Table of Contents:
- Muhammad 'outside' the house VS Muhammad 'inside' the house
- Muhammad was the one who caused the most pain to 'Aisha
- How did Muhammad know Allah would 'soon' reveal the verses of innocence of 'Aisha after one month?
- Quranic order to lash the eyewitnesses if their number is less than 4 (even if they are telling the truth)
- The Quranic claim that Pure Men have only the pure Women
- The Role of so-called 'Islamic Modesty' in the incident of Ifk
- Why did Muhammad use to take his wives during the battles?
During an expedition, the Muslim caravan accidentally left 'Aisha behind at the camp. Safwan, a companion of Muhammad, later found her in the camp and they spent the night there. The next day, Safwan brought 'Aisha back to Muhammad. However, rumors began to circulate, accusing 'Aisha and Safwan of committing adultery. This incident, known as the IFK, posed a danger to Muhammad and indirectly affected his claim of prophethood. Despite having multiple wives and slave women, Muhammad remained childless.
After almost a month, Muhammad made his first public appearance (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 4757). In this appearance, he declared the incident to be a "forged story" without any divine revelation. He argued that he had never witnessed any wrongdoing in the character of 'Aisha or Safwan prior to the incident.
Muhammad then commanded Muslims to kill 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai, who had used the incident to question Muhammad's prophethood. However, the people from 'Abdullah's tribe refused to obey Muhammad and defended him, nearly leading to a conflict between the two Muslim tribes. Thus, Muhammad failed in his attempt to eliminate 'Abdullah.
The question remains: If Muhammad already knew beforehand that there was nothing amiss in the characters of 'Aisha and Safwan, why did he delay for a month before declaring their innocence on this basis?
The rebellion of the Muslim tribe led by 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai further jeopardized Muhammad's position, as he began to lose influence over his followers as a prophet. In response, Muhammad, as he often did, claimed to receive new "revelations." Not only did he assert a revelation regarding 'Aisha's innocence, but he claimed a series of revelations that served his political purposes concerning this incident.
'Aisha (Sahih Bukhari, 4757) stated that two days after Muhammad's first public appearance, he approached her and claimed to have received a revelation, specifically Surah an-Nur. Now, let us examine this Surah an-Nur and how it conveniently aligned with Muhammad's political objectives (link):
[Verses 1-2] ... The woman and the man guilty of fornication, flog each one of them with a hundred stripes ...
[Verse 3] The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist,
(Our Comments: The purpose of this verse was to provide an "argument" for the innocence of 'Aisha, implying that since Muhammad himself is not involved in fornication or polytheism, he would not marry a woman who is a fornicator ('Aisha). However, this Quranic argument is flawed and illogical. It highlights the presence of human error in what is claimed to be a divine revelation.)
[Verse 4] As for those persons who charge chaste women with false accusations but do not produce four witnesses, flog them with eighty stripes and never accept their evidence afterwards, for they themselves are transgressors.
(Our Comments: 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai managed to evade Muhammad's plan to have him killed. However, Muhammad still desired to set an example and impose severe punishment on certain individuals. To achieve this, Muhammad introduced a completely new condition, unprecedented in prior cases. He decreed that if there are fewer than four witnesses, individuals would be subjected to 80 lashes, even if their testimony is truthful.)
[Verses 12-16] Why did not the faithful men and the faithful women when you heard it, think well of their own people (i.e. of 'Aisha and Safwan), and (immediately) said: "This (is) a lie clear?" Why did they [who slandered] not produce for it four witnesses? ... Why did you not, as soon as you heard of it, say, "It is not proper for us to utter such a thing? Glory be to Allah! This is a great slander."
(Our comments: It was not only 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai along with 3 more Sahaba, but almost all the companions were doubting 'Aisha and thus Muhammad's prophethood too. Thus, Muhammad used these verses in order to rebuke all of them, so that they stop doubting 'Aisha's character and Muhammad's claim of prophethood. But the issue is, inside the home, Muhammad was himself fully doubtful about 'Aisha, and he himself didn't immediately think well of 'Aisha, and he himself didn't say: "This is a lie clear". And he himself didn't ask for 4 witnesses, but he directly started consultation to divorce 'Aisha. It proves that Muhammad was himself doing exactly the opposite of what the Quran was saying. Or in more simple words, Muhammad declared the revelation of these verses in order to rebuke others, and he thought his own story (i.e. he was himself doubting 'Aisha) would perhaps not come to the light. But 'Aisha indeed told the inside story too, exposing Muhammad that he was no different than those Sahaba who were doubting 'Aisha's character)
[Verse 17-25] ...
(In these verses, the author of the Quran (i.e. Muhammad) issues a warning to all the companions who doubted 'Aisha and did not immediately believe in her innocence. He threatens them with severe punishment in both this world and the hereafter. However, he also mentions that Allah, in His mercy, intervened and prevented this punishment from being carried out. ) ...
[Verse 26] Impure women are for impure men and impure men for impure women, and pure women are for pure men and pure men for pure women. They are free from those scandals which the slanderers utter.
(Our Comments: Once more, the author of the Quran (Muhammad himself) employed this as an 'argument' to persuade people to believe in 'Aisha's innocence. However, this Quranic argument is fundamentally flawed and illogical)
Let us examine Muhammad's conduct outside the house during his first public appearance, which occurred approximately a month later:
Narrated Aisha: ... Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) got up and addressed the people. He recited Tashah-hud, and after glorifying and praising Allah as He deserved, he said, "To proceed: O people Give me your opinion regarding those people who made a 'forged story' against my wife. By Allah, I do not know anything bad about her. By Allah, they accused her of being with a man (i.e. Safwan) about whom I have never known anything bad, and he never entered my house unless I was present there, and whenever I went on a journey, he went with me."
Thus, in public:
- Muhammad vehemently refuted the slander as a "fabricated tale."
- When he declared, "By Allah, I do not know anything bad about her," he conveyed the impression that he had never doubted 'Aisha or Safwan from the outset.
However, Muhammad's fortune took a turn for the worse when 'Aisha revealed the complete opposite behavior of Muhammad during the incident that transpired "inside the house." It became evident that not only did Muhammad doubt 'Aisha from the beginning, but he continued to harbor doubts until the very end.
Narrated `Aisha: ... "After we returned to Medina, I became ill for a month. The people were propagating the forged statements of the slanderers while I was unaware of anything of all that, but I felt that in my present ailment, I was not receiving the same kindness from Allah's Messenger as I used to receive when I got sick. (But now) Allah's Messenger would only come, greet me and say,' How is that (lady)?' and leave. ... ('Aisha further said) When the Divine Inspiration was delayed, Allah's Messenger called `Ali bin Abi Talib and Usama bin Zaid to ask and consult them about divorcing me ... (Muhammad then also asked Barira, the maid-servant about 'Aisha's charater) and Barira said to him, 'By Him Who has sent you with the Truth. I have never seen anything in her (i.e. Aisha) which I would conceal, except that she is a young girl who sleeps leaving the dough of her family exposed so that the domestic goats come and eat it. ... ('Aisha further told that she went to her parents' house, while she was disturbed from those rumors and from Muhammad's behavior. Then after one month) Allah's Messenger came, greeted us and sat down. He had never sat with me since that day of the slander. A month had elapsed and no Divine Inspiration came to him about my case. Allah's Apostle then recited Tashah-hud and then said, 'Amma Badu, O `Aisha! I have been informed so-and so about you; if you are innocent, then soon Allah will reveal your innocence, and if you have committed a sin, then repent to Allah and ask Him for forgiveness for when a slave confesses his sins and asks Allah for forgiveness, Allah accepts his repentance.' ... ('Aisha further said) Then I said to my mother, 'Reply to Allah's Messenger on my behalf concerning what he has said.' She said, 'By Allah, I do not know what to say to Allah's Messenger .' In spite of the fact that I was a young girl and had a little knowledge of Qur'an, I said, 'By Allah, no doubt I know that you heard this (slanderous) speech so that it has been planted in your hearts (i.e. minds) and you have taken it as a truth. Now if I tell you that I am innocent, you will not believe me, and if confess to you about it, and Allah knows that I am innocent, you will surely believe me. By Allah, I find no similitude for me and you except that of Joseph's father when he said, '(For me) patience in the most fitting against that which you assert; it is Allah (Alone) Whose Help can be sought.' Then I turned to the other side and lay on my bed; ... ('Aisha further said after that immediately revelation started coming to Muhammad and he said to her) 'O `Aisha! Allah has declared your innocence!' Then my Mother said to me, 'Get up and go to him (i.e. Allah's Messenger). I replied, 'By Allah, I will not go to him, and I praise none but Allah.
Naturally, it was not in Muhammad's best interest to display his doubts about 'Aisha to the public. Common reasoning leads us to question the authenticity of someone claiming prophethood when they exhibit such double behaviors intentionally.
During his initial public appearance, Muhammad presented himself as if he had never doubted 'Aisha's character. However, he was deeply angered by those who continued to believe in the incident, which posed a threat to his claim of prophethood.
In order to admonish these individuals, Muhammad claimed the revelation of the following Quranic verses approximately one month later:
Why did the faithful men and women not think well of their people (i.e. 'Aisha and Safwan) when they heard this, and said: "This is a clear lie?" ... Why did you not say when you heard it: "It is not for us to speak of it? God preserve us, it is a great lie!"
In these verses, the Quran put these conditions of faithful men and women i.e.:
- immediately thinking good about 'Aisha and Safwan,
- and immediately denying it as an obvious falsehood
- and immediately considering it to be a great lie.
But the problem occurred when later, 'Aisha also told the story, which happened inside the house during that period, where:
- It was also Muhammad himself who neither immediately thought good about 'Aisha,
- nor Muhammad immediately denied it as an obvious falsehood,
- nor Muhammad completely rejected it immediately by saying it was a big lie.
However, 'Aisha provides a different perspective:
- Muhammad began to doubt 'Aisha.
- Muhammad's kindness towards 'Aisha diminished, even when she was ill. He would only greet her and then leave.
- Muhammad initiated investigations into 'Aisha's character, seeking information from Ali, Zayd (the adopted son), and Barira (the maid-servant) within his home.
- He consulted them about the possibility of divorcing 'Aisha.
- Even after one month, Muhammad continued to doubt 'Aisha, asking her to confess and repent if she had committed a sin.
- 'Aisha expressed deep disappointment with Muhammad's behavior, to the extent that she refused to engage in direct conversation with him.
- She also refused to testify her innocence to Muhammad, believing that he had already been influenced by planted slander and would not accept her testimony.
- 'Aisha further explained that if she were to falsely confess to a sin, Muhammad would readily believe it.
- 'Aisha turned her face away from Muhammad and laid on the other side of the bed.
- Despite Muhammad claiming divine revelation that proved 'Aisha's innocence, she remained upset with his behavior. When her mother asked her to accompany Muhammad, 'Aisha refused to go with him.
From a logical perspective, it becomes apparent that Muhammad used the revelation to reprimand others for the very actions he himself had committed. In reality, Muhammad's behavior inflicted the greatest pain on 'Aisha, surpassing the actions of any other individual.
For the entire month, there was no revelation affirming 'Aisha's innocence. However, Muhammad visited 'Aisha at her parent's house and assured her that Allah would soon reveal the verses regarding her innocence. Astonishingly, merely a minute later, Muhammad claimed that the revelation had arrived, absolving 'Aisha of all accusations.
Allah's Messenger came, greeted us and sat down. He had never sat with me since that day of the slander. A month had elapsed and no Divine Inspiration came to him about my case. Allah's Apostle then recited Tashah-hud and then said, 'Amma Badu, O `Aisha! I have been informed so and so about you; if you are innocent, then soon Allah will reveal your innocence, and if you have committed a sin, then repent to Allah and ask Him for forgiveness for when a slave confesses his sins and asks Allah for forgiveness, Allah accepts his repentance ... (Aisha said) 'By Allah, no doubt I know that you heard this (slanderous) speech so that it has been planted in your hearts (i.e. minds) and you have taken it as a truth. Now if I tell you that I am innocent, you will not believe me, and if confess to you about it, and Allah knows that I am innocent, you will surely believe me ... Then I turned to the other side and lay on my bed ... But, by Allah, before Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) left his seat and before any of the household left, the Divine inspiration came to Allah's Messenger (about my innocence).
Therefore, Muhammad's ability to claim that a revelation would soon come for 'Aisha's innocence indicates that he had full control over the timing of revelations. It is quite remarkable that the revelation arrived instantly, right after Muhammad and 'Aisha concluded their conversation, just as Muhammad had predicted.
This serves as evidence that there is no divine entity, Allah, in the heavens, but rather Muhammad himself was the source of these revelations, creating them at will and on the spot.
Quranic order to lash the eyewitnesses if their number is less than 4 (even if they are telling the truth)
During the incident of Ifk, Muhammad asserted the revelation of verse 24 of Surah Nur. This verse introduced a completely novel condition that had no prior or subsequent precedent in the world. It mandated that if the number of witnesses is less than 4, all of them should be subjected to 80 lashes, even if their testimony is truthful.
And those who accuse chaste women and then do not produce four witnesses - lash them with eighty lashes and do not accept from them testimony ever after.
The primary motive behind the revelation of this order by the writer of the Quran (Muhammad) can be attributed to the following factors:
- Muhammad aimed to establish 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai as a deterrent example for those who doubted 'Aisha's innocence and, by extension, Muhammad's prophethood. His plan to eliminate 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai as a punishment fell through when he managed to evade it.
- Additionally, Muhammad faced a significant challenge when the Muslim tribe led by 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai openly defied his authority as a prophet, fueling tensions that could potentially escalate into conflict. This situation posed a threat to Muhammad's influence over his followers, thereby necessitating a decisive action to regain control.
- Consequently, even if 'Abdullah Ibn Ubai managed to escape punishment, Muhammad still sought to administer severe penalties to someone else as a means of setting an example for all those who harbored doubts about his prophethood.
... Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) got up on the pulpit and complained about `Abdullah bin Ubai (bin Salul) before his companions, saying, 'O you Muslims! Who will relieve me from that man who has hurt me with his evil statement about my family? By Allah, I know nothing except good about my family and they have blamed a man about whom I know nothing except good and he used never to enter my home except with me.' Sa`d bin Mu`adh the brother of Banu `Abd Al-Ashhal got up and said, 'O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! I will relieve you from him; if he is from the tribe of Al-Aus, then I will chop his head off, and if he is from our brothers, i.e. Al-Khazraj, then order us, and we will fulfill your order.' On that, a man from Al-Khazraj got up. Um Hassan, his cousin, was from his branch tribe, and he was Sa`d bin Ubada, chief of Al-Khazraj. Before this incident, he was a pious man, but his love for his tribe goaded him into saying to Sa`d (bin Mu`adh). 'By Allah, you have told a lie; you shall not and cannot kill him. If he belonged to your people, you would not wish him to be killed.' On that, Usaid bin Hudair who was the cousin of Sa`d (bin Mu`adh) got up and said to Sa`d bin 'Ubada, 'By Allah! You are a liar! We will surely kill him, and you are a hypocrite arguing on the behalf of hypocrites.' On this, the two tribes of Al-Aus and Al Khazraj got so much excited that they were about to fight while Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) was standing on the pulpit. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) kept on quietening them till they became silent and so did he.
Human logic dictates that the Islamic ruling of lashing witnesses, even if they are telling the truth, goes against rationality. This illogical directive raises doubts about the divine origin of the revelations and suggests that Muhammad himself may have been fabricating them to suit his political agenda. Such evidence of "human error" undermines the credibility of the revelation.
In fact, many modern Muslim countries have recognized the absurdity of this Quranic ruling and have chosen to abandon it. Today, witnesses in cases of adultery are not subjected to the punishment of 80 lashes, even if their numbers are less than four. This pragmatic approach reflects a departure from the rigid application of an outdated and unreasonable directive.
The Quranic assertion that pure men have only pure women is presented as an argument supporting 'Aisha's innocence, as she was married to a pure man, Muhammad, according to the revelation in Surah Nur.
The fornicator does not marry except a [female] fornicator or polytheist, and none marries her except a fornicator or a polytheist, and that has been made unlawful to the believers ۔۔۔ Women impure are for men impure, and men impure for women impure and women of purity are for men of purity, and men of purity are for women of purity: these are not affected by what people say: for them there is forgiveness, and a provision honorable.
Ibn Kathir wrote in his Tafsir under verse 26 of Surah Nur:
"Evil women are for evil men and evil men are for evil women, and good women are for good men and good men are for good women. This also necessarily refers back to what they said, i.e., Allah would not have made `A'ishah the wife of His Messenger unless she had been good, because he is the best of the best of mankind. If she had been evil, she would not have been a suitable partner either according to His Laws or His decree.
Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Surah Nur 24:26
However, the Qur'an itself provides examples that challenge the claim that pure men only have pure women. The story of Lut's wife, who was not pure-hearted despite Lut being a pure man, and the example of Pharaoh's wife, who was considered pure while Pharaoh himself was not, contradict this argument. Additionally, the wife of Noah is also mentioned as not being pure. These examples reveal the flaws in the argument put forth by the Qur'an and Muhammad, indicating the human nature of the revelation and raising doubts about the existence of Allah and the authenticity of Muhammad's claims of being a prophet.
The idea of the so-called 'Islamic Modesty' plays a negative role in this incident too:
Narrated `Aisha: ... I was carried (on the back of a camel) in my howdah and carried down while still in it (when we came to a halt). So we went on till Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) had finished from that Ghazwa of his and returned. When we approached the city of Medina he announced at night that it was time for departure. So when they announced the news of departure, I got up and went away from the army camps, and after finishing from the call of nature, I came back to my riding animal. I touched my chest to find that my necklace which was made of Zifar beads (i.e. Yemenite beads partly black and partly white) was missing. So I returned to look for my necklace and my search for it detained me. (In the meanwhile) the people who used to carry me on my camel, came and took my howdah and put it on the back of my camel on which I used to ride, as they considered that I was in it...They made the camel rise and all of them left (along with it). I found my necklace after the army had gone.
The concept of hijab in Islam requires the complete separation of women from unrelated men in society. Even conversations and interactions between men and women are considered inappropriate and contrary to Islamic modesty.
As a result, during this journey, Aisha was concealed from the view of men behind the curtains of her howdah. Since men and women were not even allowed to greet each other, the men who lifted her howdah couldn't confirm her presence by simply saying hello.
The consequences of these circumstances were severe. Aisha spent the entire month in tears and pain, despite her innocence. Even Muhammad, who harbored no kindness towards her, allowed this slander to affect him, further exacerbating the situation. This division among Muslims led to a dangerous conflict between the two factions.
Furthermore, Imposing such restrictions in the name of Islamic modesty goes against human nature. These unnatural limitations instill paranoia and skepticism within society, resulting in a disturbed state of mind. Muslims struggle to comprehend why companions like Hassan bin Thabit and Mistah slandered Aisha. However, it seems that these unnatural restrictions have made members of Islamic society so paranoid that they start believing in things that are not actually true. (Note: Muslims still hold high regard for these two companions by using "Radhi Allahu 'Anhu" when referring to them).
Even today, thousands of honor killings occur in Islamic societies, based solely on suspicions and paranoia.
The root cause of this month-long ordeal was the restriction on interaction between men and women in the name of Islamic modesty.
Also, see this lack of interaction between them when Safwan found 'Asiha.
Narrated 'Aisha: ... While I was sitting in my resting place, I was overwhelmed by sleep and slept. Safwan bin Al-Muattal As-Sulami Adh-Dhakwani was behind the army. When he reached my place in the morning, he saw the figure of a sleeping person and he recognized me on seeing me as he had seen me before the order of compulsory veiling (was prescribed). So I woke up when he recited Istirja' (i.e. "Inna li l-lahi wa inna llaihi raji'un") as soon as he recognized me, I veiled my face with my head cover at once, and by Allah, we did not speak a single word, and I did not hear him saying any word besides his Istirja'. He dismounted from his camel and made it kneel down, putting his leg on its front legs and then I got up and rode on it. Then he set out leading the camel that was carrying me till we overtook the army in the extreme heat of midday
- How could Islam be considered a 'religion of nature' when it has made it so difficult that even in emergencies, men and women don't even exchange a single word?
- What could have happened if they had greeted each other, and Safwan had asked her about the problem in detail (and perhaps helped her in finding her necklace), why she was alone there, and if she needed some other kind of help too in that situation?
Even in present times, Muslim women and girls face difficulty in seeking assistance without hesitation in various fields, whether it be from male doctors, male teachers, or others. The imposition of these unnatural restrictions drains a significant amount of energy from society, rendering half of the Islamic society, namely women, practically useless and unable to contribute to productivity.
During the pre-Islamic era known as Jahiliyyah in Arabia, kings ruled like dictators. They forbade their common soldiers from bringing their wives along on journeys, yet they themselves indulged in the company of their own wives, despite the added burden it placed on their armies.
Muhammad, too, followed the practices of these dictatorial kings. The incident of Ifk took place when Muhammad took 'Aisha with him on a particular journey.
In the same Hadith regarding the incident of Ifk, 'Aisha narrated:
Whenever Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) intended to go on a journey, he used to draw lots amongst his wives, and Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to take with him the one on whom lot fell. He drew lots amongst us during one of the Ghazwat (in which the incident of Ifk happened) which he fought. The lot fell on me and so I proceeded with Allah's Messenger (ﷺ).