(Part 2 in series on Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)’s life)
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra), daughter of Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), was one of the wives of the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw). Because of her young age, she was able to observe the Messenger of Allah from close and recall many things about her husband’s life. This article provides a brief synopsis of her affectionate relationship including a full exposition of the calumny attributed to her.
Life in Madinah
The Holy Prophet(saw)’s home was adjacent to the Mosque. As the walls were quite thin, conversation in the small mosque was audible in the house. The mosque was the focus of constant activity. There were prayers, visitors to the Holy Prophet(saw), religious and educational instructions, administrative and judicial decision making and preaching amongst other activities that took place.
Due to her exemplary upbringing, Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) was no novice to spiritual pursuits. She comfortably took on her role in the sacred home of the Holy Prophet(saw). Her life revolved around her most noble husband whom she observed closely, and she committed his words to memory.
When asked about the behaviour of the Holy Prophet(saw), Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) is reported to have replied: “He excelled all men in gentle speech, smiling countenance and cheerful temperament.” (Sahih Muslim Mawahib-ud-Dunya. Vol.1, p.293)
Tirmidhi has recorded that Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) was asked what the Holy Prophet(saw) did when he was in the house. She responded:
“He was a man like other men; he would look after his clothes himself, he would milk the goat, he attended to his personal needs himself.”
In another report, in response to a similar question by Aswad bin Yazeed, she said:
“He helped the members of his family in whatever they were doing and when he heard the Adhan [Call] for Prayers he proceeded to the Mosque.”
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) is also reported to have said that the Holy Prophet(saw) was exceptionally modest. When he consorted with a wife he prayed:
“Lord, safeguard us against Satan, and keep Satan away from that which Thou mightest bestow upon us.” (Muhammad, Seal of Prophets, Zafrulla Khan p.280)
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) observed that when the Holy Prophet(saw) was served food, he never found fault with what he was given (Tirmidhi).
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)’s house was a small room with a little space for a courtyard. Imam Bukhari has recorded that Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) stated that the bedding in her home consisted of a mat made of leather or camel-hair (Bukhari, Vol.1, Bab-us-Salat).
The Holy Prophet(saw) created a pious atmosphere in his home. Masnad Ahmad bin Hanbal has recorded that upon entry into his private quarters, the Holy Prophet(saw) would often proclaim;
“If the son of Adam had two valleys full of treasure in his possession, he would desire a third one! The greed of his mouth can only be silenced with dust. Allah the Almighty says: We have created wealth so that it will remind man of his Creator and for providing sustenance for the needy. The one who turns towards Allah the Almighty will find that Allah the Almighty turns to him.”
This was his reminder to everyone listening that even in their private moments, indulgence was not the aim of life, but rather to turn to Allah the Almighty in order to seek real pleasure.
The Relationship of Love between the Holy Prophet(saw) and Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)
Arabs at that time looked upon women as worthless possessions and objects for sexual gratification.
The Holy Prophet(saw) introduced a totally new form of decorum towards women. In general, he would observe no formality or formal protocol when meeting people. He used to say: “I am not of those who adopt unnecessary formality.” He would sit on the floor next to Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) and drink from the same part of the bowl that she had drunk from. When they ate, he would sometimes suck the piece of bone she had sucked, as a demonstration of his affection. The love Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) had for the Holy Prophet(saw) was evident in everything she did. Also, prior to her nine years of married life, she had observed and inherited the love of her father, Hadhrat Abu Bakr(ra), later to become the First Caliph, for his beloved friend, the Holy Prophet(saw).
Due to her young age, the Holy Prophet(saw) was especially kind and gracious towards Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra). She has also, very honestly, put on record any mistakes she made where he admonished her. These incidents have become a guide for Muslim people. May Allah the Almighty Bless and reward her abundantly, for passing on those precious pieces of advice!
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) would lovingly prepare the food for the Holy Prophet(saw) herself, and she would grind the flour and cook the flat bread. She would clean and tidy the house and comb the Holy Prophet(saw)’s hair, and she would apply perfume to his clothes. She attended the religious instructions and commentaries given in the mosque and would attentively listen to them in their entirety. As a result, she was able to relate over two thousand Ahadith (Traditions) for the understanding of the faith of Islam.
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) relates:
“One day, the Holy Prophet(saw) was mending his shoe and I was working on the spinning wheel. As I looked up I saw that the forehead of the Holy Prophet(saw) was glistening with sweat and I saw a light gleaming in his forehead, which continued to grow and spread. It was a sight to behold! I was watching with fascination. The Holy Prophet(saw) looked up and asked: ‘‘A’ishah why are you looking so astonished?’ I said: ‘O, Prophet of Allah! I saw that your forehead is glistening with sweat and there is a light shinning in it. I was totally spellbound. I swear in the name of Allah the Almighty that if the poet Abu Kabeer Hazli was able to see you, he would have realised that you are the true portrayal of his verses’, and I read the following verses:
He is free from any maligning residue of birth or growth. When you look at the creases of his illumined brow you find his face brighter in luminous splendour than the pure sparkle of lightning itself.”
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) relates:
“When the Holy Prophet(saw) heard this, he put down whatever was in his hand and kissed her forehead and said: ‘Your delight could not have been as much as the delight you have given me!’” (Madarij-ul-Salikeen, Imam Ibn Qayyim p.177, Mutahher ‘Aeli Zindagi p.38)
Once the Holy Prophet(saw) raced against Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra). At that time, she was very slim, and she won the race. After some time, they raced each other again, and this time the Holy Prophet(saw) won the race and said jokingly: “‘A’ishah! Now the score is settled!” (Abu Da’ud).
Bukhari relates an incident where it is said that either the Holy Prophet(saw) related a story to Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) or she narrated it to him. The story consisted of the tales of eleven women who decided to share their experience of what their husbands were truly like. It was quite a long story, with each wife spelling out the good and bad qualities of her husband and his behaviour towards her. Most were filled with pathos, but the last one who spoke said: “My husband’s name is Abu-Zar’a”; she described at length how kind and good her husband was to her, and how he provided everything for her. She related that she had no worries, as he never scolded her, even if she spoke sharply, and that he never picked fault with her and would shower her with attention and gifts. Her home was a picture of peace and tranquillity!
Listening to this, the Holy Prophet(saw) asked: “‘A’ishah! Am I like Abu-Zar’a in your favour?” Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) immediately exclaimed: “O, Prophet of Allah! May my mother and father be sacrificed on you! You are far greater than that!”
In an Arabic Qaseedah, the Promised Messiah(as) has exquisitely formulated the emotion which springs to the heart on reading about this incident:
What a man! How noble! How Gracious!
The fragrance emerging from him wins over the heart!
God Almighty is visible in his face;
The Graces of the Almighty are so evident in every move he makes!
This Hadith also illustrates the Holy Prophet(saw)’s humbleness. He did not point out to Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) how very fortunate she was to be married to a man like him, a Prophet of God, who could not be compared to any other human being. Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) in turn demonstrated her recognition of his status and grace by her reply to him, which showed that the Holy Prophet(saw) was dearer to her than any other love she held.
The Holy Prophet’s(saw) regard for Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)
Hadhrat Amar bin ‘Aas(ra) has related:
“I asked the Holy Prophet(saw), ‘Who do you love most amongst the people?’
He replied ‘‘A’ishah!’
I said, ‘Out of the men?’ He replied, ‘‘A’ishah’s Father!’ I said: ‘Who after that?’ He replied, ‘‘Umar bin Al-Khattaab’, and then he mentioned some more names.”
For the Arabs of that era, it was totally alien to express such honour for any woman. This Hadith speaks volumes, not only of Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra), but also shows that the Holy Prophet(saw) had no qualms about repeating Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)’s name. In response to the second query, which the questioner expressed in an embarrassed fashion, the Prophet(saw) could have easily said: “Abu Bakr!” i.e. Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)’s father’s name, but the choice of words was in order to demonstrate to the questioner, and to the world at large, that it was quite all right to honour women! For this gracious attitude to women, the following sentiment most beautifully expressed by the Promised Messiah(as) encapsulates the feelings of the followers of the Holy Prophet(saw).
O Allah, Our Almighty Lord! Continue forever to send countless blessings
upon your Holy Messenger, in this world and in the hereafter!
The Holy Prophet(saw) was extremely gentle and kind to his wives. On one occasion he said to Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra):
“‘A’ishah, whenever you are upset with me I always know it.”
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) enquired
“How is that?”
The Prophet(saw) replied:
“I have noticed that when you are pleased with me then in the course of conversation if you have to refer to God, you refer to Him as ‘the Lord of Muhammad.’ But if you are not pleased with me you refer to Him as the Lord of Abraham.”
At this Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) laughed and said he was right.
(Bukhari Kitab-ul-Nikah, Introduction to the Study of the Holy Qur’an, Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad(ra), p.323)
Depicting the general attitude of men towards women, Imam Bukhari has quoted a statement of Hadhrat ‘Umar Farooq(ra):
“In Makkah we despised women as lowly creatures. In Madinah the people accorded slight status to them, but when Islam arrived, we were made aware of the honour and status of women.” (Sahih Bukhari, Vol.1, p.869)
This change was brought about in favour of women, for the first time in the history of the world.
The wives lived adjacent to the mosque in their own quarters and each one had a day assigned to them. Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) relates that the Holy Prophet(saw) was very meticulous in visiting them all in turn. He would also drop by to see each one every day in order to tend to their needs (Mutahher ‘Aeli Zindagi, p.125).
The training thus received by these ladies was a source of learning piety and righteousness for Muslims. The Holy Prophet(saw) is reported to have said:
“I am leaving two things amongst you which hold tremendous weight: The foremost is the Book of Allah the Almighty and then the members of my family!”
The Holy Prophet(saw)’s life was the Holy Qur’an in practice, and these pious ‘Mothers of the Believers,’ as Allah the Almighty has called them, were the source of guidance and nurturance for the Ummah (Muslim people).
The Great Lie (Al-’Ifk)
The Holy Qur’an has recorded this incident as the “Ifk” (‘the lie’).
The background to this calumny was an incident that occurred around the Fifth Year after migration when the Muslims returned after a battle with the tribe of Banu Mustaliq. The Qur’aish, the most powerful tribe in Makkah, were inciting various tribes against the Muslims. One of those was the Banu Mustaliq, a branch of the Banu Khuza‘ah tribe. Their chief, Al-Harith bin Abi Dirar, persuaded the other tribes to attack Madinah.
The Holy Prophet(saw) received news that a large contingent of the enemy was preparing to attack. He left Madinah to counter them before they could attack.
When the enemy realised that Muslims had arrived in a large contingent, they were overcome with fear and then all the tribes dispersed, apart from the Banu Mustaliq.
The Holy Prophet(saw) announced that the Muslims would return without harming them if they pledged to accept Islamic governance. However, the Banu Mustaliq refused and attacked the Muslims.
The Holy Prophet(saw) directed the army in such a way that the enemy was encircled and had to lay down its weapons. Only one Muslim and ten enemies lost their lives.
The Holy Prophet(saw) decided to stay a few days in the area, but an incident occurred which brought to light the animosity and malice which the chief of the hypocrites harboured in his heart for the Holy Prophet(saw).
Two men quarrelled with each other and Muslims of various tribes ran for help. Although the tension was defused, the chief of the hypocrites, ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul, tried to incite hatred against the Holy Prophet(saw). He announced:
“Let us return to Madinah. Then will the most honoured among its citizens (meaning himself) expel the most despised (meaning the Holy Prophet(saw)).”
The Holy Qur’an has recorded this in Surah Al-Munafiqun. An insult of this magnitude would have enraged the Muslims to the point of putting this man to death. However, when he and his companions were asked, they denied having said it.
The Holy Prophet(saw), forgave the man, but as passions were running high, the Holy Prophet(saw), contrary to his normal practice, instructed the Muslims to leave during the middle of the day. The party marched for a day and a half. When they halted for a break, almost every one fell into a deep sleep.
‘Abdullah bin Ubayy’s son stopped his father from entering Madinah until he made the admission that he was the most despised amongst the people and the Holy Prophet(saw) was the most honoured. ‘Abdullah bin Ubayy, who had accompanied the Muslims to try and stir up trouble, returned writhing and raging inwardly, as had the Holy Prophet(saw) not arrived in Madinah, he would have been crowned the ruler of Madinah. He falsely tried to find a point to attack the honour of the Holy Prophet(saw) and thus diminish the strength and morale of the Muslims.
The next incident was vouched in a revelation in the Holy Qur’an. Hadhrat ‘A’ishah’s(ra) version of what happened has been taken from the most reliable narrator of Traditions in Islam, Sahih Al-Bukhari. (See Seerat Khatam-ul-Nabiyyeen by Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmed(ra), and Muhammad: Seal of the Prophets by Chaudhry Zafrullah Khan(ra)).
The Incident of Ifk as related by Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)
Hardhat ‘A’ishah(ra) relates:
“It was the practice of the Holy Prophet(saw) that whenever he was about to proceed on a journey he would pick by means of a draw the name of which of the wives were to accompany him. Once, on such an occasion, the name was picked out of the draw [and] my name appeared, so I was taken along on this Battle. The injunction for purdah [covering] had already been revealed, so I used to sit on the camel with curtains tied around the seat (called a Hawdah), wherever the caravan stopped, the Hawdah was lifted down and I could come out, and when the caravan had to leave, the men would lift the Hawdah to the top of the camel while I was sitting in it.
On the return journey when after the Battle, we had arrived near Madinah. Late in the evening the Holy Prophet(saw) gave orders to the party to march on. When I heard this announcement, I proceeded to answer a call of nature and then returned to my camel. I then realised that my necklace had gone missing. I returned to look for the necklace; it took me some time. While I was away, the men appointed to lift my Hawdah lifted it and mounted it onto the camel, assuming that I was inside it, and the caravan moved away. The reason the men did not notice was that due to the scarcity of food and difficult economic situation, women were very light in weight: they could not put on much flesh on the body, and also I was quite young at the time.
When I returned to the spot, I found that the caravan was gone and the field was empty. I was extremely distressed, but then I thought that I should stay at the spot, and when it will be realised that I am not in my carriage they will come looking for me. I sat down to wait. After a long time waiting, I fell asleep. It so happened that Safwan bin Mu’attal, whose duty was to follow the caravans for security and so that he could pick up anything that had fallen off the camels or had been left behind, reached the spot in the early hours of the morning and saw me sleeping by the wayside. He had seen me before the admonishment of purdah had been revealed, and so he recognised me. He was so disturbed that he exclaimed, surely to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. When I heard this exclamation I woke up with a start and quickly covered my face with my cloak. I swear in the name of Allah the Almighty that he did not utter another word and neither did I hear him say anything. He brought his camel in front of me and made it sit down then. He placed his foot on the knees of the camel so that it could not rise suddenly. I climbed onto the back of the camel and Safwan started walking in front of the camel holding the reins, until we met up with the caravan where it had camped. This is the whole incident.
Thereafter when we arrived in Madinah with the Holy Prophet(saw), it so happened that I became ill after arriving in Madinah and continued to be ill for a month. During this time, the mischief mongers continued to spread the malicious rumour against me, but I was totally unaware of it. The only thing which I felt and was grieving about was that the Holy Prophet(saw) was not as affectionate as was his practice. He would come home and offer greetings and enquire about my health and would return after that. This practice hurt me very much, but my illness had made me very weak so I did not say anything.
By coincidence, one day I found out from Umm Mistah, who was a relative of ours, that her son was involved in the mischief mongering of spreading the accusation about me.”
Syed Salman Nadawi writes in his biography of Hadhrat ‘A’ishah Siddiqah(ra) that when she heard this accusation, she could not believe it, but then a lady from the Ansar tribe repeated the whole story as it was being spread in Madinah. On hearing this, Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) was so shocked that she fainted. Hadhrat ‘A’ishah’s(ra) own account continues thus:
“When the Holy Prophet(saw) came as usual and enquired: ‘How are you feeling now?’, I sought his permission to retire for some days to my parents’ house. He gave me permission, and I went home to them. My purpose in going home was to find out what was being said about me. I spoke to my mother and she sought to comfort me, by saying, ‘Daughter, do not grieve, it often happens that when a man has more than one wife, and he is fonder of one of them then some scandal is hatched against her.’ I then understood that scandal was being spread against me and I began to weep and spent the whole night crying, grieved to the soul.”
About the next day, the Holy Prophet(saw) summoned Hadhrat ‘Ali bin Abu Talib(ra) and Usamah bin Zaid(ra), seeking their counsel, because no revelation had been received for some time, and the Holy Prophet(saw) was worried. He enquired from the two as to what their advice would be. Both these young men had grown up in the household of the Holy Prophet(saw), and in those small houses, which were built almost open-plan, the comings and goings of any nature would not have missed their scrutiny. Times were tense and for reasons of security these people were alert at all times.
Upon enquiry Hadhrat Usamah(ra) said:
“O Prophet of Allah! ‘A’ishah is your wife.” (meaning that Allah the Almighty chose her so she must be worthy of that honour)
“I swear in the name of Allah the Almighty that we are not aware of anything about ‘A’ishah except for her righteousness.”
Hadhrat ‘Ali(ra), probably seeing the grief that the Holy Prophet(saw) was experiencing replied:
“O Prophet of Allah! There is no hardship placed on you by Allah the Almighty, and besides ‘A’ishah there is no shortage of women. I do not know anything about this matter. You may enquire from ‘A’ishah’s maid; she can tell you the truth.”
So Bareerah was sent for, who was ‘A’ishah(ra)‘s personal maid. Upon enquiry she said:
“I swear in the name of Allah the Almighty who has sent you with the Truth, I have never seen any vice in my mistress, only that in household chores sometimes she is not careful and leaves the dough unprotected and goes to sleep, and the goat (of the neighbours) comes in and eats the dough.”
Syed Salman Nadawi has quoted another report stating that Bareerah also added:
“Holy is Allah! Like the jeweller recognises true gold, I recognise her (as pure).”
Another person who was asked to make her views known about the character of Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra), was Hadhrat Zainab bint Jahash(ra), a cousin of the Holy Prophet(saw) and also his wife. Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) has stated that Hadhrat Zainab(ra) was the only wife of the Holy Prophet(saw) who used “to treat me with rivalry, but it was her righteousness which protected her from falling in the pit of sin” (by becoming party to the accusation).
Hadhrat Zainab(ra)’s own sister, Hamna bint Jahash, was amongst those spreading the malicious accusation. The Holy Prophet(saw) enquired from Hadhrat Zainab(ra) what she thought of Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra)’s character. She replied:
“O Prophet of Allah! I feel that ‘A’ishah is a pious and righteous woman.”
Hadhrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad(ra) states in his book, Seerat Khatam-ul-Nabiyyeen:
‘This was an accusation quite like the accusation faced by Sita wife of Ram Chandra Ji in the history of Hinduism and the calumny faced by Hadhrat Maryam (Mary), mother of Jesus Christ(as).’
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) continues with her account of events:
“The Holy Prophet(saw) proceeded to the Mosque the next day and addressed the community. He said: “I have been grieved with the malicious attack on my family. Is there any one who can put an end to this? I swear in the name of Allah the Almighty that I am not aware of anything about this wife of mine except her being good and pious, and the other person who is facing the allegation in this regard whom I consider to be a righteous person, has never visited my house in my absence.”
Upon listening to this statement of the Holy Prophet(saw), the chief of the tribe of Aus, Sa’ad bin Mu‘adh stood up and said:
“O Prophet of Allah! I will put an end to it. If the person guilty of this slander is one of my tribe, I declare him guilty of a capital offence and will put him to death. If the culprit is from amongst our brothers, i.e the tribe of Khazraj, then whatever punishment you advise we will carry it out!’
This speech gave rise to the old held animosities these tribes had with each other, so the representative of Khazraj took it as an attack on them and heated exchanges ensued. The Holy Prophet(saw) calmed them down and proceeded home (The mischief had reached a point where it would have started a fight amongst the young Muslim community).
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) says:
“I was in continuous agony, and my tears were not stopping; it had been two nights and one day in that state, while it had been a month of being ill. I felt that my heart would burst with grief. I was crying, sitting with my parents, when an Ansar lady came to visit us. She also started crying in sympathy with me. While we sat thus, the Holy Prophet(saw) arrived. He came and sat next to me. For a month since the accusation had been circulated, he had not sat next to me. The Holy Prophet(saw) recited the Shahadah [Declaration of Faith] and glorified Allah the Almighty, then he addressed me and said ‘‘A’ishah! Maligning reports have been relayed to me against you. If you are innocent of the allegation then I am hopeful that Allah the Almighty will uphold your innocence. If you have committed a mistake then you should seek forgiveness of Allah the Almighty and turn to Him in repentance, because when a servant of Allah the Merciful Lord, bows to Him, confessing his or her mistake and seeks His forgiveness, then Allah the Almighty turns to that servant with acceptance of his/her repentance and is most merciful to that servant.’”
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) states:
“On hearing the words, my tears stopped. I asked my parents to make a response. They both said: ‘We swear in the name of Allah the Almighty that we do not know what to say!’ At that time of my life I was a young girl, I did not know a great deal of the Holy Qur’an. I lost hope in my parents that they would speak on my behalf, so I spoke up myself with utmost humility and said to the Holy Prophet(saw): ‘I realise that you have been affected by what people have been saying , so if I were to protest my innocence, you might doubt me, and if, although my God knows that I am innocent, I were to confess myself guilty, you might believe me. I swear by Allah the Almighty that to me my case seems to be like that of Joseph’s father, who had said: ‘It behoves me to be steadfast. It is Allah alone Whose help can avail against that which you assert, and Him shall I beseech for help!’ After saying this, I laid down on my bed, turning my face away from every one, in the full certainty that as I was guiltless, God would soon proclaim my innocence. What I had in mind was that God would assure the Holy Prophet(saw) of my innocence through some dream or vision. I had no notion that revelation might be vouchsafed on my behalf or Allah the Almighty would state my innocence in His divine words. But I swear in the name of Allah the Almighty that only a few moments had passed, while the Holy Prophet(saw) was still in our house, I observed perspiration over his face like it used to be at the time he was receiving revelation, and in spite of the cold weather, droplets of perspiration started to trickle down his face. After a while the state ceased and smilingly he looked at me and said: ‘‘A’ishah! Allah the Almighty has declared you innocent!’ On hearing the words, my mother immediately said: ‘‘A’ishah! Get up and thank the Holy Prophet(saw).’ But my heart was brimming with gratitude to Allah the Almighty, so I said ‘Why should I thank him? I will offer my gratitude to Allah the Almighty Who has declared my innocence!’”
When Hadhrat ‘A’ishah’s mother instructed her to thank the Holy Prophet(saw), this was a demonstration of how the Companions, men and women, loved the Holy Prophet(saw) more than all other relations. Hadhrat Umm Rumman(ra) (Hadhrat ‘A’ishah’s(ra) mother) was keen to the Holy Prophet’s(saw) grief and the intense prayers he would have made in this regard, which had attracted the Mercy of Allah the Almighty. This is why she told her daughter to thank the Holy Prophet(saw).
The revelation that had just been received was the ten verses of Surah Al-Nur of the Holy Qur’an, which read as follows:
Verily, those who brought forth the lie are a party from among you. Think it not to be an evil for you; nay it is good for you. Every one of them shall have his share of what he has earned of the sin; and he among them who took the chief part therein shall have a grievous punishment.
Why did not the believing men and believing women, when you heard of it, think well of their own people, and say, ‘This is a manifest lie?’
Why did they not bring four witnesses to prove it? Since they have not brought the required witnesses, they are indeed liars in the sight of Allah!
Were it not for the grace of Allah and His mercy upon you, in this world and the Hereafter, a great punishment would have befallen you for the slander into which you plunged.
When you received it and then talked about it with your tongues, and you uttered with your mouths that of which you had no knowledge, and you thought it to be a light matter, while in the sight of Allah it was a grievous thing.
And wherefore did you not say, when you heard of it, ‘It is not proper for us to talk about it. Holy art Thou, O God, this is a grievous calumny!’
Allah admonishes you never to return to the like thereof, if you are believers.
And Allah explains to you the commandments; and Allah is All-Knowing, Wise.
Those who love that immorality should spread among the believers, will have a painful punishment in this world and the Hereafter. And Allah knows, and you know not.
And but for the grace of Allah and His mercy upon you and the fact that Allah is Compassionate and Merciful, you would have been ruined (Ch.24:Vs.12-21)
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) has related that:
“When my innocence was established, my father, who used to support Mistah bin Athathah due to his poverty and his relationship, swore that as Mistah had been a party to the slander against me, he would not help him again. But soon thereafter, the Holy Prophet(saw) received revelation that this was not pleasing to Allah the Almighty, upon which he resumed his support of Mistah and vowed never to stop it.”
The attack on Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) was, in actual fact, an attack on the Holy Prophet(saw) and an attack on Islam. Allah vindicated not only Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra), but also upheld the honour of all mankind whenever they are faced with false accusation against their virtue. Sir William Muir has summed up the allegation:
‘Little remark is needed regarding the character of ‘A’ishah… her life both before and after, must lead us to believe her innocent of the charge!’ (Life of Muhammad, p.304)
Hadhrat ‘A’ishah(ra) used to count this as a foremost blessing that the Lord and Master of the universe spoke in this divine revelation, thereby putting on record that she was as pious and virtuous as her sacred and noble husband, the Holy Prophet(saw), had declared on oath in the Mosque:
“I swear in the name of Allah the Almighty that I know nothing about this wife of mine except her being good and pious.”