ⓘ Shia view of Aisha. The Shia view of Aisha is generally unfavourable. This is primarily due to what they see as her contempt for the Ahl al-Bayt and her actions ..


ⓘ Shia view of Aisha

The Shia view of Aisha is generally unfavourable. This is primarily due to what they see as her contempt for the Ahl al-Bayt and her actions in the First Fitna of the time. Her participation in the Battle of the Camel is widely considered her most significant sign of such contempt. They also do not believe that she conducted herself in an appropriate manner in her role as Muhammads wife. Shia also consider Aisha to be a controversial figure because of her political involvement during her lifetime. Aisha came from a political family lineage, as she was the daughter of Abu Bakr the caliph. Aisha also played an active role in Muhammads political life; she was known to accompany him to wars, where she learned military skills, such as initiating pre-war negotiations between combatants, conducting battles, and ending wars.


1.1. Wife of Muhammad Status as favorite wife

Shias reject the idea that Aisha was Muhammads favorite wife and believe that Muhammad favored none of his wives in compliance with the Quranic verse:

Marry women of your choice, Two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with them, then only one, or a captive that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice. Surah an-Nisa, Ayat 3

They also quote Muhammad: When a man has two wives and he is inclined to one of them, he will come on the Day of resurrection with a side hanging down.

Others believe that Umm Salama was his favorite wife due to her dedication to the Ahl al-Bayt. Umm Salama is presented as a contrast to Aisha through her loyalty to Muhammads family as well as obedience to his commands after his death. Unlike Aisha, who raised an army against Ali, Umm Salama tried to calm tensions. She also warned Ali of Aishas intentions when dissuading Aisha from rebellion was unsuccessful.

It is generally accepted by Sunnis and Shias that Khadijah was Muhammads favorite wife without contest, and that Aisha or Umm Salama were only the favorite of his later wives. Some use the fact that Muhammad was only in a monogamous relationship with Khadijah as evidence of her superiority to his later wives. One opinion is that Muhammads marriage to Aisha was only prescribed to ease his suffering after Khadijahs death, diminishing the implications of divine intent for the union.


1.2. Wife of Muhammad Character

The Shia reject the general Sunni belief that Aisha was the best woman of her time. All Shias and some Sunnis uphold that Fatimah, Muhammads daughter and wife of Ali ibn Abi Talibs the greatest woman ever whilst Shias also uphold her as infallible. Shia consider Fatimas ideal of the innocent and long-suffering as the counterpart to the sexual and political misdemeanors of which they accuse Aisha. Fatima is described as an exemplary wife, daughter, and mother and the only woman of the Fourteen Perfect of Pure Ones in Shia tradition. They cite the following hadith:

Ahmad ibn Hanbal records:

Anas narrated that the prophet s said: "The most excellent of the women of all worlds are: Maryam the daughter of al-Imran, Khadijah the daughter of Khuwaylid, Fatimah the daughter of Muhammad, and Asiyah the wife of Pharaoh"

Although Sunnis attribute thousands of hadith to Aisha, Shias do not consider her a reputable source of hadith. She is deemed an untrustworthy and unreliable source because of her partisanship. Instead, Fatima and Ali are considered the best sources of hadith and are included as authoritative sources by both Shias and Sunnis. However, Aisha is used in certain hadith to serve as an example of how proper women should not behave.

Her character is further questioned by an accusation that she secretly disliked Ali, as related in Maria Dakakes The Charismatic Community.


1.3. Wife of Muhammad Jealousy

Shia believe that Aisha was jealous of Muhammads other wives, especially his first wife- Khadijah. On one occasion she is reported to have been tired of Muhammad speaking of his first wife so often and said that Allah had replaced Khadijah with a better wife, referring to herself, for which Muhammad rebuked her. She is also criticized for deceiving Muhammad and hatching a plan with Hafsa bint Umar to stop him spending a long time at Zaynab bint Jahshs house. They believe this shows a severe amount of disrespect and insubordination to her husband. The following verses of the Quran are unanimously agreed by scholars to be referring to Aisha and Hafsa:

When the Prophet confided unto one of his wives a matter, but when she divulged it unto others and God apprised him therefore, he made known a part of it and avoided a part; so when he informed her of it, said she: Who informed thee of this?’ He said: Informed, me, the All-Knowing, the All-Aware’. If you both women repent to Allah, it is better for you, for your hearts have swerved from the right path and if you supported each other against the Prophet, you should know that Allah his Protector, and after Him Gabriel and the righteous believers and the angels are his companions and helpers. Happily his Lord if he divorceth you, will give him in your place wives better than you, submissive, faithful, obedient, repentant, prayerful, observers of fast, widows and virgins. Surah at-Tahrim, Ayat 3-5


2. Resentment towards Ali

The negative Shia view of Aisha largely stems from Aishas animosity towards Ali and the Ahl al-bayt in general. The Ahl al-bayt is defined by Shias as Muhammad, his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali, and their two sons Hasan and Husayn. They do not include Muhammads wives in this category.

Aishas feelings towards Ali developed when she was accused of adultery. Muhammad took Aisha on a campaign against a Bedouin tribe. Aisha noticed she lost her necklace during a caravan rest stop and retraced her steps to find the piece of jewelry. When she returned, Aisha realized she was mistakenly left behind. Aisha returned to Medina escorted on a camel by a young man, which quickly led to gossip and speculation. Muhammad was deeply affected by this occurrence and turned to others for advice. The strongest opinion came from Muhammads cousin Ali who said," There are women enough, you could make another her successor” and he suggested that Muhammad divorce Aisha. Aisha never forgot about Alis statement, which sparked the hatred towards Ali that continued when he tried to become Muhammads successor. Although Sunnis believe that Allah revealed Aishas innocence in the following verse

Lo! they who spread the slander are a gang among you. Deem it not a bad thing for you; nay, it is good for you. Unto every man of them will be paid that which he hath earned of the sin; and as for him among them who had the greater share therein, his will be an awful doom.

Some Shias believe that this verse was about Maryam the Copt instead of Aisha, and so in their eyes the charge against her has never been cleared. However, others agree with the Sunni view that this verse proves her innocent.

Shia supported the advancement of Ali in the political world and disregarded Aisha because of her feelings towards Ali. The Shia preferred Ali over the first three caliphs; they never accepted Mu’awiya or any later caliphs, and Shia took the name shi’at Ali, or Alis Party. Shia also regarded Ali to be the most judicious of the Companions. The early Shia deemed Ali and his descendants to have rights to leadership based on their relationship to Muhammad, their designation by Muhammad as his successors, along with their knowledge and religious insight.


3. Role in Fitnah


The biggest criticism that the Shia have of Aisha was her role in the First Fitnah First Islamic civil war. The Shia view her and all opposition to Alis Khalifat as a sinful act.


3.1. Role in Fitnah Overview

The biggest criticism that the Shia have of Aisha was her role in the First Fitnah First Islamic civil war. The Shia view her and all opposition to Alis Khalifat as a sinful act.


3.2. Role in Fitnah Uthmans death

Aisha was a key player in the rebellion against Uthman ibn Affan, the third Khalifah. They quote her naming Uthman a nathal who should be killed, from numerous sources. They claim her motive was to install her inlaw, Talhah ibn Ubaydullah, as Uthmans successor. They also believe that only when the people turned to Ali ibn Abi Talib to become the Khalifah did Aisha change her stance and fight Ali to demand Qisas for Uthman. They cite some Sahabah and Tabiin who highlighted her sudden shift in policy:

"Ubayd bin Abi Salma who was a maternal relative of Aisha met her as she was making her way to Madinah. Ubayd said "Uthman has been killed and the people were without an Imam for eight days" to which Aisha asked "What did they do next?". Ubayd said "The people approached Ali and gave him bayya". Aisha then said Take me back! Take me back to Makkah". She then turned her face towards Makkah and said, Verily Uthman was murdered innocently, and By Allah, I shall avenge his blood. Ubayd then said You are now calling Uthman innocent, even though it was you who said Kill Nathal, this Jew".

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