Shias often bring up the fact that Aisha left her home during the caliphate of Ali. The two points that they often allude to is the verse 33:33 which tells the wives of the Prophet – peace be upon him – to stay in their homes. They would then also point out that Aisha left without a Mahram. The following is our response:
Does the Qur’an forbid the wives from leaving their homes?
Shias often quote verse 33:33 which orders the wives to “stay in your houses, وقرن في بيوتكن” with the assumption that the wives of the Prophet – peace be upon him – are not allowed to leave their homes under any circumstances.
However, this is where the sunnah comes in, to explain the Qur’an.
First of all, it is an accepted fact that the Prophet – peace be upon him – used to bring his wives with him during his travels. This was practiced during his life time, during the Final Pilgrimage before his death, and after his death during the time of the caliphate of Omar when the wives, together, left to perform the pilgrimage. (See Al-Bukhari #1860) Furthermore, there is no indication that the companions of the Prophet – peace be upon him – ever obstructed the movement of the wives of the Prophet – peace be upon him – , which would have been a very harsh fate for some like Aisha and Um Salama who lived for fifty years after the Prophet – peace be upon him – .
It is understood by this that the verses are merely instructions for the wives of the Prophet – peace be upon him – on how to guard their modesty, and to only leave their homes for the needs and worship. This is supported by the hadith of the Prophet – peace be upon him – in Saheeh Al-Bukhari #5237, “Allah has allowed you to leave for your needs.”
In other words, it is always preferred for the wives of the Prophet – peace be upon him – to stay home, however, unlike what Shias imply, there was no mandatory “house arrest”.
Did Aisha Travel to Makkah and Iraq without a Mahram?
One of the most common misconceptions held by Shias is that Aisha traveled without a Mahram. However, this is false. It is agreed upon by historians that Aisha was with Abdullah bin Al-Zubair, the son of Asma bint Abi Bakr, and nephew of Aisha. So, this allegation is baseless.
Was there a need for Aisha to leave her home?
The answer is: Yes.
Aisha’s goal was to avenge the death of Uthman and to bring back order to the nation. She was able to partially achieve this during the Minor Battle of Al-Jamal, in which some of the transgressors were killed in battle. Without Aisha, Talha and Al-Zubair may not have been able to gather as many troops and support as they did to achieve this goal.
Unfortunately, this merit was overshadowed by the actual Battle of Al-Jamal, which was a major fitna, which we will examine in another article in the future, inshallah.