The opponents are quick to raise objections against Shias and quicker still to attack Aal Muhammad (عليهم السلام).
One of their objections against the infallibles is:
Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) stepped out of her house to secure Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (عليه السلام) without permission of her husband and this is just like Ayesha coming out in Jamal.
If Ayesha was wrong in coming out without permission, then Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) was also in the wrong (God Forbid).
1. Securing the Imam vs Fighting the Imam
2. Ayesha cannot be compared to Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.)
3. Wives are prohibited from coming out of the house
4. Challenging the Imam of the time in battle
5. Journey in disobedience of Allah
6. Perfect obedience of husband
Back to Top 1. Securing the Imam vs Fighting the Imam
Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) stepped out of the house to secure her Imam and husband from oppressors.
Ayesha came out in open confrontation to fight and possibly kill the Imam and unanimously elected caliph.
We fail to see how the two instances are even remotely comparable!
Back to Top 2. Ayesha cannot be compared to Lady Fatima (s.a.)
The two personalities cannot be compared for the simple reason that there is divine text (nass) for Lady Fatima Zahra’s (سلام اللّه عليها) purity and infallibility in Verse of Purification (Tatheer) that even Ahle Tasannun scholars like Muslim Nishapuri have documented, while there is nothing in favour of Ayesha’s infallibility and purity.
Also, there is consensus among scholars that Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) is the chief of women of paradise while there is nothing to that effect for Ayesha.
This much is enough to conclude in favour of Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها). Given her infallible status and standing as chief of all women, Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) broke no law or moral code in this matter or any other matter, while the same assurance does not exist for Ayesha.
Back to Top3. Wives are prohibited from coming out of the house
There is consensus among scholars of both sects based on the Quranic verse that the wives were ordered to stay confined to their houses.
‘And stay in your houses and do not display your finery like the displaying of the ignorance of yore…’
- Surah Ahzab (33:33)
Ayesha was duty-bound like other wives (e.g. Umme Salma (r.a.)) to remain confined to her house. By venturing out of the house she has violated a clear Quranic injunction.
Those who maintain that this command was restricted to the lifetime of the Prophet (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم) are unable to furnish proof from the Quran or the Sunnah to support their claims.
Such a prohibition for stepping out of the house did not bind Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها), so comparing her with Ayesha in this context is meaningless.
Back to Top 4. Challenging the Imam of the time in battle
It is inconceivable how the skeptics find any similarity between Lady Fatima Zahra’s (سلام اللّه عليها) flawless existence and Ayesha fallible nature.
It was obligatory on Ayesha to obey Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (عليه السلام) under all circumstances.
The Ahe Tasannun scholars advance Surah Nisa (4): Verse 59 as evidence:
‘O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you…’
Muslim scholars are unanimous that according to this verse complete obedience to leaders (those in authority) is necessary. In fact, some like Imam Nawawi in his commentary on Sahih Muslim go as far as to say – ‘We do not believe in revolt against our leaders and rulers even though they may commit injustice.’
The Ahle Tasannun cite other traditions in this regard:
- The Holy Prophet (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم) informed: Whoever obeys me obeys Allah; whoever obeys the ruler obeys me; and whoever disobeys the ruler, disobeys me. (Sahih-e-Bukhari)
- Ibn Abbas narrated on the authority of the Noble Prophet (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم) – Whomsoever finds something in his ruler that he disapproves of, he should bear it patiently, for one who moves a span’s length from the jama’aat (Muslim society) and dies, dies the death of paganism. (Sahih-e-Bukhari)
- In another narration the words used are, “he has removed the nook of Islam from his neck” (Musnad-e-Ahmad), meaning he has discarded his allegiance of Islam.
Leave alone disobeying the caliph of the time, simply raising the head before the Imam of the congregational prayer is a form of revolt and the culprit is likened to a donkey according to the Sunnah.
This much is sufficient to underline the status of the rebels of Jamal. We do not wish to get into the number of Muslims (upwards of 30,000) who lost their lives because of the battle. All because of one person’s personal vendetta against Ali Ibn Abi Talib (عليه السلام).
After all this, their comparison of Ayesha to Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) can only be described as shocking.
Back to Top 5. Journey in disobedience of Allah
Clearly, if one, particularly the wife of the Prophet (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم), is stepping out of the house in violation of a clear Quranic verse, it is disobedience of Allah.
And if this movement is against the unanimously elected caliph of the time (who is first and foremost the successor and the brother of the Prophet (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم)), then this disobedience intensifies manifold.
It is for this reason that Shawkani, a leading authority for the Ahle Tasannun and modern Salafis, records:
‘Ayesha thereupon, used to perform her prayers in full when she marched to Basra to fight Ali (عليه السلام) because to shorten the prayers, in her view, was done when one travels in obedience to Allah’s commandments (and not in disobedience).
- Nayl al-Awtaar v 3 p 179 in the chapter dealing with a traveller’s prayers in a section about one who passes through a country and marries someone there
Do scholars claim, like they do for Ayesha, that Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) stepped out of the house in disobedience of Allah?
Does Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) herself admit, like Ayesha has admitted, that her stepping out of the house amounted to disobedience of Allah?
Back to Top 6. Perfect obedience of husband
The skeptics allege that Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) stepped out of the house without her husband’s consent, and this makes her no different from Ayesha.
Where Lady Fatima Zahra’s (سلام اللّه عليها) obedience to her husband is concerned, suffice it to say that the Holy Quran defends her on this count as well.
مَرَجَ الْبَحْرَيْنِ يَلْتَقِيانِ بَيْنَهُما بَرْزَخٌ لا يَبْغِيانِ
‘He has made the two seas to flow freely (so that) they meet each other. Between them is a barrier which they cannot pass.’ (Surah Rahman (55): 19-20)
Traditions record that Ali (عليه السلام) and Fatima (سلام اللّه عليها) are the two seas. Ali (عليه السلام) does not transgress Fatima (سلام اللّه عليها) and Fatima (سلام اللّه عليها) does not transgress Ali (عليه السلام).
This interpretation (tafseer) is recorded by scholars of both sects as evident from this list:
- Taaweel al-Aayaat p 614-615
- Tafseer al-Qummi v 2 p 344
- Tafseer al-Furaat p 459
- Tafseer al-Burhan v 5 p 233-235
- Al-Manaqib of Ibn Shahr Ashob v 3 p 318-320
- Al-Umdah p 399
- Al-Khesaal v 1 p 65
- Kashf al-Ghummah v 1 p 323
- Kashf al-Yaqeen p 400
Ahle Tasannun with variation
- Tazkerah al-Khawaas p 212
- Al-Durr al-Manthoor v 6 p 142
- Tafseer al-Thalabi under Surah Rahman (55): 19-20
- Manaqib Ali (a.s.) of Ibn Mardawayh
- Tarikh Baghdad v 3 p 433
- Tarikh Naysaboor p 574
- Al-Tahzeeb v 5 p 49
- Tazkerah al-Huffaz v 2 p 59
- Ghayah al-Nihayah v 1 p 547
- Shawahid al-Tanzeel v 2 p 284
- Al-Manaaqib of Ibn Maghazali p 339
Clearly even the disobedience angle does not work against Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) given the impeccably harmonious relationship she and her husband Ali Ibn Abi Talib (عليه السلام) shared with each other as denoted in the Holy Quran.
As far as Ayesha’s relationship with the Holy Prophet (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم) is concerned, readers can refer various books including the Sihaah for interesting details on the subject.
Hence to compare Lady Fatima Zahra (سلام اللّه عليها) with Ayesha on any ground, be it coming out of the house or obedience to her husband, will backfire very badly and end in further humiliation for the wife of the Prophet (صلّى اللّه عليه و آله و سلّم).