How Do We Understand the Reaction of Our Mother ’Aisha When the Prophet (May Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace) Passed Away?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch


I’ve discovered a couple of hadiths that describe Sayyida ‘Aisha and Sayyiduna ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) hitting themselves after learning that the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) passed away.

I’ve also heard that such mourning is haram, so I wondered if the hadiths are unreliable or if there is another explanation.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal is the only one to narrate the following narration:

Sayyida ‘Aisha said, “The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) passed away leaning against my chest. I did not wrong anyone regarding him. It was from my weakness and the youth of my age that the Messenger of Allah was taken whilst in my lap, then I placed his head on a pillow and stood hitting myself along with the women and hitting my face.” [Ahmad]

The narrators of this narration are all sound and trustworthy.

Understanding the Narration

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) forbade people from hitting themselves and tearing their clothes in mourning for the deceased. However, if one looks at her words, Sayyida ‘Aisha (Allah be pleased with her) is clearly remorseful for her reaction.

A person who is overcome with distress to the point that they are not fully in their senses is akin to a person who loses their sanity. Such a person would be excused in regard to their mistakes. There has never been a calamity upon the world like that of the passing of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace).

The Reactions of the Companions

Upon hearing the news of the passing of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), the companions were greatly shaken such that they responded involuntarily in various ways:

  1. Some rejected his death:
    Amongst these was Sayyiduna ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him), who swore an oath that the Messenger (may Allah bless him and give him peace) did not die. [Haitami, Ashraf al-Wasa’il ila Fahm al-Shama’il]
  2. Some became mute:
    ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan narrates that people would say Salaam to him, but he was unable to reply from the devastation of the Prophet’s passing [Ibid.]
  3. Some became paralyzed:
    Sayyiduna ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (Allah be pleased with him) was unable to move at all due to the news of the Prophet’s passing (may Allah bless him and give him peace). [Ibid.]
  4. Some died:
    ‘Abdullah bin Anis (Allah be pleased with him) became highly sick and passed away from severe grief and sadness (kamdan). [Ibid.]
  5. Some remained firm:
    Despite his great sadness, Sayyiduna Abu Bakr al-Siddiq (Allah be pleased with him) showed immense fortitude and brought the Muslims back to stability.
    And this was despite his broken heart, for it is clear from the Prophetic biography that Abu Bakr (Allah be pleased with him) loved the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) the most from the Companions. [Ibid.]


Despite the reactions of some of the companions regarding the passing of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), it is not permissible for one to mourn by hitting themselves, wailing aloud, or ripping their clothing. The tragic news of the Prophet’s passing overwhelmed the companions that they were not in their right senses.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Quran and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Quranic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.