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Hazrat Khadijah(S.A.), the Fist Lady of Islam

By: Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
Till that time the financial and economic conditions of the Prophet had not improved and he still needed financial help from his uncle, Abu Talib. His business matters were apparently not so firm as yet that he should choose a wife and set up a family.
His last journey to Syria, and that, too, in the capacity of the agent and representative of a wealthy and well-known lady of Quraysh (Khadijah) stabilised his financial and economic condition to some extent. His courage and skill attracted the admiration of Khadijah and she expressed her willingness to pay him, as a prize, something over and above the settled amount. However, the Prophet accepted only that remuneration which had been agreed upon originally. He then proceeded to the house of Abu Talib and handed over to him all that he had earned, so as to ensure some relief for his uncle.
Abu Taiib had been waiting impatiently for his nephew who was the souvenir of his father (Abdul Muttalib) and his brother Abdullah. Tears trickled down his eyes as soon as he saw him. He was, nevertheless, very much pleased to learn about his business activities arid the profit that he had made, and expressed his willingness to place two horses and two camels at his disposal so that he could continue his business. As regards the money which he had earned during the said journey and had handed over to his uncle, he (Abu Talib) decided to utilize it for choosing a wife for his nephew.
In these conditions the Holy Prophet decided to choose a spouse for himself. The question, however, is as to how the lot fell upon Khadijah who had previously rejected the proposals of the most wealthy and influential men of Quraysh, like Uqbah bin Abi Mu'it, Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan. What were the causes which brought together these two persons who were absolutely different from each other from the point of view of their respective lives, and which created such cordial relations, love and spiritual cohesion between them that Khadijah put her entire wealth at the disposal of Muhammad, and spent her wealth, which she gained from her business which extended upto Egypt and Ethiopia in the path of monotheism and for the exaltation of truth? And how was it that the house which was full of chairs studded with ivory and pearls and decorated with Indian silks and Iranian brocade curtains eventually became an asylum for the Muslims?
The causes of these events should be ascertained from the life history of Khadijah. However, the thing which is indisputable is that services, indulgence and self-sacrifice of this kind cannot certainly become permanent unless they have a firm, pure and spiritual origin.
Pages of history testify that this marriage was the outcome of the faith of Khadijah in the piety, chastity, virtue and honesty of the Holy Prophet, the dear one of Quraysh, and the life history of Khadijah and narrations about her attainments make this fact abundantly clear.
As she was a chaste and virtuous woman she wished to marry a pious and virtuous husband, and it was for this reason that the Holy Prophet said about her "Khadijah is one of the honourable ladies of Paradise". And the first woman who expressed faith in Muhammad was Khadijah. Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, while describing, in one of his sermons, the pitiful condition of Islam in the early days of the prophetic mission of the Holy Prophet says "There was then no Muslim family except the family consisting of Muhammad, and his wife Khadijah. and I was its third member".
Ibne Athir says that a merchant named Afif came in Masjidul Harem and was very much surprised to observe the gathering there, and worship by a group consisting of three persons. He saw that the Holy Prophet was offering prayers along with Khadijah and Ali. On his return from the Masjid he met Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet. He told him what he had seen and inquired about the factual position. Abbas said to him, "The leader amongst those three persons is claimant of Prophethood and the woman is his wife Khadijah and the third person is my nephew Ali". Then he added, "I am not aware of any person on the face of the earth who should be a follower of this religion except these three".
It is beyond the scope of this book to explain and quote the narratives which have come down about the excellence of Khadijah. It would, therefore, be better that we should explain the causes which occasioned this historical event (i.e. marriage of Muhammad and Khadija).

Materialists, who study everything from the materialistic point of view, imagine that as Khadijah was rich and a trades-woman, she was very much in need of an honest person in connection with her commercial affairs and she, therefore, married Muhammad; and as Muhammad was also aware of her respectable position he consented to her request, although there was disparity in their ages. However, history tells us that Khadijah was prompted to marry Muhammad the 'honest man' of Quraysh owing to a series of spiritual causes, and this union had no material aspect. Evidence in support of our claim is as follows:
1. When Khadijah enquired from Maysarah about the incidents related to the journey of the Prophet he narrated to her the miracles which he had seen from him and also what he had heard from the monk of Syria. Khadijah felt excessive emotion within herself, which had its origin in her interest in the spirituality of Muhammad and she said to Maysarah involuntarily "Maysarah! That will do. You have doubled my interest in Muhammad. I hereby set you and your wife free and also place at your disposal two hundred dirhams. two horses and a costly dress ".
Thereafter she narrated what she had heard from Maysarah to Waraqah bin Nawfal, who was a sage of Arabia, and he said: "One who possesses these attributes is the Arabian Prophet".[101]
2. One day Khadijah was seated in her house while her bonds-women and slaves encircled her. One of the Jewish scholars was also present. By chance the Prophet passed that way and the Jewish scholar saw him. He at once requested Khadijah to insist upon Muhammad that he should postpone his task and join that party for a few moments. The Prophet accepted the request of the Jewish sage, which was based on observation of the signs of prophethood in his person. Khadijah then turned to the Jewish sage and said "When his uncles will become aware of your investigation and inquisitiveness they will display an adverse reaction, because they are afraid of the Jews about their nephew". The Jewish sage then replied: "How can it be possible that anyone should harm Muhammad, when the hand of destiny has reared him up for the last prophethood and for the guidance of the people?" Khadijah said: "On what authority do you say that he will come to hold this position?" He replied: "I have read the signs of the last Prophet in the Taurat. His signs include three things that is his parents will die, his grandfather and uncle will support him, and he will choose for his spouse a woman, who will be the lady of Quraysh". Then he pointed to Khadijah and said: "Blessed is she who has the honour of being his life-mate".[102]
3. Waraqah, uncle of Khadijah, was one of the sages of Arabia. He had thorough knowledge of the Bible and used to say time and again: "A man will be raised by Allah from amongst Quraysh for the guidance of the people and he shall marry one of the richest ladies of Quraysh". And as Khadijah was the richest woman of Quraysh he occasionally said to her: "A day will come when you will marry the noblest man on earth!"
4. One night Khadijah dreamt that the sun revolved above Makkah and then descended slowly and landed in her house. She related her dream to Waraqah bin Nawfal and he interpreted it thus: "You will marry a great man and he will become renowned throughout the world".
These are the incidents which have been quoted by some historians and by late Allamah Majlisi[103] and have also been recorded in many history books. When all of them are taken into account they make crystal clear the reasons for the inclination of Khadijah towards the Prophet. This inclination was mostly due to her belief in the spirituality of the Prophet and the fact that the 'honest one' was more suitable for her business than others had no bearing on the consummation of this union.

This much is admitted that the proposal originated from the side of Khadijah herself; so much so that Ibn Hisham quotes[104] that Khadijah expressed her inclination personally and said: "Cousin! On account of the relationship which exists between us and the greatness and respect which you enjoy amongst your people and the honesty, good manners and truthfulness which you evidently possess, I am earnestly inclined to marry you". The 'honest man' of Quraysh replied "I must inform my uncles about this and this task should be accomplished with their approval".
Most of the historians believe that Nafisah, daughter of 'Alyah conveyed the proposal of Khadijah to the Prophet in the following manner: She said, "O Muhammad! Why don't you illuminate the night-chamber of your life with the light of a spouse? Will you respond favourably if I invite you to beauty, wealth, gentleness and respect?" The Prophet said "What do you mean?" She then mentioned Khadijah. The Prophet said, "Is Khadijah prepared for this, when there is a world of difference between the conditions of my life and of hers?" Nafisah said, "I hold authority on her behalf and shall make her agree. You should fix a date for the purpose so that her agent ('Amr bin Asad) may sit along with you and your kinsfolk and the ceremonies of marriage and rejoicing may be accomplished.[105]
The Holy Prophet talked about the matter with his honourable uncle (Abu Talib). A grand party consisting of distinguished persons amongst Quraysh was organized. In the first instance Abu Talib delivered a sermon, commencing it with praise for Allah. As regards his nephew, he introduced him thus "My nephew Muhammad bin Abdullah is superior to any man of the tribe of Quraysh with whom he may be compared. Although he lacks every sort of wealth, yet wealth is a passing shadow, and origin and lineage is something permanent.[106]
As Abu .Talib had made in his sermon a mention of Quraysh and the family of Hashim, Waraqah, uncle of Khadijah said in reply "None amongst Quraysh denies your excellence. We earnestly wish to hold the string of your nobility. The marriage ceremony was then performed and the dowry was fixed at four hundred dinars. Some say that the dowry was twenty camels.
Age of Khadijah: It is usually said that at the time of marriage with the Prophet, Khadijah was forty years old and was born fifteen years before the 'Year of the Elephant'. However, some writers have mentioned that her age at the time of marriage was lesser than this. Previously she had married twice. The names of her husbands were 'Ais bin Abid and Abu Halah and both of them had died.
[101] Seerah-i ibn Hisham, vol. I, page 26.
[102] Biharul Anwar, vol. XVI, page 19.
[103] Biharul Anwar, vol. Vl, page 124.
[104] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. I, page 204.
[105] It is well-known that Khuwaylid, the father of Khadijah was killed in a Fujjar Battle and for this reason her uncle authorized marriage on her behalf. Thus the view, recorded by some historians that in the first instance Khuwaylid was not agreeable, but later he agreed, owing to the severe inclination of Khadijah, is baseless.
[106] Manaqib, vol. I, page 30 and Biharul Anwar, vol. XV, page 6.

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