The Story of the Ifk
by Yasir Qadhi
The seerah is abound with numerous incidents from which we can extract benefits which can be implemented in our daily lives. The story of the ifk is one such incident which is overflowing with lessons.
One of the most traumatic periods in the life of Prophet Muhammad sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam centered around his family affairs. It was an attack, a slander invented by the hypocrites, against Aisha radi Allahu anha, the most beloved of his wives, and one of his closest companions.
This incident is one which carries immense benefit, and it has the effect of softening our hearts to the extent that we can even feel the pain and anguish which the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, Aisha radi Allahu anha, her father Abu Bakr and the Sahaabaa radi Allahu anhu experienced. It is therefore one of the most important stories in the seerah and is especially relevant in today’s time when there is much fitnah between Muslims.
In the Arabic language this incident is called Haadithatul Ifk (the incident of the slander). It occurred after the Battle of Ahzaab in the 6th year after the hijrah, during a small expedition in which the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam participated, known as Ghazwatu Bani Al-Mustaliq, which was also referred to as Ghazwatu Al-Muraythee.
We are immensely fortunate that Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala revealed verses about this very beautiful story, rich in lessons, in the Qur’an, and that Imam Al-Bukhari narrated it in great detail, from none other than Aisha herself, who as mentioned previously, was at the center of the incident. This story has therefore been authentically preserved beyond the shadow of a doubt.
“Whenever the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam would intend to go on a journey, he would cast lots amongst his wives. So whoever’s lot would be picked, would accompany the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.”
This shows us how justly and fairly the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam treated his wives, in spite of the fact, that according to one strong opinion, he was exempt from the rule that applies to other men that we have to be fair amongst our wives if we have more than one. We also learn from this small introduction that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam would take his wives along on an expedition or battle, but only when he felt that the chances of winning were very strong. If the situation ahead was dangerous, he would leave them behind. This hadith therefore indicates to us that a woman is permitted to travel even during a war situation, as long as she’s accompanied by her mahram, as Aisha was with the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.
Aisha goes on:
“So he cast these lots on one of these expeditions and my name came up, so I traveled with the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. This was after the verses pertaining to hijab were revealed and therefore I would travel in my hawdaj and be carried in it.”
The hawdaj is a small type of tent, placed on top of the camel wherein the women would sit. They would not ride openly on a camel. So Aisha traveled in a hawdaj even though she was in full hijab and niqab; she’s not just traveling openly, rather she has a type of protector, or barrier so men cannot see her as she travels and so she is more protected.
She goes on:
“After the expedition had finished and we were returning to Madinah, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam gave orders to camp the night outside of Madinah.”
This shows us that it was the Sunnah of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam not to enter Madinah at night. He would actually tell the companions not to return from any travel during the night, saying “Do not scare the people of the household.” He would advise them to camp outside their destination at night, so that the news of their arrival would spread. In another hadith he said that this was so that “the women could prepare themselves, and the hair that needed to be removed could be removed.” In other words, a woman should beautify herself for her husband when she knows he is returning from a journey. This is indicative of the importance attached to the woman beautifying herself for her husband.
Aisha then goes on to say:
“When the orders were given to encamp, I stood up and walked away from the army to relieve myself. When I returned, I felt my chest and lo and behold my onyx necklace had broken [and fallen] so I returned to where I had been [to search for it]. I was delayed in searching for it and in the meantime the people that were assigned to carry my hawdaj had already placed it on top of the camel, presuming that I was [back] in it.”
“During those days women were very thin and they had not put on a lot of weight. They used to only eat a few morsels of food, so the men did not question the lightness of the hawdaj when they picked it up and put it on the camel. And on top of that, I was a young girl. So they sent the camel forward and I found my necklace after they had gone. By the time I returned to the caravan camping ground, there was not a soul in sight.”
Aisha going away to relieve herself is an indication of her modesty, and we know that this was in keeping with the Prophetic Sunnah – to relieve oneself far away from the people where one cannot be seen.
Here we also learn about the simplicity of Aisha radi Allahu ‘anha, in that the necklace she was wearing was made from quartz, which is a type of stone, and not gold, or silver, or diamonds. She was married to the leader of Arabia, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam who was the equivalent of a king, yet she was wearing a necklace made out of something trivial. This is indicative of the Prophet’s sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam and his wives’ lack of interest in this world, and their detachment from this dunya. Aisha was content with her quartz necklace. In fact, we also learn here about the importance of saving money and not wasting it. This necklace was not worth a lot, yet Aisha went back in search of it.
We also get a glimpse into the way of life of the Sahaabaa from Aisha’s statement that Arab women were not heavy because they “used to eat a few morsels of food.” In stating this, Aisha also makes an excuse for the men who carried the hawdaj. She further makes an excuse for them by saying, “on top of that I was a young girl. Still young in age.” She could have become angry at the men for leaving without her, however she goes out of her way to make excuses for her Muslim brothers, and this is indicative of her exemplary akhlaaq.
We further learn about the modesty of the Sahaabaa. They could surely have asked Aisha if she was inside the hawdaj before leaving the campsite, but they did not do so due to their high levels of modesty and because they minimized the interaction between men and women. They lowered the hawdaj, let Aisha go, and then assumed that she had returned and so resumed their journey.
Aisha continues to narrate:
“So I stayed in my place and I presumed that they would discover that I was missing, and they would return for me. While I was waiting in my place, sleep got the better of me so I fell asleep.
“Safwan ibn Mu’aqqal As Sulami (one of the companions) was lagging behind the army. For some reason he was late so he was not up with the army and he walked up to my place. He saw the shape of a person sleeping, and when he saw me he recognized me for he had seen me before the revelation of the verses of the hijab.
I was woken up by his exclamation of la hawla wa la quwwatta ila billaah when he recognized me, so I covered my face with my outer garment.”
Look at the intelligence of Aisha that she looks around, sees that the army is missing, and figures that they will eventually realize that she’s missing and return to fetch her. Instead of panicking, we see her bravery in that she is not at all scared to be in the desert; she goes to a tree and sits down and even goes to sleep.
This excerpt also indicates the permissibility and the Sunnah of saying la hawla wa la quwwatta illaa billaah at times of calamities, distress, and great fitnah.
Aisha’s statement that “he recognized [her] because he had seen [her] before the verses of hijab had been revealed” is also one of the strongest evidences used by those who say that the niqab is obligatory. Everyone knows you recognize a person by one’s face. The fact that Aisha says that the only reason he recognized her was because he had seen her before the verses of hijab were revealed, serves as evidence that when the revelations about hijab came down, they had to cover their faces. In fact, Aisha added that “as soon as [she] saw him, [she] covered [her] face with [her] outer garment.”
She then continues:
“And I swear by Allah we did not speak a word to each other nor did I hear any statement from him except la hawla wa la quwwatta illaa billaah. He lowered his camel such that I could ride on it and when I mounted the camel he guided it until we caught up with the caravan while they were encamped. That is where the rumors started spreading and the people that spread the rumors were destroyed; the leader of them was ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Ubay ibn Salul.”
We learn firstly about the noble character of Safwan ibn Mu’aqqil that he did not utter a word to Aisha. And we have to sympathize with the position he found himself in – what was he to do? For some reason he was lagging behind the army, he recognized that they left Aisha behind, and he knows that this was a big mistake. What could he do? He was alone. Were he to leave Aisha there and instead reach the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam and inform him to come back, something might have happened to Aisha. Were he to stay there and wait with Aisha, how would the army know? So the only intelligent thing, and the only thing he could’ve done, which he did do, was to lead Aisha on the camel, while he himself walked in front of her.
Then we learn about the character of a hypocrite. ‘Abdullaah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul was the leader of the munafiqoon. One of the characteristics of the hypocrites is that they start rumors without any cause or justification. When they arrived at the campsite, the others saw Aisha sitting atop the camel with Safwan ibn Mu’aqqil leading. This would not give rise to any suspicion in the minds of a mu’min, but the munafiqoon used this incident to invent lies.
“So we arrived in Madinah but I fell ill with a fever for a whole month. The inhabitants of Madinah were all talking about the slander, but I did not know anything about it. However, I was hurt by the fact that I did not see the tenderness I used to see from the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam while I was sick. He would enter upon us and ask all of us, “How are all of you doing?” then he would leave. So I was doubtful but I did not realize evil was afoot.”
This is indicative of both Aisha’s innocence, as well as the confusion experienced by the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, when the people were talking about his wife. What was he to do? He knew his wife, but the people were spreading rumors and so he became confused. But due to his nobleness, seeing that Aisha was ill at the time, he did not discuss the matter. He must have wanted to ask her, but because she was ill, he didn’t bring it up, and visited her regularly, as per his normal pattern.
“After I had been cured I once exited with Umm Mistah (Aisha's great aunt and the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam's first cousin) towards the area that we used to relieve ourselves. We would only go once every few nights and it was before the time that people started building restrooms close to their houses. So we used to do like the Arabs of old did and we used to disdain building restrooms close to our houses.
“So I went out with Umm Mistah. As we returned to my house, Umm Mistah tripped over a stone and exclaimed, ‘May Mistah fall,’ or ‘May Mistah be killed.’”
When something happened to the Arabs, they would curse someone. So she cursed her son.
Aisha exclaimed, “What an evil thing you have said. How can you curse a person who has witnessed the Battle of Badr?”
Aisha defended Mistah, though she didn’t know what was going on; she didn’t assume evil about him, although his mother cursed him. Her comments also show us the status of those who fought in the Battle of Badr; they were considered to be amongst the highest ranks of Sahaabaa. We also learn from this incident that it is dangerous to anger your parents as this might prompt them to curse you, like Umm Mistah did. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said that the curse or the du’a of a father against his son will be accepted.
Umm Mistah replied, “My dear child, did you not hear what he is saying about you?”
When Aisha asked what he said, Umm Mistah told her the whole story and this was the first time that she heard of what had happened. She returned home and became extremely ill, worse than before; in fact some narrations state that she fainted as soon as she heard the story.
When the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam came, he greeted her and asked her how she was, and she asked, “Do you give me permission to go to my parents house for I desire to verify the information from them?’’ and he agreed.
In addition to understanding how affected Aisha was by the story, we also learn the importance of verifying information. Umm Mistah was a trustworthy person, however, when it comes to something so grave, you cannot even take the word of a fiqah, an acceptable person; you must find out and verify from other people. That is why one witness is not sufficient when it comes to implementing the hudood, or the punishment for transgressions. We also learn that it is necessary for the wife to ask permission from her husband to leave the house, and that the husband in turn should be gentle and wise and not prevent the wife from visiting her relatives especially.
So Aisha went to her parents’ home and continues:
“I asked my mother, Umm Ruman, ‘My dear mother, what are the people talking about? What are they saying?’”
Her mother replied, “My daughter, be easy upon yourself. By Allah, it hardly occurs that a wife is so beloved to her husband, and she has co-wives at the same time, except that they talk about her.”
Aisha said, “Subhan Allah, have the people actually said this?”
Umm Ruman was quiet and Aisha narrates:
“I cried that night. I cried and cried until the morning came. My tears could not stop nor could I taste the sweetness of sleep.”
Aisha informs us that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi was sallam called Ali ibn Abi Talib and Usama ibn Zayd and asked them about her. Usama testified what he knew about the Prophet’s family, and said that they were free of this charge. Usama said, “They cannot be guilty! They must be innocent. They are your wives and we know nothing but good about them.”
As for Ali, he said, “Ya RasulAllah, Allah has not restricted matters upon you and there are plenty of women beside her. Ask her maidservant; she will confirm what she knows about her.”
So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam called Aisha’s maid servant, Barira, and asked, “Ya Barira, have you ever seen anything from Aisha that will cause you to have doubts about her?
Barira said, “By Him who has sent you with the truth, I have not seen anything from her what so ever that will cause me to have doubts about her except one thing. Except that she is a young girl who sometimes falls asleep when she is kneading the dough. And when she falls asleep, the lamb comes, eats the dough and goes away. So this is the crime that I know she does.”
We learn from the above the permissibility of turning to witnesses and trustworthy people for advice. We also see the love the companions had for the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, trying to calm him down in different ways.
When the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam received this advice from Usama, Ali, and Barira, he called a general assembly. Standing up on a mimbar he praised Allah and said, “Oh gathering of believers, who will excuse me from a person who has hurt me even with regards to my wives? Whatever I do, you have nothing to blame me with now. If I were to do anything to this man [referring to ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul] then you cannot blame me. He has affected me, slandered me, and he has even reached my wife. Can anyone blame me for anything I do to him now? Who will give me an excuse? By Allah, I only know good about my wife, and they have mentioned a man with her concerning whom I only know good of as well.”
We learn from his statement that good character saves you at all times. When you have established a reputation that is good, you can expect to benefit from it later on. Similarly, when you have established a reputation that is evil, you can only blame yourself if people speak ill of you.
After the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam had said this, Usayd ibn Hudhaiy from the Aws tribe of Madinah stood up and said, “I excuse you ya RasulAllah. If this person be from among the Aws, then I will cut his head off. And if he be from among my brethren of the Khazraj, then command us and we will do your bidding.”
It so happened that ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul was from the Khazraj. When he said this, Sa’ad ibn Abi ‘Ubadah, who was also from the Khazraj, immediately stood up and said, “By Allah you have lied. You cannot kill him, nor are you able to kill him. Rather, had he been from your tribe you would not have liked that he be killed.”
Aisha said, “Sa’ad had been, before this incident, a righteous man, but the tribalism of the jahiliyyah overtook him.”
When he said this, the reply came back from Usayd, “Rather you are the liar and we will surely kill him. You are only a hypocrite defending the other hypocrite.”
This caused the passions of both the Aws and the Khazraj to flare up. They were about to fight one another while the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam was still standing on the mimbar. So the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam had to calm them down until they became quiet and resolved their argument.
“So I continued to cry that day and my tears would not stop flowing until I believed that my liver would split open due to my tears. While I was sitting and crying, my parents were with me, and one of the Ansar ladies asked permission to enter and started crying with me.”
This woman from the Ansar showed Aisha that she was her sister and was there for her, trying to relieve her pain. This is one of many examples of the brotherhood and sisterhood that was present amongst the Sahaabaa.
“While we were in that state the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam entered upon us, said salam, and sat down. He had not sat with me for the whole month while these rumors were being spread. For this whole month he had not been inspired [had not received a revelation] concerning my matter with anything. The Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam praised Allah after he sat and he said, ‘Amma ba’d. I have heard about you such and such. So if you are innocent, then Allah will clear you of this charge, and if you have slipped into a sin then seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him, for whenever a servant does a sin, admits to it, and repents, Allah accepts his repentance from him.’”
Firstly, this shows us the importance of salam as the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said salam before he began speaking. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said that if someone starts talking to us without first making salam, we should not respond to him until he does so. Secondly, we also learn of the fallible nature, the humanness, of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam. He is a Prophet of Allah, so he is affected by what he has heard. He is waiting for Allah to tell him what to do. Thirdly, we learn the importance of praising Allah at the beginning of any speech as the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam did so before he began speaking to Aisha here and this is Sunnah. Fourthly, we see the gentleness of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam in his manner of dealing with Aisha. He doesn’t know what to say or do, yet he is gentle throughout and gives her hope no matter what the situation might be. And lastly, we are of course reminded of the importance of repentance; no matter how severe the sin, repentance is our way out.
When the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam stopped talking, Aisha says she “stopped crying until [she] could not even feel a single tear in [her] eyes.”
Aisha was in shock now, as it was the first time that the Prophet sal Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was admitting to having knowledge of the rumors. Aisha turned to her father and said, “Respond to the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam on my behalf. Answer him! Say something!”
He responded, “I cannot speak right now.”
So Aishah turned to her mother Umm Ruman and said, “Respond to the Prophet sal Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam! Say something! Tell him I didn’t do this.”
She also responded, “What can I say to the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam?”
“I was still a young girl at that time and had not memorized much of the Qur’an, so I could not remember the name of the father of Yusuf.” So she said, “I know by Allah that you have heard these rumors, and that these rumors have settled in your heart and soul and you have believed it already. So if I were to tell you that I’m not guilty, you wouldn’t believe me. And if I were to admit to a crime that I did not commit, then you will believe me and think that I did it. So all I can say to you is what the father of Yusuf said. ‘Patience is beautiful.’ And Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala’s help is sought concerning what you describe.”
We learn from this the maturity of Aisha, as she analyses the situation, and of her strong eman. She is aware of the difference between Allah and RasulAllah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam.
She then says:
“I turned around on my bed. Allah knew I was innocent of this charge and I knew that Allah would reveal my innocence. However, wallahi I never thought that Allah would reveal Qur’an concerning me. I thought myself far too low in the sight of Allah, that Allah would speak about me. Rather, I was hoping that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam might see in his dream something that would declare my innocence.”
This bears testament to Aisha’s trust in Allah as well as her humility. In fact, twenty verses of the Qur’an were revealed about her.
“When the revelation finished, the Prophet sal Alaahu alayhi wa sallam started laughing out of happiness.”
Finally, after a whole month of torture and rumors and spreading of tales, the verses were revealed. The first words RasulAllah sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said to her were, “Ya Aisha, verily Allah has declared your innocence.”
“So my mother stood up and told me, ‘Stand up to thank the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.’”
And Aisha responded, “No, by Allah I will not stand up to him. Rather, I will thank Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala.”
That Allah revealed twenty verses of the Qur’an because of this incident is indicative of its importance and is also a reminder to us of the high status of Aisha radi Allahu ‘anha. This story also proves that the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam was a prophet of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Had he been a false prophet, wa a'oodhubillah, why would he wait for a whole month? The fact that he is a Prophet of Allah meant that Allah sent down revelations whenever He willed, and not whenever the Prophet wished. So for a whole month, the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam was in confusion. This incident also depicts the great wisdom of Allah subhaanahu wa ta ‘aala in delaying the inspiration. Had Allah willed He could have inspired the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam from day one, immediately after the rumors had started. However, due to His Wisdom, He delayed this inspiration. Had the inspiration come down immediately, it would not have affected us in the manner that this story affects us.
Aisha says, Allah revealed ten verses concerning this incident and ten verses about the rulings which should be applied. These verses are verses 11 to 31 of Surah An-Noor.
Indeed those who came with a falsehood amongst you are a group among you. Do not think that this was bad for you. Rather it was good for you. For every person amongst them is what punishment he has earned from this sin, and he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof, for him is the great punishment of the fire of Hell / Why when you heard it for the first time did not the mu’minoon and the mu’minaat think good of one another and say, “This is an obvious falsehood?” / Why did they not bring four witnesses / And when they do not produce the witnesses then it is they in the sight of Allah who are the liars (An-Noor 24/11-13).
Had it not been for the favor of Allah upon you, and His mercy in this world and the hereafter, you would have been touched for that lie in which you were involved by a great punishment / When you received it with your tongue and said with your mouths that which you had no knowledge of, you thought that it was an insignificant thing, while it was in the sight of Allah something very big
Why when you heard it did you not say,”‘It is not for us to talk about this.” / Glory be to You (O Allah)! This is a great lie / Allah warns you against doing this forever if you are believers / And Allah makes clear to you His signs, and Allah is the All-Knowing the All-Wise (An-Noor 24/15-18).
We learn from these verses that if three people witness the crime of zina (adultery), it is haram for them to spread this knowledge, even in the presence of a qadhi (judge). Allah says that if they spread it, they are the liars. This bears testament to the beauty and honor that Muslim women are given.
Then we are taught the punishment for the people who spread such lies; they should be whipped eighty times. Three of the Sahaabaa were whipped – Hasan ibn Thabit, Mistah, and Hamana bint Jahsh. As for the munafiq, ‘Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul, from the wisdom of the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam he was left untouched, because Allah said:
…he who took upon himself the greater portion thereof, for him is the great punishment of the fire of hell (An-Noor 24/11).
We also learn from these verses that it is possible for a great person, with strong eman, to fall into an error. The three Sahaabaa fell into a mistake and through the whipping they were forgiven.
One of them, Mistah, was a relative of Abu Bakr. He was also a very poor person, and a muhajir, and Abu Bakr used to assist him with money. After this incident occurred, Abu Bakr said, “Wallahi I will never give a single penny to Mistah as long as I live,” because of his slander against his daughter Aisha.
Then Allah said:
And let not those who have money amongst you prevent giving their money to the fuqara, and the muhajiroon for the sake of Allah, and their relatives. Let them forgive and overlook / Do you not love that Allah should forgive you (An-Noor 24/22)?
This shows us the beauty of Islam. Allah didn’t become angry at Abu Bakr for wanting to withhold his money, as it was his full right to do so. But He gave him a beautiful and gentle reminder – Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?
Allah will forgive us if we forgive those who have wronged us. When these verses were revealed Abu Bakr said, “Balaa (Yes, of course)! I wish that Allah forgives me. Wallahi I will never stop paying Mistah as long as I live.”
This is indicative of the exemplary akhlaaq of Abu Bakr. When Allah revealed these verses, he chose His blessings and forgiveness over everything else.
“The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam had already asked Zainab ibn Jahsh about me, and she was my main rival from amongst the Prophet’s wives. He had asked her, ‘What do you know about her?’ and ‘What have you seen from her?’ Zainab had replied, ‘Ya RasulAllah, I will protect my hearing and seeing. Wallahi I only know good of her.’”
“So Allah saved her because of her piety. But her sister Hamana thought she was fighting on her behalf by spreading the slander so she was destroyed along with those that were destroyed.”
This shows us the evil of fighting based upon jahiliyyah relationships. Because of Zainab’s eman, she did not fall into this error, but her sister Hamana did.
‘Urwa also narrates that Aisha hated that Hasan ibn Thabit be cursed in front of her. She did not seek revenge or take pleasure in cursing those that had fallen into this mistake.
“And the man they had accused (Safwan ibn Mu’aqqil) – when the rumors were going on he would say, ‘Subhan Allah, by Him in Whose hands is my soul, I have never raised the veil of any woman in my life (for at that time he had not yet been married.’” He was later martyred.
One of the main benefits we can extract from this story is the evil of spreading gossip and rumors. The Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam said:
Riba has seventy-three types of levels. The lowest level of riba is equivalent to having intercourse with your mother. And the worst type of riba is to speak about the honor of your Muslim brother.
We learn about the evil of gheebah, nameemah and ifk. Gheebah is to backbite a fellow Muslim. If it entails relating the truth about him to someone else, it is still gheebah. If it is told to his face, then this is bad character. Nameemah is to spread gossip, tales and lies. So it could entail spreading either the truth or falsehood. Nameemah often has the effect of destroying friendships, and is worse that gossip because the Prophet sal Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said that the one who engages in nameemah will not enter paradise. This is because the damage caused by gheebah is limited in comparison. Ifk is pure slander and lies, and this is what happened to Aisha radi Allahu ‘anha.
The final point of benefit we can derive from the story of this ifk, is the fact that Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala will test his servants. The Prophet of Allah was the most beloved to Allah, and Aisha was the most beloved wife to the Prophet sal Allaahu alayhi wa sallam, yet Allah tested both of them immensely. But whenever there is a period of difficulty, whenever Allah tests you, it will be followed by ease and peace. So our responsibility during these trials is to be patient and not to lose track of what’s right and wrong, and to be certain that we will be granted victory thereafter.