Awais Rabbani, Pakistan
“She believed in me when the whole world refuted and attested to my truth when the whole world accused me of falsehood. She offered me compassion and loyalty with her wealth when everyone else had forsaken me” (The Holy Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him)
Born: 555 in Mecca, Arabia
Full name: Khadija bint Khuwaylid
Father: Khuwaylid ibn Asad
Mother: Fatima bint Zai‘dah
Tribe: Quraish, Banu Asad
Titles: Tahira (pure), Mother of the believers, Khadija al-Kubrah (Khadija the great)
Date of demise: 619 AD
Hazrat Khadijara was born to a noble and wealthy family. Her father, Khuwaylid ibn Asad, was a merchant. After his demise she took over the family’s business and earned distinction within the Quraish for her fair dealings and piety which gained her the name of Tahira, the pure one.
Even before the advent of Islam, she was renowned for distributing riches to the destitute, generously spending on the needy, financially assisting her relatives and providing women with dowries for their marriages. Unlike her own people, she never believed in, nor worshipped idols. She married twice before the Holy Prophetsa; first to Atiq bin Aidh bin Abdullah and later to Abu Hala bin Al Nabbash; both of her husbands passed away during the earlier years of her life. By the time she married the Holy Prophetsa, she was 40 years old.
Marriage to the Holy Prophetsa
Hazrat Khadijara was an esteemed businesswoman who traded through the primary commerce centres at that time. Since she would not travel with the caravan herself and relied on an agent to trade on her behalf, she was in search of an honest person who would take her merchandise to Syria. Hazrat Abu Talib suggested that she hire the Holy Prophetsa. The integrity and honesty of the Prophetsa brought such blessings that he returned with an unexpected profit. Hazrat Khadija’sra servant, Maysarah, who accompanied the Holy Prophetsa on his journey was full of praise for him. Impressed, she extended the marriage proposal to the Holy Prophetsa, which was accepted and through mutual consent, they got married. The Holy Prophetsa was 25 and Hazrat Khadijara, 40. Despite the disparity between their ages, the union proved extremely successful. The Holy Prophetsa also had children from this great wife.
The first revelation
When the Messengersa of Allah was 40 years old, he received his first revelation. Greatly agitated, he returned home and recounted the whole encounter to his wife and disclosed his fears of the responsibility, which God had placed on him. Her answer reflected unwavering support, faith and love she held for her husband. She consoled him with the following words:
“Allah will never disgrace you [how can God do such a thing], while you are kind and considerate to your relations, help the poor and the forlorn and bear their burdens? You treat guests with honour and help those who are in distress.”
Soon afterwards, she took him to her cousin Waraqa bin Naufal, a renowned scholar of past religious scriptures, who affirmed the Holy Prophetsa of his prophethood and declared his encounter to be of divine origins. Thus, Hazrat Khadijara was the first person to believe in her husband’s mission and embrace Islam.
Services to Islam
In its nascent years, when Islam was under the constant tempest of oppression, Hazrat Khadijara stood firmly by the Messengersa of Allah and assisted him with moral and financial support. She bequeathed all her wealth at her husband’s disposal for the propagation of Islam. Her services can only be best described in the words of the Holy Prophetsa himself, he said: “She believed in me when the whole world refuted and attested to my veracity when the whole world accused me of falsehood. She offered me compassion and loyalty with her wealth when everyone else had forsaken me” (Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 6, p. 117)
The year of grief
Despite the hardships and atrocities Muslims faced at the hands of the aristocrats of Quraish, they remained as stout as ever and their resolve in the message of Islam only increased. The zenith of oppression was a three-year socio-economic boycott, which forbade dealings with the Muslims and proved to be a time of excessive austerity and privation. Consequently, it took its toll on both the Prophet’ssa beloved wife and his uncle Hazrat Abu Talib, who met their demise shortly after their return from Shib.
Hence, this year is known as the year of grief (Aam-ul-Huzn), owed to the loss of Hazrat Khadijara, a caring wife and a faithful proponent of Islam; and Hazrat Abu Talib, the Prophet’ssa trusted counsellor and uncle who protected him at the cost of his life and demonstrated great fortitude at the face of persecutions till his demise.
Hazrat Khadijara died at the age of 65 and was buried in the Meccan cemetery of Hujoon. The Holy Prophetsa lost his family and Islam lost its valuable defenders.
Hazrat Khadijara held a distinctive position among the wives of the Holy Prophetsa. He would reminisce fondly of her and often mention her great stature. He once said: “Of all the women in Paradise, the most noble are Hazrat Khadijara bint Khuwaylid, Hazrat Fatimatul Zohrara bint Muhammad, Hazrat Mariam bint Imran, and Hazrat Asiya (wife of Pharoah). (Musnad Ahmad, Vol. 1, p. 293)
Hazrat Khadijara demonstrated unequivocal faith and support for the Prophetsa in the moments when he was alone and helpless. She stood firmly by him and sacrificed her vast wealth to promote her husband’s cause. She remained steadfast and practiced immense patience at the face of the oppositions levelled against her family by the adversaries of Islam. Despite all this, she filled her home with peace and provided her husband solace. It is no wonder she was promised a palace in paradise wherein she was promised no clamour or fatigue. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith 3819)