Story 109: Absence From Bed

The Holy Prophet (S) was fifty-five years old when he married a young girl named 'A'ishah. Khadijah was his first wife who had married twice before him (S) and was fifteen years elder than the Prophet (S). This marriage took place when he (S) was twenty-five years and Khadijah fourty years old, she was his (S) unique wife in the Holy Prophet's (S) house giving birth to many children and passed away at the age of sixty-five.

After the death of Khadijah, the Holy Prophet (S) married a widow called Sudah; then he (S) married 'A'ishah who was a young virgin and came directly from her father's house to the Holy Prophet's (S) house. After her, although the Holy Prophet (S) took numerous wives, but none of them was a virgin, all widows, mostly stricken in years and occasionally having children.

'A'ishah always boasted near the Holy Prophet's (S) wives and used to say: "I am the only woman who had no any relation other than the Prophet (S)." She was also proud of her beauty; these two things had made her proud and the Holy Prophet (S) sad.

'A'ishah expected from the Holy Prophet not to pay attention to another woman except her. It is natural for a man like the Holy Prophet (S) to live with the old women deprived of beauty, despite having a young and beautiful wife, presents nothing but suffering, deprivation and disappointment, particularly when he wants to respect the right and the turn of each with attention and perfect justice.

But the numerous marriages of the Holy Prophet (S) were based on the social and political interests of Islam in his days, not on other basis; he (S) paid no attention to such things, and from that time till the end of his life, about ten years, he chose many wives, women who were not having any protection, or their husbands had attained martyrdom or for some other reasons they lacked the guardianship.

Another question which sometimes made 'A'ishah annoyed was that the Holy Prophet (S) never remained in bed for the whole night. He (S) rather passed one-third or half part of the night, at times even more, praying, reciting the Holy Qur'an or repenting.

One night when the Holy Prophet (S) came to spend the night with 'A'ishah, he put his garment and shoes at the foot of his bed and then went to bed. After a while, thinking that 'A'ishah had slept, he (S) moved in a gentle manner, put his shoes on, opened the door very quietly and then closed it and went out.

'A'ishah was still awake and was watching all the incident which seemed to her very strange. She knew that the Holy Prophet (S) would get out of the bed and pray in a corner of the room. It was unprecedented to her to see the Holy Prophet (S) go out of the room in her turn.

She thought! "I must know where the Holy Prophet (S) goes. He might go and pass the night with another wife. Is it possible for the Prophet (S) to do so and go to the other house in my turn? Either, his other wives were in a possession of youth and beauty! Or he had a house full of the beautiful women! But he has not done such and only he has gathered around himself a handful of old women and widows. Any how I must find out where he is going in this hour of the night so early whereas I am still awake?"

'A'ishah immediately put her dress on and followed the Holy Prophet (S) by keeping a distance in-between. She saw him (S) go straight towards Baqi - a place near Madinah where it has been devoted as the cemetery by the order of the Holy Prophet (S). He (S) went and stopped there, while 'A'ishah followed him (S) and hid herself in a corner.

She saw the Holy Prophet (S) raise his hands three times towards the sky and then made his way. 'A'ishah took the same way; the Prophet (S) speeded up and so did she. He (S) started running, and so did she behind him (S). Then the Holy Propeht (S) made his way towards the house, and 'A'ishah, before the Prophet (S) reached the house, came quickly and went to bed.

When the Prophet (S) entered the house, he (S) heard her bated breath. He asked: "O 'A'ishah! Why are you panting like a horse which has galloped?"

"Nothing! O Messenger of Allah!"

"Tell me the truth, if not, Allah will not let me be in ignorance."

"May my father and mother be your ransom, I was still awake when you went out, I wanted to know where you were going at that hour of the night. I followed you from afar distance, watching you during all that time"

"The silhouette which I perceived on my return, it was you!"

''Yes! O Messenger of Allah!"

Gently tapping on 'A'ishah's back with his fist, the Holy Prophet (S) said: "Did you think that Allah and His Messenger do injustice to you and grant your right to others!"

'A'ishah said: "O Messenger of Allah! Whatever the people do in silence, Allah knows and informs you of it?"

The Holy Prophet (S) said: "Of course, yes. I went to Baqi' this night, because Gabriel, the Divine Angel, came and told me to come out so that he could hide his call from you. I replied him without your knowledge. Thinking that you fell asleep, I did not want to wake you and to inform you of my being alone for hearing the Divine revelation. Moreover, I was afraid of you to get frightened; that was the reason I went quietly out of the house. The Angel of Allah ordered me to go to Baqi' and ask the Divine Blessings for the buried."

'A'ishah said: "O Messenger of Allah! If I want to ask forgiveness for them, what shall I say?"

The Holy Prophet (S): “Say, "Assalamu ala ahli ad-diar min al-mu'minin wa al-muslimin wa yarhamullahu al-mustaqdimina mina wa al-musta'khirin fa inna insha allahu la lahiqun." Means: "Peace be upon the Muslims and believers’ inhabitants of the eternal abode. May Allah have mercy on you. We shall rejoin you by the Will of Allah."1

  • 1. Masnad of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, v. 6, p. 221.