A’ishah Bint Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (May Allah be Pleased with Her)
One of the first individuals to embrace Islam was Abu Bakr, the father of an intellectually gifted girl by the name of A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with them both). As with many notable historic figures, her outstanding qualities were recognized even from a very young age. A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with Her) was known for her genius, imagination and photographic memory.
Since she was born into Islam and raised in a Muslim household by a companion of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him), she was familiar with the many areas of Islam and the issues that faced the Ummah. Since she committed what she heard or saw to memory, she had a profound understanding of the troubles facing the Ummah, even at a young age. In her family home, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him) would often visit and discuss important issues with her father and it is A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who has narrated so many hadith through which later Muslims have an account of the happenings during the life and time of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him).
Her Title as ‘Mother of the Believers’
She eventually wed the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him) and earned a place in Islam as the “mother of the believers”. In fact, she was so knowledgeable that it was related by Abu Musa al-Ash’ari: “We companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him) were never presented with a problem to which A’ishah did not present a satisfactory solution” [Al-Tirmidih]. She was well known for her fair judgments and vast knowledge, not only in fiqh (jurisprudence) and Quran, but in other areas such as poetry, medicine, and history.
It doesn’t stop there either.
You may be familiar with Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (her father), Umar Ibn al-Khattab or Uthman ibn Affan (may Allah be pleased with them all). If so, you know that these three men were of the closest companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him) and men known for resolving issues of the Ummah. It is noted that these men often sought Aishah’s (may Allah be pleased with Her) consul on complicated matters. Since she was very close to the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him) she was able to clarify many conflicting opinions in his absence, hence, many of the ahadith narrated by her.
Paint a picture in your mind of an impressively intelligent individual and you may get the picture of a cold person, someone who is serious and arrogant with an abrasive manner. After all, everything in a rational light is devoid of emotion, right? This may be true in some cases, but absolutely not when speaking of an individual living in the presence of someone who embodied love and mercy, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon Him).
In fact, A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) was known for her tender emotions and sensitivity to the plight of others. Even as a teacher, her students thought of her as an approachable mentor. Whenever ahadith was narrated by Marwan (may Allah be pleased with Him) it was preceded with the following: “the truthful one, daughter of the truthful one, the beloved of the Beloved of Allah relayed to us.” This gives a sense of just how respected she was among her peers.
Not only was she intelligent, respected and loving, she was also very brave. She entered into matters of the battlefield when necessary. She did not hesitate to stand for what she believed, nor ask questions when she did not understand something.
3 Lessons for the 21st Century Muslim Woman
- Learn: While A’ishah, the ‘mother of the believers’ (may Allah be pleased with her), was truly blessed in terms of her memory and knowledge, we have the blessing of being in an age where knowledge is widely available for those who seek it; classes online, Islamic institutes, etc. It is a profound development in your sense of self when you learn something new. This is especially true when you learn something new of significance, you’ll feel different. As if the person with this new bit of knowledge is totally different than the person who did not have this information in their system only a few moments ago.
- Apply: Once you’ve learned something, apply it to your life. Apply your knowledge to improve your circumstance, improve the circumstances of someone you know – act. A’ishah had a wealth of knowledge, and such knowledge manifested itself through her righteous actions.“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” J. Von Goethe. Ask yourself, how have you actually applied what you know to your life? How much better people would we be if we actually applied all that we already know?
- Ask: Sometimes you may feel a bit silly for asking questions because you think it’s not important. However, as we’ve learned from the above, asking questions for clarification is important and can have a lasting impact. Unabashedly ask questions, no matter how small you think it is. If you can’t seem to find the answer from those around you, seek out trustworthy scholars, websites, books! Leverage the tools you have to make you understand.
So who is your favorite productive Muslimah(s), past or present? Share with us below!
Print Reference: Khan, Muhammad. The Muslim 100: The Lives, Thoughts and Achievements of the Most Influential Muslims in History. Kube Publishing, 2008, Print.
About the Author
Ahlam Yassin is a freelance writer in a constant tug of war with words. You can read more from her at www.prowriterinc.com, or reach Ahlam directly at prowriterinc[at]gmail[dot]com.