Umm-ul-Momineen Khadija (May Allah be pleased with her)

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It is no exaggeration to say that there is hardly any Muslim in the world who does not know Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her), the first wife of Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) and the very first convert to his mission. Numerous women have made remarkable contributions to the Islamic civilization, but Khadijah’s (May Allah be pleased with her) role in the cause of Islam in its earliest stages is unparalleled. She was the one to whom Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) related his first experience of wahy. He expressed fear for his life, to which Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) replied, “Never, by God! Never will God disgrace you, for you honor ties of kinship, you look after people who need help, you host and assist travelers, and you support just causes.”

Birth & Genology

She belonged to Banu Asad Ibn ʿAbd alʿUzza Ibn Qusay, a distinguished family of the Quraysh tribe. By genealogical standards of nobility, she enjoyed a high status in the society.

Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was born fifteen years before the Year of the Elephant. Her family enjoyed a high status in the Makkan society. Khadijah’s father, Khuwaylid was a well-established trader as well as a tribal leader.

She was called Tahirah even in pre-Islamic days. Owing to her nobility and social status, the Makkans also called her sayyidat nisaʾ Quraysh the highest among the ladies of Quraysh. Following the advent of Islam, Qur’an called her Umm almuaminin, or the Mother of Believers an expression that signified her status in the new Muslim community. Muhammad (Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said that she was afdal nisaʾ ahl aljannah the most meritorious among the women who shall enter paradise.

The lineage of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) meets that of Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) at Qusay Ibn Kilab. Qusay is credited with establishing the authority of Quraysh in Makkah. Before Qusay, Quraysh did not have any share in the governance of Makkah and the custodianship of the Ka’abah.

Marital Life

Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was married twice before her marriage to Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him). Her first husband was ʿAtiq Ibn ʿAbid Ibn ʿAbdullah alMakhzumi. Following his death, she got married to Abu Halah Ibn Zararah alTamimi. According to some biographers, she married Abu Halah first.

Abu Halah and Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) had a son, Hind Ibn Abi Halah, which explains her alias “Umm Hind”. Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) had a share with Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) in the upbringing of Hind. Hind embraced Islam, and participated in the battles of Badr and Uhud. He died in 36 AH in the Battle of Camel.

Abu Halah had three other sons: Halah, Harith, and Tahir. All three of them embraced Islam. Harith Ibn Abi Halah died in the early days of Islam defending Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) on an occasion when he was attacked by his opponents in Makkah. In fact, he was the first martyr of Islam. With ʿAtiq Ibn ʿAbid alMakhzumi, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) had another daughter, who was known as Umm Muhammad.

Remarriage of widows and divorcees was very common those days. In fact, a widow or a divorcee would be married again soon after the completion of ʿiddah. Thus, a number of tribal leaders and men of fame proposed to Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) following the death of her second husband, but she did not entertain any of those proposals.

But Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was convinced about the nobility of Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him), and she thought of marrying him. Three months after Muhammad’s (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) return from as-Sham, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) sent her friend Nafisah Bint Umayyah to Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) with a proposal for marriage.

The Holy Marriage

Muhammad’s (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) uncles Hamzah, ʿAbbas, and Abu Talib are known to have attended the ceremony. From Khadijah’s side, Waraqah Ibn Nawfal (cousin), ʿAmr Ibn Asad (uncle), ʿAmr Ibn Khuwaylid (brother), Hakim Ibn Hazzam (nephew), and some ladies of the family attended the ceremony. It is reported that Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) friend, was also present on the occasion.

Abu Talib addressed the gathering thanking God for placing him and his family among the descendants of Ibrahim, and for honoring them with the responsibility to oversee the affairs of the Ka’abah. He praised his nephew, Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him), mentioning some of his good attributes. He said his nephew was not wealthy, but that wealth was a passing affair. He then announced the mahr for the marriage. Following Abu Talib, Waraqah Ibn Nawfal addressed the gathering. It is reported that Waraqah officiated at the marriage. He acknowledged the merit and nobility of Banu Hashim and declared Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) and Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) as husband and wife for the appointed mahr. Some reports suggest that twenty camels were offered as mahr. Other reports suggest that the mahr was 500 Dirhams of the time.

At the time of marriage, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was 40 years old, and Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) was 25 years old. The marriage took place about 25 years after the army of elephants attacked Makkah, and 15 years before Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) was appointed by God as His Messenger. After marriage, Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) moved to Khadijah’s residence, where he continued to live until he migrated to Madinah. The two enjoyed each other’s company for about 24 years until the death of Khadijah. Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) did not marry other women during Khadijah’s life.

Off Springs

Soon after marriage, Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) and Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) were blessed with a son who was named al-Qasim. Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) came to be known as Abu al-Qasim in Makkah. But Qasim died while he was young.

In the years following the death of Qasim, Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) and Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) were blessed with four daughters and a son one after the other. The daughters were Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah. The son was ʿAbdullah, also known as Tayyib and Tahir. A lady named Salma is known to have nursed all of Khadijah’s children.

As A Trader

Historians and biographers have noted that Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) had inherited a great deal of wealth from her father and other members of her family. In turn, she had invested her wealth in trade.

Trade was one of the major occupations for the Arabs. The rich among them would lend their merchandise on mudarabah basis to others who would then engage in trade. The profits would be shared as per the terms of the contract. Women commonly engaged in business. Historians have noted that Khadijah’s business was on a fairly large scale. Being a woman, she did not accompany the trade caravans, but gave her goods to established traders on mudarabah basis. God had blessed her with success in business. Being a tactful business woman, she was always looking for competent and honest men in the field who could carry her goods to distant places and trade on her behalf.

Besides praiseworthy attributes, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) had the honor to be the first person who embraced Muhammad’s (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) call to Islam. Known as Tahirah even before Islam, Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was the daughter of Khuwaylid, a wealthy merchant and leader of the community. She was a graceful and wise woman, who established herself as a successful trader. As a mother, she brought up her children in the best possible manner. Subsequently, when it was time to support Muhammad’s (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) mission, she did not hesitate from spending her wealth to support the cause of Islam. She could afford the luxuries of this world, but she joined her husband and other members of his clan in exile for three difficult years in Shiʿb Abi Talib. Thus, Jibril informed Muhammad (May the peace and blessing of Allah be on him) that God promised Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) a palace in paradise.

Indeed, this is a very vast, holy and interesting topic and it will not be fair with readers to summarize her blessed biography in few words. Hence I have decided to share with you an exceptional work of Darussalam Publishers. A book by which my love and respect for “Uum-ul-Momineen” was multiplied a thousand times, i.e. “Golden Stories of Sayyida Khadija (May Allah be pleased with her)” by Abdul Malik Mujahid. The interesting part of this book is that it is written and compiled by the founder of Darussalam Publishers and is one of the essence of his lifetime achievements.

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