Forgiven and Forgotten

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(Sayyidah ‘Aaishah [radhiyallahu ‘anha] – Part Four)

As mentioned previously, Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was mistakenly left behind when the army suddenly departed while returning from the expedition of Banul Mustaliq. Later Sayyiduna Safwaan bin Mu‘attal (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) discovered her waiting in the place where the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) had camped and escorted her safely back to the army. 

When they arrived at the army, the tongues of the hypocrites began to wag, and they spread the rumour that – Allah Ta‘ala forbid! – Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) had indulged in sin with Sayyiduna Safwaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu). In this manner, they falsely accused our beloved mother, Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha), of indecency (na‘oozubillah). This incident is known as the incident of ifk (slander).

Unfortunately, although the hypocrites were responsible for starting the rumours, there were a few sincere Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) who erred and also became unwittingly involved in speaking of these rumours. Among these Sahaabah was Sayyiduna Hassaan bin Thaabit (radhiyallahu ‘anhu), the poet who would use his poetry to speak in defence of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) when the disbelievers would mock at him.

After a period of time, during which Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) suffered extreme anguish, as the stigma of the false rumour persisted, Allah Ta‘ala Himself exonerated her and declared her innocence by revealing verses of the Quraan Majeed in her defence.

On one occasion, many years later, a nephew of Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) began to speak ill of Sayyiduna Hassaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) in her presence. When she heard the words of her nephew, she stopped him saying, “Do not speak ill of him, for he would defend Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) (by means of his poetry).” (Saheeh Bukhaari #3531)

Lessons:

1. This incident is clear testament to how clean the heart of Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha) was. Despite Sayyiduna Hassaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu) being among those who had erred and unwittingly assisted in spreading the rumour, she pardoned and forgave him. Furthermore, she did not only forgive, but even ‘forgot’, by thereafter defending him when her own nephew wished to speak ill of him. This forgiving nature and keeping a clean heart, free of malice and grudges, is the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), and hence who could have learnt it better than Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radhiyallahu ‘anha)?

2. We should be extremely wary and cautious of all gossip and rumours – especially in the age of social media, when unfounded and unverified information abounds and rapidly circulates. If we become party to propagating a false rumour, we will be answerable by Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, if the rumour is none of our business – let it stay that way. If it does pertain to us, we must verify it before accepting and acting on it.