated from Nafi’ that ibn `Umar radiya Llahu `anhu said:

Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “O Allah, bless us in our Syria; O Allah, bless us in our Yemen.” They said: “O Rasul of Allah, in our Najd.”[44] I think he said the third time: “There are earthquakes and fitnah there, and in it the horn of the Satan will appear.”[45]

It was narrated from Salim ibn `Abd Allah ibn `Umar that he said:

O people of Iraq, how much you ask about minor sins, and how many major sins you commit! I heard my father, `Abd Allah ibn `Umar say: “I heard the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam say: ‘Turmoil will come from there,’ and he pointed towards the east, where the horn of the Satan will appear.”[46]

According to some reports, the names of some of the tribes who live in that land are mentioned, and the situation of their people is described. It was narrated that Abu Mas`ud said:

The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam pointed with his hand towards Yemen and said: “Faith is there, and harshness and hardheartedness are among the uncouth owners of camels, where the horns of the Satan rise, Rabi`ah and Mudar.”[47]

 

This report definitively indicates that what Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam meant when he said “fitnah is there” was the eastern land, as the reports clearly state. In some of the reports, the people of that land are described and some tribes are mentioned by name, which clearly demonstrates the falseness of the claims made by the Rafidi Shi`ah that what he was pointing at was `A’ishah’s house. This is an invalid opinion and a worthless point of view; no one came up with this understanding or spoke of it except the Rafidi Shi`ah.[48]

 

10. Comparative virtues of `A’ishah, Khadijah and Fatimah

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

The best women of this ummah are Khadijah, `A’ishah and Fatimah radiya Llahu `anhum, but as to which of these three is better than the others, there is some dispute.[49]

Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about which of the two Mothers of the Believers was better, Khadijah or `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anhuma. He replied:

 

In terms of seniority, influence at the beginning of Islam and support of the religion, Khadijah is superior, and neither `A’ishah nor any of the other Mothers of the Believers share that virtue with her. As for `A’ishah’s influence later on, her devotion to Islam and conveying it to the ummah and her attainment of knowledge, neither Khadijah nor any of the others share that virtue with her, which distinguishes her from others.[50]

 

Ibn Hajar said:

It was said that there was consensus on the superiority of Fatimah, and that the difference of opinion remained with regard to whether `A’ishah or Khadijah was more virtuous.[51]

 

Commenting on the hadith of Abu Hurayrah about the angel Jibra’il `alayh al-Salam coming to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam and telling him convey salam to Khadijah from her Lord, Ibn Hajar reported that al-Suhayli said:

 

Abu Bakr ibn Dawud quoted this story as evidence that Khadijah is superior to `A’ishah, because Jibra’il sent greetings to `A’ishah from himself, but to Khadijah he conveyed greetings from her Lord. Ibn al-`Arabi claimed that there was no disputing Khadijah was superior to `A’ishah. He narrated that this argument was an old issue and that it was more likely that Khadijah superior because of this (the greeting being conveyed to her from her Lord) and because of what is mentioned above.[52]

 

From studying the texts that were narrated concerning the virtues of each one of them (may Allah be pleased with them), we find that they point to the superiority of Khadijah and Fatimah, then `A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with them all) because Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

Khadijah was given precedence over the women of my ummah.[53]

and,

The best of the women of paradise are Khadijah, Fatimah, Maryam and Asiya.[54]

Ibn Hajar said:

This is a clear statement that cannot be interpreted in any other way.[55]

Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam also said:

The best of the women of this world are Maryam bint `Imran, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad and Asiya the wife of Pharaoh.[56]

This states that Khadijah radiya Llahu `anha is the best of the women of this ummah. Moreover the wording of the reports about the superiority of Fatimah, in which Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said:

O Fatimah, does it not please you to be the leader of the believing women or the leader of the women of this ummah?[57]

or according to another version:

The leader of the women of the people of paradise.[58]

is a clear statement in which there is no ambiguity, and it cannot be interpreted in any other way. It is the statement that she is the best of the women of this ummah and the leader of the women of the people of paradise. Fatimah radiya Llahu `anha shared with her mother in this superiority, for she and her mother are the best of the women of the people of paradise, and she and her mother are the best of the women of this ummah. This is what the texts say.[59]

 

With regard to what is narrated about the superiority of `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha in the hadith:

The superiority of `A’ishah over other women is like the superiority of tharid over all other kinds of food.

This wording does not imply absolute superiority. Ibn Hajar[60] said:

This does not imply that `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha is superior to all others, because the virtue of tharid, in comparison to other foods, is that it is easy to cook and easy to digest, and it was the best of their food at that time. None of these attributes necessarily implies superiority in every way. It may be inferior to other types of food in other ways.[61]

 

So the hadith indicates that `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha is superior to the women of this ummah except Khadijah and Fatimah, because of the evidence to that effect, which puts a limit on `A’ishah’s superiority.[62]

With regard to the hadith of `Amr ibn al-`As, in which he asked Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam: “Who is the dearest to you?”, and he said: “`A’ishah.”[63]

Ibn Hibban suggested that this was a question that was about his wives only, and he wrote this heading in his Sahih:

Quoting a report and misinterpretation of one who does not have proper understanding of the science of hadith.

Under this heading, he quoted the hadith of `Amr radiya Llahu `anhu as follows:

I said: “O Rasul of Allah, who among the people is dearest to you?” He said: “`A’ishah.” I said: “I do not mean women; rather I mean men.” He said: “Abu Bakr” or “Her father.”

Then Ibn Hibban said:

I am going to quote the report indicating that the question was about his wives and not about women in general, such as Fatimah and others.

He narrated, with his chain of narration from Anas radiya Llahu `anhu that the latter said:

The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam was asked: “Who is the dearest of people to you?” He said: “`A’ishah.” It was said to him: “We are not asking about your family.” He said: “Her father.”[64]

 

Thus it is clear that `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha comes after Khadijah and Fatimah radiya Llahu `anhuma in virtue, so all the reports that indicate her superiority in general are to be understood in light of the reports about Khadijah and Fatimah radiya Llahu `anhuma which limit that superiority. No doubt `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha had many virtues, such as her knowledge, which were exclusively hers and which she did not share with Khadijah and Fatimah radiya Llahu `anhuma, but the fact that a virtue is proven does not necessarily mean that she was superior in every aspect.[65]

Whatever the case, the superiority of one of them over another does not undermine the lesser one; rather this is the greatest evidence of the high status of these three women, Fatimah, Khadijah and `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anhum, as the difference of opinion is not about the fact that these women are the best of the women of this ummah. What harm does it do to the Mother of the Believers `A’ishah if she is the third of the women of this ummah in virtue? Is this a call to respect and honour her or to undermine and slander her, as the Rafidi Shi`ah do?[66]

 

Did `A’ishah, the Mother of the Believers, regard it as permissible to fight the Muslims at the Battle of the Camel?

We have seen above that she did not set out to do that, and she did not want to fight. Al-Zuhri narrated that she said after the Battle of the Camel:

I wanted my status to prevent people from fighting, and I did not think that there would be any fighting among the people. If I had known that, I would never have adopted this stance.[67]

The view that `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha regarded fighting Muslims as permissible is false and cannot stand up to the sound reports showing that `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha only went out in order to set things straight, as we have seen. In fact, this opinion stems from the reports which were fabricated by the Rafidi Shi`ah, which distorted the history of early Islam and described what took place between `Ali and Talhah, Zubayr and `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anhum as civil war.

Some researchers were influenced by these reports to the extent that one of them said that `A’ishah was taken prisoner, and they present the issue as a civil war that was previously planned for. This is a view which is to be expected from researchers who took their information concerning this matter only from fabricated reports and sources that cannot be trusted, including the books al-Imamah wa al-Siyasah, al-Aghani Muruj al-Dhahab and Tarikh al-Ya`qubi, and even Tarikh al-Tamaddun al-lslami by Georgy Zaydan.[68]

 

Can this hadith be true: “You will fight `Ali and you will be in the wrong”?

It is not to be found in any of the reliable books of knowledge, and it has no known chain of narrators; it is more likely to be found among the fabricated ahadith than among the sound ones. In fact, it is a blatant lie because `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha did not fight, and she did not go out to fight; she went out with the aim of setting things straight among the people. She did not fight, and she did not enjoin fighting. This has been stated by more than one of those who have knowledge of reports.[69]

 

Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali wanted to send `A’ishah back home honoured and respected

Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu prepared everything that `A’ishah needed of mounts, provisions and so on, and he sent with her those who had survived of the people who had come out with her, except for those who wanted to stay. He chose forty well-known women of Basrah to accompany her, and he said:

Get ready, O Muhammad (ibn al-Hanafiyyah) to take her there.

On the day of her departure, `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu came and stood. The people came, and she came out to the people; they bade farewell to her, and she bade farewell to them. She said:

 

O my sons, we got angry with one another because some of us thought that action should be taken more quickly. None of you should use recent events as a reason for transgressing others. By Allah, there was nothing between me and `Ali in the past except what there may be between a woman and her in-laws. For me, despite this misunderstanding, he is one of the best.

 

`Ali radiya Llahu `anhu said:

 

O people, she has spoken the truth, and by Allah, she has been sincere. There is nothing between me and her except that (meaning that which there may be between a woman and her in-laws). She is the wife of your Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam in this world and the hereafter.

 

She departed on a Saturday at the beginning of the month of Rajab in 36 AH. `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu walked with her for many miles, and he sent his sons to walk with her for a day.[70]

By this noble treatment on the part of Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu, we see that he was following the advice of Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam of this ummah when he had said to him:

 

“There is going to be some issue between you and `A’ishah.” `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu asked: “Me, O Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam?” He said: “Yes.” `Ali asked again: “Me?” He again said: “Yes.” `Ali then said: “Then I must be the most doomed of all, O Rasul of Allah.” Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “No, but if that happens, send her back to her safe place.”[71]

 

Those people were mistaken who said that `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha went out on a campaign to Basrah because she had a grudge against `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu due to his stance towards her when the hypocrites accused her of immorality during the incident of the slander. At that time, Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam had consulted him with regard to leaving her, and `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu had said:

O Rasul of Allah, Allah has not made things restricted for you, and there are many women other than her. If you ask her slave woman, she will tell you the truth.[72]

`Ali radiya Llahu `anhu said these words to show more care to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam because he saw the worries and distress that he was suffering due to what was being said. `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu was a man of strong protective jealousy, so he thought that if Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam separated from `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, the anxiety that he was feeling because of her would be eased until her innocence was established, at which time he could take her back. This may have been a case of choosing the lesser of two evils so as to ward off the greater.[73]

Al-Nawawi said:

`Ali thought that this was in the Rasul’s salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam best interests, because he saw how distressed he was. He tried to offer the best advice, as he wanted to put his mind at rest.[74]

 

`Ali radiya Llahu `anhu did not say anything bad about `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha that would give the slightest indication that he doubted her morals. Even though he said to Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam: “Allah has not made things restricted for you”[75], he followed that by advising him: “If you ask her slave woman, she will tell you the truth.”[76]

He recommended that he investigate before separating from her; in other words, he retracted his first advice to separate from her and suggested that instead of that, he could ask the slave woman and find out truth.[77]

The Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam asked the slave woman, who was very close to `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha, and she confirmed that she did not know anything but good about her.

On the same day, the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam went out to the people to ask for support against `Abd Allah ibn Ubay, saying:

O Muslims, who will support me against a man who has offended me with regard to my family? By Allah, I know nothing but good about my family.[78]

Therefore `Ali’s advice was in `A’ishah’s radiya Llahu `anha best interest, as Rasul salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam became more convinced of what he already believed about his wife’s innocence.[79]

`Ali’s attitude concerning the slander incident was not something that made `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha angry with him or made her carry a grudge that led her to falsely accuse him of murdering `Uthman radiya Llahu `anhu and go out inciting huge numbers of Muslims against him, as claimed by many researchers who based their claims on the reports fabricated by Rafidi Shi`ah.

 

Their regret for what they had done

a. Ibn Taymiyyah said:

That was the case for all the Sahabah who got involved; they regretted the fighting in which they engaged. Talhah, Zubayr, `Ali radiya Llahu `anhum and others all regretted it. On the day of the Camel, none of them intended to fight, but fighting broke out against their wishes.[80]

 

b. It was narrated that when `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu looked and saw that men had drawn their swords and started to fight, he said:

Would that I had died twenty years before this.[81]

 

c. Na‘im ibn Hammad narrated, with his chain of narration going back to Hasan ibn `Ali, that he said to Sulayman ibn Sard:

I saw `Ali, when the fighting grew intense, staying close to me and saying: “O Hasan, would that I had died twenty years before this.”[82]

 

d. It was narrated that Hasan ibn `Ali said:

Amir al-Mu’minin `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu wanted one thing, but matters spun out of control, and he could not do anything about it.[83]

 

e. It was narrated from Sulayman ibn Sard, from al-Hasan ibn `Ali, that he heard `Ali radiya Llahu `anhu say, when he saw the swords that the people were wielding:

O Hasan, would that I had died twenty or forty years before this.[84]

 

f. With regard to `A’ishah, it was narrated that she used to say, when remembering the Battle of the Camel:

Would that I had stayed away like my co-wives. It would have been dearer to me to give birth to many children from the Rasul of Allah radiya Llahu `anha all of them like `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham or `Abd Allah ibn Zubayr.[85]

 

g. When she recited the verse in which Allah says:

وَقَرْنَ فِیْ بُیُوْتِكُنَّ

And stay in your houses…[86]

she would weep until her head cover became wet.[87]

 

h. `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha said:

Would that I had twenty children from the Rasul of Allah salla Llahu `alayhi wa sallam all of them like `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham, and I had been bereft of them, and that I did not do what I did on the day of the Camel.[88]

 

I. Ibn Taymiyyah said:

`A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha did not fight, and she did not go out to fight; she went out with the aim of setting things straight among the Muslims. She thought that her going out was in the Muslims’ best interests, and then later it became clear that not going out would have been better. When she remembered going out, she would weep until her head cover became wet. This is how the majority of the earliest Muslims were; they regretted the fighting in which they had become involved. Talhah, Zubayr, `Ali radiya Llahu `anhum and others regretted it. On the day of the Camel, the people had no intention of fighting, but fighting broke out against their wishes.[89]

 

j. Al-Dhahabi said:

No doubt `A’ishah radiya Llahu `anha completely regretted going out to Basrah and being present on the day of the Camel, and she did not think that the matter would reach the point it did.[90]

NEXT⇒The life and martyrdom of Zubayr ibn al-`Awwam


[1]  op. cit., 7/258

[2]Fada’il al-Ṣahabah, 2/110

[3]Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, 2/179; a reliable hadith, according to al-Dhahabi.

[4]  op. cit., 2/176. a reliable hadith.

[5]Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, 2/135-201; Ṭabaqat ibn Sa`d, 8/58; Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, 8/95

[6]  Ibn al-Athir: Al-Nihayah, 2/362

[7]Muslim, no. 2438

[8]Dhat al-Salasil – the name comes from the word al-Salsal, which refers to pure, sweet water. Ibn al-Athir: Al-Nihayah, 2/389

[9] Bukhari, no. 4358

[10]Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, 2/143

[11] Bukhari, no. 3775, Kitab Fada’il al-Ṣahabah

[12]Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, 2/143

[13]Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Ṣahabah, no. 3768

[14]  Surah,al Ahzab: 28-29

[15]Bukhari, Kitab at-Tafsir, no. 4789

[16]  Surah al-Nur: 11

[17]  Surah al-Nur: 26

[18]Bukhari, no. 4141

[19]Jala’ al-Afham, p. 124, 125

[20]Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, 8/95; Tafsir al-Qur’an al-`Azim, 3/268

[21]Bukhari, no. 336

[22]Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, 2/189; al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, 8/95

[23]Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Ṣahabah, no. 3774

[24] Muslim, Kitab al-Ṣahabah, no. 2443

[25]Bukhari, no. 4450, 4451

[26]Al-Mustadrak, 4/13; its chain of narration is sound although it was not narrated by Bukhari and Muslim; adh-Dhahabi agreed with him.

[27]Bukhari, no. 3771

[28]Fath al-Bari, 7/108; al-`Aqidah fi Ahl al-Bayt, p. 95

[29]  A dish made from pieces of flat bread soaked in a meat stew [Editor].

[30]Bukhari, no. 3770

[31] Sharh Sahih Muslim, 15/208, 209

[32]Bukhari, Kitab Fada’il al-Ṣahabah, no. 3772

[33]Al-Intisar li al-Ṣahbi wa l-Āl, p. 448

[34]Al-Mustadrak, 4/10; Mustafa al-`Adawi: al-Sahih al-Musnad, p. 356

[35]Bukhari, no. 3772

[36]al-Intisar lis-Ṣahbi wal-Āl, p. 449”’

[37]al-Intisar lis-Ṣahbi wal-ĀI, p. 450, 451

[38] Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, 7/248

[39]Bukhari, no. 3104

[40]Bukhari, no. 7093; Muslim, no. 2905

[41]Muslim, Kitab al-Fitan, 4/2229

[42]Muslim, Kitab al-Fitan, 4/2229

[43]al-Intisar lis-Ṣahbi wal-Āl, p. 453

[44]  Najd is towards the east, so for the one who is in Madinah, his Najd is the desert of Iraq .

[45]Bukhari, no. 7095

[46] Muslim, Kitab al-Fitnah min al-Mashriq, 4/2229

[47]Bukhari, no. 3302; al-Intisar lis-Ṣahbi wal-Āl, p. 455

[48] al-Intisar lis-Ṣahbi wal-Āl, p. 455

[49]Majmu’ al-Fatawa, 4/294

[50]  op. cit., p. 4/394

[51]Fath. al-Bari, 7/109

[52]Fath al-Bari, 7/139

[53]Fath al-Bari, 7/135; Majma` al-Zawa’id, 9/223

[54]  Ibn Hibban: al-Ihsan, 9/73; al-Albani: Sahih. al-Jami`, 1/371

[55]Fath.al-Bari, 7/135

[56]Fada’il al-Ṣahabah, 2/755, no. 1325. classed as sound by al-Albani in Takhrij al-Mishkat, 3/174

[57]Bukhari, no. 6285

[58]Fath al-Bari, 7/107

[59]al-`Aqidah fi Ahl al-Bayt, p. 97

[60]Fath al-Bari, 7/107

[61]  op. cit., 6/447

[62]al- ‘Aqidah fi Ahl al-Bayt, p. 97

[63] Bukhari, no. 4358

[64]Al-Ihsan fi Tartib Ṣahih Ibn Hibban, 9/11

[65]Fath al-Bari, 7/108; al-`Aqidah fi Ahl al-Bayt, p. 98

[66] al-Intisar li al-Ṣahbi wa l-Āl, p. 461

[67]  al-Zuhri: al-Maghazi, p. 154

[68]  See Muhammad Jamil: Dirasah. wa Tahlil li l-`Ahd al-Nabawi al-Asil, Riyad `Īsa: al-Hizbiyyah al-Siyasiyyah; al-Harim as-Siyasi; al-Nabi wa al-Nisa’; Wellhausen: al-Dawlah al-`Arabiyyah – quoted in Dawr al-Mar’ah al-Siyasiyyah, p. 442

[69]Minhaj al-Sunnah, 2/185

[70]Tarikh al-Ṭabari, 5/581

[71]Musnad Ahmad, 6/393. Its chain of narration is reliable.

[72]Bukhari, no. 4786

[73]Dawr al-Mar’ah al-Siyasiyyah, p. 462

[74]Sharh al-Nawawi `ala Ṣahih. Muslim, 5/634

[75] Bukhari, no. 4786

[76]  Ibid.

[77]Dawr al-Mar’ah al-Siyasiyyah, p. 462

[78]Bukhari, no. 4786

[79]Dawr al-Mar’ah as-Siyasi, p. 462

[80]al-Muntaqa min Minhaj al-I’tidal fi Naqd Kalam Ahl ar-Rafd wal-I’tizal, p. 222

[81]  Na’im ibn Hammad: al-Fitan, 1/80

[82]  ibid

[83]  op. cit., 1/81

[84]Ahdath wa Ahadith Fitnah al-Harj, p. 217

[85]  Na`im ibn Hammad: al-Fitan, 1/81

[86]  Surah al-Ahzab: 33

[87]Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, 2/177; Al-Ṭabaqat, 8/81

[88]  Al-Baqillani: Al-Tamhid, p. 232. `Abd al-Rahman ibn al-Harith ibn Hisham al-Makhzumi was one of the noble men of Banu Makhzum; he died before Mu`awiyah I.

[89]Al-Muntaqa min Minhaj al-I`tidal fi Naqd Kalam Ahl al-Rifd, p.222,223.

[90]Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’ 2/177