A comprehesinve analysis of the Ifk (Slander) Incident

My companions! My companions! It will be said: You do not know what they invented after you. Certainly, they remained apostates
March 5, 2018
Discussion 2: Considerations and Stances with Umm al Mu’minin and an Intellectual Standpoint supporting her Behaviour
March 6, 2018

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A comprehesinve analysis of the Ifk (Slander) Incident

 

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاءُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ ۚ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم ۖ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ

Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. (Surah al Nur: 11)

 

Discussion 1: The Ifk Incident and Important Aspects concerning it

 

A. The Ifk Incident

 

The hadith al ifk authentically documented is as follows:

عن ابن شهاب قال أخبرني عروة بن الزبير و سعيد بن المسيب و علقمة بن وقاص و عبيد الله بن عبد الله بن عتبة بن مسعود عن حديث عائشة رضي الله عنها زوج النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم حين قال لها أهل الإفك ما قالوا فبرأها الله مما قالوا و كل حدثني طائفة من الحديث و بعض حديثهم يصدق بعضا و إن كان بعضهم أوعى له من بعض الذي حدثني عروة عن عائشة رضي الله عنها أن عائشة رضي الله عنها زوج النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم قالت كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم إذا أراد أن يخرج أقرع بين أزواجه فأيتهن خرج سهمها خرج بها رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم معه قالت عائشة فأقرع بيننا في غزوة غزاها فخرج سهمي فخرجت مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بعد ما نزل الحجاب فأنا أحمل في هودجي و أنزل فيه فسرنا حتى إذا فرغ رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم من غزوته تلك و قفل و دنونا من المدينة قافلين آذن ليلة بالرحيل فقمت حين آذنوا بالرحيل فمشيت حتى جاوزت الجيش فلما قضيت شأني أقبلت إلى رحلي فإذا عقد لي من جزع ظفار قد انقطع فالتمست عقدي و حبسني ابتغاؤه و أقبل الرهط الذين كانوا يرحلون لي فاحتملوا هودجي فرحلوه على بعيري الذي كنت ركبت و هم يحسبون أني فيه و كان النساء إذ ذاك خفافا لم يثقلهن اللحم إنما تأكل العلقة من الطعام فلم يستنكر القوم خفة الهودج حين رفعوه و كنت جارية حديثة السن فبعثوا الجمل و ساروا فوجدت عقدي بعدما استمر الجيش فجئت منازلهم و ليس بها داع و لا مجيب فأممت منزلي الذي كنت به و ظننت أنهم سيفقدوني فيرجعون إلي فبينا أنا جالسة في منزلي غلبتني عيني فنمت و كان صفوان بن المعطل السلمي ثم الذكواني من وراء الجيش فأدلج فأصبح عند منزلي فرأى سواد إنسان نائم فأتاني فعرفني حين رآني و كان رآني قبل الحجاب فاستيقظت باسترجاعه حين عرفني فخمرت وجهي بجلبابي و والله ما كلمني كلمة و لا سمعت منه كلمة غير استرجاعه حتى أناخ راحلته فوطئ على يديها فركبتها فانطلق يقود بي الراحلة حتى أتينا الجيش بعدما نزلوا موغرين في نحر الظهيرة فهلك من هلك و كان الذي تولى الإفك عبد الله بن أبي ابن سلول فقدمنا المدينة فاشتكيت حين قدمت شهرا و الناس يفيضون في قول أصحاب الإفك لا أشعر بشيء من ذلك و هو يريبني في وجعي أني لا أعرف من رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم اللطف الذي كنت أرى منه حين أشتكي إنما يدخل علي رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فيسلم ثم يقول كيف تيكم ثم ينصرف فذاك الذي يريبني و لا أشعر بالشر حتى خرجت بعدما نقهت فخرجت معي أم مسطح قبل المناصع و هو متبرزنا و كنا لا نخرج إلا ليلا إلى ليل و ذلك قبل أن نتخذ الكنف قريبا من بيوتنا و أمرنا أمر العرب الأول في التبرز قبل الغائط فكنا نتأذى بالكنف أن نتخذها عند بيوتنا فانطلقت أنا و أم مسطح و هي ابنة أبي رهم بن عبد مناف و أمها بنت صخر بن عامر خالة أبي بكر الصديق و ابنها مسطح بن أثاثة فأقبلت أنا و أم مسطح قبل بيتي و قد فرغنا من شأننا فعثرت أم مسطح في مرطها فقالت تعس مسطح فقلت لها بئس ما قلت أتسبين رجلا شهد بدرا قالت أي هنتاه أولم تسمعي ما قال قالت قلت و ما قال فأخبرتني بقول أهل الإفك فازددت مرضا على مرضي فلما رجعت إلى بيتي و دخل على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم تعني سلم ثم قال كيف تيكم فقلت أتأذن لي أن آتي أبوي قالت و أنا حينئذ أريد أن أستيقن الخبر من قبلهما قالت فأذن لي رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فجئت أبوي فقلت لأمي يا أمتاه ما يتحدث الناس قالت يا بنية هوني عليك فوالله لقلما كانت امرأة قط وضيئة عند رجل يحبها و لها ضرائر إلا كثرن عليها قالت قلت سبحان الله أولقد تحدث الناس بهذا قالت فبكيت تلك الليلة حتى أصبحت لا يرقأ لي دمع و لا أكتحل بنوم حتى أصبحت أبكي فدعا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم علي بن أبي طالب و أسامة بن زيد رضي الله عنهما حين استلبث الوحي يستأمرهما في فراق أهله قالت فأما أسامة بن زيد فأشار على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بالذي يعلم من براءة أهله و بالذي يعلم لهم في نفسه من الود فقال يا رسول الله أهلك و لا نعلم إلا خيرا و أما علي بن أبي طالب فقال يا رسول الله لم يضيق الله عليك و النساء سواها كثير و إن تسأل الجارية تصدقك قالت فدعا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بريرة فقال أي بريرة هل رايت من شيء يريبك قالت بريرة لا والذي بعثك بالحق إن رأيت عليها أمرا أغمصه عليها أكثر من أنها جارية حديثة السن تنام عن عجين أهلها فتأتي الداجن فتأكله فقام رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فاستعذر يومئذ من عبد الله بن أبي ابن سلول قالت فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و هو على المنبر يا معشر المسلمين من يعذرني من رجل قد بلغني أذاه في أهل بيتي فوالله ما علمت على أهلي إلا خيرا و لقد ذكروا رجلا ما علمت عليه إلا خيرا و ما كان يدخل على أهلي إلا معي فقام سعد بن معاذ الأنصاري فقال يا رسول الله أنا أعذرك منه إن كان من الأوس ضربت عنقه و أن كان من إخواننا من الخزرج أمرتنا ففعلنا أمرك قالت فقام سعد بن عبادة و هو سيد الخزرج و كان قبل ذلك رجلا صالحا و لكن احتملته الحمية فقال لسعد كذبت لعمر الله لا تقتله و لا تقدر على قتله فقام أسيد بن حضير و هو ابن عم سعد بن معاذ فقال لسعد بن عبادة كذبت لعمر الله لنقتلنه فإنك منافق تجادل عن المنافقين فتثاور الحيان الأوس و الخزرج حتى هموا أن يقتتلوا و رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قائم على المنبر فلم يزل رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يخفضهم حتى سكتوا و سكت قالت فبكيت يومي ذلك لا يرقأ لي دمع و لا أكتحل بنوم قالت فأصبح أبواي عندي و قد بكيت ليلتين و يوما لا أكتحل بنوم و لا يرقأ لي دمع يظنان أن البكاء فالق كبدي قالت فبينما هما جالسان عندي و أنا أبكي فاستأذنت علي امرأة من الأنصار فأذنت لها فجلست تبكي معي قالت فبينا نحن على ذلك دخل علينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فسلم ثم جلس قالت و لم يجلس عندي منذ قيل ما قيل قبلها و قد لبث شهرا لا يوحى إليه في شأني قالت فتشهد رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم حين جلس ثم قال أما بعد يا عائشة فإنه قد بلغني عنك كذا و كذا فإن كنت بريئة فسيبرئك الله و إن كنت ألممت بذنب فاستغفري الله و توبي إليه فإن العبد إذا اعترف بذنبه ثم تاب إلى الله تاب الله عليه قالت فلما قضى رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم مقالته قلص دمعي حتى ما أحس منه قطرة فقلت لأبي أجب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فيما قال قال والله ما أدري ما أقول لرسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فقلت لأمي أجيبي رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قالت ما أدري ما أقول لرسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قالت فقلت و أنا جارية حديثة السن لا أقرأ كثيرا من القرآن إني والله لقد علمت لقد سمعتم هذا الحديث حتى استقر في أنفسكم و صدقتم به فلئن قلت لكم إني بريئة والله يعلم أني بريئة لا تصدقوني بذلك و لئن اعترفت لكم بأمر والله يعلم أني منه بريئة لتصدقني والله ما أجد لكم مثلا إلا قول أبي يوسف قال فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيْلٌ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلىٰ مَا تَصِفُوْنَ قالت ثم تحولت فاضطجعت على فراشي قالت و أنا حينئذ أعلم أني بريئة و أن الله مبرئي ببراءتي و لکن والله ما كنت أظن أن الله منزل في شأني وحيا يتلى و لشأني في نفسي كان أحقر من أن يتكلم الله في بأمر يتلى و لكن كنت أرجو أن يرى رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في النوم رؤيا يبرئني الله بها قالت فوالله ما رام رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و لا خرج أحد من أهل البيت حتى أنزل عليه فأخذه ما كان يأخذه من البرحاء حتى إنه ليتحدر منه مثل الجمان من العرق و هو في يوم شات من ثقل القول الذي ينزل عليه قالت فلما سري عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم سري عنه و هو يضحك فكانت أول كلمة تكلم بها يا عائشة أما الله عز و جل فقد برأك فقالت أمي قومي إليه قالت فقلت لا والله لا أقوم إليه و لا أحمد إلا الله عز و جل فأنزل الله عز و جل إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنْكُمْ لَا تَحْسَبُوْهُ شَرًّا لَّكُمْ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ وَالَّذِيْ تَوَلّىٰ كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيْمٌ (11) لَّوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوْهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوْا هٰذَا إِفْكٌ مُّبِيْنٌ (12) لَّوْلَا جَاءُوْا عَلَيْهِ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ فَإِذْ لَمْ يَأْتُوْا بِالشُّهَدَاءِ فَأُولٰئِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُوْنَ (13) وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ لَمَسَّكُمْ فِيْ مَا أَفَضْتُمْ فِيْهِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيْمٌ (14) إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَتَقُوْلُوْنَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ مَّا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُوْنَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيْمٌ (15) وَلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوْهُ قُلْتُمْ مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَنْ نَّتَكَلَّمَ بِهٰذَا سُبْحَانَكَ هٰذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيْمٌ (16)يَعِظُكُمُ اللَّهُ أَن تَعُوْدُوْا لِمِثْلِهِ أَبَدًا إِنْ كُنتُمْ مُّؤْمِنِيْنَ (17) وَيُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيْمٌ حَكِيْمٌ (18)إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يُحِبُّوْنَ أَنْ تَشِيْعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيْمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُوْنَ (19) وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ (20) العشر الآيات كلها فلما أنزل الله هذا في براءتي قال أبو بكر الصديق رضي الله عنه و كان ينفق على مسطح بن أثاثة لقرابته منه و فقره والله لا أنفق على مسطح شيئا أبدا بعد الذي قال لعائشة ما قال فأنزل الله وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوْا أُولِي الْقُرْبىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِيْنَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوْا وَلْيَصْفَحُوْا أَلَا تُحِبُّوْنَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُوْرٌ رَّحِيْمٌ قال أبو بكر بلى والله إني أحب أن يغفر الله لي فرجع إلى مسطح النفقة التي كان ينفق عليه و قال والله لا أنزعها منه أبدا قالت عائشة و كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يسأل زينب ابنة جحش عن أمري فقال يا زينب ماذا علمت أو رأيت فقالت يا رسول الله أحمي سمعي و بصري ما علمت إلا خيرا قالت و هي التي كانت تساميني من أزواج رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فعصمها الله بالورع و طفقت أختها حمنة تحارب لها فهلكت فيمن هلك من أصحاب الإفك

 

Ibn Shihab says: ‘Urwah ibn al Zubair, Sa’id ibn al Musayyab, ‘Alqamah ibn Waqqas, and ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Utbah ibn Mas’ud reported to me the hadith of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, the wife of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, regarding the accusation levelled against her by the slanderers which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala exonerated her from. Each of them reported to me a portion of the hadith. They corroborate each other, although some of them retain it better than others. The report ‘Urwah narrated to me from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha is that Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, the wife of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, stated:

When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam intended to leave on a journey, he would draw lots between his wives. And whoever’s name came out, he would take her on the journey with him.

Accordingly, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam cast lots between us on an expedition he was undertaking and my name came out. I thus accompanied Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on the journey. And this took place after [the law of] hijab was revealed. I would be lifted while sitting my carriage and would remain there. In this way we travelled. After Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam concluded his expedition, he returned.

One night, while we were approaching Madinah on our return, the announcement to proceed was made. I stood up after the announcement to proceed was given and walked until I passed the army [in order to relive myself]. After I finished, I came to my conveyance and found that a necklace of mine made with Yemeni pearls[1] broke off. I went in search of my necklace which delayed me. Meanwhile, the group that would lift my carriage[2] onto my camel came, picked up my carriage and placed it upon my camel which I was riding upon, thinking that I am in it. Women in those days were light; they had no fat. They only ate few morsels[3] of food. That is why, the group did not find the lightness of the carriage strange. Also, I was a young girl at the time. They made the camel stand and proceeded. I only found my necklace after the army had moved on. So I came to their stations, but there was not a soul present. I advanced to the station I was present at and thought that they will realise that I am missing, so they will return to fetch me. While sitting at my station, sleep overtook me.

Safwan ibn Mu’attal al Sulami then al Dhakwani was the rearguard of the army. He travelled from the first portion of the night[4] and reached my station in the morning. He saw the form of a person sleeping. So he approached me, and recognised me as soon as he saw me, as he had seen me prior to [the law of] hijab. He said, “To Allah do we belong and unto Him shall we return,” which woke me, which he recited as soon as he recognised me. Subsequently, I covered my face with my jilbab. By Allah, he did not speak a word to me, nor did I hear a word from him besides his istirja’. He made his camel kneel on its front legs, and I mounted it. He then walked leading the camel with me until we reached the army after they had alighted at midday[5]. And destroyed were those who were destroyed [by initiating and spreading the slander]. The one to initiate the slander was ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay Ibn Salul.

Finally, we reached Madinah and I fell ill for a month from the time we reached. People were speaking about the slander extensively, and I was totally oblivious of everything. Although, one thing did concern me in my sickness. I did not observe the affection Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would normally display when I was sick. He would just come to me, make salam and ask, “How are you?” Then he would leave. This would worry me. However, I never suspected anything evil. Not until I left the house one day after recovering.

Umm Mistah came with me towards the dumpyard[6] which was our toilet[7]. We would go out every night. And this was before toilets were built close to our houses. We preferred the style of the former Arabs in going out to the fields to relieve ourselves. We were disgusted at the idea of toilets being built near our homes.

Anyways, Umm Mistah and I were walking. She was the daughter of Abu Ruhm ibn ‘Abd Manaf and her mother was the daughter of Sakhr ibn ‘Amir, who is the maternal aunt of Abu Bakr al Siddiq. Her son is Mistah ibn Uthathah.

We were coming back home after completing our job when Umm Mistah slipped on her shawl. She exclaimed, “May Mistah perish!”

“What an evil statement you made,” I countered, “are you cursing a man who witnessed Badr?”

She said, “Oh you[8]! Did you not hear what he said?”

I asked, “And what did he say?”

She then informed me of the slander, hearing which my sickness intensified. As I returned home and Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to me, he made salam and asked, “How are you,” I said, “Will you permit me to go to my parents?”

At that moment, I wished to verify the information from them. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam awarded me permission so I came to my parents and said to my mother, “O beloved mother, what are people speaking?”

She said, “O my beloved daughter! Take it easy upon yourself. By Allah, very seldom is a pretty woman with a man who loves her, and she has co-wives, except that they take advantage of her.”

I exclaimed in disbelief, “Purity belongs to Allah! Are people actually discussing this?”

I cried that whole night until morning; my tears were incessant and I never had a wink of sleep. Next morning, I was still weeping.

Meanwhile, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam summoned ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and Usamah ibn Zaid radiya Llahu ‘anhuma during the pause of revelation, to consult them with regards to separating from his wife. Usamah ibn Zaid expressed to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam his knowledge of his family’s innocence and the love he possessed for them. He submitted, “O Messenger of Allah! It is your family. We know nothing but good about them.”

With regards to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, he said, “O Messenger of Allah! Allah did not constrain for you. And there are plenty women besides her. Nonetheless, if you ask the slave girl, she will tell you the truth.

Accordingly, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam called Barirah and said, “O Barirah! Did you see anything suspicious?”

Barirah replied, “No, by the Being who sent you with the truth. I did not see anything in her which I could denounce her for[9] except than she is a young girl who sleeps [thus displaying negligence] from the dough of the house, and then the sheep comes and eats it.”

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stood up and sought relief from ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul on that day. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam announced while on the pulpit, “O gathering of Muslims! Who will rid me[10] of a man who has hurt me regarding my family? By Allah, I know nothing but good about my family. And they have mentioned a man, about whom I know nothing but good, and he would only enter my house with me.”

Sa’d ibn Muaz al Ansari radiya Llahu ‘anhu stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah, I will relieve you of him. If he be from the Aws, I will cut off his neck. And if he is from our brothers, the Khazraj, then command us and we will comply.”

Upon this, Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah stood up, the head of the Khazraj – and he was a righteous man prior to this. However, tribalism seized him. He said to Sa’d, “You lied! By Allah’s oath, you will not kill him and you will not be able to!”

Usayd ibn Hudayr, the nephew of Sa’d ibn Muaz, then stood up and said to Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah, “Nay, you are lying. By Allah’s oath, we will most certainly slay him. You are a hypocrite defending the hypocrites.”

The two tribes, Aws and Khazraj, were provoked to the extent that they wanted to fight each other. Meanwhile, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was standing on the pulpit. He continued hushing them until they kept quiet, after which he kept quiet.

I wept that entire day. My tears flowed incessantly and I had not a wink of sleep. My parents came to me next morning. And now I had cried for two nights and a day; I had not a wink of sleep and my tears flowed incessantly. They thought that weeping will rapture my liver.

While they were sitting with me, and I was crying, a woman from the Ansar sought permission to enter and I acceded to her request. She sat down and cried with me. We were in this condition, when Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam entered upon us. He made salam and then sat down. Prior to this, he had not sat at my side from the inception of the slander. He waited a month, but received no revelation concerning me.

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam recited the shahadah after he sat and then said, “After praising Allah, O Aisha! Such and such has reached me about you. If you are innocent, then soon Allah will exonerate you. And if you have committed a sin, then seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him. When a bondsman acknowledges his sin and then repents to Allah, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala accepts his repentance.

When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam completed his address, my tears dried up[11] to the extent that I could not even sense a drop. I said to my father, “Answer what Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said!”

He submitted, “By Allah, I do not know what to say to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”

So I said to my mother, “Answer Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam!”

She submitted, “I do not know what to say to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”

So I said, I was young and of tender age; and I would not memorised much Qur’an, “Certainly, by Allah, I know that you have listened to this rumour so much that it has settled in your hearts and you have believed it. If I say to you that I am innocent – And Allah knows that I am innocent – you will not believe me. On the other hand, if I attest before you to something, and Allah knows that I am innocent of it, you will believe me. By Allah, I do not find any example for you except the statement of Yusuf’s father:

So patience is most fitting. And Allah is the one sought for help against that which you describe.”[12]

I then turned around and lay on my bed.

At that moment, I was convinced of my innocence and that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will exonerate me. However, by Allah I did not think for a split second that Allah will reveal concerning me Qur’an which will be recited. I viewed myself unworthy of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala speaking about me in the Qur’an that will be recited. Yet, I hoped that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam will see a dream wherein Allah exonerates me.

By Allah, neither did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam move[13] nor did anyone of the household leave and revelation began to descend upon him. The intense difficulty[14] that would seize him seized him until droplets of perspiration which resembled pearls[15] would flow down his face on a cold day due to the weight of the Speech being revealed upon him.

When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was relieved of it, he began to smile. The first sentence he spoke was: “O Aisha. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala – the Mighty and Majestic – has exonerated you.”

My mother said, “Stand up to him.”

I said, “By Allah, I will not stand up to him. I will only praise Allah – the Mighty and Majestic.”

Allah – the Powerful and Magnificent – revealed:

إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنْكُمْ لَا تَحْسَبُوْهُ شَرًّا لَّكُمْ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ وَالَّذِيْ تَوَلّىٰ كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيْمٌ لَّوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوْهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوْا هٰذَا إِفْكٌ مُّبِيْنٌ لَّوْلَا جَاءُوْا عَلَيْهِ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَاءَ فَإِذْ لَمْ يَأْتُوْا بِالشُّهَدَاءِ فَأُولٰئِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُوْنَ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ لَمَسَّكُمْ فِيْ مَا أَفَضْتُمْ فِيْهِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيْمٌ إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَتَقُوْلُوْنَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُمْ مَّا لَيْسَ لَكُمْ بِهِ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُوْنَهُ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيْمٌ َلَوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوْهُ قُلْتُمْ مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَا أَنْ نَّتَكَلَّمَ بِهٰذَا سُبْحَانَكَ هٰذَا بُهْتَانٌ عَظِيْمٌ يَعِظُكُمُ اللَّهُ أَن تَعُوْدُوْا لِمِثْلِهِ أَبَدًا إِنْ كُنتُمْ مُّؤْمِنِيْنَ وَيُبَيِّنُ اللَّهُ لَكُمُ الْآيَاتِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيْمٌ حَكِيْمٌ إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يُحِبُّوْنَ أَنْ تَشِيْعَ الْفَاحِشَةُ فِي الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيْمٌ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُوْنَ  وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ رَءُوْفٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof – for him is a great punishment. Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood”? Why did they [who slandered] not produce for it four witnesses? And when they do not produce the witnesses, then it is they, in the sight of Allah, who are the liars. And if it had not been for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy in this world and the Hereafter, you would have been touched for that [lie] in which you were involved by a great punishment. When you received it with your tongues and said with your mouths that of which you had no knowledge and thought it was insignificant while it was, in the sight of Allah, tremendous. And why, when you heard it, did you not say, “It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, [O Allah]; this is a great slander”? Allah warns you against returning to the likes of this [conduct], ever, if you should be believers. And Allah makes clear to you the verses, and Allah is Knowing and Wise. Indeed, those who like that immorality should be spread [or publicized] among those who have believed will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows and you do not know. And if it had not been for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy… and because Allah is Kind and Merciful.[16]

10 verses in total.

After Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala revealed this in my innocence, Abu Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who would spend on Mistah ibn Uthathah due to the latter’s relationship with him and poverty, said, “By Allah, I will not spend a cent on Mistah ever again after what he said about Aisha!” Subsequently, Allah revealed:

وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوْا أُولِي الْقُرْبىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِيْنَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوْا وَلْيَصْفَحُوْا أَلَا تُحِبُّوْنَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُوْرٌ رَّحِيْمٌ

And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.[17]

Abu Bakr said, “Indeed! By Allah, I will certainly love Allah to forgive me.”

He then returned to Mistah the spending he would give him. And he said, “By Allah, I will never snatch it away from him ever.”

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam questioned Zainab bint Jahsh about my affair. He asked, “O Zainab! What do you know or what did you see?”

She answered, “O Messenger of Allah, I protect my hearing and sight[18]. I know nothing but good.”

And she was the same one to compete[19] with me from the wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. But Allah safeguarded her due to her cautiousness and piety. On the other hand, her sister Hamnah, began to fight for her and was destroyed with the other slanderers who were destroyed.[20]

 

Certainly, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala revealed verses which will be recited in the mihrabs of the Muslims until the Day of Qiyamah in which He exonerates Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha from the insults of the deviates and slanderers. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala displayed His anger at those who attack the honour of His bosom friend, and exhibited His possessiveness over the maharim of his chosen servant from the universe, in order to teach and nurture the believers. His address captivates the hearts due its strong approach and the severity of the wrath expressed upon those who devised this slander. From the Word of the Sublime:

 

إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنْكُمْ لَا تَحْسَبُوْهُ شَرًّا لَّكُمْ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ لِكُلِّ امْرِئٍ مِّنْهُمْ مَّا اكْتَسَبَ مِنَ الْإِثْمِ وَالَّذِيْ تَوَلّىٰ كِبْرَهُ مِنْهُمْ لَهُ عَذَابٌ عَظِيْمٌ

Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof – for him is a great punishment.[21]

 

Until His word:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِيْنَ آمَنُوْا لَا تَتَّبِعُوْا خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ وَمَنْ يَتَّبِعْ خُطُوَاتِ الشَّيْطَانِ فَإِنَّهُ يَأْمُرُ بِالْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنْكَرِ وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ وَرَحْمَتُهُ مَا زَكىٰ مِنْكُمْ مِّنْ أَحَدٍ أَبَدًا وَلٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يُزَكِّيْ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَاللَّهُ سَمِيْعٌ عَلِيْمٌ وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوْا أُولِي الْقُرْبىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِيْنَ وَالْمُهَاجِرِيْنَ فِيْ سَبِيْلِ اللَّهِ وَلْيَعْفُوْا وَلْيَصْفَحُوْا أَلَا تُحِبُّوْنَ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُوْرٌ رَّحِيْمٌ إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ يَرْمُوْنَ الْمُحْصَنَاتِ الْغَافِلَاتِ الْمُؤْمِنَاتِ لُعِنُوْا فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالْآخِرَةِ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيْمٌ يَوْمَ تَشْهَدُ عَلَيْهِمْ أَلْسِنَتُهُمْ وَأَيْدِيْهِمْ وَأَرْجُلُهُمْ بِمَا كَانُوْا يَعْمَلُوْنَ يَوْمَئِذٍ يُوَفِّيْهِمُ اللَّهُ دِيْنَهُمُ الْحَقَّ وَيَعْلَمُوْنَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ هُوَ الْحَقُّ الْمُبِيْنُ الْخَبِيْثَاتُ لِلْخَبِيْثِيْنَ وَالْخَبِيْثُوْنَ لِلْخَبِيْثَاتِ وَالطَّيِّبَاتُ لِلطَّيِّبِيْنَ وَالطَّيِّبُوْنَ لِلطَّيِّبَاتِ أُولٰئِكَ مُبَرَّءُوْنَ مِمَّا يَقُوْلُوْنَ لَهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيْمٌ

O you who have believed, do not follow the footsteps of Shaitan. And whoever follows the footsteps of Shaitan – indeed, he enjoins immorality and wrongdoing. And if not for the favour of Allah upon you and His mercy, not one of you would have been pure, ever, but Allah purifies whom He wills, and Allah is Hearing and Knowing. And let not those of virtue among you and wealth swear not to give [aid] to their relatives and the needy and the emigrants for the cause of Allah, and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. Indeed, those who [falsely] accuse chaste, unaware and believing women are cursed in this world and the Hereafter; and they will have a great punishment On a Day when their tongues, their hands and their feet will bear witness against them as to what they used to do. That Day, Allah will pay them in full their deserved recompense, and they will know that it is Allah who is the perfect in justice. Evil women are for evil men, and evil men are for evil women. And good women are for good men, and good men are for good women. Those [good people] are declared innocent of what the slanderers say. For them is forgiveness and noble provision.[22]

 

These verses are 13 in number. Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha said 10 verses, overlooking the odd digits.[23]

 
 

B. Important Aspects concerning the Ifk Incident

 
  1. The linguistic meaning of ifk

Ifk originally refers to a lie in which there is no doubt. It is a slander which takes people by surprise. Thereafter, due to extensive usage it became a proper noun for the incident in which Sayyidah Aisha al Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha was slandered from which Allah exonerated her subhanahu wa ta ‘ala in His Glorious Book.[24]

The reason for naming this incident as ifk as explained by al Razi is:

 

و إنما وصف تعالى ذلك الكذب أفكا لأن المعروف من حال عائشة خلاف ذلك

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala only described this lie as ifk (a slander) because the recognised condition of Aisha was in polarity with this.

 

He elaborates further in Fath al Bayan:

 

و إنما وصفه الله بأنه إفك لأن المعروف من حالها رضي الله عنها خلاف ذلك و نقل عن الواحدي أنه قال و معنى القلب أي بناء على أنه مأخوذ من معنى القلب في هذا الحديث الذي جاء به أولئك النفر أن عائشة كانت تستحق الثناء بما كانت عليه من الحصانة و الشرف و العقل و الديانة و علو النسب و التسبب و العفة لا القذف فإن الذين رموها بالسوء قلبوا الأمر على وجهه فهو إفك قبيح و كذب ظاهر و قال أبو السعود لأنه مأفوك عن وجهه و سنته أي مقلوب و كذا قال الزمخشري و البيضاوي و غير واحد

Allah only described it as a slander because the known condition of Aisha was in contrast to this.

It has been quoted from al Wahidi that he said, ‘The meaning of qalb (to invert) – i.e. on the basis that it [ifk] is taken from the meaning of qalb in the ifk hadith – is that Aisha was deserving of praise due to her chastity, dignity, intelligence, religiousness, noble lineage, modesty, and purity; and not censure. Those who cast nasty allegations against her turned the matter upside down. Therefore, it is a horrible accusation and a blatant lie.’

Abu al Sa’ud[25] says, “Since it is inverted from its originality and regularity.”

Al Zamakhshari[26], al Baydawi[27], and many others[28] have shared similar explanations.

 
  1. When did the Ifk Incident Occur?

The historians have not concurred on the exact date of the incident.[29] It happened either in the 4th, 5th, or 6th year[30] after hijrah. The most accurate is the 5th year.

 
  1. Who is responsible for playing the greatest role in it?

 

قالت عائشة رضي الله عنها الذي تولى كبره قالت عبد الله بن أبي ابن سلول

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was asked, “Who played the greatest role in it?” She replied, “‘Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul.”[31]

 

Ibn Jarir comments:

 

لا خلاف بين أهل العلم بالسير أن الذي بدأ بذكر الإفك و كان يجمع أهله و يحدثهم عبد الله بن أبي ابن سلول و فعله ذلك على ما وصفت كان توليه كبر ذلك الأمر

There is no difference between the experts of history that the one to start the slander was ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul. He would gather his family and tell them. This action of his as she has described was him playing the greatest role in the matter.[32]

 

We wished to clarify this so that we might expose the Nasibi slander which some people level against Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. They claim that he accused Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha and was the mastermind behind it.

Imam Muhammad ibn Muslim ibn Shihab al Zuhri rahimahu Llah is responsible for clearing the air. The gist of the incident is that Walid ibn ‘Abdul Malik[33] thought that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu played the greatest role in the slander, but al Zuhri clarified to him that it was actually Ibn Ubay.

He reports:

 

كنت عند الوليد بن عبد الملك ليلة من الليالي و هو يقرأ سورة النور مستلقيا فلما بلغ هذه الآية إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ جَاءُوْا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنْكُمْ حتى بلغ وَالَّذِيْ تَوَلّىٰ كِبْرَهُ جلس ثم قال يا أبا بكر من تولى كبره منهم أليس علي بن أبي طالب قال فقلت في نفسي ماذا أقول لئن قلت لا لقد خشيت أن ألقى منه شرا و لئن قلت نعم لقد جئت بأمر عظيم قلت في نفسي لقد عودني الله على الصدق خيرا قلت لا قال فضرب بقضيبه على السرير ثم قال فمن فمن حتى ردد ذلك مرارا قلت لكن عبد الله بن أبي

One night, I was with Walid ibn ‘Abdul Malik. He was reciting Surah al Nur while lying down. When he reached the verse:

 

Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you.

Until he reached:

And he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof

 

He sat up. He then enquired, “O Abu Bakr! Who took upon himself the greater portion thereof among them? Was it not ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib?”

I said to myself, “What should I say. If I reply in the negative, I fear that I might receive an awful response from him. And if I reply in the affirmative, I have committed a major crime.”

I then said to myself, “Allah has accustomed goodness for honesty.”

So I replied, “No.”

Hearing this, he hit his stick on the bed and asked, “Then who? Then who?” repeating this many times.

I clarified, “Rather it was ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay.”[34]

 

Hafiz Ibn Hajar states:

 

و كأن بعض من لا خير فيه من الناصبة تقرب إلى بني أمية بهذه الكذبة فحرفوا قول عائشة إلى غير وجهه لعلمهم بانحرافهم عن علي فظنوا صحتها حتى بين الزهري للوليد أن الحق خلاف ذلك فجزاه الله تعالى خيرا

It appears that some Nawasib who have no goodness in them curried favour with the Banu Umayyah using this lie. They totally distorted Aisha’s statement due to their knowledge of the latter’s disinclination towards ‘Ali which led to them to accepting its authenticity. Until al Zuhri clarified to Walid that the reality is the total opposite. May Allah reward him abundantly.[35]

 
  1. What was Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stance over what happened?

Undoubtedly, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is the most knowledgeable of the creation of his wife al Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha and her innocence from the accusations of the slanderers. Therefore, he was deeply hurt at the slander. The accusation was levelled at his honour and at the most beloved person to him. And he is the most possessive creation. He announced this to his Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum after the possessiveness of Sa’d was reported to him. He said:

 

أتعجبون من غيرة سعد والله لأنا أغير منه و الله أغير مني

Are you surprised at Sa’d’s possessiveness? By Allah, I am more possessive than him and Allah is more possessive than me.[36]

 

The anger and anxiety he experienced was manifest on his face and in his behaviour, from the time the treacherous slanderers began their onslaught on our mother Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. The Sahabah and the Ahlul Bayt discerned this. However, he exercised complete truthfulness and patience, having full conviction that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will defend him and assist him. Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala wisdom was to withhold revelation for a month. The people continued passing nasty remarks and many were treading this path. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam carried the load of patience and observed it diligently for Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala sake, despite the matter being extremely burdensome on his sensitive personality. The accusations were hurtful to him and so was the anxiety of his beloved wife who he would protect when she was weary and comfort with his affection and noble character.

This great affair was extremely burdensome for him to the extent that due to its severity, he remained silent. He believed in her innocence and knew about her illness so he would only say, “How are you.”

When this is the reality, then why did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam consult some of his family and Companions in the matter like Sayyidina ‘Ali, Usamah, Zainab, and Sayyidah Aisha’s slave girl radiya Llahu ‘anhum? Did he question them out of uncertainty and did Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu response verify his doubt as claimed by the deviates?[37]

This can be answered by saying:

  • Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam remained patient and had conviction in the purity of his wife. However, he wished to feel comforted by someone else’s answer, although he knew the answer himself. This is something that solaces the heart of the grieving person but does satisfy a doubtful heart. It is inconceivable for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to doubt the most beloved and closest person to him.
  • Those who are peddling this false notion have forgotten that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took a solemn oath upon the innocence of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha even prior to the revelation of the verses, which ought to silence the slanderers. He publicly announced his testimony in front of the people saying:

و الله ما علمت على أهلي إلا خيرا

By Allah, I only know good about my wife.

 

This solemn oath of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam should silence those who claim that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asked out of uncertainty. Do they know such things about our mother which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam – the infallible and informed by Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala – was unaware of? Or are they in reality, belying Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in his testimony by slandering his wife?

This clearly shows the stance of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the matter and his conviction of our mother’s innocence. He was not doubtful or unsure. And his question was just in order to be comforted by listening to the answer he knew.

Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah has written some profound words when explaining this matter. He writes:

 

إن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم كان هو المقصود بالأذى و التي رميت زوجته فلم يكن يليق به أن يشهد ببراءتها مع علمه أو ظنه الظن المقارب للعلم ببراءتها و لم يظن بها سوءا قط و حاشاه و حاشاها و لذلك لما استعذر من أهل الإفك قال من يعذرني في رجل بلغني أذاه في أهلي والله ما علمت على أهلي إلا خيرا و لقد ذكروا رجلا ما علمت عليه إلا خيرا و ما كان يدخل على أهلي إلا معي فكان عنده من القرائن التي تشهد ببراءة الصديقة أكثر مما عند المؤمنين و لكن لكمال صبره و ثباته و رفقه و حسن ظنه بربه و ثقته به وفى مقام الصبر و الثبات و حسن الظن بالله حقه حتى جاءه الوحي بما أقر عينه و سر قلبه و عظم قدره و ظهر لأمته احتفال ربه به و اعتناءه بشأنه

The accusation and slander levelled against his wife were in fact intended at Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Therefore, it was not suitable for him to testify to her innocence notwithstanding his conviction or strong belief which is close to conviction of the same. He never believed evil about her. May Allah forbid! Accordingly, when he himself sought relief from the slanderers he said:

Who will absolve me of a man who has hurt me regarding my family? By Allah, I only know good about my wife. And they have mentioned such a man about whom I only know good. He would not enter my home, except with me.”[38]

 

He had more evidences that supported the innocence of al Siddiqah than what the believers had. However, due to his complete patience, perseverance, compassion, good thoughts about Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala, and his conviction in Him, he displayed unswerving patience and perseverance and kept good thoughts about Allah as he ought to until revelation reached him which cooled his eyes and pleased his heart and increased his value. Furthermore, the honour and care Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala awarded him became manifest to his ummah.[39]

 

Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu answer was to remove the anxiety and grief burdening Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. His answer included two significant benefits.

First Benefit: He said that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala did not constrain things for him and there are many women besides her, implying that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam divorce her if she is the cause of his anxiety, so that Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam heart might be at ease and his mind relieved. He regarded Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam comfort more important than the comfort of any believer.

As if he said: Although a person’s value might be appreciated by you, O Messenger of Allah, you are more valuable and enjoy a far greater status in our hearts. Thus, your heart should not be discomforted due to them and you should not grieve over them. In fact, we will sacrifice our parents for you.

Al Thawri said:

رأى ذلك هو المصلحة في حق النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم

He understood this to be best in Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam interest.[40]

 

This was the behaviour of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They favoured Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam over themselves, their families, and all mankind. They would gather and weep whenever Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was afflicted with anxiety or grief.[41]

Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu too expressed something similar when the rumour spread that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had divorced his wives. The gist of the incident is that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam separated from his wives [without divorcing them] and went to the upper story of his house. Sayyidina ‘Umar sought permission to enter but Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam remained silent and did not reply to his servant, Rabah. Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu then said (as reported by him):

 

فقلت يا رباح استأذن لي عندك على رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فإني أظن أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم ظن أني جئت من أجل حفصة والله لئن أمرني رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم بضرب عنقها لأضربن عنقها و رفعت صوتي

I said, “O Rabah. I seek your permission for entering upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I suppose that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam thinks that I have come for Hafsah’s sake. By Allah, if Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam commands me to execute her, I will execute her.”

I raised my voice when declaring this.[42]

 

Here we find Sayyidina ‘Umar taking an oath that had Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ordered Sayyidah Hafsah radiya Llahu ‘anha — his daughter who he loved dearly— to be executed, he would readily carry it out.

Undoubtedly, they could not tolerate the grief experienced by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and would hasten to remedy it, even if it meant distancing themselves from their near and dear ones. May Allah be pleased with them.

This is Sayyidina ‘Ali’s stance and the stance of Sayyidina ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu as well. However, it should not be deduced that Sayyidina ‘Umar hated his daughter when he made his declaration. Similarly, it should not be deduced that Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu harboured ill feelings for Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha when he provided his advice. IT was love and reverence for the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam that promted them to make these remarks. They favoured him over everyone else no matter what position the latter enjoyed.

 

Second Benefit: Sayyidina ‘Ali’s statement, “Ask the slave girl, she will tell you the truth.” This implies that he knew Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam valued Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Accordingly, he motioned him to remove this bitter grief by listening to someone who remains with her and knows her private life, i.e. her slave girl who serves her.

Had Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu harboured ill feelings towards our Mother, he would have sufficed by advising Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to separate from her. In fact, he would have emphasised his point by mentioning the reasons and enforcing his advice. However, he moved over to the second piece of advice, which shows his preference of it. The slave girl testified to her goodness and duly praised Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Thus, Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam heart was comforted, and Sayyidina ‘Ali’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu advice turned out to be fruitful.

Studying the above, you will realise that his advice was not an indictment against Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, Allah forbid, but rather a testament in her favour. Therefore, the Shia using it to prove their warped ideologies is erroneous.

Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam stance can be summarised as follows:

  1. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam awaited revelation for a month. Nothing concerning Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was revealed to him. During this period, he consulted his Sahabah.
  2. He verified Sayyidah Aisha’s radiya Llahu ‘anha condition from her slave-girl, Barirah radiya Llahu ‘anha, who only mentioned her one weakness of displaying negligence over the dough by sleeping, due to her tender age.[43]
  3. He addressed the people and asked them to relieve him from the nasty schemes of the hypocrite and enemy of Allah, Ibn Salul.
  4. He then proceeded to meet with Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha at her father’s house and advised her and reminded her of Allah. He informed her that if she was innocent, Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala will soon exonerate her.
  5. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not leave the house of Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and revelation began to descend upon him. After being relieved of it, he began to smile. The first thing he uttered was, “O Aisha, listen up! Allah has indeed exonerated you.”
 
  1. The Stance of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala decreed out of his infinite wisdom that this fitnah should take place, as a test. Majority of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were saved from speaking negatively of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala reminded and admonished them:

لَّوْلَا إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوْهُ ظَنَّ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتُ بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوْا هٰذَا إِفْكٌ مُّبِيْنٌ

Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood”?

 

Only three of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were ensnared by these rumours, viz. Sayyidina Hassan ibn Thabit[44], Sayyidina Mistah ibn Uthathah, and Sayyidah Hamnah bint Jahsh radiya Llahu ‘anhum. They were consequently lashed as a form of purification and expiation.[45] Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam has stated:

 

و من أصاب من ذلك شيئا فأخذ به في الدنيا فهو كفارة له و طهور

Whoever perpetrates any of this and is punished for it in this world, it will serve as an expiation and purification for him.[46]

 
  1. Why was the hadd not meted out on the munafiq who was the mastermind behind everything while the other three were lashed?

There are few opinions in this regard

  1. Hudud are in fact expiations and purifications. And this wicked man is not deserving of it.
  2. He fabricated the slander, then broadcasted it in ways that could not be traced to him.
  3. Hadd is only established either by acknowledgment or proof. He neither acknowledged his crime, nor did anyone testify against him. He would only publicise it to his friends, who did not testify against him, and he did not mention it in the presence of the true believers.
  4. Hadd al Qadhf (slander) is the right of a person. It is not meted out except after demand. If it is said that it is Allah’s right, then too the demand of the accused is necessary. However, Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha did not demand it.
  5. His hadd was waived due to some benefit and wisdom which was present in not meting it out, just as he was not executed despite his apparent hypocrisy and voicing things that necessitated his execution. The wisdom was to win the hearts of his nation and not to scare them away from Islam. He was obeyed among them and a leader over them. There was fear of an uprising had he been lashed.

It is also possible that it was waived for all of the above reasons.[47]

 
  1. What was the difference between ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay the Munafiq’s words and the words of those Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum who participated in the slander? Why did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not seek relief from the three as he sought from ‘Abdullah ibn Ubay?

Ibn Taymiyyah explains:

 

الفرق بين ابن أبي و غيره ممن تكلم في شأن عائشة أنه كان يقصد بالكلام فيها عيب رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم و الطعن عليه و إلحاق العار به و يتكلم بكلام ينتقصه به فلذلك قالوا نقتله بخلاف حسان و مسطح و حمنة فإنهم لم يقصدوا ذلك و لم يتكلموا بما يدل على ذلك و لهذا إنما استعذر النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم من ابن أبي دون غيره

The difference between Ibn Ubay and others who spoke against Aisha is that Ibn Ubay wished to attack and assault the personality of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and disgrace him. He would speak in a condescending manner. Due to this, they said, “We will kill him.” This is contrary to Hassan, Mistah, and Hamnah. They did not intend this, nor did they speak in a way which implies this. Hence, Nabi only sought relief from Ibn Ubay, not the others.[48]

 

NEXT ⇒ Discussion 2: Considerations and Stances with Umm al Mu’minin and an Intellectual Standpoint supporting her Behaviour


[1] Jaza’ zafar, al jaza’: Yemeni pearls; zafar: a city in Yemen. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 1 pg. 269; Fath al Bari vol. 1 pg. 151)

[2] Yarhalun: put the rahl saddle/baggage and carriage on the camel. (Sharh Muslim vol. 17 pg. 104)

[3] Al ‘ulqah: sufficient food. It is said: the amount that keeps you alive. . (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 3 pg. 290; al Fa’iq vol. 2 pg. 262)

[4] Adlaja: to travel from the first portion of the night. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 2 pg. 129)

[5] Mughirin fi nahr al zahirah: i.e. at midday, when the sun is at its zenith. It is said: awghara al rajul i.e. when a man enters at this time. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 5 pg. 209)

[6] Al Manasi’: Places outside the city where people go to relieve themselves. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 5 pg. 65)

[7] Mutabarrazuna: the place of tabarruz: leaving to relieve oneself. It is an allusion to relieving oneself. (Fath al Bari vol. 8 pg. 465)

[8] Ay hanatah: Oh you. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 5 pg. 280)

[9] Aghmisuhu ‘alayha: denounce her for it. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 3 pg. 386)

[10] Ya’dhiruni: who will rid/relieve me. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 3 pg. 197)

[11] Qalusa: to dry up and go away. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 4 pg. 100)

[12] Surah Yusuf: 18.

[13] Rama: move, leave. (Fath al Bari vol. 8 pg. 476)

[14] Al buraha’: intense difficulty. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 1 pg. 113)

[15] Al Juman: small pearls. It is said: seeds made from silver which resemble pearls. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 1 pg. 301)

[16] Surah Nur: 11 – 20.

[17] Surah Nur: 22.

[18] Ahmi sam’i wa basari: I prevent attributing to them things they have not sensed and from punishment if I lie upon them. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 1 pg. 448)

[19] Tusamini: compete to be above me; boast over me. (al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar vol. 2 pg. 405)

[20] Sahih al Bukhari Hadith: 4750; Sahih Muslim Hadith: 2770.

[21] Surah Nur: 11.

[22] Surah Nur: 21 – 26.

[23] Fath al Bari vol. 8 pg. 477

[24] Tafsir al Razi vol. 23 pg. 337; al Tahrir wa al Tanwir vol. 18 pg. 169, 170.

[25] Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Mustafa, Abu al Sa’ud al ‘Imadi al Hanafi, the Imam and ‘Allamah. He was born in 898 A.H. He assumed judge post in al Qustuntiniyyah and was also tasked with passing fatwa. Among his books is his renowned tafsir Irshad al ‘Aql al Salim ila Mazaya al Kitab al Karim and Tuhfat al Tullab. He passed away in 982 A.H. (Shadharat al Dhahab vol. 8 pg. 395; al Alam vol. 7 pg. 59)

[26] Mahmud ibn ‘Umar ibn Muhammad, Abu al Qasim al Khawarizmi al Zamakhshari, the Nahwi (expert in syntax), Linguist, Mutakallim (expert in belief), and Mufassir. He was one of the influential Mu’tazilah. He was born in 467 A.H. and was a leader in Balaghah (eloquence), ‘Arabiyyah (Arabic), Ma’ani (Meanings), and Bayan (Articulacy). Al Kashaf and al Faiq are some of his books. He passed away in 538 A.H. (Siyar Alam al Nubala’ vol. 20 pg. 151; Tabaqat al Mufassirin of al Adnahwi pg. 172)

[27] ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn Muhammad, Abu Sa’id al Shirazi, Nasir al Din al Baydawi, the Shafi’i, ‘Allamah, Mufassir, and head of judges. He was an Imam, righteous, a worshipper, and ascetic. He undertook being head of judges in Shiraz. Some of his renowned books are: Anwar al Tanzil and Sharh al Masabih. He passed away in 685 A.H. and it is said: 691 A.H. (Shadharat al Dhahab vol. 5 pg. 391; Tabaqat al Mufassirin pg. 254)

[28] Al Husun al Muni’ah of Muhammad ‘Arif Hussaini pg. 19.

[29] Al Isabah vol. 8 pg. 392.

[30] Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 6 pg. 181.

[31] Sahih al Bukhari Hadith: 4749.

[32] Tafsir al Tabari vol. 17 pg. 196.

[33] Walid ibn ‘Abdul Malik ibn Marwan, Abu al ‘Abbas al Umawi, the Khalifah. He battled the Roman Empire many times when his father was in power. He opened the door of Spain and the land of Turkey. He also initiated Jami’ Bani Umayyah (the Masjid of Banu Umayyah) and had the Masjid of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam extended and beautified. The only problem was that he lived in luxury and possessed very little knowledge. He passed away in 96 A.H. (Siyar Alam al Nubala’ vol. 4 pg. 348; Shadharat al Dhahab vol. 1 pg. 105)

[34] Al Tabarani vol. 23 pg. 97 Hadith: 145; Hilyat al Awliyaʾ vol. 3 pg. 369; Fath al Bari vol. 7 pg. 437.

[35] Fath al Bari vol. 7 pg. 437

[36] Sahih al Bukhari Hadith: 7416; Sahih Muslim Hadith: 1499 – the narration of al Mughirah ibn Shu’bah radiya Llahu ‘anhu.

[37] As the author of the offensive book, Khiyanat Aisha bayn al Haqiqah wa al Istihalah, Muhammad Jamil Hamud al ‘Amili pg. 25. This book contains obscenity and disgust, and criticises and abuses our Mother with the worst of expletives and the most immoral words. Such language cannot possibly be imagined to be used by a being who attributes himself to the noble religion of Islam. We beg Allah’s safety from His wrath. May Allah be pleased with our Mother Sayyidah Aisha al Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha and may the continuous curse of Allah be upon those who slander her!

[38] Sahih al Bukhari Hadith: 2661; Sahih Muslim Hadith: 2770.

[39] Zad al Ma’ad vol. 3 pg. 235.

[40] Fath al Bari vol. 8 pg. 468.

[41] Study the incident of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam separating from his wives: Sahih al Bukhari vol. 7 pg. 28 Hadith: 5191.

[42] Sahih Muslim Hadith: 1479.

[43] Ibn al Qayyim states:

فإن قيل ما بال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم توقف في أمرها و سأل عنها و بحث و استشار و هو أعرف بالله و بمنزلته عنده و بما يليق به و هلا قال سبحانك هذا بهتان عظيم كما قاله فضلاء الصحابة

فالجواب أن هذا من تمام الحكم الباهرة التي جعل الله هذه القصة سببا لها و امتحان و ابتلاء لرسوله صلى الله عليه و سلم و لجميع الأمة إلى يوم القيامة ليرفع بهذه القصة أقواما و يضع بها الآخرين و يزيد الله الذين اهتدوا هدى و إيمانا و لا يزيد الظالمين إلا خسارا و اقتضى تمام الامتحان و الابتلاء أن حبس عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم الوحي شهرا في شأنها لا يوحى إليه في ذلك شيء لتتم حكمته التي قدرها و قضاها و تظهر على أكمل الوجوه و يزداد المؤمنون الصادقون إيمانا و ثباتا على العدل و الصدق و حسن الظن بالله و رسوله و أهل بيته و الصادقين من عباده و يزداد المنافقون إفكا و نفاقا و يظهر لرسوله و للمؤمنين سرائرهم

 

If it is asked: Why did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam remain silent in her matter, enquire about her, and consult whereas he has the most recognition of Allah, his status in Allah’s eyes, and what is worthy for him? Why did he not simply say, “This is an open slander,” like the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum declared?

The answer: This is one of the sublime wisdoms of Allah which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala has made this incident a source of. It was also a great test for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the entire ummah till the Day of Qiyamah. In order that this incident might honour some, and disgrace others. Allah will increase the guidance and faith of those who are guided while the oppressors will only increase in deprivation. The test demanded that revelation concerning her be withheld from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam for a month so that the wisdom Allah decreed might reach its peak and manifest in the most complete form. This increased the true believers in faith, and steadfastness on equity and truthfulness, and having positive thoughts about Allah, His Messenger, the Ahlul Bayt, and the truthful servants. On the other hand, it only increased the hypocrites in slander and hypocrisy. It also manifested the inner emotions of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the believers. (Zad al Ma’ad vol. 3 pg. 234)

[44] There is a difference of opinion in this regard. See: al Isti’ab fi Ma’rifat al Sahabah vol. 4 pg. 1884; al Bahr al Muhit vol. 8 pg. 20.

[45] Zad al Ma’ad vol. 3 pg. 236.

[46] Sahih al Bukhari Hadith: 6801; Sahih Muslim Hadith: 1709.

[47] Zad al Ma’ad vol. 3 pg. 236.

[48] Al Sarim al Maslul ‘ala Shatim al Rasul of Ibn Taymiyyah pg. 180.

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