You can learn a lot about the life of Aisha (ra) in Tamam Kahn’s book “Untold: A History of the Wives of the Prophet Muhammad” which I reviewed on this blog two years ago.
The life of Hazrat Aisha (ra) is proof that a woman can be far more learned than men and that she can be the teacher of scholars and experts. Her life is also proof that the same woman can be totally feminine and be a source of pleasure, joy and comfort to herself, her husband, family and community.
She was a scholar of great eminence, superior in knowledge not only in comparison to the other Wives of the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and other female companions, but also to most of the male companions. Imam Zehri, a Tabie’e of great renown said, “Aisha was the greatest among the living scholars. Many of the illustrious companions approached her as students and made enquiries on points of knowledge.” He also mentioned, “If the knowledge of all male scholars was collectively assessed, the knowledge of Hazrat Aisha (Radi’Allahu Anha) was far more than theirs”.
Her knowledge of medicine was unparalleled, largely having learnt directly from the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). She was eloquent par excellence and sweet of speech. Musa Bin Talha is reported by Imam Tirmidhi to have said, “I never saw a person more eloquent in speech than Aisha (Radi’Allahu Anha).”
In her youth, already known for her striking beauty and her formidable memory, she came under the loving care and attention of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) himself. As his wife and close companion she acquired from him knowledge and insight such as no woman has acquired.
Hazrat Aisha (Radhiyallahu-Anha) was born as a Muslim. She says: “When I got to the age of understanding my parents were already Muslims.” From this is it clear that not even a brink of Kufr was shadowed upon her.
Hazrat Aisha (ra) became the Holy Prophet’s (saw) wife in Makkah. About her wedding, she related that: “Shortly before she was to leave her parent’s house, she slipped out into the courtyard to play with a passing friend. I was playing on a see-saw and my long streaming hair was dishevelled.” She further says: “They came and took me from my play and made me ready.”
Marriage to the Holy Prophet (saw) did not change her playful ways. Her young friends came to visit her regularly in her own apartment. Hazrat Aisha (ra) had her life to the Prophet (saw).
Once the Prophet (saw) went somewhere at night. When Hazrat Aisha’s (ra) eyes opened she did not find the Prophet (saw) present, so she was very disturbed. She started searching for him in the darkness. Finally her hand touched the foot of the Prophet (saw), who was in prostration, and she was very relieved.
The bulk of her vast treasure of knowledge was obtained while she was quite young. There are 2210 traditions narrated from her.
Hazrat Aisha’s (ra) students were approximately 200, out of which were: Hazrat Abu Hurairah, Hazrat Abu Musa Ashari, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Abbas and Hazrat Abdullah ibn Zubair (ra).
When the Holy Prophet (saw) was on his death bed, he had his head on Hazrat Aisha’s (ra) lap. At the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) death she was only eighteen years old.
Hazrat Aisha (Radi’Allahu Anha) was a person of perfect boldness and self-respect. She avoided backbiting, and her most distinctive virtue was her generosity and large heartedness. Once Amir Mo’awiya sent her a hundred thousand Dirhams from Syria, she gave them away in charity before sunset and kept nothing back for herself.
She was God-fearing, compassionate and consistent with optional prayers. She used to get up at midnight and pray Tahajjud (midnight prayer) in the company of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). She was so regular in this, that after the demise of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), she never missed it.
She frequently kept voluntary fasts and performed the Hajj every year. She was kind and compassionate to slaves and used to set them free after purchasing them. The number of her freed slaves stood at sixty-seven.
After the khilafat (period of ruling the Muslims) of Umar ibn al Khatab, Aisha was among those who opposed some of the policies of the third khalifa (ruler of the Muslims), Uthman. Yet, when Ali became khalifa, Aisha demanded that the assassination of Uthman should be avenged. She joined forces with some of the companions of the Prophet and rebelled against Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth khalifa. Ali defeated her forces during the “Battle of the Camel” and she was captured. Ali treated her graciously and sent her back to Medina, where she died in 678, after about 20 years.