Historical records bear ample testimony to the fact that Aisha (RA)1 was a genius. Anas bin Malik (RA) reported Allah’s Messenger (May peace be upon him) as saying:
The excellence of Aisha (RA) over women is like the excellence of Tharid over all other foods.” [Muslim; Book 31, Hadith 5992].
Tharid is a popular dish of Arabs consisting of thin bread soaked in a broth of meat or sometimes in vegetables. This comparison with Tharid shows that the preference of Aisha (RA) here referred to, consisted in the Prophets’ (SAW) love for her, because there was no woman in the whole history of Islam who so deeply understood its teachings and so convincingly explained them to others as Aisha (RA) did, and it is possible that the Prophet (SAW) has alluded here to this fact.
Aisha (RA) studied under the Prophets’ (SAW) guidance for nine years. The result of this strenuous training and education was that even the great companions of the Prophet (SAW) used to consult her in religious and doctrinal matters. Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) used to take assistance from her when he faced same ticklish legal or religious issue. Abu Musa Ashari (RA) says that whenever, we the companions, of the Prophet (SAW) faced any problem in the matters of knowledge, our approaching to Ashia (RA) for help has never proved in vain. Ata Ibn Asir-Riyah (RA) says that Aisha no doubt had the most excellent legal expertise, sound knowledge and candid opinion among all the companions. Abu Salma (RA), the son of Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf (RA), the son of Abdur Rahman Ibn Auf (RA) gives witness that there was no other person, more knowledgeable about the traditions of the Prophet (SAW), astute jurist and the knower of the conditions of the Quranic verses (Shan-i-Nazool) and Islamic obligations and their requirements than Aisha (RA). Urwa bin Zubayr (RA) says “I have not found any comparison to Aisha (RA) in the matters related to Law, poetry and medical science. Mabruq (RA), who was also the disciple of Aisha (RA), says that I have seen that the great companions (RA) were asking questions to her relating to religious obligations (Faraiz). Imam Zuhri (RA) says that if knowledge of all men and the holy wives of the Prophet (SAW) is brought together, still the knowledge of Aisha (RA) will supersede all. It is, perhaps, for the same reason that the Prophet (SAW) has said that people should get instruction of a part of their religion from this noble lady (Aisha), it may perhaps be the knowledge related to the problems of women. Because the scholars are in announcing that had Aisha (RA) not spread this part of the Prophetic (SAW) teaching in the Muslim community, the complete information about this aspect would have been wanting.
The adults, younger boys, and elderly persons all used to ask questions to Aisha (RA). Since the elderly women were feeling shy when asking about matters related to women, they did it sometimes through the help of young children. Still the problems couldn’t be explained.
Therefore, Aisha (RA) told them: “I am young mother, therefore, don’t hesitate and ask from me your queries afterwards, Aisha (RA) used to solve the problems and used to say: “Allah is more respectful, still He has explained the implicit matters. Therefore, you must ask the queries relating to religion more openly”. The result was that the very unresolved problems and pitchy questions were solved. Some important disciples of Aisha (RA) are: Abu Musa Ashari (RA), Umra Ibn ‘Aas (RA), Abdullah Ibn Abbas (RA), Abdullah Ibn Zubayr (RA), Abdullah Ibn Umar (RA), Abu Huraira (RA), Rabiah Ibn Umra al-Jarshi (RA), Zayd ibn Khalid Juhani (RA), Harith ibn Abdullah (RA), Sayib ibn Yazid (RA), etc.
Hazrat Aisha (RA) worked as ‘Mufti’ during the period of Hazrat Abu Bakr’s (RA) rule and continued on this position during the reign of Umar and Usman (RA). During the reign of Mnawiyah (RA), a person was sent to Aisha (RA) for resolving the disputes of Syrian scholars on religious matters.
Aisha (RA) was well versed with medical sciences and poetry as well. She used to accompany the Prophet (SAW) in the battle fields and cured the injured. During the battle of Uhud, along with other women, Aisha (RA) took care of the injured. On seeing Aisha’s (RA) treatment of the injured, a person remarked: “I was not surprised when I found you at home in poetry and historical records, because your father was master of these subjects. But I was really surprised to see your expertise in medical science?” Aisha replied. “The men of Arabia used to come to see the Prophet (SAW) about these matters”. She was also well versed with the customs and rituals of the pre-Islamic Arabs, apart from knowing their genealogical accounts. It is for the same reason that whatever information we find in Ahadith about the pre-Islamic customs and rituals, has been recorded in the authority of Aisha (RA). Aisha (RA) has portrayed the social and cultural patterns of Pagan society of Arabs. The marriages of pre-Islamic Arabs, their divorce system, the matrimonial ceremonies, the marriage says, their rites performed on dead bodies, Hajj performances, fasting procedures etc all of Aisha. The conditions of Medina the battle of Buath and the events, which took place after revelation was given to the prophet (SAW), are all mentioned by Aisha (RA). Thus ¢Aisha (RA) was a great historian of her period. She was also well versed with poetry and its conditions. She had good comprehension of poetry, the requirements of its similes and metaphors etc. As a result master poets of Arabic approached her with their poetry to get instructions from Aisha (RA). A famous Arab poetess Khansa (RA) presented her poetry to ¢Aisha (RA). Hassan ibn Thabit (RA) used to approach her off and on. Aisha (RA) used to suggest them corrections. Musa Ibn Talaha (RA) says that there was no one more eloquent than Aisha (RA). Ahnaf Ibn Qais (RA), Amir Mawiyah (RA) and other companions of the Prophet (SAW) have praised Aisha’s (RA) oratory and mastery over language. She was well versed with the poetry of pre-Islamic Arabia and used to explain various Quranic verses by the help of criticism at times as has been reported by her disciples, Abdullah Ibn Rawahah’s poems were memorized by Aisha (RA) The poems of Hussan Ibn Thabit (RA) Kaib Ibn Malik (RA) Khansa (RA) etc were learnt by heart by Aisha (RA). According to Muhammad Ali Sabooni, Aisha (RA) was prepared by the Prophet (SAW) to become a scholarly model for Muslim women.
1. RA stands for Radiallahu Anhu/Anha which means may Allah be pleased with him/her.