AISHA BINT ABI BAKR – THE MOTHERS OF BELIEVERS

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In the Name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, All- Merciful

Aisha radiullahu-anha, a respected name of a noble woman who was an intelligent, brave and knowledgeable scholar of Islam. A personality who requires almost no introduction. She is renowned as a “ Mother of Mo’mineen ”, the beloved wife of the last messenger Muhammad ﷺ and the daughter of the first caliph of Islam Abu Bakr Siddique (R.A).

Abu Bakr (R.A) was the first Person in men who accepted Islam and remained side by side to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ during the early times of Tribulations and Hardships; when Islam was going through its Introductory stages in Makkah.

She was Sister of a Courageous Lady of Islam Asma (R.A) who kept the secret of Prophet ﷺ Migration to Madina with Abu Bakr (R.A) and was amongst those who accepted Islam first.

‘Aisha (R.A) was Daughter of Righteous Mother Umm-e-Rumman (R.A) who was praised by Prophet ﷺ. At the time of her Death, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ entered her (R.A) grave and asked Allah (S.W.T) to forgive her by saying,

” O Allah, you know well what Umm-e-Rumman suffered for the sake of you and your Messenger”

Life before marriage:

‘Aisha (R.A) was born in Makkah in around 613 or 614 CE. She had lots of Significant qualities and special Blessings of Allah in regards to the progress of the religion Islam. She was chosen by Allah (S.W.T) as a leader for Muslim ummah to convey correct and authentic Knowledge. Since Islam was a newly grown flower that needed fresh water to keep it blossoming. It was possible due to the sacrifices and efforts of devoted people who would benefit others with their knowledge and wisdom.

‘Aisha was educated in early childhood by her father.  She was raised in a Muslim family being born a Muslim. As the daughter of Abu Bakr (RA), she had the same strength and characteristics of leadership as her father. It was her unique virtue in early times of Makkah when people were accepting Islam. It was rare to have a complete Muslim family during that age of Islam. ‘Aisha (R.A) was among those who acknowledged Islam by birth. She grew up at a time when teachings of Islam were fresh and new which is a major factor of her becoming a great scholar of Islam. ‘Aisha (R.A) Narrates about herself:

‘Aisha (R.A) Narrates about herself:

“I never saw my parents practicing anything other than Islam”

‘Aisha (R.A) as a Wife:

Another blessing of Allah (S.W.T) on her was being the youngest and the only virgin wife of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.The marriage of ‘Aisha to Prophet is nothing less than the best love story ever written. An important thing to clarify here is that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ did not marry Aisha (R.A) when she was an immature little girl. Her parents offered their daughter in marriage to Prophet, as was customary in their culture at the time. However, the Prophet ﷺ, did not accept this and they waited for a few of years, and then again offered their daughter to him in marriage.

From the hadeeth narrated by Aisha herself, it appears she was at the age of 6 when her mother came to her while she was playing outside. Her mother took her into their home where her father, who was a lifelong best friend of Prophet ﷺ , was sitting with him, and the offer of marriage was being discussed. She then tells us she went back outside. This was at the age of six.

Cleary she was offered to him in marriage, but obviously, it was not accepted until some years later, when she again narrates a similar incident and at that time she was married to the Prophet ﷺ. She tells us they had consummated the marriage when she was old enough and ready (and she tells us she was very pleased about the whole entire thing). It shows that the girl must be old enough to have children and to be able to determine what her will is.

The early years of their marriage began quite innocently. Although ‘Aisha was a young bride, she carried on with the many joys of childhood and fortunate for her, as she had a husband gentle and kind enough to understand this. When she first came to live in the Prophet’s household as a young girl, a strong and lasting friendship grew up between her and Sawdah (R.A), and Sawdah took care of her along with the rest of the household.

Rather than throwing all the responsibilities of a wife on her at once, the Prophet made the marriage and its duties a gradual process for Aisha and ensured that she made a smooth transition into her new life. ‘A’isha was also content to manage his household.

He ﷺ taught her wisdom, manners, etiquette, public dealings, economic and domestic laws and ways of living in very light and natural ways. She also owned the honor of being the most beloved wife after Khadija (R.A). Once he ﷺ was asked by a companion “Who do you love the most in the world?” He responded by saying “ ‘Aisha”. She was regarded as superior over other women after Maryam (A.S), Asia (A.S) and Khadija (R.A). He ﷺ also said on a certain occasion,

“The excellence of ‘Aisha over other women is like the excellence of Tharid (a type of food) over other types of food”. 

This great love was limitless. It transcended material feelings to things that are higher and more sublime: the soul, the heart, and the mind. The emotional example of this love reflects the picture of the distinctness in the Prophetic household and in the heart. It then preserved this uniqueness in order to present it as a lively and wonderful model for us.

Brilliant Student & Great Scholar:

A crucial dimension to their equation was the student-teacher relationship they shared. ‘Aisha’s enthusiastic and inquisitive nature made her one of the foremost students of the Prophet.

She was devoted to learning Islam keenly from its beginnings. Her intelligence and curiosity for knowledge played an important role for her being a great Muslim woman scholar. Her marriage to our Prophet ﷺ led to further moral and intellectual growth, maturity and depth. She received so much Islamic knowledge through the words and actions of the Prophet, that she transmitted faithfully throughout the years of her life to the believers. For instance, once she asked the Prophet ﷺ about neighbor’s rights. She said,

“O Allah’s Apostle! I have two neighbors and would like to know to which of them should I give presents”.

He ﷺ replied,

“ To the one whose door is nearer to yours”.

We can see how much she had the desire to learn. Aisha bint Abu Bakr was the voice of authority for many of the hadith known today and she was responsible for the transmission of thousands of sayings after the Prophet’sﷺ death.  She is known to have narrated 2,210 Hadith. Those are a treasure for the guidance of Muslim Ummah. She served Muslims for 44 years after the Prophet’s ﷺ death. Islamic scholars acknowledge her remarkable efforts for Islam. Imam Zuhri, a leading jurist says:

“ ‘Aisha (R.A) was the most learned person among the people, senior and learned companions used to consult her.”

Her being a major part of some of the milestone events, left a huge impact on her personality by enhancing  wisdom and light of truth in her.

Dear reader, here we can see how much Islam encourages us to seek knowledge and to value education regardless of gender. We should offer girls and women the opportunity to learn the religion as well as what will benefit them among the worldly sciences.

Another point to be noted, that the prominence of ‘Aisha in the most reliable of hadith and her playing a role in the important political developments of her time are clear attestations to the fact that Islam does not seek to lock women behind closed doors. Those who have been confined today, are women who have been imprisoned in the name of religion and confined by the cages of prejudice.

Aisha (R.A) and Prophet ﷺ – A Romantic Couple:

It is important to keep the romance alive once the relationship is officialized through nikah/marriage, because without this effort, the marriage will go stale. There will be no emotional fulfillment in your life after marriage without romance. And before nikah, romance will lead to haram only. It is more of your responsibility and your spouse’s right, that s/he enjoy romantic gestures from your end. To elaborate it, we can see how romantic this couple was!

Messenger of Allah like to eat and drink from his wife – Aisha’s  (R.A) used plate and cup without feeling uncomfortable. He also had eaten meat that was bitten by ‘Aisha. (Sahih Muslim, 300)

From ‘Aisha RA, she said,

“I used to drink from the same glass even when on menstruation, and the Prophet pbuh take the glass and put his mouth in same spot where I put my mouth, and then he drank.”

(Sahih Muslim 300)

Prophet ﷺ once raced her and she won. This was an example of the fact that it is okay and in fact your responsibility and right to have fun with your spouse and arouse romance. On some later day, the Holy Couple happened to again cross that path and they raced again and this time, the Prophet ﷺ won, and he cheekily said to his wife “Tit for Tat.

She used to hide behind Prophet’s back to protect herself from her father Abu Bakr (R.A), if he got angry on her some innocent mistake due to her being very young.  She was obedient towards her Husband and was understanding to please him. It was the blessing of this beautiful relationship where love for each other was abundant. ‘Aisha (R.A) was an example of a pious wife. She was very cautious about having anyone to enter her house in the absence of Prophet ﷺ. It was her simplicity and comfortable presence that keep him relaxed in her company.

Photogenic Memory:

‘Aisha’s early life in Madinah also had its more serious and anxious times. Once her father and two companions who were  staying with him fell ill with a dangerous fever which was common in Madinah at certain seasons. One morning ‘Aisha went to visit him and was dismayed to find the three men lying completely weak and exhausted. She asked her father how he was  and he answered her in verse but she did not understand what he was saying. The two others also answered her with lines  of poetry which seemed to her to be nothing but unintelligible babbling. She was deeply troubled and went home to the  Prophet saying:

” They are raving, out of their minds, through the heat of the fever.”

The Prophet asked what they had said and was somewhat reassured when she repeated almost word for word the lines they had uttered and which made sense although she did not fully understand them then. This was a demonstration of the great retentive power of her memory which as the years went by were to preserve so many of the priceless sayings of the Prophet.

Surviving Hardships:

There was something quite distinct about ‘Aisha (R.A) which drew the Prophet ﷺ so close to her. Her quality of being content regardless of circumstances helped her overcome many challenges she faced as the Prophet’s wife.

There was a time in the Prophet’s home when they had no fire or food for cooking and they simply lived off of dates and water. Yet ‘Aisha went through this hardship and showed the mark of a true companion — one who can offer unrelenting support even under the most trying circumstances. ‘Aisha endured poverty and hunger with the Prophetﷺ.

Once the Prophetﷺ stayed away from his wives for a month because they had distressed him by asking him that which he did not have. This was after the Khaybar expedition when an increase of riches whetted the appetite for presents. Returning from his self-imposed retreat, he went first to Aisha’s apartment. She was delighted to see him but he said he had received revelation which required him to put two options before her.”Do not make a hasty decision,” he said, “and consult your parents first.” He then recited the ayahs of Surah Al-Ahzab:

O Prophet, say to your wives: ‘If you desire the life of this world and its adornments, then come, and I will make you content, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the next world, then truly Allah has prepared an immense reward for those of you who do good.’ (Qur’an  33:28-29)

Her reply was:

“Is there any need to consult my parents?” . “Indeed I desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the next world.”“Indeed I desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter,”

And her response was followed by all the other wives. It was during the course of their marriage that, amongst others, the battles of Badr, and Uhud, and Al-Khandaq (the Ditch) were fought. These were the three major battles against the Quraish, that shifted the balance of power out of the hands of the disbelievers and into the hands of the Muslims. Although she was still very young, Aisha participated in them all, bringing water for the Muslims warriors, and helping to look after the wounded. She witnessed life, and she witnessed death – both in the way of Allah and in the way of the disbelievers – and she understood both. Indeed one of the meanings of her name, Aisha, is

It was during the course of their marriage that, amongst others, the battles of Badr, and Uhud, and Al-Khandaq (the Ditch) were fought. These were the three major battles against the Quraish, that shifted the balance of power out of the hands of the disbelievers and into the hands of the Muslims. Although she was still very young, Aisha participated in them all, bringing water for the Muslims warriors, and helping to look after the wounded. She witnessed life, and she witnessed death – both in the way of Allah and in the way of the disbelievers – and she understood both. Indeed one of the meanings of her name, Aisha, is ‘life’.

Her Generosity and Simple Lifestyle:

 

Once, when the Muslims were favored with great wealth, she has given a gift of one hundred thousand Dirhams. She was fasting when she received the money, and distributed it to the poor and needy, even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after that, her maidservant said to her, “Couldn’t you have brought a dirham’s worth of meat with which to break your fast?” “If I had thought of it,” she replied, “I would have done so!”

She developed the nickname the Mother of Fragrance, for every time a beggar knocked on her door, she would touch the money with perfume before giving it to him. When asked why, she explained that the charity would reach Allah before it reached the beggar’s hands, and she wanted the charity to be given to Allah in a fragrant condition.

In another report, a needy person knocked on the door. She only had one grape, and gave it to him. When asked what the value of a single grape was as a charity, she quoted the following ayahs of Surah Az-Zalzalah from the Qur’an:

So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.”(Qur’an 99:7 – 99:8)

She rationalised – how many atoms are there in a grape?

How many of us are of such a status, where our vigilance, thinking and even the smallest action is completely for the pleasing of Allah, and reflected by the Qur’an and teaching of the Prophet ﷺ.

True Example of Companionship:

Now we call attention to something very interesting about the subject of a friendly relationship between husband and wife. Once a group of Jews entered upon Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and they said,

“ As-Saum Alaik (death be upon you) ” Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “ Wa Alaik (and upon you)” So ‘Aisha (R.A) said,Rather (upon you be death and curse)” So the Prophet said, ‘Aisha! Indeed Allah (S.W.T) loves gentleness in every matter”. ‘Aisha (R.A) said, Did you not hear what they said? ” In response, he said to her,And I replied! Upon you”.

(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2701)

This incident shows‘Aisha was a truly dynamic woman, complete with the qualities of virtue, intelligence and even possessiveness over her husband . She noticed, how Jews said against him, so instantly defended him out of her love. This hadith does depict that a person should be humble to correct one’s faults yet having the confidence to inquire about any doubts regarding matters to remove any confusion.

During the last days, it was noticed that Prophet’s ﷺ desire was to stay with ‘Aisha (R.A). All wives agreed for him to stay with ‘Aisha (R.A). Heﷺ chewed a Siwak that was softened by ‘Aisha’s saliva before leaving this world. In his last moments of life, his head was on ‘Aisha (R.A) lap. She remained with Prophetﷺ for nine years until his death. At the time of the Holy Prophet’s death, she was only eighteen years old.

You could really say about their story – “..and they all lived happily ever after – in Paradise.”
This represents the very best of marriages between a man and a woman in human history.

In the current era, the concept of having relationships with opposite sex is common before marriage and such relationships are defined as love or romance. ‘Aisha (R.A) gave a beautiful account of marriage to the Prophet ﷺ. She mentioned the detailed descriptions of events and happenings before and during their marriage.

And very important – she demonstrated here continued commitment to the memory of her husband ﷺ , and her firm belief about being reunited with him in the Paradise.

These glimpses of this blessed couple’s life leave a beautiful impression of Islam presenting a very charming and serene family life. Islam encourages a strong relationship between spouses where both partners understand each other’s need and desires.

We need to ponder over the lives of our role models to improve our living standards.

‘Aisha (R.A) as a Mother of Momineen

Allah (S.W.T) honored her to be beneficial for Muslim ummah in many ways. The ummah was benefited through her by having relief of Tayammum. Once, she lost her necklace during a Journey when the whole crew had to wait till they would find her necklace at a place where water was unavailable to perform ablution. Allah (S.W.T) revealed divine ayahs in Surah Al-Maida of Tayammum on this incident, while after this necklace was found underneath a Camel. Usaid bin Hudair said

“O the family of Abu Bakr! This is not the first blessing of yours.”

‘Aisha (R.A) stands superior to other women in regards to her special honor of having ayahs about her in the Quran.

‘Aisha (R.A) was vindicated by Allah (S.W.T) against a slander that was spread by the hypocrites during a campaign when she accompanied the Prophet ﷺ in a caravan. Her Piety was expressed in Quran giving a strong message for Muslim ummah to defend their brotherhood keeping strong ties and trust on each other. This bears testament to Aisha’s (R.A) trust in Allah as well as her humility. In fact, twenty verses of Surah An-Nur in the Quran  were revealed about this incident is indicative of its importance and is also a reminder to us of the high status of ‘Aisha (R.A).

This great lady, the mother of Muslims fulfilled her responsibility  and conveyed a big portion of knowledge throughout her Life. ‘Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) died in Madina at her home on 17 Ramadan, 58 AH at the age of 64.  She was buried in Jannat-al-Baqi. Muslim Ummah will continue to quench the thirst of knowledge from the knowledge conveyed by her following the recommendation of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ saying:

“Learn a portion of your religion from this Humayra (red colored lady).”

Look at the ultimate wisdom of Allah. Abu Bakr sacrificed his entire life in the path of Allah, and Allah granted him a beautiful gift which was to let his daughter be the most beloved wife of Rasulullah SAW after Khadija, and decorate his daughter Aisha with the charm, intelligence, and integrity.

She carried the in-depth legacy and knowledge of Rasulullah’s ﷺ memory. One cannot open Islamic books about the Qur’an, the biography of Muhammad ﷺ or jurisprudence, without finding Aisha’s name referenced in there. What a great honor for such a woman.

‘Aisha, Umm-Al-Mu’minin, even though she never had a single child, yet she is the Mother of Believers.

May Almighty Allah make the women of today act upon the life of  ‘Aisha (RadhiyallahuAnha) Ameen.

Note: For ease of reading, we have not inserted “May Allah be pleased with her (R.A)” each time Aisha’s R.A name or the name of each Companion is mentioned, but please take it that the salutations apply to all of them, may Allah be pleased with them all.


Compiled by Bint Abdul Waheed

Bibliography

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