The Marriage Ceremony
The date of the marriage ceremony was determined by Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (radhi Allahu anha) 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]
Khadijah’s (radhi Allahu anha)relationship with the Prophet (SAW)
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 (SAW) wife. Khadija (radhi Allahu anha) mature and influential; she was to become the helper, the assistant, the supporter, and the shield of Muhammad (SAW). 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 (radhi Allahu anha) married to Prophet Mohammed (SAW) 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 (SAW), Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (radhi Allahu anha) allowed him independence from all kinds of financial worries, and sacrificed everything for the cause of his Prophethood. Hence, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) once said,
“Khadijah aided me with her wealth at a time when no one else did.” [Masnad Ahmad]
Once, Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (SAW), and in turn, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) set him free. [Seerah ibn Hisham]
Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha) the love and devotion with which the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) 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 (radhi Allahu anha), “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 (SAW) thought he was going mad or being possessed.
At this crucial juncture, Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha) provided her husband with courage and solace. Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha)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 (radhi Allahu anha) 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 3 Muslims on the face of earth! One Muhammad (saws), the 2nd was Khadijah (radhi Allahu anha)and the 3rd was Ali bin Abi Talib (radhi Allahu anha)! Subhan Allah!
Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (radhi Allahu anha) 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 (radhi Allahu anha) 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]