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===Islam===
 
===Islam===
  
Aisha hung a curtain decorated with winged horses and birds<ref>Nasa’i vol. 6 p. 182 #5354, #5355.</ref> in front of a cupboard. Muhammad pulled it down, complaining that it distracted him from his prayers. But when Aisha sewed the curtain into two cushions, he did not object to sitting on these.<ref>{{Bukhari|1|8|371}}; {{Bukhari|3|43|659}}; Nasa’i vol. 6 pp. 182-186 #5356, #5357 #5358, #5359.</ref> Another day he stood at her door with a “sign of disgust on his face”. She asked what she had done wrong, and he replied, “What about this cushion?” It was decorated with pictures. She said that she had bought it especially for him “to sit and recline on.” He told her: “The painters of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection ... The angels do not enter a house where there are pictures.”<ref>{{Bukhari|3|34|318}}.</ref> But Muhammad did not object to “a plush wrap, with a border on it, that we would wear.”<ref>Nasa’i vol. 6 p. 182 #5355.</ref> He forbade musical instruments,<ref>[{{Bukhari-url-only|7|69|494}}v Sahih Bukhari 7|69|494v]</ref> especially bells<ref>{{Muslim|24|5279}}.</ref> and singing,<ref>{{Abudawud|41|4090}}.</ref> yet when Aisha arranged a wedding party, he admonished her for not providing singers “for the ''Ansar'' are a people who give a place to love songs.”<ref>[http://www.oocities.org/tirmidhihadith/page6.html/ Tirmidhi 3154, 3155.]</ref> When Aisha refused to admit her foster-mother’s brother-in-law to her house, Muhammad said that she should have let him in “for he is your paternal uncle.” Aisha pointed out that it was the woman, not her husband, who had breast-fed her, but Muhammad explained that her foster-mother’s husband was still considered like a father to her.<ref>Nasa’i vol. 4 p. 144 #3315; p. 145 #3317.</ref> Yet when he found Aisha sitting unveiled with her foster-brother, presumably a younger man, he showed anger and warned her, “Be careful whom you count as your brothers.”<ref> Nasa’i vol. 4 p. 143 #3314.</ref> No matter how obscure the rules, no matter how complex the list of exceptions to the rules, ''hadith'' after ''hadith'' shows that Aisha tried to comply.
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Aisha hung a curtain decorated with winged horses and birds<ref>Nasa’i vol. 6 p. 182 #5354, #5355.</ref> in front of a cupboard. Muhammad pulled it down, complaining that it distracted him from his prayers. But when Aisha sewed the curtain into two cushions, he did not object to sitting on these.<ref>{{Bukhari|1|8|371}}; {{Bukhari|3|43|659}}; Nasa’i vol. 6 pp. 182-186 #5356, #5357 #5358, #5359.</ref> Another day he stood at her door with a “sign of disgust on his face”. She asked what she had done wrong, and he replied, “What about this cushion?” It was decorated with pictures. She said that she had bought it especially for him “to sit and recline on.” He told her: “The painters of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection ... The angels do not enter a house where there are pictures.”<ref>{{Bukhari|3|34|318}}.</ref> But Muhammad did not object to “a plush wrap, with a border on it, that we would wear.”<ref>Nasa’i vol. 6 p. 182 #5355.</ref> He forbade musical instruments,<ref>[{{Bukhari-url-only|7|69|494}}v Sahih Bukhari 7:69:494v]</ref> especially bells<ref>{{Muslim|24|5279}}.</ref> and singing,<ref>{{Abudawud|41|4090}}.</ref> yet when Aisha arranged a wedding party, he admonished her for not providing singers “for the ''Ansar'' are a people who give a place to love songs.”<ref>[http://www.oocities.org/tirmidhihadith/page6.html/ Tirmidhi 3154, 3155.]</ref> When Aisha refused to admit her foster-mother’s brother-in-law to her house, Muhammad said that she should have let him in “for he is your paternal uncle.” Aisha pointed out that it was the woman, not her husband, who had breast-fed her, but Muhammad explained that her foster-mother’s husband was still considered like a father to her.<ref>Nasa’i vol. 4 p. 144 #3315; p. 145 #3317.</ref> Yet when he found Aisha sitting unveiled with her foster-brother, presumably a younger man, he showed anger and warned her, “Be careful whom you count as your brothers.”<ref> Nasa’i vol. 4 p. 143 #3314.</ref> No matter how obscure the rules, no matter how complex the list of exceptions to the rules, ''hadith'' after ''hadith'' shows that Aisha tried to comply.
  
 
Despite this, there is no real evidence that Aisha “believed” Islam in the sense of giving intellectual assent to the literal existence of Allah. On the contrary, she expressed her scepticism to Muhammad’s face. When he told her that Allah had given him permission to reject or accept as many as he liked of the women who offered to marry him, with no need to pay a dower,<ref>{{Quran|33|51}}.</ref> she responded, “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires!”<ref>[http://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=307&number=307/ Bukhari 6:60:311.] See also {{Muslim|8|3453}}; {{Muslim|8|3454}}.</ref> When she was accused of infidelity, she wept night and day as long as she feared Muhammad might divorce her. But when he finally spoke to her directly about the accusations, he did not mention the usual punishment for adultery but only said, “Fear Allah, and if you have done wrong as men say, then repent towards Allah, for he accepts repentance from his slaves.” At this hint that Muhammad intended to exonerate her, “my tears ceased, and I could not feel them.”<ref>Guillaume/Ishaq p. 496; {{Bukhari|5|59|462}}.</ref> Muhammad immediately entered the prophetic trance to hear Allah’s verdict, and “I felt no fear or alarm … [but] as for my parents … I thought that they would die from fear.”<ref>Guillaume/Ishaq p. 497; {{Bukhari|5|59|462}}.</ref> Aisha was not afraid of Allah because she already knew that Muhammad had decided in her favour – that is, she knew who Allah really was. In one quarrel she told her husband directly: “You are the one who ''claims'' to be the Prophet of Allah!”<ref>[http://www.ghazali.org/books/marriage.pdf/ Farah/Ghazali vol. 2 p. 95.]</ref>
 
Despite this, there is no real evidence that Aisha “believed” Islam in the sense of giving intellectual assent to the literal existence of Allah. On the contrary, she expressed her scepticism to Muhammad’s face. When he told her that Allah had given him permission to reject or accept as many as he liked of the women who offered to marry him, with no need to pay a dower,<ref>{{Quran|33|51}}.</ref> she responded, “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires!”<ref>[http://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=60&translator=1&start=307&number=307/ Bukhari 6:60:311.] See also {{Muslim|8|3453}}; {{Muslim|8|3454}}.</ref> When she was accused of infidelity, she wept night and day as long as she feared Muhammad might divorce her. But when he finally spoke to her directly about the accusations, he did not mention the usual punishment for adultery but only said, “Fear Allah, and if you have done wrong as men say, then repent towards Allah, for he accepts repentance from his slaves.” At this hint that Muhammad intended to exonerate her, “my tears ceased, and I could not feel them.”<ref>Guillaume/Ishaq p. 496; {{Bukhari|5|59|462}}.</ref> Muhammad immediately entered the prophetic trance to hear Allah’s verdict, and “I felt no fear or alarm … [but] as for my parents … I thought that they would die from fear.”<ref>Guillaume/Ishaq p. 497; {{Bukhari|5|59|462}}.</ref> Aisha was not afraid of Allah because she already knew that Muhammad had decided in her favour – that is, she knew who Allah really was. In one quarrel she told her husband directly: “You are the one who ''claims'' to be the Prophet of Allah!”<ref>[http://www.ghazali.org/books/marriage.pdf/ Farah/Ghazali vol. 2 p. 95.]</ref>

Revision as of 11:39, 18 July 2013

Aisha bint Abi Bakr

Aisha bint Abi Bakr claimed that she was the Prophet Muhammad’s second wife,[1] although this was not strictly correct.[2] She is known as Aisha al-Siddiqa (“the Truthful”)[3] to complement her father, who was also known as al-Siddiq.[4] This byname originally referred, not to Abu Bakr’s personal honesty, but to his “testimony to the truth” of Muhammad’s miraculous Night Journey.[5] Muslims consider Aisha another major “witness to the truth” of Muhammad’s prophetic office. The Syrian scholar Ismail ibn Umar ibn Kathir wrote:

A great deal of the knowledge that we still have today, about how our beloved Prophet lived and behaved, was first remembered and then taught to others by Aisha … This is what makes it so much easier for those who wish to follow in their footsteps to try and follow their example.

Aisha’s witness has bequeathed to the world a wealth of truth about the nature of Islam.

Aisha’s Background

Aisha was born in Mecca “at the beginning of the fourth year of prophethood,”[6] i.e., between 25 October 613 and 19 February 614.

Her father was the cloth-merchant Abu Bakr ibn Abi Quhafah from the Taym clan of the Quraysh. “He was a man whose society was desired, well liked and of easy manners … of high character and kindliness. His people used to come to him to discuss many matters with him because of his wide knowledge, his experience in commerce, and his sociable nature.”[7] His generosity had made him popular in the city.[8] Abu Bakr’s first wife was Qutaylah bint Abduluzza from the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh. She bore him a daughter, Asma.[9] He then married his business partner’s widow, Umm Ruman (Zaynab) bint Amir. She was an immigrant from the Kinana tribe whose only relative in Mecca was her young son, Tufayl ibn Al-Harith;[10] Muhammad once said that “whoever is pleased to look at a woman of the houris should look at Umm Ruman.”[11] She was the mother of Abu Bakr’s first son, Abdulrahman.[12] Qutaylah then bore him a second son, Abdullah;[13] but soon afterwards, Abu Bakr divorced Qutaylah.[14]

The family lived near Khadijah’s house[15] and must have known Muhammad for several years before the latter declared himself a prophet in 610. Abu Bakr “did not hold back or hesitate.”[16] He was the first male outside Muhammad’s family to convert to Islam.[17] “When he became a Muslim, he showed his faith openly and called others to God and his apostle … He began to call to God and to Islam all whom he trusted of those who came to him and sat with him … He brought them to the apostle when they had accepted his invitation and they accepted Islam and prayed.”[18] The earliest Muslim historian, Muhammad ibn Ishaq, lists fifty people who became Muslims through Abu Bakr’s preaching,[19] which was probably the majority of the earliest converts.

Aisha was born in the year when Islam was first publicly preached in Mecca[20] and she never knew any lifestyle other than Islam.[21] She grew up in a household where her mother was the only wife and she had four much-older siblings. The records also mention several servants.[22] Aisha was still a baby when a pagan neighbour, Al-Mutim ibn Adiy, proposed that she marry his son Jubayr. Abu Bakr informally accepted this proposal but he did not enter a binding marriage contract.[23] Aisha’s paternal grandparents, already in their seventies at the time of her birth, lived nearby.[24] Her grandmother, Umm Al-Khayr bint Sakhr, was a Muslim,[25] but her grandfather, Abu Quhafah ibn Amir, remained a pagan. When he spoke disparagingly of Muhammad, Abu Bakr hit his father’s chest so hard that the old man became unconscious.[26]

Aisha was less than three years old when the Quraysh declared a blockade against the Hashimite clan.[27] Abu Bakr considered leaving Mecca to join the exiles in Abyssinia. But he found a protector who agreed to keep the neighbours from harassing him on condition he confined his religion to the privacy of his home and did not try to convert anyone else. Abu Bakr kept to the letter of the agreement and stopped preaching outside his home. But he later built a mosque in the courtyard of his house, where he once again read the Qur’an out loud, and women and youths flocked to hear his preaching. The men complained about this, and Abu Bakr renounced his protection.[28] Nevertheless, the worst recorded attack on Abu Bakr is that “one of the loutish fellows of Quraysh” once threw dust on his head,[29] an understandable expression of annoyance under the circumstances. Aisha recalled that the ayah' Quran 54:46, concerning the occasion when the moon was miraculously split in the sky, was first recited in Mecca when she was a little girl at play, three or four years old. She did not, however, claim to remember the miracle itself.[30]

When Aisha was six, the blockade against the Hashim clan was revoked, and they emerged from hiding in the mountain ravine. After that, Muhammad came to visit her father every morning and evening.[31] Aisha never met his wife Khadijah,[32] who returned to Mecca in poor health and died shortly afterwards.[33]

Reasons for the Marriage

When Khadijah died in April 620, “the Prophet was terribly grieved over her,”[34] and “people feared for him.”[35] After only a few days, Khawlah bint Hakim, the sister-in-law of his friend Umar,[36] decided that he needed a new wife. She called on Muhammad to tell him that she knew of both a maid and a matron whom he might marry and asked which one he would prefer. He immediately responded that he would take them both.[37]

The maid was Abu Bakr’s daughter. It is often claimed that Muhammad married her “to reinforce the friendly relations already existing with Abu Bakr.”[38] In one sense this is true: Abu Bakr was one of the few men in Mecca who would still have been willing to give him a daughter.[39] But this theory mistakes cause and effect. The marriage did not “promote” any alliance with Abu Bakr; rather, it was the existing close bond with Abu Bakr that made the marriage possible. Muhammad’s request to his friend might not even have reflected Khawlah’s original intention, for the oral traditions about Muhammad’s life were first put in writing long after his death,[40] and it could be that they have been distorted by narrators who did not know about the interview with Khawlah until they also had hind-knowledge of its result. It is not impossible that Khawlah originally mentioned “Abu Bakr’s daughter” without giving the name, and that she had actually been referring to his elder daughter Asma. Regardless of whether or not Khawlah was complicit in the eventual outcome, what happened was that Muhammad completely overlooked the sixteen-year-old Asma[41] and asked instead to marry the six-year-old Aisha.[42]

It is also suggested that Muhammad “married Aisha for the benefit of Islam and Humanity … From her, 2210 Hadith have come... Many of her transmissions pertain to some of the most intimate aspects of personal behaviour which only someone in Aisha's position could have learnt.”[43] There is no evidence to support this theory. If Muhammad had wanted the traditions about his life to be securely transmitted to posterity, he would not have relied on the hope that his young widow might later think of it; he would have arranged to have them committed to writing during his lifetime. He never did. Further, if he had believed that a wife was the best kind of chronicler, he would have chosen an adult spouse who knew how to write. Aisha could in fact read[44] but she never learned to write.[45]

What Muhammad later said was that Allah had instructed him to marry Aisha. He said the angel Jibreel had appeared to him in a dream, holding a veiled child and saying, “Messenger of Allah, this one will remove some of your sorrow. This one has some of the qualities of Khadijah.” Then he lifted the veil, revealing that the child was Aisha.[46] In a second dream, Jibreel showed him Aisha’s portrait painted on silk, promising, “This is your wife.”[47] If Muhammad really had any such dream, it is disturbing that he would act on it so literally.

Muhammad’s decision to marry Aisha was made less than three weeks after Khadijah’s death[48] while he was grieving. He was not necessarily making wise decisions, even from his own point of view. Muhammad’s choice of Aisha over Asma must have been influenced by personal qualities that Aisha had and Asma lacked. While Asma’s appearance is never described, Aisha was very pretty. This was conceded by people who had no vested interest[49] as well as by those who might have been biased.[50] She was slim and light-framed[51] with a fair, rosy complexion and perhaps also red hair,[52] which she wore plaited.[53] Her nephew later said, “I did not see a greater scholar than Aisha in poetry, literature, Arab history and genealogy,”[54] and it was said that there was no one else “more intelligent in opinion if her opinion was sought.”[55] While we might question whether Muhammad was aware of her intelligence when she was only six years old, she had indeed “some of the qualities of Khadijah,” who is described as “determined and intelligent”.[56]

Marriage Contract

When Muhammad made his formal request for Aisha’s hand, he did not mention that Allah had “commanded”[57] him to marry her. Abu Bakr hesitated at first, saying, “She is [like] his brother’s daughter. Would she be appropriate for him?” But Muhammad said that Abu Bakr was only “my brother in Islam,” which did not preclude such a marriage.[58] Abu Bakr had to break off Aisha’s informal engagement to Jubayr ibn Al-Mutim, but this proved easy, as the pagan family no longer wished to risk that their son might convert to Islam.[59] So Abu Bakr married his daughter to Muhammad in May or June 620. Unlike Abu Bakr’s previous agreement with Al-Mutim, his contract with Muhammad was not a “betrothal” or “engagement” (as some English translators have suggested) but in every way a legally binding marriage, which could only be dissolved by death or divorce.[60]

Aisha later claimed that she had not known that she was married until the very day of the consummation.[61] That Aisha did not know that she was married was, of course, nothing unusual. Throughout history and in nearly every culture, betrothals have been arranged over cradles, and women in particular have been married without their knowledge, understanding or consent. The fact that Aisha was a child is barely an issue here; no woman of any age should be married without her own consent, whether she is six, sixteen, thirty-six or sixty. However, it is unlikely that any seventh-century Arab grasped “informed consent” in the way the modern West understands it. Muhammad’s similar failure to grasp it betrays that he was no prophet or pioneer of human rights but was simply a normal product of his own culture.

Muhammad instructed Umm Ruman, “Take good care of Aisha and watch over her for me.” The family therefore gave Aisha a “special position”. One day Aisha said something about her mother to her father, which made Abu Bakr angry with both of them. Umm Ruman “came after” Aisha, who “hid” behind the front door, “weeping with great distress.” When Muhammad arrived for his daily visit, Aisha told him everything. Muhammad’s eyes “overflowed with tears” as he reminded Umm Ruman, “Did I not tell you to watch over Aisha for me?” Umm Ruman tried to give her side of the story, but Muhammad replied, “And if she did?” Aisha’s mother had to promise, “I will never trouble her again.”[62] As the specific details have been omitted from this story, it is not apparent whether it was Umm Ruman who was a difficult mother or Aisha who was a difficult child, or even whether it was Abu Bakr who was a difficult husband and father; but it is certain that Muhammad was interfering with another family’s affairs without any interest in knowing all the facts.

In 622 Abu Bakr accompanied Muhammad on his flight (Hijra) to Medina. He took all his savings with him, leaving nothing to support his family, much to the consternation of his elderly father. Asma had to fool her grandfather, who was blind, by touching his hand to a cloth covering a pile of stones and letting him believe they were a sack of coins.[63] Fortunately it was only a few months before Abu Bakr sent for his family to join him in Medina. Aisha had an adventure on the way: “My camel broke loose. I was sitting in the litter together with my mother, and she started exclaiming ‘Alas, my daughter, alas [you] bride’; then they caught up with our camel, after it had safely descended the Lift”[64] [Valley]. After the dry heat of Mecca, the emigrants found Medina damp and cool, and several of them were struck by fever. Aisha was bemused by the delirious ramblings of two of Abu Bakr’s servants and asked Muhammad what it meant. Some of the Muslims were so weak that they said their prayers sitting down until Muhammad advised them, “The prayer of the sitter is only half as valuable as the prayer of the stander.” Thereupon they “painfully struggled to their feet.”[65] Then Aisha herself became feverish for a whole month, and her hair fell out.[66]

Paedophilia

After Aisha had recovered, and her hair had again “become abundant,”[67] Abu Bakr approached Muhammad and asked him if he would like to consummate the marriage. He did not explain why he suddenly lost his scruples over child-marriage; but Aisha’s illness would have hinted at her mortality, while the flight to Medina must have altered the political landscape unrecognisably, so perhaps Abu Bakr felt the need to confirm his continuing importance in the Muslim hierarchy. The family landscape had also changed, for Abu Bakr had lately acquired a new wife, Habibah bint Kharijah, a Medinan woman whom he visited in the suburbs at a discreet distance from the mosque.[68] Perhaps he expected this marriage to produce new financial burdens, although in fact Habibah’s only child, Umm Kulthum, was not to be born until 634.[69] It is worth noting that Habibah’s grandfather was still alive and apparently fit and active.[70] This suggests that Habibah was a very young woman, which might also have caused Abu Bakr to revise his ideas about the suitable age for a girl to marry.

Muhammad did not express any outrage or disgust at this invitation; instead of correcting his friend’s morality, he merely confessed that he had no cash to pay the dower. Abu Bakr replied that he would provide this.[71] The earliest source states that it was a sum of 400 dirhams[72] (about £2,000), but others say 12½ ouwkiyas,[73] which would have been worth 500 dirhams (£2,500). It is also said that that dower was “some household goods worth 50 dirhams[74] (£250), so perhaps part of the value was paid in kind.

Umm Ruman also cooperated with the new plan. She tried to fatten Aisha up before sending her to Muhammad’s house. Several types of food failed to replace the flesh that she had lost during her illness “till she gave me cucumber with fresh dates to eat. Then I became fat as good.”[75] In April or May 623 Aisha, now aged nine, was playing on a swing[76] with some friends when her mother called her over. Still breathless, Aisha was taken to the little house that had just been built into the wall of the mosque, a hut of unbaked bricks with a palm-branch roof, perhaps five metres by four in size.[77] When she was brought inside, where some ansar women wished her “blessings and good fortune,”[78] “it occurred to me that I was married. I did not ask her and my mother was the one who told me.”[79] For some reason, Umm Ruman then departed, leaving the ansar women to wash and perfume Aisha, dress her up in a red-striped gown and comb her hair. When her father’s friend Muhammad arrived, she was surprised, suggesting that she had still not guessed the identity of her bridegroom, but not afraid. The women left the house, and Muhammad sat her on his lap.[80] The consummation was not marked by any kind of wedding party or public celebration: “neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me.”[81] This possibly indicates that, while the Muslim converts did not question Muhammad’s judgment, he knew only too well what his Jewish neighbours would think of his bigamy.[82]

Aisha said, “I was preferred over the wives of the Prophet,”[83] and asked rhetorically, “Which of his wives is more fortunate than me?”[84] She never recognised that she had been raped. She spoke calmly of the way Muhammad sucked her tongue[85] and took baths with her in the same tub,[86] and of how she would then wash the semen off his clothes[87] and anoint him with perfume[88] (his favourite was dhikarat al-tayyib, a blend of musk and ambergris[89]).

Aisha’s acceptance of the situation does not alter the fact that a fifty-two-year-old man should have known better than to engage sexually with a nine-year-old. Most cultures throughout history have understood that a girl should not be touched before puberty. The Jews in Medina most certainly understood it.[90] Muslim apologists have tried to plead that Aisha was an early developer for whom “it is most likely her puberty started at 8, and continued till she was 9, and once she was going through puberty and her menses, this made her a lady and not a girl anymore.”[91] But this is not correct. Aisha had still not reached menarche by the age of fourteen and a half, more than five years after the consummation of her marriage. She several times described her fourteen-year-old self as a jariya (“prepubescent girl”)[92] and in July 628 was still playing with dolls, which were forbidden to adults but permitted to prepubescents.[93] Although this could not have been predicted on her wedding day, she actually belonged to the 10% of girls who are latest in reaching puberty.[94] At nine, she would have been flat-chested and only three-quarters of her future height; nobody could have mistaken her for an adult. Unlike the informed consent issue, which simply reveals that Muhammad was a product of his culture, this act of paederasty betrays that Muhammad was morally inferior to his own culture. He rejected the moral norms of his wisest contemporaries and abused a little girl for no better reason than that Abu Bakr had made it easy for him to do so. He demonstrated for once and for all that he had no timeless, universal moral insight to offer the world – in short, that he was not a prophet.

Relationship with Muhammad

Aisha was to remain Muhammad’s favourite wife.[95] He claimed that Aisha was dearer to him “than butter with dates”[96] and superior to all other women in the same way that a meat stew was superior to plain bread.[97] When a companion asked him, “Who is the most beloved person to you?” he replied, “Aisha!” When the young man protested that he had meant male persons, Muhammad corrected his reply to, “Her father.”[98] He made himself a doorway in the mosque wall close to Aisha’s house-door,[99] presumably to visit her more conveniently. At table he would eat meat from a bone that she had bitten and drink from her cup.[100] She asked, “How is your love for me?” and he replied that it was, “like the rope’s knot” – strong and secure. After that she would often ask, “How is the knot?” and he would reply, “The same as ever!”[101]

Muhammad allowed Aisha her playtime. Her collection of dolls included at least three shaped like female humans[102] and a stuffed horse with wings. Muhammad questioned her about this anomaly but he laughed when she reminded him that Solomon was supposed to have owned winged horses.[103] Strangely, neither of them mentioned that Muhammad himself claimed to have ridden a winged horse a few years earlier.[104] Aisha said that (presumably after she grew older) she used to hide her dolls under a garment when Muhammad entered, “but she did not stop.”[105] At first her playmates “felt shy of Allah’s Messenger” and used to leave the house[106] or “hide themselves” when Muhammad entered, “but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.”[107] At festival time her friends sang badly and beat tambourines in her house, although Muhammad came to lie down there. Abu Bakr rebuked them: “Musical instruments of Satan near the Prophet!” But Muhammad told the girls not to stop their play for him.[108] Later that day, some Abyssinian guests put on a display in the mosque courtyard to demonstrate their prowess with shields and spears. Women were not really allowed, but Muhammad circumvented the regulation by standing in front of Aisha at her front door, screening her with his cloak, so that she could watch the performance without being seen.[109] She once beat him in a running race. Later, after she had put on weight, they raced again, and he won, remarking, “This is for that outstripping!”[110] Given the chance to mount an unbroken camel, she drove it “round and round” until Muhammad had to remind her to be gentle with the animal.[111]

But what these “innocent” episodes demonstrate, above anything else, is that Aisha was a child. A grown woman does not play with dolls and swings. Aisha was just a little girl who, like any other little girl, played games with her bath-water[112] and could not cook.[113] And no little girl could match the most powerful adult in the community in assertiveness. When Aisha was angry with Muhammad, she often resorted to hinting at it indirectly by declaiming, “By the lord of Ibrahim,” instead of her usual, “By the lord of Muhammad.” However, he took the hint.[114]

Poverty

Muhammad taught that women “have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with custom.”[115] But he did not provide much food for Aisha, and she was always hungry. She was underweight because she so rarely ate meat.[116] She claimed she never ate barley bread for more than three successive days. Sometimes the family did not light a fire for a month on end because they had nothing to cook but lived off dates and water.[117] A neighbour once sent Aisha a pudding. While she was finishing her prayers, a cat came in and ate some of it, but she had no compunction in eating from the place that the cat had licked.[118]

Muhammad told Aisha, “Beware of sitting with the wealthy, and do not replace a garment until you have already mended it.”[119] Throughout her life, she disliked discarding worn-out clothes.[120] She did own a gown costing about five dirhams (£25), and “no woman desiring to appear elegant before her husband failed to borrow [it] from me.” But the cloth cannot have been of very high quality compared to what became available in Medina in later decades, for although the widowed Aisha continued to wear similar clothes, her slave refused to wear such a coarse gown in the house.[121] The mosque had no indoor toilets, for “we loathe and detest them,”[122] and Aisha did not have a lamp in her house.[123] When her quilt was stolen, she began to curse the unknown thief. However, Muhammad told her not to do so, because curses on earth would only lessen the thief’s punishment in the Hereafter.[124]

Charity was a way of life for the Arabs, and of course the Prophet’s young wife had to set the example. In the early years, beggars sat on the Bench in the mosque courtyard waiting for food distribution.[125] Aisha used to count them until Muhammad told her, “Give and do not calculate, [or else] calculation will be made against you.”[126] Sometimes he brought them into her house to be fed; one beneficiary remembered that Aisha could only provide hashish,[127] a dish of haysah (sauce) “as small in quantity as a pigeon” and a bowl of milk.[128] When a beggar came to her door on a fast-day, and Aisha told her maid to give him their only loaf. The servant protested that there would be nothing to break their fast, but Aisha insisted.[129] On another occasion, a widow with two daughters came begging, and Aisha’s larder was reduced to one date. She handed it over, and the widow divided it between the children without taking anything for herself.[130] Ibn Kathir, writing seven hundred years after the event, cited this old tradition.

The Prophet had sacrificed an animal, and Ayesha was so generous in sharing the meat out amongst the poor that she found that she had left nothing for the Messenger’s large household except the shoulder of the animal. Feeling a little distressed, she went to the Prophet, and said, ‘I’ve only been able to save this.’ ‘That is the only part that you have not saved,’ smiled the Prophet, ‘for whatever you give away in the name of Allah, you save, and whatever you keep for yourself, you lose.’”

The shoulder was Muhammad’s favourite part of the sheep.[131]

The fact that Aisha had a servant does not indicate very much about the comfort-level of her home. Barira was a slave whom Aisha bought for nine ouwkiyas of silver (about £1,800) with the specific goal of immediate manumission. As it happened, Barira had nowhere else to go, so she chose to stay with Aisha as a domestic maid.[132] Muhammad put up the silver, which only proves that (largely through the successes of his wars and robberies[133]) he by now had some money in his coffer. But he spent his money on arming his warriors,[134] bribing the double-minded[135] or assisting the poor[136] (which included such acts as manumitting slaves). According to Aisha, it did not translate to food for his household. “The Prophet of Allah liked three worldly objects – perfume, women and food … He obtained women and perfumes but did not get food.”[137] The servant Barira was an extra mouth for Muhammad to feed, and she must have been as hungry as her young mistress.

After the conquest of Khaybar in July 628, Muhammad was no longer poor, and Aisha was granted a share of the revenues.[138] She hoped that “Now we will eat our fill of dates!”[139] But if her rations improved, she did not remember it afterwards, so the majority of her sacks of wheat and dates must have been sold for cash or distributed to the poor. On the day Muhammad died, he was “King” of all Arabia, but Aisha’s barrel contained only one handful of barley.[140]

Co-Wives

Aisha was jealous of the deceased Khadijah “because Allah’s Apostle used to mention her very often.”[141] She annoyed him by remarking that it was “Khadijah only who always prevails on your mind,[142] as if there is no woman on earth except Khadijah![143] Why do you remember one of those old women of the Quraysh with gums red and who is long dead – while Allah has given you a better one in her stead?”[144] Eventually Muhammad became angry and announced, “Allah did not grant me better than her!” Aisha regretted her words and pledged “not ever to speak ill of her as long as I live.”[145]

Aisha’s assertion that “I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadijah”[146] was perhaps hyperbolic, for she made similar remarks about some of the other wives.[147] Perhaps she would not have minded so much about Khadijah if she had not also had to compete with living co-wives. Muhammad kept acquiring new women, and by March 630, when Aisha was sixteen, he had eleven legal wives plus two official concubines.[148] At one stage he announced a revelation from Allah that he must not marry any more women “even though their beauty attracts you.”[149] Historians have found it difficult to date this verse because there was no significant period (in Medina) when Muhammad stopped marrying. But the revelation is of no great importance, for “Allah lifted the restriction stated in this ayah and permitted him to marry more women ... ‘A’ishah said: ‘The Messenger of Allah did not die until Allah permitted (marriage to other) women for him.’”[150]

Aisha was quick to emphasise her position as the preferred wife. She enumerated that she was Muhammad’s most beloved wife; that she was the only one in whose bed he received revelations; that she was the only one who used to lie down in front of him while he was praying; that her father was his most beloved companion; that she was the one whose innocence was revealed from Heaven; that Muhammad suffered his final illness in her house, where she had nursed him; that he died in her lap and on her rostered day; and that in her house he lay buried.[151] With less plausibility, she also claimed that she was the first woman whom Muhammad married after Khadijah;[152] that Allah had sent an angel to command the marriage; that she was his only virgin bride; that only she had parents who were both emigrants; that only she bathed in the same tub as the Prophet; and that only she saw Jibreel. But these latter claims to uniqueness could all be challenged.[153]

Muhammad set up an orderly roster so that each wife would have an equal share of his attention. Every afternoon he paid a social call on all his wives before settling in the house where he intended to sleep.[154] When he went on a journey, he cast lots among his wives to determine who would accompany him.[155] But rosters and lotteries could not disguise his preference for Aisha. “When a lot other than mine came out, his dislike could be seen. He did not return from any journey and visit any of his wives before me. The division [roster] began with me.”[156] He said out loud, “Aisha has a part in me occupied by no one else.”[157] When he told his wives that he would give “the one I love the most” an onyx necklace, he teased them by waiting for them to say he would give it to Aisha before presenting it to his little granddaughter.[158]

Inevitably, Aisha was not always the wife who benefited from Muhammad’s favouritism. A revelation gave him special permission, not available to any other Muslim, to postpone one wife’s turn if he wanted to be with another.[159] He would ask the rostered wife’s permission before he postponed her, but Aisha never dared say no. She only told him: “If I could deny you the permission (to go to your other wives) I would not allow your favour to be bestowed on any other person.”[160] One night when Muhammad left Aisha’s room, she assumed he had gone to visit one of the others out of turn. She was so angry that she tore up his clothes. When he returned to find his cloak unwearable,[161] he asked: “Aisha, what has happened to you? Do you feel jealous?” She retorted: “How can it be (that a woman like me) should not feel jealous in regard to a husband like you?”[162] On another night when he departed before dawn, Aisha sent Barira to follow him; but Barira reported that Muhammad had only gone to the graveyard to perform a prayer-ritual.[163] Only a few days before Muhammad died, he asked Aisha, “Would it distress you to die before me so that I might wrap you in your shroud and pray over you and bury you?” She replied, “Methinks I see you if you had done that returning to my house and spending a bridal night therein with one of your wives.” He smiled but he did not deny it;[164] for his newest bride, a princess whom he had never met, was at that moment journeying towards Medina.[165]

Some Muslims, especially Shi’a, hold up Aisha’s “jealousy” as an example not to be followed. “She was absolutely consumed by jealousy throughout her whole life, and jealousy is a major sin. I don’t know why such a person should be considered to be a great saint, when many ordinary women are able to rid themselves of this disease.”[166] This attempt to label Aisha as “selfish” for wanting a normal monogamous marriage deflects the blame for the conflict away from Muhammad the “perfect man”. Once the focus is returned to Muhammad, it is obvious that he showed very imperfect judgment about the nature of marriage. He claimed to be a prophet in the line of the Jews, and they did not find polygyny acceptable.[167] While it is true that polygyny was normal for the pagans, Muhammad was claiming to know better than they did. The same pagans also practised polyandry, and Muhammad had enough insight to forbid this.[168] He also knew that polygyny hurt women. When his son-in-law Ali considered taking a second wife, Muhammad preached from the pulpit that he forbade it because “what hurts Fatima hurts me.”[169] If he did not forbid polygyny for everyone, beginning with himself, it was essentially because he wanted this form of adultery to be legal. The South African theologian John Gilchrist believes: “Ayishah … may have been his favourite wife but her grievances clearly were motivated … by the fact that she was not his only wife … Ayishah’s expressions of jealousy are perhaps the best judgment that can be passed on the whole defence that polygamy is justified where all the wives are treated equally.”[170]

Military Violence

Aisha once asked Muhammad, “Shouldn’t we [women] participate in holy battles and Jihad along with you?" He replied, "The best and the most superior Jihad (for women) is Hajj.”[171] Despite this disapproval of a woman’s direct participation in war, Muhammad nevertheless expected Aisha to contribute to the jihad effort.

She was only eleven years old when he took her as an auxiliary to the Battle of Uhud. With her skirts hitched up to expose her ankle-bangles were visible, she hurried back and forth between pouring water into the mouths of the warriors and refilling her water skin, while the bulk of the Muslim army fled, leaving Muhammad exposed to the enemy’s arrows.[172] An auxiliary’s other battle-duties included nursing the injured, helping to dig graves[173] and finishing off the enemy wounded.[174] Arabs did not deliberately attack non-combatants,[175] but an auxiliary might have been harmed in the cross-fire. When Muhammad’s cousin Umm Sulaym bint Milhan served as a battle-auxiliary, she strapped a dagger to her waist so that “if one of the idol-worshippers comes near me, I will slit open his stomach.”[176] While it is not stated that Umm Sulaym ever needed to carry out her threat, her precaution shows that the danger to non-combatants was real. Muhammad did not allow boys to fight before they were fifteen years old,[177] but Aisha had to serve like a woman at eleven.

Two years later, Muhammad took Aisha to the Battle of the Trench. This was much less dangerous, for the “battle” was a stalemate siege with little actual fighting.[178] Aisha’s services were only required by night, when Muhammad was guarding a potential breach point along the trench in very cold weather. From time to time “he would come to Aisha, who would warm him in her embrace, and he would return to guarding the trench.”[179] Since there was nothing that she could actively contribute to this campaign, it seems an unnecessary hardship to have imposed on a thirteen-year-old.

The following month, Muhammad captured the Qurayza, the last Jewish tribe living in Medina, and ordered that every adult male should be decapitated. Muhammad personally supervised the executions in Medina Market.[180] Aisha did not directly witness the killings but she was within earshot. She chatted to a woman named Bunanah, who was “laughing immoderately as the Apostle was killing her men in the market when suddenly an unseen voice called her name. ‘Good Heavens,’ I cried, ‘what is the matter?’ ‘I am to be killed,’ she replied. ‘What for?’ I asked. ‘Because of something I did,’ she answered. She was taken away and beheaded .... I shall never forget my wonder at her good spirits and her loud laughter when all the time she knew that she would be killed.”[181] Bunanah’s offence had been to participate in the Jewish defence by throwing a millstone onto the assailants, which had crushed a Muslim warrior to death.[182] That day an Aws chief named Saad ibn Muaz died of a battle-injury, and Muhammad, though “his eye did not weep for anyone,”[183] announced that Allah’s throne had shaken when the doors of Paradise were flung open for him.[184] Soon afterwards, Aisha was with Saad’s kinsman, Abu Yahya ibn Hudayr, when the news arrived that the latter’s wife had died. He “showed considerable grief.” Aisha exclaimed: “God forgive you, O Abu Yahya! Will you grieve over a woman when you have lost [your second cousin twice removed], for whom the throne shook?”[185] Her surprise over Abu Yahya’s attachment to his wife betrays much about her own experience of marriage.

In 628 Aisha’s full brother Abdulrahman finally became a Muslim and emigrated to Medina. He reminded Abu Bakr: “Thou wert exposed as a mark to me on the day of Badr, but I turned away from thee and did not slay thee.” Abu Bakr replied, “As to thee, hadst thou come before me, I should not have turned away from thee.”[186]

The Necklace Affair

The Lost Necklace

While travelling home from a raid in January 628, Aisha, then aged fourteen, lost an onyx[187] necklace that she had borrowed from her sister. While she was searching for it away from the camp, the caravan accidentally departed without her, and she was left stranded in the desert for several hours. Eventually she was discovered by a young warrior, Safwan ibn Muattal, who “had fallen behind the main body for some purpose and had not spent the night with the troops.” He gave her a lift on his camel to the army’s next halt.[188] Gossip spread around the camp that Aisha and her rescuer must have committed adultery.[189]

Aisha was not aware of the rumours. She felt sick when they arrived in Medina and took to her bed immediately.[190] She was aware during her illness that Muhammad was not paying his usual attention to her comfort; but she knew that he had just acquired a new bride (this brought the total to seven)[191] and that he was busy with plans to visit Mecca,[192] so she did not connect his coolness with her own behaviour.[193] She moved into her parents’ house so that Umm Ruman could nurse her. It was three weeks before she was well enough to speak to anyone outside the family and discovered that she was accused of infidelity.[194]

There is no evidence that Aisha was actually guilty, for there were no witnesses. In fact she was still pre-menarcheal,[195] so it is unlikely that she found sex a pleasurable activity. She also knew the penalty for the transgression, for she had witnessed the stoning to death of adulterers.[196] To accuse Aisha of adultery was therefore to question not only her virtue but also her intelligence. Besides, the whole army had witnessed that she had already lost the necklace in a separate incident just the previous day,[197] so there is no reason to doubt that it did have an unreliable clasp. A modern Western law-court would certainly acquit her on the principle of “innocent until proved guilty”. A historian, however, can only assert that nobody knows what happened that night.

The Accusers

The more interesting question is why Aisha was even accused. Four people who were not eyewitnesses and apparently had little in common with one another formed a spontaneous alliance to speculate on Aisha’s guilt and smear her character.

  1. Mistah ibn Uthatha was a poor relation of Abu Bakr’s,[198] and his mother cursed him for attacking their patron’s daughter.[199] It is not at all obvious why Mistah might have accused Aisha, but as they had always lived at close quarters, he might well have had some personal reason, justified or otherwise, to resent her.
  2. Hassan ibn Thabit was Muhammad’s poet;[200] his usual job was to satirise Muhammad’s political enemies.[201] It is not known whether he had had any previous dealings with Aisha, but a tabloid editor makes it his business to publish scandals.
  3. Abdullah ibn Ubayy was the most powerful chief in Medina.[202] “The people propagated the slander and discussed it in his presence, and he confirmed it and listened to it and asked about it to let it prevail.”[203] It would have been more fitting for a leader among the people to forbid such idle tales, yet “it is said that the one who carried most of the slander was Abdullah.”[204] He had an obvious political interest in the situation. Six years earlier, he had been elected King of Medina; but before he could be crowned, a dissident faction had announced their support for the prophet from Mecca.[205] Abdullah had at first cooperated with the Muslims and had even instructed his own partisans to support Muhammad rather than fight over the leadership of the city.[206] But he came to regret the way he had helped the immigrants. After his intercession for the lives of his friends the Qaynuqa[207] and his refusal to fight his Meccan allies at Uhud,[208] Muhammad had labelled him the “head of the hypocrites”.[209] By 628 Abdullah must have hoped that the Muslims would quarrel among themselves so that Islam would crumble from within. While there is no evidence that he had any personal grudge against Aisha, he seems to have been quite willing to sacrifice her to his political agenda.
  4. Hamnah bint Jahsh had not travelled with the army, so she must have first heard the gossip after they returned to Medina. “She spread the report far and wide.”[210] Hamnah was the sister of another of Muhammad’s wives; she hoped that Aisha’s downfall would pave the way for her sister to become the favourite wife.[211] Aisha did not mention that Hamnah also had a more personal stake in the situation. Hamnah’s husband, Talhah ibn Ubaydullah,[212] had expressed a desire to marry Aisha when Muhammad died.[213] Muhammad had responded with a revelation that his widows were never to remarry,[214] but Hamnah cannot have relished the news that her husband had his eye on a pretty and politically important girl much younger than herself.

The slanderers included “along with others about whom I have no knowledge, but they were a group.”[215]

Community Reaction

On hearing of the accusations, Aisha became sick again.[216] “I kept on weeping that night till dawn. I could neither stop weeping nor sleep … I wept for two nights and a day with my tears never ceasing and I could never sleep till I thought that my liver would burst from weeping.”[217] Her mother told her not to take it so seriously because people always gossiped about a beautiful woman whose husband loved her.[218] Umm Ruman’s downplaying of the gossip might have been sensible in pagan Mecca; but in Muslim Medina, it was an evasion of the reality. Adultery was a capital offence; Aisha had no witnesses; the culture had no clear understanding of the “innocent until proved guilty” principle; and if Aisha were put to death, or even divorced quietly, her whole family would be disgraced alongside her.

Muhammad apparently did not think of defeating the gossip by ignoring it and making a public show of loyalty and affection to Aisha. His coolness to her continued for the month of her illness.[219] Nor did he call for a formal trial where the evidence could be publicly assessed. Instead, he consulted his son-in-law, Ali, and his adoptive grandson, Usama ibn Zayd, about whether he should divorce Aisha. Usama spoke highly of her: “They are your family, and we and you know only good of them, and this is a lie and a falsehood.” Ali advised: “Women are plentiful, and you can easily change one for another. Ask the slave-girl, for she will tell you the truth.”[220] Muhammad called Barira, then sat without protest while Ali “gave her a violent beating” for information. But no matter how he demanded, the worst story that Barira could produce against her mistress was that Aisha had once fallen asleep when she was supposed to be watching the rising dough, and so the pet lamb had eaten it (doubtless a hungry memory).[221] Aisha never forgave Ali for this suggestion that her life, marriage and honour were less important than how foolish gossip might reflect on Muhammad. For the rest of her life, she avoided speaking Ali’s name and never had a good word for him.[222]

Muhammad then addressed the whole community in the mosque: “Who will relieve me from that man who has hurt me with his evil statement about my family?”[223] As this was Muhammad’s usual formula when he was requesting an assassination,[224] an Aws chief immediately volunteered to behead the culprit. A Khazraj rival, in protesting this course of action, only confirmed that the culprit was indeed a Khazraji (i.e., Abdullah ibn Ubayy). The two tribes “were flared up until they were about to fall upon one another”[225] while Muhammad was still standing in the pulpit, but he managed to calm them down.[226] It was clearly not practicable to kill a man as powerful as Abdullah.

Vindication

So Muhammad finally went to Aisha and asked her directly if she was guilty. She waited for her parents to protest her innocence, then asked why they did not speak in her defence. They replied that they did not know what to say.[227] Aisha responded, “Never will I repent towards Allah of what you mention! By Allah, I know that if I were to confess to what men say of me, Allah knowing that I am innocent of it, I should admit what did not happen; and if I denied what they said, you would not believe me. My duty is to show becoming patience, and Allah’s aid is to be asked against what you describe.”[228]

At this point, Muhammad had to announce Allah’s decision. He immediately went into the trance of revelation and sweat dropped off his brow like “water on a winter day”. Then he announced: “Good news, Aisha! Allah has sent down [a revelation] about your innocence.”[229] Umm Ruman told Aisha to thank her husband, suggesting that she knew Allah’s real identity; but Aisha (possibly annoyed that Muhammad had taken a month to make up his mind) replied, “No, I praise none but Allah.”[230]

Muhammad went out to the courtyard and recited the new revelation to the people:[231]Why then, did not the believers, men and women, when you heard it (the slander) think good of their own people and say: "This (charge) is an obvious lie?" Why did they not produce four witnesses? Since they (the slanderers) have not produced witnesses! Then with Allah they are the liars.[232] This excused Aisha even had she happened to be guilty, since she only had three and a half witnesses against her.[233] Hamnah only counted as a half-witness because she was a woman: “And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her..[234]

The Penalty

As soon as Muhammad descended from the pulpit, he sentenced Hamnah, Hassan and Mistah to eighty lashes each.[235] The aristocratic Abdullah was not lashed.[236] The flogging apparently replaced the adultery accusations as the current affair of common conversation, for nobody remembered who originally composed the lines: “Hassan, Hamnah and Mistah tasted what they deserved for uttering unseemly slander; They slandered with ill-founded accusations their prophet’s wife; they angered the Lord of the glorious throne and were chastised. They injured Allah’s apostle through her and were made a public and lasting disgrace. Lashes rained upon them like raindrops falling from the highest clouds.[237]

It is difficult to assess the exact severity of this punishment because it is not known what kind of implement was used or with how much force the blows fell. Eighty lashes can be enough to kill,[238] though Hamnah, Hassan and Mistah all survived. Any kind of flogging, of course, seems an exaggerated retribution for mere gossip because, while slander is always hurtful and unpleasant, in most situations it does not amount to a plot against a person’s life. In this case, however, that is exactly what had happened: Hamnah, Hassan and Mistah were essentially being punished for an attempted murder. The real problem lay in the rigid system that not only killed adulterers but forced women in particular to take an unrealistic level of responsibility for never being suspected.

In the light of his punitive attitude to adultery, Muhammad’s own behaviour is ironic. On the same night when Aisha was alone in the desert, with nobody to verify whether she was searching for a lost necklace or meeting a lover, there were seven hundred witnesses who had seen Muhammad take yet another new bride into his tent.[239] But these witnesses never accused him of adultery. The Prophet was not required to be faithful to a woman.

As a sad aside, it was only three months after this scandal concluded that Aisha’s mother died.[240]

After the Necklace Affair, the lottery that determined which wife would accompany Muhammad to the wars never again fell on Aisha.[241] Although she helped him pack his military equipment early in 630, she admitted to her father that she did not know where the troops were going.[242] In fact Muhammad took them to conquer Mecca, where he proclaimed that anyone who did not convert to Islam would be killed.[243] At this point, Aisha’s grandfather Abu Quhafah finally became a Muslim; he was ninety years old.[244] Soon afterwards Abu Bakr took as his fourth wife Asma bint Umays, the widow of a prominent jihad “martyr”. She bore his third son, Muhammad, in 632.[245]

Domestic Violence

Aisha once claimed: “The Messenger of Allah never struck a woman or a servant with his hand.”[246] This restraint would be sufficiently explained by Muhammad’s twenty-five years as the husband of Khadijah, for he would surely not have dared to strike her. In fact “never” was an exaggeration, for Aisha herself had a contrary memory. One night Muhammad arose from her bed, and she quietly followed him. Probably she assumed he had gone to visit another woman. As it happened, he only went to the nearby graveyard to perform a prayer-ritual, so she ran home before he could realise she had been spying on him. Unfortunately, Muhammad had spotted her, and he asked what she had been doing out at night. When she denied that she had left the house, he hit her chest “which caused me pain.”[247]

If Aisha remembered Muhammad as a man who almost never beat her, she was probably comparing him with her father. Abu Bakr continued to discipline his married daughter. The first time Aisha lost her sister’s necklace, Muhammad indulgently held up the whole army to search for it (it turned out that a camel was sitting on it), and the men complained to Abu Bakr about the wasted time. That night, as Muhammad slept with his head in Aisha’s lap, Abu Bakr rebuked his daughter and punched her thigh with a “very painful” blow. She kept still so as not to awaken Muhammad.[248] It is nowhere recorded that Aisha complained to Muhammad or that Abu Bakr suffered any kind of rebuke or consequence for this attack.

During one quarrel between Aisha and Muhammad, Abu Bakr walked in. Muhammad asked, “Abu Bakr, will you obtain my right from Aisha?”[249] Aisha said, “You talk [first] but say only the truth.” Abu Bakr said, “O enemy of yourself, does he utter anything but the truth?”[250] In one version of the story, he “raised his hand and struck her hard on the chest.”[251] In an alternative version, “he struck her until her mouth bled.”[252] Muhammad said, “May Allah forgive you, Abu Bakr, I did not mean this!”[253] But in neither version of the story did Muhammad require Abu Bakr to apologise to Aisha, let alone to undergo any of the violent punishments that he imposed on a slanderer, a thief or an adulterer.[254]

How common was domestic violence in the Muslim community? There were doubtless families where it never happened. When Habibah bint Zayd disobeyed her husband, Saad ibn Al-Rabi, and he slapped her face, her father and brother complained to Muhammad.[255] The spouses were cousins, and the objecting brother was Saad’s stepfather,[256] so even within one family, there was no consensus over what was culturally normal. Muhammad advised, “Retaliation! Retaliation! And there is no other judgement to be held.”[257] He then announced to the community, “Do not beat Allah’s handmaidens,”[258] and “they stopped beating them.”[259] The word “stopped” indicates that there were other families where it had been normal to beat wives (and daughters, sisters and servants, since a “handmaiden” was not necessarily a “wife”). The respite did not last long. Umar, who was “rough and ready,”[260] who habitually carried a whip[261] and “when he beat, he brought pain,”[262] told Muhammad, “Women have become emboldened towards their husbands.” So Muhammad “gave permission to beat them”[263] with the new revelation: “As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them.[264] Muhammad explained his change in policy to the family of Habibah bint Zayd thus: “'We wanted something and my Lord wanted something different.”[265] Muhammad was the community leader, and he had demonstrated that his credit was so high that he actually had the power to control what happened behind closed doors and reduce domestic violence. Despite this, he nevertheless felt the need to overlook it. He must have realised that it was practised by too high a proportion of the warriors on whose loyalty he depended. Keeping these men onside was a higher priority than the safety of the women.

After the new revelation, “in the night seventy women came to the family of Muhammad, all of whom complained about their husbands.”[266] If they came by night, they could not have felt safe to complain in the open. Muhammad warned that, “They are not the best among you,”[267] but he took no further action. Elsewhere he also warned that women who complained about their husbands were likely to go to Hell.[268]

Aisha was a close observer of two sad cases, although she was not able to help either woman. Tamima bint Wahb came to her because she knew how “it was the habit of ladies to support each other.” Her face had such a bruise from her husband’s beatings that Aisha observed: “I have not seen any woman suffering as much as the believing women. Look! Her skin is greener than her clothes!”[269] Muhammad took no interest in Tamima’s bruises; he only attended to determining why her marriage had apparently never been consummated.[270] He had no recorded reaction to the remark that pagans treated their wives better than Muslims did. Aisha was also aware of the unhappiness of her sister Asma, who was married to Muhammad’s cousin[271] Al-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam.[272] Asma complained that Al-Zubayr had tied her and her co-wife together by their hair and beaten both of them “severely”.[273] Abu Bakr advised Asma that Al-Zubayr was a “righteous” man, and therefore she should not leave him, or even remarry after his death, because her reward for her patience would be to be reunited with him in the Garden (Paradise).[274] Al-Zubayr usually had four wives at a time. “Whenever he reprimanded one of us, he would break off a branch from the wooden clothes hangers and beat her with it until he broke it over her.”[275] One wife tricked him into divorcing her after only a few months because of his “harshness”;[276] but it was only after twenty-odd years and eight children that Al-Zubayr finally divorced Asma.[277]

In fact, there is no evidence that Muhammad believed that it was intrinsically wrong for a man to strike a woman, child or subordinate. He only cautioned that wife-beating must be for some reason, in which case Allah “permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely … Treat women well, for they are domestic animals with you and do not possess anything for themselves.”[278] Nor did he enlarge on what he meant by “not severely,” but he apparently permitted something more than a sharp slap, for he advised: “Hang your whip where the members of the household can see it, for that will discipline them.”[279] He confirmed a man’s right to do as he liked in the privacy of his home: “A man will not be asked why he beat his wife.”[280] Muhammad said that his two favourite friends were Abu Bakr and Umar,[281] and he was always saying, “‘I, Abu Bakr and Umar were (somewhere)’ or ‘did something’ or ‘set out.’”[282] He appointed Abu Bakr as his successor,[283] and nobody was surprised when Umar succeeded Abu Bakr.[284] Umar was so violent that even the dying Abu Bakr advised him, “Temper severity with mildness.”[285] Yet it does not seem to have crossed Muhammad’s mind that his friends’ violence rendered them unfit for leadership.

Later generations of Muslims have often inferred from all this that, although Muhammad discouraged wife-beating, he was setting a standard that was too difficult for ordinary Muslims. A 2013 study by Dr Lateefa Latif found that nearly half of Saudi women were being beaten by their husbands, fathers, brothers and even their sons, who used their hands, sticks, head-covers and sharp objects.[286] Leaders of six Swedish mosques in 2012 advised beaten wives not to report their husbands to the police.[287]

Islam

Aisha hung a curtain decorated with winged horses and birds[288] in front of a cupboard. Muhammad pulled it down, complaining that it distracted him from his prayers. But when Aisha sewed the curtain into two cushions, he did not object to sitting on these.[289] Another day he stood at her door with a “sign of disgust on his face”. She asked what she had done wrong, and he replied, “What about this cushion?” It was decorated with pictures. She said that she had bought it especially for him “to sit and recline on.” He told her: “The painters of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection ... The angels do not enter a house where there are pictures.”[290] But Muhammad did not object to “a plush wrap, with a border on it, that we would wear.”[291] He forbade musical instruments,[292] especially bells[293] and singing,[294] yet when Aisha arranged a wedding party, he admonished her for not providing singers “for the Ansar are a people who give a place to love songs.”[295] When Aisha refused to admit her foster-mother’s brother-in-law to her house, Muhammad said that she should have let him in “for he is your paternal uncle.” Aisha pointed out that it was the woman, not her husband, who had breast-fed her, but Muhammad explained that her foster-mother’s husband was still considered like a father to her.[296] Yet when he found Aisha sitting unveiled with her foster-brother, presumably a younger man, he showed anger and warned her, “Be careful whom you count as your brothers.”[297] No matter how obscure the rules, no matter how complex the list of exceptions to the rules, hadith after hadith shows that Aisha tried to comply.

Despite this, there is no real evidence that Aisha “believed” Islam in the sense of giving intellectual assent to the literal existence of Allah. On the contrary, she expressed her scepticism to Muhammad’s face. When he told her that Allah had given him permission to reject or accept as many as he liked of the women who offered to marry him, with no need to pay a dower,[298] she responded, “I feel that your Lord hastens in fulfilling your wishes and desires!”[299] When she was accused of infidelity, she wept night and day as long as she feared Muhammad might divorce her. But when he finally spoke to her directly about the accusations, he did not mention the usual punishment for adultery but only said, “Fear Allah, and if you have done wrong as men say, then repent towards Allah, for he accepts repentance from his slaves.” At this hint that Muhammad intended to exonerate her, “my tears ceased, and I could not feel them.”[300] Muhammad immediately entered the prophetic trance to hear Allah’s verdict, and “I felt no fear or alarm … [but] as for my parents … I thought that they would die from fear.”[301] Aisha was not afraid of Allah because she already knew that Muhammad had decided in her favour – that is, she knew who Allah really was. In one quarrel she told her husband directly: “You are the one who claims to be the Prophet of Allah!”[302]

She challenged him on his un-Prophet-like morals too. He had warned her against rudeness and malicious speech, even to people who deserved it.[303] Yet she overheard him so annoyed by the conversation of two visitors that “he invoked curse upon both of them and hurled malediction.” After the visitors had left, she asked him why he had insulted them on such trifling provocation. Muhammad had no back-story on why he had been morally justified. He could only tell Aisha, “I have made condition with my Lord … that for a Muslim upon whom I invoke curse or hurl malediction, [He will] make it a source of purity and reward.”[304]

Although Aisha claimed to have seen Jibreel, she qualified this. What she actually saw was Muhammad talking just outside her house to a man mounted on a horse. She thought the man was Dihya ibn Khalifa al-Kalbi, but when she asked Muhammad about it, he replied, “You have seen a great blessing. That was Jibreel.” A short time later, Muhammad announced that Jibreel was in the room and that he brought Aisha the greeting of peace. She replied, “Peace be upon him, and the mercy of Allah and his blessings.”[305] But when she narrated the story years later, she admitted to her audience, “I did not see [Jibreel]. [Muhammad] used to see what I did not see.”[306]

Despite her scepticism, Aisha became an expert on Islam. “Whenever Aisha heard anything that she did not understand, she used to ask again till she understood it completely.”[307] She memorised the whole Qur’an.[308] It was said that nobody had “more knowledge of the sunna [lifestyle] of the Apostle of Allah than Aisha,” or “better knowledge of the verses [of the Qur’an] as to what they were revealed about.”[309] It was inevitable that she should become a teacher. She even had the clear, carrying voice[310] required for public speaking, and Musa ibn Talhah confirmed, “I have not seen anyone clearer (in speech) than Aisha.”[311] From the earliest times, Muslim women clustered around Aisha in the mosque,[312] and Muhammad, who said that, “Some eloquent speech has the fluency of magic,”[313] is supposed to have instructed them, “Take half your religion from this little red one.”[314]

This contradiction between Aisha’s private attitude and Aisha’s visible behaviour is easily explained by her circumstances. She could not escape Islam. Whatever she believed in private, she had to work within the Islamic system, for no other system was available to her. Fourteen centuries later, it is easy for an outsider to recognise that the Islamic system is exactly what has caused the problems of Islamic societies and that these problems will not be solved before the authority of Muhammad is abandoned. But even if Aisha perceived this, she was in no position to say so directly.

Last Years of Muhammad

A strange story is told of Muhammad’s latter years. He went through a phase when “he used to think that he had sexual relations with his wives while he actually had not.” This went on until, as he told Aisha, Jibreel brought him a kettle of food. After eating from it, he acquired the sexual prowess of forty men,[315] and was able to “visit” all of his wives “in a round, during the day and night.”[316] Allah also revealed that his problem had been caused by a Jew named Labid ibn Al-Asam al-Zurayqi, who had acquired a comb containing his hairs and used it to cast a spell on him. But Muhammad never punished Labid because “since Allah cured me, I disliked to let evil spread among the people.”[317]

Aisha reached menarche at an unknown date after July 628[318] though before, and probably long before, March 632.[319] Despite her somewhat late beginning, there is no suggestion that she had a medical problem or that her cycle was other than normal. On the contrary, she discussed the Islamic rules for managing menstruation with a confident frankness that betokened having nothing to hide.[320] She cited other women’s gynaecological problems[321] but referred to none of her own. There is no reason to assume that Aisha lacked normal fertility – except for the fact that she never became pregnant.[322] Although this cannot be proved, it is highly likely that Aisha’s failure to conceive was due to Muhammad’s age and behaviour. By the time she was sixteen and presumably fertile, he was nearly sixty; and he had so many other wives that she only received his attentions about once a week. When he was at home in Medina, he allocated Aisha two nights out of every eleven.[323] When he departed for one of his many military campaigns, of course, he did not visit her at all.

Aisha’s childlessness was a matter of some distress to her; she said she longed for a kunya so that she would be publicly recognised as “Mother of Someone”. Muhammad’s compromise suggestion was that she should call herself Umm Abdullah after her sister’s son. This kunya might have been used occasionally[324] and it lent her some social dignity, but it did not address the deep sorrow of a woman who is denied maternity. Yet Muhammad made Aisha’s childlessness permanent, and most likely artificially permanent, by forbidding her to remarry after his death.[325]

In late February 632 Muhammad and his family set out for Mecca to make his only Hajj pilgrimage.[326] As Aisha and Muhammad made camp one night, Abu Bakr’s slave arrived to confess he had lost the camel carrying all their supplies. Abu Bakr jumped up and began beating the slave, shouting, “You lose a single camel!” Muhammad smiled to see this behaviour from someone in a state of ritual purity.[327] Just outside Mecca, Aisha found that she was menstruating and therefore debarred from the ritual of circumambulating the Ka'aba. She cried and told Muhammad that she wished she had not come on Hajj at all.[328] He comforted her with the reminder that, “This is a thing which Allah has ordained for the daughters of Adam.[329] You can do all that the pilgrims do except go round the temple.”[330] He showed the crowds exactly how to perform a correct pilgrimage: where to stand, how to slaughter the animals, how to throw the pebbles at the pillar of Mina, how to walk around the Ka’aba.[331] Believing that he would never again visit Mecca, he preached a Farewell Sermon in which he announced that Allah’s will was now completely revealed through himself and the Qur’an. He urged that all Muslims were brothers and must beware of Satan, but the remainder of the historic sermon was decidedly banal: usury was abolished; nobody must steal from a fellow-Muslim; intercalary months were bad; faithful wives must be fed but the “openly unseemly” must be beaten; Allah would not forgive anyone who claimed the wrong father or master.[332] On 4 March, the Day of Sacrifice, Aisha plaited garlands for Muhammad’s sacrificial animals.[333] A few hours later, she was surprised to receive a large pile of beef, and was told that Muhammad had sacrificed cows on behalf of all his wives.[334] He warned them, however, that this Hajj had been an exception to the general rule; now that they had completed their duty, there would be no more excursions: “It is this, and then confinement.”[335] When Muhammad departed from Mecca, Aisha remained behind until she was ritually clean, and then her brother Abudulrahman took her to perform the circumambulation of the Ka’aba.[336] She arrived home in Medina to discover that Muhammad had fallen ill.[337]

He seemed to recover from his illness, but he relapsed in late May.[338] He lost track of his wife-roster and kept asking, “Where will I be tomorrow? And where will I be the next day?”[339] His wives realised he wanted to be with Aisha and agreed that he would pass his illness in her house.[340] Muhammad lay for several days with his head in her lap while she recited over and over to him the last two suras of the Qur’an.[341] She chewed a toothpick for his last teeth-cleaning so that “Allah made my saliva mix with his saliva at his death.”[342] Then she felt him growing heavy in her lap,[343] and “he died when no one but me and the angels saw him.”[344] She laid his head on a pillow and arose beating her breast and slapping her cheeks.[345]

Muhammad was buried in Aisha’s house.[346] His widows respectfully observed the traditional idda (waiting period) of 130 days, even though they would never be available for remarriage. They visited one another but never left the mosque courtyard and were “out of action until they were like nuns. Not one day or two or three passed by them except that each woman was heard sobbing.”[347] Aisha was eighteen years old[348] and she was to live for another forty-six years.[349]

See Also

References

  1. Sahih Muslim 8:3452.
  2. Aisha must have known that Muhammad married Sawdah bint Zamaa in the ninth month and herself in the tenth month of the same year (Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 170-171; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 43, 55; Sahih Muslim 8:3312). However, the sequence of events in Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 128-130 makes it clear that Muhammad did propose to Aisha before he proposed to Sawdah: “Khawlah replied, ‘The Messenger of God has sent me to ask for A’ishah’s hand in marriage on his behalf.’ … Then Khawlah left and went to Sawdah saying, ‘O Sawdah ... the Messenger of God has sent me with a marriage proposal.’” By claiming to be the second wife, i.e., the first after Khadijah, Aisha probably wanted to emphasise that she had been Muhammad’s first choice and was therefore more important than her co-wives.
  3. Ibn Kathir, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
  4. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 46. “Masruq … would say, “The truthful daughter of the true, whose innocence was proclaimed, told me such-and-such.”
  5. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 183.
  6. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55.
  7. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 115.
  8. Sahih Bukhari 3:37:494.
  9. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 193.
  10. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 171; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 193.
  11. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 193.
  12. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 129-130; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 171-172; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 193.
  13. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 193.
  14. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 178: “Abu Bakr had divorced her in the Jahiliyah,” i.e., before Islam, and therefore probably not, as is sometimes asserted, because of religious differences.
  15. Muir (1861). The Life of Mohamet, p. 100. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  16. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 116.
  17. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 114-115. According to Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 201, one woman, Lubabah bint Al-Harith, claimed that her conversion pre-dated Abu Bakr’s.
  18. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 115, 116.
  19. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 115-117.
  20. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55; Guillaume/Ishaq p. 117.
  21. Sahih Bukhari 3:37:494; Sahih Bukhari 5:58:245.
  22. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 116, 144, 224;
  23. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 129-130.
  24. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 225.
  25. Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaba vol. 8.
  26. Qurtubi, Tafsir vol. 17 p. 307. Cited in Radtke, B., & O’Kane, J. (1996). The Concept of Sainthood in Early Islamic Mysticism, p. 142. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press and also in “The Love of Hadrat Abu Bakr”, p. 6, in Tasawwuf. It is said that Allah sent down Quran 58:22 in response.
  27. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 159-160.
  28. Sahih Bukhari 3:37:494; Guillaume/Ishaq p. 171.
  29. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 171-172.
  30. Sahih Bukhari 6:60:387; Sahih Bukhari 6:60:388; Sahih Bukhari 6:60:399; Sahih Bukhari 6:61:515. The Lebanese scholar Dr Gibril Haddad says: “The hadith masters, sira historians and Qur’anic commentators agree that the splitting of the moon took place about five years before the Holy Prophet’s Hijra to Madina,” i.e., in 617-618.
  31. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55; Sahih Bukhari 5:58:245.
  32. Sahih Bukhari 5:58:166.
  33. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 191; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 4, 161; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 12, 152.
  34. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 54.
  35. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 44.
  36. She was married to Uthman ibn Mazoon (Guillaume/Ishaq p. 590), whose sister Zaynab was married to Umar (Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 56).
  37. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129.
  38. Why Did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Married Young Aisha Siddiqa (r.a.)?.
  39. For Muhammad’s unpopularity with his pagan neighbours, see Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 191-194.
  40. Siddiqi, M. Z. (2006). Hadith Literature: Its Origin, Development, Special Features and Criticism, pp. 8-9. “Hadith which thus spread throughout the vast Muslim dominions had been preserved for a century partly in writing (in the form of laws and letters dictated by Muhammad himself, and in the form of various Sahifahs ascribed to many of his Companions), and partly in the memory of those who had associated with him and watched carefully his words and deeds. After the death of Muhammad, Umar I intended to collect the Ahadith. He gave the matter his careful consideration for one whole month, invoking the help of God in his decision, and seeking the advice of his friends. But he had to give up the great project for fear of the Qur’an being neglected by the Muslims.” Kuala Lumpar: Islamic Book Trust.
  41. Haddad reports Al-Dhahabi’s claim (Siyar Alam al-Nubala vol. 2 p. 289) that Asma was ten years older than Aisha. Haddad points out that Al-Dhahabi elsewhere suggests Asma might have been even older than this, possibly as old as twenty-five.
  42. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:18.
  43. Why Did Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) Married Young Aisha Siddiqa (r.a.)?
  44. Sahih Bukhari 6:61:515; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  45. Baladhuri, Conquest of the Lands, cited in Mutahhari, S. A. M. The Unschooled Prophet. Tehran: Islamic Propagation Organization. “It is reported that Aisha used to read the Qur’an but she did not write.”
  46. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 54-55; Sahih Muslim 31:5977.
  47. Sahih Bukhari 5:58:235. See also Sahih Bukhari 5:68:235; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:15; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:57; Sahih Bukhari 9:87:139; Sahih Bukhari 9:87:140.
  48. Khadijah died on 10 Ramadan, and Muhammad married Sawdah before Ramadan had ended. Even if he married her (and decided to marry Aisha) on the same day as Khawlah’s visit, this was a maximum of twenty days after Khadijah’s death. Common sense suggests that it would have more likely taken a day or two to organise the wedding, which did not necessarily take place as late as the final day of the month.
  49. Sahih Bukhari 6:60:435; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:145.
  50. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495; Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  51. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829
  52. Muhammad sometimes (e.g., Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55) addressed Aisha as Humayra, which means “little red one”. This was not a commonplace nickname, so Aisha’s degree of redness must have been unusual.
  53. Sunan Abu Dawud 1:241.
  54. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 p. 67; Al-Hakim, Mustadrak vol. 4 p. 11.
  55. Ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 2 p. 481.
  56. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 82.
  57. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55.
  58. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 129; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:18.
  59. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 129-130.
  60. Ibn Hisham note 918; Sahih Bukhari 1:7:88; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:90; Sahih Muslim 2:3309; Sahih Muslim 2:3310; Sahih Muslim 2:3311; Sahih Muslim 4:3309; Sahih Muslim 8:3311; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 130-131; Ibn Majah 3:1876; Ibn Majah 3:1877.
  61. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 43. “I did not know that the Messenger of Allah had married me until my mother took me and made me sit in the room rather than being outside [on the day of the consummation]. Then it occurred to me that I was married.”
  62. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55.
  63. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 225.
  64. {{Tabari|39|p. 172}); Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 44-45.
  65. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 413-414.
  66. Sahih Muslim 8:3309; Ibn Majah 3:1876.
  67. [Ibn Majah 3:1876.
  68. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 243. “Habiba bint Kharija ibn Zayd … married Abu Bakr as-Siddiq and bore him Umm Kulthum.” See also Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 227, 234, 681; Al-Tabari, Vol. 11, pp. 151-152. Habibah never resided near the mosque even after Umm Ruman died.
  69. Al-Tabari, Vol. 11, p. 141 & f769; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 243; Al-Muwatta 36:40.
  70. Al-Wahidi, Asbab Al-Nuzul. Translated by Guezzou, M. (2011). Context of Revelation, Q4:34. Amman, Jordan: Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
  71. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 172-173.
  72. Ibn Hisham note 918
  73. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 173, 189; {{Muslim|38|3318}; Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2101; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 118. The ouwkiyas were presumably of silver, since the same weight of gold would have had ten times this value. Perhaps the later chroniclers updated for inflation.
  74. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 44.
  75. Sunan Abu Dawud 28:3894.
  76. According to Ibn Majah 3:1876 note b, an urjuhah could mean either a “swing” or a “seesaw”.
  77. {{Tabari|39|pp. 172-173; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 121; 65.3/ Ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1:65:3.
  78. Ibn Majah 3:1876
  79. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 43.
  80. Ibn Hisham note 918; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:88; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:90; Sahih Muslim 8:3309; Sahih Muslim 8:3310; Sahih Muslim 8:3311; Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4915; Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4917; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 130-131; Ibn Majah 3:1877.
  81. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 131.
  82. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 143. “They envied him because of the number of his wives and they criticised him for that, saying, ‘If he had been a prophet, he would not have desired women.’ The most intense of them in that criticism was Huyayy ibn Akhtab,” the chief of the Nadir tribe. It is probably not a coincidence that, just five years later, Muhammad’s collection of wives had expanded to include Huyayy’s favourite daughter. It is not stated, however, that Huyayy had a specific objection to Aisha’s extreme youth.
  83. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 46
  84. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 44.
  85. Sunan Abu Dawud 13:2380.
  86. Sahih Bukhari 1:5:263; Sahih Bukhari 1:6:298.
  87. Sahih Bukhari 1:4:229; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:230; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:231; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:232; Sahih Bukhari 1:4:233.
  88. Sahih Bukhari 1:5:267.
  89. Ibn Saad, Tabaqat 1:2:90:11.
  90. Ezekiel 16:7-8; “Prohibited Marriages and Illegitimate Children” in Judaism 101.
  91. Zaatari, S. “A Detailed analysis of the Prophet's Marriage to Aisha” in Muslim Responses.
  92. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829 also refers to her light weight at the time of the raid on the Mustaliq tribe. Sahih Muslim 4:1940 emphasises her “tender age” at the time of the Abyssinian sword-display, which must have happened after the Order of the Veil, since Muhammad had to screen her, i.e., at earliest in February 628.
  93. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151.
  94. The mean age of menarche was 12½ years. This is quite similar to today, when the standard deviation is about 18 months. So probably only 5% of Aisha’s contemporaries would have been menstruating before age ten, 16% by age eleven, 32% by age twelve, 68% by age thirteen, 84% by age fourteen, 95% by age fifteen and over 99% by age sixteen.
  95. Sahih Bukhari 3:47:755; Sahih Muslim 31:5984.
  96. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55.
  97. Sahih Bukhari 4:55:623; Sahih Bukhari 5:57:113; Sahih Bukhari 5:57:114; Sahih Bukhari 7:65:329; Sahih Bukhari 7:65:330; Sahih Bukhari 7:65:339.
  98. Sahih Bukhari 5:57:14.
  99. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 173; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 45.
  100. Nasa’i 1:70.
  101. Ibn Kathir, The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
  102. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151; Sahih Muslim 8:3311; Sahih Muslim 31:5981.
  103. Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4914.
  104. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 182; Sahih Bukhari 4:54:429; Sahih Bukhari 5:58:227.
  105. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 47.
  106. Sahih Muslim 31:5981.
  107. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151
  108. Sahih Bukhari 2:15:70; Sahih Bukhari 2:15:72.
  109. Sahih Bukhari 2:15:70.
  110. Sunan Abu Dawud 14:2572.
  111. Sahih Muslim 32:6275; Sahih Muslim 32:6274. See also Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4790.
  112. Nasa’i vol. 1 #413, #414. Translated by Al-Khattab, N. (2007), Dar-us-Salam, pp. 243-244.
  113. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829 reveals that Aisha usually delegated the daily baking to her maid and did not even watch the rising dough reliably. In Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 p. 227 (see also Sahih Bukhari 1:7:152), the teenaged Aisha is so jealous of a co-wife’s superior culinary skills that she smashes her dish.
  114. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:155.
  115. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 113. See also Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2137.
  116. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 494; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  117. Sahih Muslim 42:7085; Sahih Muslim 42:7083; Sahih Muslim 42:7086; Sahih Muslim 42:7084; Sahih Muslim 42:7087; Sahih Muslim 42:7089; Sahih Muslim 42:7092; Sahih Muslim 42:7093; Sahih Muslim 42:7097; Sahih Muslim 42:7098.
  118. Sunan Abu Dawud 1:76. This incident probably dates from after Aisha was widowed; but she maintained the habits she had learned from Muhammad.
  119. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 53.
  120. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 52.
  121. Sahih Bukhari 3:47:796.
  122. Guilaume/Ishaq 495.
  123. Sahih Bukhari 1:9:492.
  124. Sunan Abu Dawud 8:1492; Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4891.
  125. Sahih Bukhari 1:10:576: “The Suffa companions were poor people, and the Prophet said, ‘Whoever has food for two persons should take a third one from them.’” See also Muir (1861), pp. 20-21.
  126. Sunan Abu Dawud 9:1696.
  127. Native speakers of Arabic could not think of any other way to translate the word hashishah. They found it very plausible that Aisha would provide the drug as a kind of appetiser while she prepared the main course, in the same spirit that a Westerner might provide a glass of wine.
  128. Sunan Abu Dawud 41:5022.
  129. Al-Muwatta 58:5.
  130. Sahih Muslim 32:6362; Sahih Bukhari 8:73:24.
  131. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 516
  132. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 181; Sahih Bukhari 3:47:752.
  133. For the booty from his battles, see Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 324, 326-327, 438, 466; Al-Tabari, Vol. 7, p. 87.
  134. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 466.
  135. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 594-597
  136. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 521.
  137. 90.1/ Ibn Saad, Tabaqat 1:2:90:4.
  138. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 521-523.
  139. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:547. See also Sahih Muslim 9:3506 and Sahih Muslim 9:3510, dating from this period.
  140. Sahih Muslim 42:7091; Jalalayn’s commentary on Q93:8.
  141. Sahih Bukhari 5:58:165.
  142. Sahih Muslim 31:5972.
  143. Sahih Bukhari 5:58:166.
  144. Sahih Muslim 31:5976. See also Sahih Bukhari 5:58:164; Sahih Bukhari 5:58:168; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:156; Sahih Bukhari 8:73:33; Sahih Bukhari 9:93:576; Sahih Muslim 31:5971; Sahih Muslim 31:5974.
  145. Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 pp. 117-118, 150.
  146. Sahih Bukhari 5:58:166.
  147. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 149: “I was not jealous about a woman except for my jealousy towards Maria.” Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 66-67: “When the Messenger of Allah married Umm Salama, I felt very unhappy ... I was jealous.” Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 181: “I was upset by both near and remote troubles, having heard of Zaynab’s beauty.” Guillaume/Ishaq p. 490. “As soon as I saw [Juwayriya] at the door of my room, I took a dislike to her.”
  148. The wives were Aisha, Sawdah, Hafsah, Hind, Zaynab, Juwayriyah, Ramlah, Safiyah, Maymunah, Mulaykah and Fatima. The concubines were Rayhanah and Mariyah. Muhammad divorced Mulaykah and Fatima, and the several women who joined the household after this point never remained very long.
  149. Quran 33:52.
  150. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir on Q33:52. See also Nasa’i vol. 4 p. 87 #3207: “The Messenger of Allah did not die until Allah permitted him to marry whatever women he wanted.”
  151. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 46, 47.
  152. Sahih Muslim 8:3452.
  153. Sawdah was almost certainly married before Aisha (Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 170; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 39); Zaynab claimed divine command for her marriage (Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, pp. 3-4; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 134; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 181, 182; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 73-74); Mariyah (Guillaume/Ishaq p. 653; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 137; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 193; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 148-149), Mulaykah (Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 187; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 165; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 106) and Fatima (Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 138; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 186-188; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 100-101) were presumably all virgins, although the first was only a concubine and the two latter were later divorced; Hafsah’s parents were both emigrants (Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 216-217; cf Sahih Bukhari 3:43:648 and similar ahadith for evidence that Hafsah’s mother was also in Medina); Maymunah bathed in the same tub (Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 97); Hind claimed to have seen Jibreel (Sahih Bukhari 4:56:827; Sahih Muslim 31:6006).
  154. Sahih Bukhari 3:47:766. See also Sahih Bukhari 3:48:853; Sahih Muslim 8:3450; Sahih Muslim 8:3451; Sahih Muslim 8:3452.
  155. Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  156. Bewely/Saad 8:124.
  157. Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 176.
  158. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 27-28; 163-164.
  159. Quran 33:51; Sahih Bukhari 3:47:766.
  160. Bukhari 6:60:312.
  161. Ibn Hanbal, Musnad vol. 6 p. 115.
  162. Sahih Muslim 39:6759.
  163. Al-Muwatta 16:57.
  164. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 678-679.
  165. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 138-139; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 105.
  166. Haydar Husayn on Why Aisha is a Bad Woman.
  167. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 143. “When the Jews saw Allah’s Messenger marrying women, they said, ‘Look at this person who is not satisfied by food. By God, he is only interested in women!’ They envied him because of the number of his wives and they criticised him for that, saying, ‘If he had been a prophet, he would not have desired women.’” Although the Mosaic law had originally tolerated polygyny, this had been over two thousand years before the time of Muhammad, and it was apparently an archaism to the Jews of Medina.
  168. Watt, W. M. (1956). Muhammad at Medina, pp. 277-280. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  169. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:157.
  170. Gilchrist, J. (1986). “The Circumstances of his Marriages,” pp. 77-90, in Muhammad and the Religion of Islam. Benoni, South Africa: Jesus to the Muslims.
  171. Sahih Bukhari 3:29:84.
  172. Sahih Bukhari 4:52:131. This hadith was narrated by the eyewitness Anas ibn Malik, who was then thirteen years old and presumably also an auxiliary.
  173. Al-Tabari, Vol. 12, p. 107.
  174. Al-Tabari, Vol. 12, pp. 127, 146.
  175. See the surprise of the Muslims in Sahih Bukhari 4:52:256 and Sahih Muslim 19:4321 when Muhammad said it did not matter if their night-raid resulted in the collateral deaths of women and children, for “they are from them.” Abu Bakr was clearly closer to the culturally normative warfare-ethics when he instructed his general not to harm women, children, elders, invalids, animals, trees or buildings ( Al-Muwatta 21:10).
  176. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 278.
  177. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:423.
  178. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 454, 469.
  179. Waqidi, Al-Maghazi Vol. 1 p. 463.
  180. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 464; Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, pp. 40-41.
  181. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 464-465.
  182. Ibn Hisham note 711; Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 41. Bunanah was doubtless inspired by the example in Judges 9:53, a story that every Jewish child knows.
  183. Al-Tabari, Vol. 8, p. 40.
  184. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 468. This was the Saad ibn Muaz who had just pronounced the death-sentence on the men of Qurayza.
  185. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 468. The genealogies in Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 204, 330 show that the patrilinear great-grandfather of Saad had been the great-great-great-grandfather of Abu Yahya (Usayd ibn Hudayr). It is possible, of course, that they were more closely related than this in one of the female lines.
  186. As-Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa. Translated by Jarrett, H. S. (1881). The History of the Caliphs, p. 35. Calcutta: Asiatic Society. See also Ibn Kathir, Tafsir on Q58:22.
  187. Sunan Abu Dawud 1:0320 describes it as “onyx of Zafar,” i.e., bought at Zafar Market in Yemen.
  188. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 494; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  189. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  190. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  191. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 493.
  192. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 499.
  193. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  194. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  195. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:805; Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829.
  196. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 266-267; Sahih Bukhari 8:82:809; Sahih Bukhari 6:60:79; Sahih Bukhari 4:56:829.
  197. Sahih Bukhari 1:7:330; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:177; Sahih Bukhari 8:82:827; Sahih Bukhari 8:82:828; Sunan Abu Dawud 1:320.
  198. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 495, 497; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673. His maternal grandmother was Abu Bakr’s maternal aunt, i.e., he was Aisha’s second cousin. Both his parents were the second cousins of Muhammad’s father.
  199. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  200. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 497; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:366; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:466; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:467.
  201. Sahih Bukhari 4:56:731; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:449.
  202. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 205-206, 277-278.
  203. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  204. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  205. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 277-278.
  206. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 278, 391.
  207. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 363-364.
  208. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 372.
  209. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 245-246; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  210. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495.
  211. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  212. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 170.
  213. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 142.
  214. Quran 33:53; Ibn Kathir, Tafsir on Q33:53.
  215. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  216. Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  217. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  218. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673; Guillaume/Ishaq p. 495.
  219. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 495, 496; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  220. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 496; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673. Actually this is an error, probably by the translator rather than by Ali, for Barira was no longer a slave.
  221. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 496; Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829; Sahih Bukhari 3:48:805; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  222. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 679; Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 170.
  223. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673. This is the sequence of events in Muslim and Bukhari; but Ibn Ishaq (Guillaume pp. 495-496) says that Muhammad challenged the people in the mosque first and consulted with Ali and Usama second. Aisha only heard about the brawl in the mosque after the event and therefore might not have known exactly when it happened.
  224. Cf Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 367, 675, 676.
  225. Sahih Muslim 37:6673
  226. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 495-496; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  227. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 496; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462;Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  228. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 496; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  229. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 497.
  230. Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  231. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 497; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  232. Ayat 12 & 13 of Quran 24:4-26.
  233. Quran 24:11-20; Sahih Bukhari 3:48:829; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462; Sahih Bukhari 6:60:274; Sahih Bukhari 6:60:281; Sahih Muslim 37:6673.
  234. Quran 2:282.
  235. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 497; Sunan Abu Dawud 38:4459. This was according to the new revelation in Quran 24:4: “And those who accuse chaste women, and produce not four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes.
  236. His name is conspicuously absent from Ibn Ishaq’s account of the punishment. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir on Q24:14 says: “As for the hypocrites who indulged in the slander, such as Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salul and his like … the threats that were narrated for a specific deed are bound to be carried out, if there is no repentance or sufficient righteous deeds to balance or outweigh it,” i.e., Abdullah was to be all the more punished in the Hereafter.
  237. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 499.
  238. For example, in 2011 Hena Akhterv died after seventy blows from a bamboo cane. Karim, F. “Bangladeshi girl, 14, dies after receiving 100 lashes” in The Guardian, Friday 4 February 2011.
  239. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 629; Ibn Hisham note 918; Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, pp. 182-183; Sunan Abu Dawud 29:3920; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 83.
  240. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 193.
  241. This is the calculation of Muir (1861), vol. 4 p. 114 f 3. Sir William does not comment on whether this observation might be anything more than a coincidence.
  242. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 544.
  243. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 552-554; Quran 9:5.
  244. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 548-549.
  245. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 197. “Abu Bakr as-Siddiq married Asma bint Umays after Jaafar ibn Abi Talib died and she bore him Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr … at Dhu’l-Hulayfa when they were intending to make the Farewell Hajj.”
  246. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 143; see also Sahih Muslim 30:5756.
  247. Sahih Muslim 4:2127.
  248. Sahih Bukhari 1:7:330; Sahih Bukhari 7:62:177; Sahih Bukhari 8:82:827; Sahih Bukhari 8:82:828.
  249. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 56.
  250. Ghazali, Iḥyaa uloom al-Deen vol. 2 chapter 2. Translated by Farah, M. “Book on the Etiquette of Marriage,” p. 95, in The Revival of the Religious Sciences.
  251. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 56.
  252. Farah/Ghazali vol. 2 p. 95.
  253. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 56.
  254. Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4981 also reports a variant.
  255. Al-Wahidi, Asbab Al-Nuzul. Translated by Guezzou, M. (2011). Context of Revelation, Q4:34. Amman, Jordan: Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought.
  256. See the genealogies in Guillaume/Ishaq p. 402 and Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 243, 245. Kharijah ibn Zayd married his cousin’s widow Huzaylah, and his sister Habibah married their cousin’s son Saad. It was the daughter of Kharijah and Huzaylah, another Habibah, who had married Abu Bakr. The latter frankly admitted that he beat his young wife (Sahih Muslim 9:3506) – but he only said this after Kharijah and Saad had both been killed at the battle of Uhud and buried in a common grave.
  257. Guezzou/Wahidi Q4:34.
  258. Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2141.
  259. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 144.
  260. Al-Tabari, Vol. 14, pp. 102
  261. Al-Tabari, Vol. 14, pp. 115, 138-139.
  262. Al-Tabari, Vol. 14, p. 120
  263. Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2141; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 144.
  264. Quran 4:34: Pickthall. Some English translations add the word “lightly”, presumably inferred from the wording of Muhammad’s Farewell Sermon in Ibn Ishaq; but this is not in the original Arabic of the Qur’an.
  265. Guezzou/Wahidi Q4:34.
  266. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 144.
  267. Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2141. The word “they” is masculine. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 144 renders the same speech as: “Beat them, but only the worst of you will beat them.”
  268. E.g., Sahih Bukhari 7:62:125: “Then I saw the (Hell) Fire, and I have never before, seen such a horrible sight as that, and I saw that the majority of its dwellers were women ... Because of their ungratefulness ... They are not thankful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favours done to them. Even if you do good to one of them all your life, when she seems some harshness from you, she will say, ‘I have never seen any good from you.’” See also Sahih Bukhari 1:6:301 and Sahih Bukhari 2:18:161.
  269. Sahih Bukhari 7:72:715.
  270. Sahih Bukhari 7:72:715; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 295. See also Jarrett/Suyuti pp. 102-103, according to which, Tamima appealed again for a divorce after her marriage had been consummated, then again after Abu Bakr became Caliph, and yet again in the time of Umar. But the divorce was never granted.
  271. Al-Tabari, .
  272. Al-Zubayr was also the nephew of Khadijah (Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 27); he was one of the earliest converts to Islam (Guillaume/Ishaq p. 115); he emigrated to Abyssinia (Guillaume/Ishaq p. 147); he fought at Badr (Guillaume/Ishaq p. 328) and Uhud (Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 373, 375, 381); he tortured Kinana ibn Al-Rabi at Khaybar (Guillaume/Ishaq p. 515); and Muhammad declared him to be one of the ten who were promised Paradise (Sunan Abu Dawud 40:4632; Tirmidhi 3747). There could hardly have been a more prominent Muslim.
  273. Qurtubi, Tafsir on Q4:34.
  274. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 177.
  275. Al-Zamakhshari, The Revealer vol. 2 p. 71.
  276. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 163.
  277. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 176, 179.
  278. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 113.
  279. Al-Tabarani, Al-Mujam 10:248. A similar hadith is recorded in Al-Zamakhshari, The Revealer vol. 1, p. 525: “Hang up your scourge where your wife can see it.”
  280. Sunan Abu Dawud 11:2142. This hadith was transmitted to posterity by Umar.
  281. Sahih Bukhari 5:57:14.
  282. Sahih Bukhari 5:57:26.
  283. Sahih Bukhari 9:89:324.
  284. Muir, W. (1924). The Caliphate: its Rise, Decline, and Fall from Original Sources, 2nd Ed., pp. 77, 78, 82. Edinburgh: John Grant.
  285. Muir (1924), p. 78.
  286. “Nearly half Saudi women are beaten at home” in Emirates 24/7, 26 February 2013.
  287. Mosques’ advice: ‘don’t report abusive husbands’. The Local, 16 May 2012.
  288. Nasa’i vol. 6 p. 182 #5354, #5355.
  289. Sahih Bukhari 1:8:371; Sahih Bukhari 3:43:659; Nasa’i vol. 6 pp. 182-186 #5356, #5357 #5358, #5359.
  290. Sahih Bukhari 3:34:318.
  291. Nasa’i vol. 6 p. 182 #5355.
  292. Sahih Bukhari 7:69:494v
  293. Sahih Muslim 24:5279.
  294. Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4090.
  295. Tirmidhi 3154, 3155.
  296. Nasa’i vol. 4 p. 144 #3315; p. 145 #3317.
  297. Nasa’i vol. 4 p. 143 #3314.
  298. Quran 33:51.
  299. Bukhari 6:60:311. See also Sahih Muslim 8:3453; Sahih Muslim 8:3454.
  300. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 496; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  301. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 497; Sahih Bukhari 5:59:462.
  302. Farah/Ghazali vol. 2 p. 95.
  303. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:57; Sahih Bukhari 8:73:590.
  304. Sahih Muslim 32:6285.
  305. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 pp. 55, 48.
  306. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 55.
  307. Sahih Bukhari 1:3:103.
  308. Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari (Victory of the Creator) vol. 7 pp. 82-83.
  309. Ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 2, p. 481.
  310. Al-Tabari, Vol. 17, p. 65.
  311. Tirmidhi #3884; Al-Hakim, Musadrak vol. 4 p. 11.
  312. Ibn Hajar vol. 7 pp. 82-83.
  313. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:76.
  314. Ibn Athir, An-Nihayah. A variant in Ibn Manzur’s Kitab al-Firdaus is, “Take one-third of your religion from the house of the little red one.” However, the authenticity of these ahadith is disputed.
  315. 77.1/ Ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1 part 2 section 77:1.
  316. Sahih Bukhari 1:5:268.
  317. Sahih Bukhari 7:71:658; Sahih Bukhari 7:71:660; Sahih Bukhari 7:71:661. See also Guillaume/Ishaq p. 240. Note that this Jew was not from any of the three tribes that Muhammad banished from Medina or killed. There were a few Jews in most of Medina’s other tribes.
  318. Sahih Bukhari 8:73:151.
  319. Sahih Bukhari 1:6:293.
  320. See, for example, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:293, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:294, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:298, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:305, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:309, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:312, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:316, Sahih Bukhari 1:6:325.
  321. Sahih Bukhari 1:6:303; Sahih Bukhari 1:6:307; Sahih Bukhari 1:6:324. The Umm Habibah in this latter hadith is not Muhammad’s wife but his cousin, the sister of Zaynab bint Jahsh.
  322. E.g., Al-Tabari, Vol. 39, p. 161: “Khadijah was the Prophet’s first wife, and she bore all his children except Ibrahim, son of Mariyah.”
  323. Sahih Bukhari 1:5:268: “His wives … were eleven in number.” Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 123: “He used to allot each of his wives a day and a night except for Sawda who gave her day and night to ‘A’isha.” See also pp. 40, 45, 124.
  324. Sunan Abu Dawud 41:4952; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 46. However, the hadith literature usually refers to her as “Aisha daughter of Abi Bakr” or “Aisha Mother of the Faithful” or simply “Aisha”.
  325. Quran 33:53.
  326. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 649.
  327. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 145.
  328. Sahih Bukhari 1:6:302.
  329. Sahih Bukhari 1:6:293.
  330. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 649.
  331. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 650-651, 652.
  332. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 651-652.
  333. Al-Muwatta 20:52.
  334. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 649.
  335. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 146.
  336. Guillaume/Ishaq pp. 649-650.
  337. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, p. 108.
  338. Al-Tabari, Vol. 9, pp. 108, 165.
  339. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 123.
  340. Sahih Bukhari 7:62:144; Guillaume/Ishaq p. 679; Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 123.
  341. Sahih Bukhari 7:71:647.
  342. Sahih Bukhari 5:59:730.
  343. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 682.
  344. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 47
  345. Guillaume/Ishaq p. 682.
  346. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 46.
  347. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 155.
  348. Sahih Muslim 8:3311; Ibn Majah 3:1877.
  349. Bewley/Saad vol. 8 p. 54: “Aisha was buried on the night of Tuesday 17 Ramadan 58 AH.”