Will you give information about the life and virtue of Hz. Aisha?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Ummul-mu'minin Aisha bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq al-Qurashiyya (d. 58/678), Hz. Abu Bakr's daughter and the Prophet’s wife.

Her father, Abu Bakr b. Abu Quhafa, was known by the nickname as-Siddiq; therefore, she was called Aisha as-Siddiqa (as-Sadiqa) bintis-Siddiq. Her mother was Umm Ruman bint Amir b. Uwaymir from the tribe of Kinana.

Since her father had migrated with the Messenger of Allah earlier, she migrated to Madinah with her mother, brother Abdullah, sister Asma, the Prophet’s wife Sawda and the Prophet’s daughters Fatima and Umm Kulthum in the same year (622). At first, she could not adapt to the climate of Madinah and got ill like her father. She married the Prophet in the month of Shawwal in the second year of the Migration.

Hz. Aisha attained a superior position and a deserved fame after marrying the Messenger of Allah. She took part in rear service like carrying water, gathering information and looking after the wounded in the Battle of Uhud. She took part in the Battle of Khandaq in the castle of Sons of Haritha tribe with the mother of Sa'd b. Muadh. She was also present in the Treaty of Hudaybiyya; after the conquest of Khaybar, the Prophet (pbuh) gave her and his other wives a share from the booty. When Hz. Umar deported Khaybar Jews to Palestine, he asked the wives of the Prophet to get their shares as crop or land and Hz. Aisha preferred land. When preparations for the conquest of Makkah started, the Prophet (pbuh) kept it as a secret; he told only Aisha about it. Hz. Abu Bakr learned from his daughter that the preparations were for Makkah. She took part in the Farewell Hajj in 10 H together with the other wives of the Prophet.

One of the most important expeditions in which Hz. Aisha participated was the Expedition of Sons of Mustaliq, which took place in the month of Shaban in the 5th (according to some resources, 6th) year of the Migration. The Prophet (pbuh) took Hz. Aisha with him when he set off for the expedition. While returning from the expedition, the army stopped somewhere. Hz. Aisha got off her camel and moved away from the army to answer the call of nature. When she returned, she noticed that her necklace had broken off and fallen. While she was away to look for the necklace, they thought she was on the camel and the army was ordered to proceed. When Hz. Aisha returned, she could not see anybody there and started to wait, hoping that they would return to take her. When Safwan b. Muattal, who always stayed behind the army to check if there was anything left behind, saw her, made her get on his camel and caught up with the army.  Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul, the leader of the hypocrites (munafiqs) who took part in this expedition, started to slander and backbite Hz. Aisha. Some Muslims were also affected and deceived by his words. The Prophet and Aisha's parents were very depressed by the rumors. Hz. Aisha, who got ill and stayed in bed after the expedition for a month, heard this rumor coincidentally afterwards. She took permission from the Prophet and went to her father’s house; she wept for days due to her distress and suffered. Eventually, verses 11-21 of the chapter of an-Nur were sent down. Allah Almighty stated that the rumor was baseless and that Aisha had been slandered.

When the Prophet (pbuh) got ill in the last week of the month of Safar in 11 H, he took permission from his other wives and went to stay in Hz. Aisha's room. He died by placing his blessed head on her lap there and was buried in her room. Hz. Aisha obeyed the order of the Quran that prohibited the wives of the Prophet from marrying others and did not marry after his death. She lived forty-seven more years after the death of the Prophet and died in Madinah on Ramadan 17 in 58 H on Wednesday night after performing witr prayer. There are also narrations stating that she died in 56, 57 or 59 H on Ramadan 19 or 13. People became very sad when she died; her body was buried the same night. All people including women living in Madinah and the regions around it came to Baqi Cemetery at night; her funeral prayer was led by Abu Hurayra, who was the deputy governor of Madinah, in the middle of the cemetery and she was buried in Baqi Cemetery as she had willed. Her nephews placed her in the grave.  

Hz. Aisha had the opportunity to grow up and to mature her personality in the house of the Prophet. She did not have any children. Arabs had the custom of giving mothers and fathers nicknames based on their first sons; when she said, she felt sorry because of not having such a nickname, the Prophet gave her the nickname "Umm Abdullah" attributing Abdullah b. Zubayr, her sister Asma’s son to her. The Prophet addressed her as Aisha, Uwaysh and Aish because he loved her very much. It is also narrated that Hz. Aisha was called Humayra because she had a light skin and that the Prophet also called her like that. Hz. Ali mentions her as “the beloved one of the Messenger of Allah” in a hadith; Masruq, from Tabiun, uses the phrase “the beloved one of Allah’s beloved one, the one acquitted by the verse sent down from the sky” in the chain of narrators in the hadiths he narrates from Hz. Aisha.

The family tie between Hz. Aisha and the Prophet was based on love, understanding and respect. It is known that she ran and raced against the Prophet, who loved her very much, that she watched the Abyssinians who played a game of war with their spears in the Mosque of the Prophet by leaning on his shoulder and that she liked acting coyly toward the Prophet. The Prophet also liked being together with her, talking to her on night journeys, going to the places where he was invited with her and answering her questions.  

In fact, Hz. Aisha attained an exceptional position in the eye of the Prophet thanks to her intelligence, understanding, strong memory, eloquence and her efforts to understand the Quran and the Prophet in the best way. When the Prophet helped her develop her abilities, her education in her father's house developed, matured and deepened further in the house of the Prophet, illuminated by revelation. She had a good habit of asking the Prophet what she did not know and could not understand, about her deficiencies and mistakes and even the issues that she regarded to be different between the Quran and the hadiths of the Prophet, and of negotiating with him.

The Prophet liked her the most after Khadija among her wives; when he was asked whom he loved most in the world, he uttered her name and expressed this love. That he explained that he received revelation when he was with Aisha but not with his other wives shows that she was more virtuous than his other wives and that the love that the Prophet felt for her was based on the divine source, as Dhahabi states.

She did the housework herself. When she was with the Prophet, she would chat with him and performed nafilah worship. In addition to the love she nurtured toward the Prophet, she was also known for obeying him and his orders. She prayed at night and fasted on most days. She did not like to speak against anyone. She was contented, modest, humble, dignified and generous. She would take orphans and poor children under her auspices, care for their education and upbringing, and then marry them off.

She freed many male and female slaves; some of those freed slaves, whose number is mentioned as sixty-two, were engaged in religious science and hadith. She showed her nobility by narrating many hadiths about the virtues of the other wives of the Prophet, his daughter Fatima, Hz. Ali and other companions by introducing them to the ummah.

Although she was very young when the Prophet passed away, she was one of the leading companions who knew, understood and maintained the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet. She grew up in the best way both in her father's house and the Prophet’s house thanks to her intelligence, understanding, desire to learn, strong memory, love and faith; she obtained information that could not be obtained by others.

She knew Arab poetry very well along with using the Arabic language skillfully. She knew by heart many couplets of Labid, almost all odes of Ka’b b. Malik, the poems of Hassan b. Thabit and Abdullah b. Rawaha. She pointed out the importance of poetry in terms of both the Arabic language and understanding of the Quran and hadiths by saying, "Teach your children poetry so that their tongues will be sweet."

Since Hz. Aisha was an orator famous for her eloquence and rhetoric, her speech had a great effect on people. Her prayer at the grave of her father after his death, her sermon in the Incident of Camel and some of her letters are examples of masterpieces showing her literary ability. In addition, she had extensive knowledge about Arab history, the science of genealogy, the social state, customs and traditions of the Era of Jahiliyya. She learned poetry, literature, history and genealogy from her father, Hz. Abu Bakr. She took after her father in ethics and good manners as well as interest in knowledge.

Thanks to the enlightenment she received from the Prophet, she became the most distinctive teacher of Islamic principles. She interpreted the Quran. Not only did she convey and explain the sunnah of the Prophet but she also showed her mentality of scientific criticism about understanding it correctly. She started to memorize the Quran at a young age and learned the reading style of the verses thoroughly. In particular, she knew very well the reasons of revelation, indications, analyses and evaluations of the verses that were sent down in Madinah, and how to deduce decrees from each verse. She was one of those who understood the Quran best. Hz. Aisha, who understood the sunnah very well deduced new decrees from hadiths through interpretation and analogy. Her ijtihads and fatwas enabled her to be accepted as a fiqh scholar and mujtahid. Hz. Aisha was one of the seven people who were famous for issuing many fatwas among the companions of the Prophet. In addition to many fiqh issues, she had a deep culture and understanding in the fields of fiqh methodology, reasons for legislation, and especially in the field of the law of inheritance. According to what Masruq, who was the fiqh scholar of Kufa and one of the students of Hz. Aisha, says, the notables of the Companions always asked her about the issues related to the law of inheritance. It is seen in the sources of hadith and fiqh that her fatwas different from some Companions occupy a large place. Many fiqh scholars of the Era of Tabiun had scientific consultations with her in order to benefit from her high level of legal knowledge. Her views in the field of Islamic law were reported by her nephews, Qasim and Urwa, and her other students.

Thanks to her strong memory, she performed unmatched services in conveying the hadiths and sunnah of the Prophet to the next generations. The number of the hadiths she narrated is 2.210. Two hundred and ninety-seven of those hadiths were reported by Bukhari and Muslim in their Sahihs: one hundred and seventy-four of them exist in both books, fifty-four of them are only in Bukhari, and sixty-nine of them are only in Muslim. She is the only woman who narrated more hadiths than the other wives of the Prophet and all of the Companions except Abu Hurayra, Abdullah b. Umar and Anas b. Malik.  She was the fourth of the seven companions called “Mukthirun”, who narrated more than a thousand hadiths. She reported most of the hadiths she narrated directly from the Prophet. She would state the reasons why the hadiths were uttered, examine them in order to clarify whether they contained any elements contrary to the Quran, and correct any mistakes made by some companions during narration. When she corrected the beginning or end of the hadiths or the mistakes caused by not knowing the reasons why the hadiths were uttered very well, she used phrases like “he made a mistake”, “he forgot” and “he reported the end of the hadith but not the beginning”; thus, she blazed a trail for the development of the mentality of criticism in the Islamic world.

When the contents of the hadiths narrated by Hz. Aisha are examined, it will be seen that they include the prophethood of Muhammad (pbuh), his family life, daily life, wars, Farewell Hajj, death and ethics, decrees related to the history of the Era of Jahiliyya, women, various activities of Muslims in the Era of Makkah and Madinah, worship and history of worship, ru'yatullah (seeing Allah), knowing the ghayb (unknown/unseen), Day of Judgment, and some theoretical issues and news about life in the hereafter.

One of most prominent features of Hz. Aisha was her activities to explain the principles of the religion of Islam. After the death of the Prophet, her house became a place of knowledge and science where many people, men and women, young and old, came to her presence, listened to her asked her questions and listened to her answers. As a result of the death of some of the Companions and many of them going to various regions due to conquests, there were very few Companions left in Madinah. Thanks to Hz. Aisha's presence there, “Madinah, the city of the Prophet” continued to be a science and knowledge center. As a result of her education and training activities for years in this city, the foundations of Islamic sciences were laid and the scientific movement developed; in addition, Madinah school in the fields of hadith and fiqh was established.

Hz. Aisha answered not only oral questions but also written questions asked by Muslims living in various cities and regions through letters. Thus, she pioneered in the writing of hadiths and some fiqh issues. On the other hand, when she went to Makkah for hajj every year from 23 H until her death, she allowed people coming from various places to visit her in her tent and ask her questions. She was closely interested in the education and training of women, starting from the Era of the Prophet; there were many girls and women who attended her lessons and reported hadiths. Thus, she herself clearly showed with the students she educated that women in the Islamic world should be engaged in science and learning.

There are many documents and detailed information about her life and personality, the hadiths she reported, her decrees, fatwas and political activities in tafsir, hadith and fiqh collections, siyar, battle, history, biography, poetry and literature books. If the independent works written about the wives of the Prophet are also taken into consideration, it will be seen that the resources to be referred to for Hz. Aisha's biography are abundant.

(see Diyanet İslam Ansiklopedisi, Aişe Item)

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