Misconception: Sayyidah Aisha would not observe hijab from men

Misconception: Fitnah originated from Aisha’s house
February 28, 2018
Misconception: Aisha would beautify slave girls and parade them
February 28, 2018

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Misconception: Sayyidah Aisha would not observe hijab from men

 

The Rawafid claim that Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha would not observe hijab from men. One of them says:

 

من غير المناسب أن تتوضأ و تغسل يديها و خديها و وجهها و أذنيها أمام الناس كما في سنن النسائي … كما ليس من المناسب أن تغتسل أمام الرجال

It was inappropriate for her to make wudu’’, wash her hands, cheeks, face, and ears in front of people as appears in Sunan al Nasa’i just as it was inappropriate for her to take a ghusl in front of men.[1]

 

He quoted a hadith which appears in Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim, etc., to substantiate this claim.

This misconception created in this Shia’s mind and others of his ilk are due to the following two ahadith.

 

Hadith One:

 

عن عبد الملك بن مروان بن الحارث قال أخبرني أبو عبد الله سالم سبلان قال كانت عائشة تستعجب بأمانته و تستأجره فأرتني كيف كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يتوضأ فتمضمضت و استنثرت ثلاثا و غسلت وجهها ثلاثا ثم غسلت يدها اليمنى ثلاثا و اليسرى ثلاثا و وضعت يدها في مقدم رأسها ثم مسحت رأسها مسحة واحدة إلى مؤخره ثم أمرت يدها بأذنيها ثم مرت على الخدين قال سالم كنت آتيها مكاتبا ما تختفي مني فتجلس بين يدي و تتحدث معي حتى جئتها ذات يوم فقلت ادعي لي بالبركة يا أم المؤمنين قالت و ما ذاك قلت أعتقني الله قالت بارك الله لك و أرخت الحجاب دوني فلم أرها بعد ذلك اليوم

On the authority of ‘Abdul Malik ibn Marwan ibn al Harith who says that Abu ‘Abdullah Salim Sabalan related to him:

Aisha was fascinated with my trustworthiness and would hire me. She showed me how Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would perform wudu’. She gargled and put water in her nose thrice. She washed her face thrice, then washed her right arm thrice and left one thrice. She placed her hand on the front of her head and made mash (pass wet hands) of her head once until the back. She then passed her hands over her ears and then over her cheeks.”

Salim says, “I would come to her while I was a mukatab[2]. She would not observe hijab from me. She would sit in front of me and talk with me. Until one day I came to her and said, ‘Supplicate for blessings for me, O Mother of the Believers.’

She asked, ‘What is the reason for this?’

‘Allah freed me,’ I replied.

She said, ‘May Allah bless you.’

She then lowered the veil in front of me. Thus, I never saw her after that day.[3]

 

Hadith Two:

Al Bukhari and Muslim have narrated it from the chain of Abu Bakr ibn Hafs who says that he heard Abu Salamah saying:

 

دخلت أنا و أخو عائشة على عائشة فسألها أخوها عن غسل النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فدعت بإناء نحوا من صاع فاغتسلت و أفاضت على رأسها و بيننا و بينها حجاب

Aisha’s brother and I entered Aisha’s home. Her brother asked her concerning Nabi’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ghusl. She called for a container which was about a sa’ in size. She then took a ghusl and poured water over her head, while there was a veil between us and her.[4]

 

Answering this misconception:

Firstly, the hadith of al Nasa’i is mukhtalaf fih (disputed). ‘Abdul Malik ibn Marwan ibn al Harith ibn Abi Dhubab is majhul (unknown). None besides Ju’ayd ibn ‘Abdul Rahman narrates from him.

If its hypothetically agreed to be sahih, it does not prove her non-observance of hijab from men since Abu ‘Abdullah Salim Sabalan is one of the freed-slaves of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha or one of her relatives’s slave. It is permissible for a slave to look at his female master. Moreover, Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was a Faqihah (jurist). This matter was not obscure to her. Therefore, when he secured his freedom, she lowered the hijab in front of him as clarified in the hadith.

 

و أرخت الحجاب دوني فلم أرها بعد ذلك اليوم

She then lowered the veil in front of me. Thus, I never saw her after that day.[5]

 

There are copious corroborating ahadith for this.

 

فعن أنس بن مالك رضي الله عنه أن النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم أتى فاطمة بعبد كان قد وهبه لها قال و على فاطمة رضي الله عنها ثوب إذا قنعت به رأسها لم يبلغ رجليها و إذا غطت به رجليها لم يبلغ رأسها فلما رأى النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ما تلقى قال إنه ليس عليك بأس إنما هو أبوك و غلامك

Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhu recalls that Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to Fatimah with a slave he gifted her. Fatimah had a garment on her, which if she covered her head with, it would not reach her feet, and vice versa. When Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw her plight, he comforted her saying, “There is no harm upon you [for your head/feet to be uncovered]. It is only your father and slave.”[6]

 

Many of the ‘Ulama’ of the Ahlus Sunnah permit a slave to look at his female master. It appears in Sharh Khalil:

 

و لعبد بلا شرك و مكاتب وغدين نظر شعر السيدة يعنى أن العبد الوغد أي القبيح المنظر يجوز له أن ينظر إلى شعر سيدته و بقية أطرافها التي ينظرها محرمها و الخلوة بها على ما شهره ابن ناجي بشرط أن يكون كاملا لها

It is permissible for a slave who is not mushtarak (jointly owned), and a mukatab; both who are unattractive to see the hair of their female master and the rest of her limbs which her mahram may look at. Similarly, being in seclusion with her is permissible according to what Ibn Naji has shared on condition that she has full ownership of him.[7]

 

It appears in Tuhfat al Muhtaj[8]:

 

(و) الأصح (إن نظر العبد) العدل و لا تكفي العفة عن الزنا فقط غير المشترك و المبعض و غير المكاتب كما في الروضة عن القاضي و أقره و إن أطالوا في رده (إلى سيدته) المتصفة بالعدالة أيضا (و) الأصح إن (نظر ممسوح) ذكره كله و أنثياه بشرط أن لا يبقى فيه ميل للنساء أصلا و إسلامه في المسملة و عدالته و لو أجنبيا لأجنبية متصفة بالعدالة أيضا (كالنظر إلى محرم) فينظران منها ما عدا ما بين السرة و الركبة و تنظر منهما ذلك

For a slave to look his female master and one who has no genitals [to see a woman] is like looking at a mahram.

The most correct view is that the seeing of a righteous slave – simply chastity from fornication is not sufficient – who is not mushtarak (jointly owned) or shared by few and who is not a mukatab as appears in al Rawdah from al Qadi who has endorsed it although they have lengthened in its refutation his female master who is qualified with righteousness as well. The most correct view is that the seeing of one whose entire penis and testis have been removed on condition that absolutely no inclination towards women remains in him. His Islam is [a condition] when looking at a Muslim woman coupled with his righteousness although he be a stranger looking at a strange woman who possesses righteousness as well is like seeing a mahram. Therefore, they both may see those parts of her excluding between the navel and knee and vice versa.

 

Ibn Qudamah[9] says while discussing this ruling:

 

قال الشافعي هو أي العبد محرم لها أي السيدة و حكاه بعض أصحابنا عن أحمد لأنه يباح له النظر إليها فكان محرما لها كذي رحمها

Al Shafi’i says, “He – i.e. the slave – is a mahram to her – i.e. his female master.” Some of our companions have reported this from Ahmed. This is due to the fact that looking at her is permissible for him, hence he is her mahram like her other family members.[10]

 

The Rawafid themselves say that it is not comupulsory for a woman to observe hijab from a slave except when he is able to pay the amount that will free him. Yusuf al Bahrani[11] says:

 

عن معاوية بن عمار بسندين أحدهما صحيح و الآخر حسن في قوة الصحيح قال قلت لأبي عبد الله عليه السلام المملوك يرى شعر مولاته و ساقها قال لا بأس و عن عبد الرحمن ابن أبي عبد الله في الصحيح و الموثق بأبان بن عثمان قال سألت أبا عبد الله عليه السلام عن المملوك يرى شعر مولاته قال لا بأس

From Muawiyah ibn ‘Ammar via two sanads – one is sahih and the other is hasan with the strength of sahih – who relates the he asked Abu ‘Abdullah rahimahu Llah, “May a slave look at his female master’s hair and shin?”

“No problem,” he replied.

From ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi ‘Abdullah in a sahih narration and given credibility by Aban ibn ‘Uthman who says, “I asked Abu ‘Abdullah rahimahu Llah regarding whether a slave may look at his female master’s hair.

He replied, ‘There is no problem.’”[12]

 

Many of their scholars[13] have agreed with this. This makes manifest the permissibility of non-observance of hijab from a mukatab before he possesses the amount which allows him to pay his mukatabah.

In conclusion, the Rawafid have no reason or evidence to raise this misconception when their books refute it.

 

Secondly, the second hadith which both al Bukhari and Muslim have quoted. There is no mention therein to prove Sayyidah Aisha’s radiya Llahu ‘anha non-observance of hijab from men. Abu Salamah the narrator is ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Rahman ibn ‘Awf who is Sayyidah Aisha’s radiya Llahu ‘anha foster nephew. Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr al Siddiq radiya Llahu ‘anhum breastfed him making Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha his maternal aunt. The other person is her foster brother as it appears in the hadith. Therefore, both men were mahram’s of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.

Qadi ‘Iyad rahimahu Llah explains:

 

ظاهر الحديث أنهما رأيا عملها في رأسها و أعلى جسدها مما يحل لذي المحرم النظر فيه إلى ذات المحرم و أحدهما كما قال كان أخوها من الرضاعة قيل إن اسمه عبد الله بن يزيد و كان أبو سلمة ابن أختها من الرضاعة أرضعته أم كلثوم بنت أبي بكر

The hadith apparently means that they saw her action on her head and her upper body which is permissible for a mahram to see. One of them was – as he said – her foster brother. It is said that his name was ‘Abdullah ibn Yazid. And Abu Salamah was her foster nephew who was breastfed by Umm Kulthum bint Abi Bakr.[14]

 

Hafiz Ibn Rajab[15] says:

 

و الظاهر أن أبا سلمة كان إذ ذاك صغيرا دون البلوغ و الآخر كان أخاها من الرضاعة

Evidently, Abu Salamah was young at that time and did not reach puberty as yet and the other was her foster brother.[16]

 

An entire group of men were not present as the Rawafid exaggerate. It was only an immature boy and a foster brother, no one else.

Therefore, the Rawafid cannot use this hadith to substantiate their claim.

 

Thirdly, the Rafidi says, “Who does not know the manner of ghusl which compelled him to go to Aisha to ask her about it?”

The Rafidi forgot that the question was not simply about the manner of ghusl. Rather, it was about the manner of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam ghusl. This is an aspect which no one can possess perfect knowledge of except one who is aware of his private affairs. And they are his wives radiya Llahu ‘anhunna. The most knowledgeable of them and the one who possessed the deepest understanding among them by consensus is Umm al Mu’minin Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.

 

Fourthly, will any sensible person say that when our mother Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha intended to teach her foster brother and Abu Salamah, she took off all her clothes and made ghusl without clothes? Does teaching the manner of ghusl necessitate the removal of all clothing? Moreover, it is not a condition to be unclothed for a veil to be positioned. In fact, our mother emphasised concealment [by positioning the veil] so that when water wets her clothes, her skin thereunder is not revealed.

 

Fifthly, do the Rawafid think that no one used to visit the houses of the Ummahat al Mu’minin and they were desolate and deserted? Do they think that they were not populated by students of knowledge both male and female to enquire and learn the laws of their din? To the contrary, people would frequent the houses of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to ask questions and learn. Women would approach the Ummahat al Mu’minin to gain deep knowledge and understanding of their din. Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was the focus of them all due to her vast knowledge and wittiness.

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha would convey via women such laws which she was shy of conveying directly to the men due to her chastity and noble character.

Sayyidah Muazah reports that Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anhuma said:

 

مرن أزواجكم أن يستطيبوا بالماء فإني أستحييهم فأن رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم كان يفعله

Command your husbands to make istinja’ with water as I am shy of them and certainly Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would practice this.[17]

 

The women would gather at Sayyidah Umm Salamah’s radiya Llahu ‘anha place for example who would lead them in salah[18] and at Sayyidah Aisha’s radiya Llahu ‘anha place[19]. The houses of Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam wives were houses of knowledge, worship, and fiqh. They would not keep themselves aloof or distant from the seekers of knowledge and guidance or from gathering where knowledge, love for din, and encouragement towards goodness and guidance was transmitted.

When this is established and we realise the lofty pedestal of knowledge and understanding of Shari’ah she was upon and the high level of modesty she possessed – as we have just learnt – then we ought to place this narration in a befitting place, far away from the filth which the Rawafid and their ilk rant of. They picture in their perverted minds a woman who takes off her clothes and shamelessly takes a ghusl in front of men without any veil in between. Something which is unbecoming of any Muslim woman, leave alone the epitome of purity and chastity our beloved mother Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.

How could what is in their perverted minds be a reality when we are familiar with the condition of the houses and people of Madinah? People would frequent those homes seeking knowledge and rulings. The houses of our mothers are recognised especially Sayyidah Aisha’s radiya Llahu ‘anha house which enjoys high prominence, significance, and value. After all, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his two Companions are buried therein!

 

Sixthly, the Rafidi questions, “Why did they not go to her father, the khalifah, for him to teach them?”

We seek Allah’s protection from stupidity and senselessness.

It is common knowledge both rationally and religiously that a person is expected to refer his questions to a knowledgeable person. And he is not bound to ask one and only one person all his questions.

If people only had one scholar as their source of knowledge, this scholar would be incapable of fulfilling this mammoth task single-handedly.

It is sufficient for a questioner to ask any scholar about his question. He is not expected to ask one specific person in every matter that concerns him. In fact, he is only required to ask any knowledgeable person, and not an ignoramus.

Furthermore, it is common sense that a person will direct his question to someone he believes is more acquainted and familiar with the nature of his question. The matter here was dealing with Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam private life, the manner of his ghusl. Therefore, no one would have more knowledge of this matter than his wives. And the most beloved and educated of them was Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha. Therefore, it was good-reasoning for the questioner to refer to her.

Additionally, the questioner posing the question to her does not necessitate his belief that Sayyidina Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu was less knowledgeable and therefore he shied away from asking him and resorted to his daughter. If someone superior is unaware of one minor aspect of knowledge, this does not impact negatively on his knowledge, value, and prominence. He loses nothing in fact.

Moreover, is it necessary for every man with a question to only approach the khalifah?

 

Seventhly, now that everything has been clarified, i.e. the background of the narration, the meaning of the narration, the nature of the questioners, the nature of the house in which the incident took place, the nature of the gathering, and Sayyidah Aisha’s radiya Llahu ‘anha demonstration of the manner in which Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam took a ghusl, we understand the answer to the Rafidi’s anxiety over why Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha did not suffice by explaining the method of ghusl verbally, instead of demonstrating it practically.

Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha was one of the best well-wishers of the ummah. And undoubtedly, practical demonstration has a deeper effect than a verbal lesson. She did not wait for her brother and Abu Salamah to enquire about the amount of water used by Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. She addressed this issue beforehand by a physical demonstration rather than a theoretical explanation. The question was not only about the manner, but about the manner and amount of water used as well. Hence, her pouring water over her body and veiling herself from them was part of genuine well-wishing, proficient teaching, and remarkable intelligence which brings coolness to the eyes of those who defend the honour of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam by defending his noble consort.

Probably this is the subtlety behind Abu ‘Abdullah al Bukhari entitling one chapter:

 

باب الغسل بالصاع و نحوه

The chapter concerning taking a ghusl with a sa’ and its like.[20]

 

Hafiz Ibn Hajar comments:

 

في فعل عائشة دلالة على استحباب التعليم بالفعل لأنه أوقع في النفس و لما كان السؤال محتملا للكيفية و الكمية ثبت لهما ما يدل على الأمرين معا أما الكيفية فبالاقتصار على إفاضة الماء و أما الكيفية فبالاكتفاء بالصاع

Aisha’s action indicates to the commendability of teaching practically for it has a profound effect on the heart and mind. When the question had the possibility of encompassing method and quantity, she displayed to them something that will answer both at once; as regards the method, by sufficing on pouring water and as regards the amount, by sufficing on a sa’.[21]

 

What remains of intelligence when some people regard virtue as vice, profoundness as impertinence, chastity as immorality, and honourable knowledge as a shame?

 

 NEXT ⇒ Misconception: Aisha would beautify slave girls and parade them


[1] This statement is a portion of one of their discussions titled Aisha Taht al Mijhar (Aisha under microscope)

[2] A slave who has made an agreement with his master to pay a certain amount of money to secure his freedom.

[3] Sunan al Nasa’i vol. 1 pg. 72; al Kuna of al Dulabi vol. 2 pg. 820 Hadith: 1430; al Tarikh al Kabir vol. 4 pg. 110; al Muttafaq wa al Muftaraq of al Khatib al Baghdadi vol. 3 pg. 1524 Hadith: 854. Ibn al Qattan says, “It is not sahih.” (Ahkam al Nazr 213. Al Albani declared it sahih in Sahih Sunan al Nasa’i Hadith: 100)

[4] Sahih al Bukhari Hadith: 251; Sahih Muslim Hadith: 320

[5] Al Sanadi elucidates, “This is based on the fact that a mukatab remains a slave as long as he still owes even a single silver coin. Probably he was a slave of one of Sayyidah Aisha’s relatives. And she believed in the permissibility of a slave entering the presence of his female master and her relatives. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best. (Hashiyah al Sanadi ‘ala al Nasa’i vol. 1 pg. 73)

[6] Sunan Abi Dawood Hadith: 4106; al Ahadith al Mukhtarah Hadith: 1712; al Bayhaqi vol. 7 pg. 95 Hadith: 13929. Ibn al Qattan has categorised it as sahih in Ahkam al Nazr 196. Al Diya’ al Maqdisi says in al Sunan wa al Ahkam vol. 5 pg. 107, “I do not see any problem with its isnad.” Al Dhahabi declared its isnad as jayyid in al Muhadhab vol. 5 pg. 2671 and Ibn al Mulqin done the same in al Badr al Munir vol. 7 pg. 510. Al Albani declared it sahih in Sahih Sunan Abi Dawood.

[7] Sharh Mukhtasar Khalil of al Kharshi vol. 3 pg. 221

[8] Tuhfat al Muhtaj of Ibn Hajar al Haytami vol. 7 pg. 196

[9] ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmed, Abu al Farj al Jama’ili al Hambali, the Sheikh al Islam. He was born in 597 A.H. Authority of the madhab reached him in his era. He was unparalleled in knowledge, tolerance, and abstinence. He assumed the post of judge for a while and did not take any remuneration for his services. Al Sharh al Kabir is one of his works. He passed away in 682 A.H. (Tarikh al Islam vol. 51 pg. 106; Fawat al Wafayat of al Katabi vol. 2 pg. 291)

[10] Al Sharh al Kabir vol. 3 pg. 193

[11] Yusuf ibn Ahmed ibn Ibrahim al Darazi al Bahrani, an Imami Faqih. He was born in 1107 A.H. and died in 1186 A.H. Some books he authored are: al Hadaiq al Nadirah and Anis al Musafir. (al A’lam vol. 8 pg. 215)

[12] Al Hadaiq al Nadirah vol. 23 pg. 69

[13] Al Hadaiq al Nadirah vol. 23 pg. 69; Mustanad al Shia of al Naraqi vol. 16 pg. 53; al Kafi vol. 5 pg. 531; Wasail al Shia vol. 20 pg. 223; Mustamsik al ‘Urwah of Muhsin al Hakim vol. 14 pg. 43

[14] Ikmal al Mu’allim of Qadi ‘Iyad vol. 2 pg. 163

[15] ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Ahmed ibn Rajab, Abu al Farj al Dimishqi al Hambali, the Imam, Hafiz, Hujjah, Faqih, and ‘Umdah. He was born in 736 A.H. He was proficient in all hadith sciences and was a Faqih, Usuli, ascetic, righteous, and a great worshipper. Some of his books are: Jami’ al ‘Ulum wa al Hikam and Fath al Bari Sharh Sahih al Bukhari. He passed away in 795 A.H. (Dhayl Tadhkirat al Huffaz of Abu al Mahasin pg. 367; Inba al Ghamr of Ibn Hajar vol. 1 pg. 460)

[16] Fath al Bari of Ibn Rajab vol. 1 pg. 249

[17] Sunan al Tirmidhi Hadith: 19; Sunan al Nasa’i vol. 1 pg. 42; Musnad Ahmed vol. 6 pg. 95 Hadith: 24683; Musnad Abi Ya’la vol. 8 pg. 12; Sahih Ibn Hibban vol. 4 pg. 290 Hadith: 1443, 4514; al Bayhaqi vol. 1 pg. 105 Hadith: 526. Al Tirmidhi says, “Hassan sahih.” ‘Abdul Haqq al Ishbili declared its isnad as sahih in al Ahkam al Sughra Hadith: 103. Ibn Qudamah does the same in al Kafi vol. 1 pg. 52, and so does al Nawawi in al Majmu’ vol. 2 pg. 101. Ibn Daqiq al ‘Id remarks in al Imam vol. 2 pg. 537, “Its narrators are all reliable according to the standards of al Bukhari and Muslim.” Al Albani categorised it as sahih in Sahih Sunan al Tirmidhi.

[18] Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq vol. 3 pg. 140 from Hujayrah bint Hussain; Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah vol. 2 pg. 88 from Umm al Hassan. Al Albani says in Tamam al Minnah Hadith: 154, “Its isnad is sahih and its narrators are reliable and recognised from the narrators of al Bukhari and Muslim besides Umm al Hassan.”

[19] Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq Hadith: 5087; al Mustadrak vol. 1 pg. 320; al Bayhaqi vol. 1 pg. 408 Hadith: 1998. Al Dhahabi says, “Layth is present therein who is layyin (lax).”

[20] Sahih al Bukhari vol. 1 pg. 59

[21] Fath al Bari vol. 1 pg. 365

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