|Wives of Muhammad|
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‘Ā’ishah bint Abī Bakr (612–678) (Arabic: عائشة transliteration: ‘Ā’ishah, [ʕaːʔiʃa], also transcribed as A'ishah, Aisyah, Ayesha, A'isha, Aishat, Aishah, or Aisha) was one of Muḥammad's wives. In Islamic writings, her name is thus often prefixed by the title "Mother of the Believers" (Arabic: أمّ المؤمنين umm al-mu'minīn), per the description of Muhammad's wives in the Qur'an. Aisha was betrothed to Muhammad at the age of six and the marriage was consummated when she was nine years old.
According to Sunni views, Aisha had an important role in early Islamic history, both during Muhammad's life and after his death. Regarded by many as his favorite wife, she was an active figure in numerous events and an important witness to many more. Aisha contributed to the growth, development, and understanding of Islam. Being a role model to a significant amount of others added to her attributions as a consultant regarding Muhammad's prayer and practices, soon introducing herself into a world of politics.
After Muhammad, Aisha was readily involved in continuing his message. She was present through the reigns of at least the first four caliphs. Her father, Abu Bakr, became the first caliph to succeed Muhammad. The second caliph ‘Umar succeeded Abū Bakr. During the time of the third caliph's reign Aisha rebelled. She did not fully approve of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan's practices on many occasions. During the fourth caliph's reign she wanted to avenge Uthman's death, which she attempted to do in the Battle of the Camel. She participated in the battle by giving speeches and leading troops on the back of her camel. She ended up losing the battle, but her involvement and determination made a lasting impression.
Early life 
Aisha was born in AD 614 She was the daughter of Umm Rumman and Abu Bakr of Mecca, two of the Prophet's most trusted companions. The word "Bakr" in her fathers name means virgin, in reference to Aisha's virginity. Aisha was the third and youngest wife of Muhammad. One of Muhammad's first encounters with Aisha was by her house. Muhammad found her "crying bitterly" because her parents had disciplined her. The Prophet was affected by her tears, and in an effort to stop her from crying Muhammad asked her mother to "be gentle with the child for his sake."
Marriage to Muhammad 
The idea to match Aisha with Muhammad was suggested by Khawlah bint Hakim Muhammad’s aunt who became his caregiver after his first wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, died. After this, the previous agreement regarding the marriage of Aisha with Jubayr ibn Mut'im was put aside by common consent. Abu Bakr was uncertain at first "as to the propriety or even legality of marrying his daughter to the Prophet." British historian William Montgomery Watt suggests that Muhammad hoped to strengthen his ties with Abu Bakr; the strengthening of ties commonly served as a basis for marriage in Arabian culture.
Age at marriage 
According to traditional sources, Aisha was six or seven years old when she was betrothed to Muhammad and nine when the marriage was consummated. However, al-Ṭabarī records that she was ten. The sources do not offer much more information about Aisha's childhood years.
The issue of Aisha's age at the time she was married to Muhammad has been of interest since the earliest days of Islam, and references to her age by early historians are frequent.[who?]American historian Denise Spellberg states that "these specific references to the bride's age reinforce Aisha's pre-menarcheal status and, implicitly, her virginity." Early Muslims regarded Aisha's youth as demonstrating her virginity and therefore her suitability as a bride of Muhammad. This issue of her virginity was of great importance to those who supported Aisha's position in the debate of the succession to Muhammad. These supporters considered that as Muhammad's only virgin wife, Aisha was divinely intended for him, and therefore the most credible regarding the debate.
Relationship with Muhammad 
In many Muslim traditions, Aisha is described as Muhammad's most beloved or favored wife after his first wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, who died before the migration to Medina took place. There are several hadiths, or stories or sayings of Muhammad, that support this belief. One relates that when a companion asked Muhammad, "who is the person you love most in the world?" he responded, "Aisha." Others relate that Muhammad built Aisha’s apartment so that her door opened directly into the mosque, and that she was the only woman with whom Muhammad received revelations. They bathed in the same water and he prayed while she lay stretched out in front of him.
There are also various traditions that reveal the mutual affection between Muhammad and Aisha. He would often just sit and watch her and her friends play with dolls, and on occasion he would even join them. Additionally, they were close enough that each was able to discern the mood of the other, as many stories relate. It is also important to note that there exists evidence that Muhammad did not view himself as entirely superior to Aisha, at least not enough to prevent Aisha from speaking her mind, even at the risk of angering Muhammad. On one such instance, Muhammad's "announcement of a revelation permitting him to enter into marriages disallowed to other men drew from her [Aisha] the retort, 'It seems to me your Lord hastens to satisfy your desire!'" Furthermore, Muhammad and Aisha had a strong intellectual relationship. Muhammad valued her keen memory and intelligence and so instructed his companions to draw some of their religious practices from her.
The relationship between Muhammad and Aisha did become strained on occasion. On one such instance Muhammad left Aisha in bed and went to the graveyard to make supplications for the dead. Aisha followed Mohammad and having realized she had been spotted retreated at haste back to the house. Mohammad discovered Aisha lying in bed in a state of breathlessness. He was displeased with Aisha and after a brief conversation some physical chastisement occurred. Sahih Muslim records, "He (Muhammad) said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I (Aisha) said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?" 
Accusation of adultery 
The story of accusation of adultery levied against Aisha can be traced to chapter 24 in Sūrat al-Nūr in the Quran. As the story goes, Aisha was left behind by mistake at a caravan stop while searching for a missing necklace. Aisha left her howdah in order to search for the missing necklace and her slaves mounted the howdah and prepared it for travel without noticing any difference in weight without Aisha's presence. Aisha remained at the camp until the next morning when Safwan bin al-Mu‘attal, a nomad and member of Muhammad's army, found her and brought her back to Muhammad in Medina. The accusations of adultery came from Zaynab, who levied the charges against Aisha and Safwan, while at the same time ‘Abd Allah ibn Ubayy and Hamnah bint Jahsh (Zaynab's sister) spread rumors of infidelity. Usama ibn Zayd, son of Zayd ibn Harithah, defended Aisha's reputation and Muhammad came to speak directly with Aisha about the rumors. Shortly after this, Muhammad announced that he had received a revelation from God confirming Aisha's innocence. Surah 24 details the Islamic laws and punishment regarding adultery. Aisha's accusers faced punishments of up to 80 lashes. The way in which the revelations were told to Muhammad are most important to Quranic commentaries on the book.
Story of the honey 
After the daily Asr prayer, Muhammad would visit each of his wives' apartments to inquire about their well-being. Muhammad was just in the amount of time he spent with them and attention he gave to them. Once Muhammad's fifth wife, Zaynab bint Jahsh, received some honey from a relative which the Prophet took a particular liking to. As a result, every time Zaynab offered some of this honey to him he would spend a longer time in her apartment. This did not sit well with Aisha and Hafsa bint Umar. (It should be noted that "taste the honey" was a commonplace Arab metaphor for "have sexual intercourse". It is possible that the annoyance of Aisha and Hafsa had nothing to do with literal honey.) "So Hafsa and I agreed secretly that, if he come to either of us, she would say to him: It seems you have eaten maghafir (a kind of bad-smelling resin), for I smell in you the smell of maghafir. We did so and he replied No, but I was drinking honey in the house of Zaynab, the daughter of Jahsh, and I shall never take it again. I have taken an oath as to that, and you should not tell anybody about it." Soon after this event, Muhammad reported that he had received a revelation in which he was told that he could eat anything permitted by God. Some Sunni commentators on the Qur'an sometimes give this story as the "occasion of revelation" for Surah 66, which opens with the following verses: "Prophet, why do you prohibit that which God has made lawful for you, in seeking to please your wives? God is forgiving and merciful. God has given you absolution from such oaths." Word spread to the small Muslim community that Muhammad's wives were speaking sharply to him and conspiring against him. Muhammad, saddened and upset, separated from his wives for a month. ‘Umar, Hafsa's father, scolded his daughter and also spoke to Muhammad of the matter. By the end of this time, his wives were humbled; they agreed to "speak correct and courteous words" and to focus on the Afterlife.
Death of Muhammad 
Aisha remained Muhammad's favorite wife throughout his life. When he became ill and suspected that he was probably going to die, he began to ask his wives whose apartment he was to stay in next. They eventually figured out that he was trying to determine when he was due with Aisha, and they then allowed him to retire there. He remained in Aisha's apartment until his death, and his last breath was taken as he lay in the arms of Aisha, his most beloved wife.
After Muhammad 
After Muhammad's death, which ended Aisha and Muhammad's decade-long marriage, Aisha lived fifty more years in and around Medina. Much of her time was spent learning and acquiring knowledge of the Qur’an and the Sunnah of Muhammad. Aisha was one of three wives (the other two being Hafsah and Umm Salamah) who memorized the Qur’an. Like Hafsah, Aisha had her own script of the Qur’an written after Muhammad's death. During Aisha's life many prominent customs of Islam, such as veiling and seclusion of women, began. Aisha's importance to revitalizing the Arab tradition and leadership among the Arab women highlights her magnitude within Islam. Aisha became involved in the politics of early Islam and the first three caliphate reigns: Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman. During a time in Islam when women were not expected, or wanted, to contribute outside of the household, Aisha delivered public speeches, became directly involved in war and even battles, and helped both men and women to understand the practices of Muhammad.
Role during caliphate 
Role during first and second caliphates 
Aisha's father Abu Bakr had long been well regarded by Muhammad, having been the first person outside Muhammad's family to publicly convert to Islam. In 622 both of Aisha's parents became muhajirun when Muhammad migrated from Mecca to Medina in the Hijra. The muhajirun were those loyal enough to follow and are considered the first group of converts to Islam.
After Muhammad's death in 632, the Islamic community was faced with the dilemma of deciding who would stand in his place. Eventually, Abu Bakr was appointed his successor by a committee and became the first caliph. Abu Bakr had two advantages in achieving his new role: his long personal friendship with Muhammad and his role as father-in-law. As caliph, Abu Bakr was the first to set guidelines for the new position of authority.
Aisha garnered more special privilege in the Islamic community for being known as both a wife of Muhammad and the daughter of the first caliph. Being the daughter of Abu Bakr tied Aisha to honorable titles earned from her father's strong dedication to Islam. For example, she was given the title of al-siddiqa bint al-siddiq, meaning 'the truthful woman, daughter of the truthful man', a reference to Abu Bakr's support of the Isra and Mi'raj.
In 634 Abu Bakr fell sick and was unable to recover. Prior to his death, he appointed ‘Umar one of his chief advisers, as the second caliph Throughout ‘Umar's time in power Aisha continued to play the role of a consultant in political matters.
Role during the third caliphate 
After ‘Umar died, ‘Uthmān was chosen to be the third caliph. He wanted to promote the interests of the Umayyads. Aisha had little involvement with ‘Uthmān for the first couple years, but eventually she found a way into the politics of his reign. She eventually grew to despise ‘Uthmān, and many are unsure of what specifically triggered her eventual opposition towards him. A prominent opposition that arose towards him was when ‘Uthmān mistreated ‘Ammar ibn Yasir (companion of the prophet) by beating him. Aisha became enraged and spoke out publicly, saying, "How soon indeed you have forgotten the practice (sunnah) of your prophet and these, his hairs, a shirt, and sandal have not yet perished!" (108). She was showing and telling the people of Medina that Muhammad would not have allowed this sort of act.
As time continued issues of antipathy towards ‘Uthmān continued to arise. Another instance of opposition arose when the people came to Aisha, after Uthmān ignored the rightful punishment for Walid idn Uqbah (Uthmān's brother). Aisha and Uthmān argued with each other, Uthmān eventually made a comment on why Aisha had come and how she was "ordered to stay at home"(111). Arising from this comment, was the question of whether Aisha, and for that matter women, still had the ability to be involved in public affairs. The Muslim community became split: "some sided with Uthmān, but others demanded to know who indeed had better right than Aisha in such matters"(111).
In 639 Muawiyah I was appointed the Governor of Syria by ‘Umar after his elder brother Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan (Governor of Syria) died in a plague, along with the governor before him Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah and 25,000 other people. To stop Byzantine harassment from the sea during the Arab-Byzantine Wars, Mu‘awiyah set up a navy in 649, manned by Monophysite Christians, Copts, and Jacobite Syrian Christian sailors and Muslim troops. This resulted in the defeat of the Byzantine navy at the Battle of the Masts in 655, opening up the Mediterranean. Five hundred Byzantine ships were destroyed in the battle, and Emperor Constans II was almost killed. Under the instructions of the caliph ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, Mu‘awiyah then prepared for the siege of Constantinople.
Before the battle, according to chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, the emperor dreamed of being at Thessalonika; this dream predicted his defeat against the Arabs because the word Thessalonika is similar to the sentence "thes allo niken", which means 'gave victory to another' (the enemy).
The rapid Muslim conquest of Syria and Egypt and the consequent Byzantine losses in manpower and territory meant that the Eastern Roman Empire found itself struggling for survival. The Sassanid Empire in Persia had already collapsed as Mu‘awiyah and Caliph ‘Uthman were preparing to attack Constantinople.
The caliphate took a turn for the worse when Egypt was governed by Abdullah ibn Saad. Abbott reports that Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfah of Egypt, an opponent of ‘Uthmān, forged letters in the Mothers of the Believers' names to the conspirators against ‘Uthmān. The people cut off ‘Uthmān's water and food supply. When Aisha realized the behavior of the crowd, Abbot notes, Aisha could not believe the crowd "would offer such indignities to a widow of Mohammad"(122). This refers to when Safīyah (one of Muhammad's wives) tried to help ‘Uthmān and was taken by the crowd. Ashtar, (a rebel) then approached her about killing Uthmān and the letter, and she claimed she would never want to "command the shedding of the blood of the Muslims and the killing of their Imām" (122); she also claimed she did not write the letters. The city continued to oppose ‘Uthmān, but as for Aisha, her journey to Mecca was approaching. With the journey to Mecca approaching at this time, she wanted to rid herself of the situation. ‘Uthmān heard of her not wanting to hurt him, and he asked her to stay because of her influence on the people, but this did not persuade Aisha, and she continued on her journey.
Mu‘awiyah had asked Caliph Uthman if he could send guards to defend him, but ‘Uthman refused, saying: "I do not want to spill the blood of Muslims to save my own neck."
In Medina, conspirators including Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr broke into ‘Uthmān's house, and eventually ‘Uthmān was murdered by some Egyptians. It is not quite sure who actually murdered ‘Uthmān. Aisha, at this point, had been clear of any blame, and was continuing her journey to Mecca.
Battle of the Camel 
Following the Roman-Persian Wars and the Byzantine-Sassanid Wars there were deep rooted differences between Iraq, formally under the Persian Sassanid Empire, and Syria, formally under the Byzantine Empire. These wars had lasted for hundreds of years. The Iraqis wanted the capital of the newly established Islamic State to be in Kufah, so as to bring revenues into their area and oppose Syria, their old enemy previously under the Romans. They convinced ‘Ali to come to Kufah and establish the capital there. ‘Ali listened to them and moved the capital to Kufah.
Muawiyah I, the governor of Syria, a relative of Uthman ibn al-Affan and Marwan I, wanted the culprits arrested. Aisha also asked ‘Ali to arrest the culprits. In Medina people wanted to know ‘Ali's point of view about war against Muslims. They wanted to know about his views on Mu‘awiyah and his opposition. So they sent Ziyad ibn Hanzalah al-Tamimi, who was an intimate friend to ‘Ali. He went to him and sat for a while. Then Ali said: "Get ready, Ziyad!" "What for?" "To fight the Syrians."
He want back and told the people in Medina. In Medina, Marwan manipulated people. In Iraq many people hated the Syrians following the Byzantine-Sassanid Wars. Some of ‘Ali's supporters were also very extreme in their views and considered everyone to be their enemy. Many of them later became the Kharijites and eventually killed ‘Ali.
Upon arrival back to Mecca after ‘Uthman's death, Aisha, enraged at the murder of ‘Uthman, gave a speech. She spoke to the people of Mecca "at the sacred spot of Hijr" (131), supposedly created by Abraham. Aisha spoke of his death, and how the murderers "shed sacred blood, desecrated the sacred city, seized sacred funds, and profaned the sacred month" (131). At this point Governor ‘Abd Allah followed Aisha under her command. Others, such as Umayyads, those from different provinces, and people from Medina, came to support Aisha in her fight. Others also questioned her true feelings towards avenging ‘Uthman's death because she had opposed his reign for so long. Aisha defended her sincerity throughout her life.
When it came time to decide whether to continue on spreading the word about the opposition, Aisha and her advisers believed going to Basrah was the best choice so they could obtain more followers. Aisha was unsure of this idea, but was strongly urged to keep going. Abbott reports that over a thousand people followed Aisha, but only one Mother of the Believers, Hafsah, followed en suite. Aisha's "sisters" traveled with her and the group until reaching Dhat ‘Irq, where they cried and said goodbye, the day known as the "Day of Weeping" (138).
The continuation of the journey brought Aisha closer to Basra, where she received a notice from Umm Salamah urging her not to continue, stating that her participation in the battle was not womanly. She did not back down, but rode her camel, which was known to be the best in Arabia. At one point on the journey to Basrah, Aisha became scared and did not want to continue on. Aisha's followers managed to convince her to continue despite her doubts and fears. During their time at Basrah, there were many political events that occurred between Egypt, ‘Ali, and Aisha.
They encamped close to Basrah. Aisha, Talhah ibn ‘Ubayd Allah, and Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam were all in agreement with Mu‘awiyah that those who assassinated ‘Uthman should be brought to justice. They wanted ‘Ali to arrest ‘Uthman's killer instead of fighting Mu‘awiyah. ‘Ali claimed that he was not able to apprehend and punish ‘Uthman's murderers, fearing rebel infiltration of the Muslim ranks.
The talks lasted over many days. The subsequent heated exchange and protests during the parley turned from words to blows, leading to loss of life on both sides. One night in the confusion, some of ‘Ali's strongest supporters, who later became the Khawarij, started the battle. They felt that if there was peace they will be arrested for the killing of Uthman. Aisha rode on her camel with Ka‘b ibn Sur. Her camel was hamstrung (161) and then she was approached by her brother Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, who was ‘Ali's commander. Muhammad was the son of Abu Bakr, the adopted son of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, and the great-grandfather of Ja‘far al-Sadiq. ‘Ali, with respect, sent her back to Medina, escorted by her brother Muhammad. ‘Ali and Aisha were said to have become friends after the battle. Aisha then started teaching in Medina. Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr was later killed by the Umayyads. Marwan had been manipulating everyone and was arrested but later released. Many years later he became an Umayyad ruler. ‘Ali then moved towards Syria and during the Battle of Siffin depleted Mu‘awiyah's forces. ‘Ali's actions bought a precious breathing pause for Byzantium, which Emperor Constans II (r. 641–668) used to shore up his defences, extend and consolidate his control over Armenia, and, most importantly, initiate a major army reform with lasting effect: the establishment of the themata, the large territorial commands into which Anatolia, the major contiguous territory remaining to the Byzantine Empire, was divided. The remains of the old field armies were settled in each of them, and soldiers were allocated land there in payment of their service. The themata would form the backbone of the Byzantine defensive system for centuries to come. Many of ‘Ali's strongest supporters, who had started the Battle of the Camel, then turned on ‘Ali and started killing innocent people. ‘Ali then fought them in the Battle of Nahrawan. According to both Sunni and Shi‘i books, ‘Ali then said: "With regard to me, two categories of people will be ruined, namely he who loves me too much and the love takes him away from rightfulness, and he who hates me too much and the hatred takes him away from rightfulness. The best man with regard to me is he who is on the middle course. So be with him and be with the great majority of Muslims, because Allah's hand of protection is on keeping unity. You should beware of division, because the one isolated from the group is a prey to Satan, just as the one isolated from the flock of sheep is a prey to the wolf. Beware! whoever calls to this course of sectarianism, even though he may be under this headband of mine.
In 674, after making peace with Ali, with much depleted force, Mu‘awiyah shifted his focus back towards Constantinople. A massive Muslim fleet reappeared in the Marmara and re-established a base at Cyzicus, from whence they raided the Byzantine coasts almost at will. Finally in 676, Mu‘awiyah sent an army to Constantinople by land as well, beginning the first Arab siege of the city. Constantine IV (r. 661–685), however, used a devastating new weapon that came to be known as "Greek fire," invented by a Christian refugee from Syria named Kallinikos of Heliopolis, to decisively defeat the attacking Umayyad navy in the Sea of Marmara, resulting in the lifting of the siege in 678. The returning Muslim fleet suffered further losses due to storms, while the army lost many men to the themata armies who attacked them on their route back. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari (known as Eyüp Sultan in Turkish), the standard bearer of Muhammed and the last of his companions, was killed in the siege; his tomb is in Istanbul.
Salman said that 'Umar asked him, "Am I a king or a khalif?" Salman answered, "If you have taxed the lands one dirham, or more or less, and applied it to unlawful purposes, then you are a king, not a khalif." And 'Umar wept. (At-Tabari, Tarikh, p. 2754)
Many years later after Hassan signed a treaty with Mu'awiya, Muawiya came to Medina and spoke to the people, saying, "I desired the way followed by Abu Bakr and 'Umar, but I was unable to follow it, and so I have followed a course with you which contains fortune and benefits for you despite some bias, so be pleased with what comes to you from me even if it is little. When good is continuous, even if it is little, it enriches. Discontent makes life grim." 
He also said in as address which he delivered to the people, "O people! By Allah, it is easier to move the firm mountains than to follow Abu Bakr and 'Umar in their behaviour. But I have followed their way of conduct falling short of those before me, but none after me will equal me in it." 
Az-Zuhri said, "Mu'awiya acted for two years (in Syria) as 'Umar had acted without altering it." Mu'awiya himself said that he had done his best to follow the behaviour of Abu Bakr and 'Uthman. But when he realised that the environment and circumstances in Syria were different from those in Medina, and that the prevailing culture and people were different, he modified his style of governance accordingly. The vast majority of the population in Syria at the time was not Muslim. The people adhered to many different religions and there were also many Christian and Jewish sects.
Ali strongly felt that as a Caliph, it was also his responsibility to account for every penny and on the day of judgement he will be answerable to God and therefore money should be spent on the poor. Muawiyah argued that that due to his situation on Syria, where the vast majority of the population was not Muslim, he had to pay the wages to his administrative staff and the army and had to retain the Roman administration and had to run a professional administration and tax collection system.
Aisha and her family were against the appointment of Yazid and felt that he was an oppressor.
"Marwan had been appointed as the governor of Hijaz by Mu‘awiyah. He delivered a sermon and mentioned Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah so that the people might take the oath of allegiance to him as the successor of his father (Mu‘awiyah). Then ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr told him something, whereupon Marwan ordered that he be arrested. But ‘Abd al-Rahman entered ‘A’ishah's house and they could not arrest him. Marwan said, 'It is he (‘Abd al-Rahman) about whom Allah revealed this Verse: "And the one who says to his parents: 'Fie on you! Do you hold out the promise to me..?'"' On that, ‘A’ishah said from behind a screen, 'Allah did not reveal anything from the Qur’an about us, except what was connected with the declaration of my innocence (of the slander).'"
Many of al-Husayn ibn Ali's friends in Mecca—‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr the grandson of the first caliph Abu Bakr, ‘Abdullah ibn Umar, the son of the second caliph ‘Umar, and ‘Abdullah ibn Abbas—advised al-Husayn ibn Ali to make Mecca his base and fight against Yazid I from Mecca. Husayn ibn Ali had a lot of support in Mecca and Medina, and they advised him not to go to Kufah in Iraq. When al-Husayn was killed in Karbala’, his friend ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, Aishah's nephew and the cousin of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, collected the people of Mecca and said:
"O people! No other people are worse than Iraqis and among the Iraqis, the people of Kufah are the worst. They repeatedly wrote letters and called Imam Husayn to them and took bay‘ah (allegiance) for his caliphate. But when Ibn Ziyad arived in Kufah, they rallied around him and killed Imam Husayn, who was pious, observed the fast, read the Qur’an, and deserved the caliphate in all respects."
After his speech, the people of Mecca also joined ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr to take on Yazid. When he heard about this, Yazid had a silver chain made and sent to Mecca with the intention of having Walid ibn ‘Utbah arrest Ibn al-Zubair with it.
Eventually ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr consolidated his power by sending a governor to Kufah. He soon established his power in Iraq, southern Arabia, the greater part of Syria, and parts of Egypt. Yazid tried to end ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr's rebellion by invading the Hijaz, and took Medina after the bloody Battle of al-Harrah, followed by the siege of Mecca, but his sudden death ended the campaign and threw the Umayyads into disarray, with civil war eventually breaking out.
This essentially split the Islamic empire into two spheres with two different caliphs, but soon the Umayyad civil war was ended, and ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr lost Egypt and whatever he had of Syria to Marwan I. This coupled with the Kharijite rebellions in Iraq reduced his domain to only the Hijaz.
In Mecca and Medina, al-Husayn's family had a strong support base the people were willing to stand up for them. Husayn's remaining family moved back to Medina.
‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr was the grandson of Abu Bakr and the cousin of al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr. Both Ibn al-Zubayr and al-Qasim were Aishah's nephews. Qasim was also the grandfather of Ja'far al-Sadiq.
Ibn al-Zubayr was finally defeated by ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, who sent al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. Hajjaj defeated and killed Ibn al-Zubayr on the battlefield in 692, beheading him and crucifying his body, reestablishing Umayyad control over the Empire. Hajjaj was from Ta’if.
"You know better in your own self that if you are upon the truth and you are calling towards the truth, go forth, for people more honourable than you were killed and have been killed, and if you are not upon the truth, then what an evil son you are, you have destroyed yourself and those who are with you. If you say what you say, that if you are upon the truth you will be killed at the hands of others, then you will not truly be free, for this is not the statement of someone who is free."
Then Asmā’ said to her son: "How long will you live in this world? Death is more beloved to me than this state you are in, this state of weakness."
Then Ibn al-Zubayr said to his mother after she had told him to go forth and fight, "I am afraid I will be mutilated by the people of al-Sham; I am afraid that they will cut up my body after they have killed me."
So she said to her son, "After someone has died it will make no difference what they do to you, if you have been killed."
Ibn al-Zubayr then said to his mother, "I did not come to you except to increase myself in knowledge; look and pay attention to this day, for verily I am a dead man. Your son never drank wine, nor was he a fornicator, nor did he wrong any Muslim or non-Muslim, nor was he unjust. I am not saying this to you to show off or show how pure I am, but rather as an honour to you."
So Ibn al-Zubayr left by himself on his horse to take on al-Hajjaj, and he was killed by the army of al-Hajjaj.
Then al-Hajjaj crucified him and said, "No one must take down his body except Asma’; she must come to me and ask permission of me, and only then will his body be taken down."
Asma’ refused to go and ask permission to take down her son's body, and it was said to her, "If you do not go, his body will remain like that." So she said, "Let it be, then." Until, eventually, al-Hajjaj came to her and said, "what do you say about this matter?" and she said, "Verily, you have destroyed him, you have ruined his life, and with that you have ruined your hereafter."
A few years later, the people of Kufah called Zayd ibn ‘Ali, the grandson of al-Husayn, over to Kufah. Zaydis believe that in the last hour of Zayd ibn ‘Ali, he was also betrayed by the people in Kufah, who said to him: "May God have mercy on you! What do you have to say on the matter of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab?" Zayd ibn ‘Ali said, "I have not heard anyone in my family renouncing them both, nor saying anything but good about them. When they were entrusted with government, they behaved justly with the people and acted according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah."
Contributions to Islam and influence 
After 25 years of a monogamous relationship with Muhammad's first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Muhammad partook in 10 years of polygyny, marrying nine wives. Muhammad's nine marriages were depicted purely as political unions rather than sexual unions. In particular, Muhammad's unions with Aisha and Hafsah associated him with two of the most significant leaders of the early Muslim community, Aisha's and Hafsah's fathers, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb, respectively.
Aisha's marriage has given her significance among many within Islamic culture, becoming known as the most learned woman of her time. Being Muhammad's favorite wife, Aisha occupied an important position in his life. When Muhammad married Aisha in her youth, she was accessible "...to the values needed to lead and influence the sisterhood of Muslim women." After the death of Muhammad, Aisha was discovered to be a renowned source of hadiths, due to her qualities of intelligence and memory. Aisha conveyed ideas expressing the Prophet's practice (sunnah). She expressed herself as a role model to women, which can also be seen within some traditions attributed to her. The traditions regarding Aisha habitually opposed ideas unfavorable to women in efforts to elicit social change.
Muhammad became a significantly powerful figure of the rapidly expanding Islamic community in 627 C.E. Due to this expansion, segregation of his wives was permitted to enforce their sacrosanct status. Veiling, which was seen as its most distinctive emblem, was not specifically enjoined upon Muslim women anywhere within the Quran. During the time of Muhammad's leadership, women of the ummah were not documented or observed as wearing hijab. Other than Muhammad's wives, women were not required to veil.
After the death of Muhammad, Muslim women believed it was Muslim men, not Islam, that suppressed the rights of women. It was for that reason that Muslim feminists are advocating to return Islam to the society Muhammad had originally envisioned for his followers. Muhammad designated Muslim women as spiritual guides of Medinan society; they prayed and fought alongside Muslim men, and acted not only as religious leaders but political leaders, such as Aisha herself in the Battle of the Camel. United prayer gatherings of both men and women occurred near Muhammad's house, as they were blessed as a "single undivided community" (136).
Aisha played a key role in the emergence of Islam, and played an active position in social reform of the Islamic culture. Not only was she supportive of Muhammad, but she contributed scholarly intellect to the development of Islam. She was given the title al-Siddiqah, meaning 'the one who affirms the truth'. Aisha was known for her "...expertise in the Qur'an, shares of inheritance, lawful and unlawful matters, poetry, Arabic literature, Arab history, genealogy, and general medicine." Her intellectual contributions regarding the verbal texts of Islam were in time transcribed into written form, becoming the official history of Islam. After the death of Muhammad, Aisha was regarded as the most reliable source in the teachings of hadith. As she was Muhammad's favorite wife and a close companion, soon after his death the Islamic community began consulting Aisha on Muhammad's practices, and she was often used to settle disputes on demeanor and various points of law. Aisha's authentication of Muhammad's ways of prayer and his recitation of the Qur’an allowed for development of knowledge of his sunnah of praying and reading verses of the Qur’an. ‘Urwah, Aisha's nephew, explained Aisha's strengths in knowledge of Islamic law. Aisha was also often solicited for advice regarding information on inheritance, requiring much needed knowledge of the Qur’an. She exemplified the ability to clearly and influentially speak out.
During Aisha's entire life she was a strong advocate for the education of Islamic women, especially in law and the teachings of Islam. She was known for establishing the first madrasah for women in her home. Attending Aisha's classes were various family relatives and orphaned children. Men also attended Aisha's classes, with a simple curtain separating the male and female students. One of her most mentioned and outstanding students was her nephew Urwah, who eventually became one of the greatest scholars of his generation. Umrah bint ‘Abd al-Rahman was also one of Aisha's famous women pupils, regarded not only as a trustworthy narrator of hadiths, but Aisha's secretary as well.
Aisha's scholarly intellect and motherly figure made important contributions in the emergence of Islam, and she was an important dignitary among Muslim women. Much of the knowledge we have about Muhammand is narrated through Aisha. She raised and taught her nephew al-Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr after his father Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr was killed by the Umayyads.
Qasim's mother was of ‘Ali's family and his daughter Farwah bint al-Qasim, who married Muhammad al-Baqir, was the mother of Jafar al-Sadiq. Therefore al-Qasim was the grandson of the first caliph Abu Bakr and the grandfather of Ja'far al-Sadiq, whose views the Twelver Shi‘ah follow. The Twelver Shi‘ah do not accept Abu Bakr as the first caliph, but do accept his great-great-grandson Ja‘far al-Sadiq as one of their imams.
Aisha taught her nephew Urwah ibn al-Zubayr. He in turn taught his son Hisham ibn ‘Urwah, who was the main teacher of Malik ibn Anas, whose views many Sunnis follow, and who also taught Ja‘far al-Sadiq. Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, Hisham ibn ‘Urwah, and Muhammad al-Baqir taught Zayd ibn ‘Ali, Ja‘far al-Sadiq, Abu Hanifah, and Malik ibn Anas.
Al-Shafi‘i was taught by Malik ibn Anas. Ahmad ibn Hanbal was taught by al-Shafi‘i. Muhammad al-Bukhari travelled extensively collecting hadiths, and his father Isma‘il ibn Ibrahim was a student of Malik ibn Anas.
Political influence 
As mentioned before, Aisha became an influential figure in early Islam after Muhammad's death. However, Aisha also had a strong political influence. Though Muhammad had ordered his wives to stay in the home, Aisha, after Muhammad's death, took a public and predominant role in politics. Some say that Aisha's political influence helped promote her father, Abu Bakr, the caliphate after Muhammad's death. Through Aisha's standing as Muhammad's favorite wife, her opinion was taken greatly into consideration.
After the defeat at the Battle of Camel, Aisha retreated to Medina and became a teacher. Upon her arrival in Medina, Aisha retired from her public role in politics. Her discontinuation of public politics, however, did not stop her political influence completely. Privately, Aisha continued influencing those intertwined in the Islamic political sphere. Amongst the Islamic community, she was known as an intelligent woman who debated law with male companions. Aisha was also considered to be the embodiment of proper rituals while partaking in the pilgrimage to Mecca, a journey she made with several groups of women. For the last two years of her life, Aisha spent much of her time telling the stories of Muhammad, hoping to correct false passages that had become influential in formulating Islamic law. Due to this, Aisha's political influence continues to impact those in Islam.
Aisha died in Medina at the age of 65 on Ramadan 17, 678 CE (57 AH). She was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi‘. She died of disease at home, and Muhammad's companion Abu Hurayrah led her funeral prayer after the night prayer of tahajjud, and then she was buried in Jannat al-Baqi‘ graveyard in Medina.
Sunni view of Aisha 
Sunnis hold Aisha in high esteem; many believe she was Muhammad's favorite wife and the best woman of her time. They consider her (among other wives) to be Umm al-Mu’minin and among the members of the Ahl al-Bayt, or Muhammad's family.
Shi‘ah view of Aisha 
The Shi‘ah view of Aisha is a negative one. This is primarily due to what they see as her contempt for the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad's family) and her attempts to stir up the fitnah (civil war) of the time.
See also 
- First Muslim Dynasty
- Muhammad's wives
- List of persons related to Qur'anic verses
- Sunni view of the Sahaba
- The Jewel of Medina
- Spellberg, p. 3.
- History of the Islamic Peoples: With a Review of Events, by Carl Brockelmann, Moshe Perlmann, Joel Carmichael; G. P. Putnams Sons, 1947
- Nabia Abbott, Aishah: the Beloved of Muhammad (University of Chicago Press, 1942) ISBN 978-0-405-05318-4
- Ahmed, Leila. Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven: Yale University Press,1992,51
- Abbott, Nabia (1942). Aishah The Beloved of Muhammad. University of Chicago Press. p. 1.
- Esposito, John L. "A'ishah In the Islamic World: Past and Present". Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
- The Heirs of Muhammad: Islam's First Century and the Origins of the Sunni-Shia Split, page 135, Barnaby Rogerson - 2006
- Esposito, John. L. "A'ishah In The Islamic World: Past and Present". Oxford Islamic Studies Online. Retrieved Nov 12, 2012.
- Abbott, Nabia (1942). Aishah The Beloved of Muhammad. University Chicago Press. p. 2.
- Ahmed, Lelia (1992). Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. Yale University Press.
- Abbott, Nabia (1942). The Beloved of Muhammad. University Chicago Press. p. 1.
- Abott, Nabia (1942). Aisha The Beloved of Muhammad. University of Chicago Press. p. 3.
- Watt, "Aisha", Encyclopedia of Islam Online
- Amira Sonbol, Rise of Islam: 6th to 9th century, Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures
- Spellberg, D.A. (1996). Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of ‘A’isha bint Abi Bakr. Columbia University Press. pp. 4-5. ISBN 0-231-07999-0, ISBN 978-0-231-07999-0.
- Karen Armstrong, Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet, Harper San Francisco, 1992, p. 157.
- Barlas (2002), p. 125-126
- Sahih al-Bukhari, 5:58:234, 5:58:236, 7:62:64, 7:62:65, 7:62:88, Sahih Muslim, 8:3309, 8:3310, 8:3311, 41:4915, Sunan Abu Dawood, 41:4917
- Tabari, Volume 9, Page 131; Tabari, Volume 7, Page 7
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- Sahih al-Bukhari , 6:60:434.
- Noble Quran
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- Nahj al-Balaghah, Sermon 126
- Treadgold (1997), pp. 325–327
- The Walls of Constantinople, AD 324–1453, Osprey Publishing, ISBN 1-84176-759-X.
- Mu'awiya as a Model of Islamic Governance published by Dar al-Taqwa insha'llah 
- Sahih al-Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 352. Narrated by Yusuf ibn Mahak.
- Balyuzi, H. M.: Muhammad and the course of Islam. George Ronald, Oxford (U.K.), 1976, p.193
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- Islam re-defined: an intelligent man's guide towards understanding Islam - Page 54 
- Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law By Khaled Abou El Fadl page 72
- The waning of the Umayyad caliphate by Tabarī, Carole Hillenbrand, 1989, p37, p38
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- Spellberg, D.A. (1996). Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: The Legacy of 'A'isha bint Abi Bakr. Columbia University Press. pp. 3. ISBN 0-231-07999-0, ISBN 978-0-231-07999-0.
- Geissinge, Aisha (01). "‘A’isha bint Abi Bakr and her Contributions to the Formation of the Islamic Tradition". Religion Compas 10 (11): 42.
- "‘A’isha was eighteen years of age at the time when the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) died and she remained a widow for forty-eight years till she died at the age of sixty-seven. She saw the rules of four caliphs in her lifetime. She died in Ramadan 58 AH during the caliphate of Mu‘awiya…" (Source: Sunan Nasa'i: English translation with Arabic text, compiled by Imam Abu Abd-ur-Rahman Ahmad Nasa'i, rendered into English by Muhammad Iqbal Siddiqui [Lahore: Kazi Publications; first edition, 1994], Volume 1, p. 108)
- al-Bidayah wa-al-Nihayah by Ibn Kathir, book 4, chapter 7, page 97.
Further reading 
- Afshar, Haleh, Democracy and Islam, Hansard Society, 2006.
- Barlas, Asma, Believing Women in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an, pp. 125–6, University of Texas Press, 2002, ISBN 0-292-70904-8.
- Guillaume, A., The Life of Muhammad, Oxford University Press, 1955
- Rodinson, Maxime, Muhammad, 1980 Random House reprint of English translation
- Spellberg, D.A., Politics, Gender, and the Islamic Past: the Legacy of A'isha bint Abi Bakr, Columbia University Press, 1994
- Aisha bint Abi Bakr, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Oxford University Press, 2000
- Rizvi, Syed Saeed Akhtar, The Life of Muhammad The Prophet, Darul Tabligh North America, 1971.
- Askri,Mortaza, 'Role of Ayesha in the History of Islam' (Translation), Ansarian publication, Iran
- Chavel, Geneviève. Aïcha : La bien-aimée du prophète. Editions SW Télémaque. 11 octobre 2007. ISBN-10: 2753300550, ISBN-13: 978-2753300552