Could you please answer my question about Shee‘ah (Shi‘a) Islam? Is it permissible for one to think badly of the Prophet’s wife ‘Aa’ishah?
Answer by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid:
Praise be to Allaah.
…The punishment for apostasy (riddah) is well-known in Islaamic Sharee’ah. The one who leaves Islaam will be asked to repent by the Sharee’ah judge in an Islaamic country; if he does not repent and come back to the true religion, he will be killed as a kaafir and apostate, because of the command of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “Whoever changes his religion, kill him.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 3017)…
The scholars of Sunni Islam are all agreed that whoever condemns ‘Aa’ishah for that of which Allaah has stated she is innocent is a kaafir, because he has rejected Allaah’s statement of her innocence in Soorat al-Noor.
Imaam Ibn Hazm quoted a report with an isnad going back to Hishaam ibn ‘Ammaar, who said: “I heard Maalik ibn Anas say: ‘…whoever curses ‘Aa’ishah should be killed.’ He was asked, ‘Why do you say that concerning (the one who curses) ‘Aa’ishah?’ He said, ‘Because Allaah says concerning ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her (interpretation of the meaning): “Allaah forbids you from it [slander] and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever, if you are believers.” [al-Noor 24:17]’”
Maalik said: “Whoever accuses her goes against the Qur’aan, and whoever goes against the Qur’aan should be killed.”
Ibn Hazm said: “This comment of Maalik’s is correct, and it is complete apostasy to reject Allaah’s words that clearly state her innocence.”
Abu Bakr ibn al-‘Arabi said: “Because the people who slandered ‘Aa’ishah accused a pure and innocent person of immorality, then Allah exonerated her. So everyone who accuses her of that of which Allah has stated she is innocent is rejecting what Allah says, and everyone who rejects what Allah says is a kaafir. This is the opinion of Maalik, and the matter is very clear to those who have insight.”
Al-Qaadi Abu Ya‘laa said: “Whoever slanders ‘Aa’ishah by accusing her of that of which Allah stated her innocence is a kaafir, without doubt. More than one imam stated this ijmaa‘ (consensus) and gave this ruling.”
Ibn Abi Moosaa said: “Whoever accuses ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, of that of which Allaah stated she was innocent has left the religion (is no longer a Muslim) and has no right to marry a Muslim woman.”
Ibn Qudaamah said: “It is a part of the Sunnah to say ‘May Allah be pleased with her’ after mentioning the wives of the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him), Mothers of the Believers who are pure and innocent of any evil. The best of them are Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid and ‘Aa’ishah al-Siddeeqah bint al-Siddeeq, whose innocence was stated by Allah; (they are) the wives of the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) in this world and the next. Whoever accuses her of that of which Allah has stated her innocence has rejected the words of Allaah All-Mighty.”
Imam al-Nawawi, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “‘Aa’ishah’s innocence of that of which she was accused is stated definitively in the Qur’aan. If anyone doubts that (may Allah protect us from such a thing), he becomes a kaafir and an apostate, by the consensus of the Muslims.”
Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allaah have mercy on him, said: “The ummah is agreed that whoever slanders her is a kaafir.”
Al-Haafiz ibn Katheer said, in his Tafseer: ” The scholars, may Allah have mercy on them, all agreed that whoever accuses or slanders her after the revelation of this aayah is a kaafir, because he has rejected the Qur’aan.”
Badr al-Deen al-Zirkashi said: “Whoever slanders her is a kaafir, because the Qur’aan clearly states her innocence.”
The scholars based their ruling on the one who slanders ‘Aa’ishah on the following evidence:
(1) The evidence that is derived from the verses in Soorat al-Noor that clearly state her innocence. So whoever accuses her after Allah has declared her innocent is rejecting the words of Allah, which is kufr beyond any shadow of a doubt.
(2) Slandering the family of the Prophet SAWS (peace be upon him) hurts and offends the Prophet himself, and there is no doubt that whatever hurts and offends the Prophet SAWS (peace be upon him) is kufr, by consensus (ijmaa‘). Evidence that the slander of his wife hurt and offended the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) is seen in the hadeeth of the slander (al-ifk) reported by al-Bukhaari and Muslim, in which ‘Aa’ishah says: “. . . The Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) stood up on that day and asked who would go and deal with ‘Abdullaah ibn Ubayy. He was on the minbar, and said: ‘O Muslims, who will deal with a man who I have heard is speaking in an offensive manner about my family? By Allaah, I know nothing but good about my family.’ . . .” What the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) meant was: who will be kind to me, and excuse me if I go and deal with him myself, and I give him what he deserves because I have heard that he is speaking in an offensive manner about my family. This proves that the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) was so deeply offended and hurt that he asked people whether they could deal with this person fairly.
Imaam al-Qurtubi said, in his Tafseer of the aayah “Allaah forbids you from it [slander] and warns you not to repeat the like of it forever, if you are believers.” [al-Noor 24:17]”:
“This is concerning ‘Aa’ishah . . . because of the hurt and offence that the Messenger of Allah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) felt with regard to his honour and his family. This is kufr on the part of the one who does it.”
(3) Slandering ‘Aa’ishah implies insulting the Prophet (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him), because Allah, may He be glorified, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Bad statements are for bad people (or bad women for bad men) and bad people for bad statements (or bad men for bad women). . . ” [al-Noor 24:26]
Al-Haafiz ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy on him, said: “I.e., Allah would not have made ‘Aa’ishah the wife of the Messenger of Allah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) if she had not been good, because he is better than any good person. If she had been bad, she would not have been fit to marry him from a shar‘i point of view, and Allah would never even have decreed it..”
Finally, let us remember that the most beloved of all people to him (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) was ‘Aa’ishah al-Siddeeqah bint al-Siddeeq, as is proven in the report of ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas, who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) put me in charge of an army during the ghazwah (campaign) of al-Salaasil. I came to him and asked him, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, who among the people is most beloved to you?’ He said, ‘Aa’ishah.’ I asked, ‘Who among men?’ He said, ‘Her father.’ I asked, ‘Then who?’ He said, ‘‘Umar,’ then he mentioned a number of others.”
So whoever feels hatred towards the beloved of the Messenger of Allaah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) will deserved to be despised by him on the Day of Resurrection. And Allaah knows best.
See ‘Aqeedat Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa‘ah fi’l-Sahaabah al-Kiraam by Naasir al-Shaykh, 2/781, and I‘tiqaad Ahl al-Sunnah fi’l-Sahaabah by Muhammad al-Wahaybi, p. 58).
The Shia say:
The verses in Soorat al-Noor apply only to the specific charges levied against Aa’ishah in the incident of Al-Ifk and not to any other accusations against her.
Allah (عز و جل) says: “Allah warns you to never repeat anything similar to this again, if you are indeed believers.” [al-Noor 24:17] By the words “anything similar”, we see that it cannot possibly refer only to the incident of Al-Ifk, but rather it applies to any similar slander against Aisha (رضّى الله عنها). Indeed, accusing her of fabricating Hadith, of being one of the Imams of Kufr, and other such things are even more egregious than Zinnah. Therefore, not only is this slander similar to that of those who criticized her in the incident of Al-Ifk, but it is in fact a far more reprehensible thing to utter against her.