Ayesha bint Abu Bakr R.A.

“As soon as I was old enough to become conscious of my surroundings, I found my parents deeply involved in religion, and not a single day passed by when the Prophet did not visit our house morning and evening.” [1]

Can you imagine who the lucky woman who uttered these words could be? Of course, who else but Ayesha R.A. would it be, whose father Abu Bakr R.A. was of such high status and so close to the Prophet (S.A.W)?

She grew up in a household where everything revolved around Islam and the Prophet (S.A.W) would regularly visit their house. It is said that Ayesha R.A. was born in the fifth year of Prophethood and was a playful child, fond of dolls and constantly surrounded by friends.


After the death of Khadija R.A., Khawla Bint Hakeem suggested that the Prophet consider remarrying. Among the suggestions for marriage were Ayesha R.A. and Sawdah R.A., both of whom Mohammad (S.A.W) consented to marry. At the time of her nikah (marriage), Ayesha R.A. was very young. She said that she did not even realize at the time that the Nikah had taken place; her nanny merely picked her up and took her outside to where her father proceeded to officiate the simple ceremony.

After migrating to Madinah, their house was usually kept in a simple state, with barely a few dates to eat and some water to drink. The Prophet (S.A.W) would often come into the house, inquiring if there was anything to eat, but if there was nothing then he would fast and Ayesha R.A. would fast with him.


Ayesha R.A. was an obedient wife despite her age, but she was active, intelligent, and witty. She and the Prophet (S.A.W) had a very close relationship. Whenever she was upset, he knew it at once and told her, “I know when you are happy or upset with me. If you’re happy, then you swear upon the God of Mohammad S.A.W, and if you are upset then you swear upon the God of Ibrahim A.S.”

Replying to this, she said, “Oh Rasul ul Allah! Only my tongue stops reciting your name!” (Meaning that in her heart she still loves and respects him). [2]

Ayesha R.A. was one of the few women who knew how to read and write and had received an education, which was special because at that time it was uncommon to come across a literate woman. She had a deep-seated thirst for knowledge that she pursued relentlessly.

One time she asked Mohammad (S.A.W), “O, Rasul Allah! Some predictions of the foretellers come true.” She was asking him why Islam does not like fortunetellers and soothsayers, when sometimes what they said was the truth.

The Prophet replied, “These true things are grasped by the Jinn who relate it to the soothsayers and add embellishments to them.” [3]

His answer meant that the way of getting that truth (working with Jinn) and exaggerating it was not accepted in Islam.


The event of Ifk happened early on in Ayesha’s life when she was still young and caused great sadness for her. At the battle of Bani Mustalaaq, Ayesha R.A. had accompanied the Prophet wearing a necklace that her sister had given her. Once, she went quite far from the rest of the troops to answer the call of nature, but upon returning she realized that her necklace was missing. She decided to go search for it and after finally finding it and coming back, she discovered that the rest of the troops were gone, and had left without realizing her absence. The only thing to do was to wait until someone found her, so she wrapped a cloak around herself and went to sleep.

Because these kinds of accidents often happen, there was always a person who followed the rest of the troops from behind, just to make sure nothing had been left behind. This time it was Safwaan bin Maatal R.A. who saw the Prophet’s wife there. He understood that she must have gotten separated from the rest. He let her ride on his camel, holding the reigns, while they rejoined the troops.

Now, normally, this situation is not at all disturbing or alarming if explained properly, but the hypocrites of Madinah were just waiting for a misunderstanding to happen, so they spread rumours about how this story was suspicious and Ayesha R.A. coming back on another man’s camel meant that she was (astaghfirullah), God forbid, not a pure or virtuous woman.

This gossip spread around the city, and some weak-minded Muslims believed the false accusation, though most of them did not. However, this was a matter concerning the Prophet’s own household and was a very delicate matter so it could not be spoken of in public. Ayesha R.A herself didn’t know of these claims, as she became ill immediately after arriving home. When she finally realized what was being said about her character, she was shocked and grieved that anyone would believe such false and unjust claims.

As for the Prophet (S.A.W), he was certain that his wife was innocent and he trusted her completely, but could not do anything without witnesses and complete proof. Then, Allah S.W.T revealed to the Prophet (and to the entire public) that she was innocent and had done nothing wrong, in the form of a Quranic verse. This way, she will always be remembered for her piety and her pure character. [4]


Ayesha R.A. was only 18 years old when the Prophet (S.A.W) passed away. During the last moments of his life, his other wives understood that he wished to spend his days in

Ayesha R.A.’s house, so that became his station during his sickness, where she nursed and looked after him until he passed away. He was then buried in her room.

After his death, instead of lamenting over the loss of her husband, Ayesha R.A. focused on transferring the knowledge that she had received after living with the Prophet for so long to the rest of the Ummah. Her house became the first Madrasah (a religious school) that was open to people coming in and seeking knowledge from the Prophet’s wife, asking her questions and solutions to problems. In fact, she surpassed many male companions of the Prophet (S.A.W) when it came to intellect and understanding of Ahadith in their context.

Many a time, someone would find a hadith and take its meaning literally, without taking into account its context, and there Ayesha R.A. would correct them and fix the misunderstanding so that a wrong meaning would not be taken out of the hadith. There are 2,210 Ahadith narrated from her, 285 of which are authenticated by Bukhari and Muslim.

She was also a mentor for women, because they could discuss their feminine personal matters and issues with her and make use of her knowledge.

Aside from that, her virtues also include immense generosity and selflessness. She had been trained by the Prophet (S.A.W) to give a lot of what you receive, and she held on to it so tightly that one day, upon receiving some food as a gift, she gave it all away immediately to the poor.

Her maid saw her and protested, “But now that you have given away all the food, we won’t have anything to break our fast with.”

Ayesha R.A. responded, “Oh, really? Why did you not tell me before so that I might have saved some for breaking our fast?” She was concerned for others’ happiness and welfare that she forgot all about herself and the fact that her house had no food either. This intense form of selflessness was what she learnt from her time with the Prophet.

Ayesha R.A participated in the Battle of Camel but returned to educating people about Islam once it finished.


She fell ill in the 66th Hijri, and passed away after advising people to bury her in Jannat Ul Baqi, with the rest of the wives.

May Allah have mercy upon her soul. Aameen.

 

Author: Maryam Sohaib

[1] Ayesha R.A: a role model for Muslim women page 2

[2] Ayesha R.A: a role model for Muslim women page 9

[3] Ayesha R.A: a role model for Muslim women page 12

[4] Ayesha R.A: a role model for Muslim women by Naima Sohaib page 18/19 and (https://questionsonislam.com/article/incident-ifk)

 

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