In His Name the Most High,
All praise is due to Allah, may peace be upon Muhammed and his pure progeny and may the curse of Allah be upon their enemies.
The Office Answer:
There are a number of traditions from the Shi’ah and Bakri sources concerning the involvement of Aysha and Hafsa in assassination of Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him and his pure family) as previously stated by the Sheikh in many lectures. However, in order for us to cite the sources of these traditions, it might be useful to look at the following verse first.
"And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; many were the messengers that passed away before him; if then he died or is killed will you then turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; and Allah will reward the grateful." (003:144).
If we pay a closer attention to this section: “if then he died or is killed.” We find that it confirms that the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family) would not die a natural death. Rather, it confirms that he would be killed. For the reason that the conjunctive (or) in this verse means “Rather” In Arabic, sometimes (or) indicates uncertainty and probability. In other contexts, it imparts correction.
Since it is next to impossible that anyone should suspect Allah's word, since He has insight into the unknown, Allah must have intended to impart the other meaning. Accordingly, the meaning of the verse is: "If he died, rather, he is killed, you turn upon your heels."
We hereby understand that the Prophet was to be killed and his assassination was to be followed by turning back and apostasy. This actually happened, and turned in favour of the rebels who seized power, i.e. Abu Bakr and Omar. Thus, it was particularly addressed to figures who were followers of Islam at the time of the Prophet and not to the Jews who were no longer a threat in Medina as the Bakries believe.
How then was the prophet killed? And who were those involved in such a heinous crime? Was it really, as Aysha narrates, the Jewish woman Zainab Bint al-Harith who invited the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family) and his companions after gaining victory over the Jews in the battle of Khaibar to a banquet; when she poisoned the meat she cooked causing the Prophet to die four years later!
Ignoring the fact that the Battle of Khaibar actually took place in the seventh year of Hijra, while the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his pure family) died in the eleventh year. Is it really likely for a person to die because of a poisoned food he had consumed four years ago! Regardless of the fact that the effect of poison is immediate and even if it takes time it cannot exceed a few months in which the health condition deteriorates gradually; In addition to the fact that the prophet had no unusual health complaints and would participate in the battles throughout that intervening period!
Or rather was the prophet poisoned by Aysha and Hafsa as commanded by their fathers Abu Bakr and Omar, which is evidenced in the Bakries' as well as Shi'as' books of Hadith? If we look at the following hadith reported by Bukhari from Aysha regarding the prophet's death, She relates: "Allah's Prophet told me on his death bed, 'Aysha, since I consumed that poisoned food after the Khaibar Battle, I have been in pain. Now it is the time for my heart to stop beating because of that poison." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol V, Page 137).
Regardless of the fact that the Quran described Aysha and Hafsa as sinful wrongdoers whose hearts deviated from the true path in Chapter (66:04), we cannot trust Aysha's tradition about poisoning the Prophet for three important reasons.
The first of which is because Aysha was an infamous liar. Al-Bukhari reported Aysha saying: "Allah's Prophet was eating honey at Zainab Bint Jahsh place. So Hafsa and I agreed to tell him, upon his return that he smelled of Maghafeer". (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol 6, Page 68. Maghafeer is a substance extracted from a tree. It has a sweet taste but very foul smell.)
Aysha knew that the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his pure family) had taken honey from his other wife, Zainab Bint Jahsh. Being jealous of her, she agreed with her friend, Hafsa, to hurt the Prophet by claiming that he smelled foul when he consumed that honey. Thereby, he would stop eating it, and consequently stop visiting his wife, Zainab. That was a lie. A woman, who would not abstain from lying to the noblest prophet, would not abstain from lying to ordinary people, either. Therefore, the Hadiths reported by her cannot be trusted.
The second of which is because the Prophet (Peace be upon him and his pure family) had described Aysha as "The spearhead of disbelief and the horn of Satan”. Ahmed Ibn Hanbal and other famous scholars of Bakri Sect related: "The Prophet, (Peace be upon him), emerged from Aysha's room saying this is the spearhead of disbelief! It is from here that Satan's horn emerges"! (Musnad Ahmed, Vol II, Page 23). Hence, we cannot trust her Hadiths.
The third and most important reason of which why we should not believe in Aysha's Hadith about poisoning the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family) is because Aysha contradicts herself in another Hadith. She claimed that the Prophet did not die because of the Jewish woman's poison. Rather, the cause of his death was because of another disease! According to Abu Yoalla, Aysha also said that: "Allah's Prophet, (Peace be upon him), died of an ailment Dhatul Janb"! (Masnad Abu Yoalla, Vol. VIII, Page 258. Dhadul Janb is an internal tumour that forms on man's side. It leads to death when it explodes.)
Our Imams (peace be upon them) confirmed that their grandfather, the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family), had been poisoned in his last days by Aysha and Hafsa, at the order of their fathers, Abu Bakr and Omar. One of the famous ancient Shia interpreters of Quran by the name of Ali Ibn Ibrahim Al-Qummi, who lived in the days of Imam al-Hassan al-Askry (Peace be upon him), relates a Hadith as reported by the Imams regarding the assassination of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family).
"The Prophet said to Hafsa: 'I will tell you a secret. If you divulge it, Allah, His Angels and people will curse you.' 'So, what is it?' wondered Hafsa. The Prophet said: 'Abu Bakr will be able to seize the Caliphate and power after me, and will be succeeded by your father, Omar.' Hafsa wondered: 'Who informed you of this?' 'Allah, the Omnipresent, the Omniscient informed me.'
"On the same day, Hafsa divulged the secret to her friend, Aysha. In turn, Aysha divulged the secret to her father, Abu Bakr. So, Abu Bakr came to Omar and said: 'My daughter Aysha told me a secret reported by Hafsa, but I cannot always trust what Aysha says. So, you ask your daughter Hafsa, make sure and tell me.'
"Omar went over to Hafsa, and asked her. In the beginning, she was startled and denied it. But, Omar said to her: 'If you have indeed heard this secret, then, tell us so we can immediately seize power and get rid of Muhammad'. So, Hafsa said: 'yes, he told me that.' At this point, those four got together and conspired to poison the Prophet" (Tafseer al-Qommi, Vol II, Page 367, Bihar-ul-Anwar by Allama al-Majlisi, Vol XXII, Page 239).
There is another great ancient scholar of the Quran, Muhammad Ibn Massoud al-Ayashi who also belonged to the Bakri sect, but was later divinely guided to the true faith and converted to Shia faith.
He narrates that: "Imam al-Sadiq (Peace be upon him) was sitting with a group of his followers, and asked them: 'Do you know whether the Prophet died a natural death or was murdered? Allah the Almighty says: "if then he died or is killed". The truth is that the Prophet was poisoned in his last days before he died. Aysha and Hafsa administered poison in his food.' Upon hearing this, the Imam Sadiq's followers said that they and their fathers were among the worst villains ever created by Allah." (Tafseer al-Ayashi, Vol I, Page 200; Bihar-ul-Anwar, by Allama Al-Majlisi, Vol XXII, Page 516)
Al-Ayshi relates another Hadith attributed to Imam Al-Sadiq (Peace be upon him) in which he says: "al-Hussein Ibn Munther asked Imam Al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) about Allah's words "if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels". Does it mean that the Prophet died a natural death or was murdered? Imam Al-Sadiq (peace be upon him) said: In this verse, Allah refers to the Prophet's companions who committed the misdeed". (Tafseer Al Ayash, Vol I, Page 200; Bihar-ul-Anwar, By Allama Al-Majlisi, Vol XX, Page 91)
These Hadiths confirm beyond doubt that the Supreme Prophet (Peace be upon him and his pure family) was killed by poison administered in his last days and not which was allegedly given four years prior to his death. They also confirm that the crime was an act of treachery by his two wives and their fathers. Meaning that Jews had no involvement.
There are also evidences in the Bakries' books of Hadith, that support the Shi'ahs' Hadiths and demonstrate involvement of the Prophet's two wives in the crime. One of which is a Hadith reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, Muslim and others from Aysha who confesses that when the Prophet was asleep during his illness she put a strange substance into his mouth with the help of the other wives.
Aysha did it intentionally despite Prophet's prohibition. When the Prophet woke up, he saw the residuals of the substance that they had put into his mouth. He angrily asked what it was and who had disobeyed his orders. Aysha and her collaborators justified their action saying that it was just a medication.
Following that, they accused the Prophet's uncle, Al-Abbas Ibn Abdul Muttalib. However, the Prophet acquitted his uncle and ordered that those who were with him in the room should be punished by having the same substance put into their mouths. Aysha narrates:
"When Allah's Prophet contracted the terminal disease, he told us: 'Don't put the medicine in my mouth.' But we disobeyed him on the ground that every patient dislikes medication! So, we put the substance in his mouth. When he regained his senses, he wondered: 'Who did that? Have I not admonished you not to do that?'
"So, we said: 'It is your uncle Al-Abbas who thought that you might have contracted a lateral tumour!' The Prophet said: 'This disease is caused by the Devil. I cannot contract it.' The Prophet ordered that everyone in the house must put the same substance into their mouths, except Al-Abbas, as the Prophet said: He was not with you". (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol VIII, Page 42; Sahih Muslim, Vol VII, Page 42; Masnad Ahmed Ibn Hanbal, Vol VI, Page 53; Prophet's Biography by Ibn Kathier, Vol. IV, Page 446).
As I have previously mentioned, the Quran predicted ,as stated by Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him), that the Prophet's companions would turn against him. The Prophet had also predicted in his several Hadiths that most of his companions would go to hell. One of which is a Hadith reported by Bukhari who narrates that the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family) said:
"On doomsday, when I will be at the water pond delivering water to those who will be thirsty among my followers, a group of my followers will come to drink but the angels will drive them away and take them to Hell! And I'll say: Oh, God! They are my companions! But God will tell me: You do not know what they did after your death. They degraded themselves to apostasy ..... Thus, only small number of my companions will escape like deserted camels in the desert." (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Vol VII, Page 206).
No one can claim that Abu Bakr for example cannot be among those who will be driven to Hell, since the Prophet himself did not exempt him from that. Malik Ibn Anas, relates that the Prophet prophesied to the Muslim martyrs of Uhud that they would go to Heaven.
"So, Abu Bakr wondered: "Aren't we their brothers who have submitted to Islam just as they did, and fought in jihad just as they did; so, why don't you give us the good news that we will go to heaven? The Prophet said: "It is absolutely true that you are their brothers, but I do not know what you will do after my death". (Al Muatta of Malik Ibn Anas, Vol II, Page 642).
Therefore, we should not exempt Abu Bakr and Omar from the crime of having taken the life of the Prophet, especially when they had tried that once before when the Prophet was on his way back from the city of Tabuk. (Refer to Al Mohalla of Ibn Hazm, Vol. IX, Page 224).
In conclusion we say that we can now be sure that Abu Bakr and Omar indeed wanted to kill the Prophet (peace be upon him and his pure family). Though, their plan after Tabuk failed, their next plan succeeded by collusion with their daughters Aysha and Hafsa who administered poison to the Prophet during his sleep in order to hasten the seizure of power by their fathers, while ousting the rightful successor, Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him).
26th Rajab 1431
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib in London