(Role Models for the Muslimah)
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First Edition: Rabee‘ul Aakhir 1436 / February 2015
الحمد لله ، الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه ونستغفره ونؤمن به ونتوكل عليه ، ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا ، من يهده الله فلا مضلّ له ، ومن يضلله فلا هادي له ، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له ، ونشهد أن سيدنا ومولانا محمدا عبده ورسوله صلوات الله وسلامه عليه وعلى آله وأصحابه وبارك وسلّم تسليما كثيرا كثيرا ، أما بعد : أعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم اَلنَّبِیُّ اَوْلٰی بِالْمُؤْمِنِیۡنَ مِنْ اَنۡفُسِہِمْ وَ اَزْوَاجُہٗۤ اُمَّہٰتُہُمْ ، وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : فضل عائشة على النساء كفضل الثريد على سائر الطعام أو كما قال صلى الله عليه وسلم
Before we begin, let us correct our intention; that we have come not only to listen to a lecture and to perhaps entertain ourselves for the next hour or so, but rather, let us add the following to our intention as well: “That we have come to learn, to practise on what we will learn and with this decision that we will change our lives, insha-Allah.” Let us all make this intention. May Allah Ta‘ala accept our pious intentions.
To begin, picture this in your mind: You have two recipe books before you. One of them calls for such ingredients that are rare. You may require some curry powder which is not locally available, maybe from some market in India, perhaps some chillies from Thailand and some exotic vegetables from Malaysia. The pictures that the recipe book shows are beautiful, the dish seems very attractive but the ingredients that the recipe calls for are extremely difficult to obtain. So, we would all love to prepare that dish but really, how often can we prepare such a meal and how easy or difficult would it be to get those ingredients? We all very well know. But, on the other hand, there is another book that calls for ingredients that are very easily available, they are available locally; at your local grocer perhaps, they may even grow in your backyard and it prepares an equally appetizing dish. Which book would we refer to everyday?
Naturally we would refer to the second one. In the same way, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were people of beautiful character, and were those who had reached the highest position in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala, yet they were normal people like you and I. They were people whose lives were just like ours. They were simple, normal, ordinary people. The challenges that we face and the things that attract us were also the challenges they faced and the attractions they had. This is the reason for the convention of this program; so that we can assimilate from the lives of Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) as well as relate to them, thus making it easy for us to emulate and follow them.
A narration appears in Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa (vol. 2, pg. 147) of Hafiz Zahabi (rahimahullah) that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) has said:
فضلت عليكن بعشر ولا فخر : كنت أحب نسائه إليه ، وكان أبي أحب رجاله إليه ، وابتكرني ولم يبتكر غيري ، وتروجني لسبع ، وبنى بي لتسع ، ونزل عذري من السماء ، واستأذن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم نسائه في مرضه فقال : إنه ليشق علي الاختلاف بينكن ، فائذن لي أن أكون عند بعضكن فقالت أم سلمة : قد عرفنا من تريد ، تريد عائشة ، قد أذنا لك ، وكان آخر زاده من الدنيا ريقي . . . وقبض بين حجري ونحري ، ودفن في بيتي
“Allah Ta‘ala has blessed me with ten privileges over the other wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and I say this without bragging or boasting.
1.From amongst all the wives living with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) at that time, I was the most beloved to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and my father was the most beloved of men to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
2.I was privileged to be the only virgin whom Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had married. He married me at the age of seven and I went to live with him at the age of nine. In the incident of ifk, when people had slandered me and levelled accusations against me, then none other than Allah Ta‘ala had exonerated me and announced my chastity and purity. In his final illness Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked all his wives for permission to come to my house and the last days of Rasulullah’s (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) earthly life was spent in my house without any division with the other wives, and not only that; the last thing to enter the mubaarak mouth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was my saliva. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed away and left this dunya and his mubaarak head was between my chin and my chest, and the cherry on the top; Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was buried in my room.”
What virtues and what privileges she enjoyed!
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has said:
فضل عائشة على النساء كفضل الثريد على سائر الطعام
“‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)’s superiority over all other women (in the comprehensiveness of her nature, temperament and personality) is like the superiority of the thareed dish over all other foods.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #3411)
Among the Arabs, the dish of thareed was a very comprehensive dish. If it was delicious, tasty and enjoyable then it also had health benefits and if it had health benefits then it also had a beautiful fragrance; everyone really enjoyed it. It was a comprehensive dish and it had everything to offer. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said that my ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is just like that dish. If any woman is looking for an example to follow, then it is found in ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) loved ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) excessively, to such an extent that amongst all the wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) after Khadeeja (radhiyallahu ‘anha), the most beloved to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was none other than ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). Now, one aspect is to love Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and that is definitely a great thing. However, here Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) loved her so much. What a great thing that would be!
Furthermore, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) loving her so much was not based on any worldly love or any lust. No! Rather the love of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) or the excessive love of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), which was no secret to anyone, was due to the status that Allah Ta‘ala had conferred upon her.
In the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), whenever people wished to present their gifts to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), they would wait for the day Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was at the house of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). Then only would they present their gifts in order to earn the favour of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) being at the house of the wife that he loved the most, and now a gift was being presented to him; obviously it will be shared with her. The other wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) were naturally affected as they were competing with ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) in earning the love of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). So they began to complain. Finally Ummu Salamah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) said to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam): “O Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Inform the people that they should not only present their gifts on the day when you are with ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), but they should present it on other days as well.” Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied:
لا تؤذيني في عائشة ، فإن الوحي لم يأتني وأنا في ثوب امرأة إلا عائشة
“Don’t harm me, don’t displease me, don’t inconvenience me with regards to ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) because there is no other wife of mine who has this privilege that divine revelation comes from Allah Ta‘ala whilst I am together with her under one blanket, one sheet, one duvet except ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).” (Saheeh Bukhaari #2581)
Hafiz Zahabi (rahimahullah) has mentioned that this reply of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) very clearly indicates that the superiority of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), over all the blessed and pure wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), was divinely sanctioned by Allah Ta‘ala. This is what motivated the excessive love of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa, vol. 2, pg. 143)
Appreciate the woman and the personality we are speaking about. This was her lofty status; not only in the sight of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) but in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala as well.
When ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was accused in the incident of ifk, she was slandered, then Allah Ta‘ala revealed one entire ruku’ of the Quraan Majeed exonerating and establishing the purity of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). If this is not an accolade in her favour and a feather in her cap; then really what else can be a form of praise for her?
Now, just a point for us to relate to her life. Despite her reaching those lofty ranks and status, she was a woman just like any other woman. She faced challenges like any other woman faced. She liked those things that other women liked and she faced those problems other women faced as well.
We can relate to just three points that featured in her life, which every person aspires for, when looking at a role model.
Generally, a woman is impressed by beauty. If someone else is pretty or beautiful, she tends to follow her and look up to her simply because she is pretty. If this is the standard, then ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) did not lack in beauty in the least.
Now, because this is a gathering of women, these aspects of the beauty of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) can be related, otherwise it is inappropriate to relate these facts in a gathering of men. But just for us to appreciate what sort of beauty Allah Ta‘ala had blessed her with, ‘Allaamah Zahabi (rahimahullah) wrote:
كانت امرأة بيضاء جميلة
“‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was fair in complexion and beautiful.” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa, vol. 2, pg. 140)
That is why the pet name that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had kept for her indicated towards her beauty. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had nicknamed her Humairaa’.
والحمراء في خطاب أهل الحجاز : هي البيضاء بشقرة ، وهذا نادر فيهم
“Amongst the Arabs, “Humairaa’” is that person whose complexion is extremely fair with a tinge of red. And this was rare amongst them.” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa, vol. 2, pg. 168)
This was the complexion of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and thus Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had nicknamed her Humairaa’.
Now, Allah Ta‘ala has blessed every woman with natural beauty. Very rarely would you find a woman who is ugly! But the real beauty of a woman is her internal beauty, and not her external beauty. Even if a woman is ugly but she possesses beauty internally, the system of Allah Ta‘ala is such that a clean heart and good character shines forth in such a way that it makes a person attractive and endearing.
That is one aspect of beauty. The other aspect of beauty is that this beauty which Allah Ta‘ala has blessed us all with; how can we use it to make Allah Ta‘ala happy? Otherwise it can happen that we begin to displease Allah Ta‘ala with this very same beauty!
لعن الله الناظر والمنظور إليه
“Allah Ta‘ala has cursed that person who looks at a woman who is strange to him (but that is not restricted to him) … that woman who exposes and afforded a strange man that opportunity, is also the recipient of the curse of Allah Ta‘ala!” (Shu‘abul Imaan #7399)
So how can a woman earn the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala with her beauty? She pleases and makes her husband happy with her beauty, by making herself attractive and by adorning herself for him. And ultimately, by making her husband happy, she will be pleasing Allah Ta‘ala.
Once ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had applied some perfume. Now perhaps some of us don’t know, but perfume is of two types; not only the one that comes in a fancy bottle or an aerosol can, but you get perfume in a liquid form as well as a solid one. ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had applied some solid perfume and in those days they would apply the perfume on their head. So she had applied the perfume and perhaps because of the heat, the perfume began melting and dripping down her forehead, and as we know sometimes when a person’s fringe falls down the forehead it makes a person look attractive … So this perfume began trickling down her forehead creating a very impressive sight. When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) looked at her, he became happy. Naturally he was impressed. He was her husband after all! He said: “O Shuqayraa’! Indeed your complexion is beautiful”. (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 57) Shuqayaraa’ and Humairaa’ share a similar meaning (i.e. extremely fair complexion with a tinge of red).
For who did she apply the perfume? For who did she adorn herself? For her husband. To make him happy. So she earned the pleasure of her husband and by earning the pleasure of her husband, she earned the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala. She was fortunate enough that her husband was none other than Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). That is the blessing of Allah Ta‘ala which He bestows upon whom He desires.
Once the aunt of a Sahaabi by the name of Husain bin Mihsan (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) came to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked her:
أذات زوج أنت ؟
“Are you married? Do you have a husband?”
She replied: “Yes.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) then asked her:
فكيف أنت له ؟
“What is your relationship with your husband; how do you treat him?”
She informed Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):
ما آلوه إلا ما عجزت عنه
“O Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), I do so much for my husband, I can’t think of anything that I don’t do, (if I could stand on my head and do something for him, I would do it).”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) told her:
انظري أين أنت منه ، فإنه جنتك ونارك
“Be careful how you treat him, since however you treat your husband and however you behave with your husband, then your husband either becomes your Jannah or your Jahannum.” (Musnad Ahmad #27352)
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has said:
إذا صلت المرأة خمسها وصامت شهرها وحصّنت فرجها وأطاعت بعلها دخلت من أي أبواب الجنة شائت
“That woman who performs her five times daily salaah, obeys her husband and protects her chastity, she will enter from any door of Jannah that she wishes.” (Saheeh Ibni Hibbaan #4163)
The road to Jannah for a woman is extremely easy. Just read your salaah, do your faraaidh, obey your husband, keep him happy and Jannah is yours.
This advice is for women that are married. As for those young ladies who are yet to get married, this advice is for us as well. What should our mindset be? How am I going to live with my husband when I get married? How would I interact with him? How would I maintain and protect my beauty? Will it be for my husband or will it be for the world to see?
Where does the beauty of a woman lie? It lies within. When the beauty lies within, then that beauty will shine out and the external beauty will only compliment the internal beauty. It’s not the other way around! The beauty that we observe, the good features and the good figure; does not have a lasting impression, it only impresses for the moment, but when lust and desire subsides, the internal beauty is what catches the heart of a man.
Not only did she possess beauty, she also had a flair for clothing. She would dress up in good clothing. Qaasim bin Muhammad (rahimahullah), who is the nephew of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), says:
رأيت عائشة تلبس المعصفرات وتلبس خواتم الذهب
“‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would wear red clothing, and she would wear gold rings.” (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 56)
She was a woman who had a flair for a good colour of clothing, and she would also accessorize herself.
She would also, as other narrations suggest, apply perfume. (We have already mentioned an incident in this regard.)
Habeebah bintu ‘Abbaad Al-Baariqiyyah (rahimahallah) said: “My mother mentioned:
رأيت على عائشة درعا أحمر وخمارا أسود
“I saw ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) whilst she (had colour coded her clothing and) was wearing a red dress with a black scarf.” (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 57)
Now, that was the colour of that time and the coding of that era. In this day and age, it will be different. There is nothing wrong with wearing good clothing. Many a woman enjoys wearing a nice garment; a nice scarf, a nice piece of jewellery. There is nothing wrong in that. But when it goes to the level of showing off, when it goes to the level of extravagance and waste; this is when Allah Ta‘ala becomes displeased.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has said:
من لبس ثوب شهرة في الدنيا ألبسه الله ثوب مذلة يوم القيامة ، ثم ألهب فيه نارا
“That person who wears clothing to show off, on the day of Qiyaamah, Allah Ta‘ala will clothe that person in garments of disgrace, and the fire of Jahannam will be ignited in it.” (Sunan Ibni Maajah #3607)
Every function and every place we go, it must be a new garment. Every month it must be a new dress, a new cloak, a new piece of jewellery, a new scarf, a new garment in the closet. No! Wear the clothing to make Allah Ta‘ala happy; create your own fashion, follow your own trend. Don’t follow anybody else’s style. Showing off doesn’t benefit us in anyway. The only person that thinks we look good is ourselves.
But when a person will not show off for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said:
من ترك اللباس تواضعا لله وهو يقدر عليه دعاه الله يوم القيامة على رؤس الخلائق حتى يخيّره من أي حلل الإيمان شاء يلبسها
“That person who leaves out showing off for the sake of Allah Ta‘ala, on the day of Qiyaamah, Allah Ta‘ala will call such a person and allow him/her to choose whichever garment of Imaan he/she wishes.” (Sunan Tirmizi #2481)
In the narration of Hilyatul Awliyaa (vol. 1, pg. 37), ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) said:
لبست ثيابي فطفقت أنظر إلى ذيلي وأنا أمشي في البيت وألتفت إلى ثيابي وذيلي
“I was at home and I had just unpacked a new dress and wore it. I was walking around looking at the dress from different angles.”
Like we would say; she was in front of the mirror, twirling around and modelling the dress to herself.
Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) walked into the house, “O ‘Aaishah, what are you doing?
أما علمت أن العبد إذا دخله العجب بزينة الدنيا مقته ربه عز و جل حتى يفارق تلك الزينة
Don’t you know that when pride, ostentation, showing off and an air about oneself comes into a person because of the attractions, adornments, clothing, accessories, and jewellery of this world; then Allah Ta‘ala begins to dislike that person until he or she leaves that out.”
Look at ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). She said:
فنزعته فتصدقت به
“I immediately pulled off that clothing and gave it away.”
This item and garment earned me the wrath and displeasure of my Allah Ta‘ala, how can it ever stay with me?
The point is that this clothing of ours should be worn to please Allah Ta‘ala and it should not become a means of displeasing Him.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)’s sister was Asmaa’ bintu Abi Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma). They were sisters from the same father but had different mothers. The mother of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was Ummu Roomaan and the mother of Asmaa’ (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was Qutaila bintu Abdil ‘Uzza. She was 10-15 years elder than ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
Once her son Munzir bin Zubair (rahimahullah), bought her a garment and at that time she was blind. When the garment came before her and she felt the material, immediately she returned it to him and said: “Take it back, I don’t want this garment.” He tells her: “But what’s wrong with it? It’s a normal garment and it’s not see-through.” She said these golden words to him:
إنها إن لم تشف فإنها تصف
What does she say? She gives us total insight of what the clothing of a woman should be and she sets the standard for it. She says: “O Munzir, fair enough this garment is not see-through” but that is not the only issue about a woman’s clothing, it mustn’t only be a black cloak, it mustn’t only be a black scarf, it mustn’t only be a black ‘abaya but it must be an item of clothing that doesn’t describe the figure of a woman. If it is a cloak but it is tight fitting, then what’s the point? It still holds an attraction!
إنها إن لم تشف فإنها تصف
“O Munzir, it is not transparent but it still describes the figure of a woman; it is too tight fitting.” (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 199)
A woman wears a purdah or a niqaab but she wears beautiful contact lenses, mascara and eyeliner with that purdah. She is defeating the purpose of that veil! What is the difference between her and a belly dancer? The belly dancer also wears a veil to attract the next man. What are you wearing that veil for my sister? You are wearing it so that a man doesn’t think twice about you. So how should you be wearing your cloak? How should you be wearing your ‘abaya? How should you be wearing that purdah? Should it be so ‘loud’ with so much of decoration, swarovskis, diamantes and ‘bling’ that when you walk past the next man, he looks twice at you, that: Who is this? What’s this?
Really, without the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) and without our pious predecessors, independently, we can never understand the spirit and temperament of deen.
The following statement of Mujaahid (rahimahullah) appears in Saheeh Bukhaari volume 2, page 1080:
نقتدي بمن قبلنا ويقتدي بنا من بعدنا
“We will follow those before us and those after us will follow us.”
In any time and age, there is always a chain linking us right upto Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The Quraan and the hadeeth cannot be studied independently without the aid and assistance of the opinion and comments of our pious, experienced and learned predecessors.
Asmaa’ (radhiyallahu ‘anha) explains that the clothing of a woman doesn’t only have to be non transparent, but it mustn’t catch the eye of a man.
This is the true Islamic clothing of a woman. If we can’t do this much; imagine what Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) didn’t do for us? He made so much of du‘aa for his Ummah, so much of sacrifice for us, so much of blood was spilled and so many tears were shed.
Once Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and Ummu Roomaan (radhiyallahu ‘anha), the parents of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), came to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and said: “O Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), we have a special request. Please make a special du‘aa for ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).”
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) made a du‘aa:
اللهم اغفر لعائشة بنت أبي بكر الصديق مغفرة واجبة ظاهرة باطنة
“O Allah, forgive ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha); grant her such a forgiveness that will wipe out all her sins whether external or whether internal, a forgiveness that is bound to happen.”
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was thrilled; she was over the moon and her parents were amazed. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked them:
“Are you’ll amazed?”
هذه دعوتي لمن شهد أن لا إله إلا الله وأني رسول الله
“I make this du‘aa (that I’ve made for ‘Aaishah radhiyallahu ‘anha), for every Ummati of mine, (whether male or female, young or old).” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 145)
This Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam); the skies of Makkah Mukarrmah had witnessed his sacrifices and the land of Makkah Mukarramah had soaked in his tears. This Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) who has done so much for us; if we will hurt his blessed heart every week when the news comes to him that this Ummati of mine, this woman is wearing a mini skirt, this mother is wearing skinny jeans and tights, revealing to the world the shape of her thighs shamelessly, even in the presence of her children. This Ummati of mine is wearing a cloak beneath which are the most shameless of clothes. She is walking with that burqa and that niqaab but the strong scent of perfume is still wafting around her.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has said:
المرأة إذا استعطرت فمرت بالمجلس فهي كذا وكذا ، يعني زانية
“That woman who leaves her home and perfume is wafting all around her, she is in zina.” (Sunan Tirmizi #2786)
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “Go back home, have a bath, remove that scent and then come out again.”
If we cannot make the blessed heart of this Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) comfortable with our dressing, how can we ever make him happy?
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was a role model par excellence in relation to her dressing.
Another characteristic in her life was the intelligence that Allah Ta‘ala had blessed her with.
Now, before we go on, we need to understand what is intelligence? Intelligence is where a person is able to place things in their correct place and at its correct time. This is intelligence!
A person merely going to school, earning a matric, obtaining a university degree; does not guarantee him/her having proper intelligence. The entire duration of 12 years, 15 years or 20 years that you will engage yourself in education, primary; secondary and tertiary, the be all and the end all of this entire process is aimed at acquiring a skill and a profession to earn money for yourself. Is this intelligence?
That woman who has earned the highest sales for her company but her home is broken down; can we ever call her intelligent?
That woman who earns the admiration of her boss and the C.E.O. of her company but she cannot keep her husband happy, can never be smart. Her husband is not happy with her, her parents are not happy with her, her in-laws are not happy with her, is that an intelligent woman? . . .
That woman who can look after other children in the crèche and the day care, but cannot look after her own children and feed them properly, she cannot bring them up with the correct values; is she an intelligent woman?
Ironically the western, modern, educated woman feels it below her dignity to serve her husband and to dress up for him. When she is in her home, she dresses shabbily. Yet, she feels it her pride and her honour to walk down the aisle of an aeroplane and serve men, tiring her facial muscles, smiling from ear to ear serving everyone; but not once does she smile for her husband?
Where is the intelligence? Intelligence is where you are able to place things correctly. Let us look at a few examples of the intelligence of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had once taken an oath to separate from his wives for a month without divorcing them. Verses relating to it appear in Surah Ahzaab and the entire incident appears in the books of hadeeth. There is no time to go into the details of it. This is termed as eelaa’ in the sharee‘ah.
The reason for this was that the blessed and pure wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) were asking for an increase in the allowance and monthly maintenance that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had allotted for them.
When the period of one month was over and Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) came home, the first person that he came to was ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
We all can understand what love Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)’s blessed wives had for him. They were prepared to sacrifice everything for him. Now Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had separated himself from them.
We cannot imagine the emotional anxiety; yet when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) comes home, how perceptive, how alert, how sharp was the mind of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) that the first thing she tells Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), amidst all this emotional turbulence is: “O Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), it is only 29 days.”
According to the knowledge of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), in the sharee‘ah a month is 30 days and only 29 days had passed. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “O ‘Aaishah, a month can also be 29 days.”
Then Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) brings forth his proposal, which was a commandment from Allah Ta‘ala.
یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّبِیُّ قُلۡ لِّاَزْوَاجِکَ اِنۡ كُنۡـتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ الْحَیٰوۃَ الدُّنْیَا وَ زِیۡنَتَہَا فَتَعَالَیۡنَ اُمَتِّعْكُنَّ وَ اُسَرِّحْكُنَّ سَرَاحًا جَمِیۡلًا ﴿۲۸﴾ وَ اِنۡ كُنۡـتُنَّ تُرِدْنَ اللہَ وَ رَسُوۡلَہٗ وَالدَّارَ الْاٰخِرَۃَ فَاِنَّ اللہَ اَعَدَّ لِلْمُحْسِنٰتِ مِنۡكُنَّ اَجْرًا عَظِیۡمًا
“O Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! Say to your wives, if you intend (to have the pleasure of) the worldly life and its charm, then come, I shall give you something and release you in a nice way. And if you desire Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then Allah Ta‘ala has prepared a great reward for you.” (Al-Ahzaab v28 & 29)
“O ‘Aaishah, Allah Ta‘ala has commanded me to lay down a choice before you and all my other wives. Choose me or choose the luxury of this world. If you choose me then choose me as I am with what I offer you and if you choose worldly comforts and luxuries, you will get that but unfortunately you will have to separate from Allah’s Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is now at the crossroads in her relationship, does she opt for worldly comfort or does she opt for the pleasure of her husband which ultimately brings the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala?
Mind you, she was young at that time, she was in her teens. What mental maturity Allah Ta‘ala had blessed her with! Immediately she answers that I choose Allah Ta‘ala, I choose Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and I choose the hereafter over the comforts of this world.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) advised her to consult her parents but she said: “Is this such a thing that I must ask my parents? Never, I will never ask them. Without asking, this is my choice and my selection.” (Saheeh Muslim #3696)
This was intelligence. She knew where to place things correctly!
What ‘ilm and knowledge Allah Ta‘ala had blessed her with! ‘Allaamah Zahabi (rahimahullah) has mentioned in Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa (vol. 2, pg. 135):
أفقه نساء الأمة على الإطلاق
“Amongst all the women of this Ummah, the one who possessed the soundest understanding of deen was ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).”
Hafiz Ibnu Hajar (rahimahullah) has written in Fathul Baari (vol. 7, pg. 134):
قد حفظت عنه شيئا كثيرا
“‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had acquired a great amount of knowledge from Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”
Together with this, Allah Ta‘ala had blessed her with 50 years of life after the demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, people had benefitted from her to such an extent that scholars explain that ¼ of the treasure of the knowledge of deen that we have in our hands today is attributed directly to ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
مسند عائشة يبلغ ألفين ومئتين وعشرة أحاديث
The number of ahaadeeth that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had narrated was 2210.
This is the third highest after Abu Hurairah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who has narrated 5374 and Abdullah bin ‘Amr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) with 2630. (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 139)
Imaam Zuhri (rahimahullah) has said:
لو جمع علم الناس كلهم وأمهات المؤمنين لكانت عائشة أوسعهم علما
“Put the knowledge of every person on one side of the scale and compare it to the knowledge of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), she outclassed everyone in her knowledge.” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 199)
Not only did she possess knowledge but she understood what Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) wanted and what was His mindset.
There are many examples but I will only give two.
When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was in his final illness and the brother of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), ‘Abdur Rahmaan bin Abi Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) had come in holding a miswaak in his hand, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) just looked at the miswaak and ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) asked:
“O Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), must I get that miswaak for you?”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) replied: “Yes.”
The miswaak was hard, so she softened it for Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and then gave it to him. (Saheeh Bukhaari #4449)
Just one look, and she knew what Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) desired.
A woman by the name of Asmaa’ bintu Shakal (radhiyallahu ‘anha) comes to Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asking about a woman’s menstruation and how to purify herself from it.
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to her:
خذي فرصة من مسك فتطهري بها
“Take a piece of cotton wool which has some perfume or musk on it and clean yourself with it.”
She asked Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam): “O Nabi of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), how must I clean myself?”
Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was the most bashful human ever to set foot on this earth. He said:
سبحان الله تطهري
“Subhanallah, clean yourself with it!”
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) immediately understood Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). She takes the woman one side and tells her:
تتبّعي بها أثر الدم
“Take it and clean up the blood stains with it.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #314)
She understood the mindset of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
Together with this, she also understood the conditions of her time.
‘‘‘Allaamah Zahabi (rahimahullah) has quoted from ‘Urwah (rahimahullah) that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would recite this poetry of the poet Labeed which he would mention reminiscing the glorious age and the golden days that he lived in:
ذهب اللذين يعاش في أكنافهم وبقيت في خَلف كجلد الأجرب
“Those people in our age have gone, and now I am a loner left alone, just like an animal who has a skin disease amongst a herd of animals whose skins are normal. (That I am now the odd one out, my generation has passed on).”
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would say:
رحم الله لبيدا ، فكيف لو رأى زماننا هذا
“May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on Labeed, if he was talking about his era, his time and his age, what about our time, our era and our age against the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam); what a difference?”
When ‘Urwah (rahimahullah), the student of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), would mention this, he would also say:
رحم الله أم المؤمنين ، فكيف لو أدركت زماننا هذا
“May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), if only she saw our time, our era and our age; how different it is.”
Yet it was the age of the Taabi‘een. How different was it from the era of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
His son Hishaam would also say:
رحم الله أبي ، فكيف لو رأى زماننا هذا
“May Allah Ta‘ala have mercy on my father ‘Urwah (rahimahullah), he was talking about his era; what about our time, our era and our age?” (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 197)
Thus, she understood the conditions of her time.
We will conclude with an example of her understanding the conditions of her time.
We find in the treasure of the ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that on the one hand Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had mentioned:
لا تمنعوا إماء الله مساجد الله
“Do not stop the women from attending the musjid.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #900)
Yet we find the Muhadditheen (scholars of hadeeth), after mentioning the ahaadeeth granting permission, followed them by the ahaadeeth of prohibition. There are many of them, but I will only give two examples. The example of Imaam Muslim (rahimahullah) in his Saheeh and Imaam Abu Dawood (rahimahullah) in his Sunan.
Imaam Abu Dawood (rahimahullah) brings the chapter:
باب ما جاء في خروج النساء إلى المساجد
“The chapter regarding women going to the masaajid.”
In which he mentions the ahaadeeth wherein Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had permitted women to attend the musjid.
But immediately after that, Imaam Abu Dawood (rahimahullah) discusses the following chapter:
باب التشديد في ذلك
“The chapter relating to warnings regarding women attending places of salaah.”
Imaam Muslim (rahimahullah) discusses the ahaadeeth of permissibility, and then concludes with the following statement of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha):
لو أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم رأى ما أحدث النساء لمنعهن المسجد كما منعت نساء بني إسرائيل
“If Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had to see what the women had done after him, (their manner of dressing, accessorising, perfuming themselves, their behaviour and their outlook in our age) then he would have prohibited them and would not have allowed them to enter the musjid, just like how the women of Banu Israaeel were also not allowed to.” (Saheeh Muslim #999)
This was her understanding of the conditions of her time.
Again, she was talking about her time when so many Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) were still alive. What would she have said if she had to see the state of the women today?
From this we clearly understand, as mentioned before, that the ahaadeeth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), cannot be independently analysed and practised upon. It has to be understood through the opinions of those who had a complete, extensive, exhaustive and thorough knowledge of the Quraan, of the hadeeth and of the opinions of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum).
The selection of who we acquire our knowledge from, is also extremely important.
I will conclude on the statement of ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) which is recorded in Hilyatul Awliyaa (vol. 1, pg. 79):
الناس ثلاثة : فعالم رباني ، ومتعلم على سبيل نجاة ، وهمج رعاع أتباع كل ناعق يميلون مع كل ريح لم يستضيئوا بنور العلم ولم يلجئوا إلى ركن وثيق
“People are of three types. The first one is the one whose knowledge makes him a friend of Allah Ta‘ala. The second one is he who is still seeking knowledge and is on the safe route to knowledge.”
He has understood who is teaching him and knows that he practises upon his knowledge and has the sunnah in his life. The other ‘Ulama of his town also approve of him.
‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) (then) said:
“The third type of people, are those who don’t have any direction, they are impressed by every motivational and dynamic speaker, and they go with the flow and with the trend.”
If the wind blows easterly, they go to the east and if the wind blows westerly, they go to the west. If there is a big hubbub and a big buzz, that this person speaks very well, listen to his programs, what a wonderful and inspirational speaker he is; they go with it and are swept away.
They gain knowledge from a radio station, a book, a magazine, a cd, or a website, without knowing who is the person behind it; who is the author of that book, who has written that magazine, whose lecture is on the cd, and who is posting on the website.
Remember we need inspiration but with inspiration, we also need the correct guidance.
Hence, ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:
“This third person (who goes with the flow) will never be blessed with light and noor of knowledge, nor will that information (even though Islamic) be a support for him (because he failed to select the right person).”
May Allah Ta‘ala grant us the taufeeq and the ability to correctly draw, imbibe and internalise from the life of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
نحمده ونصلي ونسلم على رسوله الكريم ، أما بعد : فأعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم وَالسّٰبِقُوۡنَ الۡاَوَّلُوۡنَ مِنَ الْمُہٰجِرِیۡنَ وَالۡاَنۡصَارِ وَالَّذِیۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡہُمۡ بِاِحْسَانٍ ۙ رَّضِیَ اللہُ عَنْہُمْ وَرَضُوۡا عَنْہُ وَ اَعَدَّ لَہُمْ جَنّٰتٍ تَجْرِیۡ تَحْتَہَا الۡاَنْہٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡہَاۤ اَبَدًا ؕ ذٰلِکَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِیۡمُ صدق الله العظيم
Most respected mothers and sisters. We have gathered to discuss ‘Role Models for the Muslimah’.
Who is a role model? A role model is somebody who one takes as an example and emulates. Everyone has a role model. Either we consciously take someone as a role model or subconsciously do so. Often, without even realizing it, we have made somebody a role model. Nevertheless, how would we know who we have made a role model?
One’s choice of a role model will show in the manner a person conducts himself or herself. What are one’s preferences? What are one’s likes and dislikes? What is the attitude of a person to various things in life? How does one relate to the various situations that arise? What is one’s behaviour on different occasions? How does a person dress? What is his or her appearance… etc.
All these aspects will indicate who one has taken as a role model. In some cases it will indicate that the role models are the Sahaabah and the Sahaabiyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhum). In other instances it will indicate towards someone else. In any case, these behaviour patterns indicate who has been chosen as a role model.
At times the choice will be made consciously, where a person has idolized someone. Generally we will take someone as a role model because we think that there is something admirable or fascinating about him or her; something worthy of emulating. This may be a conscious decision, where the person will identify with an individual or a group and idolize them. In many cases someone has been taken as a role model without us even realizing it. Nevertheless, this is the reality of a role model.
The question that one will now ask is: “Who is worthy of being taken as a role model?”
Obviously that person is worthy of being taken as a role model who has true values in his or her life, and inspires others towards those values, which ultimately will be of real benefit and true success. Such a person is worthy of being made a role model; who himself possesses these good qualities.
Unfortunately, if we look into the lives of the people of the West, they have a very shallow and valueless life. Values like modesty and shame generally don’t exist. Simplicity is also largely non-existent. Their lifestyle is a life of extravagance, boastfulness, trying to make oneself the centre of attention, a life of greed and selfishness. They are people who worship the material things of the world. This is the life of the West.
People who live such a life are in no way worthy of being made role models. Otherwise, we will find the same qualities coming into us. This is not restricted to dressing or to the way a person does certain things. No! Once one takes someone as a role model; everything will start creeping in. If the role model worships the material world, that will creep in as well. If he or she has no hayaa, shamelessness will creep in. Everything will creep in slowly but surely.
So who then is worthy of being made a role model?
The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) are the true role models. Allah Ta‘ala says regarding them:
وَالسّٰبِقُوۡنَ الۡاَوَّلُوۡنَ مِنَ الْمُہٰجِرِیۡنَ وَالۡاَنۡصَارِ وَالَّذِیۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡہُمۡ بِاِحْسَانٍ ۙ رَّضِیَ اللہُ عَنْہُمْ وَرَضُوۡا عَنْہُ
“As for the first and foremost of the emigrants (The Muhaajireen) and the supporters (The Ansaar) and those who followed them in goodness, Allah Ta‘ala is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him.” (At-Taubah v100)
We understand clearly from this aayah that the Sahaabah and Sahaabiyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) are those who are worthy of being followed. Those who follow the Sahaabah and the Sahaabiyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) will receive the certificate of the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala.
The Quraan Majeed declares:
وَ اِذَا قِیۡلَ لَہُمْ اٰمِنُوۡا کَمَاۤ اٰمَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُوۡۤا اَنُؤْمِنُ کَمَاۤ اٰمَنَ السُّفَہَآءُ
“When it is said to them (the disbelievers), bring imaan like the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), they say: ‘Must we bring imaan like these fools?’” (Al-Baqarah v13)
The Quraan is declaring that the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) are the criterion. They are the true role models. Only the disbelievers regarded them as “fools” since they were blinded by their kufr.
Nevertheless, the personality who we wish to discuss today, who is worthy of being made a role model in every sense of the word, is Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
Her virtues were numerous. Her knowledge, piety and the position and status that Allah Ta‘ala had blessed her with are all very clear and apparent.
Imaam Zuhri (rahimahullah) used to say that if the knowledge of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had to be placed on one side of the scale and the knowledge of all the other Ummahaatul Mu’mineen, Sahaabiyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhunna) and all the other women to come, would be put on the other side, the knowledge of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) will be greater. (Al-Isaabah vol. 8, pg. 233)
‘Ataa bin Abi Rabaah (rahimahullah) said:
كانت عائشة رضي الله عنها أفقه الناس وأعلم الناس وأحسن الناس رأيا
“She was the greatest jurist, the most intelligent and most knowledgeable. She had the greatest wisdom and the best understanding.” (Al-Isaabah vol. 8, pg. 233)
Such a person is worthy of being made a role model.
Now, we need to think that in which aspects should we make her a role model? In which things do we need to emulate her? This should be of concern to us; that how can we follow in the footsteps of these people; how can we become like them?
The object of this program is not to merely listen to a talk, but rather, it is to imbibe within us the noble habits of these great personalities.
Nothing happens overnight; no revolution takes place in one day. But at the same time, there has to be a concerted effort to take one step forward at a time. As long as we are moving forward, no matter what the speed may be, we will reach our destination one day insha-Allah.
However, there would certainly be one or two things which we can put into practice immediately, something that we can take to heart immediately. We can then work out a program to try and acquire the other aspects one at a time. The object is that we move forward progressively.
Nevertheless, let us look at some examples of the qualities we should be adopting from ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), our role model.
Let us take some of the most basic qualities.
The most fundamental aspect in the life of a Mu’min, which guides his life, makes it meaningful and also brings the success of this world and the hereafter, is taqwa (the fear of Allah Ta‘ala). Without this, everything else is of no benefit; this world is of no value and the aakhirah has been lost as well.
Therefore Allah Ta‘ala says:
وَ اَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّہٖ وَ نَہَی النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْہَوٰی
“The person who fears standing in front of Allah Ta‘ala and restrains his nafs (inner self) from all evil desires, will get Jannah as his abode.” (An-Naazi‘aat v40-41)
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) possessed an extremely high level of taqwa. After all, she received her training and nurturing from Rasullullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) personally.
Just to take one example of what was her fear of Allah Ta‘ala. After ‘Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was martyred, some people suggested to her that since she was a very respected personality, if she went and tried to bring about some reconciliation between the differing groups at the time, the people will listen to her and peace will prevail. Therefore ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) decided to go to Iraq to try and bring about some kind of understanding. This was the sole purpose for which she went; it was her only objective.
However, without any pre-planning suddenly the Battle of Jamal took place in which ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) happened to be on one side. This was something unforeseen and not intended. Despite this, whenever the incident of the battle of Jamal would come to mind, she would reflect on the aayah of the Quraan Majeed wherein Allah Ta‘ala says addressing the women:
وَقَرْنَ فِیۡ بُیُوۡتِكُنَّ
“Remain firmly within your homes.” (Al-Ahzaab v33)
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) would reflect on this aayah, and would cry so bitterly that her scarf would even get wet. (Siyaru Aa’laamin Nubalaa vol. 2, pg. 177)
This was the fear of Allah Ta‘ala; that many years later she is still reflecting on this aayah. She is making no excuses for herself that: “I didn’t go with the intention of going to battle, I went for the sake of trying to make peace and understanding.” No excuses, no justification for herself; whereas she had every right to do so since she had no intention to go to war. Yet, she would think of this aayah and cry bitterly and ask Allah Ta‘ala’s forgiveness. This can only be due to the fear of Allah Ta‘ala.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was extremely generous. Whatever gifts she received, would be distributed to the poor.
Once her nephew, ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) passed a remark about this and said: “We must curtail her spending. She must not be allowed to distribute everything.”
When ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) heard about this she was very upset. She could not bear to hear that someone dared to restrict her expressing her generosity. It was so unbearable that at that moment, she took an oath that she will never talk to ‘Abdullah bin Zubair (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) again.
Thereafter, when people advised her that it was not proper for her to cut off ties from him, she would say: “I have taken an oath (i.e. how can I break an oath?)” Eventually, they somehow managed to get her to break her oath and to start speaking to him again.
But, for long periods thereafter, she would remember the oath (she broke), and subsequently she freed forty slaves as a compensation for breaking that oath. (Saheeh Bukhaari #6073)
Freeing one slave only was the shar‘ee requirement, but this was not good enough for her. She felt that this was a very grievous sin. Yet, how often do we take oath after oath and think nothing about it?
This was the fear of Allah Ta‘ala in the heart of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
This is just a little glimpse of the taqwa she possessed. Actually, her whole life revolved around this very aspect of taqwa and fear of Allah Ta‘ala.
This is one major lesson that we learn from her life; which is to develop the fear of Allah Ta‘ala in our lives. Don’t make excuses for ourselves. If we are doing something which is not absolutely correct, something that is not in accordance to the way of the Sahaabiyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhunna), something that the sharee‘ah doesn’t sanction completely, let us not make excuses for ourselves. We should attribute it to our weakness and make istighfaar – ask Allah Ta‘ala’s forgiveness and taufeeq (guidance). With this attitude we will move forward insha-Allah, and we will get the taufeeq (guidance) of overcoming our weaknesses. But as soon as we start justifying our faults and start making excuses for ourselves, then we are treading on very dangerous grounds and moving in the direction of disaster.
So, taqwa is the first major lesson we learn from the life of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha).
Let us take another lesson from her life; the lesson of humility. What humility she had!
There are so many incidents in her life which explain the level of humility she possessed, but let us look at just one incident which occurred right at the end of her life.
She was on her death bed. ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbaas (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) came in and began extolling some of her virtues and achievements. The intention was to console her; that don’t fear, everything will go well for you insha-Allah, since you have all these virtues to your credit.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) heard this and responded:
وددت أني كنت نسيا منسيا
“How I wish I was a forgotten thing (who never existed).” (Saheeh Bukhaari #4753)
Subhanallah! She had all these great virtues to her credit; she was the most beloved wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) passed away while reclining on her, Jibreel (‘alaihis salaam) conveyed salaam to her, as well as numerous other virtues. Yet she does not focus on any of these aspects. Instead she is wishing that she was a non-entity. Such thoughts can only come to the one who is truly humble. We also need to learn this lesson of humility.
Unfortunately our focus is: “This is mine. This is what I have done and these are my achievements.” We will display our certificates for the whole world to see how great we are! We will boast over what our children have achieved, that “My child is always number one; my family is always in the forefront of everything,” etc. we will even boast about our car, and we will boast about something that happened 20 years ago.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is teaching us the lesson of self annihilation. We are nothing and we should not pretend to be anything. At this crucial moment, the last moments of her life, she is not focusing on any of her virtues or achievements. Instead she says: “I wish I was a forgotten thing.” This is a very great lesson for us to learn.
The third lesson we learn from her life is the extent to which she was careful about the rights of people.
One extremely major right of people is that we should not taint the honour of the next person in anyway. How do we learn this from her life? Among the various aspects is that she never made gheebat (backbite) of anyone. Let alone backbiting anyone else; she didn’t even tolerate someone speaking ill of a person who harmed her.
We may have heard of the incident of ifk. It is a very lengthy incident. The gist of it is that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was slandered by the hypocrites. This was a very difficult time for her. For one month no wahi was revealed. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was extremely perturbed. Can we imagine what her parents were going through! She also became extremely ill due to this slander. The hypocrites were having a field day!
It so happened that some sincere Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) got caught up in circulating this news unwittingly.
Here is a (another) great lesson for us to learn. Nowadays, numerous sms, bbms, whatsapp messages and emails perpetually fly around. Somebody sends something to us, we get caught up in the hype and pass it on to the next person. As a result we also become a party to this slandering and rumour mongering.
In the hadeeth, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) says:
كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع
“This too will make a person a liar that he passes on everything he hears.” (Saheeh Muslim #7)
In other words, he passed on a lie without realizing it was a lie and in the process became a party to it.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was innocent. However, a few sincere Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) somehow got caught up in the mischief that the hypocrites had started. Hassaan bin Thaabit (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was one of them.
Eventually an entire ruku’ of the Quraan Majeed was revealed testifying to ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)’s chastity and purity. Allah Ta‘ala Himself cleared her name. However, we can well imagine what great pain and what great difficulty she had endured! One month! For one entire month! Can we imagine this? We are talking about the beloved wife of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the daughter of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). How much of pain they would have gone through. ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) became extremely sick herself. She could not sleep a wink. Now her name was finally cleared. Can we imagine our position, if we are cleared from some small accusation, what will our reaction be against those who accused us?
Nevertheless, much later on, one day Hassaan bin Thaabit (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) came to the house of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). She gave permission for him to come in, obviously behind hijaab. She then gave instructions that he should be seated with respect, etc.
When he left, someone said to her: “You are treating him with such respect, whereas he was also involved in slandering you.” Hassaan bin Thaabit (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) had erred and his mistake was now being raised. Someone was speaking ill about him. ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) immediately stops it in its tracks! Let alone stopping it and not getting involved in any backbiting, she even defended the person who was responsible for causing so much of pain to her. She immediately says:
إنه كان ينافح عن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
“(What are you talking about him?) He used to defend Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) by means of his poetry.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #3531)
When the Mushrikeen would hurl abuse against Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) Hassaan bin Thaabit (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) would rebuff that abuse with his poetry. So don’t forget the past, don’t forget all his services; don’t just look at one mistake! Who is saying this? The very person who was put through extreme pain and suffering! This is the lesson she is teaching us.
Small and petty things make us forget all the good a person has done for us. Someone may have done a lifelong of good for us, but on one occasion she forgot to invite us to her daughter’s wedding or son’s waleemah or some other function, or by mistake she said something evil about us. One slip and there it is … all the lifelong good that she did is forgotten in one moment. Now she becomes an arch enemy to us.
Here, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is defending the person, let alone backbiting him! Yet if we have a problem with someone, we will spice up the issue to make the person seem terrible. ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is teaching us this great lesson; that be careful about the rights of people. We should not even have any suspicion and evil thoughts about anybody and we should never backbite about anyone.
Among the most important lessons – and obviously this is a lesson which all the Sahaabiyaat (radhiyallahu ‘anhunna) taught us – is the lesson of modesty and shame.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) teaches us this lesson in a very great way!
Earlier on, we touched on the incident of ifk. In this incident she was mistakenly left behind from the caravan. She realized that Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) will find out that she is missing and will send someone to search for her. So she lay down in the spot she had camped and sleep overpowered her.
Safwaan bin Mu‘attal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was appointed by Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to travel behind the caravan so that if anything was forgotten or had fallen behind, he could pick it up and bring it along. As he passes by, he sees somebody in the distance. When he comes closer, he recognises ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). He had seen her prior to the laws of hijaab, therefore he recognised her. As soon as he realized it is Ummul Mu’mineen he recited loudly:
إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون
Upon hearing this, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) immediately woke up. She is Ummul Mu’mineen, she is the mother of the believers. What does our mother do? She says that the first thing I did was:
فخمّرت وجهي بجلبابي
“I immediately covered my face with my jilbaab.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #4141)
She is Ummul Mu’mineem but this is the level of her hayaa.
There are even narrations which mention that she made tawaaf in the state of niqaab (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 56).
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) herself says: “When we were going for Hajj with Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), we were in ihraam, so we had to keep our faces open, but as soon as other riders approached we would immediately cover our faces. When they would pass us and be out of sight, we would reopen our faces due to being in the state of ihraam.” (Sunan Abi Dawood #1833) This again was her level of hayaa.
Another very, very vital lesson especially for our time; is the lesson of contentment and simplicity.
Unfortunately we find that we are living in an era where everything has to be updated and upgraded all the time. We have to – as they say – improve the quality of life. But, the quality of life doesn’t come from the material things. If Allah Ta‘ala blesses us with something that we acquired in a halaal way, that is a favour of His and we should express our gratitude for it and use it appropriately. It should not be a means of us becoming boastful and proud. The worldly things are not something to hanker after nor should it be made the object of our life. The greatest wealth is the contentment of the heart.
لكن الغنى غنى النفس
“The greatest wealth is the wealth of the heart, which is contentment.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #6446)
We learn this from the life of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) as well.
Once during the time of Mu‘aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) when many conquests had taken place and great amounts of wealth had come into the hands of the Muslims, he sent 100 000 dirhams to her. She immediately began distributing it and before the end of the day, every single dirham from the 100 000 dirhams were spent. When it was all spent, her slave girl said to her: “You are fasting today. If you saved one dirham we could have purchased some meat for iftaar.” ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) replied: “If I had remembered earlier, I would have saved some. Now you are talking about it, what’s the use of that?” (Mustadrak Haakim vol. 4, pg. 13)
Now think, who can do this? Firstly she spends 100 000 in one day, without even having meat in her own home for iftaar. Then she dismissed it with such a simple statement: “If I remembered earlier I would have saved some, it’s too late to talk about it now.” Only that person can do this and make this type of a statement who has complete contentment in the heart.
She was so content that for most of the time she only possessed one garment.
Once a person came to visit her. She said: “Just hold on, my garment has torn a bit, I am busy sewing it. As soon as I have sewn it I will come out.” (Al-Adabul Mufrad #471)
This was the extent of contentment and simplicity!
Once she was sitting at the side of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and crying (when he was ill). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) asked: “Why are you crying? Do you want to be with me in Jannah? If you want to be with me in Jannah, (the prescription is very simple).” Amongst the various advices Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) gave her on this occasion, one of the things were:
فليكفك من الدنيا مثل زاد الراكب
“Keep that much of the world with you that a traveller needs for his provisions on the road.” (Shu‘abul Imaan #9913)
In other words, keep only that much what we call “padkos”.
He (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) also said to her:
ولا تستخلقي ثوبا حتى ترقعيه
“Don’t take a new garment until you have totally worn out the old one.” (Sunan Tirmizi #1780)
Once somebody said to her: “You are patching this garment. People will think you are miserly.” She replied: “A person does not have the right to have a new garment until he has worn out the old one.” (Al-Adabul Mufrad #471)
We may not be in the position to follow this example to the “T”. However, how often doesn’t it happen that we have many new garments which have only been worn once, but we insist and say: “I can’t wear it to the next function, they saw me wearing it the last time!” Who is ‘they’? Allah only knows! Then do ‘they’ also remember who wore what? But ‘they’ saw me wearing it the last time, so I can’t wear it again! The purpose of getting that new garment now is to show off, whereas in the hadeeth Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has said:
من لبس ثوب شهرة في الدنيا ألبسه الله ثوب مذلة يوم القيامة
“The person who wears a garment to show off to others, Allah Ta‘ala will clothe that person in garments of disgrace on the Day of Qiyaamah.” (Sunan Ibni Maajah #3607)
Look at ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). She is so content that most of the time she only possessed one garment. (Saheeh Bukhaari #312)
Then look at the simplicity she had in her home!
‘Ataa Khuraasaani (rahimahullah) had seen these homes long after ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) passed away. He says:
أدركت حجر أزواج رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من جريد النخل على أبوابها المسوح من شعر أسود
“I saw the homes and apartments of the wives of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), the walls were of date palm and the door was just sack.”
Thereafter he says that a letter came from Waleed bin ‘Abdil Malik – who was the king at that time – announcing that these rooms and apartments are now going to be demolished to make way for the expansion of the musjid. When this letter was read, the children of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), who were present, cried so much that their beards were wet with tears. Sa‘eed bin Musayyab (rahimahullah) said on this occasion:
والله لوددت أنهم تركوها على حالها
“By Allah, I wish they had left it like that, so the people to come later will see it and would understand and appreciate what Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and his family sufficed on.” (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 8, pg. 133)
She did not maintain this only in the lifetime of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). She remained alive after Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) for almost 48 years, and in these 48 years she maintained the very same basic standard of living; whereas she was receiving 100 000 dirhams at a time.
Once Munkadir bin ‘Abdillah (rahimahullah) came to her. She said: “If I had 10 000 dirhams I would have given it to you.” Shortly thereafter, Mu’aawiyah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) sent some wealth to her as a gift. She said: “Allah Ta‘ala has tested me already.” She then sent 10 000 dirhams for Munkadir (rahimahullah). (Tabaqaat Ibni Sa’d vol. 5, pg. 20)
10 000 dirhams came and went, 100 000 dirhams came and went, but the house is still the same and the same garment is being patched over and over again.
This is simplicity; this is contentment of the heart!
We don’t have the ability of getting anywhere close to this level, but we have the ability to put a break on that speed with which we are moving towards extravagance; that everything has to be done in style, everything has to be done in a way that is superior to the next person, everything has to be done in a way that nobody else has done it before.
Especially when it comes to weddings and other functions, money is just wasted and made to flow as if there is a tsunami. No consideration is given to the fact that we will be questioned about this money on the Day of Qiyaamah. It is one thing to provide a most scrumptious meal. But as far as the fancy frills are concerned; that the serviette must be of a certain style, balloons must be all over the place and the special decor … What answer will we have for this?
One person had mentioned that somebody hired him to do the decor at a function for R 125 000 … Just the decor, which will all be torn down and thrown away after the function! Now this is something that Allah Ta‘ala is going to question us about on the Day of Qiyaamah. This is all a total waste of the favours of Allah Ta‘ala.
Here is ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) … 100 000 dirhams passing through her hands in one day, but the house is still the same and the same garment is being patched over and over again.
This is the lesson of simplicity she is teaching us. This is something that we have to learn and adopt.
She also taught us the lesson of giving preference to others over ourselves. What a great lesson she taught! And how dramatically as well!
When ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was about to breathe his last, he sent his son, ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) to ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) to ask her permission if he could be buried alongside Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). It was her husband and her father who were laid to rest in her room, therefore it was her privilege and right to grant the permission. Ibnu ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhuma) comes to ask permission whilst ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) is on his death bed. ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) says: “I had reserved this place for myself, but today I will give ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) preference over myself.”
We can never imagine what a level of sacrifice this is! To give preference to ‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) over herself to that piece of land which is the most beloved and most precious in the sight of Allah Ta‘ala, the land which is next to the resting place of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam)! We can never understand this! If somebody has the entire world, all the gold, silver, diamonds and all the wealth of the world and gives it away, that is a very minor thing compared to this sacrifice. Now can we imagine what a heart she had?
‘Umar (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) then said that after I pass away, go back, pass the house of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and again enquire and say: “‘Umar bin Khattaab seeks permission to be buried here.” If she gives permission then take me in. Perhaps she gave permission in my lifetime out of awe for me. Therefore, leave it again to her to decide on this matter. However after his demise when permission is sought for a second time she says: “By all means, bring him in and bury him there.” (Saheeh Bukhaari #3700)
This was such a great sacrifice. Over trivial things we do not want to give the next person any kind of preference over ourselves. I must have my say in everything, I must do it my way, and I must have the first preference. Why was I not given a better treatment? Such questions come up regularly; that my mother-in-law gives preference to the other grandchildren over my children. That now becomes a very major issue. Sometimes it is that: “I am not treated the way somebody else is treated,” or “I was not given this while somebody else got so much”. These issues become so big as if Qiyaamah has descended upon us! Here is ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), giving preference to others in such a beautiful manner. Those who understand will realize what a tremendous sacrifice this was!
These are just some of the very great lessons she left for the Ummah. Indeed an entire lifetime too will be in-sufficient to understand fully all the great lessons that she left for us.
Before we terminate, let us discuss some of the advice that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had given. We should take these advices to heart. These are straightforward and practical concepts which we can bring into our lives immediately.
One advice she gave was:
رأس مكارم الأخلاق الحياء
“The root of all good character is hayaa” (Nisaau Ahlil Bayt, pg. 161)
Thus, if a person looses hayaa, everything else would be lost. Hayaa is something which requires effort to maintain and protect. Unfortunately hayaa is being destroyed and being chopped down to pieces in every aspect … in dressing, appearance, behaviour, functions, etc. You can never make out the difference between the spiritual daughters of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) (the Muslim women) and the daughters of some falling star of the West. We sometimes curse them and say that they are the enemies of Islam. But when it comes to our dressing, who are we imitating? Where are we going to? ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is therefore reminding us that the root of all good character is hayaa.
Immorality creeps in very subtly and in such a way that a person does not even notice that it has set in. For example, the newspapers lie around in our homes. Newspapers are no more merely newspapers. They have become filthy pornographic material, but they lie around and nobody bats an eyelid! Our children and teenagers are reading it. The son has the page with the filthy picture open … and he is reading it in front of his mother. The daughter is reading the immoral article in front of her father. All are quite comfortable with the situation, whereas this is totally immoral … and is further destroying the little hayaa we have left. To even allow something with such filthy pictures in the home is against all hayaa. But the immorality and shamelessness has crept in … so nobody is now disgusted about such pictures and articles coming into the home.
Look at the juice bottles that come onto our tables. Many have nude pictures on them, yet everybody is quite comfortable with it as well. The father is passing it to his daughter and the mother is giving it to her son. Everybody is quite comfortable with it but again, all this is destroying the minute hayaa that we have left.
Hayaa is the root to all good character. When hayaa will go, respect will go as well. Those children who don’t have hayaa will be disrespectful, they will be the ones who will back answer their parents, they will be the ones who – Allah forbid – will throw their parents out of their homes. This is not fiction! This is the tragic reality of what is happening in society. When hayaa is lost, respect will be gone and the status of parents will be forgotten. Therefore, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) is giving us this important advice.
Another advice ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) gave us is:
من التمس رضاء الله بسخط الناس كفاه الله مؤنة الناس
“The one who seeks the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala, but in the process incurs the displeasure of people, Allah Ta‘ala will suffice for him/her from the displeasure of people.” (Sunan Tirmizi #2414)
Sometimes a person wishes to do something in the correct way in order to please Allah Ta‘ala. For example, she wants to conduct the nikaah of her child in a very simple way, since Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has declared that the greatest barakah is in that nikaah wherein the least expense is incurred. Now others rebuke her saying: “People are spending more on funerals and are feeding more in a funeral home. Is this a funeral home or a wedding home?” Many people are obviously upset but Allah Ta‘ala is pleased.
Somebody decides that they want to dress in loose fitting garments only and they will not wear any tight fitting clothing, somebody now comments and says: “You are looking like my great granny’s eldest sister!”
All such comments will be uttered, but the person says: “Never mind, I can bear it. If everybody else can be upset but Allah Ta‘ala must be pleased.” Allah Ta‘ala then brings about that day where:
كفاه الله مؤنة الناس
“Allah Ta‘ala will sort out the matter of the people.”
Those very people will respect you one day, these very people will say: “What you did was correct.”
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) further says: “The person who will incur the wrath of Allah Ta‘ala to please the people, Allah Ta‘ala will hand this person over to the people.” You definitely cannot please everybody all the time. If you try to please one person, the other 10 will get angry. You try to please those 10, 50 others get displeased. Therefore we must be more concerned to please Allah Ta‘ala. He will make the people happy.
May Allah Ta‘ala enable us to imbibe these lessons and inculcate them in our lives. We will achieve this by following the Ahlullah (friends of Allah Ta‘ala), consulting with the ‘Ulama, becoming part of the work that will take us towards the mercy of Allah Ta‘ala and towards the enthusiasm for aakhirah. Alhamdulillah there are the ta’leem programs and other programs conducted by the ‘Ulama which take place in our areas. We should participate in these programs. The programs that take us towards preparing for the aakhirah will be of benefit to us. These programs will enable us to become such people whom ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) will be happy with tomorrow – on the Day of Qiyaamah. May it never happen on that day that she is displeased with us and holds us by our collars and asks: “Did you follow the example I left for you?”
Therefore let us become part of these programs which are conducted by authentic and reliable people. Try to bring a’maal (actions) in our lives, which after all is the most important thing. We need to bring these lessons into our lives and pass it on to others as well.
The purpose of these programs is to create the environment of hayaa, the environment of simplicity, etc. If someone tries to do otherwise; they would not have any courage to do it, because in a strong deeni environment incorrect behaviour will not be possible. This is the environment we need to create. May Allah Ta‘ala give us the taufeeq (guidance).
وآخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العلمين
الحمد لله حمدا موافيا لنعمه مكافيا لمزيده ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وآله وصحبه وجنوده ، أما بعد : فأعوذ بالله من الشيطان الرجيم بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ جَآءُوۡ بِالْاِفْکِ عُصْبَۃٌ مِّنۡكُمْ ؕ لَا تَحْسَبُوۡہُ شَرًّا لَّكُمۡ ؕ بَلْ ہُوَ خَیۡرٌ لَّكُمْ ، وقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم : كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع صدق الله مولانا العظيم ، وصدق رسوله النبي الحبيب الكريم ، ونحن على ذلك من الشاهدين والشاكرين ، والحمد لله رب العالمين
The disbelievers and the enemies of Islam left no stone unturned in causing harm to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), be it verbally, physically or psychologically. They went to the extent of getting his daughters divorced and even removing him from his homeland. However, there was one scheme which they devised against Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and it caused great distress to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), where Allah Ta‘ala forbid, they accused the pure wife of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), ‘Aaishah Siddeeqah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) of committing adultery. This incident appears as a lengthy narration in Saheeh Bukhaari, volume 2, page 594 to page 596 (#4141), and there are great lessons to be learnt from this incident.
This incident had occurred in the fifth year after hijrah when Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was returning from a battle, Gazwatul Muraysee’ or otherwise called Gazwatu Banil Mustaliq.
It was the habit of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that he would draw lots amongst his wives as to who would accompany him on his journey, although this is not a required law in Islam that the husband needs to display equality to his wives when it comes to taking them on a journey. However, this was the level of justice and equality in the life of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) that he used to draw lots for this purpose as well. Nevertheless, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)’s name had appeared to accompany Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on this journey.
On their return, they had camped at a certain place. After they had rested, the announcement was made for everybody to get ready to proceed. ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) says, “I went to relieve myself and on my return to the camp site, I noticed that,
فإذا عقد لي قد انقطع
“My necklace had broken and fallen off.”
So she went in search of the necklace and was delayed for some time. In the meantime, the caravan began to leave.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was being transported in a carriage which was mounted on a camel. The carriage was fully covered on all sides, in keeping with the dictates of modesty and hijaab. The Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who were appointed to mount the carriage on the camel did not realize that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was not inside, since at that time she was a young girl and light in weight. In this way the caravan proceeded without her.
When ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) returned to the spot where the caravan was stationed she found that they had already departed. So ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) remained in the same place, knowing that they would come searching for her when they realise that she was missing. This was the level of intelligence Allah Ta‘ala had granted her. Whilst waiting, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) fell off to sleep.
Safwaan bin Mu‘attal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was appointed by Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to travel at some distance behind the caravan so that he may recover any item that the others may have left behind. As he moved along, he came across ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). He recognized her since he had seen her prior to the laws of hijaab (covering oneself) being revealed. He exclaimed, “Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji‘oon” and her eyes opened.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) says:
فخمرت وجهي بجلبابي
“I immediately covered my face with my jilbaab (outer garment).”
والله ما تكلمنا بكلمة ولا سمعت منه كلمة غير استرجاعه
“Allah’s qasm, we never spoke a word, nor did I hear a single word from him besides “Inna lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji‘oon!”
The scholars explain that the wisdom for him using such an expression was to avoid engaging in any type of conversation with her. Safwaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) was so cautious, that even in a situation of dire necessity he did not address ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) directly, whereas she was the pure wife of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and there was absolutely no possibility of any incorrect thoughts passing their minds. This is a great lesson for us that there should be no unnecessary communication between strange men and women, even if it be electronic communication via bbm, whatsapp, facebook, twitter or any other type of social media.
Another important lesson we learn from here is that a woman is required to cover her face in the presence of a strange man. This is the teaching of the Quraan and hadeeth and not a mere custom as some people feel.
Let us for a moment, bring this situation to our times. Imagine a young girl left all alone in the wilderness without any means of communication and after some time a strange man comes across her. She would probably hold onto him for some comfort after being emotionally disturbed. But here we see the level of hayaa and modesty in ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) where she immediately covers her face and doesn’t even speak a word. Today there is a calculated effort by the West to remove all aspects of modesty and shame from our lives.
Nevertheless, Safwaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) sat the camel down and moved back. Once ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) mounted the camel, Safwaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) came forward and led the camel until they caught up with the rest of the caravan.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) says:
فهلك من هلك
“Whoever was destined to be destroyed was destroyed.”
The hypocrites and the enemies of Islam found this to be an opportune moment to spread rumours and allegations regarding ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and to cause harm to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
When they returned to Madeenah Munawwarah, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) fell ill. For one month she was ill and the rumours continued to spread regarding her! However, she remained unaware of all these rumours, until one night she went out of the home to answer the call of nature. She says:
كنا لا نخرج إلا ليلا إلى ليل
“We would only leave the home at night (for answering the call of nature).”
This further shows us the level of modesty they possessed. They would not leave the home during the day, even for bare necessities.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was accompanied by the mother of Mistah (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). As they proceeded, the old woman slipped on her shawl and said:
“May (my son) Mistah be destroyed!”
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) says to her:
بئس ما قلت
“How can you say such a thing?”
How could you curse a Sahaabi who had participated in the battle of Badr, whereas there are so many virtues regarding such Sahaabah? Ummu Mistah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) replied:
أي هنتاه ! أولم تسمعي ما قال ؟
“O Hantaah (innocent one)! Didn’t you hear what rumours he is spreading about you?”
She called ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) with the title ‘Hantaah’. This word refers to someone who is so innocent that he is unaware of what is happening around him. And really this is how a woman should be. We should be busy with our work and not concern ourselves with all the gossip and stories circulating in the town. Here ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was unaware of the rumours that were circulating regarding her very own self. Today our way of thinking has become such that we desire our daughters to keep up with the times and to know everything. They must acquire a career and become professional women that in the event their husbands do leave them, they will be able to stand by themselves. Allah Ta‘ala forbid, before even teaching them how to make a home, we are teaching them how to break the home!
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was surprised that people could say such things regarding her. She could not believe it.
Nevertheless, this news caused her to become even more ill. She says:
لا يرقأ لي دمع ولا أكتحل بنوم
“I continuously cried and I never got a wink of sleep.”
During the entire duration of her illness, there was only one thing that worried her and that was that she did not receive that extra attention and affection from Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as she would normally receive from him whenever she had fallen ill. Nonetheless ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) asked Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):
أتأذن لي أن آتي أبوي ؟
“Do you give me permission to go to my parent’s home?”
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) permitted her to do so. This is also another lesson; that the wife needs to take her husband’s permission before going to her parents’ home.
Upon reaching her parents’ home, she asked her mother whether people were really spreading such rumours about her. Her mother consoled her by saying:
يا بنيّة هوّني عليك ، فوالله لقلما كانت امرأة قط وضيئة عند رجل يحبها لها ضؤائر إلا أكثرن عليها
“O my daughter! Don’t worry. This is normal that when a woman of beauty is in the marriage of a man who has great love for her, there will always be jealous people conspiring against her.”
Today as parents we blow things out of proportion. Little misgivings in our children’s marriages are turned into big differences. Instead of supporting and helping them through their marriages, we create more problems for them. Here we see how the mother of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), closes the entire chapter of these rumours and becomes a pillar of support for her daughter.
In the mean while, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was deeply affected, since these allegations and rumours were against his pure wife. However he could not take her part and make any conclusive decision without having any proof. Furthermore, for an entire month no revelation had come to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). Hence, this was an extremely trying period for Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) as well.
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) investigated the matter and consulted with his companions, the likes of Usaamah bin Zaid (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), etc. We learn from this that we should not just accept anything based on mere hear-say. Rather, we need to investigate the matter before accepting anything. ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) suggested to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):
سل الجارية تصدقك
“Enquire from the maid (regarding ‘Aaishah radhiyallahu ‘anha), she will give you the true story (since she is always at home with her).”
Thus Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) went to Bareerah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), the female servant, and asked her what she knew about ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha). She replied: “By Allah, I don’t know of anything wrong regarding her. Yes, there is only one thing which people may feel to be a fault in her and that is:
غير أنها جارية حديثة السن تنام عن عجين أهلها ، فتأتي الداجن فتأكله
Being a young girl, when she makes the dough, sometimes she falls off to sleep and the goat comes and eats it.”
This is the only thing that people may consider to be a fault in her. But in reality it further supports ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)’s innocence; that how can a girl who falls off to sleep while kneading the dough ever plan and think of doing any immoral act of this nature.
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had also consulted with his wife Zainab bintu Jahsh (radhiyallahu ‘anha). Her reply was:
أحمي سمعي وبصري ، والله ما علمت إلا خيرا
“I will not allow myself to make any allegations against her. By Allah, I only know good regarding her.”
The lesson we take from here is that although Zainab bintu Jahsh (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was a co-wife of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and a rival to her, she never allowed these natural feelings of rivalry to cause her to overstep the mark of justice.
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was satisfied with these replies and he went to the musjid and delivered a lengthy sermon.
He then went over to the home of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) where ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was residing. Her father Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and her mother Ummu Roomaan (radhiyallahu ‘anha) were also present. Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sat close to ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) and said to her:
إن كنت بريئة فسيبرّئك الله
“If you are innocent then Allah Ta‘ala will soon clear your name.”
وإن كنت ألممت بذنب فاستغفري الله وتوبي إليه ، فإن العبد إذا اعترف ثم تاب تاب الله عليه
“And if (supposedly) you have sinned then seek the forgiveness of Allah Ta‘ala and repent to Him, since He forgives the one who acknowledges his sins and repents.”
Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) teaches us here that although the sin may be as serious as adultery, but the way to redeem ourselves is by acknowledging our wrong and repenting for it. In no way should we try to justify and cover up our faults.
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) says to her father Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu):
أجب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عني
“Answer Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) on my behalf.”
Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) replies:
والله ما أدري ما أقول لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم
“I don’t know what to say to Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).”
This was the level of caution of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) that he did not side with his child, although he knew that she was innocent. But there still was a certain level of doubt. Conversely, we are quick to defend our children. We deny the wrongs that they are involved in and then we expect them to change and give up their bad habits.
It comes in a narration of Bazzaar that Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) said:
أي سماء تظلّني وأي أرض تقلّني إن قلت ما لم أعلم
“Which sky will shelter me and which earth will carry me if I were to say something I do not know?” (Majma‘uz Zawaaid #15302)
Today we are quick in passing statements and judgments without having any knowledge at all. It becomes even more serious when we wish to give our own opinions in deen, without having any knowledge about it.
In a narration of Musannaf Ibni Abi Shaybah (#30727), Sha’bi (rahimahullah) said that he had seen the different students of ‘Ali (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) and ‘Abdullah bin Mas‘ood (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who were giants in knowledge; however they were extremely cautious when it came to saying anything pertaining to the Quraan and would not give their own interpretations regarding the Quraan. Thereafter he quotes the statement of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who used to say:
أي سماء تظلّني وأي أرض تقلّني إذا قلت في كتاب الله ما لا أعلم
“Which sky will shelter me and which earth will carry me if I were to say regarding the book of Allah Ta‘ala something I do not know?”
This was the condition of Abu Bakr (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) who is the greatest person after the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam). Yet today, we boldly pick up an English translation of the Quraan and feel that we are justified in giving our own explanations. We say that this is what I feel and what I understand from this verse, whereas it is not what I feel and understand but rather, what our Allah Ta‘ala really means and intends by it.
Thereafter, ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) asked her mother to answer Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The mother as well expresses her inability to answer Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).
It was then that ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) took up the courage, all her tears had dried up by then, and addressed Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), her father and mother saying, that if she had to say that she was innocent, they will not believe her because the story was so much in circulation. And she could not say that she committed the sin, since Allah Ta‘ala knew that she was innocent. She then went on to quote the example of Ya’qoob (‘alaihis salaam) where he said:
“Patience is best.” (Yusuf v18)
‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) then moved away. Very shortly thereafter, she noticed the face of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) change and the signs of revelation became apparent on the blessed face of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). When the revelation terminated, Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) smiled and said to ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha):
يا عائشة ! أما الله فقد برّئك
O ‘Aaishah! Allah Ta‘ala has announced your innocence.
Allah Ta‘ala had revealed sixteen verses of Surah Noor announcing the purity and chastity of ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), and declaring severe warnings to those who accuse and slander innocent people.
However ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) says:
والله ما كنت أظنّ أن الله منزل في شأني وحيا يتلى ، لشأني في نفسي كان أحقر من أن يتكلم الله فيّ بأمر
“I never considered myself to be so important that Allah Ta‘ala would reveal verses of the Quraan Majeed to show my innocence.”
She felt that perhaps Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would be informed via a dream or in some other way, but not that the verses of the Quraan Majeed would come down regarding her (innocence).
From this we learn the degree of humility she possessed. Today we think very highly of ourselves and we demand honour and respect from others. Thus, if someone fails to invite us to their son’s waleemah, then we take offence to it, that how could they forget me? Here sixteen verses of the Quraan Majeed were revealed regarding her, yet she feels that she is not worthy of such honour.
In these verses Allah Ta‘ala advises us as to what the response of a believer should be when he hears a rumour, and simultaneously mentions severe warnings for those who spread these types of false information. Allah Ta‘ala says:
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یُحِبُّوۡنَ اَنۡ تَشِیۡعَ الْفَاحِشَۃُ فِی الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَہُمْ عَذَابٌ اَلِیۡمٌ ۙ فِی الدُّنْیَا وَ الْاٰخِرَۃِ
“Those who love spreading obscene stories amongst the believers, for them will be a painful punishment in this world and the hereafter.” (An-Noor v19)
Today, Allah Ta‘ala protect us, with the advanced technology of the cell phone, we merely hear something and without any investigation we forward and broadcast it to thousands of people, and they in turn send it to thousands more, without any verification. Whereas Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has said:
كفى بالمرء كذبا أن يحدث بكل ما سمع
“It is sufficient to term a person a liar that he passes on everything he hears.” (Saheeh Muslim #7)
May Allah Ta‘ala inspire us to study the life of Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), and to take them as our role models.
وآخر دعوانا أن الحمد لله رب العلمين