Here is one of the references regarding Aisha RA leading congregational prayer in the times of Prophet Muhammad pbuh:
Imam Muhammad [b. Hassan al-Shaybani] says in Kitab al-Athaar:
Abu Hanifah informed us who narrates from Hammad b. Abi Sulayman from Ibrahim al-Nakh’ai that :
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) used to lead the prayers for the women in the month of Ramadhan and would stand in between them.
Muhammad al-Shaybani, Kitab al-Athaar, (p.44) Chapter on the Woman Leading the prayer… Karachi: Idarat al-Qur’an wa al-`Ulum al-Islamiyyah.
The role of women in Islam beyond a wife and mother is a mystery to most Muslims.
The diversity of the roles that Muslim women played in supporting, and actively spreading the message of Islam is truly unique in the history of women’s movements.
Nowhere have women from any faith, country, and socioeconomic and racial background consistently made such a mark on history as Muslim women have in the time of the Prophet pbuh.
We as Muslims follow, and do as the Prophet did. Muslim women revere and copy what the wives of the Prophet did as well as follow the Sahabiat and the Tabaeen women.
The role of women in the Islamic movement led by Muhammad Mustafa, pbuh is a living example for all Muslim women to follow, from the most fragile (physically) to the most intelligent and or strong.
Large segments of the Qur’an were revealed with reference to Islamic women.
Let’s look at the key moments in the mission of Muhammad, pbuh which illustrate the multifaceted roles that Muslim women had in impacting society:
1. The revelation of the Qur’an in the cave of Hira. The Prophet, pbuh, went to his wife, Khadija, r.a. Not only did she comfort him, she advised him and supported him. For the rest of her life, she placed her funds and resources at his disposal especially when the unbelievers blocked him at every step.
2. Would people be willing to sacrifice their lives for Islam? The answer came from Sumayya, r.a., the slave woman who was the first martyr of Islam. This was in Makka before Jihad became mandatory. She defied the slave master though she was poor and helpless.
3. During the Hijra, central to Islamic history, Asma, r.a. climbed the mountain every day and brought food to the Prophet, pbuh, while he was concealed in the cave of Thawr, at great risk to her own life and dignity. She brought up her son Abdullah [ibn Zubair] as one of the greatest opponents of kingship. She herself defied the Umayyad tyrant.
4.One of the closest companions of Muhammad, pbuh, was his youthful wife Aisha, r.a., who did more for the rights of women than any other woman in history.
Chapter 24 of the Qur’an is about her and condemns male attitudes towards women.
- Through her the Prophet, pbuh, undermined the Jewish bigotry against menstruating women.
- Tayammum, which makes prayer possible when water is not available was revealed with reference to an incident related to Aisha, r.a. [Chapter 4 verse 43].
- Later she led an army including prominent Islamic leaders to punish the murderers of Usman, r.a. Aisha, r.a., was a woman leading men!
5. At the battle of Uhud, a woman, Umm Ummarah, r.a., saved the Prophet’s (pbuh) life when he had been left almost alone by men who were being attacked by Khalid [at that time not a Muslim]. She took part in many battles and was honored by the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, r.a.
6. At the treaty of Hudaibiya, the Muslims were stunned by what seemed an unequal agreement. The Prophet (pbuh) was advised by Umm Salama, r.a., and he accepted her advice, which completely changed the situation.
7. Umm Waraqah, r.a., memorized the Qur’an and led women in congregational prayers in the Prophet’s mosque, again demonstrating that the Qur’an is not the monopoly of men.
8. The Prophet, pbuh, died in the arms of Aisha, r.a., and she bore witness that he did not appoint anyone to be the ruler of the Muslims after him. Thus the great majority of Muslims on the basis of one woman’s witness rejected the concept of hereditary rule.
Most people do not realize that the powerful Persian and Roman empires with huge military forces collapsed in front of small Islamic armies commanded by Abu Bakr, Umar and Usman, Allah be pleased with them.
These empires were based on slavery and the subjugation of women. Their people knew that Islam would liberate them; hence they did not have the heart to fight the Islamics.
Historical review of the multifaceted roles of Muslim women becomes mandatory for the understanding of the Quran and Hadith as a large part of it has to do with women and their relationship to society and men.
It is a great disservice to the female gender to restrict their growth and development in the Deen of Islam to wife and mother only.
The roles of the Sahabiat and the women of Islam are a lighted torch for all Muslim women to follow and for all others to seek guidance from.
INTERESTED IN READING ABOUT THE PROPHET PBUH FEMALE COMPANIONS?
PLEASE CLICK HERE…………..
A review of Hadith and the age of Aisha (RA ) at the time of marriage to RasoolAllah pbuh.
There is no Hadith about the age of Ayesha,r,a.
Lack of knowledge leads to defense of non-issues
In 1986 I wrote an article which showed that the narrative about the age of the wife of the Prophet, pbuh, Ayesha Siddiqa, r.a., which is published in Imam Bukhari’s Sahih, is contradicted by many other narratives in books of hadith.
It was the first article in English on the subject in America and was well liked by people who wanted to contradict the attacks of the Perwaizi sect and answer the abuse by neo-cons like General Boykin and Spencer.
Many people published my article, often with minor changes, but without noting that they had gotten it from me, thus contradicting the first rule of Hadith that you must give your source.
As I have continued my hadith studies, I have found that there is NO hadith from the Prophet, pbuh, giving the age of Ayesha, r.a., when he married her.
Bukhari himself does not say that the narrative in his book about her age is from the Prophet, pbuh. His book has so much prestige that we took it or granted that whatever is in his book must be from the Prophet, pbuh. It is not and he does not say it is.
A hadith of the Prophet, pbuh, is about what he said, did or approved of or is about his qualities..  None of these three aspects relate to the narrative about the age of Ayesha, r.a.
Even a hadith which is from the Prophet, pbuh, but is not narrated by a sahabi [Companion of the Prophet, pbuh] but is from a taba’i, [generation after the Sahaba], is called MURSAL and lacks authenticity and does not have HUJJAT [religious acceptability] in Islam.. The only exceptions are Taba’i narrators who had met numerous sahaba. 
What is important about Ayesha, r.a. is that the Prophet, pbuh, loved her and died in her arms. She was a scholar, teacher, faqih, leader, orator, fighter and pious beyond all requirements. The verses of the Qur’an which defend her and reveal Islamic laws owing to her actions, show that she was a person of great mental and spiritual maturity.
The issue of her age is meant to trivialize her significance.
We fell into the trap.
The Mother of the Believers needs no defense.
May Allah forgive our sins and shortcomings.
. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, d. 852 Hijri, in Tehzeeb al-Tehzeeb, Urdu translation.
. Khateeb Baghdadi, d. 463 Hijri, in al-kifaya if ‘ilm al-riwaya. Urdu translation.
Modern scholars agree. See See Khalil-ur-Rahman Chishti’s Hadith ki ahmiat awr zaroorat, [Urdu], published in 1420 H.
 “Dying became easier for me when I was shown Ayesha in paradise. It was as if I could see her hands.” [Prophet Muhammad, pbuh, narrated by Ishaq bin Talha, in Tabqat al-Kubra, biographical collection of Hadith compiled by ibn Sa’ad in 230 Hijri.]
Here is a beautiful example of Aisha RA:
Weak Translation of Hadith Misleads Readers: A Clarification of the Meaning of ‘Aql and Jariya
A woman as witness as been placed on trial by many orientalists and translators of hadith primarily due to limitation of the translator over both languages.
It becomes essential when translating that one understands not only the literal meaning with accuracy but also the context it is coming with. All those who study the Quran know that the Quran confirms itself in many references and the hadith is but a walking Quran in the form of Prophet Muhammad pbuh.
Our limitation as Muslims in understanding certain aspects of the hadith stems from a limitation in holding excellence in two languages i.e. Arabic and English.
DIFFICULTIES IN TRANSLATION
Some translations have hit the Internet in very hostile territory and I wanted to clear those misconceptions that come primarily from the translator’s choice of words rather than the actual meaning of the hadith.
HADITH ON WITNESSES (NUMBER 826 VOLUME 3, SECTIONS XVIII)
N his translation of Sahih Bukhari, Dr. Muhsin Khan translates hadith number 826 (in volume 3, section XVII, on Witnesses) as follows: “Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri. The Prophet said: ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The Women said, ‘Yes’. He said, “This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.”
The Arabic is fazalika min nuqsan-e-aqaleha, which should be translated as: “That is owing to her lack of understanding.”
UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF AQL(aqaleha)
The translation of ‘Aql as “mind” is incorrect. The term “mind” is a platonic concept, which refers to innate ability. ‘Aql is the word for understanding, sense and wisdom which is acquired through experience and development of educational abilities. The mind is fixed and unchanging; Understanding can be developed. The term “mind” has to do with the idea that some people are born with intelligence and some are not: In its essence it is a racist concept.
HOW DOES THE QURAN DEFINE AQL?
We can try to define the meaning of the word “aql” by looking at its usage in the Qur’an. It is used to refer to ability which learns from observation and which works though experiencing the wonders of God’s creation:
And of His signs is this: He shows you the lightning for a fear and a hope, and sends down water from the sky, and thereby quickens the earth after its death. Surely in that are signs for people of understanding (liqaumin-yyaqiloon).
The Qur’an 30:24
And the difference of night and day and the provision that Allah sends down from the sky and thereby quickens the earth after her death, and the ordering of the winds, are signs for people of understanding (liqaumin-yyaqiloon).
These verses are meant for the general audience of the Qur’an. Anyone who is willing to use his understanding and look at the heavens and the earth can perceive the underlying power, which makes the universe possible. These verses are not aimed at some special elite, which has a “mind” which others lack. Certainly women are not excluded from the audience of these verses.
No honest commentator would be able to claim that the signs of God mentioned in these verses are not available to women because women are deficient in their “minds”! Any person, man or woman, can perceive the ayat (signs) of Allah and arrive at conclusions about God’s Oneness, Creativity, Power, and Nurturing Love.
Dr. Muhsin Khan does not in his translation realize that the holy Prophet pbuh was actually urging the women to gain understanding. He was not saying that they are deficient by nature and will always remain so! When a teacher says to a student: Your understanding of the book is weak, you are deficient in your analysis; think, don’t cheat, etc; the teacher is actually urging the student to gain the understanding which he/she lacks. Islam came to educate people, to raise them from out of the marshes of ignorance, not to condemn them.
Had Dr. Muhsin Khan looked at other hadith in the same chapter of Bukhari’s Sahih, he would have realized two things:
1. The holy Prophet did not reject the witness of one woman even as opposed to a man’s.
2. He did not think that women are deficient in their minds.
DOCUMENTATION OF THE USE OF ONE WOMAN AS WITNESS
In hadith number 827 and 828 we are told that the holy Prophet abrogated a marriage on the basis of ONE WOMAN’S WITNESS who had testified that in their infancy she had suckled both the husband and the wife. The narration indicates that the male narrator did not want to accept the woman’s witnessing but the holy Prophet would not countenance his hesitation. (Incidentally the woman was black and a slave from the Era of Ignorance, which also indicates the revolutionary Islamic concepts of equality of all races and peoples along with equality of male and female.)
WITNESS OF ONE WOMAN IN THE CASE OF IFK
Further on in the same chapter of Bukhari’s Sahih, we have a lengthy narration of the slander which was spread against Hazrat ‘Ayesha (radi Allahu unha) by the hypocrites. In the narration we find Hazrat Ali urging the holy Prophet to ask for one woman’s witness and the holy Prophet going through the process of asking one woman without saying that two women are required. (The Qur’an then confirmed this witnessing by affirming the noble character of the blessed ‘Ayesha.) The words of the narration are:
“‘Ali ibn Abi Talib said: O messenger of Allah! Allah has not put restrictions on you, and there are many women other than she; yet you may ask the young woman (Barera) and she will tell you the truth.
On that the messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be on him, called Barera and asked her: ‘O Barera! Did you ever see anything, which raised your suspicion? Barera said: No. By Allah who has sent you with the Truth, I have never seen anything wrong in her except that she is young and sometimes sleeps after having kneaded the dough and the goat comes and eats it.
On that day the messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, stood up to give the khutba and asked the people to support him against Abdullah ibn Ubayy ibn Salul. The messenger of Allah said:
Who will support me against that person who has hurt me in the matter of my family? By Allah I know nothing but good about my family, and they have accused a man about whom I know nothing except good and he never entered my house except in my company.”
Those who have read their hadith books carefully know that Barera was a freed slave woman. In fact, she had been freed by Hazrat ‘Ayesha and used to spend her time with Hazrat ‘Ayesha as her companion, friend, and helper. In both hadith the Prophet accepts the witness of one woman, and the question of their ‘deficient mind’ is not raised. The reason for acceptance was that Islamic education had given women mental maturity and understanding. By the time the slander against Hazrat ‘Ayesha occurred, the Muslim community had strengthened its roots.
THE MECCAN ATMOSPHERE OF OPPRESSION WHENCE SURAH BAQARAH WAS REVEALED.
When the verse about two female witnesses was revealed in Sura al-Baqarah, the Islamic community had just begun in Medina. Our male commentators have built their weak position on Sura al-Baqarah while completely ignoring Surat un-Noor where Hazrat ‘Ayesha’s example was used by Allah to indicate the equality of males and females before the Law for all times to come.
UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING OF JARIYA
Dr. Muhsin Khan has also erred in his translation of the word jariya. He translates it as “woman-servant” which though better than laundi (female slave), as some Urdu language translators put it, is still off the mark. The word jariya simply means a young woman or girl. Barera was not a slave or a servant. (Bukhari’s Sahih attests that the holy Prophet’s household did not have a servant, male or female) She had been freed by Hazrat ‘Ayesha.
It escaped Dr. Khan that the word jariya occurs three times in hadith 829 referring to hazrat ‘Ayesha herself. (As Hazrat ‘Ayesha points out, she was a young woman at that time and weighed very little; hence the camel driver did not know if she was sitting in the curtained seat atop the camel or not and moved on without her.) Thank goodness that Dr. Khan does not claim that Hazrat ‘Ayesha was a slave girl too! I hope he will look up the story of Barera and find out that she had been freed. (Freed slaves often lived with those who had freed them in a system of wilayya because they had no family systems of their own.)
THE TRANSLATORS LIMITATION IN CHOICE OF WORDS
Readers should notice how many different factors could come in to create misgivings and misunderstanding about Hadith. We all have much to learn. Those who are translating holy books into English are often quite deficient in their English. The language of the people is an essential vehicle for the dissemination of a message. The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic to a people who spoke Arabic. Similarly, people who can speak and understand the idiom of the American people must convey Islam in America.
Translation by Yusuf AliHad We sent this as a Qur’an (in the language) other than Arabic, they would have said: “Why are not its verses explained in detail? What! (a Book) not in Arabic and (a Messenger an Arab?” Say: “It is a Guide and a Healing to those who believe; and for those who believe not, there is a deafness in their ears, and it is blindness in their (eyes): They are (as it were) being called from a place far distant!
The Qur’an 41:44
Imam Bukhari: The Giant of Hadith Scholarship who stands in way of Attempts to Misinterpret the Qur’an
An Introduction: for those coming into the faith or rediscovering it again.
Shawwal 13 is the anniversary of Imam Bukhari’s birth in 194 Hijri. His name is Muhammad and he was known as Abu Abdullah.
“Bukhari” refers to his place of birth, the city of Bukhara, located in Tajikistan, 38 miles west of Samarkand.
I’ll begin with two authentic Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) collected by Imam Bukhari . These teachings are very important in the Islamic culture around the world:
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates:
The messenger of Allah was asked: Who is deserving of loving care and concern? He (the Prophet) replied:
YOUR MOTHER. And then whom (he was asked). He said:
Your MOTHER. And then? (he was asked) Your Mother (he said). And then? (The questioner continued). He said:
(Al-adab al-mufrad by Imam Bukhari)
(Abi Bakra, Allah be pleased with him, narrates about Prophet Muhammad, pbuh):
Your blood, your goods and your honor are as much protected and safe (forever) as is this day (of Arafa) in this month (of Hajj). Be aware and those of you who are here (today) should pass this on to those who are not here.
(Sahih of Imam Bukhari)
The revolutionary impact of these teachings can be understood if one realizes that Arabia (and the world) was a male dominated society in which there was no concept of basic human rights. The first Hadith puts a woman (the mother) as three times more important than the dominant male. The second hadith gives the protection of Islamic law to life, property and honor (especially the rights of women) and makes these rights as sacred as the holiest days of the Islamic pilgrimage.
Who was the man who made sure that these were authentic teachings of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and hence teachings which must be integral to any Islamic community?
Abu Abdullah Muhammad, son of Ismail, al-Bukhari was sharp of intellect with a memory which has had few equals. HE MEMORIZED THE ENTIRE QUR’AN at the AGE OF 9. At the age of 10, he turned his attention to the study of Hadith. At the age of 16, following the performance of Hajj, he decided to stay in Makkah and make the holy city the center of his studies.
A remarkable fact about Imam Bukhari’s early life is that his basic teacher was his mother, a woman of great learning and Islamic awareness. His father Ismail was also an Islamic teacher of piety and learning but he died when the Imam was little.
As he forayed into his study, research and collection of Hadith, Imam Bukhari studied in the schools of Hadith led by the greatest teachers of his era. Later, he himself became the teacher of the greatest scholars of his era. His final book of Hadith, known as al-jami us-Sahih, has been recognized around the world as a source book of Islam SECOND ONLY TO THE QU’RAN.
At that time Islam was a world power and the great and the powerful wanted to use the Qur’an and the Hadith to support their own version of Islam. The last of the SAHABA (companions of the Prophet) died in the year 110 after Hijrah. Hence the possibility of people misquoting the Prophet became very real.
Imam Bukhari understood that sponsorship by vested interests is detrimental to objective Islamic teachings. HENCE THE IMAM STAYED STRICTLY AWAY FROM THE POWER STRUCTURE. He was never a servant or courtier of any ruler, local, regional or national.
Secondly, IMAM BUKHARI AVOIDED USING HIS KNOWLEDGE TO ENRICH HIMSELF. Like Allama Iqbal in our own times, he seemed to have lived in the light of a (not so well authenticated) hadith of the Prophet that:
“Poverty is my pride.” This is a self-imposed poverty for the sake of independence and openness to all ways of thinking beyond the “party line.”
He would earn his living by trade and as a merchant and then would give away his profits, thus returning to his meager means. On some of his journeys, he almost died of starvation rather than beg the local bigwigs for help.
In his research on Hadith, he set standards, which are stricter than any known even in our own times of immediate technologically available information. Some of these need to be mentioned here:
STANDARD FOR RESEARCH ON HADITH SET BY IMAM BUKHARI
1. Did a person who narrated Hadith from a Companion of the Prophet actually meet the Companion, and was that Companion with the Prophet in such-and-such incident?
2. What was the character of a narrator of Hadith?
3. What was his/her memory like? What was his/her age at the time of narration?
4. Was the chain of narrators complete, had a missing link in it or was it fabricated?
5. Which Hadith are linked to which verses of the Qur’an?
6. Sometimes partisans can speak the truth. How does one accept Hadith from narrators who were Shi’ite, Khariji or pro-Caliph?
7. Honest collection of Hadith if objective rules apply but the content is not appealing. (Thus the Hadith literature is an uncensored account of how the SAHABA saw, heard and thought of the Prophet and his era. It leaves critical commentary to scholars and application/implementation to mujtahideen who use their reason to understand the Qur’an and the Hadith.)
FALSE IDEAS ABOUT IMAM BUKHARI
Some people have been spreading doubts about Hadith. Goldziher and Schacht’s work against Hadith has been fed into missionary publications. From here some sincere but mislead Muslim scholars picked up the attack on Hadith. One important misled but sincere person was Ghulam Ahmed Pervez who wrote extensively against Hadith. Dr. Fazlur Rahman sincerely believed that the ISNAD or chains of narration of Hadith had been invented in the third century of Islam. His work gained popularity among western-educated Muslims till Dr. Azmi published his research which showed not only authenticity of ISNAD but also that Hadith was written down in every era of early Islam, starting with the time of the Prophet and the Sahaba.
Some misled sectarians believe that Bukhari’s Hadith narration was meant to help the Ummayed rulers who had, according to the sectarian line, “usurped the right of Hazrat Ali” to be the Caliph. This idea is totally absurd because Imam Bukhari was not alive during the entire Ummayad dynasty. The Umayyad’s ruled Rajab 60 hijri to zulhijjah 132 hijri and 4 years of turmoil after that. Imam Bukhari was born in 194. So he could not have been influenced by the political power of the “ruling Ummayads.”
There are others who see traces of Shi’ism in Imam Bukhari’s collection. These again are off the mark. The Abbasids established their regime in 136. When the greatest Abbasid, Haroon ar-Rasheed, began his rule, Imam Bukhari’s birth was still one year away. When the powerful Mammon ar-Rasheed was ruling, Imam Bukhari had just started his studies and had moved to Makkah, which was outside the Baghdad orbit of Abbasid influence.
Some misled people believe that most Hadith must have been false and hence Imam Bukhari selected so few out of “six million.” This idea is based on total lack of understanding of Hadith. In Hadith studies, not only the matan (the text) of what the Prophet said but also each chain of narration (sanad) of that hadith counts as one hadith. Thus the first text in Bukhari’s SAHIH:
“Actions shall be judged by intentions …” had 700 chains of narration; hence in Hadith literature that one text would count as 700 hadith.
Some people justify their own ignorance. They think that Imam Bukhari was a narrator of Hadith, which he was not. He was a researcher, compiler and collector.
Still others attack Imam Bukhari to INDIRECTLY ABUSE, INSULT and DISCREDIT the sahaba (again a sectarian hand is often at work here). How come Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrated so many hadith? Didn’t he live in Ameer Muawiyyah’s palace? Etc. The life of the Prophet (pbuh) (other than what Imam Bukhari compiled) shows that Abu Huraira used to spend a maximum of his time listening to and collecting the teachings of the Prophet, memorizing and writing down, while others lived more “normal” lives.
Hazrat ‘Ayesha R.A., Abu Huraira and other mukassirin (those who have narrated many hadith of the Prophet), lived for far more years than some of the key figures among the Prophet’s companions. They were asked questions by newcomers who were flooding into Islam and hence taught much more. Other greats like Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, Ali (Allah be pleased with them) were not available to so many people after the Prophet died. The last three were assassinated. Hence owing to historical reasons, some narrators narrated more than others.
Some readers among our westernized elites object to the pre-scientific and pre-“modern” lifestyle, which often appears in the Hadith literature including that of Imam Bukhari. The Prophet had to go out into the desert to urinate, etc. The Prophet bathed out of a bucket along with his wife (shocking! eh). The Prophet talked about women’s menses and women among his companions talked about Muslim’s duties related to sex and “private” life. On expeditions when food ran out, the Muslims had to decide whether to eat lizards. The Prophet had fine tastes but did not want his companions to starve. What happens if a fly falls into a bucket full of food or solid shortening? Worse, what if a rat falls in? Should the entire food supply be thrown away? (In a culture of scarcity).
Also many readers find Hadith irksome simply because they don’t want to study patiently. They rush to the assumption that the headlines provided by Imam Bukhari are also Hadith. Or they take it that the words of a Sahabi and the words of the Prophet are supposedly of equal value because they are in Sahih Bukhari.
Where Imam Bukhari provides a narration which shows the low esteem in which women were held at that time and then a narration from the blessed ‘Ayesha which shows the Prophet changing those attitudes with his authoritative words, our misled anti-Hadith people do not see the connection and consider it a “contradiction.” It applies to wartime lack of rules in those days (taking slaves, taking part-time mistresses, muta’, temporary marriage, etc.). The misled people see the narration about what used to happen and DO NOT SEE what the Prophet did to stop them and how he went about it stage by stage.
Scholarship of HADITH of course preceded Imam Bukhari and he was one of a galaxy of greats, even though the greatest. I am presenting Imam Bukhari because the misled people think they can destroy the entire corpus of Hadith by attacking Imam Bukhari.
I offer this article to the Ummah with all humility. If you like it, please distribute it. If you find errors, do let me know.
And Allah is the only One Who knows all