Islam is the eternal charter of humanity. It has witnessed many personalities who have participated in, whatever manner possible, spreading the message of Islam. In this way, they have earned the respect of other Muslims for their sacrifice in the way of Islam.
Amongst these great personalities, the eminent personality of Ummul Momineen – Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) stands out for offering everything at her disposal in the way of Islam and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
Nobility ran in the family of Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.), the mother of Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (s.a.). Over the years, her family had earned distinction in the Quraysh for its knowledge and recognition.
(Al-Rauz al-Anaf, vol. 1 pg 213)
Asad b. Abdul Uza is her bequeather. He is amongst the associates of “Hilf al-Fuzul”. And one of the associates of “Hilf al-Fuzul” is the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself.
(Seerat-e-Ibn-e-Hesham, vol. 1 pg 141)
Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) inherited a lot of wealth from her father. She ran a flourishing trading business and there were many people under her employment. She had more than 80,000 camels. Her business interests extended up to Ethiopia and Egypt.
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 16 pg 22)
Managing such a huge business underlines her business acumen and managerial capabilities. Selecting the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who was known for his trustworthiness, for her business manifests her judgment of character. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) traveled to Syria for business at the age of 25 years.
(Ummul Momineen Khadijah al-Tahera, pg 15)
On employing the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for her trading business, she recognized him (s.a.w.a.) even better over a period of time as a man of extraordinary character and piety.
Her business dealings with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gave her the opportunity to witness his (s.a.w.a.) remarkable personality from close quarters. She was the wealthiest lady of Makkah. Wealthy men were regularly proposing marriage to her, but she did not pay any heed to them. She selected the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) as her life partner despite her contemporaries mocking her for marrying an orphan.
Selecting a person devoid of worldly embellishments as her husband underscores that despite being wealthy, Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) was not inclined towards the world; rather, she was predisposed towards ethics and spirituality and hence chose the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who outranked all men in Arabia on this count.
The marriage ceremony was held under the auspices of the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) guardian and uncle, Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s.). He (a.s.) performed the marriage rites on behalf of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), while Waraqah b. Naufal did so on behalf of Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.).
Hazrat Abu Talib’s (a.s.) role in the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) marriage is a direct response to those who are skeptical about his faith. He was a monotheist and if he was anything else, Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would never have allowed him to be associated with the latter’s marriage to Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.).
Likewise, Waraqah was amongst the scholars of that era and was not an idol worshipper. Thus, two monotheists laid the foundation of a marriage which was to give Islam, a monotheist religion of the highest order, its most immaculate personalities starting from Hazrat Fatimah Zahra (s.a.) and ending in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 16, pg 65)
When the marriage ceremony concluded, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) proceeded towards his house. At that moment Hazrat Khadijahh (s.a.) declared:
“Proceed towards Your house, my house is your house and I am your slave.”
(Safinah al-Behaar vol. 16 pg 279)
These words of Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) manifest her recognition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and her self-sacrificing personality. Her offering all her wealth to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) proves that the temporal world held no meaning for her and she was constantly aiming for the hereafter.
Many researchers are of the opinion that Hazrat Khadijah’s (s.a.) marriage with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was her first and only marriage.
The greatest event in the history of humanity occurred fifteen years after this marriage when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) proclaimed. Due to her enlightened heart, she was the first to declare her faith in the message of Islam.
Ameerul Momineen Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) says:
“In those days Islam was observed only in one house, in which Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) resided and I was the third one (in the house).”
(Nahjul Balagah, Khutbah-e-Qase’aa)
None but these three personalities could claim to be the first Muslims.
Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) offered all her wealth to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and declared:
“Whatever belongs to me is present before you, and it is at your disposal; you use it as you like in the path of glorifying the Words of Allah, and for the propagation of His Religion.”
(Ummul Momeneen Khadijah al-Tahera, pg 32)
The harmony in her words and her actions by offering herself and all the wealth in the way of Allah is proof of the esteem she accorded Allah and His Religion. The sacrifices that she offered in the way of Islam were the cause of Allah conveying salutations to her through Hazrat Jibrael (a.s.).
Hazrat Khadijah’s (s.a.) contribution can be summarized as follows:
1. Financial support
Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) offered her wealth without a moment’s hesitation to the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.). She never demanded anything in return and never interfered in his (s.a.w.a.) decisions. On the contrary, she supported him at each and every step. History does not mention a single incident wherein she spoke arrogantly about her wealth or embarrassed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) by reminding him (s.a.w.a.) about her favors.
None can deny the role of Hazrat Khadijah’s (s.a.) wealth in the propagation of Islam. This is the reason that the famous Maaleki scholar Muhammad b. Ilamovi claimed:
“Islam was established with the sword of Ali (bravery) and the wealth of Khadijah”
(Manaqib-e- Khadijaht al-Kubra, Preface pg 3)
Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared:
“I have not benefited from any wealth like the wealth of Khadijah”
(Amaali-e-Shaikh-e-Tusi (r.a.), pg. 468)
The noteworthy point of Hazrat Khadijah’s (s.a.) character is that she never displayed any vanity despite possessing huge wealth.
2. Spiritual support
When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) commenced his mission of Islam, there was a storm of opposition against him. He was attacked spiritually (he was called insane, magician soothsayer, relations were severed by near ones etc) and physically (economic boycott, stone-pelting, etc). At such a crucial juncture, she supported him and soothed him with her affection, which in turn energized him to face the opposition. If she had not created a favorable environment inside the house and God forbid, he (s.a.w.a) also had to face opposition from within the family, it would have severely impaired his efforts to spread the message of Islam. She was not just the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) partner in his (s.a.w.a.) material life; she was also his (s.a.w.a.) confidante in his (s.a.w.a.) spiritual life. It will not be an exaggeration to state that she partnered him (s.a.w.a.) in propagating the message of Islam.
3. Consulting support
Numerous incidents underscore that Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) was also involved in critical discussions with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This highlights her position and the loftiness of her beliefs.
“Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) got comfort from her and discussed important matters with her.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 16, pg 10)
Gift of Allah
Allah, the Almighty, bestowed a very precious gift on Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.). This blessed and precious gift was the birth of Hazrat Sidiqqah al-Tahera Fatimah Zehra (s.a.). Allah made a special provision for this gift. For granting this gift Allah invited Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to Meâraaj (ascent to Paradise) and conferred on him a perfumed fruit of Paradise. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) handed over this trust to Hazrat Khadijahh (s.a.). When the time of Hazrat Fatimah’s (s.a.) birth neared, she sought help from the ladies of the Quraysh. They declined to help her citing her stubbornness in ignoring their advice and marrying an orphan.
At that moment, four ladies entered her room and introduced themselves thus as Sarah, wife of Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.), Aasiya, wife of Firaun, Maryam, mother of Hazrat Isa (a.s.) and Kulsoom, sister of Hazrat Moosa (a.s.).
They said, “Allah has sent us to help you and we bring you glad tidings of a girl. Allah has reserved lot of bounties in the progeny of this child.”
(Aamali-e-Saduq (r.a.) pg 470)
This depicts the honor enjoyed by Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) in front of Allah. When the obstinate women of this world refused to help her, Allah sent forth the pure ladies from Paradise to assist her thereby actualizing the verse of the Holy Quran:
“If you help Allah, He will help you.”
(Surah Muhammad (47): 7)
Victim of jealousy
Great personalities not only suffer from physical and spiritual attacks but also from the envy of the people. Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) enjoyed a unique position among the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). This became a cause of envy for some of the wives who followed. They manifested their jealousy in different ways viz. taunts, hurtful comments (directed at the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) fond memories of her). On his part, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) rebutted these envious comments and praised Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.). However, even this did little to stem the envy.
Ayesha narrates, The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) always remembered Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) fondly. He (s.a.w.a.) used to praise her and often mentioned her great stature. One day, I could not control myself and taunted Khadijah was an old woman. Allah has granted you with much better wives.
When he (s.a.w.a.) heard this, he (s.a.w.a.) became furious and said: “By Allah! Allah has not given me a better wife than her. She accepted faith when people were disbelievers. She verified my truthfulness when people denied me. She gave her wealth when people deprived me. Allah has bestowed me children through her while others have not been blessed similarly.”
(Usud al-Ghaabah, vol. 5 pg 436)
Then Ayesha says I decided that “By Allah! I will not remember her with venom in future.”
(Tazkerah al-Khawaas, pg 303)
Respect and honor of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for her
Till the time she was alive, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) did not marry any other woman as a respect to her. He married again only after her demise. He (s.a.w.a.) always remembered her fondly according much respect to her memories. His respect for her was to an extent that he never abandoned her friends so much so that whenever he (s.a.w.a.) sacrificed an animal he (s.a.w.a.) sent the meat to them.
It is narrated from Anas b. Maalik that whenever the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) received a gift, he used to say: Go and give this to so and so person, she was a friend of Khadijah and Khadijah loved her.
(Safinah al-Behaar, vol. 1, pg 380)
We have already discussed her extraordinary merits. In this regard, few incidents are notable:
1. Hazrat Jibraeel (a.s.) came in the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and informed:
“O Muhammad! Khadijah is coming in your presence; convey salutations of Allah to her and give her glad tidings that Allah has made a house for her in Paradise wherein there is neither grief nor sorrow.”
(Tazkerah al-Khawaas, pg 302)
2. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) informed Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.)
“Khadijah! Surely Allah, the Almighty prides Himself, over the respected angels, many times in a day because of you.”
(Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 16 pg 78)
There are many such traditions that underscore the outstanding position of Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.) in front of Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
The number of people coming in the fold of Islam increased because of the efforts of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Similarly, the oppression of the disbelievers also increased. The zenith of oppression was the economic and social boycott which forced the Muslims to take shelter in the Cave of Abu Talib (a.s.). The difficulties increased by the day. There was a prohibition on Muslims to interact with the masses. This continued till the tenth year of Proclamation (Besat of the Prophet s.a.w.a.). During that difficult period, the existence of the Muslims hinged on Hazrat Khadijah’s (s.a.) wealth and Hazrat Abu Talib’s (a.s.) backing. Finally a situation came when the Muslims exhausted Hazrat Khadijah’s (s.a.) wealth.
At that time, Islam and Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) suffered a dual setback with the demise of Hazrat Abu Taalib (a.s.) and Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.). This calamity was so great that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) named the year “Aamul Huzn” (Year of Grief).
Over the last fourteen centuries, we have seen many personalities who have served Islam but we are hard pressed to find anyone more exemplary than Hazrat Khadijah (s.a.).
Even though the Salafis have demolished her shrine in Jannatul Moalla on the pretext of “safeguarding Tauheed”, like they have demolished the shrines of her children (a.s.) in Jannatul Baqee, her remembrance is forever fresh in the hearts of those who feel the pain of Islam and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
We wait for the day when her son, Hazrat Hujjat Ibn al-Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) will reappear and avenge the injustice meted out to her and her children!