How did the event of ifk (slandering Aisha, the Prophets wife) take place? How was Aisha declared by God Almighty to be innocent?

The band of the hypocrites, who seemed to be Muslim but in fact were not, always cherished the purpose of disturbing the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions on every possible occasion. They never hesitated to resort to any ways to achieve their aims. It was such that they could even dare to insult and malign his clean private life.

The event of ifk is remembered by a slander made by the head of the hypocrites, Abdullah Bin Ubayy. The incident occurred as follows:

As far as we know from Aisha, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) drew lots among his wives when he was about to go on an expedition and he would take with him who appeared in the lots. On Ben-i Moustaliq expedition, the lots fell to Aisha. (2)
Aisha relates the incident as follows:
I went with the Prophet (PBUH) on the expedition too. It was after the verse about the veiling came. During expedition, I was carried in a small tent all the way. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was returning from the expedition. When we got pretty closer to Medina, he stopped to accommodate. He spent some part of the night there and then ordered to move again.

When he ordered to move, I left the others to relieve myself somewhere quiet. After that, I came back next to the camel. When I felt of my neck, I found out that my necklace was not there. (That necklace had been given by her mother as a gift at her wedding). I started to look for my necklace. Looking for it kept me away from the others further. I knew that they would not go ahead without me even if one month passes. But it turned out that they thought that I was on my camel.

At those times women were not heavy. They ate little. I was a small woman. When my servants set the tent on the camel, they could not realize that it was empty inside. They then let the camel go.

I finally found my necklace after the army was gone. I immediately hastened to catch the army. But I found no one. All was gone. I then came back to where I first had been. I lied down and covered myself with my sheet. I thought that they would come here back to look for me when they realized that I was not on the camel.

Then I fell asleep.

Sawfan Bin Muattal would stay behind the army, if the army left anything behind, he would bring them back to them.

Sawfan came where I was at daybreak. When he saw someone lying down there, he came by me and recognized me as soon as he saw me. Because before the verse of veiling was sent down, he had seen me once.

On seeing me there, Sawfan was astonished and said: Inna lillahi va inna ilayhi rajiun (a Quranic verse in Arab language meaning, We are the servants of Allah and surely will return to Him.
I woke up hearing him. I covered my face with the sheet. By Allah, I never spoke to him even one word nor did he say anything else except Inna lillahi va inna ilayhi rajiun.

After that, Sawfan made his camel get up. He trod his foot on the forelegs of the camel so that I could mount the camel safely. He said, please get on, and then stayed away.

Then I got on the camel and Sawfan pulled the halter to lead the camel on foot speedily. We were not able to catch the army until morning.

It was only after when the army stopped to accommodate could we attend them. (3)

The Head of the Hypocrites Makes Use of the Situation

While Sawfan Bin Muattal was bringing Aisha on camelback, they came across Abdullah Bin Ubayy, the head of the hypocrites. Abdullah Bin Ubayy asked people who on camelback was.
They said it was Aisha. This hypocrite, whose reputation had been severely damaged and received so much of objection from his men, wished to make a big fuss about it. He expressed his evil wish right there. He said:

By Allah, neither Aisha nor Sawfan will be saved from the punishment. And he said similar things of that sort. (4)

The army was shaken up by the rumor.

Actually, Sawfan Bin Muattal, who was a real Muslim in its full sense and even was deprived of masculinity, did what his religion ordered him. (5)

On the other hand, the hypocrites, who had a disease in their hearts and always said they were Muslims too and indeed were not, and whose main purpose is to play Muslims off against each other, thought of making use of the situation. To this end, they did not show any sign of hesitation even to slander the venerable wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).Their another purpose were to break the sensitive heart of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and to devastate their trust for each other. (6)

Aisha is uninformed of what is going on for a long time

Some gullible Muslims also believed the false version of the event of ifk, which was started by the head of the hypocrites, Abdullah Bin Ubayy, Hassan Bin Sabit, Mistah Bin Osase, and Khamne Binti Jahsh. Aisha had been unaware of it for a long time. Aisha relates it as follows:

When I came back to Medina, I felt terribly sick with fever. I suffered from it nearly for one month. I then was told that there was a widespread rumor around about the event. I was completely unaware of what was going on. Allahs Messenger (PBUH) and my parents also heard about the event but they never told me anything.

But there was something, which made me quite suspicious. The Prophet (PBUH) did not show me compassion, which I used to have in my previous illnesses. He just asked my parents, How is the patient? And thats all; he never even uttered my name. I did not know what lies the slanderers told about me. (7)

Although the Prophet Muhammad and Aishas parents also heard about the event, they did not tell her anything. But as we explained above, she was getting worried about the manners that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had towards herself. But she did not know why.

From whom and how does Aisha get the news of the slander?

Aisha explains how and whom she got the news of the slander from as follows:

There passed twenty or so days after the event. I was now convalescent. We then did not have toilets beside our houses due to their disgusting smell. Instead, we would go to open places far from the inhabited area. Women would go there to relieve themselves.

One night, Mistah Bin Osases mother and I went to the toilet at Manasa. When Mistahs mother staggered and fell, she cursed her son saying, May Mistah be damned!

Why did you curse your son? I asked her. She said nothing.
She fell once more and cursed again in the same fashion. I again asked why she cursed her son, to which she said nothing again.
She fell third time, and again cursed.
I asked, Why are you constantly cursing your son? He took part in the battle of Badr.
By Allah, I curse him because of what he said about you. She said.
What did he say about me? I asked her.
Mistahs mother told me all about what the slanderers told about me. My sickness relapsed. I cried so much so that I thought my lungs would break into pieces. I could not feel okay even to relieve myself. (8)

Aisha at her home

When Aisha was sick, her mother, Ommou Rouman would take care of her.
One day, Allahs Messenger (PBUH) greeted everybody and came inside the room. Without mentioning her name, he asked, How is your patient? He said nothing else.

Aisha says; I could not bear it anymore. O the Messenger of Allah (PBUH)! I suffer pain as never before. Please let me go to Moms house. Is it appropriate that they care for me there?
Allahs Messenger said: You may go if you wish.

I wished to learn the inside story of the rumors about me in Moms house. The Prophet (PBUH) sent me to my fathers house with a maidservant along with me.
Why have you come here? Mom asked me.
Mom! The folks have been speaking of me and you have told me nothing about it.

My dear daughter, said my mother, do not be upset about it. Just think about your health. By Allah, it is impossible for a woman who is beautiful and gets on well with her husband not to be envied and people not always talk about her.
Does dad know about the matter? I asked.
Yes. She said.
I could not help crying. Dad was reciting the Holy Quran on the roof when he heard me crying. He came down and asked mom what was wrong with me.
She has heard the gossips about her. Mom answered.
Tears came to the eyes of dad, too, I kept crying until morning. (9)

The Prophet (PBUH) comes together with his companions

In those days when the rumors about Aisha were being spoken of, the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would seldom go out of his home.

The divine decree had not yet arrived and in the meanwhile, he (PBUH) often talked to his companions and asked for their opinions.

Omar stated his opinion: O Allahs Messenger (PBUH)! That is such a terrible slander. I do know for sure that this is another lie of the hypocrites. Allah Almighty never lets even a fly bother you let alone not protect your family from such wickedness.

This time, Osman said what he was thinking of the situation: O Allahs Messenger (PBUH)! Allah Almighty protects your shadow from being trodden on in case unpleasant things should be on it. However could Allah Almighty possibly let other people do harm to your family, if He does not even let them disrespect your shadow?

Ali was another one to speak there: O Allahs Messenger (PBUH)! One day you were leading us in the namaz (prescribed prayer). During the namaz, you removed your shoes. We removed them too. You asked us why we too removed our shoes. And we said we did because we would always follow you. So you said that Gabriel wanted you to remove them since they were not clean.

Is it ever possible that Allah Almighty order you to remove your shoes because of the dirt on them and not order you to remove the dirt on your family? (10)

The Prophet (PBUH) also asked Barirah, the maidservant of Aisha, of her opinion about the event.
Barirah told him O Allahs Messenger! I swear by Allah Almighty Who has sent you as a prophet that I know of her nothing else but goodness. I just can say one thing about her, which might be her only fault in her life. She was a very young woman. She often fell asleep while she was kneading dough, and the sheep in the house would come and eat it. (11)

Zainab, another wife of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), would see herself equal with Aisha with her beauty and with the place in the Prophets (PBUH) sight and sometimes would compete with her about it. Nevertheless, she did not have the slightest of suspicion of her about the case and besides, when she was asked of her opinion, she said:

O Allahs Messenger! I take shelter in Allah from saying I saw which I did not see; and saying I heard which I did not hear. By Allah, I know nothing else of her but goodness. (12)

The Prophets Addressing His Companions

Actually, the Noble Prophet (PBUH) knew very well that his wife was far from doing something like this. Yet the fact that such a heinous slander was spread among people upset him very much. This caused him to change his mood against Aisha though unwillingly. In the sermon he delivered in the mosque, he expressed this quite clearly:
O Muslim community! Who is going to help me against some person who led me into great sadness with his slander about my family? In fact, I do not suppose anyone in my family could possibly do something like this. The slanderers involved another innocent man with that about whom I know nothing but goodness. (13)

The Noble Prophet (PBUH) Speaks to Aisha

Although there had passed one month since she was subject to a nasty slander, there had come no verse from Allah Almighty to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) about the incident.

A couple of days after he delivered the sermon, he came Abu Bakrs home. He greeted those over there, sat next to Aisha, and said:

O Aisha! I am informed of what is being told about you. If you are far from such allegations, Allah Almighty is sure to explain it soon. If you did commit such a sin, repent now and ask for forgiveness since if someone repents and confesses his/her sin, s/he shall find Allah Almighty merciful for him/herself.
Later on, Aisha was to describe the event as follows:
My tears stopped when the Prophet (PBUH) finished his words. It was such that I felt there was not any more of tears left that I had. I turned to dad and asked him to reply to the Prophet (PBUH) instead of me.
By Allah, I dont know what I should say to the Prophet (PBUH), said dad.
Then I turned to mom and asked her to reply to the Prophet (PBUH) instead of me.
She said the same thing as dad, By Allah, I dont know what I should say to the Prophet (PBUH). (14)
When her parents were unable to make explanation instead of herself, she became obliged to make a defense of herself. Firstly, she recited Islamic testimony of faith and then said:
By Allah, I figure out that you have heard the gossip about me. What is more, you too believe them.
If I told you now I had not done this, you wouldnt believe me. If I told you that I had done it, you would believe me. I now say what Jacob had once said. (15) He said; (For me) patience is most fitting. Allah is He Whose help is sought for against what you describe. (16)

The Arrival of the Quranic Verse

The Noble Prophet had not yet got up when the much-expected verse came. Everybody was inside at that moment. Aisha describes it as follows:

The Prophets face was covered with sweat due to the heaviness of the revelation. Even in a winters day, there appeared beads of sweat on his face.

We covered him with his clothes and put a leather pillow for his head to rest on.
By Allah, I never feared nor got agitated for I knew that I had not committed such an abominable sin. As for my parents, they were nearly scared to death fearing that Allah Almighty also would confirm the sin. (17)

When the Prophet (PBUH) came to himself, he smiled contentedly and said, Good tidings for you, Aisha! Allah Almighty congratulated you! He confirmed you to have been innocent of that event. (18) He rose to his feet and kissed Aisha in the head.

The Verses That Came Down With Regard to the Issue

Allah clearly declared in the verses that Aisha was innocent:

Surely those who invented and spread the slander (against Aisha, the Messengers wife) are a band from among you. However, do not deem this incident an evil for you; rather, it is good for you. (As for the slanderers :) every one of them has accumulated sin in proportion to his share in this guilt, and he who has the greater part of it will suffer a tremendous punishment. When you heard of it, why did the believing men and women not think well of one another and declare: "This is obviously a slander"? Why did they not produce four witnesses (in support of the accusation)? Now that they have not produced witnesses, it is indeed they who are the liars in Gods sight. Were it not for Gods grace to and favor upon you, and His mercy in the world and the Hereafter, a mighty punishment would certainly have afflicted you (who got involved in circulating rumors) on account of what you indulged in. Just think how you welcomed it with your tongues from one another and uttered with your mouths something about which you had no knowledge. You deemed it a trifle whereas in Gods sight it was most grave. Why did you not say, when you heard of it, "It is not for us to speak of this? All Glorified are You (O God)! This is an awesome slander." God admonishes you lest you ever repeat anything like this, if you are (truly)> believers. He clearly expounds to you His instructions and the signposts of His way. God is All-Knowing, All-Wise. Those who love that indecency should spread among those who believe, surely for them is a painful punishment in the world and the Hereafter. God knows (the exact truth and nature of all matters), but you do not know. Were it not for Gods grace and favor to upon you, and His mercy, and that God is All-Pitying, All-Compassionate (especially towards His believing servants, what terrible consequences would such evils have caused in your community)! (An-Nur Surah, 24:11-20)

Thus, Allah Almighty, through informing the Prophet (PBUH) that all gossips about Aisha was just a slander, saved his pure soul from pains and also did not let the person of Abu Bakr be humiliated and also did not let discord be sown among Muslims.

The Most Supreme Acquittal

One day Abdullah Bin Abbas was asked of the interpretations of the verses that came down about Aisha. He explained them as follows:

Allah Almighty acquitted four people with these four things:

1- He acquitted Yusuf (Joseph) (PBUH) with the tongue of a witness that Zulaikha brought from among her countrymen.
2- He acquitted Moses of the Jews gossips (PBUH) with a stone that brought his dress.
3- He acquitted Isaa (Jesus) (PBUH) by making him say, I am a servant of Allah. while he was a mere baby.
4- He acquitted Aisha with the verses in the Holy Quran, which Allah clearly states will be protected from any kind of falsification and alteration till the Doomsday. The acquittal of Aisha was so eloquently explained in the verses that they have no match and when compared to the others there is a huge difference between them.

Allah Almighty did it so eloquently because of showing the greatness of His Messengers place in His sight. (20)

The Slanderers are Punished

Having received the verses about the issue, the Noble Prophet (PBUH) delivered a khutba (sermon) to his people and then recited the verses that came down. He ordered that Mistah Bin Osase, Hassan Bin Sabbit and Khamme Binti Jahsh, who went too far with the slander, be flogged each of them with a hundred stripes. (21)

1. Bukhari, 3.154.
2. Bukhari, 3.154.
3. Seerah, 3.310–311; Muslim, 8.113–114.
4. Tabari, 18.89.
5. Seerah, 3:311.
6. The Holy Quran, 6:53.
7. Muslim, 8:114.
8. Seerah, 3:311–312; Muslim, 8:114; Tirmidhi, 5:332–333.
9. Seerah, 3:311–312; Muslim, 8:115; Tirmidhi, 5:332–333.
10. Insanu'l-Uyûn, 2:624–625.
11. Seerah, 3:313–314; Muslim, 8:115,
12. Muslim, 8:118.
13. Seerah, 3:312; Muslim, 8:115i Tirmidhi, 5:332.
14. Muslim, 8:116; Musnad, 6:197.
15. The Holy Quran, 12:18.
16. Muslim, 8:116.
17. Seerah, 3:315; Muslim, 8:117.
18. Muslim, 8:117; Musnad, 6:197
19. The Holy Quran, 24:11–20.
20. Nasafi, 3:138.
21. Seerah, 3:315; Musnad, 6:35.

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