Virtues of the Ahlul Bayt
The Ummahat al Mu’minin رضي الله عنهن are the most exalted women of the entire universe, unrestrictedly, in esteem, virtue, and noble rank as affirmed by Allah himself:
يَـٰنِسَآءَ ٱلنَّبِىِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ ٱلنِّسَآءِ
O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. [Al Ahzab 33: verse 32]
Famous personalities from the Ahlul Bayt: Aisha رضي الله عنها
Having concluded the discussion on some of the details around who are the Ahlul Bayt last week, we then began a discussion on some of the famous personalities of the Ahlul Bayt. Last week we took a look at the life of the beloved daughter of Nabi ﷺ which was no other than Sayyidah Fatimah رضي الله عنها This week we will start off by taking a look at the amazing life of the most beloved wife of Rasulullah ﷺ Sayyidah Aisha رضي الله عنها
Allah says in the Qur’an:
إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُّسْرًا
Indeed, with hardship [will be] ease. [Al Inshirah 94: 6]
One can well understand the enormous grief and difficulty experienced by Rasulullah ﷺ in the ‘year of sorrow’, wherein he lost both, his uncle as well as his loving and supportive spouse, Sayyidah Khadijah RA. The grief was such that some feared that it may destroy him. Perhaps the pinnacle of sorrow had been reached; hence there was a need for some ease. Allah chose, as a means of ease and happiness for His Nabi ﷺ—along with Saudah RA —Aisha bint Abi Bakr RA. We will therefore try to shed some light on the life of this sparkling gem, who was chosen by Allah to bring joy to the heart of Rasulullah ﷺ.
Born to Muslim Parents–A Rare Happening of Her Time
Aisha RA was born to Abu Bakr al Siddiq and Umm Ruman RA in the seventh year of nubuwwah. They had both accepted Islam by then. Hence she says,
قَالَتْ لَمْ أَعْقِلْ أَبَوَىَّ قَطُّ إِلاَّ وَهُمَا يَدِينَانِ الدِّينَ
“I did not see my parents except that they were adherents of Islam.” [Bukhari]
The Divine Marriage
Upon the demise of Khadijah RA, Khawlah bint Hakim RA suggested to Rasulullah ﷺ that he should marry Aisha RA. Rasulullah ﷺ sent her with the proposal to the family of Aisha RA, after which the marriage was concluded. [Al Isabah] However, Khawlah RA was not the only one who suggested the marriage. Imam Bukhari R reports that Rasulullah ﷺ said to Aisha RA:
أُرِيتُكِ فِي الْمَنَامِ مَرَّتَيْنِ أَرَى أَنَّكِ فِي سَرَقَةٍ مِنْ حَرِيرٍ وَيَقُولُ هَذِهِ امْرَأَتُكَ فاكشِف عَنْهَا فَإِذَا هِيَ أَنْتِ فَأَقُولُ إِنْ يَكُ هَذَا مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ يُمْضِه
You were shown to me twice in my dream; you were wrapped in a silken cloth and he (the angel) said, “This is your wife.” When I moved the cloth, I saw that it was you. I said, “If this is from Allah, He will let it be.”
At the time of her marriage, Aisha RA was six years old. Regarding this, a few important points are worthy of note:
It was normal for Arabs to marry off their daughters at a young age. Had it been something aberrant, Khawlah RA would have not suggested the marriage. Also, the enemies of Rasulullah ﷺ in Makkah would have taunted him excessively on account of his marriage if it was against the norm. However, not a single objection was raised by them.
Consummation of the marriage took place three years later, when she had reached the age of nine. Girls in Arabia (especially in her era, on account of the pure natural diet they observed) would be mature by the age of nine.
There are no proven negative consequences of early marriage. Hence, those who frown upon the idea do so entirely on the basis of their adopted mind-set or culture. It is obvious that both of these cannot be a valid basis for raising objections against others.
The practice of marrying off a young girl and allowing the marriage to be consummated as soon as she matures was not a unique practice of the Arabs. It was the norm, even in Europe. Professor of History, Margaret Wade Labarge writes:
It needs to be remembered that many medieval widows were not old. Important heiresses were often married between the ages of 5 and 10 and might find themselves widowed while still in their teens. [A Medieval Miscellany pg. 52]
Professors Richard Wortley and Stephen Smallbone write:
In Medieval and early modern European societies, the age of marriage remained low, with documented cases of brides as young as seven years, although marriages were typically not consummated until the girl reached puberty.
Hence, no objections can be raised against the marriage of Rasulullah ﷺ to Aisha RA, even by the irreligious. If there is anything against which objections may be raised, it is the modern-day mind-set which promotes the delaying of marriage and the acceptance of all types of promiscuity, ranging from pornography (to which many children are exposed) to homosexuality. These are unnatural practices which have destroyed the fabric of society. Nonetheless, the fact that Allah chose her for His Nabi ﷺ at such an early stage in her life indicates that she was way above the ordinary.
Aisha and Fatimah رضي الله عنهما Make Hijrah Together
It is reported that Zaid ibn Harithah and Abu Rafi’ were sent by Rasulullah ﷺ to bring his family to Madinah. Abu Bakr RA sent with the two of them ‘Abdullah ibn Urayqit. When they reached Makkah they found Talhah, who was preparing to do Hijrah along with the family of Abu Bakr RA. Thus, Zaid and Abu Rafi’ accompanied Fatimah, Umm Kulthum, Saudah, and Umm Ayman RA. Eventually all of them met up and undertook this great journey together. [Siyar A’lam al Nubala’]