Our Prophet's
"And you are truly ˹a man˺ of outstanding character"
[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
The incident of Ifk - A story of Forgiveness and Reciprocating evil with goodness
By: Shaikh Zafar Ul Hasan Al Madani

The group of munafiqeen (hypocrites: those who seemingly embraced Islam but actually did not believe in Allah Almighty) always looked for an opportunity to disturb the Messenger of Allah and his Companions. They resorted to all kinds of methods to achieve their goals. They even slandered the wife of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and acted arrogantly and meanly.

The Incident of Ifk is the slander by Abdullah bin Ubay, the leader of the munafiqeen, against Ayesha (Allah be pleased with her). The incident took place as follows:

Narrated by Ayesha:

Whenever Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) intended to go on a journey, he used to draw lots amongst his wives, and Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to take with him the one on whom the lot fell. He drew lots amongst us during one of the Ghazwat (against Banu Mustaliq) which he fought. The lot fell on me and so I proceeded with Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) after Allah's order of veiling (the women) had been revealed. I was carried (on the back of a camel) in my howdah (a kind of a chair) and carried down while still in it (when we came to a halt). So we went on till Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) had finished from that Ghazwa of his and returned. When we approached the city of Medina he announced at night that it was time for departure. So when they announced the news of departure, I got up and went away from the army camps, and after finishing from the call of nature, I came back to my riding animal. I touched my chest to find that my necklace which was made of Zifar beads (i.e. Yemenite beads partly black and partly white that was given to her by her mother) was missing. So I returned to look for my necklace and my search for it detained me. (In the meanwhile) the people who used to carry me on my camel, came and took my howdah and put it on the back of my camel on which I used to ride, as they considered that I was in it. In those days women were light in weight for they did not get fat, and flesh did not cover their bodies in abundance as they used to eat only a little food. Those people therefore, disregarded the lightness of the howdah while lifting and carrying it; and at that time I was still a young girl. They made the camel rise and all of them left (along with it). I found my necklace after the army had gone. Then I came to their camping place to find no call maker of them, nor one who would respond to the call. So I intended to go to the place where I used to stay, thinking that they would miss me and come back to me (in my search). While I was sitting in my resting place, I was overwhelmed by sleep and slept. Safwan bin Al-Muattal As-Sulami Adh-Dhakwani was behind the army. When he reached my place in the morning, he saw the figure of a sleeping person and he recognized me on seeing me as he had seen me before the order of compulsory veiling (was prescribed). So I woke up when he recited Istirja' (اِنّا لِلّٰهِ وَاِنّا اِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُوْن ) as soon as he recognized me. I veiled my face with my head cover at once, and by Allah, we did not speak a single word, and I did not hear him saying any word besides his Istirja'. He dismounted from his camel and made it kneel down, putting his leg on its front legs and then I got up and rode on it. Then he set out leading the camel that was carrying me till we overtook the army in the extreme heat of midday while they were at a halt (taking a rest).

The Slander (Ifk) by Munafiqeen:

([In some narrations] While Safwan bin Muattal (Allah be pleased with him) was bringing Ayesha (Allah be pleased with her) on the camel, Abdullah bin Ubay, the leader of the munafiqeen saw them and asked, “Who is that person?”

They said, “It is Ayesha.”

Abdullah bin Ubay expressed his evil intention there by saying:

“By God! Neither Ayesha nor that man will be acquitted of this incident!”

He uttered many other mean sentences. The rumor that Abdullah bin Ubay caused, spread among the soldiers of the army.)

Narrated by Ayesha:

(Because of the event) some people brought destruction upon themselves and the one who spread the Ifk (slander) more, was Abdullah bin Ubay Ibn Salul." (Urwa said, "The people propagated the slander and talked about it in his (Abdullah's) presence and he confirmed it and listened to it and asked about it to let it prevail." `Urwa also added, "None was mentioned as members of the slanderous group besides (Abdullah) except Hassan bin Thabit and Mistah bin Uthatha and Hamna bint Jahsh along with others about whom I have no knowledge, but they were a group as Allah said. It is said that the one who carried most of the slander was `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul."

Ayesha Falls Sick and Learns About the Rumour:

Ayesha added, "After we returned to Medina, I became ill for a month. The people were propagating the forged statements of the slanderers while I was unaware of anything of all that, but I felt that in my present ailment, I was not receiving the same kindness from Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as I used to receive when I got sick. (But now) Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) would only come, greet me and say,' How is that (lady)?' and leave. That roused my doubts, but I did not discover the evil ( slander) till I went out after my convalescence. I went out with Um Mistah to Al-Manasi' where we used to answer the call of nature and we used not to go out (to answer the call of nature) except at night, and that was before we had latrines near our houses. And this habit of ours concerning relieving ourselves, was similar to the habits of the old Arabs living in the deserts, for it would be troublesome for us to make latrines near our houses. So I and Um Mistah went out. I and Um Mistah returned to my house after we finished answering the call of nature. Um Mistah stumbled by getting her foot entangled in her covering sheet and on that she said, 'Let Mistah be ruined!' I said, 'What a hard word you have said. Do you abuse a man who took part in the battle of Badr?' On that she said, 'O you Hantah! Didn't you hear what he (Mistah) said? 'I said, 'What did he say?' Then she told me the slander of the people of Ifk.

So my ailment was aggravated, and when I reached my home, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) came to me, and after greeting me, said, 'How is that (lady)?' I said, 'Will you allow me to go to my parents?' as I wanted to be sure about the news through them. Allah's Apostle allowed me (and I went to my parents) and asked my mother, 'O mother! What are the people talking about?'

(Her mother confirmed the spread of rumours) I said: سبحان اللہ! Are the people really talking in this way?'

I kept on weeping that night till dawn I could neither stop weeping nor sleep then in the morning again, I kept on weeping.

All that day I kept on weeping with my tears never ceasing, and I could never sleep. In the morning my parents were with me and I wept for two nights and a day with my tears never ceasing and I could never sleep till I thought that my liver would burst from weeping.

(For me) patience is most fitting: against that which ye assert, it is God (alone) whose help can be sought.’

Abu Ayub Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) spoke in favour of Aisha (Allah be pleased with her):

When Abu Ayub Ansari ( Allah be pleased with him) returned home, his wife informed him about the controversy. He asked her:

"I ask you, If you were in her place, would you have committed the act that people are talking about Aisha (Allah be pleased with her)?

She exclaimed: "By Allah, Never."

He asked her: "If I were in the place of Safwan (Allah be pleased with him) and found a lady in this situation, do you think I would have committed this act?"

She responded with a surprise: "I know your character, by Allah, you would never do it."

Abu Ayub Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) said: " By Allah! How can you even think about Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) when you know that she is multiple times better than you? Even the man who escorted her safely is better than me."

This was the strongest defending statement in favour of Aisha (Allah be pleased with her).

Barira, Ayesha's servant and Zainab bint Jahash, wife of our Prophet ﷺ and sister of Hamna bint Jahash, strongly advocated her innocence.

Do you like to go to Jannah? Then choose for others, what you prefer for yourself. This is one of the conditions to go to Paradise. Abu Ayub Ansari (Allah be pleased with him) did the same.

Revelation Proves Her Innocence:

Narrated by Ayesha:

By Allah, I never thought that Allah would reveal about my case, Divine Inspiration, that would be recited (forever as a part of Quran) as I considered myself too unworthy to be talked of by Allah with something of my concern, but I hoped that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) might have a dream in which Allah would prove my innocence. But, by Allah, before Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) left his seat and before any of the household left, the Divine inspiration came to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ). So there overtook him the same hard condition which used to overtake him, (when he used to be inspired Divinely). The sweat was dropping from his body like pearls though it was a wintry day and that was because of the weighty statement which was being revealed to him. When that state of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) was over, he got up smiling, and the first word he said was, 'O `Aisha! Allah has declared your innocence!'

So Allah revealed the ten Verses:

"Verily! They who spread the slander Are a gang, among you............."

Allah revealed those Qur'anic Verses to declare my innocence.

Abu Bakr Gets Angry:

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq who used to disburse money for Mistah bin Uthatha because of his relationship to him and his poverty, said, 'By Allah, I will never give to Mistah bin Uthatha anything after what he has said about Aisha.'

Abu Bakr is Guided by Allah:

Then Allah revealed:

"And let not those among you who are good and wealthy swear not to give (any sort of help) to their kinsmen, those in need, and those who have left their homes for Allah's cause, let them pardon and forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is oft-Forgiving Most Merciful."

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said, 'Yes, by Allah, I would like that Allah forgives me.' and went on giving Mistah the money he used to give him before. He also added, 'By Allah, I will never deprive him of it at all.'

In the above mentioned verse, Allah has put a condition for a person seeking forgiveness; (That) he should forgive others.

This is a part of Islamic Akhlaq (character) which is not only meant for the Prophet ﷺ but also for his followers.

The study of the Prophet’s Akhlaq (character) is not just to be a learned scholar, but to be a person who implements all the teachings that he has learned in his everyday life.