Who is the woman Companion about whom the Prophet made a joke by saying, "Old people cannot enter Paradise"? How did that incident happen?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Tabarani reports the incident from Hz. Aisha as follows:

“Once, an old woman of Ansar came to the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! Pray to Allah to put me in Paradise!”

The Prophet said, “Old people cannot enter Paradise.” Then, he went to mosque to pray since it was time for prayer.

When he returned home to Hz. Aisha’s room, Hz. Aisha said, “O Messenger of Allah! I was astonished and terrified due to your statement.” The Messenger of Allah said,

“What I have said is true because when Allah puts women in Paradise, He turns them into young girls”.(see Tabarani, Awsat, 5/357)

Abush-Sheikh reported a similar narration from Mujahid. (see Abush-Sheikh b. Hayyan al-Isfahani, Akhlaqun-Nabi wa Adabuhu, Darul-Muslim, 1998, p. 493)

Tirmidhi’s mursal narration from Hasan al-Basri is as follows:

“Once, an old woman came to the Messenger of Allah and said,

'O Messenger of Allah! Pray to Allah to put me in Paradise!' The Prophet said,

'O mother of …! Old people cannot enter Paradise.' Thereupon, the woman left by crying. When she left, the Messenger of Allah said,

Go and tell the woman that she cannot enter Paradise in the form of an old woman. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following: “We have created (their Companions) of special creation. And made them virgin - pure (and undefiled).” (al-Waqia, 56/35-37)” (Tirmidhi, Shamail, Beirut, nd, p.144)

The name of that woman is not mentioned in narrations. However, according to some scholars, that woman is Safiyya, the paternal aunt of the Prophet. (see Tirmidhi, Shamail, ibid - a ta’liq)

However, we think the information that the woman is Safiyya is weak.

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