d. Her Knowledge of Fiqh and Fatwa

c. Her Knowledge of the Prophetic Sunnah
August 6, 2021
e. Her Knowledge of History
August 6, 2021

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d. Her Knowledge of Fiqh and Fatwa

 

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha is justly reckoned as the most knowledgeable and greatest female jurist of the Ummah. In fact, one of the best jurists and most knowledgeable among the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum. ‘Ata’ rahimahu Llah states:

 

كانت عائشة أفقه الناس وأعلم الناس وأحسن الناس رأيا في العامة

Aisha was the most understanding of all people, the most knowledgeable of all, and possessed the soundest opinion in general aspects.[1]

 

Sheikh Abu Ishaq al Shirazi[2] records her in his Tabaqat in the list of the Fuqaha’ among the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum.[3] Ibn Hazm lists the names of the Sahabah from whom rulings in Islamic law are reported—in particular those from whom an abundance are reported. He places Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha ahead of all the Sahabah.[4]

Al Dhahabi declares:

أم المؤمنين زوجة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم أفقه نساء الأمة على الإطلاق

Umm al Mu’minin, the wife of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is the best female jurist of the Ummah unrestrictedly.[5]

 

What emphasises her knowledge of fatwa and fiqh is that when senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were faced with tricky issues in Din, they would consult her and find the relevant knowledge by her.

Sayyidina Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu states:

 

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

No hadith was ever challenging for us—the Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam—and we asked Aisha, except that we found knowledge of it by her.[6]

 

عن عبد الرحمن بن القاسم عن أبيه قال كانت عائشة قد استقلت بالفتوى في خلافة أبي بكر وعمر وعثمان وهلم جرا إلى أن ماتت يرحمها الله وكنت ملازما لها مع برها بي

‘Abdur Rahman ibn al Qasim reports from his father:

Aisha had assumed the task of issuing rulings in the caliphate of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and this continued until she passed away, may Allah have mercy upon her. I would remain at her service, not forgetting the kindness she displayed towards me.[7]

 

Mahmud ibn Labid says:

 

كانت عائشة تفتي في عهد عمر وعثمان إلى أن ماتت يرحمها الله وكان الأكابر من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عمر وعثمان بعده يرسلان إليها فيسألانها عن السنن

Aisha would pass verdicts in the era of ‘Umar and ‘Uthman until she left this world, may Allah have mercy upon her. The senior Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, including ‘Umar and ‘Uthman, would send messengers to her to ask her about the Sunnah.[8]

 

Masruq rahimahu Llah says:

لقد رأيت الأكابر من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يسألونها عن الفرائض

I definitely saw the senior Companions of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam asking her about laws of inheritance.[9]

 

Ibn al Qayyim declares:

 

والذين حفظت عنهم الفتوى من أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مائة ونيف وثلاثون نفسا ما بين رجل وامرأة وكان المكثرون منهم سبعة عمر بن الخطاب وعلي بن أبي طالب وعبد الله بن مسعود وعائشة أم المؤمنين و زيد بن ثابت وعبد الله بن عباس وعبد الله بن عمر قال أبو محمد ابن حزم ويمكن أن يجمع من فتوى كل واحد منهم سفر ضخم

Those Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum from whom fatwa was learnt are a hundred and thirty odd individuals, both male and female. The prolific among them are seven: ‘Umar ibn al Khattab, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, Aisha Umm al Mu’minin, Zaid ibn Thabit, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas, and ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar. Abu Muhammad Ibn Hazm says, “It is possible to gather the fatawa of each of them in a voluminous book.”[10]

 

Al Sakhawi[11] states:

 

والمكثرون منهم إفتاء سعبة عمر وعلي وابن مسعود وابن عمر وابن عباس وزيد بن ثابت وعائشة قال ابن حزم يمكن أن يجمع من فتيا كل واحد من هؤلاء مجلد ضخم

The prolific among them in issuing verdicts are seven: ‘Umar, ‘Ali, Ibn Mas’ud, Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas, Zaid ibn Thabit, and Aisha. Ibn Hazm says, “It is possible to compile a voluminous book of the verdicts of each of these.”[12]

 

Al Suyuti reports:

استقلت بالفتوى زمن أبي بكر وعمر وهلم جرا

She issued verdicts in the era of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and continuously thereafter.[13]

 

She would not feel reservation in answering the enquirers about any aspect of Din, even personal matters. In fact, she would encourage those who were shy to ask about private affairs. This is in compliance with Allah’s subhanahu wa ta ‘ala words:

 

وَاللهُ لَا يَسْتَحْيِيْ مِنَ الْحَقِّ

Allah is not shy of the truth.[14] 

 

She would comfort them and tell them:

 

أنا أمك فلا تستحي أن تسألني عما كنت سائلا عنه أمك

I am your mother. Do not feel shy to ask me about a thing you would ask your mother about.[15][16]

 

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha did not just transmit ahadith, fiqh, and fatwa. Rather, she possessed a proficiency in fiqh and was able to deduce Shar’i laws from the Qur’an and Sunnah.

A beautiful example of this is the following incident:

 

أن سعد بن هشام دخل عليها فقال إني أريد أن أسألك عن التبتل فما ترين فيه قالت فلا تفعل أما سمعت الله عز وجل يقول وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلًا مِّنْ قَبْلِكَ وَجَعَلْنَا لَهُمْ أَزْوَاجًا وَذُرِّيَّةً فلا تتبتل

Sa’d ibn Hisham approached her and submitted, “I intend to ask you about celibacy[17]. What is your opinion of it?”

She said, “Do not observe it. Have you not heard Allah—the Mighty and Majestic—declaring: And We have already sent messengers before you and assigned to them wives and descendants.[18] Hence, do not be celibate.”[19]

 

Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Safiyyah bint Huyayy’s radiya Llahu ‘anha menstrual cycle began on the Night of Departure. She mentioned this to the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam who said, “Has she restrained us?” He was told:

 

إنها أفاضت فقال فلا إذا

“She performed Tawaf [al Ziyarah].”

He commented, “Then she has not.”[20]

 

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha deduced from her that Tawaf al Wada’ is not compulsory on those who have valid excuses. All the women who performed Hajj with her would practice on this ruling. ‘Amrah bint ‘Abdur Rahman reports:

 

إن أم المؤمنين رضي الله عنها إذا حجت ومعها نساء تخاف أن يحضن قدمتهن يوم النحر فأفضن فإن حضن بعد ذلك لم تنتظرهن فتنفر بهن وهن حيض إذا كن قد أفضن

Certainly, when Umm al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anha performed Hajj with women who feared that their menstrual cycles would begin, she would allow them to go ahead on the Day of Sacrifice to perform Tawaf [al Ziyarah]. If their menstrual cycle began thereafter, she would not let them wait but would return with them while they were menstruating. This is in the instance they had performed Tawaf al Ziyarah.[21] [22]

 

Hereunder is a list of her Fiqhi views[23]:

  • The leftover water of a cat is pure.
  • Wudu’ is mustahab after indecent speech.
  • Wudu’ does not break by touching or kissing a woman.
  • Ghusl is wajib (compulsory) upon males and females after their circumcised genitalia meet, even without ejaculation.
  • A pregnant woman does not menstruate.
  • If someone wakes up from a dream and finds wetness but does not remember having a wet dream, ghusl is mandatory upon him.
  • Yellowness in the time of menstruating is regarded as menstrual blood.
  • The mustahadah [a woman suffering from an irregular bleeding pattern] will wait on the days of her menstrual cycle and then make one ghusl followed by a wudu’ for every salah.
  • The stain of the blood of hayd will not negatively affect a garment after it was scratched off and washed.
  • A husband is allowed to enjoy his menstruating wife on condition she wears a lower garment.
  • The garment in which a man in major impurity perspires is pure.
  • Sleeping before Salat al ‘Isha’ and chatting thereafter are undesirable.
  • One performing salah is prohibited from placing his hand on his hips.
  • A slave is permitted to lead the salah.
  • There is no problem in reading full salah while on a journey.
  • Shortening the two Sunnah rak’at of Fajr is mustahab.
  • A woman will call out the adhan and iqamah for herself when she intends to perform salah.
  • The salah of a mature girl without a scarf is invalid.
  • Ghusl on Friday is not wajib (compulsory).
  • Sajdat al Tilawah is not wajib (compulsory).
  • It is makruh to transport the deceased to be buried in an area away from where he passed away.
  • Salat al Janazah in the Masjid is permissible.
  • Zakat will be paid from the orphans wealth and it might be used for business.
  • Zakat is not wajib on the jewellery of a woman.
  • There is no Zakat on debts.
  • She would fast while travelling.
  • The fasting person’s fast does not break by kissing his wife provided that none of her saliva enters his stomach.
  • The fasting person is allowed to fondle his wife when he trusts that he will not ejaculate or have intercourse.
  • The mu’takif cannot visit the sick.
  • Charity to the poor is superior to sending sacrificial animals to Masjid al Haram.
  • She would not disclose her face while in the state of ihram. She would perform tawaf with the veil on.
  • She would join the tawafs and perform two rak’at thereafter for all seven circuits.
  • She never mingled with men while making tawaf.
  • Men should initiate the marriage contract.
  • She translates aqra as clean periods.
  • Talaq does not take place after the expiry of four months for a woman whose husband made ila’[24] from her.
  • A husband giving his wife the choice is not considered a talaq.
  • The divorced woman is entitled to allowance and accommodation.
  • A divorced woman is prohibited from leaving her house until the expiry of her ‘iddah.
  • A widow is allowed to leave her home during her ‘iddah. Probably, this is in case of necessity.
  • Mut’ah marriage is forbidden.
  • A transaction with a condition is makruh.
  • The seller is prevented from buying the item being sold to the buyer before taking possession of the payment for less than the cost.

 

She has some Fiqhi views only observed by her like the permissibility of wearing short trousers for a muhrim, the permissibility of the imamah of an illegitimate child, the permissibility of a woman journeying without a mahram when fitnah is not feared, the undesirability of travelling in Ramadan, and breastfeeding establishing foster ties in both minors and aged individuals.[25]

She had a grasp over the secrets of the Shari’ah, the wisdoms, and the exigencies upon which Shar’i laws are based. She would not stop at the apparent texts. One example of this is that women would join the men in salah in the Masajid during the lifetime of the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam without any hesitation. Yes, their rows would be formed behind the rows of the children. The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had bequeathed that women should not be prevented from the Masajid. After the termination of the blessed Prophetic era, after wealth and booty increased and mixing with the non-believers took place, Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha witnessed the attitude and behaviour. She asserted:

 

لو أدرك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ما أحدث النساء لمنعهن كما منعت نساء بني إسرائيل

Had the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam witnessed the behaviour of women [currently], he would have prevented them just as the women of Banu Isra’il were prevented.[26]

 

This is one incident. Nonetheless, it indicates that the esteemed Shar’i laws in the sight of Umm al Mu’minin radiya Llahu ‘anha are based on wisdoms and reasons. When these reasons and wisdoms change, the ruling changes. Al Muhassab is the name of a valley by Makkah al Mukarramah. The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam alighted there during the Days of Hajj. The Rightly Guided Khalifas followed him and alighted there. Sayyidina Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma viewed alighting at the valley of al Muhassab as one of the Sunnah practices of Hajj. On the other hand, Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha would neither regard it as Sunnah, nor would she alight there. The reason she offered was:

إنما نزل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لأنه كان منزلا أسمح لخروجه

The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would only alight there for it was a station which facilitated his departure.[27]

 

The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had performed Tawaf of the House mounted [on a camel] during Hajjat al Wada’. Some people understood that Tawaf of the Ka’bah whilst mounted is Sunnah. And this is the view of some of the Mujtahidin. However, the matter is not as they supposed for the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam performing tawaf mounted was due to an exigency, a wisdom, or a reason. Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha explains:

 

طاف النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في حجة الوداع حول الكعبة على بعيره يستلم الركن كراهية أن يضرب عنه الناس

The Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam performed tawaf around the Ka’bah on his camel during Hajjat al Wada’ and made istilam of the rukn (The Black Stone), disliking that people will crowd him.[28][29]

 

There are other examples as well.

 

 

NEXT⇒ e. Her Knowledge of History


[1] Al Lalka’i: Sharh Usul I’tiqad Ahlus Sunnah, vol. 8 pg. 1521, Hadith: 2762; al Mustadrak, vol. 4 pg. 15, Hadith: 6748. Al Dhahabi does not comment on it in al Talkhis.

[2] He is Ibrahim ibn ‘Ali ibn Yusuf, Abu Ishaq al Shirazi al Shafi’i. He was born in 393 A.H. He was the Sheikh of Islam in knowledge, practice, piety, and asceticism. He is famous with his forceful proofs in debates. Wazir Nizam al Malik built for him al Madrasah al Nizamiyyah. Al Tanbih and al Lam’ are some of his books. He passed away in 476 A.H. Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 18 pg. 452; Tabaqat al Shafi’iyyah, vol. 4 pg. 215.

[3] Abu Ishaq al Shirazi: Tabaqat al Fuqaha’, pg. 47; al Ijabah li Irad ma istadrakathu Aisha ‘ala al Sahabah, pg. 59.

[4] Jawami’ al Sirah, pg. 319; al Ijabah li Irad ma istadrakathu Aisha ‘ala al Sahabah, pg. 59.

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

[6] Jami’ al Tirmidhi, Hadith: 3883. Al Tirmidhi labels it hassan sahih. Al Dhahabi labels it hassan gharib in Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, vol. 2 pg. 179. Al Albani on the other hand classified it sahih in Sahih Sunan al Tirmidhi.

[7] Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 2 pg. 375; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 49 pg. 165.

[8] Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 2 pg. 375.

[9] Sunan Sa’id ibn Mansur, Hadith: 287; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 31037; Sunan al Darimi, vol. 2 pg. 442, Hadith: 2859; al Mujam al Kabir, vol. 23 pg. 181, Hadith: 19245; al Mustadrak, vol. 4 pg. 12. Al Haythami in Majma’ al Zawa’id, vol. 9 pg. 245 and al Shawkani in Durr al Sahabah, Hadith: 254 labelled the isnad hassan.

[10] Ibn al Qayyim al Jawziyyah: I’lam al Muwaqqi’in ‘an Rabb al ‘Alamin, vol. 1 pg. 10.

[11] He is Muhammad ibn ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Muhammad, Abu al Khayr al Sakhawi al Shafi’i. Born in 831 A.H., he excelled in fiqh, Arabic, and Qira’at. He then focused on hadith and gathered so many narrations, by listening and reading, that are beyond description. Fath al Mughith is authored by him. He passed away in 902 A.H. Shadharat al Dhahab, vol. 8 pg. 14; al Shawkani: al Badr al Tali’, pg. 2 pg. 184.

[12] Al Sakhawi: Fath al Mughith Sharh Alfiyat al Hadith, vol. 3 pg. 117.

[13] Al Suyuti: Is’af al Mubatta’ bi Rijal al Muwatta’, pg. 35.

[14] Surah al Ahzab: 53.

[15] Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 349.

[16] Sirat al Sayyidah Aisha, pg. 330.

[17] Al tabattul: celibacy and avoiding marriage. Al Nihayah fi Gharib al Hadith wa al Athar, vol. 1 pg. 94.

[18] Surah al Ra’d: 38.

[19] Jami’ al Tirmidhi, after Hadith: 1082; Sunan al Nasa’i, vol. 6 pg. 60; Musnad Ahmed, vol. 6 pg. 97, Hadith: 24702. Al Albani comments in Sahih Sunan al Nasa’i, “It is sahih if Hassan heard it directly from Sa’d.” Shu’ayb al Arna’ut classified the isnad sahih in Tahqiq Musnad Ahmed.

[20] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 1757; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1211.

[21] Muwatta’ Malik, vol. 3 pg. 605; al Bayhaqi: Ma’rifat al Sunan wa al Athar, vol. 7 pg. 353, Hadith: 3191.

[22] Sirat al Sayyidah Aisha Umm al Mu’minin, pg. 271.

[23] Al Sayyidah Aisha Umm al Mu’minin wa ‘Alimat Nisa’ al Islam, pg. 197; Jawharah bint Salih al Tarifi: Sirat Umm al Mu’minin Aisha wa Juhuduha fi al Da’wah wa al Ihtisab, pg. 178 – 222; Mawsu’ah Fiqh Aisha Umm al Mu’minin.

[24] Īla is when a man vows not to cohabit with his wife for a period of time.

[25] Mawsu’ah Fiqh Aisha Umm al Mu’minin, pg. 534.

[26] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 869; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 445.

[27] Sahih al Bukhari, Hadith: 1765; Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1311.

[28] Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 1274.

[29] Sirat al Sayyidah Aisha Umm al Mu’minin, pg. 287, with variation.

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