Aisha Siddiqa Bint-e-Abu Bakr (R.A.)

Gradually the Muslims who remained in Makkah left the city and traveled to Madina to join their beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him), and amongst them was a little girl called Aisha (R.A.), the daughter of Abu Bakr (R.A.). Soon after arriving in Medina, Aisha (R.A.) as married to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). It was at this point that she (R.A.) left her (R.A.) family’s household and joined that of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Aisha (R.A.) later reported that the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had told her that Jibril (A.S.) came to him (Peace be upon him) and showed him (Peace be upon him) a picture of her (R.A.) on a piece of green silk and said, “She (R.A.) is your wife in this world and in the next world.” About her (R.A.) wedding, she (R.A.) related that shortly before she (R.A.) was to leave her parents house, she (R.A.) slipped out into the courtyard to play with a friend. “I was playing on a seesaw and my long streaming hair became disheveled,” she (R.A.) said. “They came and took me from my play and made me ready.” They dressed her (R.A.) and then her (R.A.) mother took her to the newly built house where some women of the Ansar were waiting outside the door. They greeted her (R.A.) with the words, “For good and for happiness, may all be well.”
Her marriage to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did not change Aisha’s (R.A.) playful ways and her (R.A.) young friends continued to regularly come to visit her (R.A.) in her (R.A.) own room. “I would be playing with my dolls,” she (R.A.) once said, with the girls who were my friends, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would come in and they would leave the house and he (Peace be upon him) would go out after them and bring them back, for he (Peace be upon him) was pleased for my sake to have them there.” Sometimes he (Peace be upon him) would say, “Stay, where you are,” before they had time to leave, and would also join in their games. “One day”, Aisha (R.A.) said, “The Prophet (Peace be upon him) came in when I was playing with my dolls and said, ‘Aisha (R.A.), what game is this?’ ‘It is Solomon’s horses’, I replied, and he (Peace be upon him) laughed.” On another occasion, during the days of the Id al Azha, two young girls were with Aisha (R.A.) in her (R.A.) room, singing a song about the famous battle of Buath and beating a tambourine in time. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) came in and said, ‘Aisha (R.A.), and lay down with his face turned away. Then Abu Bakr (R.A.) came, and scolded me, saying, ‘What is this musical instrument of Shaytan doing in the house of the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him)?’ The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) turned towards him (R.A.) and said, ‘Leave them alone, for these are the days of the Id.’”
After a while, Aisha (R.A.) asked the girls to leave, and the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked Aisha (R.A.) whether she (R.A.) would like to watch the Abyssinians who were giving a fighting display with their weapons and she (R.A.) said yes. “By Allah”, said Aisha (R.A.), “I remember the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) standing at the door of my room, screening me with his cloak, so that I could see the sport of the Abyssinians as they played with their spears. He (Peace be upon him) kept standing for my sake until I had enough and then I went back in, so you can well imagine how a young girl enjoyed watching this display.”
Some might have viewed the marriage of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Aisha(R.A.) as an exceptional marriage, but then the two partners were exceptional people. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was the last of the Prophets (A.S.) and the best of creation; and Aisha (R.A.) was a very intelligent and observant young girl with a very good memory. Aisha (R.A.) spent the next nine years of her life with the Prophet (Peace be upon him), she (R.A.) remembered all that she (R.A.) saw and heard with great clarity, for to be the wife of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was even more than extraordinary. So much happened around him (Peace be upon him). The Quran continued to be revealed, Ayat by Ayat, and people’s hearts were constantly being turned over and transformed, including hers and she (R.A.) was a witness of so much of all that took place. It is not surprising, therefore, that a great deal of the knowledge that we still have today, about how our beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him) lived and behaved, was first remembered and then taught to others by Aisha (R.A.).
Whereas Khadijah (R.A.) was already a wise and mature woman when she (R.A.) married the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him), Aisha (R.A.) was a spirited young girl who still had a great deal to learn when she (R.A.) married the Prophet (Peace be upon him) she (R.A.) was very quick to learn, however, for she (R.A.) had a clear heart, and a quick mind and an accurate memory. She (R.A.) was not afraid to talk back in order to find out the truth or make it known, and whenever she (R.A.) discussed someone else in argument, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) would smile and say, “She is the daughter of Abu Bakr (R.A.)!”
Musa bin Talha (R.A) once said, “I have not seen anyone more eloquent than Aisha (R.A.).” Aisha (R.A.) became so wise that one of her (R.A.) contemporaries used to say that if the knowledge of Aisha (R.A.) were placed on one side of the scales that of all other women on the other, Aisha’s (R.A.) side would outweigh the other. She (R.A.) used to sit with the other women and pass on the knowledge that she (R.A.) had received from the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and long after he
(Peace be upon him) had died, and as long as she (R.A.) lived, she (R.A.) was a source of knowledge and wisdom for both women and men.
Abu Musa (R.A.) once said, “Whenever a report appeared doubtful to us, the Companions (R.A.) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and we (R.A.) asked Aisha (R.A.) about it, we (R.A.) always learned something from her (R.A.) about it.”
On an occasion, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said to her, “O Aisha (R.A.), here is Jibril (A.S.) giving you greetings of peace.” “And on him be peace.” She (R.A.) said, “and the mercy of Allah.” When she (R.A.) was telling Abu Salama (R.A.) about this, she (R.A.) added, “He (Meaning the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him)) sees what I do not see.” As well as being extremely intelligent, Aisha (R.A.) became a very graceful young woman. When she (R.A.) first came to live in the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) household as a young girl, a strong and lasting friendship grew up between her (R.A.) and Sawda (R.A.), and Sawda (R.A.) took care of her (R.A.) along with the rest of the household. When Aisha (R.A.) grew up, Sawda (R.A.), who was by then an old woman, gave her (R.A.) share of the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) time in favor of Aisha (R.A.) and was content to manage his (Peace be upon him) household and be Umm-e-Al Mumineen – ‘The Mother of the Believers’ – a title of respect that was given to all of the Wives (R.A.) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him), which confirmed what the Quran clearly states that no man could marry any of them after they had been married to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) for:
The Prophet (Peace be upon him) is closer to the believers than their ownselves, and his wives are as their mothers. (Quran: 33:6)
O you wives of the Prophet, if any of you is openly indecent, the punishment for her will be doubled – and that is easy for Allah. And whoever of you submits to Allah and His Messenger has right action, We shall give her a reward twice over and We have prepared a generous provision for her. O you wives of the Prophet, you are not like any other women. If you are fearful of Allah then do not be soft in speech, lest someone whose heart is sick is attracted to you, but speak words that are wise. And stay quietly in your houses, do not make a dazzling display like that of the time of ignorance before and establish prayer and pay the poor-due and obey Allah and His Messenger. Surely Allah wishes to remove impurity far from you, O People of the House, and to purify you completely. And remember that Ayahs of Allah that are recited in your houses and the wisdom. Surely Allah is All-pervading, All Aware. (Quran 33:30-34)
It is sometimes difficult to picture what life must have been like for the Wives (R.A.) and the Companions (R.A.) of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) because the light that emanated from him (Peace be upon him) and through them (R.A.) was so unique. The Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) had no shadow because he
(Peace be upon him) was full of positive light and this light illuminated the hearts and minds and understanding of his (Peace be upon him) followers, giving them insight without blinding them. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was truly a mercy to all the worlds, and no one with a clean heart could possibly forget this, least of all the Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself.
O Prophet, surely We have sent you as a witness and as a bringer of good news and a warner; and one who calls the people to Allah by His permission, and as a lamp that giveth light. (Quran 33:45-46)
It is said that people were awed by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) when they (R.A.) were in his (Peace be upon him) presence, and that they (R.A.) sat and listened to his (Peace be upon him) words with their (R.A.) eyes lowered, as if they (R.A.) had birds perched on their (R.A.) heads, and that they (R.A.) would do anything for him (Peace be upon him), so great was their (R.A.) love for him (Peace be upon him). It was because of the perfection of the Prophet Muhammad
(Peace be upon him) that everyone was commanded to ask blessings on him (Peace be upon him):
Lo! Allah and His angels pray (Send) blessings on the Prophet. O ye who believe! Ask blessings on him and salute him with a worthy salutation. (Quran 33:56)
It was because of the Prophet Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) unique station with Allah that his (Peace be upon him) Wives (R.A.) and his (Peace be upon him) Companions were expected by Allah to behave with such respect and courtesy towards the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and that his (Peace be upon him) Wives (R.A.) could not possibly marry anyone else after having been married to him (Peace be upon him):
When you ask them (wives of Prophet Mohammad) for something, ask them from behind a curtain. That is purer for your hearts and for their hearts. It is not for you to cause injury (annoyance) to the Messenger of Allah, or ever marry his wives after him. To do that would be something dreadful in the sight of Allah. (Quran 33:53)
During the nine years that Aisha (R.A.) was married to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) she (R.A.) witnessed many of the great events that shaped the destiny of the first Muslim community of Madina Al Munawarra: It was during the course of their marriage that she (R.A.) direction of the Qibla was changed from Jerusalem to Makkah, thereby more clearly distinguishing the Muslims from the Jews and the Christians, and it was during the course of their marriage that she (R.A.) must have listened to many of the Jews and the Christians and the idol worshippers who came not to listen to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) but to argue with him (Peace be upon him) in the hope that they could find a plausible excuse to justify their rejection of him (Peace be upon him). It was through exchange such as these that Aisha (R.A.) learned to distinguish what was true from what was false. As the Prophetic guidance continued to be revealed through the Prophet Muhammad
(Peace be upon him), Aisha’s (R.A.) 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, that it was made clear what food is Halal and what food is Haram, that it became necessary for women to wear the Hijab in public and when praying, that the guidance about Fasting was revealed, that paying the Zakat became obligatory on all Muslims, and that all rites of the Hajj were purified and clarified.
In fact every aspect of life, from birth to death and everything that happens in between, was illuminated by the way in which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) behaved and it was his (Peace be upon him) way of behavior; the Sunna, that Aisha (R.A.) helped to preserve and protect, not only by embodying it herself, but also by teaching it to others. Aisha (R.A.) was once asked to describe the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and she (R.A.) replied that he (Peace be upon him) was ‘the Quran walking’, meaning that his (Peace be upon him) behavior was the Quran translated into action. She (R.A.) did all that she (R.A.) could to do likewise. Thus she (R.A.) not only knew and embodied the Sunna, but also she (R.A.) memorized the Quran by heart and understood it. It was during the course of their marriage that amongst others, the battles of Badr, and Uhud, and Al-Khandaq (The Ditch) were fought. These were the three major battles against the Quraish that shifted the balance of power out of the hands of the kafirun (Non Muslims) and into the hands of the Muslims. Although she (R.A.) was still very young, Aisha (R.A.) participated in them all, bringing water for the Muslims warriors, and helping to look after the wounded. She (R.A.) witnessed life, and she (R.A.) witnessed death – both in the way of Allah and against the kafirun (Non Muslims) and she (R.A.) understood both. Indeed one of the meanings of her (R.A.) name, ‘Aisha’ (R.A.), is ‘life’.
It was during the course of their marriage that the Jews plotted and tried to kill the Prophet (Peace be upon him) on more than one occasion, without success and were punished for this. First the Banu Qayunqa and then the Banu Nadir were expelled from Medina; and then Banu Qurayza; who had broken their agreement with the Muslims during the battle of Khandaq and conspired to exterminate all of them; were subjected to the punishment that was decided by the man whom they themselves had chosen to judge their actions, Said ibn-e-Muadh (R.A.). In accordance with the commands contained in their own book, the Torah, all the men were killed; with the exception of four who accepted Islam and all the women and children were taken as slaves. It was after this event that another tribe, the Banu al Mustaliq began to prepare to fight the Muslims, and accordingly the Prophet (Peace be upon him) led an army against them. Often when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) went to war, he (Peace be upon him) took one of his (Peace be upon him) Wives (R.A.) with him (Peace be upon him). When he (Peace be upon him) went to fight the Banu al-Mustaliq, it was Aisha (R.A.) who traveled with him (Peace be upon him).
It was also during the course of Aisha’s (R.A.) marriage with the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) that the Muslim expanded so rapidly that Makkah was eventually conquered by the Muslim army, and preparations were made for the first of the many battles that were successfully fought against the Greeks and the Persians after the letters from Muhammad (Peace be upon him) inviting Heraclius and Choroes to embrace Islam and worship Allah alone had been contemptuously ignored. This extraordinary expansion, even the idea of which would, at the time of Khadijah’s (R.A.) death have seemed like a wild dream was heralded, in 6 AH, by the treaty of Hudaybiyya, by virtue of which peace was declared between the Quraish and the Muslims for ten years, and the right of the Muslims to enter Makkah and perform Umra unharmed was recognized by the Quraish.
Although the Muslims had to wait for a year before they could perform Umra that year was not long in passing and in the interval the Jews of Khaybar, who like the other Jews around Madina had attempted to destroy the Muslim community by breaking their peace agreement with the Muslims and supporting the idol worshippers were fought and defeated. After the Jews of Khaybar had been defeated, a Jewess managed to serve the Prophet (Peace be upon him) some poisoned meat, which itself informed him (Peace be upon him) that it had been poisoned, so that he (Peace be upon him) only had a small taste of it. Even though one of his (Peace be upon him) companions (R.A.) who had already eaten some of the meat subsequently died, the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) forgave the Jewess and let her go free.
The Jews of Khaybar were permitted to stay on their land provided that they paid a yearly tribute to the Muslims. As a result, some of the Muslims began to grow wealthier than they (R.A.) had been in the past.
After a year had passed following the treaty of Hudaybiyya, the Muslims traveled to Makkah and they were able to complete all the rites of the Umra, doing everything as the Prophet (Peace be upon him) did. In accordance with the terms of the treaty, the Muslims left after three days, when the Umra had been completed. Not long after this, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) sent an army of three thousand Muslims northwards to the borders of the Byzantine territories in what is now Palestine to chastise the tribes there for killing the messengers (R.A.) whom he (Peace be upon him) had sent to call them to Islam. The tribes called on the Emperor Herclius for support, and when the Muslim army arrived at Muta, they (R.A.) found themselves facing an army of two thousand men. Many of the Muslims (R.A.) received martyrdom (Shahdat) on the day of the battle, but thanks to the tactics of Khalid bin Walid (R.A.), the Greeks withdrew the next day, and so the Muslims were able to return to Medina relatively unscathed. When the news of the battle of Muta finally reached Makkah, the Quraish mistakenly believed that the Muslims had been thoroughly defeated by the Greeks and decided to renew their opposition to the Prophet (Peace be upon him). In doing so, they deliberately broke their treaty that they had made at Hudaybiiya, by allowing their allies to attack and kill some of the allies of the Muslims who lived near Makkah.
Accordingly the Prophet (Peace be upon him) marched on Makkah as the head of an army of ten thousand Muslims. Despite everyone’s fears, he (Peace be upon him) conquered it with hardly a drop of blood being spilled. As always, the mercy and forgiveness that he (Peace be upon him) displayed towards those who had relentlessly opposed him (Peace be upon him) for so many years changed people’s hearts, and many of the people of Makkah now embraced Islam as a result. Having pardoned all of the Quraish, with the exception of four men who had all committed murder for personal reasons, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) smashed all the idols and destroyed all the paintings that had been placed inside the Kaba by the idol worshippers. The sanctity of the sanctuary of Makkah had been restored, and at long last the Muslims were free to come and go in Makkah as they pleased.
In the midst of the peace and rejoicing, however, news came that the tribes of Hawazin and Saqif were preparing to attack the Muslims. The Muslim army that had conquered Makkah, swelled to twelve thousand by some of the men from the Quraish who had just embraced Islam, marched to a place called Hunayn. For the first time in their experience, the Muslims actually outnumbered the enemy, of whom there were only about four thousand. This nearly proved to be the Muslims undoing, for many of them felt secure because of their large numbers rather than because of the reliance on Allah. When the enemy suddenly attacked at dawn, showering down arrows from the hills, the Muslims were taken by surprise and many began to flee. A small group stood firm with the Prophet (Peace be upon him), one of whom was
Umm-e-Sulaym bint-e-Milhan (R.A.) the wife of Abu Talha (R.A.). Although she (R.A.) was pregnant at the time, she (R.A.) had armed herself with a dagger to use against the kafirun (Non Muslims).
Fortunately the strong Muslims rallied round the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and although there were only six hundred of them, their concerted effort, fighting valiantly in the way of Allah, turned the tide of the battle until those who had turned away in the initial panic and confusion had returned and the battle was won. After the battle of Hunayn, the only continued resistance to the Muslims was from the north and north-east, from the Byzantine and Persian Empires. Having heard that the Greeks were preparing a huge army of thirty thousand men and marched out in the heat of the late summer to do battle with them. After a long, hard, hot march, the Muslim army reached Tabuk, and here they learned that the Greeks had retreated back to their own territory. Accordingly, having made peace treaties with all the border tribes, the Muslims returned to Medina, in time for many of them to go on the pilgrimage (Hajj) to Makkah. Those who had made weak excuses in order to avoid going on the expedition to Tabuk now felt great shame and regret. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) himself did not go on the pilgrimage this year, for people were coming to Medina from all over the Arab lands to embrace Islam and to pledge allegiance to him (Peace be upon him). It was this year that came to be known as ‘the Year of the Delegations’, during which, at one point, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) became so exhausted from seeing people that he (Peace be upon him) had to pray sitting down. So instead, Abu Bakr (R.A.) led the pilgrims. It was during this hajj that the Ayat in the Quran that forbade the idol worshippers from ever entering the sanctuary of Makkah again were revealed; they were made public during the Hajj by Ali ibn-e-Abi Talib (R.A.) who was sent straight from Medina to Makkah as soon as they had been revealed, so that as many people as possible would hear them. The following year, when the time for the pilgrimage came near, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) announced that he (Peace be upon him) was going on the Hhajj, and as a result everyone wanted to perform it with him (Peace be upon him). The Muslims who did not live in or near Medina either first traveled to Medina in order to accompany him (Peace be upon him) on the journey to Makkah or else traveled to Makkah from every part of Arabia and joined him (Peace be upon him) there.
Amongst the people on what has become known as ‘the Farewell Pilgrimage’ of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was Aisha (R.A.), for the Prophet (Peace be upon him) asked all of his (Peace be upon him) Wives (R.A.) to accompany him (Peace be upon him), to ensure that they (R.A.) all fulfilled this particular obligation that every Muslim owes to his or her Lord. It was an extraordinary pilgrimage. There never had been, and there never has been, and there never will be, another Hajj like that, for at its heart was the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and around him (Peace be upon him) were his (Peace be upon him) family and Companions (R.A.) During the Hajj the Ayat of the Quran was revealed:
This day I have perfected your deen for you and have completed My blessing on you, and have chosen Islam for you as your deen. (Quran 5:3)
It was also during this Hajj that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) gave his (Peace be upon him) famous Farewell Khutba, whose words still ring in our ears and echo in our hearts all these centuries later. When he (Peace be upon him) had finished speaking to the thousands of thousands of Muslims who were gathered around him
(Peace be upon him) on the plain of Arafa, he (Peace be upon him) raised his (Peace be upon him) voice slightly and asked, “My Lord, have I delivered the message?” And the voices from all around him (Peace be upon him) answered his question: “Yes, you (Peace be upon him) have.” He (Peace be upon him) further said to convey the message to those whom are not present there; and so it has continued, right up until today. And one of those who was present was Aisha (R.A.), of whom the Prophet (Peace be upon him) once said, “Learn some of your deen from this red haired lady. (Meaning Aisha (R.A.))”
This is not surprising, for she (R.A.) is one of the four people who have transmitted more than two thousand Hadiths, the others being Abu Hurairah (R.A.), Abdullah bin Umar (R.A.), and Anas bin Malik (R.A.). Many of these are about some of the most intimate aspects of personal behavior and hygiene which only someone in Aisha’s (R.A.) position could have learned. It was during the course of his (Peace be upon him) marriage with Aisha (R.A.) that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) married several other Wives (R.A.), usually to strengthen ties between important families and tribes, or to relieve the hardship of a woman who had been unexpectedly divorced or widowed, or in order to clearly demonstrate whom it was permissible for a Muslim to marry, but above all because all of his (Peace be upon him) marriage had been decreed by Allah, and because all of his (Peace be upon him) Wives (R.A.) were exceptional women.