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Mukadimah

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Malaysia’s politics hit a new low today when a video of a man having an illicit relationship with another man who is claimed to be a cabinet minister. As soon as the video went viral, our hearts are worried about the 1001 problems that would arise from the spread of the said video.

Hence, we feel the need to give a comprehensive guideline for Muslims in Malaysia and thus, we have spent some of our time doing research and writing 4 articles of Bayan Linnas in regard to this evening’s issue (13th June 2019). One of the articles is titled The Incident of al-Ifki (Fitnah/Slander) Towards Aisyah R.Anha: Lessons and Wisdom in Facing Current Fitnah.

In the end of times, there are numerous incidents of fitnah and deception. There are those who accuse someone without presenting any reliable evidence and there are those who are shallow enough to believe dubious news. The Prophet PBUH warns anyone who likes to talk or spread information without knowing the validity of it. From Abu Hurairah, the Prophet PBUH:

إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ مَا يَتَبَيَّنُ فِيهَا يَزِلُّ بِهَا فِي النَّارِ أَبْعَدَ مِمَّا بَيْنَ الْمَشْرِق

“A slave of Allah may utter a word without thinking whether it is right or wrong, he may slip down in the Fire as far away a distance equal to that between the east.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (6477)

In another narration, the Prophet PBUH said:

إِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ مِنْ رِضْوَانِ اللَّهِ لاَ يُلْقِي لَهَا بَالًا يَرْفَعُهُ اللَّهُ بِهَا دَرَجَاتٍ وَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَكَلَّمُ بِالْكَلِمَةِ مِنْ سَخَطِ اللَّهِ لاَ يُلْقِي لَهَا بَالًا يَهْوِي بِهَا فِي جَهَنَّمَ

“A slave (of Allah) may utter a word which pleases Allah without giving it much importance, and because of that Allah will raise him to degrees (of reward): a slave (of Allah) may utter a word (carelessly) which displeases Allah without thinking of its gravity and because of that he will be thrown into the Hell-Fire.”

Sahih al-Bukhari (6478)

Al-Hafiz Ibnu Hajar al-Asqalani cited the opinion of Ibnu Battal who commented on the above hadith. He states that the above hadith indicates that among the biggest test on humans are his tongue and private parts. Whoever protects himself from these two matters, then he has protected himself against the greatest harms that can befall him. (Refer Fath Al-Bari Syarh Sahih Al-Bukhari, 11/308)

Thus, it is important to face any type of fitnah in accordance with the way that has been taught to us by the Prophet PBUH. This is so that this fitnah is faced with proper etiquettes and mindfulness without any disregard towards the guidelines set in the Quran and al-Sunnah.

Hence, in this Bayan Linnas article, we will analyse a great unfortunate incident that happened during the time of our Prophet PBUH, which the incident of al-Ifki (slander towards Aisyah). We will see how the Prophet PBUH handled and face the conflict of fitnah during that time. May this Bayan Linnas give understanding for all Muslim ummah and provide lessons in our everyday lives when we are faced with tribulations and tests of life.

We do not consider the issue today as the same as the one before, but surely there are valuable lessons that we could gain in facing today’s difficulties in accordance with Hadyun Nabawi.

Background of the al-Ifki Incident

Al-Ifki is an Arabic word which originates from the word أَفِكَ  . It has several meanings. Some of the meanings are explained by al-Raghib al-Asfahani [1]. He said the word أَفِكَ  means turning away from a correct belief to a false belief. Turning away from saying or stating the truth to lying. Or turning away from doing good to bad deeds. The word أَفِكَ  is used multiple times with the meanings described by al-Raghib al-Asfahani in the Quran. Allah SWT states:

يُؤْفَكُ عَنْهُ مَنْ أُفِكَ

 “Deluded away from the Qur'an is he who is deluded.”

Surah al-Zariyat (9)

Sayyid Qutb said: “And those who supports wrongdoings will never be united but will eternally be divided, argue and disagree among themselves soon afterwards.

The same is stated in another verse of the Quran:

قَالُوٓا۟ أَجِئْتَنَا لِتَأْفِكَنَا عَنْ ءَالِهَتِنَا فَأْتِنَا بِمَا تَعِدُنَآ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ ٱلصَّـٰدِقِينَ

They said, "Have you come to delude us away from our gods? Then bring us what you promise us, if you should be of the truthful."

Surah al-Ahqaf (22)

Imam al-Qurtubi said: Allah SWT’s statement “They said, ‘Have you come to delude us away from our gods?’ have two meanings: First, to turn us away from worshipping and devoting ourselves to Him through wrongdoing and falsehood. Second, to turn us away from our gods and prohibiting us from them. (See al-Jami’ li Ahkam al-Quran, 16/205)

Allah SWT also states:

وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ أَفَّاكٍ أَثِيمٍ

“Woe to every sinful liar.”

Surah al-Jathiyah (7)

Syeikh al-Maraghi said: “A great woe is for those who lies in his speech and who commit sins. Then, they are arrogant when the verses of the Quran are recited to them.” (See Tafsir al-Maraghi, 13/6285)

This word is also used to describe the fake news and slander spread by the hypocrites regarding Aisyah. Allah SWT states:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ جَآءُو بِٱلْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ

“Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you.”

Surah al-Nur (11)

Ibn Kathir said: Allah SWT states, “Indeed, those who came with falsehood”, means lie, slander and defamation. (See Tafsir al-Quran al-‘Azim,6/25)

Simply put, the word الإِفْك means lie, deceit, and atrocious actions that will turn people away from the truth to falsehood.

The incident of al-Ifki happened in the sixth year of hijrah at the end of Bani Mustoliq war. It is an incident where the hypocrites accused Aisayh R.Anha of adultery with a companion of the Prophet PBUH which is Sofwan bin Mu’attol RA. This incident had fundamentally brought divide and dissension in Medina society during the time. There are some companions who completely reject the fitnah. While there are some who chose to stay quiet, but there still are some companions who believe the slanderous accusations and spread it, such as Mistoh bin Uthathah, Hamnah binti Jahsyi and Hasan bin Thabit. This situation continues for a month before Allah SWT revealed verse 11 of surah al-Nur to free and clear Aisyah from this dreadful accusation. Allah SWT states:

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ جَآءُو بِٱلْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِّنكُمْ ۚ لَا تَحْسَبُوهُ شَرًّا لَّكُم ۖ بَلْ هُوَ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ ۚ لِكُلِّ ٱمْرِئٍ مِّنْهُم مَّا ٱكْتَسَبَ مِنَ ٱلْإِثْمِ ۚ وَٱلَّذِى تَوَلَّىٰ كِبْرَهُۥ مِنْهُمْ لَهُۥ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

“Indeed, those who came with falsehood are a group among you. Do not think it bad for you; rather it is good for you. For every person among them is what [punishment] he has earned from the sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof - for him is a great punishment.”

Surah al-Nur (11)

Sayyid Qutb explained the above verse stating: It means, the fitnah (slander) is not created by one person or several people but it is from a united group of people with the same purpose. Those who spread the fitnah is not Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul alone, but he holds an important role, representing the Jews and hypocrites who are unable to openly oppose the Muslims. They hide under the façade of being a Muslim and quietly trying to destroy Islam.

And this incident of slander is one of their destructive plans, but some Muslims are deceived with their di’ayah (slander and lie) and are also responsible in spreading this slanderous claims, such as Hamnah binti Jahsy, Hassan ibn Thabit and Mistah ibn Uthathah, whilst the source of the slander is a group under Abdullah ibn Ubay ibn Salul, a cunning and intelligent mastermind behind it all. He never openly or directly involved himself in the spread of the fitnah, which made it impossible for him to be sentenced through hudud. He spread the fitnah whispering it to his trusted people who he knew would never act as a witness against him. (See Tafsir fi Zilal al-Quran, 11/374-375)

Aisyah R.anha Recount the True Narration of the Circumstances of the Incident

It is well known that verse 11 of surah al-Nur is revealed to clear Aisyah R.Anha from the atrocious accusation made against her by the hypocrites. This incident has been explained by Aisyah R.Anha herself in an extensive narration. This is a well-known story cited in renown hadith books. Some of them are Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunan al-Nasaie, al-Sunan al-Kubra by Imam al-Baihaqi and many others. Basically, the story is narrated by 4 companions from Aisyah R.Anha. The companions are Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utbah Bin Mas’ud, Urwah bin Zubair, Sa’id bin Musayyib and Alqamah bin Waqqas. Though all of them narrated from Aisyah R.Anah, each narration has different wordings but carries the same meaning.

Among the renown phrasing is from Imam al-Bukhari with a complete sanad in his book. Imam al-Bukhari [2] said:

Abu al-Rabi’ Sulaiman bin Daud tell us the following narration: A part of the narration is explained by Ahmad: Fulaih bin Sulaiman told us from Ibnu Syihab al-Zuhri from Urwah bin Zubair, Sa’id bin Musayyib, Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utbah and Alqamah bin Waqqas al-Laithi from Aisyah R.Anha who is the wife of the Prophet PBUH, when she was asked regarding the incident where she was later cleared from. Aisyah R.Anha said:

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا أَرَادَ أَنْ يَخْرُجَ سَفَرًا أَقْرَعَ بَيْنَ أَزْوَاجِهِ فَأَيَّتُهُنَّ خَرَجَ سَهْمُهَا خَرَجَ بِهَا مَعَهُ فَأَقْرَعَ بَيْنَنَا فِي غَزَاةٍ غَزَاهَا فَخَرَجَ سَهْمِي فَخَرَجْتُ مَعَهُ بَعْدَ مَا أُنْزِلَ الْحِجَابُ فَأَنَا أُحْمَلُ فِي هَوْدَجٍ وَأُنْزَلُ فِيهِ فَسِرْنَا حَتَّى إِذَا فَرَغَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ غَزْوَتِهِ تِلْكَ وَقَفَلَ وَدَنَوْنَا مِنْ الْمَدِينَةِ آذَنَ لَيْلَةً بِالرَّحِيلِ فَقُمْتُ حِينَ آذَنُوا بِالرَّحِيلِ فَمَشَيْتُ حَتَّى جَاوَزْتُ الْجَيْشَ فَلَمَّا قَضَيْتُ شَأْنِي أَقْبَلْتُ إِلَى الرَّحْلِ فَلَمَسْتُ صَدْرِي فَإِذَا عِقْدٌ لِي مِنْ جَزْعِ أَظْفَارٍ قَدْ انْقَطَعَ فَرَجَعْتُ فَالْتَمَسْتُ عِقْدِي فَحَبَسَنِي ابْتِغَاؤُهُ فَأَقْبَلَ الَّذِينَ يَرْحَلُونَ لِي فَاحْتَمَلُوا هَوْدَجِي فَرَحَلُوهُ عَلَى بَعِيرِي الَّذِي كُنْتُ أَرْكَبُ وَهُمْ يَحْسِبُونَ أَنِّي فِيهِ وَكَانَ النِّسَاءُ إِذْ ذَاكَ خِفَافًا لَمْ يَثْقُلْنَ وَلَمْ يَغْشَهُنَّ اللَّحْمُ وَإِنَّمَا يَأْكُلْنَ الْعُلْقَةَ مِنْ الطَّعَامِ فَلَمْ يَسْتَنْكِرْ الْقَوْمُ حِينَ رَفَعُوهُ ثِقَلَ الْهَوْدَجِ فَاحْتَمَلُوهُ وَكُنْتُ جَارِيَةً حَدِيثَةَ السِّنِّ فَبَعَثُوا الْجَمَلَ وَسَارُوا فَوَجَدْتُ عِقْدِي بَعْدَ مَا اسْتَمَرَّ الْجَيْشُ فَجِئْتُ مَنْزِلَهُمْ وَلَيْسَ فِيهِ أَحَدٌ فَأَمَمْتُ مَنْزِلِي الَّذِي كُنْتُ بِهِ فَظَنَنْتُ أَنَّهُمْ سَيَفْقِدُونَنِي فَيَرْجِعُونَ إِلَيَّ فَبَيْنَا أَنَا جَالِسَةٌ غَلَبَتْنِي عَيْنَايَ فَنِمْتُ وَكَانَ صَفْوَانُ بْنُ الْمُعَطَّلِ السُّلَمِيُّ ثُمَّ الذَّكْوَانِيُّ مِنْ وَرَاءِ الْجَيْشِ فَأَصْبَحَ عِنْدَ مَنْزِلِي فَرَأَى سَوَادَ إِنْسَانٍ نَائِمٍ فَأَتَانِي وَكَانَ يَرَانِي قَبْلَ الْحِجَابِ فَاسْتَيْقَظْتُ بِاسْتِرْجَاعِهِ حِينَ أَنَاخَ رَاحِلَتَهُ فَوَطِئَ يَدَهَا فَرَكِبْتُهَا فَانْطَلَقَ يَقُودُ بِي الرَّاحِلَةَ حَتَّى أَتَيْنَا الْجَيْشَ بَعْدَ مَا نَزَلُوا مُعَرِّسِينَ فِي نَحْرِ الظَّهِيرَةِ فَهَلَكَ مَنْ هَلَكَ وَكَانَ الَّذِي تَوَلَّى الْإِفْكَ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ أُبَيٍّ ابْنُ سَلُولَ فَقَدِمْنَا الْمَدِينَةَ فَاشْتَكَيْتُ بِهَا شَهْرًا وَالنَّاسُ يُفِيضُونَ مِنْ قَوْلِ أَصْحَابِ الْإِفْكِ وَيَرِيبُنِي فِي وَجَعِي أَنِّي لَا أَرَى مِنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اللُّطْفَ الَّذِي كُنْتُ أَرَى مِنْهُ حِينَ أَمْرَضُ إِنَّمَا يَدْخُلُ فَيُسَلِّمُ ثُمَّ يَقُولُ كَيْفَ تِيكُمْ لَا أَشْعُرُ بِشَيْءٍ مِنْ ذَلِكَ حَتَّى نَقَهْتُ فَخَرَجْتُ أَنَا وَأُمُّ مِسْطَحٍ قِبَلَ الْمَنَاصِعِ مُتَبَرَّزُنَا لَا نَخْرُجُ إِلَّا لَيْلًا إِلَى لَيْلٍ وَذَلِكَ قَبْلَ أَنْ نَتَّخِذَ الْكُنُفَ قَرِيبًا مِنْ بُيُوتِنَا وَأَمْرُنَا أَمْرُ الْعَرَبِ الْأُوَلِ فِي الْبَرِّيَّةِ أَوْ فِي التَّنَزُّهِ فَأَقْبَلْتُ أَنَا وَأُمُّ مِسْطَحٍ بِنْتُ أَبِي رُهْمٍ نَمْشِي فَعَثَرَتْ فِي مِرْطِهَا فَقَالَتْ تَعِسَ مِسْطَحٌ فَقُلْتُ لَهَا بِئْسَ مَا قُلْتِ أَتَسُبِّينَ رَجُلًا شَهِدَ بَدْرًا فَقَالَتْ يَا هَنْتَاهْ أَلَمْ تَسْمَعِي مَا قَالُوا فَأَخْبَرَتْنِي بِقَوْلِ أَهْلِ الْإِفْكِ فَازْدَدْتُ مَرَضًا عَلَى مَرَضِي فَلَمَّا رَجَعْتُ إِلَى بَيْتِي دَخَلَ عَلَيَّ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَسَلَّمَ فَقَالَ كَيْفَ تِيكُمْ فَقُلْتُ ائْذَنْ لِي إِلَى أَبَوَيَّ قَالَتْ وَأَنَا حِينَئِذٍ أُرِيدُ أَنْ أَسْتَيْقِنَ الْخَبَرَ مِنْ قِبَلِهِمَا فَأَذِنَ لِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَأَتَيْتُ أَبَوَيَّ فَقُلْتُ لِأُمِّي مَا يَتَحَدَّثُ بِهِ النَّاسُ فَقَالَتْ يَا بُنَيَّةُ هَوِّنِي عَلَى نَفْسِكِ الشَّأْنَ فَوَاللَّهِ لَقَلَّمَا كَانَتْ امْرَأَةٌ قَطُّ وَضِيئَةٌ عِنْدَ رَجُلٍ يُحِبُّهَا وَلَهَا ضَرَائِرُ إِلَّا أَكْثَرْنَ عَلَيْهَا فَقُلْتُ سُبْحَانَ اللَّهِ وَلَقَدْ يَتَحَدَّثُ النَّاسُ بِهَذَا قَالَتْ فَبِتُّ تِلْكَ اللَّيْلَةَ حَتَّى أَصْبَحْتُ لَا يَرْقَأُ لِي دَمْعٌ وَلَا أَكْتَحِلُ بِنَوْمٍ ثُمَّ أَصْبَحْتُ فَدَعَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلِيَّ بْنَ أَبِي طَالِبٍ وَأُسَامَةَ بْنَ زَيْدٍ حِينَ اسْتَلْبَثَ الْوَحْيُ يَسْتَشِيرُهُمَا فِي فِرَاقِ أَهْلِهِ فَأَمَّا أُسَامَةُ فَأَشَارَ عَلَيْهِ بِالَّذِي يَعْلَمُ فِي نَفْسِهِ مِنْ الْوُدِّ لَهُمْ فَقَالَ أُسَامَةُ أَهْلُكَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ وَلَا نَعْلَمُ وَاللَّهِ إِلَّا خَيْرًا وَأَمَّا عَلِيُّ بْنُ أَبِي طَالِبٍ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَمْ يُضَيِّقْ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ وَالنِّسَاءُ سِوَاهَا كَثِيرٌ وَسَلْ الْجَارِيَةَ تَصْدُقْكَ فَدَعَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بَرِيرَةَ فَقَالَ يَا بَرِيرَةُ هَلْ رَأَيْتِ فِيهَا شَيْئًا يَرِيبُكِ فَقَالَتْ بَرِيرَةُ لَا وَالَّذِي بَعَثَكَ بِالْحَقِّ إِنْ رَأَيْتُ مِنْهَا أَمْرًا أَغْمِصُهُ عَلَيْهَا قَطُّ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ أَنَّهَا جَارِيَةٌ حَدِيثَةُ السِّنِّ تَنَامُ عَنْ الْعَجِينِ فَتَأْتِي الدَّاجِنُ فَتَأْكُلُهُ فَقَامَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ يَوْمِهِ فَاسْتَعْذَرَ مِنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أُبَيٍّ ابْنِ سَلُولَ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَنْ يَعْذُرُنِي مِنْ رَجُلٍ بَلَغَنِي أَذَاهُ فِي أَهْلِي فَوَاللَّهِ مَا عَلِمْتُ عَلَى أَهْلِي إِلَّا خَيْرًا وَقَدْ ذَكَرُوا رَجُلًا مَا عَلِمْتُ عَلَيْهِ إِلَّا خَيْرًا وَمَا كَانَ يَدْخُلُ عَلَى أَهْلِي إِلَّا مَعِي فَقَامَ سَعْدُ بْنُ مُعَاذٍ فَقَالَ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَنَا وَاللَّهِ أَعْذُرُكَ مِنْهُ إِنْ كَانَ مِنْ الْأَوْسِ ضَرَبْنَا عُنُقَهُ وَإِنْ كَانَ مِنْ إِخْوَانِنَا مِنْ الْخَزْرَجِ أَمَرْتَنَا فَفَعَلْنَا فِيهِ أَمْرَكَ فَقَامَ سَعْدُ بْنُ عُبَادَةَ وَهُوَ سَيِّدُ الْخَزْرَجِ وَكَانَ قَبْلَ ذَلِكَ رَجُلًا صَالِحًا وَلَكِنْ احْتَمَلَتْهُ الْحَمِيَّةُ فَقَالَ كَذَبْتَ لَعَمْرُ اللَّهِ لَا تَقْتُلُهُ وَلَا تَقْدِرُ عَلَى ذَلِكَ فَقَامَ أُسَيْدُ بْنُ حُضَيْرٍ فَقَالَ كَذَبْتَ لَعَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهِ لَنَقْتُلَنَّهُ فَإِنَّكَ مُنَافِقٌ تُجَادِلُ عَنْ الْمُنَافِقِينَ فَثَارَ الْحَيَّانِ الْأَوْسُ وَالْخَزْرَجُ حَتَّى هَمُّوا وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ عَلَى الْمِنْبَرِ فَنَزَلَ فَخَفَّضَهُمْ حَتَّى سَكَتُوا وَسَكَتَ وَبَكَيْتُ يَوْمِي لَا يَرْقَأُ لِي دَمْعٌ وَلَا أَكْتَحِلُ بِنَوْمٍ فَأَصْبَحَ عِنْدِي أَبَوَايَ وَقَدْ بَكَيْتُ لَيْلَتَيْنِ وَيَوْمًا حَتَّى أَظُنُّ أَنَّ الْبُكَاءَ فَالِقٌ كَبِدِي قَالَتْ فَبَيْنَا هُمَا جَالِسَانِ عِنْدِي وَأَنَا أَبْكِي إِذْ اسْتَأْذَنَتْ امْرَأَةٌ مِنْ الْأَنْصَارِ فَأَذِنْتُ لَهَا فَجَلَسَتْ تَبْكِي مَعِي فَبَيْنَا نَحْنُ كَذَلِكَ إِذْ دَخَلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَجَلَسَ وَلَمْ يَجْلِسْ عِنْدِي مِنْ يَوْمِ قِيلَ فِيَّ مَا قِيلَ قَبْلَهَا وَقَدْ مَكَثَ شَهْرًا لَا يُوحَى إِلَيْهِ فِي شَأْنِي شَيْءٌ قَالَتْ فَتَشَهَّدَ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا عَائِشَةُ فَإِنَّهُ بَلَغَنِي عَنْكِ كَذَا وَكَذَا فَإِنْ كُنْتِ بَرِيئَةً فَسَيُبَرِّئُكِ اللَّهُ وَإِنْ كُنْتِ أَلْمَمْتِ بِذَنْبٍ فَاسْتَغْفِرِي اللَّهَ وَتُوبِي إِلَيْهِ فَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَ إِذَا اعْتَرَفَ بِذَنْبِهِ ثُمَّ تَابَ تَابَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ فَلَمَّا قَضَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَقَالَتَهُ قَلَصَ دَمْعِي حَتَّى مَا أُحِسُّ مِنْهُ قَطْرَةً وَقُلْتُ لِأَبِي أَجِبْ عَنِّي رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ وَاللَّهِ مَا أَدْرِي مَا أَقُولُ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقُلْتُ لِأُمِّي أَجِيبِي عَنِّي رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِيمَا قَالَ قَالَتْ وَاللَّهِ مَا أَدْرِي مَا أَقُولُ لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَتْ وَأَنَا جَارِيَةٌ حَدِيثَةُ السِّنِّ لَا أَقْرَأُ كَثِيرًا مِنْ الْقُرْآنِ فَقُلْتُ إِنِّي وَاللَّهِ لَقَدْ عَلِمْتُ أَنَّكُمْ سَمِعْتُمْ مَا يَتَحَدَّثُ بِهِ النَّاسُ وَوَقَرَ فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ وَصَدَّقْتُمْ بِهِ وَلَئِنْ قُلْتُ لَكُمْ إِنِّي بَرِيئَةٌ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنِّي لَبَرِيئَةٌ لَا تُصَدِّقُونِي بِذَلِكَ وَلَئِنْ اعْتَرَفْتُ لَكُمْ بِأَمْرٍ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ أَنِّي بَرِيئَةٌ لَتُصَدِّقُنِّي وَاللَّهِ مَا أَجِدُ لِي وَلَكُمْ مَثَلًا إِلَّا أَبَا يُوسُفَ إِذْ قَالَ {فَصَبْرٌ جَمِيلٌ وَاللَّهُ الْمُسْتَعَانُ عَلَى مَا تَصِفُونَ} ثُمَّ تَحَوَّلْتُ عَلَى فِرَاشِي وَأَنَا أَرْجُو أَنْ يُبَرِّئَنِي اللَّهُ وَلَكِنْ وَاللَّهِ مَا ظَنَنْتُ أَنْ يُنْزِلَ فِي شَأْنِي وَحْيًا وَلَأَنَا أَحْقَرُ فِي نَفْسِي مِنْ أَنْ يُتَكَلَّمَ بِالْقُرْآنِ فِي أَمْرِي وَلَكِنِّي كُنْتُ أَرْجُو أَنْ يَرَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي النَّوْمِ رُؤْيَا يُبَرِّئُنِي اللَّهُ فَوَاللَّهِ مَا رَامَ مَجْلِسَهُ وَلَا خَرَجَ أَحَدٌ مِنْ أَهْلِ الْبَيْتِ حَتَّى أُنْزِلَ عَلَيْهِ الْوَحْيُ فَأَخَذَهُ مَا كَانَ يَأْخُذُهُ مِنْ الْبُرَحَاءِ حَتَّى إِنَّهُ لَيَتَحَدَّرُ مِنْهُ مِثْلُ الْجُمَانِ مِنْ الْعَرَقِ فِي يَوْمٍ شَاتٍ فَلَمَّا سُرِّيَ عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَهُوَ يَضْحَكُ فَكَانَ أَوَّلَ كَلِمَةٍ تَكَلَّمَ بِهَا أَنْ قَالَ لِي يَا عَائِشَةُ احْمَدِي اللَّهَ فَقَدْ بَرَّأَكِ اللَّهُ فَقَالَتْ لِي أُمِّي قُومِي إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَقُلْتُ لَا وَاللَّهِ لَا أَقُومُ إِلَيْهِ وَلَا أَحْمَدُ إِلَّا اللَّهَ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى {إِنَّ الَّذِينَ جَاءُوا بِالْإِفْكِ عُصْبَةٌ مِنْكُمْ} الْآيَاتِ فَلَمَّا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ هَذَا فِي بَرَاءَتِي قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ الصِّدِّيقُ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُ وَكَانَ يُنْفِقُ عَلَى مِسْطَحِ بْنِ أُثَاثَةَ لِقَرَابَتِهِ مِنْهُ وَاللَّهِ لَا أُنْفِقُ عَلَى مِسْطَحٍ شَيْئًا أَبَدًا بَعْدَ مَا قَالَ لِعَائِشَةَ فَأَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ تَعَالَى {وَلَا يَأْتَلِ أُولُو الْفَضْلِ مِنْكُمْ وَالسَّعَةِ أَنْ يُؤْتُوا إِلَى قَوْلِهِ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ} فَقَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ بَلَى وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لَأُحِبُّ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لِي فَرَجَعَ إِلَى مِسْطَحٍ الَّذِي كَانَ يُجْرِي عَلَيْهِ وَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَسْأَلُ زَيْنَبَ بِنْتَ جَحْشٍ عَنْ أَمْرِي فَقَالَ يَا زَيْنَبُ مَا عَلِمْتِ مَا رَأَيْتِ فَقَالَتْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَحْمِي سَمْعِي وَبَصَرِي وَاللَّهِ مَا عَلِمْتُ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا خَيْرًا قَالَتْ وَهِيَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ تُسَامِينِي فَعَصَمَهَا اللَّهُ بِالْوَرَعِ

The Incident of al-Ifki

Whenever Allah's Messenger () intended to go on a journey, he used to draw lots among his wives and would take with him the one on whom the lot had fallen. Once he drew lots when he wanted to carry out a Ghazwa, and the lot came upon me. So, I proceeded with Allah's Apostle after Allah's order of veiling (the women) had been revealed and thus I was carried in my howdah (on a camel) and dismounted while still in it. We carried on our journey, and when Allah's Apostle had finished his Ghazwa and returned and we approached Medina, Allah's Messenger () ordered to proceed at night. When the army was ordered to resume the homeward journey, I got up and walked on till I left the army (camp) behind. When I had answered the call of nature, I went towards my howdah.

But behold! A necklace of mine made of Jaz Azfar (a kind of black bead) was broken and I looked for it and my search for it detained me. The group of people who used to carry me, came and carried my howdah on to the back of my camel on which I was riding, considering that I was therein. At that time women were light in weight and were not fleshy for they used to eat little (food), so those people did not feel the lightness of the howdah while raising it up, and I was still a young lady. They drove away the camel and proceeded. Then I found my necklace after the army had gone. I came to their camp but found nobody therein so I went to the place where I used to stay, thinking that they would miss me and come back in my search. While I was sitting at my place, I felt sleepy and slept.

Safwan bin Al-Mu'attil As-Sulami Adh- Dhakw-ani was behind the army. He had started in the last part of the night and reached my stationing place in the morning and saw the figure of a sleeping person. He came to me and recognized me on seeing me for he used to see me before veiling. I got up because of his saying: "Inna Li l-lahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun," which he uttered on recognizing me. I covered my face with my garment, and by Allah, he did not say to me a single word except, "Inna Li l-lahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun," till he made his shecamel kneel down whereupon he trod on its forelegs and I mounted it. Then Safwan set out, leading the she-camel that was carrying me, till we met the army while they were resting during the hot midday.

Then whoever was meant for destruction, fell in destruction, and the leader of the Ifk (forged statement) was `Abdullah bin Ubai bin Salul. After this we arrived at Medina and I became ill for one month while the people were spreading the forged statements of the people of the Ifk, and I was not aware of anything thereof. But what aroused my doubt while I was sick, was that I was no longer receiving from Allah's Messenger () the same kindness as I used to receive when I fell sick. Allah's Messenger () would enter upon me, say a greeting and add, "How is that (lady)?" and then depart. That aroused my suspicion but I was not aware of the propagated evil till I recovered from my ailment.

I went out with Um Mistah to answer the call of nature towards Al-Manasi, the place where we used to relieve ourselves, and used not to go out for this purpose except from night to night, and that was before we had lavatories close to our houses. And this habit of ours was similar to the habit of the old 'Arabs (in the deserts or in the tents) concerning the evacuation of the bowels, for we considered it troublesome and harmful to take lavatories in the houses.

So, I went out with Um Mistah who was the daughter of Abi Ruhm bin `Abd Manaf, and her mother was daughter of Sakhr bin Amir who was the aunt of Abi Bakr As-Siddiq, and her son was Mistah bin Uthatha. When we had finished our affair, Um Mistah and I came back towards my house. Um Mistah stumbled over her robe whereupon she said, "Let Mistah be ruined ! " I said to her, "What a bad word you have said! Do you abuse a man who has taken part in the Battle of Badr?' She said, "O you there! Didn't you hear what he has said?" I said, "And what did he say?" She then told me the statement of the people of the Ifk (forged statement) which added to my ailment.

When I returned home, Allah's Messenger () came to me, and after greeting, he said, "How is that (lady)?" I said, "Will you allow me to go to my parents?" At that time, I intended to be sure of the news through them. Allah's Messenger () allowed me and I went to my parents and asked my mother, "O my mother! What are the people talking about?" My mother said, "O my daughter! Take it easy, for by Allah, there is no charming lady who is loved by her husband who has other wives as well, but that those wives would find fault with her." I said, "Subhan Allah! Did the people really talk about that?"

That night I kept on weeping the whole night till the morning. My tears never stopped, nor did I sleep, and morning broke while I was still weeping, Allah's Messenger () called `Ali bin Abi Talib and Usama bin Zaid when the Divine Inspiration delayed, in order to consult them as to the idea of divorcing his wife. Usama bin Zaid told Allah's Messenger () of what he knew about the innocence of his wife and of his affection he kept for her. He said, "O Allah's Messenger ()! She is your wife, and we do not know anything about her except good." But `Ali bin Abi Talib said, "O Allah's Messenger ()! Allah does not impose restrictions on you; and there are plenty of women other than her. If you however, ask (her) slave girl, she will tell you the truth."

`Aisha added: So, Allah's Messenger () called for Barira and said, "O Barira! Did you ever see anything which might have aroused your suspicion? (as regards Aisha). Barira said, "By Allah Who has sent you with the truth, I have never seen anything regarding Aisha which I would blame her for except that she is a girl of immature age who sometimes sleeps and leaves the dough of her family unprotected so that the domestic goats come and eat it." In the morning my parents were with me, and I had wept for two nights and a day without sleeping and with incessant tears till they thought that my liver would burst with weeping. While they were with me and I was weeping, an Ansari woman asked permission to see me. I admitted her and she sat and started weeping with me. While I was in that state, Allah's Apostle came to us, greeted, and sat down.

He had never sat with me since the day what was said, was said. He had stayed a month without receiving any Divine Inspiration concerning my case. Allah's Messenger () recited the Tashahhud after he had sat down, and then said, "Thereafter, O `Aisha! I have been informed such and-such a thing about you; and if you are innocent, Allah will reveal your innocence, and if you have committed a sin, then ask for Allah's forgiveness and repent to Him, for when a slave confesses his sin and then repents to Allah, Allah accepts his repentance."

When Allah's Apostle had finished his speech, my tears ceased completely so that I no longer felt even a drop thereof. Then I said to my father, "Reply to Allah's Messenger () on my behalf as to what he said." He said, "By Allah, I do not know what to say to Allah's Messenger ()." Then I said to my mother, "Reply to Allah's Apostle." She said, "I do not know what to say to Allah's Messenger ()." Still a young girl as I was and though I had little knowledge of Qur'an, I said, "By Allah, I know that you heard this story (of the Ifk) so much so that it has been planted in your minds and you have believed it. So now, if I tell you that I am innocent, and Allah knows that I am innocent, you will not believe me; and if I confess something, and Allah knows that I am innocent of it, you will believe me. By Allah, I cannot find of you an example except that of Joseph's father: "So (for me) patience is most fitting against that which you assert and it is Allah (Alone) Whose help can be sought. Then I turned away and lay on my bed, and at that time I knew that I was innocent and that Allah would reveal my innocence.

But by Allah, I never thought that Allah would sent down about my affair, Divine Inspiration that would be recited (forever), as I considered myself too unworthy to be talked of by Allah with something that was to be recited: but I hoped that Allah's Messenger () might have a vision in which Allah would prove my innocence. By Allah, Allah's Messenger () had not left his seat and nobody had left the house when the Divine Inspiration came to Allah's Messenger (). So there overtook him the same hard condition which used to overtake him (when he was Divinely Inspired) so that the drops of his sweat were running down, like pearls, though it was a (cold) winter day, and that was because of the heaviness of the Statement which was revealed to him. When that state of Allah's Messenger () was over, and he was smiling when he was relieved, the first word he said was, "Aisha, Allah has declared your innocence."

Aisha further said: Allah's Messenger () also asked Zainab bint Jahsh about my case. He said, "O Zainab! What have you seen?" She replied, "O Allah's Messenger ()! I protect my hearing and my sight (by refraining from telling lies). I know nothing but good (about Aisha)." Of all the wives of Allah's Messenger (), it was Zainab who aspired to receive from him the same favor as I used to receive, yet, Allah saved her (from telling lies) because of her piety.

Sahih al-Bukhari (2661) and Sahih Muslim (2770)

Indeed, Allah SWT cleared the name of Saidatina Aisyah R.Anah from the fitnah with the revelation of verse 11-19 of surah al-Nur, explaining the truth. The subsequent verse describes the punishment of qazaf (accusation) against the dignity of a pure woman with the punishment of whipping. The qazaf punishment is sentenced and carried out on the companions who believe and spread the fitnah such as Saidina Hasan Ibn Thabit RA, Misthah RA and Hamnah RA. [3]

Lessons from the Incident

There are many lessons that we could take from the story of Aisyah R.Anha. It is closely related to what is happening in our current time. Especially in our time where the advancement of technology also leads to the easy manipulation and spread of information by anyone.

Al-Qadhi Iyadh states that this incident contains lessons and wisdoms of which we can learn from. Some of them are:

  • To judge something according to the facts.
  • Only have good perception and assumption towards other Muslims especially those who are renown for their piety and good character, such as Aisyah and Sofwan bin Mu’attal.
  • Do not bother with obvious deception and lie made or claimed by some people as hwat most Muslimin did when Aisyah R.Anah was accused.
  • The story also teaches those who are accused to surrender all their affairs to Allah SWT.
  • Increase your supplication and repentance to Allah SWT.

(Refer Ikmal Al-Mu’lim Syarh Sahih Muslim, 8/142)

We would like to also add several lessons from this story, which are as the following:

  • Consult and discuss with pious and knowledgeable people.
  • Avoid hastily judging others, which will harm yourself, family, society and country.
  • People are easily influenced even if he is a Muslim. Hence, we should choose pious and good people as our friends to protect ourselves against the whispers of shaytan.
  • Remember and return back to Allah SWT, for it is the best solution for all our problems.
  • The attitude of the Prophet PBUH, Aisyah R.Anha and Abu Bakar R.A should be our example when we are faced with tribulations and tests in our lives.
  • Have a firm belief and patience in facing the test of fitnah which will lead to a beautiful solution from the All-Knowing Allah SWT.

Imam al-Bukhari place the above narration under the chapter ‘If someone made an acknowledgement stating: we do not know anything about this person except good things (باب: إِذَا عَدَّلَ رَجُلٌ أَحَدًا فَقَالَ لاَ نَعْلَمُ إِلاَّ خَيْرًا، أَوْ قَالَ مَا عَلِمْتُ إِلاَّ خَيْرًا)’ which is published in the book about testimony (الشهادات). What’s interesting is a statement made by Maulana Zakariya al-Kandahlawi which is; if most people acknowledged the goodness of a person, then the testimony is accepted. (Refer Al-Abwab wa Al-Tarajim Li Sahih Al-Bukhari, 4/142)

We could greatly learn from the character of Ummu al-Mukminin Zainab binti Jahsyi when Aisyah R.Anah was accused of adultery and the Prophet PBUH asked her regarding the matter, then she answered:

يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ أَحْمِي سَمْعِي وَبَصَرِي وَاللَّهِ مَا عَلِمْتُ عَلَيْهَا إِلَّا خَيْرًا قَالَتْ وَهِيَ الَّتِي كَانَتْ تُسَامِينِي فَعَصَمَهَا اللَّهُ بِالْوَرَعِ

“O Allah's Messenger ()! I refrain from claiming falsely that I have heard or seen anything. By Allah, I know nothing except good (about `Aisha).”

Sahih al-Bukhari (4381)

Observing how Zainab answered the Prophet PBUH, it is enough for us to reflect back on how we would have acted. Even though Zainab was always competing with Aisyah R.Anha, she did not say even a bad word about Aisyah. She could have easily give bad comments about Aisyah, but her faith and clean heart stops her from saying such things, even when fitnah about Aisyah is being spread at the time.

Syeikh Abu Hasan Ali al-Nadwi states other wisdoms from the above story, some of them are as the following:

  • First: Widespread fitnah will lead to negative implications and affects the harmony and peace in a society. The reason is, in a prejudiced society, people will have terrible thoughts and accusations about each other, regardless whether it is true or not. This will lead to animosity and dissention among people.
  • Second: Evil accusation and fitnah, even though it is preposterous or implausible will be believed by some people. Which is what happened in the incident of al-Ifk such as Misthah RA, Zaid Ibn Thabit RA, Hamnah bin Jahsy RA and others.
  • Third: Deception and plans from the disbelievers and the hypocrites to divide the Muslims from within Muslim people, after they are humiliated due to their loss in the al-Ahzab war. When they figured they could not defeat the Prophet PBUH with military strength and weaponry, they resort to psychological warfare to weaken the Muslims through fitnah. This will lead to discord and disunity in the hearts of the Muslims.
  • Fourth: The purpose of the hypocrites are to spread fitnah in society and to hurt the Prophet PBUH and his wife Saidatina Aisyah R.Anha. Concurrently, it will lead to feelings of mistrust and apprehension among the people of Medina towards the Prophet PBUH’s family which will ultimately lead to uncertainty towards the Prophet PBUH himself.
  • Fifth: The actions of the companions of the Prophet PBUH who defended the dignity of Saidatina Aisyah R.Anha who are slandered by the hypocrites should be commended for it will provide emotional support for the person who are slandered. This is also shown by the actions of Saidina Abu Bakar al-Siddiq RA who chose to stay quiet and subsequently defended his daughter after revelation from Allah SWT. (Refer Sirah Al-Nabawiyah Li Al-Nadwi, pg. 273)

Through our analysis, we found that what is happening in our world today is similar to what has been stated by Syeikh Abu Hasan Ali al-Nadwi. Hence, let us be mindful and vigilant in practising the lessons from the story when we are faced with the test of fitnah in our lives. This is the correct solution.

Wisdoms from the Quran Regarding What to do When We are Facing Fitnah?

When we study every verse from surah al-Nur, we found wisdoms in the Quran regarding how we should react when we are facing fitnah in our lives. These wisdoms are mentioned immediately after Allah SWT cleared Saidatina Aisyah from the accusation of adultery with Sifwan bin Mu’attol in verse 11. Among the wisdoms are:

First: Always have good assumption or perception towards believers. This is commanded through the statement of Allah SWT:

لَّوْلَآ إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتُ بِأَنفُسِهِمْ خَيْرًا وَقَالُوا۟ هَـٰذَآ إِفْكٌ مُّبِينٌ

Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, "This is an obvious falsehood"?

Surah al-Nur (12)

This is what was practised by the companions of the Prophet PBUH when they heard the news about Aisyah and Sofwan bin Mu’attol. Among the companions who did this is Abu Ayub al-Ansari and his family. They are completely uninvolved with the plot of the spread of the fitnah nor in believing of such lies. (Refer Al-Kasyaf ‘An Haqaiq Ghawamid Al-Tanzil, 3/212)

Second: Verify and present evidence for every news before spreading it. Allah SWT states:

لَّوْلَا جَآءُو عَلَيْهِ بِأَرْبَعَةِ شُهَدَآءَ ۚ فَإِذْ لَمْ يَأْتُوا۟ بِٱلشُّهَدَآءِ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ عِندَ ٱللَّـهِ هُمُ ٱلْكَـٰذِبُون

“Why did they [who slandered] not produce for it four witnesses? And when they do not produce the witnesses, then it is they, in the sight of Allah, who are the liars.”

Surah al-Nur (13)

Third: Never belittle or underestimate fitnah that is happening. This is a very important thing to consider. Every Muslim should never involve himself with any conspiracy to harm the reputation or degrade someone else with baseless accusations. This is in accordance with Allah SWT’s statement:

إِذْ تَلَقَّوْنَهُۥ بِأَلْسِنَتِكُمْ وَتَقُولُونَ بِأَفْوَاهِكُم مَّا لَيْسَ لَكُم بِهِۦ عِلْمٌ وَتَحْسَبُونَهُۥ هَيِّنًا وَهُوَ عِندَ ٱللَّـهِ عَظِيم

“When you received it with your tongues and said with your mouths that of which you had no knowledge and thought it was insignificant while it was, in the sight of Allah, tremendous.”

Surah al-Nur (15)

Fourth: Advise others to not talk about or spread the fitnah. This is also an important attitude for someone who is in a situation where fitnah is being spread. For a believer, his tongue is an important responsibility. He would not easily believe anything and everything that he heard. He would also advise others to not get involve with the spreading of the fitnah where even its validity and source is unknown. Allah SWT states:

وَلَوْلَآ إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُم مَّا يَكُونُ لَنَآ أَن نَّتَكَلَّمَ بِهَـٰذَا سُبْحَـٰنَكَ هَـٰذَا بُهْتَـٰنٌ عَظِيمٌ

And why, when you heard it, did you not say, "It is not for us to speak of this. Exalted are You, [O Allah]; this is a great slander"?

Surah al-Nur (16)

This includes spreading the news through mass media without first verifying and validating the news with reliable sources.

May Allah SWT show us the truth of the matter. We should also increase our supplication:

اللَّهُمَّ أَرِنَا الْحَقَّ حَقًّا، وَارْزُقْنَا اتِّبَاعَهُ، وَأَرِنَا الْبَاطِلَ بَاطِلًا، وَارْزُقْنَا اجْتنِاَبَهُ، وَلَا تَجْعَلْهُ مُلْتَبِسًا عَلَيْنَا فَنَضِلَّ، وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا

“O Allah, enable me to see the truth as truth and give me the ability to follow it, and enable me to see the falsehood as false and give me the ability to refrain from it. And protect us from being confused that we will end up being led astrayed. And make the leaders among us from someone with taqwa.”

Wallahua’lam.

Akhukum fillah,

SS Dato’ Seri Dr. Zulkifli bin Mohamad al-Bakri
Mufti Wilayah Persekutuan
16 Jun 2019 bersamaan 12 Syawal 1440 Hijrah.

End Notes:

[1] Refer Al-Mufradat Fi Gharib Al-Quran pg. 23-24

[2] He placed this hadith under several chapters. One of it is in his commentary book under the chapter وْلَآ إِذْ سَمِعْتُمُوهُ ظَنَّ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتُ no 4381

[3] Refer Fiqh al-Sirah li Muhammad al-Ghazali, m/s 292-296 & al-Sirah al-Nabawiyah lil Abu Hasan al-Nadwi, pg. 273-277