Those who raised such a calumnious storm were a small group of the believers. These Ayat were revealed with reference to a specific incident. A false accusation was made against the beloved wife of Allah-SWT’s beloved Prophet-SW, Hadhrat 'Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU. To understand the meanings of these Ayat fully it is imperative to know the incident, in brief.
In the sixth year of the Hijrah, the Holy Prophet-SW undertook the campaign against Bani Mustaliq. He-SW was accompanied by his wife Hadhrat 'Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU’. Since it was customary to be veiled, there was a curtained litter borne on a camel’s back for her-RAU travelling. The routine was that as soon as she-RAU would get into it the attendants would lift it onto the camel’s back. When the Holy Prophet-SW was returning back from the campaign, the caravan halted temporarily, to resume its movement in late hours of the night. Hadhrat 'Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAUwent out to the thicket for the call of nature and before she-RAU had returned the attendants picked up the empty litter and fastened it onto the camel, without feeling her-RAU absence as she-RAU was very petite and light weight. When she-RAU returned the caravan had gone. She-RAU very wisely stayed at the same place, instead of running after the caravan, for she-RAU thought that as soon as they would discover her-RAU absence, a rescue will be sent after her-RAU.
She-RAU covered herself with her-RAU veil and fell asleep. The Holy Prophet-SW had appointed Hadhrat Sufwan bin Mu'attal-RAU to trail the caravan in order to check that nothing had been left behind. When he-RAU arrived at the site at daybreak he-RAU found her-RAU sleeping at the site of her-RAU tent. He-RAU exclaimed "We are for Allaah-SWT and to Him-SWT we shall return one day" the Quranic Ayah normally recited at the time of distress. She-RAU sat up on hearing the voice, covered in her-RAU veil. Hadhrat Sufwan-RAU seated the camel near her-RAU, which she mounted and he-RAU holding the halter walked along until they caught up with the caravan.
Abdullah ibn Ubbay the hypocrite was also amongst the entourage and this gave him the opportunity to satisfy his hostility towards the Holy Prophet-SW. He began to utter nonsense. Two of the Companions Hassan-RAU and Mistah-RAU, and a lady Hamna-RAU fell in his trap and joined hands with him. The Companions--RAU were deeply aggrieved and so was the Holy Prophet-SW himself for a dastardly attack on his honour. On return to Madinah the Holy Prophet-SW was very upset while Hadhrat 'Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU had no clue of what was going on. She-RAU is quoted in Al-Bukhari that the Holy Prophet-SW would visit her and leave casually enquiring after her welfare. He-SW did not display the usual love and affection because of which she-RAU was taken ill. At last, when she-RAU came to know of the cause from Hadhrat ‘Mistah-RAU ‘s mother, she-RAU couldn't bear it, as it was too traumatic for her-RAU.
She-RAU took leave of the Holy Prophet-SW for her father's house, and shifted there. Her-RAU mother tried to comfort her-RAU telling her-RAU not to worry as a blessed lady like her-RAU was bound to have enemies. Yet she-RAU could not be pacified and her-RAU tears knew no bounds.
At the other end, the Holy Prophet-SW not receiving any revelation during this period sought advice from Hadhrat Osama bin Zayed-RAU and the former said that to the best of his-RAU knowledge there was no room for harbouring any suspicion against her-RAU. The latter said that if the Holy Prophet-SW wanted to choose another wife, there was no dearth of noble ladies, yet it was better to investigate the matter through Hadhrat Baraira-RAU, who was her maid-servant. The Holy Prophet-SW opted for the latter and asked Hadhrat Baraira-RAU, who said that, to the best of her knowledge, Hadhrat ‘Ayeshah-RAU’ was infallible. The only thing she had noticed was that she-RAU was prone to doze off many a time after kneading the dough, which was eaten away by the goat.
Now the Holy Prophet-SW expressed his total annoyance with the accusers from the pulpit. Meanwhile in her parent's home, Hadhrat Ayeshah-RAU was crying so bitterly as if she would cry her heart out, when the Holy Prophet-SW entered. Sitting next to her-RAU, he-SW spoke out briefly: "If you are innocent, Allah-SWT would certainly exonerate you. Otherwise you must repent as He-SWT is Forgiving, Merciful. She-RAU recalls that her-RAU tears dried up and she looked at her mother to speak on her-RAU behalf, but her-RAU parents excused themselves. So she spoke to the Holy Prophet-SW herself. The gist of what she-RAU had said was that the Holy Prophet-SW was hurt on what he heard and if she-RAU was to plead innocent no one would believe her-RAU, whereas Allah-SWT knows that she-RAU was innocent. And if she-RAU was to plead guilty, everyone would believe it. Therefore, she-RAU would entrust the matter to Allah-SWT by repeating what Prophet Ya’qub-AS had said to his-AS sons on hearing their false statement "Patience is seemly. And Allah-SWT is to be implored for help in what you ascribe." After ridding herself of the awesome burden she-RAU retired to her-RAU bed being sure that Allah would inform His Prophet-SW of the true situation, though she never imagined that Allah--SWT would reveal Ayat in her-RAU exoneration, which will be recited in Salat, in worships, in masaajid and in the Sacred Precincts until Al-Qayamah. Right then, the revelation began and on completion the Holy Prophet-SW rose cheerfully and congratulated ‘Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU that Allah-SWT had exonerated her-RAU. He-SW recited the Ayat revealed in her-RAU favour.
While elaborating on these Ayat, the Commentators recount the singular status enjoyed by Hadhrat Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU which she subsequently used to recount with pride, in gratitude to His-SWT Favours; for instance:
- A picture of her-RAU was shown to the Holy Prophet-SW by Hadhrat Jibril-AS before her-RAU Nikah.
- She-RAU was the only spinster wife of the Holy Prophet-SW
- She-RAU was the one who chewed soft the last Miswak used by him-SW.
- The Holy Prophet-SW rested in her-RAU lap on the eve of breathing his-SW last.
- He-SW is laid to eternal rest in her-RAU chamber.
- It was on her-RAU bed that he-SW would often receive revelation
- In her-RAU exoneration Quranic Ayat were revealed and
- She was the daughter of the first Caliph of the Holy Prophet-SW
The Holy Prophet-SW, after this revelation enforced ‘Had’ upon the accusers, Hadhrat Hasan-RAU, Mistah-RAU and Hamna-RAU. They were punished with eighty lashes each, while the real culprit Abdullah lbn Ubbay was punished twice as much. The believers repented thereafter while the hypocrites stayed as such only to be punished in the Akhirah.
After the revelation of these Ayat, if still someone persists on accusing her-RAU, he will be deemed a non believer. As reported by Mufti Mohammad Shafi-RUA in his Mu'arif al Quran, since the Shi'ites (as a whole) continue to accuse her-RAU, they are undoubtly infidels by a consensus of the Ummah.
So Allah-SWT reveals that this storm raised by a few is of no significance, being totally whimsical, without any evidence at all, and is by way of rumour mongering. And secondly it would cause no harm, rather it became a source of virtue, namely (1) A Divine Law for the Muslims in general was laid down (2) These Ayat stand out forever as evidence to the exalted status of Hadhrat 'Ayeshah-RAU.
However, those who launched this calumnious campaign were sure to be punished. Those who agreed with it were punished under Hadud while those who took to silence after hearing it were also sinners. In fact, anyone who even let the thought cross his mind incurred a proportionate sin. Thereafter, all the Muslims repented and the fabricator duly qualified for a awful doom. Ibn Ubbay, who being a hypocrite had already earned a place in Hell, now qualified for a far more severe and tormenting punishment by causing grief to the Holy Prophet-SW.
Allah-SWT questions as to why did the believers, upon hearing, not refute and reject the news as a preposterous lie. Why did they not harbour in their minds positive assumptions with due regard to his-SW honour? And if at all the accusers had any proof they should have come out with it and produced eye witnesses. Islam provides complete protection to human dignity and honour, giving a chance to the erring to repent and reform. So if the evidence is not complete, and only a single person witnesses the event, he should not become a source of infamy to others, else he would be punished under Qazf. This is because publicity makes the guilty determined on the crime and when he is not punished, others pick up the courage, threatening the whole society. Therefore, Islam takes the honour of an individual as the honour of the entire society. And care must be taken that either ‘Had’ is enforced where proof is available in order to reform the society, otherwise the offence is not just publicised.
Had not the Muslims been under Allah-SWT's Mercy and Favours, both in this world and in the Akhirah, they would have certainly been dealt with severely for spreading such a rumour. Some of them unwittingly indulged in senseless talk by merely picking up the baseless words of a hypocrite assuming that it was a minor affair to raise fingers at the Holy Prophet-SW’s household. However, with Allah-SWT , it was a very serious crime; indeed an enormity. Their reaction on hearing such rubbish should have been the instant decision not even to repeat such words. Perfection is for Allah-SWT Alone Who-SWT is free of any short coming, yet this was an enormous accusation. Allah-SWT forbids the believers from repeating and harbouring such thoughts in their mind, (but the Shi'ites still believe it to be right and are thus expelled from Islam). Allah-SWT expounds for the believers clear injunctions and pearls of wisdom as He-SWT is all Knowing, Wise.
Obscene Literature And Movies
All those who wish to promote obscenity in Muslims and the Islamic society will be awarded painful punishment, not only in this world but also in the Akhirah. How detrimental it is for the Muslim society and how painful will be the doom awaiting the promoters, is well known to Allah-SWT . The devastating effects of obscenity cannot be fully gauged by human intellect, as well as the doom that awaits its promoters. What Ibn Ubbay had done is being repeated by the makers, promoters and broadcasters of pornographic films, or those who write vulgarity. They must ponder what a great punishment they are earning in return for petty gains.
Had Allah-SWT not favoured them because of His-SWT Mercy, He-SWT would not have shown such leniency. This accusation was of such a grave nature that a great catastrophe would have befallen them. However, He-SWT showed clemency and gave them the opportunity to repent, accepting the contrition. All those who had let the thought cross their minds must ask Allah-SWT's Forgiveness, including those who had stayed mute over it.