The Role of Aishah in the History of Islam (volume 1)

Part Two : 'a'ishah During Caliphates of Abu Bakr and 'umar the Two Sheikhs (elders)

1-Abu Bakr, nicknamed as-Siddiq and al-'Atiq (truthful and liberated), was called 'Abd Allah son of Abu Quhafah 'Uthman of the Taym al-Qurayshi tribe and his mother was Umm al-Khayr nicknamed Salma or Layla, daughter of 'Amir, from the Taym al-Qurayshi tribe. Abu Bakr was born in Mecca two or three years after the event of 'Am al- Fil, and he belonged to the group of people who embraced Islam after Khadijah, 'Ali, Zayd and Ja'far.

He accompanied the Prophet in his emigration from Mecca to Medina and participated in the battle of Badr and subsequent battles. After the passing away of the Prophet and before his burial, by means of a simple coup d'etat, he seized the rein of affairs by his presence in the as-Saqifah of Banu Sa'idah and with the aid of his old friend 'Umar. He died on 22nd of Jumada ath-Thani (Jumada II), 13th year after Hijrah and was buried near the Prophet. He lived for 63 years, and acted as caliph for two years, three months and 10 to 26 days.

2-Abu Hafs al-Faruq 'Umar, son of al-Khattab, was grandson of Nufayl, from 'Adi al-Qurayshi tribe. His mother was Hantamah, the adopted daughter of Hisham or Hashim; from Banu Makhzum tribe. He embraced Islam after fifty people did so, and after some time he emigrated from Mecca to Medina, and took part in the battle of Badr and subsequent battles.

Abu Bakr, while on his deathbed, chose 'Umar as his successor, and it was during the latter's caliphate that the Muslims' victories were won outside the Arabian Peninsula. At the age94 of 55 or according to other accounts, at 63 he died of a wound caused by Abu Lu'lu'ah, slave of al-Mughayrah ibn Shu'bah on 26 Dhu al- Hijjah of 23rd year after Hijrah, and was buried on 1st Muharram 24 AH near Abu Bakr's tomb. He was caliph for ten years, six months and five days. Both 'Umar and Abu Bakr, who were sincere friends since the early Islam, were called the Two Sheikhs of an equal rank.

  1. We are doubtful about the ages of these two individuals, since we do not think it remote that historians were particularly interested to give them the same age as the Prophet's.

The period of tranquility

Right to the end of the rule of Abu Bakr; 'Umar and 'Uthman and until she was alive, 'A'ishah was the only woman who issued verdicts. Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd

1-The sole lady mufti of Islam

'A'ishah's whole life, with the exception of the period of caliphate of her father Abu Bakr, and his sincere friend 'Umar, was spent in intense political conflicts and indefatigable party activities so that, by those means, the caliphate could be brought back to Taym house and her endeared relatives could assume high positions in the government.

But as already said, during the caliphate of the two Elders, Abu Bakr and 'Umar, she was very pleased since her party had dominated other known parties of Medina, held the rein of the country's affairs, and she enjoyed peace of mind especially because her position was firmly established owing to the particular attention and excessive respect shown to her by the caliph himself and other authorities. Thus, the Muslims and world people turned their attention to her, and were more drawn towards her than to other wives of the Prophet, to the extent that till now her rank and position have seemed more conspicuous than other companions and wives of the Messenger of God.

The Prophet died while nine of his ladies were still alive. But history does not mention that any of them has won as much attention and respect from Abu Bakr and 'Umar, or has been consulted so much for her view and verdict. Our evidence is attested by the statement of Ibn Sa'd in his Tabaqat quoted from al- Qasim son of Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr. He writes: During the rule of Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman, 'A'ishah was the only lady who issued verdicts right; to the end of her life.95

Elsewhere in the same book he writes quoting Mahmud ibn Lubayd: " 'A'ishah issued verdicts to the end of her life during the caliphate of 'Umar and 'Uthman and gave orders. 'Umar and, after him, 'Uthman and other companions of the Prophet referred to her, inquired about the Prophet' traditions and ways, and received instructions."

Moreover, when 'Umar arranged a monthly pension for each of the Prophet's wives, he gave a higher sum to 'A'ishah. This point is mentioned as follows by Ibn Sa'd in his Tabaqat quoting Mus'ab ibn Sa'd: " 'Umar arranged a monthly pension of ten thousand for each of the Prophet's wives but he gave priority to 'A'ishah and set twelve thousand for her, his reason being that the Prophet had greater affection for her."96

  1. Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd 8/375.

  2. Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd 8/67, al-Ijabah 71 and 75, Kanz 7/116, selections of Kanz 5/118, al-Isabah 4/349, at- Tabari 4/161, Ibn Kathir 2/247, al-Mustadrak 4/8, description of Nahj al-balaghah 3/154, al-Baladhuri 454-455

2-'A'ishah goes on Hajj pilgrimage

'Umar, the ruler of the time, gave priority to her, referred to her for verdicts and information about the Prophet's traditions, and showed great respect to her in public, and higher dignity to her position, and fixed a higher share of salary for her than for other wives of the Prophet. Nevertheless he prevented her and other ladies of the Prophet from leaving Medina even for a pilgrimage to Mecca. His policy was, not to allow some particular figures and higher companions of the Prophet to leave Medina at all. So when az-Zubayr asked permission to take part in the war, 'Umar said97: "No! I cannot agree; for, I fear that the Prophet's friends might mix up with the people and cause their deviation."98

But at the end of his life, 'Umar changed his mind about preventing the exit of the Prophet's ladies from Medina. Ibn Sa'd's Tabaqat describes this matter as follows: " 'Umar ibn al-Khattab checked the Prophet's wives from leaving Medina even on a pilgrimage. But in the 23rd year after Hijrah when he undertook his last Hajj pilgrimage (since it was in the same year that he died after his return from the pilgrimage) all the Prophet's wives except Zaynab and Sudah asked 'Umar's permission to leave Medina for Hajj pilgrimage.

After the Prophet's death, Zaynab and Sudah never left their house or Medina even for Hajj pilgrimage, and said: "After his departure no camel will serve as our carrier," meaning that they would never travel again.99 Sudah said: "I have performed my Hajj pilgrimage in the Prophet's time, and now I stay at home by God's order." Anyhow, 'Umar agreed to the request of the Prophet's wives and ordered to prepare camel-litters for them with green covers so that the ladies would remain hidden from men's eyes. Then he entrusted their super-vision to 'Abd ar- Rahman 'Awf100 and 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, issued the necessary orders, and made arrangement for their departure from Medina to Mecca.

and 449, al-Ahkam as-sultaniyah of al-Mawardi 222. It was the caliph's policy to show that 'A'ishah was greatly loved by the Prophet, while this was not true and the people knew it even in those very days. 97. Ibn Abi al-Hadid 4/457, History of al-Khatib al-Baghdadi 7/453.

  1. What was 'Umar afraid of? What did he mean by "deviation of people"? Was he afraid that they may go amongst people and deviate them about the distinction between the legitimate and illegitimate issues, and laws of Islam? Or did he fear lest they inform the people of the Prophet's words and his recommendations about some of his closest companions and make them cynical of the caliphate? Or was his ban on the travel of some of them due to his fear of their opposition? Anyhow, this point needs a separate study for setting forth evidence and reason. Thus, it is unfair to show him to be vulgar man despite his intelligence and statesmanship? (Sardar-Niya) 99. The reason why Zaynab and Sudah abstained from leaving Medina was that the Prophet had told his wives in his last Hajj pilgrimage: "Henceforth your duty is to stay at home?" Also "Each of you who adopts chastity, commits no wrong, and stays at home without leaving it, will be my consort even on resurrection." Refer to Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd 8/208.

  2. Abu Muhammad, 'Abd ar-Rahman 'Awf was of the Zuhrah Qarashi tribe, and his mother was Shafa, daughter of 'Awf ibn 'Abd of the same tribe, he was called 'Abd 'Umar or 'Abd Ka'bah, and after embracing Islam, the Prophet named him 'Abd ar-Rahman. He emigrated to Abyssinia and then to Medina, and took part in the battle of Badr and other battles. Omar chose him as a member of the 6-member caliphate council. He died in the year 3l or 32 after Hijrah in Medina, and was buried in al-Baqi'. al-Isabah 2/408-410, al-Isti'ab 2/385-390, Usd al-ghabah 3/313-317.

'Uthman, as the leader of the caravan, cried out from time to time: "Take care! No one has the right to approach these litters and take a glance at the Prophet's ladies!" He himself stopped every man from approaching them, and if anyone came near, he shouted: "Stay away! Stay away!" 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn 'Awf, too, who moved in the rear of the caravan, acted constantly like 'Uthman.

Miswar ibn Mukharrimah101 says: "It happened sometimes that a man halted on the way to repair the outfit of his animal or make his camel kneel down. In such a case, 'Uthman who was in the vanguard of the caravan, approached him and stood by, and if the track was wide enough, he ordered the caravan to alter its course slightly in order to keep away from that man and turn more to the right or left of the track. Otherwise he ordered the caravan to halt until that man finished his task and remounted his animal. Then 'Uthman ordered the caravan to proceed. I myself saw that he ordered those who had left Mecca to proceed in the opposite direction to halt on the right or left side of the way and make their camels kneel down until the caravan went out of their sight. Wherever 'Umar halted to rest, the Prophet's wives, too, dismounted, and were allowed to rest mostly in a valley, while he himself halted at its entrance. Another narration says that the wives were settled in a blocked valley while them en stayed at its entrance, or rested under trees with no one being allowed to pass near them.

Except for this pilgrimage, 'A'ishah never went out of Medina during 'Umar's caliphate, and spent her days in her house in full tranquility and high respect.

The authorities referred to her to seek her verdict concerning some matters, and she provided a suitable answer on behalf of the Prophet, and quoted a tradition. In addition to receiving a higher pension, these visits of the authorities to her for a verdict and instruction alone, were the signs of a great respect shown to her by the caliph. Thus when the caliph of the Muslims showed her such a respect, obviously the duty of other Muslims towards her became perfectly clear.

Now we end this chapter with a story which depicts respect shown by the caliph 'Umar to 'A'ishah. Dhakwan, the freed slave of 'A'ishah, narrates: A basket full of the spoils of the war in the conquest of Iraq including a jewel was taken to 'Umar. 'Umar asked his companions: "Do you know the value of this jewel?" They replied in the negative, nor did they know how to divide it among the Muslims.

'Umar said: "May I send this jewel to 'A'ishah on account of her love for the 101. Abu 'Abd ar-Rahman, Miswar ibn Mukhramah ibn Nufal was of the Zuhrah Qarashi tribe, and his mother was 'Atikah, daughter of 'Awf and sister of 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn 'Awf. He was born in Mecca in the second year after Hijrah, and in that year when the people of ash-Sham tied Ibn az-Zubayr to the catapult in the Ka'bah. When he stood in prayer at Isma'il's rock, he was killed by a stone from the catapult. His death occurred in Rabi' al-Awwal (Rabi' I) of the year 64 after Hijrah. Refer to Usd al-ghabah 4/365, Tabaqat, al-Isti'ab, and al-Isabah.

Prophet?" They agreed and he sent it to her. 'A'ishah said: "What a great share God has given 'Umar in this great victory!"102

The traditions of 'A'ishah in support of the caliphate

She was the staunchest supporter of the rule of Abu Bakr and 'Umar. An excerpt from this book An opportunity for making traditions We can say almost with certainty that there were very few traditions belonging to 'A'ishah during the caliphate of her father, Abu Bakr, and rule of 'Umar; for, on the one hand, in this period the attention of all Muslims was turned to the victories, frequent campaigns and capture of the spoils of war; and on the other hand, due to the existence of intellectual harmony amongst them and the absence of disagreement especially submission of the people to the caliph, and also because most people of Medina had a direct contact with the Prophet or lived at the time of his companions, the number of traditions was very small, and there was also no need for their being large.

Nevertheless in this period, a few traditions have been quoted from 'A'ishah, most of which are in support of the government of the time, namely the rule of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, since 'A'ishah was the staunchest supporter of the rule of her father, Abu Bakr, and his loyal friend 'Umar, and in order to establish their caliphate firmly in people's mind there was nothing better and surer than quoting a tradition from the Prophet concerning their rank and dignity, and exhibit their importance through the Prophet's words.

Here we will quote examples of such traditions created during the rule of these two Elders. The following tradition which Muslim quotes in his Sahih from 'A'ishah, belongs to this group:

'A'ishah said: "When the Prophet was in his sickbed, he said to me: Tell your father and brother to come here so that I make a will, since I fear that a light-minded person may desire or claim to be worthier of the caliphate, whereas God and believers do not consider anyone worthier than Abu Bakr."103 al-Bukhari narrates from Abu Malikah104: 'A'ishah said: "When the Prophet's illness got worse, he said to 'Abd ar-Rahman, son of Abu Bakr: Bring me a shoulder bone105 or a tablet to write something about Abu Bakr and 102. Siyar an-nubala' 2/133, al-Mustadrak 4/8.

  1. Sahih Muslim on Abu Bakr's virtues 7/110, Musnad of Ahmad 6/47 and 144, Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd 2, 1/127 and 128, Kanz 6/139 and 317, tradition 5283, Kanz Selections 3/342. 104. al-Bukhari 4/5 and 146.

  2. In those times they sometimes used "shoulder home" instead of paper.

make recommendations about his person so that no one rises in op position to him."

But as soon as 'Abd ar-Rahman went to carry out the Prophet's order, he added: "O Abu Bakr! God and believers will never allow any differences to arise concerning your right." (If in accordance with the words of the Prophet God and believers would not permit any difference to arise about the rule of Abu Bakr and his caliphate, then no written recommendation and will would be needed.)

Also Muslim narrates in his Sahih from Abu Malikah106: 'A'ishah was asked: "If the Prophet were to choose a successor, whom would he choose?" She answered: "Abu Bakr." They asked: "Whom would he nominate next to Abu Bakr as caliph?" She said: " 'Umar." They asked: "And after 'Umar?" She said: "Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah."107

There exist many such traditions from 'A'ishah about the qualities of the Two Elders and their excellence. We will also deal with them in the section on narration's. Here, we will confine ourselves to a few more of these traditions.

The period of appearance of these traditions

In all probability, the time of the propagation of such traditions was the period of the caliphate of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, since their names come in succession, and if the Prophet were to nominate a successor for himself, he would have named them in the same order.108

These traditions may be divided into four groups: First that group of traditions in which the names of the first four caliphs including 'Ali ibn Abi Talib are mentioned in the same order that they assumed power. These traditions seem to have appeared after the caliphate of 'Ali and also that of the other three.

The traditions narrated by al-Muhibb at-Tabari in his ar-Rayad an-nadrah from the Prophet is as follows: The Prophet said: "One thousand years before the creation of Adam, I, Abu Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthman and 'Ali were lights on the right side of divine Empyrean. Then, when Adam was created, God placed us behind him, and we were transferred from each chaste generation to another until God placed me behind 'Abd Allah, Abu Bakr behind Abu Quhafah, 'Umar behind al-Khattab, 'Uthman behind 'Affan, and 'Ali behind Abu Talib. Then God chose them for me, and so God made Abu Bakr my as-Siddiq (the truthful one), 'Umar my al-Faruq (the discerning one), 'Uthman my Dhu an- 106. Sahih Muslim 7/110, Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd Vol. 2, 2/28, Musnad of Ahmad 6/63, al-Mustadrak 3/78, Kanz 6/428, Tradition 6385.

  1. Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah is named 'Amir ibn 'Abd Allah Qarashi al-Fahri, and is one of early Muslims. He took part in the emigration, and was appointed by 'Umar as governor of ash-Sham. He died of plague there in 18th year after Hijrah and was buried in Fahl of Jordan. al-Isti'ab 3/2-4, al-Isabah commentary, Usd al-ghabah 3/84 and 86, al-Isabah 2/245.

  2. ar-Riyad an-nadrah 1/30 from Muhibb ad-Din at-Tabari.

Nurayn (of two lights) and 'Ali my al-Wasi (friend). Therefore, anyone who speaks ill of my companions, will be speaking ill of me, and anyone who insults me will be insulting God and he will be thrown into the fire." The following reasons explain the time and circumstances of the publication of this and other traditions:

1-These traditions must have appeared after the caliphate of Imam 'Ali, and even a long time after that, since, as we have already said, in this tradition there is especially a mention of abuse and insult, and we know that insult and abuse became prevalent from the time of Mu'awiyah's rule onward and upon his order, whereas there was no such custom in the Prophet's time to abuse his companions in order to make it necessary for the Prophet to issue such a verdict.

2-Although the names of the four caliphs of early Islam are mentioned in the order of their succession, these traditions cannot have appeared during the caliphate of the Imam 'Ali, since as we shall see in this book and also in the next volumes, before the Imam accepted the caliphate, the people were divided into two perfectly distinct groups: one group violently and openly abused 'Uthman, and another group was displeased with 'Ali and spoke ill of him. In that case, who has propagated such a tradition, and why?

3-Although the time of Mu'awiyah was a period of abuse and insult, and also rivalry in the fabrication of traditions, the basis of it was a conflict brought about against 'Ali and his sons and Banu Hashim's house, and their followers. The Umayyad's policy required to create division between 'Ali and the other three caliphs so as to omit his name from their group and give those three an overall superiority over 'Ali, and this policy was continued by the caliphate system to the end of the Umayyads' rule.

4-Nevertheless, there is no alternative but to say that the time of the publication of the said tradition coincides with the period of the weakness of the Umayyads and comes prior to the rise of the Abbasids, the reason being that on assumption of power by the Abbasid caliphs, they too, did their utmost to put the followers of 'Ali under great pressure and like their predecessors, the Umayyads, made use of the smallest pretexts to cruelly suppress and massacre them.

Therefore the most suitable time for the fabrication and publication of this tradition was the end of the Umayyad period and beginning of the call to the people in the name of the Prophet' house; for, it was at that time when the Banu Hashim had formed the two lines of Alawites and Abbasids, and joined together to overthrow the Umayyad government. It was the Abbasid policy at that time in opposition to that of the Umayyads to place 'Ali's name alongside those of the other three caliphs in rank and excellence, whereas we know that the Umayyads praised those three caliphs and abused 'Ali, and omitted his name from their rank.

It seems that the Abbasids had even taken another step for shattering the foundation of the Umayyads' claim and policy at that particular time, to omit the name of 'Uthman from the group of the first four caliphs. The following tradition may serve as the best support for our claim concerning fabrication of such traditions in that period.

It is narrated from Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah al-Ansari109 who said: "We were with the Prophet in a palm grove of Medina when he suddenly turned to us and said: 'Just now a man will come to you from heaven.' We looked around to see this heavenly man when at that moment Abu Bakr arrived and we congratulated him for having such a rank. A little later, the Prophet said: 'Another heavenly man will come to you now.' This time we saw 'Umar arrive and we offered him our felicitation for this honour. Soon after, the third time the Prophet told us that another heavenly man would soon arrive, and then he raised his arms heavenward under the palm branches and said: 'O God! How would it be if you let this man be 'Ali?' Soon 'Ali arrived and we expressed our joy to him on this great blessing."

The reason as to why we point out the invalidity of such traditions is not that we deny the virtue and excellence of the Prophet and his chaste household or his good companions. Not at all! We never deny these qualities. But we do not believe that between those companions who have assumed the seat of caliphate and those ones who have been unable to gain such a position, God would allow a discrimination to such an extent that the former group would be created of light and the latter of clay!

In view of these matters and other reasons, which will be dealt with in their proper place, we look doubtfully at the validity and authenticity of those traditions in which the names of the four caliphs have been mentioned in the order of their succession to the caliphate.

The second groups of traditions are those in which only the names of the first three caliphs from Abu Bakr to 'Uthman are mentioned. In our opinion and in view of what we said about the first group of traditions, these traditions have been narrated after 'Uthman became caliph and not prior to that. And if in some of them 'Uthman's assassination is mentioned, then those traditions must have been narrated after his death, not before. The third groups of traditions are those in which only the names of the Two Elders are mentioned. We believe that these traditions appeared after 'Umar assumed power, not before his caliphate.

  1. Two persons both named Jabir ibn 'Abd Allah al-Ansari are well known among the Prophet's companions. One was the son of Rayab ibn an-Nu'man, and the other was the son of 'Amr ibn Haram, with his mother being Nasibah, daughter of 'Uqaybah as-Salami. Both are of the Banu Salamah tribe, and belong to the group of Ansar (the Prophet's helpers). The former embraced Islam in Mecca before the allegiance of Aqabah and took part in all wars fought by the Prophet. The latter was present as a child with his father in the Aqabah allegiance, and he may have taken part in the battle of Badr, but was present in the battle of Siffin alongside 'Ali. Many traditions are narrated from him including the above one. He died at the age of 90 in the year 72 or 74 after Hijrah and was buried in Medina.

The fourth groups are those traditions, which mention only Abu Bakr's caliphate, and as 'Umar's name is not mentioned, they are in all probability narrated prior to 'Umar's nomination as successor to Abu Bakr. Therefore, the tradition related to the written will of Abu Bakr may have been narrated during his own time, since there is no mention of 'Umar.

The tradition stating that "if the Prophet were to nominate a successor he would chose Abu Bakr first, then 'Umar and then Abu 'Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah," has, in all probability, been narrated during 'Umar's caliphate and before 'Uthman's election, since 'Umar made this comment about Abu 'Ubaydah: "If Abu 'Ubaydah were alive, I would choose him as my successor."110 Here we have quoted some of 'A'ishah's traditions which are likely to have been narrated during the caliphate of the Two Elders, while there exist many traditions from her which must be related to the period following the caliphate of the Two Sheikhs. This includes the following tradition, which describes the lamentations of the jinn mourning for 'Umar. This tradition must have appeared after his death or a long time after him.

The jinn mourn for 'Umar

I know the mourners were of the jinn.


In the previous chapter, we stated that 'A'ishah quoted some traditions from the Prophet in order to support and establish the rule of her father, Abu Bakr, and his old friend, 'Umar. After a survey of some of them, we found that the time of their appearance by no means corresponds with the period of the rule of Abu Bakr and 'Umar, but they became prevalent many years after them. One of these traditions is the one related to the lamentations of the jinn mourning for 'Umar which has, in all probability, been narrated after his death or some time afterwards.

The tradition is as follows: Three days before 'Umar was killed, the jinn sat in mourning for him and sang the following elegy111: "Would the earth grow grass once more after the assassinated one who lay down in his blood, and the world sank in darkness and gloom mourning for him?

May God grant such a leader as you a good reward on our behalf and bestow His favour and grace upon your torn body. He who perches on the wing of thought so that he might perform such good deeds as yours, will never succeed.

  1. Refer to the story of the council, Vol. 2 of the book of 'Abd Allah ibn Saba'.

  2. al-Isti'ab 2/241 al-Aghani, printed Beirut 8/192.

In your rule you have accomplished tasks in the best manner, but what dormant mischief's exposed their visage after you! What I never thought of before and had no idea was that the death of such a leader would be brought about by this gray-eyed, leopard-natured executioner!" We think it probable that this story was made up after 'Umar's death or even a long time after that, for the following reasons:

1-In the said poem, a reference is made to the rise of mischief 's and sedition's all of which are related to the second half of 'Uthman's caliphate and subsequent period, and not to the end of 'Umar's rule and beginning of 'Uthman's caliphate. The poem says: "What dormant mischief's exposed their visage after you!" 2-If we suppose that the mention of mischief's is an indirect allusion, even then the mention of 'Umar's assassin so clearly and explicitly only three days or more after the crime, shows that it must be subsequent to the event, preceding it.

3-The point that the jinn, according to 'A'ishah, three days before the occurrence of such a horrible crime by a gray-eyed, leopard-natured assassin, should expose the matter is a point quite contrary to the explicit text of the Qur'an; for, according to the words of God in the story of Prophet Solomon, the jinn were unaware of even two steps in front of them, Let alone their being so explicit about a matter which would take place three day later.

The jinn were involved with pain and suffering for a whole year and knew nothing about Solomon's death, which had happened very close to them. Solomon who leaned on his staff was dead for one year and his dead body had remained in that position. They saw him all the time and were engaged zealously in building his palace day and night. Then after a year when termite had eaten his staff, it broke down and his lifeless body toppled over. It was then that the jinn realized that they had been laboring in vain for a whole year. This being the case, how could they have known the secret about 'Umar's fearful death by such a gray-eyed leopard-natured assassin three days before it was about to happen, and sit in mourning for the caliph in front of 'A'ishah in the land of al-Hasbah?

Anyhow this tradition must have been narrated after 'Umar's death, not before it, even if we consider the above poem to have belonged to 'A'ishah. But we see that Abu al-Faraj says in al-Aghani112 about the translation of Shamakh: Shamakh had two brothers both of whom were poets. One of them was called Muzarrad, and the other Jaz' who has composed an elegy about 'Umar. He says in al-Ishtiqaq:113 Darar had three sons who had embraced 112. al-Aghani 8/194. Shamakh and his brothers became Muslims as pagans, the most famous of whom is Shamakh whose poems have been collected. He took part in some battles in 'Uthman's time. al-Isabah 2/152, and Usd al-ghabah 4/351.

  1. Refer to al-Ishtiqaq 286 and Usd al-ghabah translated by 'Umar and epic poems p. 109.

Islam, and one of them had composed an elegy about 'Umar. Anyhow these verses are said to have been composed by Shamakh or Jaz'. According to another narration, 'A'ishah describes the matter for her sister Umm Kulthum, daughter of Abu Bakr, as follows: In his last Hajj pilgrimage, 'Umar allowed the Prophet's wives to go on pilgrimage with him. In that journey when 'Umar departed from al-Hasbah, I saw approaching a camel rider whose face was covered and only his eyes were visible. He asked: "Had he ('Umar) stayed here?" Someone said: "Yes, he halted here." The camel-rider made his camel kneel, and then in a loud voice recited the above elegy about 'Umar. I ordered one of my companions to find out who the poet was and introduce him to me. He went there but found no one, since he did not see him anywhere, whereas he had recited the poem in front of me. I swear to God that I think he was a jinni. This tradition further says that when 'Umar was killed, the people attributed that poem to the sons of Darar.114

This narration has been quoted by Abu al-Faraj in al-Aghani in the biography of Shamakh, and by Ibn 'Abd al-Barr in al-Isti'ab on the life of 'Umar. But Ibn Sa'd account in Tabaqat has a slightly different wording, but the sense of all three is the same. In al-Isabah, Ibn Hajar, declaring that the tradition is genuine, quotes the same narration from Umm Kulthum, 'A'ishah's sister. The reason as to why the tradition quoted by Ibn Hajar is genuine, is narrated to nullify the rumor which attributes the poem to Shamakh or his brother, specially when it is stipulated in that tradition that 'A'ishah herself had, in her last Hajj pilgrimage with 'Umar, witnessed in Mash'ar al-Haram the recitation of the elegy by the jinn mourning for 'Umar, and there is no doubt about this matter.

And as 'A'ishah has said so, therefore the jinn must have sat in mourning for 'Umar three days prior to his death and composed that elegy about him, while this caliph was killed upon his return to Medina from this journey. Then afterwards the poem has been recited by these people, who in their ignorance have attributed it to the sons of Darar.

'A'ishah herself had seen a camel rider with a covered face inquiring about 'Umar's halting place first after his departure, and another anonymous person guided him to that spot. Then the rider made his camel kneel and loudly recited that elegy on 'Umar's death. Then 'A'ishah sent an attendant to discover the veiled man's identity, but he had disappeared, whereas he had made his camel kneel down in front of 'A'ishah!

Therefore there is no doubt that the veiled man must have been a jinni, otherwise how did he disappear and no one saw him any more? On this very ground 'A'ishah swore that he was a jinni.

So, if 'A'ishah had witnessed the incident herself and had taken an oath upon it, would anyone doubt that the said elegy had been composed by anyone but 114. al-Aghani 8/192, al-Isti'ab 2/465, Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd in 'Umar's translation 3/333-334, al-Isabah 2/152. the jinni, declaring 'Umar's murder some time before it actually occurred? After this oath, let everyone say what he wishes or claims that the poem has been composed by the sons of Darar after 'Umar's death; for, in his claim would be null and void, since it is proved that the elegy has been composed by the jinn in Mina before 'Umar's death and before his return to Medina and his subsequent murder.

In addition to what we have stated before, what adds to our doubt about the authenticity of this tradition is that even if we admit that the sighting of the jinni and his recitation have occurred for the sole benefit of the Prophet's wives and consequently all those thousands of pilgrims who were present at Mina along with 'Umar in that year were deprived of the benefit of this sight, then 'A'ishah was not the only lady of the Prophet present there, and most of the ladies, except Zaynab and Sudah, accompanied her throughout the journey. How was it then that these ladies did not witness the incident, nor hear the recitation of the elegy for 'Umar by the jinn, and that this tradition has been recited by 'A'ishah alone? There also exists another tradition rejecting the attribution of this poem to a human being, emphasizing its origin to the jinn as mentioned by 'A'ishah.

It is stated in Tabaqat of Ibn Sa'd through Musa ibn 'Uqbah: " 'A'ishah asked who was the composer of this poem? They answered: Darar's son." 'A'ishah says: "After hearing this, I met Darar's son and spoke of the matter with him, but he swore that at that time he had not been in Mina." It makes no difference to us whether this narration, like the other two traditions of 'A'ishah, is genuine or weak" as Ibn Hajar says.115 However, it is important that this tradition shows us that there is a difference of opinion as to whether the composer of the poem was a human being or a jinni, and even at that time the people were doubtful about it. It is for this reason that, in order to remove this doubt and argument about those two traditions, authentic evidence has been narrated from 'A'ishah.