The incidence of slander was the most difficult time in Aisha’s (RA) life. It happened to Aisha (RA) because she was the most loved from the Prophet ﷺ and she was the least likely person that would ever commit such a thing. It happened to her specifically to catch everyone’s attention and make more of an impact, as this is such a sensitive issue that has drastic consequences.
It was the month of Shaaban in the 5th year of Hijrah and the Muslims were heading to battle. The way the Prophet ﷺ would choose which wife was going with him was that they would draw lots and this time it was Aisha (RA) that ended up with the lot. So she set out with the army, carried on a camel in her howdah (sort of like a small covered carriage set on top of the camel).
That battle ended in victory for the Muslims and they began their homeward journey. Halfway to Madinah, the army stopped to rest. Aisha (RA) took this opportunity to relieve herself and walked out far from the army. On her way back, she realized that she lost the necklace that she was wearing which she had borrowed from her sister Asma. So she retraced her steps until she found it and started making her way back to camp again. However, by the time she reached the camp, she realized that the army had already moved on. Aisha (RA) was so thin and light, that the men who lift her howdah didn’t realized she still wasn’t in it when they put it back on her camel and left with the army.
Aisha (RA) was a fearless girl though and knew that as soon as the Prophet ﷺ realized she wasn’t with them, somebody would be sent back to get her. So she decided to stay in her place and just wrapped herself in her cloak and went to sleep. Safwan bin Al-Muattal AsSulami had fallen behind the army and had reached the place where Aisha (RA) was sleeping by morning.
When he realized who it was, he said, “To Allah we belong and to Him shall we return! It is the wife of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ!” He then lowered his camel and moved away from it so she could mount it. Safwan started leading the camel by its head and was able to catch up to the army the next day. Everyone noticed their arrival and saw Aisha (RA) dismounting Safwan’s camel. It was at this time that the hypocrites starting creating material for a scandal, led by Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salool, who was known for his slanderous gossip. The rumors spread through Madinah like wildfire, but Aisha (RA) had no idea. She became sick and stayed home for an entire month while this was all going on.
She did start to notice a few things that were odd though. She realized that the Prophet ﷺ was not taking care of her in exactly the same way he usually does when she is sick. He was a little bit distant.
One night, Aisha (RA) went out with a lady named Um Mustah to answer the call of nature. On their way back, the old lady tripped and started cursing her son. Aisha (RA) was surprised and starting defending him, saying that he fought alongside the Prophet ﷺ and that he deserved respect. “Haven’t you heard what he has been saying?” replied Um Mustah. Um Mustah then revealed to Aisha (RA) that he was involved in an awful and frightening plot and she informed her of the rumors that have been ruining her reputation for the past month. Aisha (RA) was absolutely mortified!
She ran home and asked the Prophet ﷺ for permission to go stay with her parents. When she got to her parents house, she asked them if they had heard this story and they affirmed that it was true. “Oh mother! What are the people talking about?” said Aisha (RA).
“My daughter, take it easy, for by Allah, there is no charming lady who is loved by her husband who has other wives as well, but that those co-wives would find fault with her. Take it easy, for there is a relief giver for every distress, a supporter in the face of every injustice and there is a refuter for every false accusation. That is Allah, the True Lord, be He glorified,”
Such wise words from Um Rooman and something we should remember every day. Stay tuned for next week when we find out what happened with Aisha (RA) in regards to this incident!
*There is so much to discuss here. This story is such an important one so I am going to leave my comments until next week so we can discuss it as a whole. I would love to hear your comments though. What do you all think so far?
Read the rest of the series:
Part 1: Discussing the issues behind Aishah’s age
Part 2: The Ideal Marriage
Part 3: The Ideal Marriage cont..
Part 5: The Incidence of Slander cont..
Part 6: The end is only the beginning
Part 7: An Example for Muslim women
Quṭb, Muḥammad ʻAlī. Women around the Messenger. Riyadh: International Islamic House, 2007. Print.
Darussalam. The Honorable Wives of the Prophet, Peace Be upon Him. 1st ed. 2004. Print.
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