Aisha

From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat

Aisha bint Abu Bakr, also spelt Ayesha, A'isha or Aishah (613-678), was the wife of the prophet of Islam, Muhammadsa, and the daughter of his first Caliph, Abu Bakr. She became one of the leading scholars and leaders of the early Muslims. 

Age at marriage


Tradition variously places Aisha's age at marriage as being between six and 15 years old, while some analysts have suggested she was as old as 19. The evidence supporting a younger age is relatively weak. The question of her true age is therefore most easily answered by ascertaining Aisha's date of birth and the date in which the marriage began. On this, one of the earliest Islamic histories states:

Aisha was born at the beginning of 4 Nabawi [10 years prior to the Prophet'ssa migration]

- Ibn Sad

Meanwhile, several historians have placed the date of the marriage's commencement - with the payment of the dowry and Aisha entering Muhammad'ssa household - at two year's after the Prophet'ssa migration. Therefore her most likely age at marriage was 12. 

This would be considered extraordinarily young in modern terms, however in 7th century Arabia life expectencies were much shorter than in the present era, meaning the Arabs could not risk waiting until later in life to marry and start families. There were no schools, let alone universities, at which to get educated, and so once children reached puberty it was common for them to begin work or get married. It was normal for a girl Aisha's age to get married among the Arabs and this is proven by the fact the union was not initially proposed by Muhammadsa, but in fact Aisha was suggested to him by a lady named Khaulah bint Hakim. This demonstrates Khaulah - and the people living at the time of Muhammadsa - considered Aisha of normal marriageable age. In fact, until relatively recently in much of the world -including the non-Muslim nations - it was common for teenage girls of similar age to Aisha to be married and to this day the minimum legal age for marriage in most European countries remains only a little older at 15 or 16. 

Muhammadsa had previously only ever married Khadijah who had recently passed away when his marriage to Aisha was proposed. The Prophetsa married Khadijah aged 25, with Khadijah 15 years his senior at 40. 


Allegation of adultery


Enemies of Islam who regularly attempted various means to destablise the Muslims in any manner attempted to ruin Aisha's reputation by claiming she was unfaithful to the Prophetsa on one occasion:

Narrated Aisha:...I proceeded with Allah's Apostle after Allah's...and thus I was carried in my howdah (on a camel) and dismounted while still in it. We carried on our journey, and when Allah's Apostle had finished his battle and returned and we approached Medina, Allah's Messengersa ordered to proceed at night. When the army was ordered to resume the homeward journey, I got up and walked on till I left the army (camp) behind. 

When I had answered the call of nature, I went towards my howdah, but behold ! A necklace of mine made of a kind of black bead was broken and I looked for it and my search for it detained me. The group of people who used to carry me, came and carried my howdah on to the back of my camel on which I was riding, considering that I was therein. At that time women were light in weight and were not fleshy for they used to eat little (food), so those people did not feel the lightness of the howdah while raising it up, and I was still a young lady. They drove away the camel and proceeded. 

Then I found my necklace after the army had gone. I came to their camp but found nobody therein so I went to the place where I used to stay, thinking that they would miss me and come back in my search. While I was sitting at my place, I felt sleepy and slept. Safwan bin Al-Muattil was behind the army. He had started in the last part of the night and reached my stationing place in the morning and saw the figure of a sleeping person. He came to me and recognised me on seeing me for he used to see me before veiling. I got up because of his saying: "To God we belong and to Him we return," which he uttered on recognising me. 

I covered my face with my garment, and by Allah, he did not say to me a single word except, "To God we belong and to Him we return," till he made his she=camel kneel down whereupon he trod on its forelegs and I mounted it. Then Safwan set out, leading the she-camel that was carrying me, till we met the army while they were resting during the hot midday. Then whoever was meant for destruction, fell in destruction, and the leader of the forged statement was Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul. 

After this we arrived at Medina and I became ill for one month while the people were spreading the forged statements and I was not aware of anything thereof. But what aroused my doubt while I was sick, was that I was no longer receiving from Allah's Messengersa the same kindness as I used to receive when I fell sick. Allah's Messengersa would enter upon me, say a greeting and add, "How is that (lady)?" and then depart. 

That aroused my suspicion but I was not aware of the propagated evil till I recovered from my ailment. I went out with Um Mistah...Um Mistah stumbled over her robe whereupon she said, "Let Mistah be ruined!" 

I said to her, "What a bad word you have said! Do you abuse a man who has taken part in the Battle of Badr?' 

She said, "O you there! Didn't you hear what he has said?" 

I said, "And what did he say?" 

She then told me the statement of the people of the forged statement which added to my ailment. 

When I returned home, Allah's Messengersa came to me, and after greeting, he said, "How is that (lady)?" 

I said, "Will you allow me to go to my parents?" 

At that time I intended to be sure of the news through them. Allah's Messengersa allowed me and I went to my parents and asked my mother, "O my mother! What are the people talking about?" 

My mother said, "O my daughter! Take it easy..." 

I said, "Glory to Allah! Did the people really talk about that?" 

That night I kept on weeping the whole night till the morning. My tears never stopped, nor did I sleep, and morning broke while I was still weeping, Allah's Messengersa called Ali bin Abi Talib and Usama bin Zaid when the Divine Inspiration delayed, in order to consult them as to the idea of divorcing his wife. Usama bin Zaid told Allah's Messengersa of what he knew about the innocence of his wife and of his affection he kept for her. He said, "O Allah's Messengersa! She is your wife, and we do not know anything about her except good." 

But Ali bin Abi Talib said, "O Allah's Messengersa! Allah does not impose restrictions on you; and there are plenty of women other than her. If you however, ask (her) girl, she will tell you the truth." 

Aisha added: So Allah's Messenger called for Barira and said, "O Barira! Did you ever see anything which might have aroused your suspicion? (as regards Aisha). 

Barira said, "By Allah Who has sent you with the truth, I have never seen anything regarding Aisha which I would blame her for except that she is a girl of immature age who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough of her family unprotected so that the domestic goats come and eat it." 

So Allah's Messengersa got up (and addressed) the people and asked for somebody who would take revenge on Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul then. Allah's Messengersa, while on the pulpit, said, "O Muslims! Who will help me against a man who has hurt me by slandering my family? By Allah, I know nothing except good about my family, and people have blamed a man of whom I know nothing except good, and he never used to visit my family except with me," 

Sad bin Muadh got up and said, "O Allah's Messengersa! By Allah, I will relieve you from him. If he be from the tribe of (Bani) Al-Aus, then I will chop his head off; and if he be from our brethren, the Khazraj, then you give us your order and we will obey it."

On that, Sad bin Ubada got up, and he was the chief of the Khazraj, and before this incident he had been a pious man but he was incited by his zeal for his tribe. He said to Sad bin Muadh, "By Allah the Eternal, you have told a lie! You shall not kill him and you will never be able to kill him!" 

On that, Usaid bin Hudair, the cousin of Sad (bin Muadh) got up and said to Sad bin 'Ubada, "You are a liar! By Allah the Eternal, we will surely kill him; and you are a hypocrite defending the hypocrites!" 

So the two tribes of Al-Aus and Al-Khazraj got excited till they were on the point of fighting with each other while Allah's Messengersa was standing on the pulpit. Allah's Messengersa continued quietening them till they became silent whereupon he became silent too. 

On that day I kept on weeping so much that neither did my tears stop, nor could I sleep. In the morning my parents were with me, and I had wept for two nights and a day without sleeping and with incessant tears till they thought that my liver would burst with weeping. While they were with me and I was weeping, an Ansari woman asked permission to see me. I admitted her and she sat and started weeping with me. While I was in that state, Allah's Apostle came to us, greeted, and sat down,. He had never sat with me since the day what was said, was said. He had stayed a month without receiving any Divine Inspiration concerning my case. 

Allah's Messengersa recited the Islamic creed after he had sat down, and then said, "Thereafter, O Aisha! I have been informed such and-such a thing about you; and if you are innocent, Allah will reveal your innocence, and if you have committed a sin, then ask for Allah's forgiveness and repent to Him, for when a slave confesses his sin and then repents to Allah, Allah accepts his repentance." 

When Allah's Apostle had finished his speech, my tears ceased completely so that I no longer felt even a drop thereof. Then I said to my father, "Reply to Allah's Messengersa on my behalf as to what he said." 

He said, "By Allah, I do not know what to say to Allah's Messengersa." 

Then I said to my mother, "Reply to Allah's Apostle." 

She said, "I do not know what to say to Allah's Messengersa." 

Still a young girl as I was and though I had little knowledge of Qur'an, I said, "By Allah, I know that you heard this story so much so that it has been planted in your minds and you have believed it. So now, if I tell you that I am innocent, and Allah knows that I am innocent, you will not believe me; and if I confess something, and Allah knows that I am innocent of it, you will believe me. By Allah, I cannot find of you an example except that of Joseph's father: So (for me) patience is most fitting against that which you assert and it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought." 

Then I turned away and lay on my bed, and at that time I knew that I was innocent and that Allah would reveal my innocence. But by Allah, I never thought that Allah would sent down about my affair, Divine Inspiration that would be recited (forever), as I considered myself too unworthy to be talked of by Allah with something that was to be recited: but I hoped that Allah's Messengersa might have a vision in which Allah would prove my innocence. By Allah, Allah's Messengersa had not left his seat and nobody had left the house when the Divine Inspiration came to Allah's Messengersa

So there overtook him the same hard condition which used to overtake him (when he was divinely inspired) so that the drops of his sweat were running down, like pearls, though it was a (cold) winter day, and that was because of the heaviness of the statement which was revealed to him. When that state of Allah's Messengersa was over, and he was smiling when he was relieved, the first word he said was, "Aisha, Allah has declared your innocence." 

My mother said to me, "Get up and go to him." 

I said, "By Allah, I will not go to him and I will not thank anybody but Allah." 

So Allah revealed: "Verily, those who brought forth the lie are a party from among you....." (Quran 24.12-21).

- Bukhari

Analysing this incident, one Ahmadi Muslim scholar writes:

In terms of logic and narration, this allegation proves to be clearly false and forged, because except for the absolutely coincidental occurrence that Hazrat Aishara was left behind by the Muslim army, and then she caught up to it in the company of Safwanra, the slanderers had nothing else in their hands. In other words, there were no witnesses, nor any further evidence; and of course, until a charge is substantiated, it cannot be accepted as true. Especially if the objection relates to such people whose life is proof of the purity of their dispositions.

Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad, The Life & Character of the Seal of the Prophets


Blissful marriage


Aisha was married for approximately a decade with Muhammadsa. Following his demise, Aisha lived for four more decades. During this period she became one of the most authoritative and renowned Islamic scholars. She taught numerous traditions and was akin to a Queen of Arabia, able to raise armies on occasion. During this period she repeatedly described in detail the bliss of her marriage to the Prophetsa, as did others:

Narrated Aisha that the Messenger of Allahsa was sitting and we heard a scream and the voices of children. So the Messenger of Allahsa arose, and it was an Ethiopian woman, prancing around while the children played around her. So he said: 'O 'Aisha, come (and) see.' So I came, and I put my chin upon the shoulder of the Messenger of Allahsa and I began to watch her from between his shoulder and his head.

Tirmidhi

Narrated Aisha: That during the Mina days, Abu Bakr came to her, while there where two girls with her, beating drums [for her enjoyment], and the Prophetsa was (lying) covering himself with his garment. Abu Bakr rebuked the two girls [perhaps believing them to be disturbing Muhammadsa while he was trying to rest], but the Prophetsa uncovered his face and said, "O Abu Bakr! Leave them, for these are the days of Id (festival)."

- Bukhari


Narrated Aisha, Mother of the Believers: while she was on a journey along with the Messenger of Allahsa: I had a race with him (the Prophet) and I outstripped him on my feet. When I became fleshy, (again) I had a race with him (the Prophet) and he outstripped me. He said: This is for [the previous] outstripping.

- Abu Dawud

Anas reported that Allah's Messengersa had a neighbour who was Persian (by descent), and he was expert in the preparation of soup. He prepared (soup) for Allah's Messengersa and then came to him to invite him (to that feast). He (Allah's Messenger) said: Here is Aisha also (and you should also invite her to the food). He said: No. Thereupon Allah's Messengersa also said: No (then I cannot join the feast). He returned inviting him, and Allah's Messengersa said: She is also there (i. e. Aisha should also be invited). He said: No. Thereupon Allah's Messengersa also said: No (and declined his offer). He returned again to invite him and Allah's Messengersa again said: She is also there. He (the host) said:" Yes" for the third time. Then he accepted his invitation, and both of them set out until they came to his house.

- Muslim 


Later Life


Following the demise of Muhammadsa, Aisha's father Abu Bakr became the first Caliph of the Muslims. Later, when the third Caliph Uthman was assassinated, his successor Ali faced the demand of Muslims including the influential companions of Muhammadsa Talhah and Zubair, to immediately punish the murderers. Instead, he announced his top priority was to restore law and order and only then he would be able to pursue the assassins. However Talhah and Zubair did not agree and started raising their own army. Aisha, the wife of Muhammadsa, also joined them in an effort to punish the assassins. The three led a small army towards Basrah.

A battle  took place between Ali's forces and the forces of Aisha, who rode a camel leading to the battle being known as the Battle of the Camel. Talhah and Zubair left their forces before the battle, and were killed by some opponent. Aisha's forces were defeated, but Ali ensured her safety. Later, Aisha regretted her role in fighting Ali.


See also