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.
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.