A story of Aishah (ra, a beloved wife of the Prophet Muhammad) was so important that it Allah revealed revelations about it. This story has plentiful of lessons to learn from it. But I want to focus on gossip. I’m going to retell this story in a watered down version so it’s not too long for you guys to read.
The Prophet (pbuh) had taken his wife Aishah on an expedition with him. He didn’t like spending nights alone and enjoyed the company of his wife. This expedition also included a number of his companions. When his wife would go on an expidition with him, to honour the modesty of his wife, he would arrange a hawdaj (a small tent) to be placed on a camel, so she can sit in there and be protected and covered from the eyes of other men. This happened just after the verses on the hijab (covering) was revealed so they applied the hijab to their lives instantly.
They stopped at night and made camp. Aishah thought that as they were now stopping, she will go far out to relieve herself. When she returned she realised that her necklace around her neck is missing. So she went around looking for it. She was delayed searching for it and by the time she went back to camp the hawdaj was put on the camel and they all left. At this point in the story, Aishah says: “During those days women were very thin and they had not put on a lot of weight. They used to only eat a few morsels of food, so the men did not question the lightness of the hawdaj when they picked it up and put it on the camel. And on top of that, I was a young girl. So they sent the camel forward and I found my necklace after they had gone. By the time I returned to the caravan camping ground, there was not a soul in sight.”
She made excuses for these men. She was not angry that she was left alone and blamed them for a misunderstanding. She did not accuse or assume. This portrays her upright manners and character. I think many of us today would not stop to think about the situation and go guns blazing at the first person we can find to blame. If you don’t know the situation from both sides of a story, accusing someone or jumping to conclusions doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to step back and be calm at pressing situations but I think it shows real strength and grace when you can. That’s something I can write in my list of things I need to improve.
Back to the story.. Aishah stayed where she was thinking someone will realise and go back for her. She ended up falling asleep while waiting for them. A companion among those taking part in the expedition, Safwan, was lagging behind the rest of the army. For some reason he was late to join the rest of them and he had seen Aishah sleeping. He thought that the best thing to do would be to have Aishah sit on his camel and he would walk infront. Aishah swears by God that he did not utter a word to her throughout the whole journey. They finally caught up with the camp and this is when the rumours started. A guy called ‘Abdullaah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul who was known to be the leader of the hypocrites, started spreading rumours that something happened between Aishah and Safwan, demolishing her modesty and honour as a result.
The rumours spread far and wide. Aishah was oblivious to the rumours at first because when she went home she became ill and did not leaver her house. The Prophet did not talk to her about it because she was ill, but he was not treating her with the same gentleness that he normally would when she’s ill. However, when she heard about it from someone who visited her she became more ill. She asked the Prophet is she can go to her parents house to verify this information. This is super important lesson from this story. We can never take one person’s account.. whether they’re truthful people or not. You need more people to back up the claim.
Her parents verified the information and she said: “I cried that night. I cried and cried until the morning came. My tears could not stop nor could I taste the sweetness of sleep.”
The Prophet asked his closest companions what they thought of the situation and whether he should believe the rumours or not. This shows the importance of taking advice when you’re in a sticky situation. The thoughts in your own head can cloud your judgement and can lead to making the wrong decisions.
The Prophet visited Aishah in her parents home after one month of not sitting with her. He said that if these rumours are false then God will clear her of these accusations and if they’re true then admit and repent because Allah is all merciful and and forgiving. The Prophet was gentle in the way he spoke to her. There were no accusations flying about. No voices raised. He doesn’t know what to say or do, yet he is gentle throughout and gives her hope no matter what the situation might be.
Her response was this:
“I was still a young girl at that time and had not memorized much of the Qur’an, so I could not remember the name of the father of Yusuf.” So she said, “I know by Allah that you have heard these rumors, and that these rumors have settled in your heart and soul and you have believed it already. So if I were to tell you that I’m not guilty, you wouldn’t believe me. And if I were to admit to a crime that I did not commit, then you will believe me and think that I did it. So all I can say to you is what the father of Yusuf said. ‘Patience is beautiful.’ And Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala’s help is sought concerning what you describe. “I turned around on my bed. Allah knew I was innocent of this charge and I knew that Allah would reveal my innocence. However, wallahi I never thought that Allah would reveal Qur’an concerning me. I thought myself far too low in the sight of Allah, that Allah would speak about me. Rather, I was hoping that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam might see in his dream something that would declare my innocence.”
Th Prophet started laughing out of happiness when he got the revelation. (These verses are verses 11 to 31 of Surah An-Noor.) – (sidenote: This story also proves that the Prophet was a prophet of God. Had he been a false prophet, why would he wait for a whole month? The fact that he is a Prophet of God meant that God sent down revelations whenever He willed, and not whenever the Prophet wished. So for a whole month, the Prophet was in confusion. This incident also depicts the great wisdom of God in delaying the inspiration. Had God willed He could have inspired the Prophet from day one, immediately after the rumors had started. However, due to His Wisdom, He delayed this inspiration. Had the inspiration come down immediately, it would not have affected us in the manner that this story affects us. Remember.. everything happens for a reason)
Aishah knew she was innocent. She knew that these accusations are false and that God knew this too. It got to her because she’s human, however she did not act out and seek revenge. She was patient and content in her heart that the truth will come out one day. If someone is gossiping about you and it’s not true don’t let it get you down because you know what you’ve done.
If someone is backbiting about, be happy knowing that they will learn the truth about you one day. Be happy that God knows that you haven’t done wrong. If they are backbiting about things you’ve done wrong it still shows their true character. Even if it entails relating the truth about someone it is still backbiting. A lot of people say “I’d say it to his face”.. if you did, that just shows bad character. Spreading gossip effects so many people and it’s really not worth it.
I guess the reason why I wrote about this is because I’ve been the subject of gossip and so have my close friends. It can destroy friendships, self esteem, confidence, faith and your honour. And all those things could have been avoided if I knew that God knows my real story and that’s all that matter. All those things could have been avoided if people knew how malicious gossip (harmless or not) can be. I try my hardest not to backbite and gossip. When I consciously tried to stop, I realised how little I have to say and how quickly people around me got bored. Replace gossip with real talk. I’m still working on it, I’m not little Ms Perfect. But this story is jam packed with lessons I had to blog it.
I know I said I’ll make it short, I really did try my best!
If you want to read the full version of the story, you can read it here: http://www.khutbah.com/en/quran_taf/ifk.php