Some days back, Shia leader Ayatollah Khamenei officially issued a fatwa, prohibiting the hurling of insults towards Hz Aisha (RA), the wife of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This fatwa comes in response to the ever-occurring Shia practice, wherein insulting and name-calling the wives and companions of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as well as many other great leaders of Islam, is considered an acceptable act.
Ayatollah Khamenei: Insulting Aisha (RA) is Prohibited
Insulting figures and symbols celebrated by Sunni brethren, including the wife of the Prophet of Islam (Aisha) is prohibited. This includes the wives of all prophets, particularly the master of all prophets Muhammad (May God’s greetings be upon him and his household).
This fatwa came in response to a question posed by a group of Shia scholars from Saudi Arabia. Of course, this is not the first time that Ayatollah Khamenei has expressed such views; back in 2011 too, he insisted on Shia-Sunni unity and further added that the Shia practice of hurling insults at notable historical figures of Islam was detrimental to the cause of unity. However, this has not deterred the vast majority of Shia clerics so far, though things just might turn towards betterment after this fatwa.
Ayatollah Khamenei further added:
Disrespecting the pure wives of the Prophet (PBUH) should be avoided. The Prophet’s (PBUH) wives are all respectable; anyone who insults any of them has insulted the Prophet. I resolutely declare this offensive. The commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali treated her eminence Aisha in such a respectful manner. He treated a woman, who had come to fight against him, with the utmost respect because she was the Prophet’s wife; otherwise the Commander of the Faithful would not stand on a ceremony with anyone: hence, no such disrespect should ever occur.
This fatwa is indeed a welcome gesture, and it goes without saying that the top Shia leadership is, to say the least, trying to lead by example.
However, will it really have any practical effects? As anyone can probably imagine, a Shia preacher will not face any repercussions if he/she hurls abuses at Hz Aisha (RA), or Hz Abu-Bakr (RA), or Hz Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA). On the other hand, if the same Shia preacher were to talk negative about any of the Shia leaders or historical figures, he/she will surely face trouble. Amidst such animosity, the current fatwa might seem ineffective.
That said, a little beginning is still a beginning anyway, and Ayatollah Khamenei’s fatwa is surely a noble step.