Aisha (R.A.) – The Leader of Women
Written by Aysha Sayed
For my 3rd write–up in this beautiful week of Ramadaan, I’ve chosen to speak about Aisha (R.A.), as I’ve received many requests about her, and her age of marriage and thought I’d give you a glimpse of her life as best I could.
The reason I took so long with this one, is because I’ve been reading and reading about her and there is so much written about her that I really didn’t know what to leave out. I was astounded at the amount of intellectual caliber she possessed and also the amount of generosity she harbored but at the same time she made me realize that she was not perfect but because she so lovingly followed the actions of her dear husband Muhammad (S.A.W.) she became an extraordinary person, who tirelessly recounted stories of his life for us.
Aisha (R.A.) said “: Angel Jibra’eel (A.S) brought my picture wrapped in the cover of green silk in his dream and said: “She is your wife in this world and the hereafter.”
Her age of marriage to the Prophet (S.A.W.)
The Prophet (S.A.W.) did not marry Aisha (R.A.) for her charm or beauty, but rather for her great intellect and truthfull ways, which is where her nickname “Siddiqah” (The truthfull one) stems from. Now , when it comes to the topic of her age, there is a general misconception because she was young around the age of 6 or 7 when the Prophet (S.A.W.) was engaged to her, many writers have come up with misleading tales about the Prophet (S.A.W.) which really upsets me and I will not even talk about what they write because if they studied his outstanding character they would know that he is the greatest example by far.
Anyways, as I was saying, from researching this topic over and over, it is clear that in Arab times back then, the girls from as early age as 3 were engaged, and that age difference was not important in marriage as this was tradition and only started living with their future husbands when they reached puberty.
Well, it is known that Aisha’s (R.A.) sister Asma, who was born in 595, was 15 when she became a Muslim. This indicates the year 610, when the Prophet started to receive the revelation and this then shows that Aisha was at least 5, 6 or 7 that day and that she was at least 17 or 18 when she married the Prophet in Medina.
Another matter worth mentioning here is that while describing that day, Aisha (R.A.) stated, “I was a girl playing games.” The word she used to describe herself, is “jariya”, and this term is used to describe the entry into puberty. Ibn Yara, who is an Arab poet, describes this term as follows: “When a girl becomes 8 years old, she is not a ‘jariya.’ She is a bridal candidate that I can marry to Utba or Muawiya.” Some scholars say that it is used for girls who are older than 11.
So basically my point that I want to stress here is that when Aisha (R.A.) started living with the Prophet (S.A.W.) she was already physically and mentally developed and even though, Hadiths state she was nine, scholars argue that those are secondary text and her age of marriage is not written in the Quran which could mean she was 14/15 as dates were not accurately recorded in those days .
Her Remarkable Memory
She had a memory like a computer which never failed her and her wisdom was so great, that someone once said that if the knowledge of Aisha (R.A.) were placed on one side of a scale and on the other side the knowledge of all other women, Aisha’s side would outweigh the other.
Her soft heart
Aisha (R.A.) had a very soft heart. She was sweet and pure, and would cry easily if something upset her. She was petite and had a soft voice which made her gentle spoken. Musa ibn Talha once said “I have not seen anyone more eloquent than Aisha (R..A.) She would give away all her fortune in charity and I’ve read countless times that no beggar would ever leave her door, empty handed. At the same time she had a very intelligent trait of speaking her mind and despite her soft heart, she was a lady of strong character and strong will. She always had a quick reply to everything even as a child, once she was playing with a toy horse which had wings, and on walking by the Prophet (S.A.W.) asked her “:Do horses have wings Aisha?” “Why not?” was the quick reply “had not the horses of Hadhrat Sulayman wings?”
The Prophet’s (S.A.W.) love for Her
It was clear that it was Aisha (R.A.) that he loved the most from his wives in Madina. From time to time, one or the other of his companions would ask him, this question, and his reply would be Aisha (R.A.).
The Prophet (S.A.W.) loved to listen to her talk and would smile and listen intently. When she told him stories, he would sit totally engrossed but the moment the Athan was heard, he would rush to prayer as if she was not there. She loved him so much and would become jealous when the Prophet (S.A.W.) would give his attention to others more than her. She would often ask him, “How is your love for me?” “Like a rope’s knot,” was his reply and she would often remind him that, she was his only wife who had not been with any other man compare to his other wives, and to this, the Prophet (S.A.W.) would just smile and say nothing. Whenever Aisha (R..A.) beat someone in an argument, the Prophet (S.A.W.) would smile and say “: She is the daughter of Abu Bakr!”
His affection for her remained till his last when he had his final illness and wanted to live in her house, at the suggestion of his wives. When Aisha (R.A.) would drink water from a cup, he would place his lips on the same place when he drank the water, so much was his love for her. When I read this I thought that many husbands could learn from the Prophet (S..A.W.) and the way love should be between a husband and a wife.
Aisha (R.A.) was a generous soul with a lot of patience. Once when she was fasting, she received a large amount of money, about a hundred thousand Dirham’s and even though she had nothing in her house she distributed the entire amount to the poor. It is reported that one day, a beggar came to knock on the door of Aisha (R.A.) and she was fasting. She told her maid to give the beggar a piece of bread that she had in the house. The maid answered saying that there was nothing else left to break fast with that night. Aisha (R.A.) didn’t care, and that evening, miraculously food was sent to her door which was better than the piece of bread that she gave away.
Her passing on
When Aisha (R.A.) passed away, never was such a vast gathering seen at a funeral. After a brief illness, she died at the age of 66 on the 17th of Ramadaan to leave this earthly life for Paradise. Abu Hurairah (R.A.) led the funeral prayers and she was put to rest, the same night in “Jannatul Baqi”, in the the City of Light and refused to be buried near the two great people her husband, and her father.
Aisha (R.A.) has left us with an unforgettable memory of the Prophet (S.A.W.) as she was the only person who was that close to him on a personal level. She was a leader in every field, in society, in knowledge politics and war and was at the same time feminine and pure.
May Allah (S.W.T) grant us all to be noble and pure as Aisha (R.A.). Inshallah Ameen.