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 Aishah Bint Abu Bakr

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Location : Insha`allah The Neighbor of the Prophet in paradise
Registration date : 2008-05-09

PostSubject: Aishah Bint Abu Bakr   Mon May 12, 2008 7:16 am

Aishah Bint Abu Bakr

The life of Aishah is proof that a woman can be far more learned
than men and that she can be the teacher of scholars and
experts. Her life is also proof that a woman can exert influence
over men and women and provide them with inspiration and
leadership . Her life is also proof that the same woman can be
totally feminine and be a source of pleasure, joy and comfort to
her husband.

She did not graduate from any university there were no
universities as such in her day. But still her utterances are
studied in faculties of literature, her legal pronouncements are
studied in colleges of law and her life and works are studied
and resear ched by students and teachers of Muslim history as
they have been for over a thousand years.

The bulk of her vast treasure of knowledge was obtained while
she was still quite young. In her early childhood she was
brought up by her father who was greatly liked and respected for
he was a man of wide knowledge, gentle manners and an agreeable
presen ce. Moreover he was the closest friend of the noble
Prophet who was a frequent visitor to their home since the very
early days of his mission.

In her youth, already known for her striking beauty and her
formidable memory, she came under the loving care and attention
of the Prophet himself. As his wife and close companion she
acquired from him knowledge and insight such as no woman has
ever acqui red.

Aishah became the Prophet's wife in Makkah when she was most
likely in the tenth year of her life but her wedding did not
take place until the second year after the Hijrah when she was
about fourteen or fifteen years old. Before and after her
wedding she maintained a natural jollity and innocence and did
not seem at all overawed by the thought of being wedded to him
who was the Messenger of God whom all his companions, including
her own mother and father, treated with such love and reverence
as they gave to no one else.

About her wedding, she related that shortly before she was to
leave her parent's house, she slipped out into the courtyard to
play with a passing friend:

"I was playing on a see-saw and my long streaming hair was
dishevelled," she said. "They came and took me from my play and
made me ready."

They dressed her in a wedding-dress made from fine red-striped
cloth from Bahrain and then her mother took her to the
newly-built house where some women of the Ansar were waiting
outside the door. They greeted her with the words "For good and
for happines s may all be well!" Then, in the presence of the
smiling Prophet, a bowl of milk was brought. The Prophet drank
from it himself and offered it to Aishah. She shyly declined it
but when he insisted she did so and then offered the bowl to her
sister Asma wh o was sitting beside her. Others also drank of
it and that was as much as there was of the simple and solemn
occasion of their wedding. There was no wedding feast.

Marriage to the Prophet did not change her playful ways. Her
young friends came regularly to visit her in her own apartment.

"I would be playing with my dolls," she said, "with the girls
who were my friends, and the Prophet would come in and they
would slip out of the house and he would go out after them and
bring them back, for he was pleased for my sake to have them
there." S ometimes he would say "Stay where you are" before they
had time to leave, and would also join in their games. Aishah
said: "One day, the Prophet came in when I was playing with the
dolls and he said: 'O Aishah, whatever game is this?' 'It is
Solomon's hor ses,' I said and he laughed." Sometimes as he came
in he would screen himself with his cloak so as not to disturb
Aishah and her friends.

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

"They are raving, out of their minds, through the heat of the
fever." The Prophet asked what they had said and was somewhat
reassured when she repeated almost word for word the lines they
had uttered and which made sense although she did not fully
underst and them then. This was a demonstration of the great
retentive power of her memory which as the years went by were to
preserve so many of the priceless sayings of the Prophet.

Of the Prophet's wives in Madinah, it was clear that it was
Aishah that he loved most. From time to time, one or the other
of his companions would ask:

"O Messenger of God, whom do you love most in the world?" He did
not always give the same answer to this question for he felt
great love for many for his daughters and their children, for
Abu Bakr, for Ali, for Zayd and his son Usamah. But of his wives
t he only one he named in this connection was Aishah. She too
loved him greatly in return and often would seek reassurance
from him that he loved her. Once she asked him: "How is your
love for me?"

"Like the rope's knot," he replied meaning that it was strong
and secure. And time after time thereafter, she would ask him:
"How is the knot?" and he would reply: "Ala haaliha in the same
condition."

As she loved the Prophet so was her love a jealous love and she
could not bear the thought that the Prophet's attentions should
be given to others more than seemed enough to her. She asked
him:

"O Messenger of God, tell me of yourself. If you were between
the two slopes of a valley, one of which had not been grazed
whereas the other had been grazed, on which would you pasture
your flocks?"

"On that which had not been grazed," replied the Prophet. "Even
so," she said, "and I am not as any other of your wives.
"Everyone of them had a husband before you, except myself." The
Prophet smiled and said nothing. Of her jealousy, Aishah would
say in later years:

"I was not, jealous of any other wife of the Prophet as I was
jealous of Khadijah, because of his constant mentioning of her
and because God had commanded him to give her good tidings of a
mansion in Paradise of precious stones. And whenever he
sacrifice d a sheep he would send a fair portion of it to those
who had been her intimate friends. Many a time I said to him:
"It is as if there had never been any other woman in the world
except Khadijah."

Once, when Aishah complained and asked why he spoke so highly of
"an old Quraysh woman", the Prophet was hurt and said: "She was
the wife who believed in me when others rejected me. When people
gave me the lie, she affirmed my truthfulness. When I stood f
orsaken, she spent her wealth to lighten the burden of my
sorrow.."

Despite her feelings of jealousy which nonetheless were not of a
destructive kind, Aishah was really a generous soul and a
patient one. She bore with the rest of the Prophet's household
poverty and hunger which often lasted for long periods. For days
on e nd no fire would be lit in the sparsely furnished house of
the Prophet for cooking or baking bread and they would live
merely on dates and water. Poverty did not cause her distress or
humiliation; self-sufficiency when it did come did not corrupt
her styl e of life.

Once the Prophet stayed away from his wives for a month because
they had distressed him by asking of him that which he did not
have. This was after the Khaybar expedition when an increase of
riches whetted the appetite for presents. Returning from his sel
f-imposed retreat, he went first to Aishah's apartment. She was
delighted to see him but he said he had received Revelation
which required him to put two options before her. He then
recited the verses:

"O Prophet! Say to your wives: If you desire the life of this
world and its adornments, then come and I will bestow its goods
upon you, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you
desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter, th
en verily God has laid in store for you an immense reward for
such as you who do good."

Aishah's reply was:

"Indeed I desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the
Hereafter," and her response was followed by all the others.

She stuck to her choice both during the lifetime of the Prophet
and afterwards. Later when the Muslims were favored with
enormous riches, she was given a gift of one hundred thousand
dirhams. She was fasting when she received the money and she
distributed the entire amount to the poor and the needy even
though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after, a
maidservant said to her: "Could you buy meat for a dirham with
which to break your fast?"

"If I had remembered, I would have done so," she said. The
Prophet's affection for Aishah remained to the last. During his
final illness, it was to Aishah's apartment that he went at the
suggestion of his wives. For much of the time he lay there on a
cou ch with his head resting on her breast or on her lap. She it
was who took a toothstick from her brother, chewed upon it to
soften it and gave it to the Prophet. Despite his weakness, he
rubbed his teeth with it vigorously. Not long afterwards, he
lost con sciousness and Aishah thought it was the onset of
death, but after an hour he opened his eyes.

Aishah it is who has preserved for us these dying moments of the
most honoured of God's creation, His beloved Messenger may He
shower His choicest blessings on him.

When he opened his eyes again, Aishah remembered Iris having
said to her: "No Prophet is taken by death until he has been
shown his place in Paradise and then offered the choice, to live
or die."

"He will not now choose us," she said to herself. Then she heard
him murmur: "With the supreme communion in Paradise, with those
upon whom God has showered His favor, the Prophets, the martyrs
and the righteous..." Again she heard him murmur: "O Lord, wit h
the supreme communion," and these were the last words she heard
him speak. Gradually his head grew heavier upon her breast,
until others in the room began to lament, and Aishah laid his
head on a pillow and joined them in lamentation.

In the floor of Aishah's room near the couch where he was lying,
a grave was dug in which was buried the Seal of the Prophets
amid much bewilderment and great sorrow.

Aishah lived on almost fifty years after the passing away of the
Prophet. She had been his wife for a decade. Much of this time
was spent in learning and acquiring knowledge of the two most
important sources of God's guidance, the Quran and the Sunnah of
His Prophet. Aishah was one of three wives (the other two being
Hafsah and Umm Salamah) who memorized the Revelation. Like
Hafsah, she had her own script of the Quran written after the
Prophet had died.

So far as the Ahadith or sayings of the Prophet is concerned,
Aishah is one of four persons (the others being Abu Hurayrah,
Abdullah ibn Umar, and Anas ibn Malik) who transmitted more than
two thousand sayings. Many of these pertain to some of the most
in timate aspects of personal behavior which only someone in
Aishah's position could have learnt. What is most important is
that her knowledge of hadith was passed on in written form by at
least three persons including her nephew Urwah who became one of
the greatest scholars among the generation after the
Companions.

Many of the learned companions of the Prophet and their
followers benefitted from Aishah's knowledge. Abu Musa al-Ashari
once said: "If we companions of the Messenger of God had any
difficulty on a matter, we asked Aishah about it."

Her nephew Urwah asserts that she was proficient not only in
fiqh but also in medicine (tibb) and poetry. Many of the senior
companions of the Prophet came to her to ask for advice
concerning questions of inheritance which required a highly
skilled mathem atical mind. Scholars regard her as one of the
earliest fuqaha of Islam along with persons like Umar ibn
al-Khattab, Ali and Abdullah ibn Abbas. The Prophet referring to
her extensive knowledge of Islam is reported to have said:
"Learn a portion of your r eligion (din) from this red colored
lady." "Humayra" meaning "Red-coloured" was an epithet given to
Aishah by the Prophet.

Aishah not only possessed great knowledge but took an active
part in education and social reform. As a teacher she had a
clear and persuasive manner of speech and her power of oratory
has been described in superlative terms by al-Ahnaf who said: "I
have heard speeches of Abu Bakr and Umar, Uthman and Ali and the
Khulafa up to this day, but I have not heard speech more
persuasive and more beautiful from the mouth of any person than
from the mouth of Aishah."

Men and women came from far and wide to benefit from her
knowledge. The number of women is said to have been greater than
that of men. Besides answering enquiries, she took boys and
girls, some of them orphans, into her custody and trained them
under her care and guidance. This was in addition to her
relatives who received instruction from her. Her house thus
became a school and an academy.

Some of her students were outstanding. We have already mentioned
her nephew Urwah as a distinguished reporter of hadith. Among
her women pupils is the name of Umrah bint Abdur Rahman. She is
regarded by scholars as one of the trustworthy narrators of ha
dith and is said to have acted as Aishah's secretary receiving
and replying to letters addressed to her. The example of Aishah
in promoting education and in particular the education of Muslim
women in the laws and teachings of Islam is one which needs to
be followed.

After Khadijah al-Kubra (the Great) and Fatimah az-Zahra (the
Resplendent), Aishah as-Siddiqah (the one who affirms the Truth)
is regarded as the best woman in Islam. Because of the strength
of her personality, she was a leader in every field in knowledg
e, in society, in politics and in war. She often regretted her
involvement in war but lived long enough to regain position as
the most respected woman of her time. She died in the year 58 AH
in the month of Ramadan and as she instructed, was buried in the
Jannat al-Baqi in the City of Light, beside other companions of
the Prophet.
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