Men of Excellence
After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated: From the accounts relating to the Companions of the Holy Prophet (sa), today, I shall speak about Hazrat Mistah bin Usasah. His name was ‘Auf, but he was known by the title of Mistah. His mother was Hazrat Umme Mistah Salma bin Sakhr, who was the daughter of Raitah bint Sakhr – the maternal aunt of Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra).
Hazrat Mistah bin Usasah migrated to Mecca and on his way, he was bitten by a snake. His relatives came to his help and took him to Medina. The Holy Prophet (sa) established a bond of brotherhood between Hazrat Mistah bin Usasah and Hazrat Zaid bin Muzayyan. Hazrat Mistah accompanied the Holy Prophet (sa) in all the battles, including the Battle of Badr.
Eight months after the Migration, the Holy Prophet (sa) dispatched Hazrat Ubaidah bin Harith with a cavalry consisting of sixty or, according to one report, eighty men. The Holy Prophet (sa) arranged a white flag for Hazrat Ubaidah bin Harith. The purpose of this expedition was to stop the trade caravan of the Quraish. This caravan consisted of 200 people who were transporting trade goods. This caravan was not only a trading caravan but was also laden with weapons. Moreover, the profits of the trade by this caravan were to be used to wage a war against Muslims. Nonetheless, when these people arrived there, no further confrontation took place between the two parties except the exchange of arrows, nor were there any lines formed for combat. The companion, who shot the first arrow from the Muslims was Hazrat Saad bin Abi Waqas. This was the first arrow shot on behalf of Islam. This was the second expedition on behalf of Islam under the leadership of Hazrat Ubaidah bin Harith. After the exchange of arrows, both parties receded. The idolaters were in such awe of the Muslims that they assumed that Muslims had a very large army at their disposal. Hence, they went back in fear and the Muslims did not pursue them any further because the goal was not to initiate war. Rather, it was to stop them and to teach them this lesson that if they were to prepare for a war against the Muslims, then the Muslims were also ready. During the battle of Khayber, the Holy Prophet (sa) gave grains weighing 50 wasq, [a unit of weight] to Hazrat Mistah and Ibn Ilyas. In those days, it was custom to give from the spoils of war. In Tabaqat-ul-Kubra, it has been recorded that he passed away at the age of 56, in the 34th year after Hijra [migration to Medina], during the caliphate of Hazrat Uthman. It is also recorded that he lived until the caliphate of Hazrat Ali and that he participated in the Battle of Siffin alongside Hazrat Ali and passed away the same year, 37th year after Hijra.
Unfortunately, Hazrat Mistah, in his simplicity, ended up joining the people, who raised false and deplorable allegations against Hazrat Ayesha (ra). At that time, Hazrat Abu Bakr, who used to support Hazrat Mistah for his boarding and lodging, vowed not to support him anymore. Upon this, the following verse of the Quran was revealed: That is, ‘And let not those who possess wealth and plenty among you swear not to give aught to the kindred and to the needy and to those who have left their homes in the cause of Allah. Let them forgive and pass over the offence. Do you not desire that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.’
At this, Hazrat Abu Bakr (ra) once again took up his care and supported him. Furthermore, when Allah the Exalted revealed the verses regarding the exoneration of Hazrat Ayesha (ra), those who raised the accusation were also punished and Hazrat Mistah was amongst them.
The Promised Messiah (as) states: “This is a historic event indeed. …God Almighty has included in His attributes that He postpones His warning of impending punishment as a result of repentance, seeking forgiveness, prayers and charity. Similarly, He has also taught man these very morals.” So, if one makes pledge in the form of a warning, it is a good moral quality to abandon it in the face of reformation. However, breaking a promise is not permitted. One will be asked about the promises they broke but abandoning a warning will not questioned. A promise is an oath, which is made keeping in mind all the negative and positive aspects and it is necessary for one to fulfil it. If one breaks it, they will be answerable, or they will be punished for it.”
It is important to review the historical accounts of the incident of the false accusations against Hazrat Ayesha (ra). This has been recorded in Sahih Bukhari.
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) narrates, “It was a custom of the Holy Prophet (sa) he used to draw lots amongst his wives to decide, which one of his wives will accompany him in his travels. On one occasion, before a battle, he drew lots in the same manner, and the lot fell on me.” This was the time when injunctions on Pardah [observing the veil] had already been revealed. Hence, during this journey, I would sit in a litter (a covered seat), and it would be placed on the back of a camel with me inside it and wherever a halt was made, it would be placed on the ground.”
She further states: “One night, the Holy Prophet (sa) ordered for the departure. Before setting off, I went to attend to the call of nature. Just before embarking on my camel, I realised that my black sapphire neckless was missing. I went back in search of it and was delayed a short while. In the meantime, those who had been appointed to lift my litter and place it on the back of the camel arrived, and assuming that I was in the litter, lifted it and placed it on the camel.”
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) further states: “In that era, women were light in weight. The attendants, therefore, did not suspect that I was not already in the litter, when I returned after finding my necklace, lo and behold, the army had left, and the plain was empty. I became extremely worried, but I thought to myself that I should remain at my place, because when people realize that I had been left behind, they would surely return. Therefore, I sat on my spot and was soon overcome by sleep. Now, it so happened that Ṣafwan bin Mu‘aṭṭal was a Companion, whose duty was to stay behind the army (so that fallen items, etc., could be safeguarded). When he arrived from behind the army and reached my resting place just before dawn, he found me sleeping there alone. Since he had already seen me prior to the revelation of injunctions relevant to Pardah, he recognized me immediately, upon which he became flustered and said: Surely, to Allah we belong and to Him shall we return. He brought forward his camel and made it kneel close to me. I then placed my feet on his hands and sat on the camel. He then began to walk, leading the camel by its halter.”
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) further states: “We finally reached the place where the Muslim army had setup camp. This is the account, due to which those who were to be ruined, ruined themselves.” In other words, people levelled false allegations against Hazrat Ayesha (ra) and gossiped about her).
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) further states: The key proponent who was responsible for spreading this slander was Abdullah bin Ubayy bin Salool.
After this, we reached Medina, and it so happened that as soon as we arrived, I fell ill, and this illness lasted for one month. During this time, the forged statements of the slanderers were noised widely, and rumours were spread. However, until then, I was totally oblivious to this rumour mongering. However, one thing I did notice that led me to suspect something was not right was that during my period of illness, the Holy Prophet (sa) did not extend to me the usual affection and kindness that I was accustomed to. When the Holy Prophet (sa) would visit me, he would only say, “Assalamo Alaikum”, and then enquire about my health from my parents. I was completely unaware of any allegations.
I remained unaware to till the point. I partially recovered and was well enough to attend to the call of nature with Umme Mistah bint Abi Ruham. She said to me, “Woe be to Mistah”. I said, “What an awful thing you have uttered. Do you say something unpleasant about one who had participated in the Battle of Badr?” Upon this she replied, “O innocent young lady, have you not heard the rumours people have spread?” It was then that I learnt of the allegation which was being spread against me. These words made me feel really ill. When I returned home, the Holy Prophet (sa) came to visit me as usual and said, ‘Assalamo Alaikum, how are you feeling now?’ I sought permission from the Holy Prophet (sa) to go to my parent’s home as I wanted to find out from them about what was being said about me. The Holy Prophet (sa) granted permission and I went to my parents. I iquired of my mother about what people were saying. My mother said, ‘O Daughter! Do not worry yourself about this. By God, it is common that when a person has a beautiful wife whom he loves, and he also has other wives, the other women say something against her.’ I spontaneously said, ‘Holy is Allah! Are people actually saying these things about me?’ Then I began to cry inconsolably and could not sleep all night. At dawn, I was still weeping for such a huge allegation had been levelled against me. In the morning, the Holy Prophet (sa) called Ali bin Abi Ṭalib (ra) and Usamah bin Zaid (ra) to seek their counsel. He has not received any Divine revelation about the matter and consulted his trusted companions. Usamah (ra) was reverent Hazrat Ayesha (ra) and submitted, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Ayesha (ra) is your wife and By God, We know nothing but goodness with respect to Ayesha’.”
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) states: However, Ali bin Abi Talib (ra), who had a temper in his nature, said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Allah the Exalted has not put you in difficulty, and there are plenty of women other than her.’ perhaps, inquire of the household maid, perhaps she knows something and may be able to tell you the actual truth.’
Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) called for Barirah and inquired, ‘Have you ever seen anything in Ayesha (ra) as may be considered suspicious?’ Barirah responded, ‘I swear by that God who has sent you with the truth, I have never seen anything evil about her, except that on account of her young age, she is a bit careless. It often happens that she leaves the dough unattended and falls in such a deep sleep that goat ends up gobbling the dough.”
“On the same day, the Holy Prophet (sa) addressed his Companions and complained about Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salool for he had propagated this allegation. The Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘I have been given great grief with respect to my wife. Is there anyone from among you who can take care of such an individual? By God, I know nothing of my wife except piety and goodness. Moreover, I also consider the man who has been mentioned in this connection to be pious. (referring to Hazrat Ayesha and the other person who was accused in this incident). He has never come to my home in my absence.’
Upon hearing this address of the Holy Prophet (sa), tempers flared, old tribal rivalries sparkled and an altercation almost broke out, to the extent that although no fighting took place, they were close to doing so. But the Holy Prophet (sa) came down from the pulpit and admonished everyone and diffused the situation. Everyone then fell silent and the Holy Prophet (sa) also remained silent.”
The narration from Bukhari continues. It is quite a lengthy narration. Hazrat Ayesha (ra) further states: “My state was the same as usual, in that my tears would not stop, nor could I sleep. My parents were also with me and I remained as such for two whole nights and one day. I was totally devastated. It was almost one month since the false allegations were raised. The Messenger of Allah (sa) came to my home and sat down with me for the first time after the calumny.”
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) then states: The Holy Prophet (sa) recited the Kalimah, praised God, then he addressed me saying, ‘O Ayesha! I have been informed such and such thing about you. If you are innocent, I trust that God shall affirm your innocence. If, however, you have committed a mistake, you should seek forgiveness from God and bow before him, because when a person bows before God confessing his sin, Allah accepts his repentance, and shows Mercy to him.’ When the Holy Prophet (sa) had finished his address, I noticed that my tears had dried away completely, and there was absolutely no sign of them. At that time, I looked to my father (Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra)) and asked him to respond on my behalf, but he said, ‘By God! I do not know what to say in response to the Holy Prophet (sa).’ (She of course wanted him to affirm her innocence). I then turned to my mother to respond on my behalf, but she also said, ‘By God! I do not know what to say in response to the Holy Prophet (sa).’”
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) states: “At the time, I was a young girl and did not know much of the Qur’an, but I said, ‘By God, I am aware that certain things which people have rumoured about me have reached you, now, if I advocate my innocence, and God surely knows I am innocent, you will still doubt me, but if I accept myself as being guilty, despite my being innocent, you shall believe me.” She then says: “By God, I find myself in the situation of the father of Joseph (as), who said: Patience is better for me, and it is Allah alone Whose help I seek. This is what Hazrat Jacob (as) said to the brothers of Hazrat Joseph (as) that it is Allah alone Whose help I seek against what these people assert.”
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) states: “I quoted this verse and then I turned to the other side sat on my bed hoping for God Almighty to reveal my innocence. However, by God! I never thought that a revelation would be revealed in my favour. I did not consider myself worthy that a Qur’anic revelation would be sent down to clear me of the charges.”
Hazrat Ayesha (ra) further states: However, by God, the Holy Prophet (sa) had not yet left, he began to receive a divine revelation. “Verily, those who brought forth the lie are a party from among you. Think it not to be an evil for you; nay, it is good for you. Every one of them shall have his share of what he has earned of the sin; and he among them who took the chief part therein shall have a grievous punishment.” (24:12)
After receiving the divine revelation, the Holy Prophet (sa) smiled and looked towards me saying, ‘O Ayesha! Show gratitude to God for He has affirmed your innocence.’ At this, my mother spontaneously said, ‘O Ayesha! Get up! And go the Messenger of Allah.’ However, I said that I be not thankful to anyone but God Almighty.’
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad Sahib has narrated this incident of Hazrat Ayesha in Seerat Khatam-un-Nabiyeen [The Life and Character of the Seal of Prophets].
Commenting on this incidence, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) states: “Satan is constantly in search of opportunities to cause mischief and he did not let this occasion pass either.” Some simple minded companions were drawn into spreading false allegations and three people were punished for this. God Almighty forgave Hazrat Mistah and Ibn Ilyas, he was a Badri Companion and therefore Hazrat Mistah held a lofty status. God Almighty ensured he had a pious end and preserved his elevated rank. May Allah the Almighty continue to elevate his status.