The Twenty Fourth Narration: Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained perfection except Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran; and Asiyah, the wife of Firoun. And the superiority of Aisha to other women is like the superiority of tharid over all other dishes.

The Twenty Third Narration: Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made four lines on the earth and asked, “Do you know what this is?”….
February 19, 2019
The Twenty Fifth Narration: The hadith of Sayyidah Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha, the wife of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, regarding the accusation levelled against her by the slanderers which Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala exonerated her from. ….
February 19, 2019

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The Twenty Fourth Narration

Abu Musa al Ash’ari radiya Llahu ‘anhu reports that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:


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

Many amongst men attained perfection but amongst women none attained perfection except Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran; and Asiyah, the wife of Firoun. And the superiority of Aisha to other women is like the superiority of tharid[1] over all other dishes.[2]


Commentary and Lessons Learnt from this Narration:

  1. Great virtue is dedicated to Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha in this narration. Her excellence over other women has been given similitude to the excellence of tharid over other food.


  1. The virtue of Maryam and Asiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma shines through as women who had achieved excellence.


  1. Ibn al Qayyim writes, “Bread is the best filler and meat the best curry. Tharid is made of the two. When they come together there’s nothing better.”


  1. Imam Nawawi writes in his commentary on Sahih Muslim, “In this narration perfection is in the sense of piety and taqwa.”


  1. The scholars commentating on this have said that other women not having attained perfection is specific to their time and not a general rule throughout.

This opinion makes sense when the narrations that have Khadijah and Fatimah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma as the best women of Jannat are taken into consideration.

Some scholars have added to the narration of this chapter the name of Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha after that of Maryam, the daughter of ‘Imran; and Asiyah,the wife of Firoun.

Ibn Kathir has recorded it in his Tafsir with referenced to Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

Many scholars have quoted the narration as such referencing Tafsir ibn Kathir which in fact is a mistake on their part, May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala have mercy on them. There is, in fact, no mention of Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha in the books of Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

Yes, it has been narrated in this manner by Ibn Jarir in his Tafsir from — al Muthanna ibn Ibrahim al Amili from — Adam ibn Abi Iyas — from Shu’bah. He has the following addition in this narration:


وخديجة بنت خويلد ، وفاطمة بنت محمد

And Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and Fatimah bint Muhammad.


Many others have narrated the same from — Adam ibn Abi Iyas and — from Shu’bah without the addition. Also, al Muthanna is an unknown.

However, Abu Usamah Hammad ibn Abi Usamah has narrated it in a similar fashion as al Muthanna from Shu’bah as recorded by Tha’labi in his Tafsir. Ibn Kathir has also recorded it in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, attesting to the veracity of its chain till Shu’bah, from Ibn Mardawayh’s Tafsir from — Shu’bah from — Muawiyah ibn Qurrah from — his father Qurrah ibn Iyas — with the wording:


وخديجة بنت خويلد الا ثلاث مريم بنت عمران وآسية امرأة فرعون

Except three: Maryam bint ‘Imran, Asiyah—the wife of Firoun, and Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.


If this addition is accepted, then so will be its meaning and vice versa. And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.


  1. Crowning both Maryam bint ‘Imran and Asiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhuma has a subtle indication which has been mentioned by scholars such as Ibn Kathir. Both reached this great status and both looked after and saw to the needs of a prophet in their childhood


  1. The common characteristic between these noble women their fervour to spread and assist the din of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. It is perhaps this that led to their great status.


  1. Ibn Kathir has mentioned that the last portion of the hadith of this chapter alludes to the virtue of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha over all other women including those mentioned before her. Or, it could mean that her virtue supersedes all others besides those mentioned before her. Then outside proof will be sought to decide the greater status between them.


  1. Question: Why was Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha given similitude to tharid?

Answer: The Arabs consider tharid to be the best food due to its many benefits and its ability to satiate one’s hunger with much less. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam indicated to the independence of this food and the similitude was given thus; just as tharid needs nothing else to complement it similarly, Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha will have attained complete knowledge of Shari’ah coupled with enviable piety. This prophecy of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to light with Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha giving much knowledge to the ummah, so much so that the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were in need of her knowledge time and time again.


  1. The knowledge of Shari’ah when attained by a woman, grants her a status unmatched. It was this knowledge and deep understanding of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha that bolstered her into a league of her own. Knowledge benefits just as tharid does, the benefit Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha passed on to this ummah is just like, if not much greater, than the benefit tharid gives to the body.

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


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

When we—the Sahabah—were faced with difficulty in understanding any narration, we went to Aisha and promptly found her to have some knowledge regarding it.[3]


NEXT⇒  The Twenty Fifth Narration

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

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

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

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