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Who are Ahlul-Bayt? (Part VIII)
Background of Enmity of Aisha against Imam Ali (AS)
During the Prophet's life, Aisha used to see that the son of Abu Talib way excelled her father on every occasion, and that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) continued to love him and preferred him above everyone else. she also knew that her father had returned defeated with the forces who were with him on the day of Khaibar, and that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) was pained by this and said: "I will give the standard tomorrow to a man who loves Allah and his Prophet, and whom Allah and his Prophet love, [a man] who will be steadfast and will not flee". The next day Allah's Apostle gave Ali the flag and Allah granted victory under his leadership. (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Traditions 5.52, 5.520). After Ali had captured Khaibar, he returned with Safiyya Bint Huyayy who the Prophet (PBUH&HF) married. This descended like a flash of lightning upon the heart of Aisha.
She also knew that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF) had sent her father to proclaim the Chapter al-Bara'a (Ch. 9) to the pilgrims, but then had sent Ali after him, to taking back the responsibility from him. Her father returned in tears and asked the reason for this action, whereupon the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF) responded: "Allah commanded me that none should proclaim this except me or someone from my Ahlul-Bayt". and thus he sent Ali for this mission.
She also knew that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) had appointed his cousin, Ali, as the Caliph over the Muslims after him and had ordered his companions and his wives to congratulate him for this leadership over the believers in Ghadir Khum. Her father was among the first people to say: "Congratulations, Congratulations to you, O son of Abu Talib. Today you became the master of every believing man and woman".
... and more.
Aisha fully realized that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) preferred Imam Ali (AS) over her and her father. Ahmad Ibn Hanbal in his Musnad narrates that:
Abu Bakr once came to the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF), and sought permission to enter. Before he went in, he heard Aisha's voice raised, saying to the Prophet (PBUH&HF): "By Allah! I surely know that Ali is dearer to you than me and my father", she repeated this twice or three times".
Sunni reference: Musnad Ahmad Hanbal, v4, p275
She also knew that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) had put Usamah Ibn Zaid in command over her father a youth with no hair yet grown on his cheek, for Usamah Ibn Zaid was only seventeen years old, yet the Prophet commanded Abu Bakr to go on military expeditions under the leadership of Usamah and to pray behind him. He ordered all the immigrants and Helpers except Ali to go with Usamah and to fight the Romans.
There is no doubt that Aisha was influenced by these events. Deep inside she was concerned for her father, and his competing for the Caliphate. Her envy and hatred for Ali grew, and she tried her best to intervene, at all costs, to change the situation to her father's advantage using various methods. We know how she sent for her father, supposedly on behalf of her husband, ordering him to lead the people in prayer, after she learnt that the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF) had summoned Ali for this duty. When the Prophet (PBUH&HF) learnt of this plot, he was forced to come out, remove Abu Bakr from his place and lead the people in prayer while he was sitting. He was angry at Aisha and said to her: "You women are like the companions of Joseph (Yusuf)" meaning that their plots were great. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition #1.680).
A researcher of this event will find clear contradiction since it is explained by Aisha in several different and discordant ways. The Prophet had called her father to join the army and commanded him to embark under the leadership of Usamah Ibn Zaid three days before that prayer. It is known logically that the leader of the army also leads the prayer. Usamah Ibn Zaid was, therefore, the Imam of Abu Bakr on that expedition. Aisha sensed this disdain and understood the Prophet's motive, especially as he had not drafted Ali Ibn Abi Talib into that army in which even the notable Emigrants and Helpers, leaders and people of stature from the Quraish, had been drafted.
al-Bukhari reported that, Aisha narrated that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) ordered Abu Bakr to lead the prayer, but later the Prophet decided to go to mosque and he went in front of Abu Bakr and led the prayer instead of Abu Bakr. Here is the tradition of al-Bukhari as claimed by Aisha:
Sahih al-Bukhari Tradition: 1.680
When the Prophet, became ill in his fatal illness, Someone came to inform him about the prayer, and the Prophet told him to tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in the prayer. I said, "Abu Bakr is a soft-hearted man and if he stands for the prayer in your place, he would weep and would not be able to recite the Quran." The Prophet said, "Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer." I said the same as before. He (repeated the same order and) on the third or the fourth time he said, "You are the companions of Joseph. Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer." So Abu Bakr led the prayer and meanwhile the Prophet felt better and came out with the help of two men; as if I see him just now dragging his feet on the ground. When Abu Bakr saw him, he tried to retreat but the Prophet beckoned him to carry on. Abu Bakr retreated a bit and the Prophet sat on his (left) side. Abu Bakr was repeating the Takbir (Allahu Akbar) of Allah's Apostle for the people to hear.
The fact, however, is that the Prophet never ordered Abu Bakr to lead the prayer. This can be proven by the following reasons:
The Messenger of Allah said: "May the curse of Allah be upon those who turn away from the army of Usamah" and he ordered the army to be dispatched immediately, and ordered all Helpers and all Immigrants except Ali to leave Medina. But some companions disobeyed and complained about the leadership of Usamah (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition #5.552, 5.744 and 5.745) and they delayed in joining the camp, and finally returned to Medina, in order to prepare themselves for discussion about successorship as soon as the Messenger of Allah passes away.
Aisha further claimed that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) expired while he was resting on her chest. This claim contradicts the narrations transmitted and recorded by others. In the tradition reported by Imam Ali as recorded by Ibn Sa'd who named consecutive sources up to Imam Ali, we read:
Ali said: "In the last moments of his life, the Messenger of Allah said: 'Call me my brother.' So I approached him. He asked me to get nearer to him and I got quite close to him. He leaned on me and continued resting on my chest and speaking to me till his spittle fell on me and the Messenger of Allah breathed his last."
In connection this event, it has also been narrated that:
Imam Ali said: "The Messenger of Allah at that time (before his last breath) taught me one thousand chapters (Bab) of knowledge, every one of which opened for me one thousand other chapters."
Also, in a tradition which is recorded by Muslim and others, Aisha said:
"The Messenger of Allah left behind neither a single Dinar nor a Dirham, nor a sheep nor a camel, nor did he make any will."
If she meant that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) did not leave left behind anything at all and was devoid of everything worth making a will about, it is definitely incorrect. The Prophet who has strongly encouraged others to write their will, should have made a will for himself as well. Of course, he did not leave behind, like other worldly people, things which are regarded as worldly vanities, for he was the most religiously devoted person and most indifferent person to worldly pleasure. However when he passed away, he had some outstanding debts (see Kanz al-Ummal, v4, p60) to be cleared, some promises and commitments to be fulfilled, and certain goods for which it was incumbent upon him to make a will. He left behind himself enough cash and property for repayment of his debts, fulfillment on his promises and commitments, and for inheritance in favor of his daughter, Lady Fatimah al-Zahra. This latter fact is supported by Fatimah's claim to the property as the heir of the Prophet.
Aisha Was a Test
The Prophet (PBUH&HF) sensed the depth and danger of the schemes that revolved around him from all sides. He knew specifically that one of his wives, Aisha, was the instigator of the dangerous role because of the hatred and rancor that she felt towards his successor Ali in particular and his family in general. How could he not know, when he lived observing her role and her enmity towards them? He sometimes got angry; sometimes his face would change color and he would try to placate her at all times, informing her that one who loved Ali loved Allah, and the one who hated Ali was a hypocrite, whom Allah hated.
As a result, the Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF) was patient when he realized that she was the test that Allah had sent to the Ummah, to examine it as He had tested the previous nations. "Do the people think that they will be left alone when they say: 'We believe' and they will not be tested?" (Quran 29:2)
The fact that she was a test for people is clear from the previously quoted tradition of al-Bukhari where Ammar Ibn Yasir said to people before the battle of Camel that: "Allah has put you to test whether you obey Allah or her (Aisha)." (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Tradition 9.220).
The Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF) warned the Ummah against her on several occasions. In Sahih al-Bukhari, there is a chapter about what went on in the houses of the wives of the Prophet in which there is the following tradition:
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 4.336
The Prophet stood up and delivered a sermon, and pointed to the house of Aisha, and said: "Fitna (trouble/sedition) is right here," saying three times, "from where the side of the Satan's head comes out."
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In the above tradition the Prophet predicted the sedition which Aisha will bring for Muslims and that she will be seduced by Satan for instigating the first civil war in the history of Islam.
Muslim has also related in his Sahih from Ikrima Ibn Ammar from Salim from Ibn Umar who said:
"The Prophet of Allah (PBUH&HF) emerged from the house of Aisha and said. 'The pivot of disbelief is from here, where the horns of Satan will rise.'"
Sunni reference: Sahih Muslim, Arabic version, the Chapter of Seditions, v4, p2229
A Sunni brother mentioned that the following two traditions have the same reference to "one side of Satan's head", and they show that the Prophet (PBUH&HF) was pointing to Najd where the Wahhabis later emerged. Thus the above tradition (about Aisha) must be referring to the same thing (i.e., Najd). It might be that the house of Aisha was located in the east, and the Prophet was perhaps referring to Najd and not the house of Aisha. Here are the two traditions:
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 2.147:
Narrated Ibn Umar:
(The Prophet) said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and our Yemen." People said, "Our Najd as well." The Prophet again said, "O Allah! Bless our Sham and Yemen." They said again, "Our Najd as well." On that the Prophet said, "There will appear earthquakes and afflictions, and from there will come out the side of the head of Satan."
Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith: 5.672:
Narrated Abu Huraira:
The Prophet said, "Belief is Yemenite while afflictions appear from there (the east) from where the side of the head of Satan will appear."
This argument does not seem to be correct for the following reasons:
Examples of Women Mentioned in Quran
Most surely, there has been other examples in history of religions that the wives of some prophets went astray, and this is not anything exclusive to the history of the religion of Islam. In the very same chapter that Allah, the most Glorious, had warned Aisha and Hafsa jointly in His words (Chapter 66), He also provided for both of them a significant parable to teach them and the rest of the Muslims that the mother of the believers will NOT enter heaven without any reckoning or punishment, simply because they is the wives of a prophet. Most Certainly not! For Allah has informed His servants, male and female, that mere spousal relationship will neither harm nor benefit a person, even if the husband is a prophet of Allah. What benefits or harms a person, in the eyes of Allah, are an individual's deeds. Allah stated in the very same chapter of Quran:
Allah informed Prophet Noah (AS) and Prophet Lot (AS) that those of their wives who do not follow their instructions are not related to them and they will perish along with the rest of unbelievers. By this it becomes clear to all that spousal relationship and companionship, even though they both have a lot of merits, do not, in themselves, prevent the punishment of Allah unless they are accompanied by righteous deeds. If they are not, punishment is, in fact, increased. Allah's justice dictates that He does not punish the distant one who does not hear the revelation as much as he punishes the close one in whose house the Quran was revealed. A man who knows the truth and yet opposes it and an ignorant person who does not know the truth, are not alike. This is also confirmed in the following verse of Quran:
"O' Consorts of the Prophet! if any of you were guilty of evident misconduct the Punishment would be doubled to her and that is easy for Allah." (Quran 33:30)
The above was just few pages of the thick file of Aisha in the history of Islam, which gives enough evidence to prove that she does not have any compatibility whatsoever with the virtues mentioned in the purification verse of Quran (Ayah al-Tat'hir). Therefor it is inconceivable that one could consider such a personality to be from Ahlul-Bayt who are sinless and pure and should be obeyed beside Quran. The removal of filth and purification is as remote from Aisha as the sky is from the earth, and that those who believe otherwise are the victims of the forgery of the Umayad without realizing it. This is beside many authentic traditions were mentioned earlier, in which the Messenger of Allah himself excluded even his righteous wives from the Ahlul-Bayt.
As for the question that whether or not Aisha was a believer, I would say Allah knows best, and we are not in a position to judge on that. Based on the traditions of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) which are even recorded in the authentic Sunni collections, anybody who fights Ahlul-Bayt has declared war on the Prophet and is an infidel unless he/she truly repents and Allah accepts his/her repentance. There are some claims that Aisha repented when she was defeated in the battle of Camel. Other Sunni reports (some of which we quoted above) show that she continued her misconduct even after the battle of Camel. What is clear, however, is that such questionable individuals are not trustworthy in transmitting the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
We do not have to bear the hatred of Aisha or others in our heart. We believe that these individuals were fallible and committed some small and some very big sins. We are not here to sentence them to Hell or Paradise, for this is Allah's business. It is not for us to be pleased with Aisha or to curse her. We cannot, however, follow her nor can we condone her deeds. We speak of all this so as to enlighten the people about the truth on who should be followed as the guardian of the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH&HF) after him. We should study the history of Islam to take lessons from the events and to analyze the action of the influential individuals in order to learn which of them were trustworthy for transmitting the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH&HF). we can not take Hadith from any one who saw the Prophet (PBUH&HF) since some of them have done gross injustice in the history by shedding the blood of thousands of Muslims and usurping the rights of those whom the Messenger of Allah put them beside Quran and ordered us to follow them. Logic requires us not to blindly follow what the unjust individuals said or attributed to the Prophet (PBUH&HF).
Again I apologize from Sunni brothers/sisters if they feel offended by the content of the final parts of this article. However the above information were referenced by the most important Sunni collections of Hadith/History which provides undeniable and conclusive pieces of evidence for our Sunni brothers and sisters with regard to the question of who Ahlul-Bayt are.
End of Part 8 of 8