The Role of Aishah in the History of Islam (volume 1)
Ailment and Remedy
Intense fanaticism, blind following, undue respect shown to so-called pious individuals of the nation and lack of courage in investigating the life history, morals and mentality accompanied by a careful survey and discussion of all aspects of the period in which they lived, have been major factors for the Muslims' indigence, and the reason for the dispersion and retardation of the Islamic society.
Fourteen centuries of Islamic history have gone by, but not all the Muslims have heard of this history which is related to them, nor of the critical and important events which have been the main factor in the course of such a history for Islam. Various political factors, too, have had a significant role in Today all are cognizant of the fact that in every society and nation, employment of self-interest and influence, and promotion of personal motives through religion facilitate the attainment of a decisive result for this reason, alteration of facts, fabrication and propagation of false stories and non-factual matters and creation of false subjects are the factors which have been employed in every period and country in order to promote personal motives and political aims. In this way, the basis of differences and dispersion among the Muslims has been greatly, reinforced and those who have held position and power have spared no effort in employing all methods to intensify these differences in order to attain their political designs.
With the passage of years and centuries, and concentration of misinterpreted and altered subjects and stories in minds, their penetration into the beliefs and thoughts and their transfer from one generation to another have eventually led to such conditions which have been faced by nations for many centuries. Hence there has come about a history which has perplexed all sound minds, wondering how to have access to true facts in this regard.
This deviation from truth is not only in the history of Islam. Every nation and religion too has a similar history. But it is certain that truth does not perish, and however strong the means of deviation may be, it cannot generally be eliminated. But what is meanwhile important is the endeavor to discover and bring the truth out of thousands of false statements and announcing it decisively with acceptable arguments. What has been achieved by the lofty scholar Sayyid Murtada 'Askari in his famous book "Ahadith of 'Umm al- Mu'minin 'A'ishah" has shown a new way for seekers of truth. The author has written the present book which describes the facts and events of early Islam, by means of perusing many books of history and tradition about the validity of which all world Muslims are unanimous, and he has set forth clear and decisive arguments and evidence about which no doubt or ambiguity remains and he has left it all for the public to judge.
On the suggestion of the author, I translated the said book entitled "The Role of 'A'ishah in the History of Islam" when I was on an official mission to Baghdad. But its printing was postponed for some years; this delay, however, proved to be fortunate, since the present book secured some advantages over the original text in several ways, and after a recent meeting with the author in Tehran, the following points were agreed to:
1-It contains the accounts and introduction written by scholar Hamid Hafni Dawud in praise of the book, together with its translation. 2-The reason for the plurality of the Prophet's wives, described by the author, has been added to the present book.
3-A more detailed account has been given of the personalities who were dealt with briefly earlier in the notes.
4-A more detailed account has been given of the great men of learning who played a significant role in the course of Islamic history, and this account has been transferred from the notes to the main text.
5-The Quranic chapter "at-Tahrim" and the cause of its descent have been wholly included after the brief story of Mariyah.
In following up the admirable way adopted by the author, the translation into Persian has been carried out impartially and free from any prejudice and personal feelings, and without any alteration or expression of likes and dislikes. May this minor contribution succeed in revealing the true facts and causes of the course taken by the present history of Islam, and be acceptable to Unique God, and approved by men of learning and research.
Now that the first volume of this book is offered for the general public for judgment, it is hoped that men of enlightenment, knowledge and discernment will offer their views, criticisms and suggestions impartially and without taking side with any particular sect, and thus guide and help the writer to remove any deficiencies, which may exist now, in his effort to produce a faultless edition in future. In this way, they may render a worthy service to the world of Islam. In conclusion, I must express thanks to my learned friend Mr. Muhammad Husayn Mujahid for encouraging me to translate this book and for undertaking the labor of its collation.
A part of the introduction by Dr. Hamid Hafni Dawud
Professor of Arabic Literature at the Cairo University Language Faculty Facts
Ibn Mas'ud's method of guidance
"The truest of words is the Book of God, and the way of salvation is the one shown by our lord Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). The worst of deeds is innovation which causes deviation that ends with the fire of hell." Thus spoke 'Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud (May God be pleased with him) to his companion peers and to his pupils and followers, describing the signs of the ways of religion.
When he spoke of knowledge, he meant the highest goal, which has been sought by religious scholars and seekers of truth in discovering the truth alone and avoiding deviation and wrong words. He said: Attainment of truth is not possible except through two fundamental principles of the noble religion of Islam, namely the Book of God and the utterances of His prophet, the former being the highest and noblest truth ever uttered in the past and present, which cannot be excelled in future, and whose validity will never be diminished.
Why should it not be so? The reason is that it has descended from God Almighty, and mankind has confessed his own weakness and inability before the eloquence of its phrases and its brilliant truth. It is the most decisive evidence for the prophethood of Muhammad. Next are the utterances of an untaught and unlettered Prophet, an exalted personality through whom the heavenly Book has been communicated to the people all over the world; a person who has not offered anything on his own behalf, nor has he added anything on his own behalf, nor has he added anything of his own, nor given any instructions except for the inspirations received from the source of divine revelation.
His words rose from the heart, and they were nothing but heavenly inspirations sent to him by Great God. In the Qur'an God has praised him and spoken well of his character, and said:
"And most surely you conform yourself to sublime morality."1 Therefore what has come from these two valid sources must be a clear and 1.The Holy Qur'an, Chapter al-Qalam, Verse 4.
absolute truth into which doubt or ambiguity cannot find its way, whereas anything that has not been derived from those two sources is exposed to evaluation and criticism, and is subject to changes and modifications, and also to the estimation of its beauty and ugliness.
An alert and clear-sighted reader may have understood our purpose in quoting the words of that exalted companion of the Prophet who began his remarks with such wise phrases. In his description of the ways of religion and the sacred laws of Islam, he draws the attention of the listener directly to the Book of God and His prophet's tradition, and advises him to follow those two principles, namely a book about whose words, phrases, and apparent form and arrangement all are unanimous and have no differences, and a tradition and lifestyle which have been handed down by the Prophet to chaste and virtuous individuals namely men who had no intention of attributing any falsehood or misconduct to the Prophet of Islam.
Let us know the truth and its supporters
Another point that we deduce from that sincere and wise utterance is that these two sources are immune from any questioning and safe from any criticism and alteration, whereas everything else is subject to evaluation, and about which a verdict is issued with the aid of intellect and knowledge, and is subject to analysis and criticism, in order to distinguish the difference between jewels and shells, and right and wrong.
On this course, we have no fear in facing other sources and their authors even if they may possess a high rank in the Islamic society and dignity among the people and may be among the Prophet's companions. The reason is that our purpose is to seek truth and right, and also because the Prophet's companions have not all possessed the same level of justice, knowledge and accuracy in preserving the exact words and phrases of the Prophet of God, and like many other human beings they may have been subject to forgetfulness, error and blunder. Some of them have followed the path of truth in elaborating on the Prophet's tradition, while others may have erred in it. Some of them possessed a strong memory, while some others had been forgetful; a number may have been steadfast in faith, while others were fickle and perplexed; some were sincere devotees, while others were hypocrites!
The Qur'an itself confirms this point where it says: "And from among those who are round about you of the dwellers of the desert there are hypocrites, and from among the people of Medina also; they are stubborn in hypocrisy; you do not know them; We know them; We will chastise them twice, then shall they be turned back to a grievous chastisement."2
2.The Holy Qur'an, Chapter at-Tawbah, Verse 101.
With this state of affairs in early days of Islam, we cannot consider all the companions to be on an equal footing and regard all the standard-bearers of Islam as being wholly chaste; for, since the appearance of man on the earth and formation of society, he has always shown his various aspects including the highest degrees of integrity and justice as well as the lowest level of hypocrisy and hindrance. Historical evidence and statistics, gained from the study of various peoples and societies since the creation of Adam, confirm this view.
But the principle of change in religious communities and the manner of invitation towards the path of truth reached the height of perfection in the person of Muhammad and his friends, for, no other Prophet has brought such an exalted and steadfast law, and no friends of any other Prophet have equaled the friends of our Prophet in devotion to religion and immensity of number.
But the honor of companionship with the Prophet which have given a particular rank and dignity to his friends, have not checked some of them from causing derangement m his injunctions through self-interest and showing lack of devotion to his laws and commands. Consequently, there is no reason why we should exempt the leaders and pioneers of Islam from the general law of investigation and criticism solely owing to their companionship with the Prophet; for, they have not been of equal weight from the viewpoint of justice. For instance, despite intense insistence and desire of the Prophet for the guidance of all human beings towards the path to perfection, there were some individuals in whose heart Islam did not easily find its way, and also there were some who had hidden infidelity and hypocrisy behind the mask of Islam.
The Qur'an clearly describes the lofty ideas of the Prophet and his deep and sincere interest in guiding people on to the path of truth, and it has, on several occasions, spoken of his attitude and sacred ideals. It says at one place: "Therefore do remind, for, you are only a reminder. You are not a watcher over them."3
And elsewhere it says:
"Surely you cannot guide whom you love but Allah guides whom He pleases."4 And at another place it says:
"Therefore do remind, surely reminding does profit."5 There are also many such verses in the Qur'an which confirm the insistence of this great reformer of mankind, and his deep desire to guide all people, and especially his sympathy and kindness upon the order of God, towards those persons who are still wayward and have not had the privilege of finding the true path, having been separated from the followers of the divine path.
3.The Holy Qur'an, Chapter al-Ghashiyah, Verse 21-22.
4.The Holy Qur'an, Chapter al-Qasas, Verse 56.
5.The Holy Qur'an, Chapter al-A'la, Verse 9.