Is it true that none of the Prophet’s (pbuh) wives ever spoke in public? Were they ever allowed to speak their mind? His first wife had her own business and I have heard that some of his later wives even discussed politics and went to war. What do the Hadith and Qur’an say about all this?
It has been reported that Hadhrat Ayesha (ra) participated in the battle of Uhud, during the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and also played a major role in the battle of Jamal, between two Muslim factions after the death of the Prophet (pbuh). Besides these appearances, it is a well known fact that Hadhrat Ayesha, with other wives of the Prophet (pbuh) played a major role of in educating the Muslims regarding the life – especially the private aspects of the life – of the Prophet (pbuh). There are a number of narratives in which it has been reported that people came to Hadhrat Ayesha (ra) and asked her about the meaning of a Qur’anic verse or a narrative which was being ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) or an aspect – sometimes very intimate aspect – of the Prophet (pbuh)’s life.
In the light of the fact that the Prophet (pbuh)’s person and his family were not only the center of reverence and respect and the institute for Divine guidance for the true Muslims but were also the target of gossip for the munafiqoon (hypocrites), the Qur’an has given a stricter code, as compared to that given for ordinary women, for the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) which they should follow while interacting with others (Al-Ahzaab 33: 32 – 34). But even this directive of the Qur’an does not hinder the educational and corrective activities of the Prophet (pbuh)’s wives.
The Prophet (pbuh)’s wives were not only allowed to speak their minds but they also used to discuss various issues with the Prophet (pbuh).
There is nothing in the Qur’an or Hadith (narratives ascribed to the Prophet), which hinders a woman from taking part in any activity arranged for the general good of the Muslim community or the Islamic state.
19th February 1999