Although the Muslim majority holds the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) wives in great esteem, it is high time they came around to accept that the wives weren’t exactly paragons of virtue.
Being the mother of believers (Ummul Momineen) is a heavy responsibility. It does not give any wife the licence to engage in a battle with her ‘sons’, especially the sons of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
But that is exactly what we find in history when Ayesha tormented Imam Hasan (a.s.) twice – once in his life time and again after his martyrdom.
Defendants of the wives
While Muslims offer all sorts of excuses to defend Ayesha particularly for her role in the Battle of Jamal, there is precious little they can say in her defense on the count of Imam Hasan’s (a.s.) planned burial next to the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
To begin with, apologists for Ayesha claim that even if she was in the wrong in the Battle of Jamal she apologized to Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) soon after and relations between them remained cordial.
Of course, this apology and normalized relations is pure fantasy with not even the Ahle Tasannun books recording any mention of it.
Even if Ayesha’s ‘apology’ is a fact of history, then her role in Imam Hasan’s (a.s.) funeral rites exposes the apology as either fake or in the least insincere.
And to those who maintain that Ayesha did not have any role in tormenting Imam Hasan (a.s.) after his martyrdom, we say that if she and/or her army could fire arrows at Imam Hasan (a.s.) in the Battle of Jamal seated on a camel, then she is certainly capable of obstructing Imam Hasan’s (a.s.) bier perched on a mule. ‘And it is easier to return to an action’.
When Ayesha gave another Jamal-like performance
The incident of Ayesha’s attack on Imam Hasan’s (a.s.) bier is well-documented. We mention an excerpt:
Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) narrates – Imam Husain (a.s.) performed the funeral prayer of Imam Hasan (a.s.) and then the body was taken to the Mosque of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
When (the procession) paused at the grave of Allah’s Prophet (s.a.w.a.), news reached Ayesha and she was informed – They have brought Hasan’s (a.s.) body to be buried with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
She then came out quickly on a saddled mule. She was the first woman in the Muslim community to ride on the saddle.
She stood and demanded – Take your son away from my house. No one will be buried in my house and be allowed to violate the privacy of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.).
Imam Husain (a.s.) said to her – A long time ago you and your father had disregarded the privacy of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.). You brought to his house those whose nearness he did not love. Allah will hold you responsible for this O Ayesha. My brother commanded me to place him near his grandfather the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) so he can renew his covenant with him.
You, O Ayesha, should know that my brother is the most knowledgeable person with regards Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He is the more knowledgeable in interpreting the Book of Allah than to violate the privacy of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.).
Allah says – O you who believe! Do not enter the houses of the Prophet unless permission is given to you…(Surah Ahzab (33):53) but you have admitted into the house of Allah’s Messenger men without his permission.
Allah, the Almighty, has said – O you who believe! Do not raise your voices above the voice of the Prophet… (Surah Hujaraat (49): 2).
By my life the proximity of your father and Farooq amounted to harassment of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). The two of them did not maintain the respect of Allah’s Messenger (s.a..w.a.) as He had commanded them through the words of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). Whatever Allah has made unlawful for a believer in death He has also made unlawful for him in his life. I swear by Allah – O Ayesha, if the burial that you dislike taking place near his father – the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) – would have been permissible (even if forcefully) in our view and from Allah’s side, you would have learned that it would have taken place despite your opposition.
Then Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah spoke – O Ayesha, one day you ride a mule and the other day you rode a camel. You have no control over yourself. And you do not own the earth out of animosity against Bani Hashim
Ayesha faced him and said – O Ibn Hanafiyyah, these are the sons of Fatima (s.a.) who speak. Why are you speaking (for them)?
Imam Husain (a.s.) addressed her – To what extent do you want to distance Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) from the sons of Fatima (a.s.)? I swear by Allah that he has three Fatima in his lineage from the mother’s side. 1. Fatima Bint Imran Ibn A’iz Ibn Amr Ibn Makhzum 2. Fatima Binte Asad Ibn Hashim 3. Fatima Bint Za’idah Ibn Al-Asam Ibn Rawaha Ibn Hijr Ibn Ad Muis Ibn Amir.
Ayesha said – Move your son and take him away. You are a quarrelsome people.
Imam Husain (a.s.) went to the grave of his mother (s.a.) and then took the body of Imam Hasan (a.s.) out (of the Prophet’s s.a.w.a. shrine) and buried him in Baqi.
- Al-Kafi vol. 1 p. 302-303
Ahle Tasannun document the incident
The incident is well-documented in the books of the Ahle Tasannun and is by no means a Shiite innovation. In any case as we have seen, when a woman can come out for a full-fledged battle in violation of all Islamic laws and etiquette, then anything lesser than that should not invite any objection or astonishment.
Ayesha’s obstruction of Imam Hasan’s (a.s.) funeral and spewing venom against the sons of Fatima (s.a.) is well-documented in –
- Fath al-Baari fi Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 13 p. 308
- Tarikh al-Dimishq vol. 13 p. 289
- Ruh al-Maani vol. 7 p. 22
- Tazkerah al-Khawaas p. 213