Khadija (S.A.), the Mother of All True Believers
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
On the 7th of Ramadhan we had condoled with Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) on the loss of his loving uncle, Abu Taleb (AS) - the Guardian for 44 long years of his person and for almost 12 years of his Divine Mission, Islam - today we again join him in his hour of grief; and this time for becoming a widower after 26 years of marital bliss.
Islamic history refers to this crucial year in the Prophet's life that finally led to his migration from his hometown Mecca to Medina as Aam al-Huzn or the Year of Grief.
These two near and dear ones were indeed the backbone of his person and mission. If Abu Taleb's (AS) prudence and powerful personality had kept the pagans of Mecca away from the Prophet and his mission, it was his one and only consort, the Mother of All True Believers (Omm al-Momineen), Khadija (SA), who granted him solace, and later, on the revelation of Islam, energized his efforts to spread the message of God.
In addition, it was her vast wealth that provided succour to the persecuted neo Muslim community, especially in those three years of hardships of the social-economic boycott imposed by the Meccan infidels that prompted Abu Taleb (AS) to fortify himself with the Prophet and the believers in the gorge outside Mecca that still bears his name (She'b Abi Taleb), rather than bow to the demands of the pagans.
No wonder, in the later years of his life in Medina when Islam had evolved into statehood from a persecuted community, the Prophet retorted with the following words on hearing a taunt against the faithful Khadija (SA) from one of the wives he had married out of social necessity as well as to change the ridiculous customs of the Days of Ignorance: "By God, the Almighty did not grant me a better wife than her. She believed in me when the people used to mock at me and she acknowledged me when the people denied me. She shared her wealth and property with me and she bore me children which I was not destined to have through other women."
These famous words are mentioned in Sahih Bukhari, an esteemed collection of hadith of our Sunni brethren. Interested readers can refer to the same book to find the name of that barren and jealous woman who committed the folly of mocking at the noble Khadija (SA) and thereby brought upon herself the censure of the Mercy unto the Creation.
The Maleekat al-Arab or the Richest Lady of Arabia, who even during the pre-Islamic days was revered and respected by all as Tahera or the Spotlessly Pure, was faith personified, and this is the reason her personality remains peerless to this day.
She married the 25-year old Muhammad ibn Abdullah (SAWA) - through courtesy of Abu Taleb (AS) - fifteen years before God formally appointed him as the Last and Greatest Messenger to mankind, and upon Divine Revelation she immediately believed in his mission.
Here it would not be out of context to mention a famous incident that shows the modest beginnings of Islam. Afif al-Kindi, who years later was to become a Muslim, says that on one of his visits to Mecca he accompanied Abbas ibn Abdul-Mutallib to the Ka'ba where an unfamiliar sight greeted him. He saw a man praying in what appeared to him a strange way, while behind him stood a lady and a lad, earnestly emulating his acts of worship as he bent down in genuflection or ruku and touched his forehead on the ground in prostration or sajda.
Afif was told that the gentleman was called Muhammad, the lady was his wife Khadija, and the lad was his cousin and ward, Ali ibn Abi Taleb (peace upon them). Abbas added: "Besides these three persons, there is no one else in the world professing this new faith."
Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and Hazrat Khadija (SA) made an excellent husband and wife pair. The fruit of this union was the impeccable daughter Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (SA), the noblest lady of all time.
Thus, it was but natural for the husband to feel aggrieved at the loss of such a firm and steadfast life-partner, who was not just the Omm al-Momineen but also the mother of his progeny.
It is also interesting to note that later, through the marriage of Hazrat Faema (SA) and Imam Ali (AS), Divine Providence ensured that both Hazrat Khadija (SA) and Hazrat Abu Taleb (AS), those two steadfast stalwarts of early Islam, would be the proud ancestors of the Sadaat, or the offspring of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), including the awaited Saviour of mankind, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance to cleanse the earth of all vestiges of corruption and oppression, and to fill it with the global government of peace, prosperity, and justice, Amen).
We offer our sincere condolences to the little girl who was orphaned this day, as well as to her future husband, the youthful Ali (AS), who used to risk his life and limb in bringing much required grains (with Khadija's dwindling funds) for the survival of the persecuted neo-Muslim community, under siege in the She'b Abi Taleb.
Alas, it is an irony of Islamic history that Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA) was not just not destined to inherit any single penny from the property of her mother, but in the last days of her life was also deprived of her paternal patrimony of the Orchard of Fadak by those that owed their very survival to the proverbial wealth of Hazrat Khadija (SA).