Did Aisha (رضي الله عنها) doubt the Prophet (ﷺ)’s prophethood?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله وحده و الصلاة و السلام على من لا نبي بعده و على آله و أصحابه أجمعين

Reality of the narration that insinuates about Aisha (RA) questioning Prophet’s prophethood in her outburst.
By now it should not be a surprise to anyone that the major anti-Islamic claims repeated by the tongues of Islamophobic missionaries are actually invented by those who claim to be Muslims. These black sheep have been giving a bad image to the Muslims and their honoured personalities since the time of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
Some of the lies are attributed to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) while many have been attributed to his loved ones such as his wives and closest companions. An example of a lie attributed to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is that he said, “I have fabricated things against God and have imputed to Him words which He has not spoken.” This can be found in al-Tabari 6:111 and requires not more than basic common sense to realise that this is a lie attributed to our beloved prophet. Since all the Muslims and those claiming to be Muslims unanimously agree that this is a lie attributed to Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) it would be fair to reject any such or similar claim attributed to any of his beloved wives or close friends and companions. However, this is not the case; a group amongst the Muslims whose religion starts with hate and ends with hate, blindly relies on any similar statement attributed to the Prophet’s wives or companions.
One such statement attributed to lady Ayesha (alternatively spelled as Aisha) – (رضي الله عنها) – is as follows:
And she [Aisha] told him once in an angry speech: You are the one who pretends to be the prophet of God. [The Revival of Religious Sciences, volume 2, page 43. Authored in the 11th or 12th century by Al-Ghazali]
It must be pointed out that these people are simply excited to collect material for their claims; they do not go for quality of the argument and instead seek only a large number of allegations.Before examining the quoted statement, it should be mentioned that Qur’an chapter 24 defends lady Ayesha (رضي الله عنها) whereas these people have used it against her.
Narrated Ibn Abi Malaika: ‘Aisha used to recite this Verse:– ‘Ida taliqunahu bi-alsinatikum’ (24.15) “(As you tell lie with your tongues.)” and used to say “Al-Walaq” means “telling of a lie. “She knew this Verse more than anybody else as it was revealed about her [Sahih Bukhari 59:465].
The verse was definitely revealed about her but it does not state that she used to lie rather mentions the lies of the people attributed to her. Reading the whole 24th chapter of the Qur’an clarifies everything but this claim is so childish and silly that even replying to it feels shameful.
Now coming to the statement attributed to lady Ayesha – May Allah be pleased with her – there are a number of issues with this statement attributed to the pious mother of the believers.
Original source works for the narration:
The narration is reported by Abu Ya’la al-Mosali in his Musnad and Abu al-Shaykh in Kitab al-Amthal fi Hadith al-Nabawi.
The chain of narrators:
In Musnad of Abu Ya’la the chain of narrators goes as;
Al-Hasan bin ‘Umar bin Shafiq bin Asma’ al-Jarmi al-Basri – Salamah bin al-Fazal – Muhammad bin Ishaq – Yahya bin ‘Ibad bin Abdullah bin al-Zubayr – his father – Aisha
In Kitab al-Amthal fi Hadith al-Nabawi the chain is as exactly the same with addition of Ibrahim bin Muhammad bin al-Harith before al-Hasan bin ‘Umar.
The narration is not reliable for following reasons;
1- According to both the sources above mentioned the report is narrated by Ibn Ishaq in an ambiguous way i.e. with ‘an. And he being a mudallis (one known to subtly drop the narrator immediately above him) his report cannot be accepted unless it be with unambiguous way of ascription e.g. haddathana (narrated to us), sam’itu (I heard),akhbarna (informed us).
Hafiz Ibn Hajr has placed him in the fourth category of mudallisin (sing. mudallis) and for this category (as well as the third one) a report has to be through unambiguous way of attribution to be taken as reliable. See, Tabaqat al-Mudallisin, Maktaba al-Manar, Amman, 1983 p.51 No. 125.
In his later work, Ibn Hajr put him in the third category, for which the same condition holds. See Al-Nukat ‘ala Kitab Ibn al-Salah, vol.2 p.642 No. 54.
2- Ibn Ishaq being the solitary narrator i.e. there is no chain for it that does not involve Ibn Ishaq. Solitary reports of Ibn Ishaq are not reliable.
Imam Ahmad was asked about the solitary reports of Ibn Ishaq if they are considered reliable. He said “No!”. See Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, Da’ira Ma’arif Nizamia, Hyderabad, 1326 A.H. vol.9 p.43.
3- Weakness of the narrator Salamah bin Fazal
Following scholars have explicitly graded the report as da’if or have pointed to problem that renders it as such.
Imam Al-Ghazali (d. 505 A.H.): “In it is Ibn Ishaq and he narrated with ‘an’nah (i.e. his tadlis is involved)” See Ahya al-Uloom al-Din, Dar al-Ma’rifah, Beirut n.d. vol.2  p.43
Imam Al-Haithmi (d. 807 A.H.): “Abu Ya’la narrated it, it involves Muhammad bin Ishaq (as a narrator) and he is mudallis. And Salamah bin Fazal, he has been deemed reliable by a number of scholars including Ibn Ma’in, Ibn Hibban and Abu Hatim, and a number of scholars have graded him as weak (da’if).” See Majma’ Al-Zawaid wa manba’ al-Fawaid, Maktaba’ al-Qudsi, Cairo, 1994, vol.4 p.322 No. 7694
Imam Al-Boseri (d. 840 A.H.): “Abu Ya’la narrated it with a weak (da’if) chain due to tadlis of Ibn Ishaq.” See Ithaf al-Khira al-Mihra, Dar al-Watan, Riyadh, 1999 vol. 3 pp.154-155 No. 2426
Shaykh Albani (d. 1420 A.H.): “It is weak (da’if)” See Silsala Ahadith Da’ifa, Dar al-Ma’rif, Riyadh, 1992, vol.6 pp.554-555, No. 2985
Shaykh Jamal bin Farhaat Saawali: “Its chain of narrators is weak (da’if) for it has Ibn Ishaq who is mudallisand narrates with ‘an.” See research on Al-Matalib al-‘Aliya, Dar al-‘Asimah, Riyadh, 1998 vol.8. pp.188-189 No. 1599
Dr. Abdul Aliy Abdul Hameed Hamid: “Its chain is weak (da’if).” See research on Kitab al-Amthar fi Hadith al-Nabawi of Abu al-Shaykh, Dar al-Salafiyyah, Bombay, 1987 pp.95-96 No. 56
Shaykh Abu al-Ishaq Al-Heweny: “And this chain is weak (da’if). And Salamah bin al-Fazal has been graded as weak (da’if) by al-Nasai and others.  Al-Bukhari said, ‘There are some rejected reports in his narrations.’ … Ibn Ishaq is a mudallis and reports with ‘an (i.e. in ambiguous way). Its subject matter has evident problem in the statement of Aisha.  The narration was graded as weak (da’if) by al-Boseri.” See Al-Fatawa al-Hadithia 1/244-245
Possible queries/objections:
Someone may like to point out that Imam al-Haithmi has said after the above mentioned comment that;

Abu al-Shaykh has narrated this report through Usama bin Zayd al-Laithi and hinted that there is no other problem with it except some weakness of Usama.

However this is pointless because the work of Abu al-Shaykh is extant and published and has no other chain for the report except the one discussed above.
Further one may argue that Ibn Hajr has stated that Abu Ya’la narrated the report with a chain having no problem (bi-sanad la ba’sa bihi), the answer is this comment even though coming from a learned scholar cannot stand empirical evidence for the weakness of the report.
Al-Heweni writes further to his above mentioned comment;
“As to al-Hafiz he said in Fath al-Bari (9/325), ‘Its chain has no problem’ but verily we have shown you the problem with it.”
The narration is not proved so objectivity and justice demands to stop the insane rant of lies against the one of the Noblest Ladies ever to have walked this earth. May Allah be pleased with her!
And indeed Allah knows the best!

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