How to over come oppression? The Slander affair story

Probably, Most of us have gone through some kind of oppression. Life consists of ups & down! There were times when you felt all alone, left without explanation, with no one to soothe your pain! I’m sure it was even harder on some of us; when people talk lies about you, prevail rumors & slander. Maybe saying you committed awful stuff, stuff like Adultery! This what happened with Aisha in the Slander affair.

That was the situation in Madina back then, Chief of the hypocrites, Abdullāh b. Ubay, attempted his most bold attack against the honour of the Prophet (sall Allāhu ʿalayhi wa sallam) and his family, accusing his beloved wife ʿĀ’isha of adultery and spreading the slander in Madina. This incident is called in arabic Hadithatul ifk (The slander affair).

Our story starts right after the return of the Muslim forces from Ghazwat Bani Al-Mustaliq (a small expedition) which occurred after the Battle of Ahzaab in the 5th year after the hijrah.

Let us first go back to what happened in the way back to Madina.

The Beginning of the Slander Affair:

Aisha narrates:

“Whenever the Prophet peace be upon him would intend to go on a journey, he would cast lots amongst his wives. So whoever’s lot would be picked, would accompany the Prophet .”

So Aisha accompanied the prophet peace be upon him. This was after the revelation of the verses of Hijab thus she traveled wearing her Hijab (Niqab) and she was carried on a Hawdaj. [Hawdaj is a small type of tent which is placed on top of the Camel for Women to set in & not to be revealed to men while traveling].

On their way back, after the expedition had finished, Rasulullah gave orders to camp the night outside of Madina.

Aisha then goes on to say:

“When the orders were given to encamp, I stood up and walked away from the army to relieve myself. When I returned, I felt my chest and lo and behold my onyx necklace had broken [and fallen] so I returned to where I had been [to search for it]. I was delayed in searching for it and in the meantime the people that were assigned to carry my hawdaj had already placed it on top of the camel, presuming that I was [back] in it.”

She continues:

“During those days women were very thin and they had not put on a lot of weight. They used to only eat a few morsels of food, so the men did not question the lightness of the hawdaj when they picked it up and put it on the camel. And on top of that, I was a young girl. So they sent the camel forward and I found my necklace after they had gone. By the time I returned to the caravan camping ground, there was not a soul in sight.”

Aisha continues to narrate:

“So I stayed in my place and I presumed that they would discover that I was missing, and they would return for me. While I was waiting in my place, sleep got the better of me so I fell asleep.”

“Safwan ibn Mu’attel As Sulami (one of the companions) was lagging behind the army. For some reason he was late so he was not up with the army. And he walked up to my place. He saw the shape of a person sleeping, and when he saw me he recognized me for he had seen me before the revelation of the verses of the hijab.

I was woken up by his exclamation of la hawla wa la quwwatta ila billaah when he recognized me, so I covered my face with my outer garment.”

She then continues:

“And I swear by Allah we did not speak a word to each other nor did I hear any statement from him except la hawla wa la quwwatta illaa billaah. He lowered his camel such that I could ride on it and when I mounted the camel he guided it until we caught up with the caravan while they were encamped. That is where the rumors started spreading and the people that spread the rumors were destroyed; the leader of them was ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Ubay ibn Salul.”

Here, We have to reflect on Safwan’s nobleness. He didn’t utter a word to Aisha nor did he do anything other than taking her back on the camel to the army.

The Hypocrites:

We also learn about the characteristics of hypocrites. They start rumors without any cause or evidence. Sahaba (companions of the prophet) saw Aisha on top of the camel lead by Safwan, this is not enough to assume anything, however, Hypocrites used this incident to prevail rumors and lies.

Then, On arriving to Madina, Aisha felt sick with a fever that lasted for a month. She was not aware of the rumors going all around Madina! However, she felt that something is going wrong, she didn’t see the tenderness that she used to see from the prophet when she gets sick.

Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alyhi wasallam was in a tough situation. He knew his wife but the people won’t stop spreading rumors about her. What would he do?! He didn’t want to raise this issue up while Aisha was sick so he kept silent about it.

After that, Aisha radiya Allahu anha heard the story from Umm Mistah (Aisha’s great aunt), she felt even more sick! She asked the prophet’s permission to go to her parents house to verify the information she got.

So Aisha went to her parents’ home and continues:

“I asked my mother, Umm Ruman, ‘My dear mother, what are the people talking about? What are they saying?’”

Her mother replied, “My daughter, be easy upon yourself. By Allah, it hardly occurs that a wife is so beloved to her husband, and she has co-wives at the same time, except that they talk about her.”

Aisha said, “Subhan Allah, have the people actually said this?”

Umm Ruman was quiet and Aisha narrates:

“I cried that night. I cried and cried until the morning came. My tears could not stop nor could I taste the sweetness of sleep.”

Up till now things seem bitter without a glimpse of light! For a whole month, things were hard on the prophet sala Allahu alyhi wasallam and his Sahaba. Evil rumors against the honor of his family.

The reaction of the prophet:

Aisha informed us that the Prophet called Ali ibn Abi Talib and Usama ibn Zayd and asked them about her. Usama testified what he knew about the Prophet’s family, and said that they were free of this charge. Usama said, “They cannot be guilty! They must be innocent. They are your wives and we know nothing but good about them.”

As for Ali, he said, “Ya RasulAllah, Allah has not restricted matters upon you and there are plenty of women beside her. Ask her maidservant; she will confirm what she knows about her.”

So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam called Aisha’s maid servant, Barira, and asked, “Ya Barira, have you ever seen anything from Aisha that will cause you to have doubts about her?

Barira said, “By Him who has sent you with the truth, I have not seen anything from her what so ever that will cause me to have doubts about her except one thing. Except that she is a young girl who sometimes falls asleep when she is kneading the dough. And when she falls asleep, the lamb comes, eats the dough and goes away. So this is the crime that I know she does.”

From the above we learn the importance of returning to witnesses and trustworthy people for advice.

The General Assembly:

When the Prophet received this advice from Usama, Ali, and Barira, he called a general assembly.

Standing up on a mimbar he praised Allah and said, “Oh gathering of believers, who will excuse me from a person who has hurt me even with regards to my wives? Whatever I do, you have nothing to blame me with now. If I were to do anything to this man [referring to ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul] then you cannot blame me. He has affected me, slandered me, and he has even reached my wife. Can anyone blame me for anything I do to him now? Who will give me an excuse? By Allah, I only know good about my wife, and they have mentioned a man with her concerning whom I only know good of as well.”

Aisha says:

“So I continued to cry that day and my tears would not stop flowing until I believed that my liver would split open due to my tears. While I was sitting and crying, my parents were with me. And one of the Ansar ladies asked permission to enter and started crying with me.”

Aisha continues:

“While we were in that state the Prophet entered upon us, said salam, and sat down. He had not sat with me for the whole month while these rumors were being spread. For this whole month he had not been inspired [had not received a revelation] concerning my matter with anything. The Prophet praised Allah after he sat and he said, ‘Amma ba’d. I have heard about you such and such. So if you are innocent, then Allah will clear you of this charge, and if you have slipped into a sin then seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him, for whenever a servant does a sin, admits to it, and repents, Allah accepts his repentance from him.’”

This shows us the gentleness of the prophet, he didn’t know what to say as he was waiting for the revelation yet he gave Aisha hope no matter what the situation maybe.

Aisha’s Response to all of that:

When the Prophet peace be upon him stopped talking, Aisha says she “stopped crying until [she] could not even feel a single tear in [her] eyes.”

Aisha was in shock now, as it was the first time that the Prophet peace be upon him was admitting to having knowledge of the rumors. Aisha turned to her father and said, “Respond to the Prophet peace be upon him on my behalf. Answer him! Say something!”

He responded, “I cannot speak right now.”

So Aishah turned to her mother Umm Ruman and said, “Respond to the Prophet peace be upon him! Say something! Tell him I didn’t do this.”

She also responded, “What can I say to the Prophet peace be upon him?”

Aisha narrates:

“I was still a young girl at that time and had not memorized much of the Qur’an, so I could not remember the name of the father of Yusuf.” So she said, “I know by Allah that you have heard these rumors, and that these rumors have settled in your heart and soul and you have believed it already. So if I were to tell you that I’m not guilty, you wouldn’t believe me. And if I were to admit to a crime that I did not commit, then you will believe me and think that I did it. So all I can say to you is what the father of Yusuf said. ‘Patience is beautiful.’ And it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought against that which you assert.”

We learn from this how a strong believer resists against oppression! It’s by being patient (Sabr) around the matter by turning to Allah. Having confidence in him. Seeking Allah’s help and protection. Aisha analysed the situation and found that silence is the best thing to do for the moment. Not only that but also asking the help of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

Her Innocence:

She then says:

“I turned around on my bed. Allah knew I was innocent of this charge and I knew that Allah would reveal my innocence. However, wallahi I never thought that Allah would reveal Qur’an concerning me. I thought myself far too low in the sight of Allah, that Allah would speak about me. Rather, I was hoping that the Prophet peace be upon him might see in his dream something that would declare my innocence.”

In fact, Allah revealed twenty verses of the Qur’an about her.

She says:

“When the revelation finished, the Prophet sal Alaahu alayhi wa sallam started laughing out of happiness.”

Finally, after a whole month of torture and rumors and spreading of lies, Allah revealed the verses. The first words the prophet peace be upon him said to her: “Ya Aisha, verily Allah has declared your innocence.”

Aisha continues:

“So my mother stood up and told me, ‘Stand up to thank the Prophet peace be upon him.’”

And Aisha responded, “No, by Allah I will not stand up to him. Rather, I will thank Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala.”

Another lesson we learn here; never forget to thank Allah in every situation ?

Aisha says, Allah revealed ten verses concerning this incident. And ten verses about the rulings which should be applied. These verses are verses 11 to 31 of Surah An-Noor.

The Conclusion: 

The final conclusion we can reach here, is that Allah tests his servants. The prophet was the most beloved to Allah, Aisha was the most beloved wife to the prophet yet they both were tested immensely. However, you should trust that after every test comes ease and peace. You’ll learn to be stronger, you’ll learn so many lessons. You just need to reflect upon your own situation and watch for Allah’s messages to you. You are never alone!

Your responsibility during any calamity is to be patient, not to lose track of the right and the wrong and to be certain that Allah will reveal the truth even after a while. Trust Allah’s Timing!

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