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Account of Ayesha and Hafasa

Hayat Al-Qulub Vol. 1,
By: Allamah Muhammad Baqir Al-Majlisi

The Almighty Allah says:

ۖ ۚ . ۚ ۖ
.
O Prophet! Why do you forbid (yourself) that which Allah has made lawful for you; you seek to please your wives; and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. Allah indeed has sanctioned for you the expiation of your oaths and Allah is your Protector, and He is the Knowing, the Wise.[541]
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that the above verses were revealed at the time when Ayesha and Hafasa came to know that the Prophet had had relations with Mariya.
And the Prophet swore to them that he will never again go to Mariya. So the Almighty Allah revealed the following verses so that he may pay the penalty for his oath and he must not give up his relations with Mariya. It is also narrated that these verses were revealed when one day the Holy Prophet (S) was at Hafasas place and Mariya the Copt was in his service.
During that time Hafasa went out on some errand and the Prophet had relations with Mariya. When Hafasa came to know about this, she was very angry and she said: O Messenger of Allah (S), you had relations with a slave girl on my bed, and on the day of my turn? The Prophet was embarrassed at this and he said, Cool down, I will not have relations with Mariya again. I have made her unlawful for myself. These verses were revealed at that time.
It is narrated from Shaykh Tabarsi that after the Morning Prayer the Prophet used to visit all his wives and ask about their well being. And if someone sent honey to Hafasa, he used to spend a few moments at her place to have some honey.
When Ayesha saw this, she conspired with some other wives that when the Prophet comes to them they must say that his mouth is smelling of maghafeer, which is a smelly gum on which if the honeybee sits, the honey becomes so smelly. And Ayesha knew that the Prophet disliked mouth odor. Thus when the Holy Prophet (S) went to Saudah, she said due to the fear of Ayesha, what smell was it that she could perceive from the mouth of the Prophet?
Perhaps he has eaten Maghafeer. The Prophet said: No, I have consumed honey at Hafasas. After that whenever the Prophet visited any of his wives they told him the same thing. Till he came to Ayesha. She closed her nose and said: Why do I smell Maghafeer from your mouth? the Holy Prophet (S) said that he had taken honey at Hafasas place. Ayesha said that perhaps that honeybee has sat on Maghafeer.
The Holy Prophet (S) said: By Allah, I will never taste honey again. Some say that the Prophet had taken honey at Umm Salmas and some say that he had taken it at Zainab binte Jahashs and Ayesha and Hafasa had conspired that when the Prophet comes to them both should issue the same statement that his mouth smells of Maghafeer. It was for this reason that the Holy Prophet (S) made honey unlawful for himself.
Shaykh Tabarsi and Sunni commentators have reported that one day the Messenger of Allah (S) was in Hafasas place and she asked the Prophet if she could visit her father. The Prophet allowed her and she departed. The Prophet called for Mariya and remained in privacy with her. Hafasa returned to find the door closed till the Prophet opened it. Perspiration was dripping from his face. Hafasa was extremely angry at the Prophet. the Holy Prophet (S) said: She is my slave girl and the Almighty Allah has made her lawful for me. But I have made her unlawful to me for your sake. However you dont mention this to anyone.
After that the Holy Prophet (S) went away from there. Immediately she began to beat with a stone the wall separating her quarter from that of Ayeshas and she said: Congratulations to you O Ayesha, the Holy Prophet (S) has made his slave girl, Mariya, unlawful from himself. It is good riddance for us. Then she narrated the whole story to Ayesha as the two of them were united in harassing the other wives of the Prophet. At that time, the following verses were revealed. So the Holy Prophet (S) divorced Hafasa and kept away from all his wives for 29 days.
He stayed in the attic of Mariya till the Almighty Allah revealed the verse of choice. Some have said that the Prophet had relations with Mariya on the day of Ayeshas turn and Hafasa had come to know about it. The Holy Prophet (S) had told Hafasa not to mention it to Ayesha as he has made Mariya unlawful for himself. But she immediately informed Ayesha and told her not to mention it to anyone. At that juncture, the Almighty Allah revealed the following verses:
ٰ ۖ ٰ ۖ

And when the prophet secretly communicated a piece of information to one of his wives- but when she informed (others) of it, and Allah made him to know it, he made known part of it and avoided part; so when he informed her of it, she said: Who informed you of this? He said: The Knowing, the Aware one, informed me.[542]
Ali bin Ibrahim and Ayyashi have narrated that when Hafasa came to know about Mariya and she became infuriated at the Prophet, he told her to drop the matter as he was making Mariya unlawful for himself for her sake. But he told her that she must keep this matter concealed otherwise the divine curse will be upon her and the anger of the angels and the ridicule of all people. Hafasa said that she will maintain the secret.
But what is the secret? The Prophet said: It is that Abu Bakr will become the Caliph after me through injustice and oppression and after him, your father will become the Caliph. Hafasa asked him, Who has told you this? The Holy Prophet (S) said that the Almighty Allah has informed me about it. Hafasa revealed this secret to Ayesha the same day and she mentioned it to her father, Abu Bakr.
Abu Bakr came to Umar and said that Ayesha has quoted Hafasa thus, but I dont trust her statement, you ask Hafasa directly if this is true. Umar came to Hafasa, Is it true what Ayesha has mentioned on your authority? Initially Hafasa denied having said any such thing to Ayesha. Umar said, Dont conceal this from us if it is true, so that we may plan about it beforehand.
Hafasa said, Yes, the Holy Prophet (S) had mentioned thus. Then the two men and their daughters plotted to poison the Prophet. Jibraeel came down with those verses. And the secret that the Almighty Allah had mentioned is the same secret. And apart from that the Almighty Allah had informed His Messenger about some other secrets. And they had decided to expose the secret and to eliminate the Prophet.
And the saying of the Almighty Allah that the Prophet had mentioned some things and left out some, means that His Eminence, asked Hafasa why she revealed the secret and did not fear the curse of Allah and His angels? And those who had planned to eliminate the Prophet and the Almighty Allah had informed the Prophet about this plot of theirs; so the Almighty Allah in order to punish Ayesha and Hafasa said:
ۖ ۖ ٰ . ٰ
.
If you both turn to Allah, then indeed your hearts are already inclined (to this); and if you back up each other against him, then surely Allah it is Who is his Guardian, and Jibraeel and the believers that do good, and the angels after that are the aiders. Maybe, his Lord, if he divorce you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, penitent, adorers, fasters, widows and virgins.[543]
After that the Almighty Allah in order to remove the doubt that ignorant people may not ask how is it possible that wives of the prophet can be infidels and hypocrites? The Almighty Allah has mentioned an example for them in which their disbelief was revealed for every sane person. As mentioned after these verses that:
ۖ

Allah sets forth an example to those who disbelieve the wife of Nuh and the wife of Lut: they were both under two of Our righteous servants, but they acted treacherously towards them so they availed them naught against Allah, and it was said: Enter both the fire with those who enter.[544]
Ali bin Ibrahim has narrated that one of their dishonesty was Ayeshas going to Basra with Talha and Zubair in order to fight Amirul Momineen (a.s.). And the Imam of the Time (a.s.) will enliven Ayesha by the permission of Allah and would issue a penalty for this dishonesty.[545]
Shaykh Tusi and Sayyid Ibn Tawus have narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that he said: One day I was with the Prophet when Abu Bakr and Umar were also present there. I also sat down between the Prophet and Ayesha. Ayesha said: Did you not get any place except for the lap of the Prophet and me?
The Holy Prophet (S) said: Shut up, Ayesha, dont hurt me about Ali, indeed in the hereafter he is my brother and chief of the believers. On Judgment Day, the Almighty Allah will make him sit on the Sirat Bridge and he will send his friends to Paradise and send his foes to Hell.
Ibn Babawayh has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) that three persons had attributed falsehood to the Prophet most: Abu Huraira, Anas bin Malik and Ayesha.
And Ibn Babawayh and Barqi have narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that when the Qaim of Aale Muhammad will reappear, he will enliven Ayesha and punish her and take the revenge for Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.). The narrator asked, May I be sacrificed on you, why would he punish her?
Imam (a.s.) said, She had made allegations against Mariya, the Copt also. The narrator asked why the Prophet had not punished her? And why did the Almighty Allah postpone this matter till the time of the Qaim. Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) replied, Because the Almighty Allah sent the Prophet as a mercy and appointed the Qaim Aale Muhammad for taking revenge.
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through reliable chains of narrators from Umm Salma that the Messenger of Allah (S) had taken all his wives for the Farewell Hajj and he used to live with each of them for a day and a night, because he was married to them and he wanted to be equitable among them.
When it was Ayeshas turn, the Prophet conferred secretly with Imam Ali (a.s.) for a long time, so this act of his was very hard for Ayesha. Umm Salma says that Ayesha told me: I feel like going to Ali and calling him cruel and lazy, why he has kept away the Messenger of Allah (S) from me? I tried all means to restrain her from this but she did not refrain. She rode her camel to him and returned soon to me crying. I asked her why she was weeping.
She said that when she went to the Messenger of Allah (S) and told Ali (a.s.): O son of Abi Talib, you always keep away the Holy Prophet (S) from me, but the Prophet said: O Ayesha, dont come between me and Ali; indeed no one is apprehensive about me with regard to him.
By the one in whose hands is my life, no believer hates him and no infidel loves him. Indeed, after me truth is with Ali, in whichever direction he turns, the truth will turn with him and truth will never separate from him till they both come to me at Hauz Kauthar. Umm Salma said: O Ayesha, I had stopped you from this, but you never paid any heed to me.
Ibn Tawus has narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) through reliable chains of narrators that he said: Before the revelation of the verse of Hijab, once I went to the Prophet when he was seated in Ayeshas room. I sat down between Ayesha and the Prophet. She said, O son of Abu Talib, did you not get any seat except my lap? Go away from here. The Prophet immediately slapped her back and said, Woe be on you, what do you want from the King of believers and one who is more superior to successors of prophets and one with an illuminated face and limbs?
Kulaini has narrated through reliable chains of narrators that Ibn Umm Maktum, who was a blind Muezzin of the Prophet came to the Prophet one day. Ayesha and Hafasa was with the Prophet. The Prophet told them to go inside. They said, But he is blind. The Prophet said, Even though he cannot see you, you can see him. According to another report he said, Even though he is blind, you are not.
Through reliable chains of narrators it is narrated from Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) that the Messenger of Allah (S) married Ayesha in the month of Shawwal. Also through reliable chains of narrators it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that one night the Holy Prophet (S) was sleeping with Ayesha.
He arose during the night and began to pray the supererogatory prayers. When Ayesha awoke, she did not see the Prophet on his bed. She thought that he must have gone to his slave girl. So she arose in fury and began to search for the Prophet. Suddenly she placed her foot on the neck of the Prophet when he was weeping in Sajdah and imploring the Lord: My body and soul and all prostrate to You. And my heart has brought faith on You. I confess for all the bounties from You to me and I confess to all sins and I have done and oppressed my soul to forgive me.
Except for You no one can forgive this great sin. I seek refuge in Your forgiveness from Your chastisement. And I seek refuge in Your pleasure from Your anger. And I seek Your refuge in Your mercy from Your anger. And I seek Your refuge and I cannot reach Your praise and glorification. You are same as You have praised Yourself and I seek Your forgiveness and turn to You.
When the Prophet completed the Sajdah, he said, O Ayesha, you have hurt my neck. Did you think that I had gone to some slave girl of yours?[546]
Notes:
[541] Surah Tahrim 66:1-2
[542] Surah Tahrim 66:3
[543] Surah Tahrim 66:4-5
[544] Surah Tahrim 66:10
[545] The author says: The Almighty Allah has in these verses explained the infidelity and hypocrisy in these verses and their unity on conspiring to harass the Prophet in such a way that it is not concealed from any sane person. And due to the clarity of these verses their infidelity is obvious. Zamakhshari and Fakhre Razi in spite of extreme bias have said that the Almighty Allah has mentioned about the wife of Firon in this verses and the verse after this, it is a great indication about the two mothers of believers, who had united to harass the Prophet and their exposure of the secret they were supposed to maintain. The Almighty Allah has explained it in these examples that due to infidelity and hypocrisy, relationship of lineage or marriage ties does not give any advantage. If that relationship is even with the greatest creation, who are prophets and messengers and due to having faith, relationship with infidels does not create any harm even if that infidel was like Firon.
In the beginning of the Surah, the scolding that the Almighty Allah has mentioned to the Holy Prophet (S) is obviously extremely kind: That is, O my beloved, why do you, for the sake of those women, forsake the pleasures that the Almighty Allah has made lawful for you? And the Prophets forsaking of those pleasures, especially when there be some exigency, was not unlawful. And neither that act of the Prophet can be disobedience of Allah. And the scolding that appears in the verses is in fact applicable to the same wives. As for their sake why should he refrain from those pleasures? And their statement about the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar, if it is really a tradition there are many exigencies in it, in which there is trial for them and an expression of their infidelity and hypocrisy. And there are many exigencies, which cannot be understood by the people, for example the purpose behind the creation of Satan, presence of desires in human psychology and their control on evil actions. And the believer, must in all matters, remain steadfast on faith and he should not leave any scope for doubts on himself and must not be caught in the instigations of Satan, and he must not deny whatever he obtains from the Imams of religion and he should leave the knowledge of those things to the Imams.
[546] The author says: Many examples of Ayeshas cruelty and deviation will be mentioned in the account of the Battle of Jamal, if Allah wills.

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