“She believed in me when the whole world refuted me and she attested to my trueness when the whole world accused me of falsehood. She offered me compassion and loyalty with her wealth when everyone else had forsaken me.”
[Prophet Muhammad (saws): Narrated by Masnad Ahmad]
Khadijah, the first wife of the Prophet (saws), is a figure of great inspiration to the Muslim women.
She was the first to believe in the message of Muhammad (saws).
She proved to be the Prophet’s (saws) steadfast ally at all times.
She shared in all his troubles and difficulties.
She was always the first to offer him cover and support.
She gave him love and advice whenever he needed it.
At the age of forty, a widow and a wealthy business-woman, Khadijah (ra) married the Prophet (saws) when he was twenty-five, in what proved to be a relationship of profound love, loyalty and friendship.
Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha) was born in Makkah in the year 556 CE. Khadijah (ra) belonged to a tribe of the Quraysh Clan, the Banu Asad. Her father was Khuwaylid bin Asad, and her mother – Fatima bint Zaidah – belonged to the Luayy tribe. Her father was a very popular leader among the tribe of Quraysh, and a very prosperous businessman who died while fighting in the famous battle of Fujjar. Khadijah (ra) thus grew up in the lap of luxury.
Khadijah’s (ra) first husband was ‘Atiq bin ‘A’idh, a respectable figure from the Makhzum tribe. She bore him a daughter named Hindah. After Atiq died, Khadijah married Abu Hala Malak ibn Nabash. She bore him two sons with the (usually feminine) names of Hind and Hala.
Khadijah (ra) was a very distinguished and affluent member of the Quraysh, and was generally regarded as an exceptionally chaste, pure, and abstemious lady. Due to all that, she was known by the by-names Ameerat-Quraysh (“Princess of Quraysh”), al-Tahira (“The Pure One”) and Khadijah Al-Kubra (Khadijah “the Great”).
Khadijah (ra) as a Business Woman
Khadijah (ra) was a wealthy, well-known and prosperous lady in Makkah. She was a merchant and used to send her goods via the trade caravans to Ash-Sham (Syria) and Yemen.
Khadijah (ra) inherited her business from her father. Her astuteness and business ability made her business one of the most widespread businesses among the Quraysh. It is said that when the Quraysh’s trade caravans gathered to embark upon their summer journey to Ash-Sham (Syria) or winter journey to Yemen, Khadijah’s caravan equaled the caravans of all other traders of the Quraysh put together. It is said that she fed and clothed the poor, assisted her relatives financially and provided marriage portions for poor relations.
Trade of the people of Makkah used to be based on travelling to Yemen and Ash-Sham (Syria). Khadijah (ra) did not travel with her trade caravans; she employed others to trade on her behalf for a commission. The Arab society at that time was a male-dominant society, so we can imagine how hard it would have been for a woman to run her business in such an environment. That’s why she had to hire men to do business for her. It was like companies hire “business managers” today.
Khadijah hires Muhammad (saws) as a Business Manager
In 595 CE, Khadijah (ra) needed an agent for a business trip to Syria. As we know that the society in Makkah was a very corrupt society in the times of jahiliyyah, she was most probably running into trouble with a lot of “business managers” who were not being honest, so she wanted to hire somebody who was trustworthy.
Khadijah (ra) had heard of the integrity, honesty and principled behavior Muhammad (saws).The experience that Muhammad (saws) held working with caravans in his uncle Abu Talib’s family business had earned him the honorific titles Al-Sadiq (“the Truthful”) and Al-Amin (“the Trustworthy” or “Honest”).
Khadijah hired Muhammad (saws), who was then 25 years old, making the deal that she would pay double her usual commission. [Ibn Sa’d’s Tabaqat al-Kabir] Khadijah sent him on a business trip to Ash-Sham and sent one of her servants, Maysarah, to accompany and assist him.
During the trip to Ash-Sham, Maysarah was impressed by the Prophet’s integrity, strength of character, adherence to principles, his amicable dealings and his business abilities.
On the way back from Syria, the Prophet (saws) lay down under a tree to rest for a while. Nestora, a Jewish monk who was known for his knowledge of religion and for his insight, saw him and asked Maysarah who he was. Maysarah told him all about Muhammad (saws) and his reputation for honesty and intelligence. Nestora informed Maysarah that this man would be elevated to Prophethood in the future. Nestora said:
“None but a prophet ever sat beneath this tree.”
It is also narrated that on the same trip, once while Maysarah was standing near Muhammad (saws) as he slept, he saw two angels standing above Muhammad creating a cloud to protect him from the heat and glare of the sun.
Khadijah becomes interested in Muhammad (saws)
Upon returning from Ash-Sham, Maysarah gave accounts of the honorable way that Muhammad had conducted his business, with the result that he brought back twice as much profit as Khadijah (ra) had expected. Maysarah also reported to Khadijah (ra) the accounts about the Jewish monk and the two angles providing shade over Muhammad (saws).
At this, Khadijah (ra) was deeply moved and impressed and became very interested in Muhammad (saws). She found herself attracted to Muhammad (saws) emotionally and thought to propose marriage to him.
One could imagine what she would have been thinking at that time. How could she express her thoughts to him? As Khadijah (ra) was a wealthy woman, many wealthy and noble men from Quraysh had already asked for her hand in marriage, but she had rejected all those proposals. How could she face those nobles of Quraysh whom she refused before? How would her tribe react? What would her family say? And most importantly, would her proposal be acceptable to this young, yet unmarried man of 25 years of age when she was a widowed woman of 40 years of age?
As she pondered over these questions and debated within herself, one night she had a dream in which the sun descended from the sky into her courtyard, fully illuminating her home.
Khadijah (ra) then consulted her cousin Warqah ibn Nawfal, a blind man known for his skill in interpreting dreams, and for his depth of knowledge, particularly of the Torah and the Injil. Warqah said that if what Maysarah had seen was true, then Muhammad (saws) was in fact the prophet of the people who was already expected.
Regarding her dream, Warqah told her not to be alarmed, as this was a very promising dream. The glorious sun she saw descending into her courtyard was an indication that the Prophet (saws) whose advent had been predicted in the Torah and the Injil was to grace her home.
After this meeting with Warqah, Khadijah (ra) became stronger in her desire to marry Muhammad (saws).
Marriage Proposal to Muhammad (saws)
Khadijah (ra) entrusted one of her very close friends named Nafisah bint Manbah to approach Muhammad and ask if he would consider marrying. The following conversation took place between the two:
Nafisah: “Oh Muhammad, what is preventing you from getting married?”
Muhammad: “I do not have enough money to get married!”
Nafisah: “If that was taken care of, then would you accept an invitation to wealth, beauty, repute, and partnership?”
Muhammad: “Who is she?”
Nafisah: “Khuwaylid’s daughter, Khadijah”
Muhammad: “But how can it be?”
Nafisah: “Everything will be taken care of.”
Muhammad: “In that case, I accept”.
[Narrated in Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d]
Nafisah instantly went to Khadijah to tell her the good news. Khadijah’ was overjoyed.
After this, they consulted their respective uncles. Muhammad (saws) told his uncles, Abu Talib and Hamza, about his wish to marry Khadijah (ra). His uncles agreed to the marriage. Khadijah’s father had passed away in the Battle of Fujjar. For this reason, they approached her uncle, Amr bin Asad, to make a formal proposal to Khadijah (ra). Khadijah’s uncle Amr Ibn Asad accepted the proposal, and the two families began preparing for the wedding.
The Marriage Ceremony
The date of the marriage ceremony was determined by Khadijah and the ceremony was to take place in her home. The Prophet (saws), his uncles, his aunts, and some of the leading figures from the sons of Hashim came to Khadijah’s home on the set date.
Khadijah (ra) provided everything that would ensure a beautiful wedding ceremony. The sheep were slaughtered and the food was prepared.
After the food was eaten, it was time for the oldest ones on both sides to speak, which was in accordance with their custom. Her uncle, Amr bin Asad, was her representative for the ceremony.
According to the tradition, Abu Talib would be the first to speak. Therefore, he stood up and said: “Thanks be to God for he has created us from Ibrahim’s progeny, Ismail’s bloodline, Maad’s minerals, and Mudar’s descent. After this, I get straight to the point and say:
“As you know, my brother’s son, Muhammad bin Abdullah, is your relative. No youth from the Quraysh can be compared to him. He is superior to them in terms of repute, intelligence, honor, and virtue.
“Yes, he has very little property, but what does that mean? It is a transient shadow and curtain, something temporary that is given and then taken away.
“I swear by God that his rank is going to increase and grow even more from now on.
“He now asks for your daughter Khadija’s hand in marriage and pledges to give 20 male camels for her dowry.”
When Abu Talib finished speaking, Khadija’s cousin, Warqah bin Nawfal, rose to speak. He said:
“Thanks be to God for He has created us like you have described. He has granted us a far greater degree of superiority than you have mentioned. We also want to be honored and establish kinship with you.
“Oh, the community of Quraysh! Bear witness that I marry Khuwaylid’s daughter, Khadija, to Muhammad, the son of Abdullah, for the price of this dowry”.
When Warqah bin Nawfal had finished speaking, Abu Talib wanted Khadija’s paternal uncle, Amr bin Asad, to express his consent. Amr also rose to his feet and said, “Oh the community of Quraysh, bear witness that I have joined Muhammad bin Abdullah and Khuwaylid’s daughter, Khadija in marriage.”
Khadijah (ra) and her mother, Fatima, were very happy at the occasion and ordered the maid servants to arrange for some small tambourines to be played to enliven the house.
Halimah As-Sa’diyyah who nursed the Prophet in his infancy was specially invited for the wedding and traveled to Makkah from her village. When she left after the festivities, Khadijah presented her with household goods, a camel and forty goats as an expression of gratitude to the lady who had taken such good care of Muhammad (saws) in his infancy.
Thus, the Master of the Universe (saws) was married to Khuwaylid’s daughter, Hazrat Khadijat ul-Kubra, who had the most reputable ancestry as well as the most honor and wealth among the Qurayshi women. At that time, Muhammad (saws) was 25 years old whereas Hazrat Khadija was 40. Their marriage took place in 595 CE; 15 years before his Prophethood.
After the ceremony, Prophet (saws) brought his esteemed wife with him to Abu Talib’s home. Here they slaughtered two camels and threw a banquet for the community.
Out of regard for this happy occasion, Abu Talib slaughtered his camels and fed the community and then afterwards, invited Muhammad (saws) and his family to his home.
When he went out to greet them, he thanked God in the midst of his tears by saying, “Praise to be God for He has dispelled all of our sadness away from us.”
Prophet Muhammad (saws) and Khadijah (ra) only stayed a few days in Abu Talib’s home. Afterwards, they returned to Khadija’s home in which they would spend their blissful lives.
The Master of the Universe (saws) did not marry anyone else while this pure woman was alive. [Seerah ibn Hisham]
Khadhijah’s (ra) relationship with the Prophet (saws)
In spite of the disparity between their economic position and age, the marriage proved to be extremely successful. Allah (swt) had a great plan in choosing Khadija to become the Prophet’s (saws) wife. Khadija (ra) was mature and influential; she was to become the helper, the assistant, the supporter, and the shield of Muhammad (saws). Enormous responsibility was to be bestowed upon him. To bear such a duty may have been too demanding a task for a younger woman.
Khadijah was married to Prophet Mohammed (saws) for 24 years, 5 months, and 8 days. Ibn Ishaq relates that whenever the Prophet (saws) would feel troubled by the accusations and abuse that were meted out against him by people, Khadijah would reassure him, alleviate his troubles, lighten his burden, and ease his difficulties by her attestation and acceptance of his claim. [Seerah ibn Hisham]
The secret of the success of this extraordinary marriage lay in the fact that its foundations were based on the virtuous disposition of both. In her proposal of marriage to Muhammad (saws), Khadijah said that she was inclined towards him due to the beauty of his virtuous character. After marriage, their relationship grew stronger in love and trust.
Khadijah (ra) allowed him independence from all kinds of financial worries, and sacrificed everything for the cause of his Prophethood. Hence, Prophet Muhammad (saws) once said,
“Khadijah aided me with her wealth at a time when no one else did.” [Masnad Ahmad]
Once, Khadijah (ra) observed the Prophet Muhammad’s (saws) empathy for one of her slaves, Zaid bin Harisa (ra), and the manner in which he appreciated and praised his services. As a result, she bequeathed him to the Prophet (saws), and in turn, the Prophet Muhammad (saws) set him free. [Seerah ibn Hisham]
Khadijah noticed the love and devotion with which the Prophet Muhammad (saws) undertook his prayers, and always sought to support and assist the performance of his spiritual duties. She would take it upon herself to prepare his provisions when he would seek solitude in the cave of Hira to worship.
The First Wahi
Perhaps the most well-known and emotional impact is the incidence when the Muhammad (saw) returned after he received the first revelation from the cave of Hira, having witnessed the angel Jibreel (as).
Shivering, realizing somewhat what a massive responsibility laid ahead of him.
Trembling, understanding that his life would change forever.
Afraid, fearing for his safety.
The experience terrified him, and he ran home and cried to Khadijah, “Cover me! Cover me!” She was startled by his terror, and after soothing and comforting him for a while, the Prophet (saws) was able to calm down and tell her about his experience and said, “I fear that something may happen to me.” [Bukhari]
The Prophet feared he was going mad or being possessed.
At this crucial juncture, Khadijah (ra) provided her husband with courage and solace. Khadijah put all his fears to rest. She said:
“Do not worry, for by Him who has dominion over Khadijah’s soul, I hope that you are the Prophet of this nation. Allah would never humiliate you, for you keep good relations with your kith and kin, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you answer the call of those who are in distress.”
Attestation by Warqah bin Naufal
In addition to her reassuring words, she took him to her cousin Warqah bin Naufal, a Christian scholar well-versed in Hebrew, and who possessed extensive knowledge of the Torah and the Gospels. After listening to the Prophet Muhammad (saws), Waraqah bin Naufal said:
“This is the same angel that was sent down to Moses (as). Alas! I wish I were young and healthy in this age, when your people will oust you from this land.”
The Prophet Muhammad (saws) asked in astonishment, “Will my people oust one such as me (meaning bearer of good and servant to mankind)?” Warqah said, “Indeed! It has always been so in the past.” [Bukhari]
Khadijah (ra) once asked the Prophet Muhammad (saws) about Warqah bin Naufal, “O Prophet of Allah! Although he believed in you after your first revelation, he died shortly afterwards.” The Prophet Muhammad (saws) replied,
“Yes, I saw him in a dream of mine and he was clad in white. If he was of the inmates of the fire, then he would not have been dressed so.” [Kanzul Ummal]
One of the First 3 Muslims
Can you imagine there was a time when there were only 3Muslims on the face of earth! One Muhammad (saws), the 2nd was Khadijah and the 3rd was Ali bin Abi Talib (ra)! Subhan Allah!
Ali ibn Abi Talib (ra) says:
“In those days Islam was observed only in one house, in which Holy Prophet (saws) and Khadijah (ra) resided and I was the third one (in the house).”
There is a truly beautiful story told by Yahya ibn Afeef about an occasion when he visited Makkah to stay with Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, one of the uncles of Prophet Muhammad (saws).
When the sun started rising, he said, “I saw a man who came out of a place not far from us, faced the Kaaba, and started performing his prayers. He hardly started before being joined by a young boy who stood on his right side, then by a woman who stood behind them. When he bowed down, the young boy and the woman bowed, and when he stood up straight, they, too, did likewise. When he prostrated himself, they, too, prostrated themselves.”
Then he expressed his amazement at that, saying to Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, “This is quite strange, Abbas!”
“Is it really?” retorted Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, who asked his guest if he knew who this man was and went on to tell him, “He is Muhammad ibn Abdullah, my nephew. Do you know who the young boy is?”
When Yahya ibn Afeef said that he didn’t know, he was told, “He is Ali ibn Abi Talib. Do you know who the woman is?” The answer came again in the negative, to which Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib said, “She is Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, my nephew’s wife”. [Ahmad and Tirmidhi]
So we can say that Khadijah (ra) was an “eye-witness” of the birth of Islam. She nursed it through its infancy, through its most difficult, and through its most formative years.
Allah gives salam to Khadijah!
Once Khadijah (ra) set out towards the northern parts of Makkah with provisions, in search of the Prophet Muhammad (saws). On her way, the angel Jibrael (as) appeared before her and enquired about the Prophet Muhammad (saws). Khadijah (ra) became anxious since an unknown man was asking about her husband. Upon meeting the Prophet (saws), she related the earlier encounter, to which he replied:
“That was Jibrael (as) and he said to give Salam to you.”
Narrated Abu Hurairah:
Jibrael (as) came to the Prophet (saws) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! This is Khadijah, coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, give her salam on behalf of her Lord (Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil, (fatigue, trouble, etc.).” [Bukhari]
That is how special Khadijah (ra) was; in the eyes of Allah, Jibrael and Muhammad (saws). Allahsubhanahu wa ta’ala sends down His salam to Khadijah (ra) and then Jibrael is adding his own salam to it! Can you imagine receiving salam from Allah (swt) Himself! Doesn’t that make you cry! Also Allah gave her the glad tidings of a palace made of Qasab in paradise. Subhan Allah!
The glad tidings concerning Khadijah’s (ra) abode in Paradise was a significant tribute to her character.
- Allah (swt) predestined a glasshouse of pearls and gems for Khadijah (ra), a house mirroring her pure and sincere heart.
- She filled her home with peace and made it heavenly for the Prophet (saws) during her lifetime. Rewarding this, Allah sent forth a message of glad tidings of her eternal abode in heaven.
- Just as she caused no fatigue to reach the Prophet (saws) through her care and support, her eternal abode shall know no fatigue either.
Khadijah (ra) as a Mother
Khadijah (ra) was very blessed in the marriage, and had six children. Two sons, Qasim and ‘Abdullah; and four daughters, Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah. None of them ended up having descendants except Fatima, and that is where the lineage of Rasul ullah saws is continuing; through the descendants of Fatima and Ali.
The four daughters grew up to be faithful and courageous daughters of Islam. They all migrated to Al-Madinah, with the Prophet (saws).
Zaynab was married to Abu ‘Aas bin Rabi’ah, Ruqayyah was married to ‘Uthman. When she passed away ‘Uthman married her sister Umm Kulthum; Fatimah was married to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. The first three daughters died during the lifetime of Muhammad (saws) and his beloved daughter Fatimah lived just six months after he passed away.
All the male children borne by Khadijah (ra) passed away during her lifetime. Following the pure example of Prophet Muhammad (saws), she too bore with great patience the trial and adversity of losing her children. Qasim was not yet weaned when he passed away, yet Khadijah (ra) showed a great example of patience. Only once did she say to the Prophet Muhammad (saws):
“O Prophet of Allah! The lactating days of Qasim were not yet over. If only Allah had permitted him a few more days, he would have finished his two years of lactation. Would it not have been wonderful and we would have spent some more time with our child.”
The Prophet Muhammad (saws) replied,
“He will complete his lactating days in Paradise.”
Khadijah (ra) replied,
“If that was to be believed, it would ease the grief that I bear for Qasim.”
The Prophet Muhammad (saws) said:
“If you wish, I shall pray to Allah that He may let you hear your son’s voice so that you may believe that he will indeed finish his lactating days in Paradise. Thus you may feel reassured.”
Khadijah (ra) answered with great promptness and presence of mind by replying,
“O Prophet of Allah! I believe what Allah and His messenger say and accept it to be the truth.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]
Khadijah’s House: The Center of Islam
The Prophet (saws) lived in Khadijah’s house. It was in her home that Angel Jibrael was bringing Revelations from Heaven for ten years. So her home became the “home” of Glorious Qur’an – the Book of Allah (SWT), and the religious and political code of Islam.
All the Companions, male and female, would visit her house often to partake of the hospitality of Muhammad (saws) and his wife. So it became the center of Islam.
We can say that Islam was given shape and design in her home. If any home can be called the cradle of Islam, it was her home; she “reared” Islam. If any home can be called the “axis” of Islam, it was her home; Islam revolved around her home.
After the Hijrah (migration) of the Prophet (saws) to Al-Madinah, the house was occupied by the brother of ‘Ali. Later Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan (who transcribed some of the Divine Revelations) purchased this house and built a mosque. Thus the site of the house of Khadijah became a place of prayer and worship for all time.
She helped Islam by her wealth
Not only did she help the Prophet (saws) emotionally, but financially as well. She spent her money to help the small but growing community of believers and gave up many comforts in order to support the noble cause.
She was the richest woman in Makkah and she sacrificed all her wealth for the cause of Islam. She was a leader and a pillar of her community and the backbone of Islam. There is a famous saying:
“Islam did not rise except through Ali’s sword and Khadijah’s wealth.”
One may ask this question: how was a widowed woman able to use her wealth for the cause of Islam?
As a business woman, she was managing a huge business and excelled to the point that she was nicknamed Ameerat-Quraysh, i.e. “The Princess of Quraysh”. For a widowed woman, having and running a successful business in a society that was male-dominated would not have been that easy. And it was this prosperous business of hers that enabled her to earn the riches that were used to help the cause of Islam.
As Muslims, we learn two lessons from this:
- Being rich per se is not something bad in itself. Money has become a taboo in our Muslim societies, which is a wrong concept. There is a feeling of guilt associated with having lots of money. This wrong belief sometimes hold the Muslims back from having successful businesses or having a successful career. Islam has never encouraged poverty. Khadija (ra), Uthman ibn Affan (ra) and Abdur Rahman ibn Awf would never have been able to help Islam through their wealth, if they were not rich.
- We should not discourage Muslim women to become entrepreneurs or start their own businesses. If our daughters want to do something BIG for the world or start a crazy project, we should not discourage them. We should teach them to develop their characters just like Khadijah (ra) and aim for the best in both this world and the next. Let’s raise our daughters up to become modern day Khadijahs!
Khadijah’s Sacrifices for Islam
After accepting Islam, Khadijah (ra) faced trials and hardships with respect to the breakup of her daughters’ marriages. Her daughters Ruqayya (ra) and Umm-e-Kulsoom (ra) were married to Utba and Utaiba respectively, who were sons of Abu Lahab, uncle of the Prophet (saws). After claiming prophethood, the opposition in Makkah grew, during which time the Quraish instigated the two sons to divorce the daughters of the Prophet Muhammad (saws). [Seerah Ibn Hisham & Tabaqat Ibn Sa’d]
As a result, both marriages were dissolved. Khadijah (ra) bore the pain of her daughters with great strength. No word of impatience or displeasure crossed her lips. Indeed this was a great test by Allah (swt) but her reaction to such tests bore testimony to her sabr and to the strength of herimaan.
After that, she was tested by Allah (swt) once again. From the 7th year of Nabawi, the tribe of Banu Hashim was besieged and boycotted in Shi‘b-e-Abi-Talib for 3 years. Khadijah (ra) spent those three years in conditions of great difficulty with the Prophet Muhammad (saws).
The political and social boycott was so severe that innocent children faced starvation and hunger, and adults survived eating the leaves of trees. Yet the firm followers of Muhammad did not turn away from their true religion and they came out of the ordeal stronger and purer than before.
So here’s the richest woman of Quraysh, facing a situation where they have to eat the leaves of trees to survive. Subhan Allah! She chose to bear the grief and pain of the siege for the cause of Allah and His Messenger (saws). She chose a righteous path and stayed with the Prophet Muhammad (saws) until the day of her death.
Khadijah’s Death: The Year of Grief
Khadijah (ra) passed away just three years before the Hijrah (migration) to Madinah. She died at the age of sixty-five, having given almost twenty-five years to Muhammad (saws). When Muhammad (saws) saw her in the throes of death he consoled her saying Allah had so ordained it, and that the thing she was dreading, would prove favorable for her. Her eyes lit up and as she gazed at her beloved husband, her soul left its earthly body.
Her grave was prepared at a place called Hujjun, near Makkah. Muhammad (saws) stepped into it to see that everything was as it should be, and with his own hands lowered her gently into it. Thus, passed away the ‘Mother’ of all Muslims, the one who had sacrificed her all for Islam, the lady who was the greatest supporter of Islam in its earliest days. She who was the mother of Fatimah, the First Lady of Paradise, the grandmother of the beloved grandchildren of the Prophet (saws) Hasan and Hussein who are to be the foremost of the youths in Paradise.
When she passed away, one of the ladies of the Quraysh, Khawlah bint Hakim, visited the Prophet (saws) to console him, and saw his state of depression and grief and remarked on it. He replied it was only natural that he should be touched by her absence, as she had been a loving mother to his now neglected children; she had been a loyal and sympathetic wife who shared his secrets.
The Prophet (saws) was heartbroken at the loss of a dedicated companion who stood by him during the most difficult period of his life. It is no wonder, then, that Muhammad (saw) never really got over her death. She meant so much to the Prophet (saws) and to Islam that he called the year of her death ‘Aam ul-Huzn, i.e. “The Year of Grief”.
Khadijah, one of the four greatest women!
Khadijah (ra) is one of the four greatest women that ever lived. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas narrated that:
“One day the Prophet (saws) drew four lines on the earth and asked his Companions if they understood what these lines stood for. They respectfully replied that he knew better. He then told them that these lines stood for the four foremost ladies of the universe. They were Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imran, the mother of the Prophet Issa and ‘Asiyah bint Muzahim (the wife of the Pharaoh).”
It should be noted here that the greatest of all of them is Maryam, proven by the verse of Quran:
And (remember) when the angels said: “O Maryam! Verily, Allah has chosen you, purified you (from polytheism and disbelief), and chosen you above the women of the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinns) (of her lifetime).” [Aal-e-Imran: 42]
All of these four greatest women had something to do with a Prophet; Maryam was the mother of Prophet Isaa (as), Asiyah brought up Prophet Musa (as), Khadijah was the wife of Muhammad (saws) and Fatima was his daughter.
The Prophet’s (saws) High Regard for Khadijah
The Prophet (saws) spoke highly of Khadijah’s characteristics. He once said:
“Khadijah is better and above all other women.” [Musnad Ahmad]
The Prophet (saws) loved her so much, and he kept his loyalty to Khadijah (ra) even after she passed away. Not only would he always remember her, he kept on maintaining a relationship with her friends. The Prophet saws sometimes would slaughter a sheep and send it to the friends of Khadijah (ra). ‘A’ishah (ra) related that whenever an animal would be slaughtered, the Prophet (saws) would name all of Khadijah’s friends and say:
“Send a portion to that house, for she loved Khadijah dearly. Send a portion to that house, for she was a friend of Khadijah.”
‘A’ishah (ra) said that she once asked the reason for this, to which the Prophet Muhammad (saws) replied,
“Those who were dear to Khadijah are dear to me too.” [Narrated by Al-Tabarani Al-Kabir]
‘A’ishah (ra) relates that once an old lady came to the house of the Prophet (saws). The Prophet (saws) asked her, “Who are you?” She said, “I am from the neighbourhood of the Muzeena clan.”
After that, every time she came to visit, the Prophet (saws) would hold her high in esteem, and express happiness upon her visit. He would ask: “How are you? How is everything? How have you been doing since we last met?” ‘A’ishah (ra) says that she once asked the Prophet (saws), “O Prophet of Allah! Why do you shower such care and attention over this old lady?” The Prophet (saws) replied:
“This old lady used to come to our house in Khadijah’s time, and loyalty is a part of faith too. Through this old lady, I recall the time I spent with Khadijah.” [Narrated by Al Mustadrak lil-Hakim and Al-Tabarani Al-Kabir]
The Story of Khadija’s Necklace
During the battle of Badr, Abdul-Aas, son-in-law to the Prophet (saws) and husband of Zainab (ra), was captured along with other non-Muslims from Makkah. At the time, Zainab (ra) was residing in Makkah. In exchange for the freedom of her husband, she offered the necklace her mother had given her at the time of her marriage as payment.
Upon seeing and recognizing the necklace, the Prophet Muhammad (saws) was stirred and overwhelmed with emotion. What an extraordinary moment it was to behold when his eyes shed tears at the memory of her kindness!
He consulted his Companions over granting freedom to Abdul-Aas without payment. As a result, the necklace was returned to Zainab (ra), and remained a keepsake memory of her noble mother Khadijah (ra).
However, Abdul-Aas was released on the terms that upon his return to Makkah, he would arrange safe passage for his Muslim wife, Zainab (ra), the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad (saws), to Madinah. [Abu Daud]
Abdul-Aas, proved loyal and true to his word. Upon his return to Makkah, according to his promise, he made arrangements for Zainab (ra) to be transported to Madinah, where the Prophet (saws) was residing.
The Prophet (saws) never forgot the good deed done by his son-in-law. He used to say, “Abu-ul-Aas is a righteous man in that he fulfilled the promise that he made to me.” [Bukhari] It was this very righteousness that enabled Abu-ul-Aas to accept Islam in the end.
‘A’ishah’s (ra) Feeling of Jealousy
‘A’ishah (ra) narrated:
“I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet (saws) as much as I did of Khadijah though I did not see her, but the Prophet (saws) used to mention her very often”. [Bukhari]
‘A’ishah (ra) relates that Khadijah died three years before her marriage. Every time, before leaving the house, the Prophet Muhammad (saws) would talk fondly about Khadijah (ra).
“I became weary of hearing of her all the time. For this reason I never felt any indignation against any of the wives except for Khadijah (ra). The Prophet (saws) would say that Allah has given me glad tidings in a revelation of a resting place for her in Paradise. Once, Khadijah’s sister, Hala, came to our house and she asked permission to come in. Due the similarity between her voice and Khadijah’s voice, the Prophet (saws) recognized her beforehand and said, ‘Dear God! It is Hala who has come.’ At this exclamation, I felt a strong sense of indignation and said,
‘O Prophet of Allah! Why is it that of all the old women of Quraish, you keep mentioning only one, she who died a long time ago? Allah has blessed you with better wives than her since then. You mention Khadijah as if there is no woman but her on earth.’
The Prophet Muhammad (saws) took amiss at these words and his face showed such signs of anger that I felt limp. I prayed to Allah that if his anger were to fade today, I would never again in my life say another word against Khadijah. At that point, looking at my countenance, the Prophet Muhammad (saws) said to me,
‘O ‘A’ishah! The truth of the matter is that no one can be better than Khadijah. She believed in me when the whole world refuted me and she attested to my trueness when the whole world accused me of falsehood. She offered me compassion and loyalty with her wealth when everyone else had forsaken me. O ‘A’ishah! What can I do? Love for her runs in my blood and is nestled in my heart.’” [Narrated by Masnad Ahmad]
I cannot find any love story more powerful, more spiritually uplifting, and more awe-inspiring than that of the Prophet Muhammad (saws) and Khadijah (ra). It is a shining example of what an ideal marriage is. If a Muslim ever claims that he loves his wife, he must gauge his actions with that of the Prophet (saws). If a Muslimah ever claims that she loves her husband, she must gauge her actions with that of Khadijah (ra)!
The history of Islam wouldn’t be the same without Khadijah (ra). Let us spread this beautiful love story of Khadijah (ra). Use the icons below or on the left-hand side to share this article on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
Remember, the Prophet (saws) said:
“Convey from me even if it be one ayah (verse), for it may be that the one being informed will comprehend better that the one listening (at present).” [Bukhari]
So let’s share this story all over the internet, insha Allah!
Also give me feedback in the comments section below. How did you feel about this story of the Princess of Quraysh? What lessons, as a husband or wife, do you get from this story of the Prophet’s (saws) house?
And in the end,
Let us give our Salam to this noble and grand woman, one to whom Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, the Master and Creator of this Universe sent His Salam!
Salam to you O Khadijah, Ameerat-Quraysh (“Princess of Quraysh”)!
Salam to you O Khadijah al-Tahira (“The Pure One”)!
Salam to you O Khadijah al-Kubra (Khadijah “the Great”)!
About the Author
Irfan Ullah Khan is the CEO and Co-Founder of Happy Muslim Family, an online platform to help Muslim spouses achieve tranquility in their family life. He is also author of two books “Better Love with Better Half”and “How to Become the Ideal Muslim Parent”.