Will you give information about those who spread the incident of ifk / slander about Hz. Aisha?

Details of the Question

Is the reason why the believers like Hassan b. Thabit, Mistah b. Uthatha, Hanna bint Jahsh were not forgiven not repenting?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

"Those who brought forward the lie (about the wife of the Prophet) are a body among yourselves: think it not to be an evil to you; on the contrary it is good for you: to every man among them (will come the punishment) of the sin that he earned, and to him who took on himself the lead among them, will be a penalty grievous. "(an-Nur, 24/11)

The following is stated at the beginning of the verse: "Those who brought forward the lie (about the wife of the Prophet) are a body among yourselves."  This expression shows that some Muslims took part in the incident of slander. They are Hassan b. Thabit, Mistah b. Uthatha, Hanna bint Jahsh.

The verse continues as follows: "Think it not to be an evil to you; on the contrary it is good for you." This expression shows that the incident of slander is not an evil but something good for the family of Abu Bakr. For, this incident caused the family of Abu Bakr to be mentioned in a good way in this world and to show that they were chaste. It is a reason for them to attain great thawabs in the hereafter.

The following is stated at the end of the verse: "And to him who took on himself the lead among them, will be a penalty grievous." What is meant by the person who undertook the greatest share of the slander is Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul according to the preferred view. The reason why he is regarded as the person with the greatest share in the slander is that he made up the rumor and spread it. 

"Why did not the believers - men and women - when ye heard of the affair,- put the best construction on it in their own minds and say, "This (charge) is an obvious lie"(an-Nur, 24/12)

Allah reproaches the believers in the verse above because they found the slander possible and calls them to avoid such deeds. It is a deed that does not fit the believers to think that Hz. Aisha, who was a believer and a wife of the Prophet (pbuh), did something like that. As a matter of fact, when Khalid b. Zayd Aba Ayyub al-Ansari’s wife said to him, "Have you not heard what people say about Aisha?" Aba Ay­yub said, "Yes, I have. It is a lie. O Ayyub's mother! Would you do something like that?" She said, "No, by Allah, I wouldn’t." Thereupon, Aba Ayyub said, "By Allah, Aisha is superior to you."

"Why did they not bring four witnesses to prove it? When they have not brought the witnesses, such men, in the sight of Allah, (stand forth) themselves as liars."(an-Nur, 24/13)

The verse above teaches how to distinguish between a slander and a true statement and that the way to do it is to determine the trueness of the incident through four witnesses. In this incident, the slanderers cannot bring any witnesses; thus, it becomes clear that they are liars. (see Tabari, Tafsir, Hisar Publications: VI/126-127)

"Were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, in this world and the Hereafter, a grievous penalty would have seized you in that ye rushed glibly into this affair."(an-Nur, 24/14)

"O those who gossip about Aisha! If it were no for the grace and mercy of Allah on you in this world and the hereafter, you would have been punished severely due to the slander you committed."

Believers like Hassan b. Thabit, Mistah b. Uthatha, Hanna bint Jahsh and hypocrites like Abdullah b. Ubayy b. Salul were not included among those who gossiped but whose repentance was accepted and who attained Allah’s mercy. (see Tabari, ibid.)

Some scholars hold the view that it is unbelief to slander and claim that any of the wives of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) committed adultery. For, the following verse was sent down about those who slandered the wives of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) and threatened them with a grievous penalty: 

«Those who slander chaste women, indiscreet but believing, are cursed in this life and in the Hereafter: for them is a grievous Penalty.»

Furthermore, according to Ibn Abbas, their repentance is not accepted. According to those scholars, to slander that the wives of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) committed adultery means to denigrate and defame the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) openly. Anyone who regards defaming the honor of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) permissible definitely becomes an unbeliever.  

Alusi states the following: "The apparent meaning of the verse above indicates that those who slander that the wives of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) committed adultery are unbelievers. For, Allah states that He will punish those who slander with a penalty peculiar to unbelievers and hypocrites. The decree about the issue is that those who slander the wives of the Prophet will become unbelievers. For, it is clearly stated in the verse that they are clean and free from all kinds of evil. However, there is no apparent evidence showing that those who slander before that verse was sent down will become unbelievers. Nevertheless, if they aim to defame the Messenger of Allah when they slander, there is no doubt about the unbelief of people like Abdullah bin Ubayy—May Allah’s curse be upon him. However, if they utter it by following others and without aiming to defame the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), they (people like Mistah and Hassan bin Thabit) will only be condemned severely."

There is no doubt that anyone who regards it halal to slander that a believing woman committed fornication becomes an unbeliever. It is definitely unbelief to regard it halal to slander that the clean, chaste and honorable wives of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh), primarily Hz. Aisha, whose acquittal was sent down from the heaven,  committed fornication. Doubtlessly, to speak ill about them after that verse was sent down means to deny the verses of Allah and to harm the Messenger of Allah (pbuh). To deny verses and to harm the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) are regarded as unbelief and make a person an apostate. For, Allah states the following:

"Those who annoy Allah and His Messenger - Allah has cursed them in this World and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating Punishment." (al-Ahzab, 33/57)

It is clearly stated in the verse above that those who annoy Allah and His Messenger (pbuh) will be punished by the penalty peculiar to unbelievers and hypocrites.

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