Story of How Quran was Revealed to Protect Hazrat Aisha (May Allah be Pleased with her ):A Reflection from Surah An Noor
I Was Reading the Tafsir of Surah An Noor,the 24th Chapter of Quran when I came along the story of Aisha in the tafseer of this Surah (Surah An Noor -Ayah 11-20 ).
In Surah An Noor , a full section of verses has been devoted to the Commandments pertaining to zina, qazf and li’an by which Allah means to admonish that zina is not a slight matter which may be used as a means of entertaining the people in a gathering. It is very serious.If the accuser is right in his accusation he should produce witnesses, and get a most horrible punishment inflicted upon the adulterer and the adulteress. If the accuser is false, he deserves to be given 80 stripes, so that nobody may dare to bring a false charge against the other person. And if the accuser is a husband, he will have to exercise in a court of law to settle the matter. So, none who utters such an accusation will have peace. The Islamic society which has been brought about for the purpose of establishing goodness and piety in the world, can neither tolerate zina as a means of entertainment nor endure loose talk about it as a diversion and amusement.
There happened an incident at the time of Prophet when Prophet’s Wife Aisha(RA) was accused and slandered . This story is taken from Quran ,Various Islamic lectures and tafseers of Quran. It is Very touching and emotional .I would like to share the story with you.
The Story Of Slander of Aisha (RA)
This incident of imputation is also called as the episode of ifk ( false imputation) in Quran and hadeeth . The Word ifk means worst type of lie,imputation or slander .
Ayesha (May Allah be pleased with her – RadiaAllahu Anha (RA)) once accompanied the Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) on a campaign and was travelling with a caravan. She accidentally got separated from the caravan during the journey and was stranded in the desert. Safwan bin Mu`attal, who was travelling separately happened to get to the same place where she was and seeing her stranded, brought his camel and made it kneel so that she could ride upon it. Then he set out leading the camel until they caught up with the army. This gave rise not just to suspicion, but allegations against them, with Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, the leader of the hypocrites, being the foremost in spreading them. He fabricated the lie and whispered it to others, until some of the Muslims started to believe it, and began to talk about their suspicions.
(Story is Found in Sahih Bukhari-Vol 3)
Hazrat Aisha Was Unaware of the Rumor for a Long Time
For a long time, Hazrat Aisha was not aware of the incident of slander that was started by the leader of the munafiqs, Abdullah b. Ubay and that was spread by Hassan b. Thabit, Mistah b. Uthatha, Hamna bint Jahsh and some gullible Muslims that were deceived by the munafiqs. Hazrat Aisha narrates the incident as follows:
“When we arrived in Madinah, I fell ill with a fever for a whole month. The inhabitants of Madinah were all talking about the slander, but I did not know anything about it. The Messenger of God and my parents had also heard about it but they did not say anything to me about it.
However, I was doubtful due to the fact that I did not see the tenderness I used to see from the Prophet (pbuh) while I was sick. He would enter upon us and ask, “How is the patient?” Then, he would leave. I did not know anything about what the slanderers had uttered.”
Muslim, Sahih, Vol. 8, p. 114.
Although the Messenger of God, Hazrat Abu Bakr and Aisha’s mother heard the rumors, they did not say anything to Aisha. However, Aisha was worried about the attitude of the Messenger of God. Nevertheless, she did not know the reason.
How and from Whom did Hazrat Aisha Learn about the Slander?
Hazrat Aisha narrates from whom and how she learnt about the slander as follows:
“More than twenty nights had passed after my illness. I had got over the illness and I was in the period of recuperation.
We did not have toilets next to our houses like non-Arabs did due to the stink. We went outside the city of Madinah to answer the call of the nature. Women went there every night to relieve themselves.
One night, I went out with the mother of Mistah b. Uthatha to Manasi to relieve ourselves. Mistah fell by stepping on her covering, she said, ‘May Mistah fall,’ or ‘Damn Mistah!’ I said,
‘O Umm Mistah! How can you curse your son,If your son has attended the batle of Badr?’ Mistah kept silent. She did not answer me.
She tripped for the second time. She said, ‘‘May Mistah fall,’ or ‘Damn Mistah!’
‘O Umm Mistah! Why do you curse your son?’ She kept silent again.
She tripped for the third time and cursed, ‘May Mistah fall,’
I said, ‘O Umm Mistah! Why do you curse your son? How can you curse a person who was present in the Battle of Badr? She replied,
‘I curse him due to what he said against you.’
I asked, ‘What did he say about me?’
Thereupon, Umm Mistah told me what the slanderers had said. I became extremely ill. I could not even relieve myself and returned home. I cried so much that I thought my lungs would break into pieces.”
Aisha (Ra) went to her Mother’s home to stay with her .When Hazrat Aisha was ill, Umm Ruman, her mother, looked after her.
One day, the Messenger of God entered the house, greeted them and asked, “How is your patient?” without mentioning Aisha’s name. He did not say anything else.
Hazrat Aisha said,
“(Thereupon) I could not help saying, ‘O Messenger of God! I have been suffering so much. Will you let me go to my Mother’s house? I can be looked after there.’
The Messenger of God said, ‘You may go!’
I wanted to go to my parents and find out about the news against me.
The Messenger of God sent me to my father’s house with a servant.
My mother asked, ‘O my daughter! Why did you come?’
I said, ‘Mother! People have been talking against me but you did not mention anything to me.’
She said, ‘My daughter, take it easy. By God, it hardly occurs that a wife is so beloved to her husband, and she has co-wives at the same time, except that they talk about her!’
I asked, ‘Does my father know about it?’ She said,
‘Yes, he does.’
I asked, ‘Does the Messenger of God know about it?’ She said,
‘Yes, he does.’
I could not help crying.
My father was reading the Quran upstairs. When he heard my voice, he came downstairs. He asked Mum, ‘What is wrong with her?’
Mum said, ‘She heard about the rumors against him.’
My father started to cry too.
I cried and cried until the morning came and my tears didnot stop and I did not taste the sweetness of sleep.
Ibn Hisham, ibid, Vol. 3, p. 311-312; Muslim, ibid, Vol. 8. p. 114; Tirmidhi, Sunan, Vol. 5, p. 332-333.
The Three Muslims guilty of Slandering Aisha –
Aisha explained that the one who took charge of this slander was They were: `Abdullah bin Ubayy, Zaid bin Rifa’ah (who was probably the son of Rifa’ah bin Zaid, the Jewish hypocrite), Mistah bin Uthathah, Hassan bin Thabit .
The Prophet’s Speech
In fact, the Messenger of God knew very well that Aisha, his wife, was free from such slander; however, she was depressed that such treacherous, sly and planned slander spread among people. It made him change his attitude toward her. As a matter of fact, the speech that he made in the mosque expressed it clearly:
“Oh gathering of Muslims! Who will help me against a person who has hurt me with slander about my wife? By God, I only know good about my wife. And they have mentioned a man with her concerning whom I only know good of as well.”
The Prophet Talks to Hazrat Aisha
Although about a month passed after the slander against Hazrat Aisha, no revelation was sent down to the Messenger of God.
A few days after his speech in the mosque, the Prophet went to Hazrat Abu Bakr’s house. After greeting them, he sat next to Aisha and said, “O Aisha! I have heard such and such things about you. If you are free and away from those accusations, God will state that you are free and away from them. If you have committed such a sin, ask forgiveness from God and repent to Him. When a slave confesses his/her sin and repents, God treats him/her with mercy.”
Hazrat Aisha narrates her mood at that time as follows:
“When the Messenger of God (pbuh) ended his words, my tears dried. There was not even one drop coming out of my eyes.
I turned to my father and said to him, ’Answer the Messenger of God on behalf of me.’
My father said, ‘O my daughter! By God, I do not know what to say the Messenger of God (pbuh).’
Then, I turned to my mother and said to her, ’Answer the Messenger of God on behalf of me.’
She said, ‘By God, I do not know what to say the Messenger of God (pbuh), either’.”
Muslim, ibid, Vol. 8, p. 116; Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, Vol. 6, p. 197.
Hazrat Aisha’s Answer
Hazrat Aisha’s father and mother did not answer the Messenger of God; so she had to speak. After uttering kalima ash-shahada and praising God Almighty, she said, “By God, I know that you have heard these rumors, and you look as if you have believed them. So, if I were to tell you that I am not guilty, – God knows that I am not – you would not believe me. And if I were to tell you I did something bad, – God knows that I did not – you would readily believe me! So, all I can say to you for my and your situation is the story of Jacob (pbuh) with his sons. At that time, he said, ‘(For me) patience is most fitting: against that which ye assert, it is God (alone) whose help can be sought.’(Muslim, ibid, Vol. 8, p. 116.)
Revelation is Sent down to the Prophet
The Messenger of God had not stood up yet. Nobody from the household had gone out. Revelation was sent down to the Prophet there. Hazrat Aisha narrated the incident as follows:
“The Messenger of God showed the signs of receiving revelation like sweating due to the difficulty and intensity of the revelation. As a matter of fact, he would have beads of sweat like pearls during revelation even on a winter day. They covered the body of the Messenger of God (pbuh) and put a pillow under his head. I was neither afraid nor worried. I knew that I was innocent and that God would not treat me unjustly. My parents were very scared because they were worried that the rumors would be confirmed by God.”
When the state of revelation ended, the Messenger of God was smiling happily. He said to Aisha, “Glad tidings O Aisha! God acquitted you and stated that you were free and away from that slander.”(Muslim, ibid, Vol. 8)
Hazrat Abu Bakr became very happy. He stood up and kissed her daughter’s head.
The Verses that were Sent down
God Almighty stated the following in the verses that He sent to His Messenger regarding the issue: Surah An Noor-Verses 11-20
“Those who brought forward the lie are a body among yourselves: think it not to be an evil to you: on the contrary it is good for you: to every man among them (will come the punishment) of the sin that he earned and to him who took on himself the lead among them will be a Penalty grievous.
Why did not Believers, men and women when ye heard of the affair― put the best construction on it in their own minds and say “This (charge) is an obvious lie”?
Why did they not bring four witnesses, to prove it? When they have not brought the witnesses such men in the sight of God, (stand forth) themselves as liars!
Were it not for the grace and mercy of God on you, in this world and the Hereafter, a grievous penalty would have seized you in that ye rushed glibly into this affair.
Behold ye received it on your tongues and said out of your mouths things of which ye had no knowledge; and ye thought it to be a light matter, while it was most serious in the sight of God.
And why did ye not when ye heard it say? “It is not right of us to speak of this: Glory to Thee (our Lord)! this is a most serious slander!”
God doth admonish you, that ye may never repeat such (conduct) if ye are (true) Believers.
And God makes the Signs plain to you: for God is full of knowledge and wisdom.
Those who love (to see) scandal published broadcast among the Believers, will have a grievous Penalty in this life and in the Hereafter: God knows and ye know not.
Were it not for the grace and mercy of God on you, and that God is full of kindness and mercy, (ye would be ruined indeed).”
What Happened to the Accusers?
Hadrat A’ishah has stated that after the revelation of verses 11-21 absolving her from the accusation, Hadrat Abu Bakr swore that he would no longer support Mistah bin Uthatha. This was because the man had shown absolutely no regard for the relationship nor for the favours that Abu Bakr had all along been showing him and his family. At this verse 22 was revealed and Hadrat Abu Bakr, on hearing it, immediately said: “By God! we do want that Allah should forgive us.” Consequently he again started to help Mistah and in a more liberal manner than before. According to Hadrat Abdullah bin Abbas, some other Companions besides Hadrat Abu Bakr, also had sworn that they would discontinue helping those who had taken an active part in the slander. After the revelation of this verse, all of them revoked their oaths and the ill-will that had been created by the mischief was gone.
Thus, God Almighty told His Messenger that what was said about Hazrat Aisha was nothing but slander, relieving the clean soul and conscience of His Messenger of the distress and preventing the personality of Hazrat Abu Bakr from being humiliated; so, the mischief and disturbance that emerged among Muslims was prevented from being spread.
Then there was more good to come from this. The incident became the cause of some very important additions to the social law and injunctions of Islam. Through these the Muslims received such Commandments from Allah by which the Muslim society can be kept clean and protected against the creation and propagation of moral evils, and if at all they arise, they can be corrected promptly.
Furthermore, there was another aspect of goodness in it also. The Muslims came to understand fully that the Holy Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) had no knowledge of the unseen. He knew only that which Allah taught him. Beside that his knowledge was the same as that of a common man. For one full month he remained in great anxiety with regard to Hadrat A’ishah. He would sometimes make enquiries from the maid-servant, sometimes from his other wives, and sometimes from Hadrat Ali and Hadrat Usamah. At last when he spoke to Hadrat A’ishah, he spoke only this: “If you have committed the sin, you should offer repentance, and if you are innocent, I expect that Allah will declare your innocence.” Had’ he possessed any knowledge of the unseen, he would not have felt so upset” nor would have made enquiries, nor counselled repentance. However, when Divine Message revealed the truth, he received that knowledge which he had not possessed for more than a month. Thus Allah arranged to safeguard the Muslims, through direct experience and observation, against exaggerated notions in which people generally get involved in regard to their religious leaders on account of excessive blind faith. Perhaps this was the reason why Allah withheld Revelation for a month, for if Revelation had been sent down on the very first day, it could not have had any beneficial effect.
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