Her Generosity and Simple Lifestyle
Aisha endured poverty and hunger with the Prophet SAW. It is authentically related that months went by without the fire in the hearth being lit, i.e. without any food being cooked, during which time they simply survived on dates and water.
Once the Prophet SAW stayed away from his wives for a month because they had distressed him by asking of him that which he did not have. This was after the Khaybar expedition when an increase of riches whetted the appetite for presents. Returning from his self-imposed retreat, he went first to Aisha's apartment. She was delighted to see him but he said he had received revelation which required him to put two options before her. He then recited the verses:
O Prophet, say to your wives: 'If you desire the life of this world and its adornments, then come, and I will make you content, and I will release you with a fair release. But if you desire Allah and His Messenger and the abode of the next world, then truly Allah has prepared an immense reward for those of you who do good.' (Qur’an 33:28-29)
Her reply was: "Indeed I desire God and His Messenger and the abode of the Hereafter," and her response was followed by all the other wives.
Once, when the Muslims were favoured with great wealth, she has given a gift of one hundred thousand Dirhams. She was fasting when she received the money, and distributed it to the poor and needy, even though she had no provisions in her house. Shortly after that, her maid servant said to her, "Couldn't you have brought a dirham's worth of meat with which to break your fast?" "If I had thought of it," she replied, "I would have done so!"
She developed the nickname the Mother of Fragrance, for every time a beggar knocked on her door, she would touch the money with perfume before giving it to him. When asked why, she explained that the charity would reach Allah before it reached the beggar's hands, and she wanted the charity to be given to Allah in a fragrant condition.
In another report, a needy person knocked on the door. She only had one grape, and gave it to him. When asked what the value of a single grape was as a donation, she quoted the following verses from the Qur'an:
"So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it, And whoever does an atom's weight of evil will see it." (Qur'an 99:7 – 99:8)
She rationalised – how many atoms are there in a grape?
How many of us are of such a status, where our vigilance, thinking and even the smallest action is completely for the pleasing of Allah, and reflected by the Qur'an and teaching of the Prophet SAW.
The death of Muhammad SAW and after
While the Prophet SAW was fair in the treatment of his wives and loved all of them, Allah is the owner of the hearts, and his heart was inclined towards loving Aisha the most.
There are many accounts which indicate that Aisha was the favourite wife of the Prophet SAW after Khadija. The Companions noticed this and reserved their presents to the Prophet SAW when it was his turn with her. Naturally this inspired some jealousy amongst the other wives, however, Aisha was gracious and never belittled them, nor did she view them as her rivals. The only wife that she was truly jealous of was Khadija, the Prophet SAW's first wife, who had passed away before she was married to him.
Aisha said: "The Prophet's SAW wives sent Fatimah, the Prophet's SAW daughter to him. She asked permission to enter while he was lying down with me in my woollen blanket. He permitted her to enter and she said: `O' Messenger of Allah, your wives sent me to you demanding for fairness concerning (your treatment of) the daughter of Ibn Abu Quhaafah (meaning Aisha, daughter of Abu Bakr).' And I was there (listening but) silent. The Messenger of Allah SAW told her, `O' daughter, don't you love whatever I love?' She said: `Yes.' He then said: `Then you should love this (lady)."'
Hence, it was fitting that Allah chose for the Prophet SAW breathed his last when in her house. Narrated Aisha: During his sickness, Allah's Apostle SAW was asking repeatedly, "Where am I today? Where will I be tomorrow?" And I was waiting for the day of my turn (impatiently). Then, when my turn came, Allah took his soul away (in my lap) between my chest and arms and he was buried in my house. [Bukhari]
The room in which he died is the only room of his wives which is preserved up to today. Two years later, his Companion, Abu Bakr, Aisha's father, was buried beside him. Later, as Umar Al Khattab was in his death throes, he appealed to Aisha to be buried next to Muhammad SAW. Aisha had actually reserved that space for herself, for she wished to be buried next to her husband. However, the love of the Prophet SAW bore for Umar caused her to honour Umar by sacrificing her beloved burial ground. Such was her generosity and nobility.
Her chaste nature was such that she used to say (before Umar was buried there): "It is only my husband and my father that are here." But after Umar was buried there, she said: "I do not longer enter the room but with my garment fastened because I was shy (of being in the presence) of `Umar."
After the death of Prophet Muhammad SAW, Aisha was readily involved in continuing his messages. She was present through the reigns of at least the first four Caliphs. She continued commitment to the memory of her husband and her firm belief about being reunited with him in the Paradise.
In the month of Ramadhan in the year 58 A.H. Aisha had her fatal illness and she said in her will:
"Do not follow my bier with a fire nor lay a red velvet piece."
She then surrendered her soul in the night of 17th of Ramadhan at the age of sixty six.
Aisha's life after the death of the Prophet SAW is evidence against the accusations of all the stereotypes of how Islam treats women and accusations of how women in Islam have no status. We can read the detail of all the stories of Aisha and realise the wisdom of Allah and His Messenger to have, for over forty years after the death of the Prophet SAW, the highest and most authentic level of knowledge from Aisha.
Look at the ultimate wisdom of Allah. Abu Bakr sacrificed his entire life in the path of Allah, and Allah granted him a beautiful gift which was to let his daughter be the most beloved wife of Rasulullah SAW after Khadija, and decorate his daughter Aisha with the charm, intelligence, integrity and memory, and make her the library of knowledge and source of wisdom for many generations to come. She carried the in depth legacy and knowledge of Rasulullah's SAW memory. One cannot open Islamic books about the Qur'an, the biography of Muhammad SAW or jurisprudence without finding Aisha's name mentioned in there. What a great honour for such a woman.
Aisha, Umm-Al-Mu'minin, even though she never had a single child, yet she is the Mother of Believers.
Ibn Kathir: Wives of the Prophet Muhammad SAW
Great Women of Islam - Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar
Women Around the Messenger – Muhammad Ali Qutub
Men and Women Around the Messenger – Sa'd Yusuf Abu Aziz
Hayat Us Sahabah - (English) - by Shaykh Muhammad Yusuf Kandhelvi (r.a)
Originally written by Muslim Footsteps admin for hadithoftheday.com