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A’isha, the prophet's wife

Aisha Siddiqa is the third wife of the Prophet Muhmmad (peace be upon him).She is the daughter of Abu Bakr Al Siddiq the closest friend of the Prophet and his first successor or caliph. She is given the title "Siddiqa" due to an incident of which God Almighty testified to her honesty, trustworthiness and purity.A’isha was known for her vastness of knowledge whilst she is young.

Known also for her striking beauty and her formidable memory, she was under the care and attention of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. Aishah became the Prophet's wife in Makkah when she was in the 10th year of her life but the marriage took place the 2nd year after the Hijrah when she was 14 or 15 years of age.

A’isha left her family's home and joined Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). 'A'isha reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told her that the angel Jibril came to him and showed him a picture of her on a piece of green silk and said, "She is your wife in this world and in the next world." She was to leave her parents' house then slipped out into the courtyard to play with a friend before the wedding. She said, “on the seesaw I was playing with my long streaming hair disheveled as they came and took me for the occasion." The dressed her with fine red striped cloth from Bahrain. Her mother then accompany her to a newly built house where women of Ansar waited outside the door. They greet, "For good and for happiness, may all be well." In the presence of the smiling Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) a bowl of milk was brought which the Prophet drank from it and he then offered it to 'A'isha. Shyly she declined, but when insisted she drink and offered the bowl to her sister Asma' who was sitting beside her. Guests who were present drank from it. This is a simple and solemn occasion of their wedding.

Many viewed the marriage between Muhammad and 'A'isha as an exceptional marriage as they were exceptionally extraordinary people. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) the last of the Prophets and the best of creation and miracle of Allah; whilst 'A'isha is intelligent and observant young girl with a very good memory.

Though Aisha was still young but marriage at this early age was normal at that time , this marriage was for a high wisdom , she was to learn at that very early age in the school of Mohummed , she would impart a lot of prophet's sayings and deeds that occurred in the house ; thesecouldn't be known by any one as it occurred in the prophet's house . Every minute of the prophet's life was to be recorded so that people could learn . So many were learned especially matters regarding family life by A'isha .

As the Quran continued to be revealed, A’sha and the people's hearts were transformed.She was a witness to all the many beautiful happenings surrounding the Prophet. Muslims honour and respect `A'ishah, as a transmitter of hadith (sayings of the Prophet). She is also regarded to be an authority for the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an. The life of `A'ishah is a proof that a woman can be far more learned than men as she is considered the teacher of scholars and experts. Having a good accurate memory and a pure, clear heart and a quick mind she is not afraid to ask and whenever she wins an argument with the people, the Prophet would smile and said, "She is the daughter of Abu Bakr!" A'ishah’s father, Abu Bakar became the first khalifa in Islamic history. During her youthful years, A'ishah, known for her extraordinary power of memory acquired from him knowledge and insight no other woman ever acquired.

 

Musa ibn Talha once said, "I have not seen anyone more eloquent than 'A'isha." 'A'isha (may Allah be pleased with her) so full of wisdom and knowledge that one of her contemporaries said that if the knowledge of 'A'isha were placed on one side of a scale with that of all other women on the other side, 'A'isha's would outweigh the other. She used to sit with other women and teach the knowledge she had gained from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

Once the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to her, "O 'A'isha, here is Jibril giving you greetings of peace." "And on him be peace." She said, 'and the mercy of Allah." When she was telling Abu Salama about this, she added, "He (meaning the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) ) sees what I do not see." A’isha not only is extremely intelligent she is also a very graceful young woman. When she first came to live with the Prophet, she builds up a strong friendship with Sawda. Sawda took care of not only her but along with the rest of the household.As 'A'isha grew up, Sawda being old gave up her share of the Prophet's time in favour of 'A'isha and manage his household and be Umm al Mumineen - 'The Mother of the Believers' – the most respectable title given to the wives of the Prophet.

A'ishah used to say: "I am not jealous of the other Prophet’s wives as I am jealous of Khadijah. This is due to the Prophet’s constant mentioning of her and as God had commanded him to give her glad tidings of a mansion in Paradise of precious stones. And when he sacrificed a sheep he would send a fair portion of it to her intimate friends. Occasionally, I would say to him: It is as if there had never been any other woman in the world except Khadijah!"

A'ishah is known for her Generosity .She bore poverty and hunger with the Prophet, along with the rest of his household for long periods of time. Poverty never caused her distress nor did sufficiency corrupt her soul.

Once, A'ishah was given a gift of one hundred thousand dirhams(a unit of currency). She was then fasting and decided to distribute the entire amount to the poor and the needy though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after, a maidservant asked her: "Could you buy meat for a dirham with which to break your fast?" She said: "If I had remembered, I would have done so."

During her times, A’isha witnessed many great events that shaped the destiny of the first Muslim community of Madina.  One of the great events was the change of direction of the Qibla from Jerusalem to Mecca.She also helped to preserve and protect the sunna of Prophet Muhammad by teaching it to others. 'A'isha was once asked to describe the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and she replied that he was ‘the walking Quran’, as he was the Quran translated into action.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 power out of the hands of the kafirun and into the hands of the Muslims. Though very young, 'A'isha participated by helping bring water for the Muslim warriors and helped the wounded. She give life to the people around her. Indeed one of the meanings of her name, 'A'isha', is 'life'.

During the course of their marriage, the Jews plotted and tried to kill the Prophet on many occasion but without success and the Jews were being punished for the plot. Often when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to the holy war, he took one of his wives with him. He did not choose but simply drew lots and whose name is called will accompany the Prophet. During the fight with Banu al-Mustaliq, the lot fell to 'A'isha, and she traveled with him.

A’isha then 13 years old, was small, slim, and graceful.And it was rather difficult for the men who carried her litter to know if she is in the litter bag or not.On their journey back to Medina, after the Banu al Mustaliq subdued, the Muslim army stopped to rest but the Prophet ordered that the army should march back. Unknown to everyone, 'A'isha had stepped out of her litter for a few minutes and had left the camp. On her way back to the liiter, she noticed that her onyx necklace went missing and traced the path she had took and found it.Upon her return to the camp, she found everyone already left.The men who carried the litter thinking that A’isha was still in it strapped it to the camel and marched on. 'A'isha who have faith only in God sat down, and waited, hoping that someone would notice her absence and would come back for her. By God’s mercy, she did not waited long, for a young Muslim man named Safwan ibn al-Mu'attal, who had fallen behind the army after taking a rest, reached the camp during the night and found her fast asleep.

"Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un!" - "Surely we come from Allah and surely to Him we return!" Safwan exclaimed and his voice awaken 'A'isha.Without uttering more, Safwan made his camel kneel down close so that A’isha could climb. Leading the camel with his hand, he set off on foot and began his journey after the army.  Both Safwan and A’isha met with the army the next morning as they stopped to rest as it was a hot day.  Some hypocrites upon seeing Safwan and 'A'isha arrived alone began spreading slanderous lies about them. The story however reached the Prophet himself (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

As a result of all this gossip, the Prophet’s household was under a lot of strain.Someone informed A’isha about the rumours and this made her ill.With the Prophet's permission, she stayed at the house of her parents. Upon her arrival, she said to her mother, Umm Ruman, "Mother! What are the people saying?" She replied "O my daughter! Do not make too much of the business. By Allah, seldom has there been a woman of beauty with a husband who loves her and who has co-wives but that people say a lot against her." A'isha said, "Glory be to Allah! The people have really been saying this?" 'A'isha said, "I have spent the entire night until morning unable to stop weeping and could not sleep at all. Morning found me still weeping."

Safwan was then confronted with allegations and he replied, "Glory be to Allah! By Allah, I have never removed the veil of any woman!" Since there had been no revelation to clarify the matter, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked Barira, who was 'A'isha 's maid servant, if she had seen anything in 'A'isha' s behavior that was at all doubtful. "By Him who sent you with the truth," she replied, "I have not seen nothing wrong with her, other than that she is a young girl and sometimes she falls asleep while she is kneading the dough and a lamb comes along and eats it!".When the companions are not satisfied with the answer, she said "Glory be to Allah!" she replied. "I know as much about her as a jeweller knows about a piece of pure gold!"

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) asked Zaynab’s opinion. Though she and A'isha were frequently at odds and Zaynab's sister Hamna,one of those who were actively gossiping and spreading the rumor, she replied without hesitation, "O Messenger of Allah," she said, "I will not repeat anything that I have not heard with my own ears and seen with my own eyes. By Allah, I find nothing in her but goodness."

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) defended A'isha's honor by calling the community to the mosque but the hypocrites makes matters worst and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) calmed and silenced them.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to Abu Bakr's house, A’isha cried her heart out, and in the presence of her parents said the shahada, and then continued, "If you are innocent, then Allah Himself will protect your honor, and if by accident there has been a lapse on your part, then seek the forgiveness of Allah and He will pardon you, for when a slave admits a fault and turns to Him in repentance, then Allah also turns and accepts that repentance."

A'isha said, "When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) finished what he was saying, my tears stopped so that I was not aware of a single tear. I said to my father, 'Answer the Messenger of Allah for me regarding what he has said.' He said, 'By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah,' I said to my mother, 'Answer the Messenger of Allah for me regarding what he has said.' She said, 'By Allah, I do not know what to say to the Messenger of Allah.'"

A'isha said, "I am a young girl who does not yet recite much of the Qur'an. By Allah, I know that you have heard this story that people are saying and it has become fixed in yourself and you have believed it. If I were to say to you that I am innocent, you would not believe me. If I were to confess to something to you and Allah knows that I am innocent you would believe me. By Allah, I can only say what the father of Yusuf said, Patience is beautiful, and Allah is my protection against what you describe. (Quran 12:18)" Then I turned over on my bed, Allah knowing that I was innocent and hoping that Allah would proclaim me innocent. However, by Allah, I did not think that any relation would be sent down regarding me. I thought too little of myself that something would be said in the Qur'an regarding me, however I hoped that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have a dream in which Allah would exonerate me. Before finishing her speech, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) received a direct revelation of some more ayahs of the Qur'an, and when it was over, he smiled and said, "Do not worry, 'A'isha, for Allah has revealed proof of your innocence."A'isha's mother, who had been standing next to her, said, "Get up and thank him."

"By Allah," exclaimed A'isha, whose title, 'Siddiqa', means 'the truthful one', "I will not thank him and praise him but rather Allah ,Who has given the revelation that has protected my honor!" Then the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went to the mosque and recited what had just been sent down: “Surely those who fabricate the lie are a group from among you. Do not think it is bad thing for you; no it is good for you. Every man will receive what he has earned for this sin, and whoever had the greater part in it will have a great punishment. Why did the men and women believers, when they heard it, not think good in their selves and say: 'This is clearly a lie?' Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they did not produce witnesses, they are certainly liars in the sight of Allah. If it were not for the grace of Allah, and His mercy on you in this world and in the next world, an awful doom would have overtaken you for what you repeated. Since you received it with your tongues, and repeated what you did not know anything about with your mouths, you thought it was a trifle, but in the sight of Allah it is serious. Why, when you heard it, did you not say: 'It is not for us to repeat this, Glory be to You (O Allah), this is a serious rumor.' Allah warns you to never repeat anything like this again, if you are indeed believers and Allah makes the signs clear to you; and Allah is Knowing, Wise. Surely those who love to spread around slander about those who believe will have a painful punishment in this world and in the next world; and Allah knows and you do not know. (Quran 24:11-19).

These are among the many great stories of A’isha. According to the available records, A’isha was born in 614 C. E. and died in 678 C. E. A'ishah lived almost 50 years long after the demise of the holy Prophet and as long as A’isha’s lives,  she was the source of knowledge and wisdom for both women and men. Abu Musa once said, "Whenever a report appeared doubtful to us, the Companions of the Prophet, and we asked 'A'isha about it, we always learned something from her about it."

Scholars regard her as one of the earliest legal scholars of Islam along with great people like Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali and Abdullah ibn Abbas. The Prophet said about A'isha : "Learn a portion of your religion from this red colored lady”, a description given to `A'ishah by the Prophet.

A'ishah not only acquire great knowledge but also took part in education and social reformation.Her power of speech described by al-Ahnaf who said: "I have heard speeches of Abu Bakr and Umar, Uthman and Ali and the Khulafa (rulers of them Muslims) up to this day, but I have not heard speech more persuasive and more beautiful from the mouth of any person than from the mouth of `A'ishah."

Men and women came from far to benefit her knowledge. The number of women is said to be far greater than of men. Besides answering enquiries, she took boys and girls, some of them orphans, into her custody and trained them under her care and guidance. The great A'ishah was known to be a leader in every field in knowledge, in society, in politics and in war. She lived long enough to maintain a position as the most respected woman of her time. She died in the year 58 AH in the month of Ramadan and as she instructed, was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi in the City of Light, beside other companions of the Prophet .

May God bless her for her greatness and purity