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It was narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn Zayd (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A man complained to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) that he felt something whilst praying. Should he stop his prayer? He said: “No, not unless you hear a sound or notice a smell.”

—Narrated by al-Bukhari, 2056; Muslim, 361

Islam scholars assert that the above text issues a fundamental principle: certainty cannot be dispelled by doubt, and things remain as they are. Say, you have a strong relationship with someone for a very long time, and know him/her to be a really good person based on evident patterns. You then hear a rumor from someone saying that he did something bad, which would tarnish his/her reputation. According to above principle, one should change behavior just because someone said something about someone we know, we trust.

How do we reconcile this with the incident of the Slander of Aisha?

What upset her when she was ill was that she observed the Prophet’s behavior to have changed toward her. On inquiry, when she finally came to know about the slander from another lady, she sought the Prophet’s permission and went to her parents’ home. She said: “Rumours about this slander went on spreading in the city for about a month, which caused a great distress and anguish to the Holy Prophet. I cried due to helplessness and my parents were sick with mental agony.”

The Prophet (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) remained in great anxiety with regard to Aisha (RA) for one whole month. At last one day he (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) visited her and her parents. He sat near her (which she says he had not done since the slander had started). Feeling that something decisive was going to happen that day, Abu Bakr and Umm Ruman (Ayesha (RA)’s parents) also sat near them. The Holy Prophet gently said: “Ayesha, I have heard this about you. If you are innocent, I expect that Allah will declare your innocence. But if you have committed the sin, you should offer repentance, and ask for Allah’s forgiveness; when a servant (of Allah) confesses his guilt and repents, Allah forgives him.”

The mentioned principle and the above incident does not fit. Have the Islam scholars discussed this point? Had the above incident not occurred at all, and, say, I experienced a similar event, and not spoken to my wife, I am hundred percent certain that the Islam scholars would all point out the above principle, and say that I was wrong for being suspicious because of a mere rumor.

  • This principle was declared or at least fixed a few years if not centuries after the incident. So to check this we must know which of both incidents happend first. As many of such incidents where the reason for scholars to conclude rulings as they are test cases. – Medi1Saif Apr 9 at 8:51
  • @Medi1Saif Respectfully, I don't understand this logic. If certitude is not removed by doubt, it is not removed by doubt, independent of time. What you say is equivalent to saying that at the time of the incident, The Prophet was wrong/unfair about what he did, and he would not behave in that manner after what you state. – blackened Apr 9 at 8:54
  • No I'm saying that many rulings have changed or were a change of pre-Islamic "rulings" I don't have deep enough knowledge about the incidents nor am I really aware what you mean by "doubt" in this case? Everybody knows that once a rumor spreads it is hard to tell whom or what you believe and the prophet is a human unless he follows Allah's orders in his doing or saying. – Medi1Saif Apr 9 at 9:04
  • Also note that doubt is of three kinds 1) a doubt on something to be haram by origin or default: like finding a slaughtered sheep in a non-Muslim land than it is haram to be eaten 2) a doubt on something to be halal by default: like finding water that has changed by some outer influences in that case it is halal to use 3) a doubt on something where one doesn't know is it halal or haram by default: like the case of a money of a person who mostly deals with haram money, but one doesn't know whether the in hand is from the haram part basically it is halal but frowned upon to use it. – Medi1Saif Apr 15 at 12:56

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