Was Hz Aisha jealous of Hz. Khadija?

Details of the Question

Hz. Aisha said to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), "You act as if there is no other woman than Khadija in the world... Why do you always mention an old woman who lost her teeth through age and died a long time ago? Allah gave you a better one than her. " (Bukhari, Manaqibul-Ansar, 20) Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said,

"No. Allah did not give me a better one than her. She believed me when nobody believed me. Everybody called me a liar but she accepted that I was telling the truth. When nobody gave me anything, she supported me with her wealth. God Almighty gave me children from her." (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 118)

Was Hz Aisha jealous of Hz. Khadija? Will you give detailed information regarding the issue?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Yes, that incident took place.

Interest, cherishment, justice, equality, tolerance, love, respect, kindness, reliance, chastity, wavering, respect to rights, patience, endurance, empathy, altruism and elegance were dominant in the relationships of the Prophet (pbuh) with women and especially in his family life; therefore, peace, harmony and happiness became dominant in that family.

Anas b. Malik, who lived with the Prophet (pbuh) for a long time, describes the family relationship of the Prophet (pbuh) as follows in brief:

“I have never seen anybody showing more compassion to his family members than the Prophet Muhammad.” (Muslim, Fadail, 63)

The Prophet states the following:

“The best one of you is the best one toward his family. I am the best one among you toward my family.” (Ibn Majah, Nikah, 50)

The following expressions in the hadiths in which the importance of elegance, kindness and lenience are mentioned are remarkable:

“Allah is lenient; He likes lenience in everything.” (Bukhari, Istitaba, 4)

“He who is deprived of lenience is deprived of goodness.” (Muslim, Birr, 23)

Such values are in question in the family training of the Prophet (pbuh).

Hz. Khadija was the one that spent the longest time with the Prophet (pbuh); she was his closest friend and partner. After the first revelation, the Prophet consulted Hz. Khadija and informed her about it.  

The issue in the question:

Once, Hz. Aisha was jealous of the Prophet’s praising his previous wife after her death and said, “Why do you always mention that old woman? Allah gave you a better one than her.” The Prophet praised Hz. Hz. Khadija due to her gratitude as follows:

“No. Allah did not give me a better one than her. She believed me when everybody denied me. Everybody called me a liar but she confirmed me. When people did not give me anything, she supported me with her wealth. Allah gave me children from her.” (Ibn Hanbal, VI, 118)

Thereupon, Hz. Aisha said, "I will never say any bad things about Khadija again.” (Bukhari, Manaqibul-Ansar, 20; Nikah, 108; Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba, 73, 78)

The Prophet (pbuh) showed how he loved, respected and was loyal to his wife with that statement. Hz. Aisha said,

“I have never been more jealous of Khadija than anybody else.” (Bukhari, Manaqibul-Ansar, 20; Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba, 74-76)

When Hz. Aisha and other wives of the Prophet acted jealously from time to time, the Prophet showed patience and put up with them. The Prophet also gave some advice about getting on well with one’s wives:

“One should not nurse a grudge against his wife. If he does not like one of her characteristics, he will love another characteristic of hers.” (Muslim, Rada’, 61)

That is an alternative and important approach of the Prophet that solves problems.

When the Prophet saw some disturbing attitudes like jealousy and intolerance, which are natural in women, in her wives, he always acted patiently and softly.

When his wives wanted some material things beyond the means of the Messenger of Allah, he felt grievous and left his wives for a while; however, when a revelation was sent down upon this incidence, he asked his wives to choose either material things or Allah and His Messenger; thereupon, his wives chose Allah and His Messenger. (see al-Ahzab, 33/28; see Ibn Sa'd, 8/179-181)

When Umm Salama was offered the great honor of being a wife of the Messenger of Allah, she was so jealous as to reject the offer at first by saying, "I am a jealous woman. You have several wives." (Ibn Sa'd, 8/96)

When the Messenger of Allah went out at night when he was with Hz. Aisha, she would secretly follow him (Ahmad, Musnad, 6/221); one night, when she did not see him near her as she woke up, she looked around in panic fearing that he might have gone to one of his other wives but she found him in prostration; then, she said, "May my mother and father be sacrificed for you! Look what my thought is and what your thought is." (Nasai, 7/73) She was jealous enough to cause some incidents between her and the other wives of the Prophet.

The Prophet states the following: "Allah created jihad for men and jealousy for women. That is, He placed that feeling in women’s nature." (Munawi, Faydul-Qadir 2/249) He gives the following glad tiding: “If a woman shows patience related to jealousy, she will gain the thawab of a martyr.” (Haythami, 4/320)

The incidents that occurred among his wives due to jealousy, which is natural in women, did not cause them to act unjustly toward one another, to denigrate one another and to be cross with one another for a long time. Probably, that was one of the aims of the evening talks (Muslim, Nikah 46) that the Messenger of Allah gave every evening in the room of one of his wives in regular turn.  

This act of the Messenger of Allah was to the point: During the Incident of Ifk, which was an occasion that the wives of the Messenger of Allah could have used against Hz. Aisha, whom they were most jealous of, none of the clean and pure wives of the Prophet said or implied anything bad against her. For instance, Hz. Aisha describes Zaynab Bint Jahsh, of whom she was so jealous as to say, "I made the saliva dry in her mouth and she could not answer” as follows:

"I have never seen a woman better, more generous in giving charity, fearing Allah, keener to uphold the ties of kinship, and more generous in giving of herself in everything than Zaynab." (Nasai, Ishratun-Nisa 3, 7/65-66)

Zaynab Bint Jahsh stated the following when she was asked about Hz. Aisha upon da the Incident of Ifk, she said,

"I take refuge in Allah from saying anything without seeing with my eyes and hearing with my ears. By Allah, I find nothing in Aisha but goodness." (Muslim, Tawba 58)

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