Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Aishah Binti Abu Bakar As-Siddiq.

Aishah Binti Abu Bakar As-Siddiq.

In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of the al-ā’lamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.

The story of Aishah Binti Abu Bakar As-Siddiq is a proof in Islamic history that a woman was capable to be a learned person and could be the governess of scholars and experts. A woman could be influential over men and women and provide them with inspiration and leadership. At the same woman can be totally feminine and is a source of joy and comfort to her husband.

She received guidance a great deal from the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) . It was with the Allah Blessing her utterances are studied in faculties of higher learning, her legal pronouncements are studied in colleges of law and her life and works are studied and researched 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, her father who was greatly liked and respected for he was a man of wide knowledge, gentle manners, and an agreeable presence brought her up. Moreover, she was the closest friend of the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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 acquired.

Aishah became the Prophet's wife in Makkah in Syawwal of the 11th year of the Prophethood, a year after marriage to Sawdah binti Zam’ah ibn Qais, two years and half before Hijrah. when she was most likely in the tenth year of her life but her wedding did not take place until the 2nd year of 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.

She was the daughter of Prophet’s intimate friend, Abu Bakar As-Siddiq, who accompanied the Prophet’s emigrating from Makkah to Al-Madinah. Abu Bakar was a well-known honorable wealthy merchant and respected by the Makkan Quraish. He was well mannered, and most generous.

'Aishah's mother was called Umm Rumman binti 'Umair bin 'Amer bin Al-Harith bin Ghanam bin Ka’ab and she was among the first group who embraced Islam. She had been married to 'Abdullah bin 'Abdul Asad before she married Abu Bakar, and she had a son from her first husband called At-Tufail, and she gave birth to 'Aishah and 'Abdul Rahman from Abu Bakar. When she died, Abu Bakar said: "O Allah! You know best how Umm Rumman was hurt for your sake and the sake of Your Prophet." The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), used to entrust 'Aishah to Umm Rummān's charge and say: “O Umm Rumman, be kind to 'Aishah and be mindful of me by kindness.”

It was Khawlah binti Hakim Al-Aslamiah who suggested to Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) to marry ‘Aishah which he agreed. Khawlah went to Umm Rummān to tell her and said: “O Umm Rumman, you cannot imagine how Allah has blessed your house! The Messenger of Allah sent me to seek 'Aishah for marriage.”

When Abu Bakar came back, Khawlah told him the news and he said: “Is she suitable for him? Is she niece for him?” Khawlah then went back to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), and told him what Abu Bakar had told her, and he, said: “Go back and tell Abu Bakar that he is my brother in Islam and I am his, and his daughter is good enough for me.”

After a consideration, Abu Bakar went to see Mut'am bin 'Udai, who had proposed ‘Aishah for his son Jubair. These people were still disbelievers. Mut’am said: “O son of Abu Quanah, we fear that if our son marrying your daughter 'Aishah, she would convince him to adopt Islam and we do not like it to happen.” Abu Bakar did not answer them but he was very pleased with it, he would absolve their promise and could give his full agreement to Prophet’s proposal.

She related about her wedding 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 disheveled," she said. "They came and took me amidst of busy playing and dressed me up."

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 residence where some of the Ansar women were waiting outside the door. They greeted her with the words "For good and for happiness may all be well!" Then, in the presence of the smiling Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), a bowl of milk was brought. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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' who 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 (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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(Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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." Sometimes 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 (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) came in when I was playing with the dolls and he said: 'O Aishah, whatever game is this?' 'It is Solomon's horses,' 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 was a young girl, but she was very quick to learn, for she had a clear heart, a quick mind and an accurate memory. She was not afraid to talk back in order to find out the truth or make it known, and whenever she beat someone else in argument, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  would smile and say: “She is the daughter of Abu Bakar!”

Musa bin Talhah said: “I have not seen anyone more eloquent than 'Aishah.” ‘Aishah became so wise that one of her contemporaries used to say that if the knowledge of 'Aishah were placed on one side of the scales and that of all other women on the other, 'Aishah's side would outweigh the others. She used to sit with the other women and pass on the knowledge that she had received from the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam). She was a source of knowledge and wisdom for both women and men long after the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), died and as long as she lived. Abu Musa once said: “Whenever a report appeared doubtful to us [the Companions of the Prophet] and we asked 'Aishah about it, we always learned something from her about it.”

In addition to being extremely intelligent, ‘Aishah became a very graceful young woman. When she first came to live in the Prophet's household as a young girl, a strong and lasting friendship grew up between her and Sawdah, and Sawdah took care of her along with the rest of the household. When ‘Aishah grew up, Sawdah, who was by then an old woman, gave up her share of the Prophet's time in favor of 'Aishah and was content to manage his household and be Umm al Mu’minun ‘The Mother of the Believers'- a title of respect that was given to all the wives of the Prophet SAW, which confirmed what the Quran clearly states that no man could marry any of them after they had been married to the Prophet(Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam):

“The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their mothers.” [Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:6]

During the nine years that ‘Aishah was married to Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), she witnessed many of the great events that shaped the destiny of the first Muslim community of Al-Madinah al Munawarah: It was during the course of their marriage that the direction of the Qiblah was changed from Jerusalem to Makkah, thereby distinguishing the Muslims more clearly from Jews and Christians. It was during the course of their marriage that she must have listened too many of the Jews, Christians, and idol worshippers who came not to listen to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), but to argue with him, in the hope that they could find a plausible excuse to justify their rejection of him. It was through exchanges such as these that ‘Aishah learned to distinguish what was true from what was false.

As the prophetic guidance continued to be revealed through the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), 'Aishah's way of life, along with that of all the Muslims, was gradually reshaped and refined. It was during the course of their marriage that drinking alcohol was finally forbidden, it was made clear what food was allowed [Halal] and what was prohibited [Haram], it became necessary for women to wear the Hijab in public and while praying, guidance regarding how to fast was revealed, paying the Zakah became obligatory on all Muslims and all rites of Hajj were purified and clarified.

Aishah's early life in Madinah also had its more serious and anxious times. Once three companions were staying with her father fell ill with a precarious fever, which was common in Madinah in certain seasons. Aishah went to visit him and was dismayed to find the three men lying absolutely 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(Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  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 understand them then. This was a demonstration of the great retentive power of her memory, which as the years went by was to preserve so many of the priceless sayings of the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam).

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 Bakar As-Siddiq, for ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, for Zaid bin Harithah and his son Usamah bin Zaid. But of his wives the only one he named in this relation 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 much as she loved the Prophet, so was her jealousy that 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 (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam). "Even so," she said, "and I am not as any other of your wives.” Every one of them had a husband before you, except me." 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 (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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. In addition, whenever he sacrificed 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 Quraish woman,” the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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 forsaken, 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, no fire would be lit in the sparsely furnished house of the Prophet, so for cooking or baking bread and they would live merely on dates and water. Scarcity did not cause her distress or humiliation; self-sufficiency when it did come did not corrupt her style of life.

It is clear that in spite of his wives' high station with Allah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) they were still human, and at times rather jealous of each other. Thus, it had been related by ‘Aishah that the Prophet usually visited his wives every afternoon, after the Asar prayer. On one occasion, he stayed longer than usual in the room of Zainab bint Jahsh, for someone had given her some honey, of which the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was very fond. "At this," said Aishah, "I felt jealous, and I, Hafsah, Sawdah, and Safiyyah agreed between ourselves that as he visited each of us, we would tell him that there was a funny smell coming from his mouth from what he had eaten, for we knew that he was particularly sensitive to offensive smells."

Everything went as planned, and as a result, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) vowed that he would never eat honey again, only to be reprimanded by the revelation of the following ayat:

O Prophet, why do you forbid what Allah has made lawful for you, in seeking to please your wives? In addition, Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate. [Surah At-Thrum, 66:1]

Allah made the whole matter known to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and he confronted the one whose idea it had been with the truth:

So when he told her about it, she said, 'Who told you this?' He said, 'I was told by the Knowing, the Aware.' [Surah At-Tahrim, 66:3]

This incident indicates the extent of the Prophet's submission to Allah. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was the means by which Allah taught the Muslims their deen in every moment and situation. What might have seemed an innocent bit of fun to his wives, was not permitted by Allah to result in any alteration to the hudud of Allah, to what is permitted and what is forbidden by Allah, for if the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) had never eaten honey again, then many of his Companions and followers might have done likewise.

On another occasion, when one of the Prophet's other wives, Umm Salamah complained on their behalf about the fact that more presents were being given to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) on the day that he was with ‘Aishah than on the days when he was with his other wives, he replied:

"O Umm Salamah, do not trouble me by harming ‘Aishah, for by Allah, the Divine inspiration never came to me while I was under the blanket of any woman amongst you except her." "I turn to Allah from troubling you, O Messenger of Allah," she said.

However the Prophet's other wives were still not content and asked Fatimah to speak to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) on their behalf. When she raised the subject, he said: "O my daughter, do you not love those I love?" "Yes." She said. "Then love her." He (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied.

On another occasion, Aishah was on a journey with the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and some of his Companions. She had borrowed a necklace from her sister Asmah and during the journey she discovered that she had mislaid it. The journey was delayed while some of the Companions looked for it, and after a while the time for the prayer came. There was no water with which to do wudu’, so they became very agitated about that. They went to Abu Bakar and said: "Do you see what ‘Aishah has done! She has caused the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) to stop at a place where there is no water!" Meanwhile, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) had fallen asleep with his head resting against ‘Aishah's lap. Abu Bakar went up to ‘Aishah and started to poke her and tick off her for holding up the people when they did not have any water. She did not move because she did not want to disturb the Prophet's sleep. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) soon woke up and the ayats about Tayammum were revealed, making it clear to everyone what should be done when a Muslim on a journey needs to do wudu’, but has no water.

Usaid ibn Hudair said to Abu Bakar: "This is not the first blessing to have come from your family." In addition, to ‘Aishah, "May Allah reward you with good! By Allah, whenever you have difficulty, Allah relieves you of it and gives a blessing to the Muslims by it as well!"

When they were about to resume their journey, ‘Aishah’s camel rose to its feet, and there was the necklace. The camel had been lying on it all the time! Being the daughter of Sayyiduna Abu Bakar, who on one occasion had given away all his wealth to be spent in the way of Allah, and the wife of Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) who kept nothing for himself, ‘Aishah was very generous. On one occasion, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) had sacrificed an animal, and ‘Aishah was so generous in sharing the meat out amongst the poor, that she found that she had left nothing for the Messenger's large household except the shoulder of the animal. Feeling a little distressed, she went to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), and said: "I've only been able to save this." "That is the only part that you have not saved," smiled the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam), "for whatever you give away in the name of Allah, you save, and whatever you keep for yourself, you lose."

It is sometime forgotten that the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) and his wives and Companions, , led very simple lives. It has been related that sometimes there was no smoke to be seen coming from the Prophet's home for weeks at a time meaning that there was not even flour to bake bread, let alone meat so that all there was to eat was dates and water, dates that came from palms whose roots the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said were in the Garden.

On another occasion, a beggar asked Aishah for some food while she was fasting, and there was only a loaf of bread in her house. She said to her maidservant, "Give it to him." "But you will not have anything to eat when you break your fast." Protested the servant. "Give it to him," repeated ‘Aishah. Therefore, she did so. When evening came, the people of the house of a man who did not usually give to them gave them a sheep and some food to go with it. ‘Aishah called her servant and said, "Eat from this. This is better than your loaf of bread!"

It has been related by ‘Aishah, that once when it was the Prophet's turn to spend the night with her, he quietly got up towards the end of the night and slipped out of the room, closing the door quietly behind him. ‘Aishah was curious to see where he was going, thinking that he had waited until he thought she was asleep. Quickly she got up, covered her head, and silently followed him until he came to the graveyard of al-Baqi. "He stood there," said ‘Aishah, 'and he stood for a very long time. Then he lifted his hands (in prayer) three times, and then turned to go, so I turned, He quickened his step, so I quickened my step. He began to run, so I began to run. I got back before he did, and entered my room and lay down. He came in and said: "Why are you out of breath, ‘Aishah?"

"It's nothing." I said. "Tell me, or the One Who is All Pervading and All Aware will tell me." "Messenger of Allah," I said, "May my father and mother be a ransom for you." And then I told him. "Was it you who I saw running in front of me?" he said. "Yes." I replied, and he hit me on the chest and it hurt. "Did you think that Allah and His Messenger would treat you unjustly?" he asked. "Whatever anyone conceals, Allah knows it." I replied. "When you saw me leaving," the Prophet explained: "it was because Jibril had come to me. He called me without you knowing it and I replied, but without you knowing it, because you were not fully dressed. I thought that you were asleep, and did not want to awaken you in case you were frightened. He (Jibril) said: "Your Lord has commanded you to go to the people of Al Baqi and to ask forgiveness of them." "I said: "How should I pray for them?" "Say; Peace be on the people of this place [the graveyard], from among the believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and on those who will follow later; and inshallah we will join you."Once the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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 Khaibar expedition when an increase of riches whetted the appetite for presents. Returning from his self-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, then 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 (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) 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. As the day of his own death approached, it is clear that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) wished to die in the company of ‘Aishah, for it is reported that during his final illness, which was probably the result of the poisoned food that he had been given at Khaibar, he inquired, "Where will I be tomorrow, where will I be tomorrow?" since he was hoping it would be Aishah's turn to be with him. In fact the Prophet asked his wives ' permission to remain in Aishah's room during his illness, and his other wives, [may Allah be pleased with them all), agreed to forego their turns. For much of the time during his last few days on earth the Prophet lay on a couch with his head resting on ‘Aishah's breast or lap. She it was who repeatedly recited the last two surahs of the Qur'an, the two surahs of seeking protection, and then blew her breath over him, just as he had taught her to do in the past, and then passed his hand over his body. It is related by ‘Aishah that she used his hand rather than her own, because she knew that his had had greater healing in it than her hand.

She was the one who took a siwak, toothstick from her brother, Abdul Rahman chewed it soften it and then gave it to the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam). Despite his weakness, he rubbed his teeth with it vigorously. ‘Aishah said some time later "So, Allah made my saliva mix with his saliva on his last day in this world and his first day in the next world." Not long afterwards, he lost consciousness and ‘Aishah thought it was on the onset of death, but after a while, he opened his eyes and murmured softly, "The Highest Company." ‘Aishah remembered that when the Prophet SAW had been in good health in the past, he had said:

"No prophet is taken by death until he has been shown his place in the Garden, and then offered the choice, to remain in this world or go to the Next World."

Remembering these words, she said to herself, "Then he will not stay with us." Then she heard him murmur:

"O Allah, forgive me and have mercy on me and join me with the Highest Company, the people whom Allah has blessed from among the Prophets and the truthful ones, and the martyrs, and the righteous ones and the best of company are they." [Surah An-Nisa, 4:69]

It was then that Aishah knew that he had been given the choice, and that he had made it. Again she heard him murmur: "O Allah, with the Highest Company," and these were the last words she heard him speak. Gradually his head grew heavier upon her breast, and gently she laid it on the pillow. Her beloved husband, the Messenger of Allah, the Seal of the Prophets, the Best of Creation, had died in her arms. At the time of his death, the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) was sixty-three years old, and ‘Aishah was eighteen.

At first the Prophet' s Companions were not sure where he should be buried, but then Abu Bakar as Siddiq remembered what when he was alive, the Prophet had said that the Prophets were always buried where they had died, so the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  was buried in ‘Aishah's room where he had died. ‘Aishah has related that during his final illness, Umm Habibah and Umm Salamah mentioned that when they had been in Abyssinia they had seen a church which had pictures in it. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) replied: "When one of their righteous people dies, they build a place of worship on his grave and then decorate it with such pictures. In the sight of Allah they will be the worst of people on the Day of Judgment."

‘Aishah has also related that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Allah has cursed the Jews and the Christians because they made the graves of their Prophets and righteous ones places of worship." ‘Aishah continued: "If it had not been for this, his grave would have been in an open place, but it could not be so, due to the fact that it might become a mosque."

In the passage of time, the Prophet's mosque in Medinah was enlarged again and again, so that now his grave is no longer next to the mosque, but inside it. However, although the hearts of the millions of Muslims who visit Medinah every year are filled with love, for the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  they are always careful to direct their worship towards Allah alone, perhaps remembering the words of Sayyiduna Abu Bakar when he first spoke to the Muslims who could not believe that their beloved Prophet had actually died:

"Whoever worshiped Muhammad, Muhammad is dead, and whoever worshipped Allah, Allah is the Living, and does not die." Then he quoted the ayat;

Muhammad is only a Messenger, whom other Messengers have preceded. Will it be that when he dies or is killed, you will turn your back on your heels? In addition, whoever turns back on his heels will not harm Allah in the least, and Allah will reward the thankful. (Quran 3:144)

Thus it was that the family and Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) had to accept the inevitable, even though no loss ever had been or ever would be as great as theirs would. It has been related by Anas ibn Malik that after the death of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) Sayyiduna Abu Bakar said to Sayyiduna Umar, "Let us visit Umm Ayman [who had looked after the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) when he was a small boy], for the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) used to visit her." When they came to her, she was weeping, and they said to her: "Why are you weeping? What the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) has now a better than this." "I am not weeping because I am unaware of the fact that what the Messenger of Allah (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) has now a better than this," she replied, "but I am weeping because the revelation that used to come from the heavens has ceased." This moved both of them to tears, and they began to weep with her.

‘Aishah Siddiqa (may Allah be pleased with her) once said, "O would that I were a leaf on a tree!" lived on for another fifty years after him after the Prophet's (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  death, dying at the age of sixty eight, in 58 AH .

During that time she saw many changes, not all of which were pleasant ones, for with the expansion and the conquests that the Muslims experienced, there came wealth, and with the wealth came disagreements and power struggles, and as we all know, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "I do not fear poverty for my community, but I fear wealth for them, for it destroy them as it destroy the people before them."

‘Aishah, however, like all of the Prophet's wives, (may Allah be pleased with all of them) remained detached from this world and longed to be reunited with the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  in the next; but while she was alive, she passed on her knowledge and wisdom to everyone who came to her. Much of what she transmitted was recorded in written form, and so countless Muslims have continued to benefit form it right up until today.

Abu Musa reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "There have been many men who have reached perfection, but no women, have reached perfection except Mary, the daughter of Imran, Aishah, the wife of Pharaoh, and the excellence of ‘Aishah as compared to the other women like in that of tharid [meat or vegetable stew, which was the Prophet's favorite food] over all other foods."

Aishah lived on almost fifty years after the passing away of the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam). 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 bin Umar 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 Hadith or sayings of the Prophet(Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam)  is concerned, Aishah is one of four persons [the others being Abu Hurairah, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Anas ibn Malik] who transmitted more than two thousand sayings. Many of these pertain to some of the most intimate 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 benefited 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 in not only 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 mathematical mind. Scholars regard her as one of the earliest Fuqaha of Islam along with persons like Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ali bin Abu Talib and Abdullah ibn Abbas.

The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) referring to her extensive knowledge of Islam is reported to have said: "Learn a portion of your religion (addin) from this red colored lady." "Hurairah" meaning "Red-colored" was an epithet given to Aishah by the Prophet(Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam). Aishah not only possessed great knowledge but also 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 Bakar 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 everywhere 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. Her nephew Urwah as a distinguished reporter of Hadith. Among her women pupils is the name of Umrah binti Abdul Rahman. She is regarded by scholars as one of the trustworthy narrators of Hadith 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-Zahrah [the Resplendent], Aishah as-Siddiqah [the one who affirms the Truth] is regarded as the greatest woman in Islam. Because of the strength of her personality, she was a leader in every field in knowledge, 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 Ramadhan and as she instructed, was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi in the City of Light, beside other companions of the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam).

And Allah Knows Best.

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