The Tragedy of Aisha

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This article is an essay/op-ed by Khalil Fariel. Pen-icon2.png
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Introduction[edit]

It is no secret that sexual abuse of children has serious consequences on its victims and, among Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it is no longer a secret that the Qur'an explicitly condones pedophilia. Of course, for Muslims to finally acknowledge the harmful effects of abuse on a child it becomes necessary for us to expose those effects through authentic Islamic sources. That is why we find Aisha, Muhammad's third and "favorite" wife, to be the perfect model for assessing pedophilia and its consequences on the victims.

In Islam, Aisha bint Abu Bakr is referred to as one of the “Mothers of Believers”. Islamic sources boast of her as a great scholar who narrated a large volume of aḥādīth. There is some truth in this claim because, with over 2,000 narratives attributed to her name, Aisha is second only to Abu Huraira in narrating hadiths. However, the ability to narrate incidents which occurred in Muhammad’s life would not have required much scholarship, simply a good memory: something which we will later see she most definitely possessed. In contrast, there are so many things about the life of Aisha, Muhammad's child bride, that Muslims of today would rather have forgotten.

Contrary to their claims, she was never a likeable character in life. Perhaps she would have grown into an emulative figure if it had not been for the carnal needs of a perverted old man disrupting her innocent life. We have lost most of Muhammad's wives to history, but Aisha stands distinctive in this regard. Her life is well known in Islamic tenets through her involvement in the notorious “Battle of the Camel” and the devastation it caused among the Muslim Ummah.

Aisha's Life with Muhammad[edit]

Aisha's Behavior in Muhammad's Harem[edit]

Was she a good wife in Muhammad’s harem? Given that she was by far the most rebellious among the wives, the answer is an emphatic 'no'. Islamic sources attest that Aisha remained as an immature child in Muhammad’s harem.

Narrated Ibn 'Abbas: that 'Umar entered upon Hafsa and said, "O my daughter! Do not be misled by the manners of her who is proud of her beauty because of the love of Allah's Apostle for her." By 'her' he meant Ayesha. Omar added, "Then I told that to Allah's Apostle and he smiled (on hearing that)".

'Umar, the second Caliph of Islam, testified about the "perfect Mother of Believers's" bad mannerisms in a sahih hadith, warning his daughter to not be misled by her.

Islamic sources also tell us that there was much fighting within Muhammad’s harem. The wives were divided into two groups with Aisha in control of one.

Narrated 'Urwa from 'Aisha: The wives of Allah's Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of 'Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah's Apostle...

Was Aisha happy with Muhammad’s wife-collecting spree? Again, no, she was not. When made privy of Muhammad intentions of making a further addition to his harem in the form of Zainab bint Jahsh, his paternal cousin[1] and his son-in-law’s wife, Aisha exploded. This frantic outburst even warranting an intervention from Muhammad’s alter-ego, Allah, with holy verses.

Narrated Aisha: I used to look down upon those ladies who had given themselves to Allah's Apostle and I used to say, "Can a lady give herself (to a man)?" But when Allah revealed: "You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives), and you may receive any of them whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily)." (33.51) I said (to the Prophet), "I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires."

The truth is, she was never happy with Muhammad, and their marriage was far from being a match made in heaven. We have Sahih sources which confirm this. In one Bukhari hadith, she recalls how she "disliked to face him."

Narrated 'Aisha:....I saw the Prophet praying while I used to lie in my bed between him and the Qibla. Whenever I was in need of something, I would slip away for I disliked to face him."

She once went so far as to plot against Muhammad, and by extension, this can be construed as a plot against Islam itself.

Narrated Ibn Abbas: I intended to ask 'Umar so I said, "Who were those two ladies who tried to back each other against the Prophet?" I hardly finished my speech when he said, "They were 'Aisha and Hafsa."

So, even during Muhammad's lifetime Aisha was subversive towards Islam and she, along with Hafsa, rose up against him. Once again, Allah, the alter-ego of Muhammad, had to intervene with verses to fix the problem. We find these verses in the Qur'anic chapter At-Tahrim.[2]

Aisha's Attitude Towards Muhammad[edit]

So far we have looked at Islamic sources and how they reflect on Aisha but, if we take a careful look at the ahadith that Aisha narrated, the nature and content of many of them are derogatory towards Islam, and very often she is found mocking and belittling her husband. This is not merely propaganda but a fact which anyone with an impartial outlook can confirm for themselves.

Here are just a few examples:

Aisha said Muhammad was affected with magic, and black magic is considered to be the devil’s doing, thereby she is in fact proclaiming he was under the influence of the devil. Muhammad had lost all sense of reality and acted quite bizarrely. This has been recorded in many places. In Sahih Bukhari alone, it appears six times.[3][4][5][6][7][8] Muhammad, the final Messenger of Allah, being controlled by the devil. This, from the lips of the Mother of Believers.

She also created the impression of a very forgetful and clumsy Muhammad.

Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet heard a man (reciting Quran) in the Mosque, and he said, "May Allah bestow His Mercy upon him. No doubt, he made me remember such-and such Verses of such-and-such Sura which I dropped (from my memory)...

She disclosed things which Muhammad had told her in private.

Narrated Aswad: Ibn Az-Zubair said to me, "Aisha used to tell you secretly a number of things. What did she tell you about the Ka'ba?" I replied, "She told me that once the Prophet said, 'O 'Aisha! Had not your people been still close to the pre-Islamic period of ignorance (infidelity)! I would have dismantled the Ka'ba and would have made two doors in it; one for entrance and the other for exit." Later on Ibn Az-Zubair did the same.

And she betrayed Muhammad’s private affairs.

Narrated 'Urwa from 'Aisha: The wives of Allah's Apostle were in two groups. One group consisted of 'Aisha, Hafsa, Safiyya and Sauda; and the other group consisted of Um Salama and the other wives of Allah's Apostle. The Muslims knew that Allah's Apostle loved 'Aisha, so if any of them had a gift and wished to give to Allah's Apostle, he would delay it, till Allah's Apostle had come to 'Aisha's home and then he would send his gift to Allah's Apostle in her home. The group of Um Salama discussed the matter together and decided that Um Salama should request Allah's Apostle to tell the people to send their gifts to him in whatever wife's house he was. Um Salama told Allah's Apostle of what they had said, but he did not reply. Then they (those wives) asked Um Salama about it. She said, "He did not say anything to me." They asked her to talk to him again. She talked to him again when she met him on her day, but he gave no reply. When they asked her, she replied that he had given no reply. They said to her, "Talk to him till he gives you a reply." When it was her turn, she talked to him again. He then said to her, "Do not hurt me regarding Aisha, as the Divine Inspirations do not come to me on any of the beds except that of Aisha." On that Um Salama said, "I repent to Allah for hurting you." Then the group of Um Salama called Fatima, the daughter of Allah's Apostle and sent her to Allah's Apostle to say to him, "Your wives request to treat them and the daughter of Abu Bakr on equal terms." Then Fatima conveyed the message to him. The Prophet said, "O my daughter! Don't you love whom I love?" She replied in the affirmative and returned and told them of the situation. They requested her to go to him again but she refused. They then sent Zainab bint Jahsh who went to him and used harsh words saying, "Your wives request you to treat them and the daughter of Ibn Abu Quhafa on equal terms." On that she raised her voice and abused 'Aisha to her face so much so that Allah's Apostle looked at 'Aisha to see whether she would retort. 'Aisha started replying to Zainab till she silenced her. The Prophet then looked at 'Aisha and said, "She is really the daughter of Abu Bakr."

Negative Views of Aisha Among the Ummah[edit]

When all is said and done, it is very hard to believe that Aisha was in fact a true Muslim. There is little wonder that most Shi'ites view her with contempt. They are treating her memory in accordance to her merits in Islam.

Yes, it may come as a surprise to many but 1/10th of the world's Muslim population considers Aisha as not being a true Muslim, not in the absolute sense of the word.

Due to her (Aisha’s) actions against Imam Ali during the times of the Prophet and after his death (including the famous battle of the Camel), the followers of the ahl al-bayt are not encouraged to keep her name for their children.

The Shi'ite cleric, Shaykh Yasser Al-Habib, has also accused Aisha, along with Hafsa, of being responsible for the poisoning and death of Muhammad.[9]

Aisha's Hatred of Ali[edit]

Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, once suggested for him to divorce Aisha when she had become involved in a scandalous affair with a man named Safwan; and there is evidence in Islam’s authentic sources which affirm that Aisha kept hold of her vengeful hatred towards Ali for the rest of her life. So much so, she could barely bring herself to mention him by name.

Narrated 'Aisha: "When the Prophet became seriously ill and his disease became aggravated he asked for permission from his wives to be nursed in my house and he was allowed. He came out with the help of two men and his legs were dragging on the ground. He was between Al-Abbas and another man." 'Ubaid Ullah said, "I told Ibn 'Abbas what 'Aisha had narrated and he said, 'Do you know who was the (second) man whose name 'Aisha did not mention'" I said, 'No.' Ibn 'Abbas said, 'He was 'Ali Ibn Abi Talib.' "

Furthermore, the troubled state-of-mind of this young woman led to the first civil war in Islamic history caused by a woman. She led an army against Ali, the fourth elected Caliph of the Muslims. Her actions ultimately caused the death of twenty thousand Muslims in the war now known in history as the “Battle of the Camel”.

Conclusion[edit]

What could have possibly driven her to such extreme measures without ever considering the outcome of her actions? The answer is simple: she was metaphorically attempting to kill two birds with one stone.

Narrated Jarir: The Prophet said to me during Hajjat-al-Wida': Let the people keep quiet and listen. Then he said (addressing the people), "Do not (become infidels) revert to disbelief after me by striking the necks (cutting the throats) of one another (killing each other)."

Aisha's actions were very much reflective of her disturbed psychological make-up. She was a physically[10][11][12][13] and sexually abused female, deprived from the innocent pleasures of childhood and adjoined to Muhammad’s harem while she was still a playful little girl.

She could never rid herself of this affliction, and the physical and psychological pain manifested itself through hatred. And the outlet for this hate? In a delirious state, she raised up arms against Ali and her own brethren (Muslims), and by doing so she was rebelling against her deceased husband's wishes, "Do not revert to disbelief after me by striking the necks of one another."

Aisha's forces were ultimately defeated, yet amidst all of these mishaps, this deranged woman preserved and carried her animosity towards Ali throughout her life. In Tabari vol. 7:224 we even see her rejoicing at the news of Ali’s death.

The life of Aisha bint Abu Bakr truly was a seventh century tragedy.

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See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Maududi (1967), Tafhimul Quran, Chapter Al Ahzab
  2. "O Prophet! Why bannest thou that which Allah hath made lawful for thee, seeking to please thy wives? And Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." - Qur'an 66:1
  3. "Narrated 'Aisha: Magic was worked on the Prophet so that he began to fancy that he was doing a thing which he was not actually doing. One day he invoked (Allah) for a long period and then said, "I feel that Allah has inspired me as how to cure myself. Two persons came to me (in my dream) and sat, one by my head and the other by my feet. One of them asked the other, "What is the ailment of this man?" The other replied, 'He has been bewitched" The first asked, 'Who has bewitched him?' The other replied, 'Lubaid bin Al-A'sam.' The first one asked, 'What material has he used?' The other replied, 'A comb, the hair gathered on it, and the outer skin of the pollen of the male date-palm.' The first asked, 'Where is that?' The other replied, 'It is in the well of Dharwan.' " So, the Prophet went out towards the well and then returned and said to me on his return, "Its date-palms (the date-palms near the well) are like the heads of the devils." I asked, "Did you take out those things with which the magic was worked?" He said, "No, for I have been cured by Allah and I am afraid that this action may spread evil amongst the people." Later on the well was filled up with earth." - Sahih Bukhari 4:54:490
  4. "Narrated 'Aisha: A man called Labid bin al-A'sam from the tribe of Bani Zaraiq worked magic on Allah's Apostle till Allah's Apostle started imagining that he had done a thing that he had not really done. One day or one night he was with us, he invoked Allah and invoked for a long period, and then said, "O 'Aisha! Do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I have asked him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other near my feet. One of them said to his companion, "What is the disease of this man?" The other replied, "He is under the effect of magic.' The first one asked, 'Who has worked the magic on him?' The other replied, "Labid bin Al-A'sam.' The first one asked, 'What material did he use?' The other replied, 'A comb and the hairs stuck to it and the skin of pollen of a male date palm.' The first one asked, 'Where is that?' The other replied, '(That is) in the well of Dharwan;' " So Allah's Apostle along with some of his companions went there and came back saying, "O 'Aisha, the color of its water is like the infusion of Henna leaves. The tops of the date-palm trees near it are like the heads of the devils." I asked. "O Allah's Apostle? Why did you not show it (to the people)?" He said, "Since Allah cured me, I disliked to let evil spread among the people." Then he ordered that the well be filled up with earth." - Sahih Bukhari 7:71:658
  5. "Narrated Aisha: Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle so that he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not (Sufyan said: That is the hardest kind of magic as it has such an effect). Then one day he said, "O 'Aisha do you know that Allah has instructed me concerning the matter I asked Him about? Two men came to me and one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. The one near my head asked the other. What is wrong with this man?' The latter replied the is under the effect of magic The first one asked, Who has worked magic on him?' The other replied Labid bin Al-A'sam, a man from Bani Zuraiq who was an ally of the Jews and was a hypocrite.' The first one asked, What material did he use)?' The other replied, 'A comb and the hair stuck to it.' The first one asked, 'Where (is that)?' The other replied. 'In a skin of pollen of a male date palm tree kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan' So the Prophet went to that well and took out those things and said "That was the well which was shown to me (in a dream) Its water looked like the infusion of Henna leaves and its date-palm trees looked like the heads of devils." The Prophet added, "Then that thing was taken out' I said (to the Prophet ) "Why do you not treat yourself with Nashra?" He said, "Allah has cured me; I dislike to let evil spread among my people."" - Sahih Bukhari 7:71:660
  6. "Narrated 'Aisha: Magic was worked on Allah's Apostle so that he began to imagine that he had done something although he had not. One day while he was with me, he invoked Allah and invoked for a long period and then said, "O 'Aisha! Do you know that Allah has instructed me regarding the matter I asked Him about?" I asked, "What is that, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "Two men came to me; one of them sat near my head and the other sat near my feet. One of them asked his companion, 'What is the disease of this man?' The other replied, 'He is under the effect of magic.' The first one asked, 'Who has worked magic on him?" The other replied, 'Labid bin A'sam, a Jew from the tribe of Bani Zuraiq.' The (first one asked), 'With what has it been done?' The other replied, 'With a a comb and the hair stuck to it and a skin of the pollen of a male datepalm tree.' The first one asked, 'Where is it?' The other replied, 'In the well of Dharwan.' Then the Prophet went along with some of his companions to that well and looked at that and there were date palms near to it. Then he returned to me and said, 'By Allah the water of that well was (red) like the infusion of Henna leaves and its date-palms were like the heads of devils" I said, O Allah's Apostle! Did you take those materials out of the pollen skin?" He said, 'No! As for me Allah has healed me and cured me and I was afraid that (by Showing that to the people) I would spread evil among them when he ordered that the well be filled up with earth, and it was filled up with earth "" - Sahih Bukhari 7:71:661
  7. "Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet continued for such-and-such period imagining that he has slept (had sexual relations) with his wives, and in fact he did not. One day he said, to me, "O 'Aisha! Allah has instructed me regarding a matter about which I had asked Him. There came to me two men, one of them sat near my feet and the other near my head. The one near my feet, asked the one near my head (pointing at me), 'What is wrong with this man? The latter replied, 'He is under the effect of magic.' The first one asked, 'Who had worked magic on him?' The other replied, 'Lubaid bin Asam.' The first one asked, 'What material (did he use)?' The other replied, 'The skin of the pollen of a male date tree with a comb and the hair stuck to it, kept under a stone in the well of Dharwan."' Then the Prophet went to that well and said, "This is the same well which was shown to me in the dream. The tops of its date-palm trees look like the heads of the devils, and its water looks like the Henna infusion." Then the Prophet ordered that those things be taken out. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! Won't you disclose (the magic object)?" The Prophet said, "Allah has cured me and I hate to circulate the evil among the people." 'Aisha added, "(The magician) Lubaid bin Asam was a man from Bani Zuraiq, an ally of the Jews."" - Sahih Bukhari 8:73:89
  8. "Narrated 'Aisha: that Allah's Apostle was affected by magic, so much that he used to think that he had done something which in fact, he did not do, and he invoked his Lord (for a remedy). Then (one day) he said, "O 'Aisha!) Do you know that Allah has advised me as to the problem I consulted Him about?" 'Aisha said, "O Allah's Apostle! What's that?" He said, "Two men came to me and one of them sat at my head and the other at my feet, and one of them asked his companion, 'What is wrong with this man?' The latter replied, 'He is under the effect of magic.' The former asked, 'Who has worked magic on him?' The latter replied, 'Labid bin Al-A'sam.' The former asked, 'With what did he work the magic?' The latter replied, 'With a comb and the hair, which are stuck to the comb, and the skin of pollen of a date-palm tree.' The former asked, 'Where is that?' The latter replied, 'It is in Dharwan.' Dharwan was a well in the dwelling place of the (tribe of) Bani Zuraiq. Allah's Apostle went to that well and returned to 'Aisha, saying, 'By Allah, the water (of the well) was as red as the infusion of Hinna, (1) and the date-palm trees look like the heads of devils.' 'Aisha added, Allah's Apostle came to me and informed me about the well. I asked the Prophet, 'O Allah's Apostle, why didn't you take out the skin of pollen?' He said, 'As for me, Allah has cured me and I hated to draw the attention of the people to such evil (which they might learn and harm others with).' " Narrated Hisham's father: 'Aisha said, "Allah's Apostle was bewitched, so he invoked Allah repeatedly requesting Him to cure him from that magic)." Hisham then narrated the above narration. (See Hadith No. 658, Vol. 7)" - Sahih Bukhari 8:75:400
  9. Prophet Muhammad was murdered! - Transcription of a lecture delivered by Shaykh Yasser Al-Habib, on "Who Killed Allah's Messenger?"
  10. "... I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain ..." - Sahih Muslim 4:2127
  11. "... So he [Abu Bakr] admonished me and said what Allah wished him to say and hit me on my flank with his hand. Nothing prevented me from moving (because of pain) but the position of Allah's Apostle on my thigh. Allah's Apostle got up when dawn broke and there was no water. So Allah revealed the Divine Verses of Tayammum. So they all performed Tayammum. Usaid bin Hudair said, "O the family of Abu Bakr! This is not the first blessing of yours." Then the camel on which I was riding was caused to move from its place and the necklace was found beneath it." - Sahih Bukhari 1:7:330
  12. "... He (Hadrat 'Umar) said: I would say something which would make the Holy Prophet (may peace be upon him) laugh, so he said: Messenger of Allah, I wish you had seen (the treatment meted out to) the daughter ofKhadija when you asked me some money, and I got up and slapped her on her neck. Allah's Messenger (mav peace be upon him) laughed and said: They are around me as you see, asking for extra money. Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) then got up went to 'A'isha (Allah be pleased with her) and slapped her on the neck, and 'Umar stood up before Hafsa and slapped her ..." - Sahih Muslim 9:3506
  13. "Narrated Aisha: A necklace of mine was lost at Al-Baida' and we were on our way to Medina. The Prophet made his camel kneel down and dismounted and laid his head on my lap and slept. Abu Bakr came to me and hit me violently on the chest and said, "You have detained the people because of a necklace" ..." - Sahih Bukhari 6:60:132