Some missionary haters of Islam lie that Holy Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him, actually did beat his wife ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her. Let us analyze the actual narration, they use and see what it really implies.
Muhammad b. Qais said (to the people): Should I not narrate to you (a hadith of the Holy Prophet) on my authority and on the authority of my mother? We thought that he meant the mother who had given him birth. He (Muhammad b. Qais) then reported that it was ‘A’isha who had narrated this: Should I not narrate to you about myself and about the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him)? We said: Yes. She said: When it was my turn for Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) to spend the night with me, he turned his side, put on his mantle and took off his shoes and placed them near his feet, and spread the corner of his shawl on his bed and then lay down till he thought that I had gone to sleep. He took hold of his mantle slowly and put on the shoes slowly, and opened the door and went out and then closed it lightly. I covered my head, put on my veil and tightened my waist wrapper, and then went out following his steps till he reached Baqi’. He stood there and he stood for a long time. He then lifted his hands three times, and then returned and I also returned. He hastened his steps and I also hastened my steps. He ran and I too ran. He came (to the house) and I also came (to the house). I, however, preceded him and I entered (the house), and as I lay down in the bed, he (the Holy Prophet) entered the (house), and said: Why is it, O ‘A’isha, that you are out of breath? I said: There is nothing. He said: Tell me or the Subtle and the Aware would inform me. I said: Messenger of Allah, may my father and mother be ransom for you, and then I told him (the whole story). He said: Was it the darkness (of your shadow) that I saw in front of me? I said: Yes. He struck me on the chest which caused me pain, and then said: Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you? She said: Whatsoever the people conceal, Allah will know it. He said: Gabriel came to me when you saw me. He called me and he concealed it from you. I responded to his call, but I too concealed it from you (for he did not come to you), as you were not fully dressed. I thought that you had gone to sleep, and I did not like to awaken you, fearing that you may be frightened. He (Gabriel) said: Your Lord has commanded you to go to the inhabitants of Baqi’ (to those lying in the graves) and beg pardon for them. I said: Messenger of Allah, how should I pray for them (How should I beg forgiveness for them)? He said: Say, Peace be upon the inhabitants of this city (graveyard) from among the Believers and the Muslims, and may Allah have mercy on those who have gone ahead of us, and those who come later on, and we shall, God willing, join you.
The wording used:
Consider the second highlight in the narration. This is the wording they seek evidence with. Now the Arabic wording for this is;
فَلَهَدَنِي فِي صَدْرِي لَهْدَةً أَوْجَعَتْنِي
“He struck (lahad) me on the chest which caused me pain.”
Now for the meaning of the word, ‘lahad’, let’s refer to Lane’s lexicon. He writes;
Edward William Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon p. 2676
So it simply means, ‘to push.’ Therefore the most appropriate translation ought to be, ““He pushed me [hard] on the chest which caused me pain.”
Although the narration is self explanatory but usually people miss the parts which explain the thing.
1- The Prophet, may Allah bless him, was with ‘Aisha, may Allah bless her that night. Archangel Gabriel came to him and asked to him to move to Baqi’ graveyard.
2- The Prophet, may Allah bless him, went out of the bed and moved to Baqi’.
3- ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, curious as to where he had done, followed him and once he turned back she hastened before him and thus was out of breath.
4- When ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, on being questioned told the Prophet, may Allah bless him, the whole story, he pushed her hard on her chest.
5- Although this pressing of the chest caused ‘Aisha, may Allah bless her, some pain but it was not intended as beating rather, it was only to ward off the wrong thought that had come to her heart. This is clear from the words of the Prophet, may Allah bless him; “Did you think that Allah and His Apostle would deal unjustly with you?” i.e. Allah will ask his Messenger to spend the night of Aisha’, may Allah bless turn, with some other wife.
Holy Prophet used to do it to ward off wrong thoughts:
There are more reports showing that Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him, used to do the same pushing and striking on chest to ward off wrong thoughts.
See the following two examples;
فَسَقَطَ فِي نَفْسِي مِنْ التَّكْذِيبِ وَلَا إِذْ كُنْتُ فِي الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ فَلَمَّا رَأَى رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَا قَدْ غَشِيَنِي ضَرَبَ فِي صَدْرِي فَفِضْتُ عَرَقًا وَكَأَنَّمَا أَنْظُرُ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ فَرَقًا
“Ubbay said: There occurred in my mind a sort of denial which did not occur even during the Days of Ignorance. When the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, saw how I was affected, was affected (by a wrong idea), he struck my chest. I broke into a sweat and felt as if I were looking at Allah in fear.” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 1356)
Clearly the Prophet, may Allah bless him, did it to ward off the evil thoughts that occurred in the mind of Ubayy, may Allah be pleased with him.
Another narration goes as;
أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ضرب صدر عمر بن الخطاب بيده حين أسلم ثلاث مرات وهو يقول : « اللهم أخرج ما في صدره من غل وأبدله إيمانا
“The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him, hit the chest of Umar bin Khattab with his hand three times when he embraced Islam and he said, ‘O Allah remove the malice from his heart and replace it with faith.’” (Mustadrak al-Hakim, Hadith 4492. Hakim authenticated it)
Now obviously, his reversion to Islam was a great event and it is inconceivable that Prophet, may Allah bless him, would ‘beat’ him then. Even though the narration uses the word ‘dharab’ meaning ‘hit/strike’ no reasonable person that Holy Prophet, may Allah bless him, beat him. And clearly the context proves the Prophet did it to for the same reason as in the example above and in the Hadith in question.
Did Sayyidah Aisha think she was beaten?
If someone is still obstinate on his erroneous and dishonest assertion or is still confused, let us read as to what ‘Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, herself think. In the same compendium of Hadith, Sahih Muslim, there is a narration;
عَنْ عَائِشَةَ قَالَتْ مَا ضَرَبَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شَيْئًا قَطُّ بِيَدِهِ وَلَا امْرَأَةً وَلَا خَادِمًا إِلَّا أَنْ يُجَاهِدَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ
“Aisha reported that Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him, never beat anyone with his hand, neither a woman nor a servant, but only, in the case when he had been fighting in the cause of Allah …” (Sahih Muslim, Hadith 4296)
One can see, Sayyidah Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, is saying that Prophet, may Allah bless him, never beat any woman or a servant. After such a clear testimony from her, is it anything but intellectual dishonesty to assert to the contrary?
Indeed Allah knows the best!