ANSWER TO THE OBJECTION:
The objection itself confirms that remaining silent is not proof of not knowing something (it does not necessarily confirm it). Allah SubHanuhu wa Ta’ala did not reveal ayahs of her innocence for some days, so did He not have a clue about it? The hadith in Sahih al-Bukhari clearly states,
والله ما علمت على أهلى إلا خيرا
“I know my wife to be only chaste.” [Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Maghazi, Baab Hadith al-Ifk, Hadith 4141]
This proves his knowledge but not revealing it before time. It is also not possible for Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam to have been suspicious of Sayyidah Aisha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha because Allah said to the Muslims as a rebuke,
لولا إذ سمعتموه ظن المؤمنون والمؤمنات بأنفسهم خيرا وقالوا هذا إفك مبين
“Why did Muslim males and females not think good in their hearts and immediately said, “This is clear falsehood?” – [Surah Nur, Verse 12]
So before the revealing of innocence, it was compulsory on Muslims to think good of her and haram upon them to be suspicious. – And the Prophet is definitely free (ma’sum) from haram. Thus, he was not suspicious of Sayyidah Aisha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha in the least. Yes, for him to say that it was a clear lie was not compulsory on him immediately because this was a domestic matter.
Now remains Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam being distressed and why he remained silent. Not knowing was not the cause of this. Consider an innocent person who is wrongfully accused of something. He knows that it’s a lie, but will still be distressed due to the fear of defamation. People spreading these rumours, was also the reason for this dilemma. If the Holy Prophet (Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him) did not wait for the revelation of the ayahs but immediately informed people of Sayyidah Aisha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha’s innocence, the hypocrites would have said, “See how he protects his family members.” And Muslims would not have come to know of the rules of wrongful accusation. Also, the method of researching cases would not have been known and Sayyidah Ayesha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha would not have received the reward of patience that she demonstrated during this time. In short, there were many wisdoms behind this delay in revealing her innocence.
It is also a rule of Islamic beliefs that the wife of a Prophet cannot be immoral. Allah states in the Holy Quran,
الخبيثات للخبيثين والخبيثون للخبيثات
“Impure women belong to impure men and immoral men to immoral women.” – [Surah Nur, Verse 26]
The impurity spoken of here refers to fornication (zina). In other words, the consort of a Prophet can never be a fornicator. Yes, she can become a disbelievers (kafirah) because, although disbelief (kufr) is a major offense, it is not an immoral act. People think of fornication to morally incorrect, not kufr. This is why the wives of the Prophets do not experience nocturnal dreaming (ihtilam). A hadith states that Umme Salma was surprised to know that women also experience ihtilam – Mishkat, Kitab al-Ghusl.
So does the Holy Prophet not know this rule of Beliefs (that a wife of a Prophet cannot be immoral)? Is he unaware that Sayyidah Aisha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha is the wife of the Leader of the Prophets and that this type of behaviour cannot be displayed by her? No, it was the Will of Allah to Himself to testify to the innocence of Sayyidah Aisha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha through the ayahs revealed so that all Muslims of the entire world can proclaim her chastity and greatness, even in Salah. Thus, if Rasoolullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam personally revealed her innocence, all of these excellences would not have been obtained. In short, he had knowledge but did not reveal it.
The grace of this matter is that when Zulaikha laid an accusation against Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam, Allah Himself did not directly reveal his innocence but revealed it through an infant. Similarly, when Sayyidah Maryam was wrongfully accused, He revealed her innocence through the infant Ruhullah. However, when the beloved of His Beloved was accused, Allah did not proclaim her innocence through any angel or infant but Himself gave witness and recorded it in the Holy Quran! This testimony came to be part of Iman and for the creation to understand the proximity of the Holy Prophet to Allah through it.
At this point, there are three terms that should be understood,
1. Jahl (ignorance) – To absolutely not know something
2. Nisyan (forgetfulness) – to previously have known something which did not stay in memory.
3. Zuhul (abstractedness) – To have something in memory but not pay attention to it.
Therefore, there are three types of people that can be deduced from the above. The first do not learn the Quran, the second memorize it but forget it and the third are complete huffaz of it, though if you ask them about any ayah, they will not answer because their concentration is not directed towards it. They are termed Jahil, Nasi and Zahil of the Holy Quran respectively.
At some instances, the Prophets can experience forgetfulness about particular things though they do not remain as such. The Holy Quran speaks about Sayyidunah Adam,
فنسي ولم نجد له عزما
“He forgot and did not find any intent on his part.” – [Surah Taha, Verse 115]
The vision of Hadrat Adam Alaihis Salam was fixed on the Lawh-e-Mahfuz and all of these things before him. However, it was the Divine Will that he experiences forgetfulness (nisyan).
In search for an intercessor on the Day of Qiyamat, all Muslims, including the Muhadithin, Mufassirin and Fuqaha will approach the Prophets and request them to intercede (Shafa’at). Neither will they do so not will they tell the people to go to Shafi’al Muznabin Muhammad Mustafa directly. They will say, “Go to Nuh,” “Go to Ibrahim”, etc. Maybe they can intercede for you people,” even though all of them have the belief in this world that only Muhammad-ur-Rasulullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam is the intercessor on the Day of Qiyamat. This is an example of abstractedness (zuhul i.e. not paying attention to something). Thus, if the Prophet is questioned about something and immediately does not answer, zuhul is a possible reason for this,
وإن كنت من قبله لمن الغافلين
“Even though you were unconcerned about the incident of Yusuf before this” – [Surah Yousuf, Verse 3]
“Ghafil” was the word used, “Jahil”. A ghafil is someone who has knowledge of an incident but does not pay any attention towards it.
Haji Imdadullah Makki Alaihir raHma (whom the Opponents in Indo-Pak believe to be their Spiritual Guide and Leader) says: “People say that the Prophets Alaihim as-Salam and Awliya Alaihim ar-Rahma do not possess the Knowledge of the Unseen. I say that the men of truth perceive the Unseen whenever they cast their eyes around them. In fact, this perception is the knowledge of truth. Those who say that the Holy Prophet Hadrat Muhammad Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon Him did not know about Hudaibiyah and Hadrat Ayesha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha are misguided. Attention is the pre-requisite for any knowledge.” [Shamaim-e-Imdadiyah, Page 110 – Anwaar-e-Ghaibiyah, Page 125]
Gulistan states that Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam was asked, “You have smelt the fragrance of Yusuf’s kurta from Egypt but did not know that he was in the well of Kinan?” He replied, “Our condition is like the fury of lightning, sometimes it is visible and sometimes it is not.”
It is proven from Quranic verses that Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam has knowledge that the Moon of Kinan, Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam, was shining in Egypt. He said,
وأعلم من الله ما لا تعلمون
“I know from Allah those things which you do not know.” – [Surah Yusuf, Verse 86]
Commentating on verse 59, of Surah Aa’raf – Allamah Ismail Haqqi writes that Allah loves the crying of His beloveds. Hadrat Nuh cried so hard that his name became Nuh (the person who extensively weeps). The separation from Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam was the visible cause of Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam’s crying, but in fact, this crying was the means of the extensive grandeur to be elevated. Hence, Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam’s crying was not because of being unaware of Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam – rather,
المجاز الى الحقيقة لانه قنطرتها
“Figuration is the arcade leading to reality.” – [Tafsir Ruhul Bayan, Vol 6, Page 85]
Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam kept Benyamin back in Egypt through and artifice (hila). His brothers returned to swear that Benyamin had become a royal prisoner and even presented the testimony of the travellers in caravans. However, it was said,
بل سولت لكم أنفسكم
“Your lower-self (nafs) has taught you hila.” – [Surah Yusuf, Verse 83]
In other words, Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam was trying to say, “Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam was separated from me by my children and Benyamin has also been separated from me by child (Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam though a hila).” This proves that he had true knowledge of the incident. To the uniformed, there were two sons of Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam, remaining in Egypt (Benyamin and Yahuda), but Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam said,
عسى الله أن يأتيني بهم جميعا
“Soon Allah will make the three meet me.” – [Surah Yusuf, Verse 83]
Who was the third person? Of course it was Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam.
When Zulaikha locked Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam in the house to express bad thoughts., Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam came inside and, pressing his finger beneath his teeth, gestured to the following, “O my son, this is not your action. You are the son of a prophet.” The Holy Quran states about it,
وهم بها لولا أن رأى برهان ربه
“He too would have made the intent of Zulaikha if he did not see the proof of his Lord.” –[Surah Yusuf, Verse 24]
It should be kept in mind that the brothers of Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam informed Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam that wolves had eaten his son. However, through the shirt of Hadrat Yusuf Alaihis Salam and the message of the wolves, Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam knew that they were false. The wolves submitted to him, “The fleshes of the Prophets are haram for us.” – Tafsir Khazin and Ruhul Bayan, Surah Yusuf
So why did he not go into the wilderness to find his son? This is also proof that he had information of something but kept it a secret. He knew that he would eventually meet his son in Egypt.
So, is it possible that Hadrat Ya’qub Alaihis Salam is aware of the actions of his sons yet Sayyiduna Rasulullah SallAllaho Alaihi wa Sallam has no clue of the condition of Sayyidah Aisha Radi Allahu Ta’ala Anha? Verily, Allah grants him insight but blesses him with measures to control his knowledge. In other words, he does not disclose any secret without Allah’s wish.
الله أعلم حيث يجعل رسالته
“Allah knows best where to place His message (Prophethood)” – [Surah Anam, Verse 124]
by Mufti Ahmad Yaar Khan Na’eemi Alaihir raHmah