1,001 Sayings and Deeds of the Prophet
Aisha - Introduction
Much of Islam, as you will discover, was literally dreamt into existence. One of the very first, if not the very first communication from Allah made in this manner to the man who would become famous as the Prophet Muhammad, was to introduce him to his child bride when she was still a baby.
Aisha was as pretty as a picture. Considering Allah and His Messenger’s aversion to lifelike reproductions of people and animals the following is quite extraordinary:
That the Prophet said to her, "You have been shown to me twice in my dream. I saw you pictured on a piece of silk and someone said (to me). 'This is your wife.' When I uncovered the picture, I saw that it was yours. I said, 'If this is from Allah, it will be done.'"
In another hadith it is Aisha in the flesh wrapped in silk and the disembodied voice has been identified as that of a man.
Allah's Apostle said (to me), "You were shown to me twice in (my) dream. Behold, a man was carrying you in a silken piece of cloth and said to me, 'She is your wife, so uncover her,' and behold, it was you."
I would then say (to myself), "If this is from Allah, then it must happen.'"
In still another hadith about the Prophet’s dream (or dreams) of Aisha, God’s Messenger not only repeats himself, as was his habit when he wanted to emphasize an important aspect of a communication he had recently received from Paradise, but it is he who tells, what is now an angel holding Aisha, to uncover her.
Allah's Apostle said to me, "You were shown to me twice (in my dream) before I married you. I saw an angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said to him, 'Uncover (her),' and behold, it was you.
I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.'
Then you were shown to me, the angel carrying you in a silken piece of cloth, and I said (to him), 'Uncover (her)', and behold, it was you.
I said (to myself), 'If this is from Allah, then it must happen.'"
Aisha bint Abu Bakr is undoubtedly the second most famous woman in history, and that is only because Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the only female mentioned by name in the Koran. The early life of Abu Bakr's daughter has created the most important challenge to the designation of the Prophet Muhammad as being the embodiment of the perfect human being.
Of all the gross indecencies associated with God's Messenger of which Allah ostensibly approved, and which apologists have the most difficulty in glossing over, is that of a fifty three year old man having sex with a nine year old girl. It bears repeating many times over, as I do here, that Aisha was nine when she was invited to join a man who could have been her grandfather on the matrimonial mat.
The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).
That the Prophet married her when she was six years old and he consummated his marriage when she was nine years old, and then she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death).
When the Prophet married me, my mother came to me and made me enter the house (of the Prophet) and nothing surprised me but the coming of Allah's Apostle to me in the forenoon.
Narrated Hisham's father:
Khadija (also spelled Khadijah, the Prophet's first wife) died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consumed that marriage when she was nine years old.
The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down.
Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girlfriends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me.
She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it.
Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women (women of Medina) who said, "Best wishes and Allah's Blessing and a good luck."
Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage).
Unexpectedly Allah's Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.
Al-Tabari [838 - 923] author of the definitive history of Islam from Creation to 915 A.D., The History of the Prophets and Kings, quotes Aisha about the blessed day:
My mother came to me while I was being swung on a swing between two branches and got me down. My nurse took over and wiped my face with some water and started leading me. When I was at the door she stopped so I could catch my breath. I was brought in while Muhammad was sitting on a bed in our house. My mother made me sit on his lap. The other men and women got up and left. The Prophet consummated his marriage with me in my house when I was nine years old. Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me.
There was no wedding celebration, the meaning of "Neither a camel nor a sheep was slaughtered on behalf of me". What an unseemly celebration that would have been, a bearded past middle-age man marrying a nine year old child who still played with dolls, to be followed by a public exit by the bride and groom to consummate in private their union.
Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) reported that Allah's Apostle (may peace be upon him) married her when she was seven (sic) years old, and she was taken to his house as a bride when she was nine, and her dolls were with her; and when he (the Holy Prophet) died she was eighteen years old.
Sahih Muslim 8.3311
Aisha reported that she used to play with dolls in the presence of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) and when her playmates came to her they left (the house) because they felt shy of Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him), whereas Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) sent them to her.
Sahih Muslim 31.5981
In The Prophet Muhammad, A Biography Barnaby Rogerson's writes: “The ritual of marriage was simple; she shared a bowl of milk with Muhammad before they went to bed.”
Scholars and clerics maintain that a grateful Abu Bakr offered his nine-year-old daughter, with whom the Prophet Muhammad had fallen in love, to cement his relationship with God’s Messenger. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in The Caged Virgin, writes that Aisha’s father pleaded with his fifty-something friend to wait until his daughter reached adulthood before consuming the marriage.
He fell in love with Aisha, his best friend's nine-year-old daughter. Her father said: "Please wait until she has reached adulthood." But Muhammad would not wait... In other words, Muhammad teaches us that it is fine to take away your best friend's child. By our Western standards Muhammad is a perverse man.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The Caged Virgin, p. 81
A hadith would appear to conform Hirsi Ali assertion that Aisha's father was not keen on marrying his daughter to God's Messenger at such a young age.
The Prophet asked Abu Bakr for Aisha's hand in marriage. Abu Bakr said "But I am your brother."
The Prophet said, "You are my brother in Allah's religion and His Book, but she (Aisha) is lawful for me to marry."
In his own mind, God's Messenger was not a pervert, for the child had given her consent.
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "A matron should not be given in marriage except after consulting her; and a virgin should not be given in marriage except after her permission."
The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! How can we know her permission?"
He said, "Her silence (indicates her permission)."
Aisha knew from experience that this was a specious justification for having your way with a child.
I said, "O Allah's Apostle! A virgin feels shy."
He said, "Her consent is (expressed by) her silence."
Shortly after taking power, the Ayatollah Khomeini lowered the age at which girls could be married off, from eighteen to nine to conform to Islamic law.
In May 2006, the Iranian Parliament voted to overturn Khomeini's decree and made it compulsory for girls under the age of 15 and boys under 18 to have court approval to get married. The Guardian Council of the Constitution quashed the initiative, and reinstated Khomeini's decree. What the legislature voted for was an innovation incompatible with the example of the Prophet and the principles of Islam.
Allah's Apostle said, "If somebody innovates something which is not in harmony with the principles of our religion, that thing is rejected."
No man has had more of an impact on an imperfect world than the person whom the believer consider the perfect human being whose every action is to be emulated as closely as possible.
The Prophet did something and allowed his people to do it, but some people refrained from doing it. When the Prophet learned of that, he delivered a sermon, and after having sent Praises to Allah, he said, "What is wrong with such people as refrain from doing a thing that I do? By Allah, I know Allah better than they, and I am more afraid of Him than they."
Today, what the perfect human being did to a child 1,400 years ago is being repeated over and over in many parts of the believers' world with disastrous consequences.
Where Islam is making the greatest advances is in Africa where we are now seeing an extraordinary increase in a condition called vesicovaginal fistula or VVF where the inflicted experience "the continuous involuntary discharge of urine into the vaginal vault." In Nigeria's Islamist north, for example, according to ModernGhana, “thousands of underage child-wives are abandoned by their pedophile husbands when these little girls develop VVF and dribble urine - a complication of obstructed labour during underage child birth.”*
These child-mothers, and their female offspring when they, as children give birth to children and are also mutilated by giving birth before their time are largely all doomed to a short miserable existence and an ignominious death. This cannot be what the perfect human being intended.
There is no doubt that the Prophet's lust gave way to what we could consider genuine love for his child bride. It may have been because she was playful, exciting and made him feel like a young man again.
The Prophet and I used to take a bath from a single pot called 'Faraq'.
Narrated Abu Salama:
Aisha's brother and I went to Aisha and he asked her about the bath of the Prophet. She brought a pot containing about a Sa' of water and took a bath and poured it over her head and at that time there was a screen between her and us.
He would elevate her above all the women in his household.
The Prophet said, "The superiority of Aisha to other women is like the superiority of Tharid to other kinds of food."
God's Messenger would deflect any criticism of his child bride. Aisha was the only wife of the Prophet who, when she joined her husband under the sheets, did not interrupt Allah's Revelations i.e. the Divine Inspirations, and that had to be significant.
Narrated Hisham's father:
The people used to send presents to the Prophet on the day of Aisha's turn.
Aisha said, "My companions (i.e. the other wives of the Prophet) gathered in the house of Um Salama and said, "0 Um Salama! By Allah, the people choose to send presents on the day of Aisha's turn and we too, love the good (i.e. presents etc.) as Aisha does. You should tell Allah's Apostle to tell the people to send their presents to him wherever he may be, or wherever his turn may be."
Um Salama said that to the Prophet and he turned away from her, and when the Prophet returned to her (i.e. Um Salama), she repeated the same, and the Prophet again turned away, and when she told him the same for the third time, the Prophet said, "O Um Salama! Don't trouble me by harming Aisha, for by Allah, the Divine Inspiration never came to me while I was under the blanket of any woman amongst you except her."
Aisha knew that she was the apple of the Prophet's eye, and this probably emboldened her to say things to her husband that no other wife would have dared. For example, the more powerful and rich God's Messenger became, the more women threw themselves at him, including his aunt Khaula. What was a Prophet to do?
God made it clear, that His Messenger could do pretty well whatever he wanted with the women who freely gave themselves to him, including postponing a wife's turn to accommodate an aspiring consort.
Narrated Hisham's father:
Khaula bint Hakim was one of those ladies who presented themselves to the Prophet for marriage. Aisha said, "Doesn't a lady feel ashamed for presenting herself to a man?"
But when the Verse: "(O Muhammad) You may postpone (the turn of) any of them (your wives) that you please," (33:51) was revealed, Aisha said, "O Allah's Apostle! I do not see, but, that your Lord hurries in pleasing you."
Aisha was not only jealous of her husband sleeping with other women, but his other wives as well; at least, that was what she admitted to after her husband's passing.
Aisha said, "Allah's Apostle used to take the permission of that wife with whom he was supposed to stay overnight if he wanted to go to one other than her, after this Verse was revealed: 'You (O Muhammad) can postpone (the turn of) whom you will of them (your wives) and you may receive any (of them) whom you will; and there is no blame on you if you invite one whose turn you have set aside (temporarily).'" (33:51)
I asked Aisha, "What did you use to say (in this case)?"
She said, "I used to say to him, 'If I could deny you the permission (to go to your other wives) I would not allow your favor to be bestowed on any other person.'"
Aisha was not even afraid of being angry at her husband and showing it.
That Allah's Apostle said to her, "I [know if] you are pleased with me or angry with me."
I said, "Whence do you know that?"
He said, "When you are pleased with me, you say, 'No, by the Lord of Muhammad,' but when you are angry with me, then you say, 'No, by the Lord of Abraham.'"
Thereupon I said, "Yes (you are right), but by Allah, O Allah's Apostle, I leave nothing but your name."
The one thing that her husband would not let her get away with:
Aisha had a thick curtain (having pictures on it) and she screened the side of her house with it. The Prophet said to her, "Remove it from my sight, for its pictures are still coming to my mind in my prayers."
Allah's Apostle returned from a journey when I had placed a curtain of mine having pictures over (the door of) a chamber of mine. When Allah's Apostle saw it, he tore it and said, "The people who will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection will be those who try to make the like of Allah's creations."
So we turned it (i.e. the curtain) into one or two cushions.
It may not have made any difference!
I stuffed for the Prophet a pillow decorated with pictures (of animals) which looked like a Namruqa (i.e. a small cushion). He came and stood among the people with excitement apparent on his face. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is wrong?"
He said, "What is this pillow?"
I said, "I have prepared this pillow for you, so that you may recline on it."
He said, "Don't you know that angels do not enter a house wherein there are pictures; and whoever makes a picture will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked to give life to (what he has created)?"
One of the first revelations remembered by the Prophet's child bride.
Narrated Yusuf bin Mahik:
I was in the house of Aisha, the mother of the Believers. She said, "This revelation: 'Nay, but the Hour is their appointed time (for their full recompense); and the Hour will be more previous and most bitter.' (54:46) was revealed to Muhammad at Mecca while I was a playful little girl."
The Prophet had a well-groomed, nice smelling, shiny head of hair thanks, in part, to Aisha.
I used to perfume Allah's Apostle with the best scent available till I saw the shine of the scent on his head and shine beard.
While in menses, I used to comb the hair of Allah's Apostle.
Aisha seems to have enjoyed her eight years with God’s Messenger, which makes her death bed admission that more puzzling. Did she regret her lost childhood and the type of life she might have had, had she married an ordinary man closer to her own age.
Narrated Ibn Abu Mulaika:
Ibn 'Abbas asked permission to visit Aisha before her death, and at that time she was in a state of agony. She then said. "I am afraid that he will praise me too much."
And then it was said to her, "He is the cousin of Allah's Apostle and one of the prominent Muslims."
Then she said, "Allow him to enter."
(When he entered) he said, "How are you?"
She replied, "I am alright if I fear (Allah)."
Ibn Abbas said, "Allah willing, you are alright as you are the wife of Allah's Apostle and he did not marry any virgin except you and proof of your innocence was revealed from the Heaven."
Later on Ibn Az-Zubair entered after him and Aisha said to him, "Ibn 'Abbas came to me and praised me greatly, but I wish that I was a thing forgotten and out of sight."
It is to Aisha, as you will come to appreciate as your reading takes you into even deeper waters, that we owe the plentiful spontaneous forthright narrations volunteered by a bold young girl who said what needed to be said.