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KHADIJAH BINT KHUWAYLID

May 19, 2010

KHADIJAH BINT KHUWAYLID
The Wives of The Prophet Muhammad by: Ibn Kathir

Narrated Abu Hurayrah:

Jibril came to the Prophet (peace be upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! This is Khadijah coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (i.e. Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a Qasab (palace in Paradise) wherein there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue (trouble).” [Bukhari]

Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, came from a noble family. Her father Khuwaylid had been one of the most honored leaders of their tribe until he was killed in battle. Her husband had also died, leaving her a very wealthy woman. When Muhammad (peace be upon him) was still a young man, she entrusted him with some of her wealth, asking him to trade with it in Syria on her behalf. He was already well known for his honesty, truthfulness and trustworthiness. He returned from Syria after having made a large profit for Khadijah.

Khadijah was very alarmed to see him in such a state. Quickly she wrapped a blanket around his shoulders and, when he had calmed down, she asked him to describe exactly what had happened. He told her how a being whom he had never seen before – in fact it was the angel Jibril – had suddenly appeared to him while he was asleep and had said, “Recite!”
After hearing his account of the journey, she decided that he would make the best of the husbands, even though many of the most important nobles of the Quraish had already proposed to her and had been refused, and in due course she proposed to him. After the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Talib, had given the proposed marriage his blessing, Muhammad and Khadijah were married. At the time of the marriage, the Prophet was twenty-five years old, while Khadijah was forty years old.

For the next fifteen years they lived happily together, and Khadijah bore several children. Their first child, a son whom they named Qasim, died when he was only two years old. However, Muhammad and Khadijah also had four daughters who survived: Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm Kulthum and Fatima. Then Abdullah was born to him but also died in his infancy.

The more Khadijah came to know about her husband, the more she loved and respected him. Everyone in Makkah called him ‘al-Amin’, which means ‘the trustworthy one’, and she, more than anyone else, knew how fitting this name was. It became Muhammad’s custom each year to spend the month of Ramadan in seclusion and reflection in a cave on the mountain of Hira, which is on the outskirts of Makkah. Khadijah would always make sure that he was provided with food and drink during his retreat. Towards the end of one Ramadan, when he was forty and Khadijah fifty-five, Muhammad suddenly appeared at their house in the middle of the night, trembling with fear and saying, “Cover me up, cover me up!”

“But I am not a reciter,” he had replied, for he was unlettered and could neither read or write. “Recite!” the angel had repeated, clasping Muhammad close to his chest. “I am not a reciter,” he had repeated. “Recite!” the angel had repeated, firmly embracing him yet again. “What shall I recite?” he had asked in desperation, and the angel had replied:

“Recite, in the Name of your Lord who created, created man from a clot, Recite, and your Lord is the Most Gracious, Who taught with the pen, taught man what he did not know.” [Quran 96:1-5]

“Oh Muhammad,” said Jibril eventually, “you are the Messenger of Allah and I am Jibril,” and with these words he disappeared from Muhammad’s sight.

As she listened to Muhammad’s words, Khadijah did not share any of these fears. She realized that something tremendous and awe-inspiring had happened to her husband, and she was certain, knowing him as she did, that he was neither mad nor possessed. “Do not worry,” she said, “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 are good to your relatives, 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.”

When Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a little more relaxed, Khadijah took him to see her cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, for he was a man of knowledge, and she was sure that he would be able to explain the meaning of what had just happened to her beloved husband. Waraqah had studied the books of both the Jews and the Christians very closely and he had learned a great deal from many of their wisest people. He knew that the coming of another Prophet had been foretold by both Moses and Jesus, peace be on them, and he knew many of the signs that would confirm the identity of this Prophet when he appeared.

After listening closely to his story, Waraqah, who was both old and blind, exclaimed, “This is the same being who brought the revelations of Allah to Moses. I wish I was young and could be alive while our people will drive you out.”

He explained to Muhammad (peace be upon him) about his Prophethood and that it was the Angel Jibril that had visited him at the cave.

Khadijah as both overjoyed and awed to find that her understanding of what had happened on the mountain had been confirmed. Khadijah did not hesitate in expressing “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

In the years that followed, difficult years in which the leaders of the Quraish did everything in their power to stop the Prophet spreading his message, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was a constant source of help and comfort to Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the difficulties which he had to face. All her wealth was spent in the way of Allah, helping to spread the message of her husband, helping to free slaves who had embraced Islam, and helping to feed and shelter the community of Muslims that slowly but surely began to grow in numbers and strength.

The Quraish were infuriated by the Prophet’s success and did everything in their power to discourage both him and his followers, often inflicting awful tortures on them, but without success. Eventually there came a time when, as Waraqah had foretold, Muhammad and his followers -along with all the members of his tribe, the Banu Hashim were driven out of the city of Mecca and forced to camp out in a small ravine in the mountains nearby. No one would buy and sell with the Muslims, or allow their sons and daughters to marry any of them.

For three years the small Muslim community lived a life of hardship and deprivation, but although they suffered from hunger and thirst, and from exposure to heat and cold, this was a time in which the hearts of the first Muslims were both purified and also filled with the light of knowledge and wisdom. It was during this period that the Prophet’s uncle, Abu Talib, who was by then more than eighty years old, died; and then a few months later, during the month of Ramadan, Khadijah also died, at the age of sixty-five, may Allah be pleased with her. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mourned her deeply. They had shared twenty-five years of marriage together and she had given birth to five of his children.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never stopped loving Khadijah, and although he married several more wives in later years and loved them all, it is clear that Khadijah always had a special place in his heart. Indeed whenever ‘Ayshah, his third wife, heard the Prophet speak of Khadijah, or saw him sending food to Khadijah’s old friends and relatives, she could not help feeling jealous of her, because of the love that the Prophet still had for her.

Once Ayshah asked him if Khadijah had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet (peace be upon him) replied: “She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.”

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