Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter. See the link after the review for ways to get involved.
This slim volume of nonfiction is a collection of forty hadith narrated by the Mother of the Believers Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her). It is collected by Nuriddeen Knight, who is a fellow with Yaqeen Institute and whose work I deeply admire. I’m so grateful a friend gifted me a copy of this book. Knight has offered us an opportunity to hear some of the Prophet’s words through the frame of Aisha’s experience. This book gives us a portion of our deen, transmitted through Aisha, and collected by Knight.
In the preface, the author includes the hadith that mentions the practice of gathering forty hadith: “Whoever safeguards 40 narrations for my nation in the matters of this religion; God will raise him as a scholar and I shall be an intercessor and witness for him on the day of resurrection.” After learning this hadith, Knight decided to collect forty hadith narrated by Aisha in order to showcase her as a scholar.
After the preface, there is a short biography of Aisha, and then the hadiths follow. Each appears on its own page (in English) and is followed by its source. The hadiths cover a variety of topics, and there are well-known hadiths as well as some lesser-known ones. There is something extremely powerful about seeing at the top of the page, over and over again: “Narrated Aisha, mother of the believers . . .”
Aisha holds a unique place among the narrators of hadith because of her proximity to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). For example, it is because of her that we know that the Prophet’s last words were: “Oh God, [with] the highest Companions.” We also know details about his private life, like what his mattress was made out of (“a tanned skin stuffed with palm-fibres”).
We also learn about Aisha herself through her narrations. For example, in one hadith she questions the Prophet about why he prays such a long prayer when God has forgiven all of his sins. The Prophet of course responds his famous response: “Shouldn’t I love to be a thankful servant [of God]?” Through this incident, we see that Aisha examined her life, and Islam as a result, through a critical lens, questioning anything and everything.
This book is a nice short introductory volume of hadith and would make a lovely gift for a friend (or for yourself).
Striving to Be an Antiracist
The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.
Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls
Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/