Hazrat Khadija bint Khuwaylid, Mother of all True Believers
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
One of the Greatest Ladies of all time, to whom faith, loyalty, and humanitarian values will always remain indebted. Such lofty was her stature that till this day she is known as Mother of all True Believers.
She was Omm al-Momineen, Hazrat Khadija bint Khuwaylid, who spent over 25 years of marital bliss with the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and as long as she was alive, the Prophet never took another spouse.
Khadija was a monotheist, following the creed of her ancestor Prophet Abraham (PBUH), in the days when Islam had not yet been formally announced and the Arabs lived a life of darkness, ignorance, and idol-worship. She was the wealthiest woman of Arabia, and was known as Malikat-al-Arab or the uncrowned Queen Arabia, having inherited from her father, Khuwaylid, the trade caravan business and expanded it considerably to include transactions with the neighbouring lands, such as Yemen, Syria that was part of the Roman Empire and Iraq that was part of the Iranian Sassanid Empire.
Her caravans were greater than the caravans of all other traders of the Quraish put together. With the profits she made, Khadija helped the poor, the widows, the orphans, the sick and the disabled. She was exceptionally pious and for this reason was known as at-Tahera or Pure. Her wealth and impeccable characteristics made many renowned men of Arabia to send marriage proposals, but she rejected them all, since she did not deem the idolatrous Arabs worthy of her monotheist hand.
Khadija did not travel with her trade caravans, and relied on honest managers to conduct trade on her behalf. She was in search of a highly sincere and efficient manager, when several persons whom she trusted recommended the name of her distant relative, Mohammad (SAWA) ibn Abdullah, who was known in those days as as-Sadeq or the Truthful and al-Amin or the Trustworthy. She thus employed him and sent him as head of her trade caravan to a neighbouring land. On return, he brought her a huge profit, and as related to her by her servant who had accompanied the trade caravan, he conducted business in the most fair and honourable ways. The report of her trusted servant that the young Mohammad(SAWA) was the kindest, gentlest and most honest person that he had ever met amazed Khadija. He was courteous to even the servants harshly, and had the profit he brought was double of what was anticipated. Khadija was profoundly impressed and after serious thought, considered offering marriage proposal to her poor but honest relative, who was orphaned in childhood and was brought up by his uncle, Abu Taleb, the renowned leader of Mecca.
Khadija knew that her proposal would be seen as strange as many wealthy men of the Quraysh had been rejected by her. Through Abu Taleb the formal proposal was made, and soon despite opposition from her wealthy family and friends under threat of boycott, she married the 25-year old youth, who was destined to become the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger with the universal message of Islam. After marriage, Khadija placed all her wealth, property, and trade transactions under the care of her husband.
The pair soon became the proud parents of a boy, who was named Qassim, and from whom her husband acquired his famous kunya or agnomen, known till this day as Abu’l-Qassim, although the son died in infancy. They had other sons as well, but all died in infancy. They made an excellent pair loyal to each other, and soon the husband decided to adopt his young cousin, Ali, the son of his beloved uncle and guardian Abu Taleb. Fifteen years after marriage, when God formally entrusted her husband, through the Archangel Gabriel, the universal message of Islam, Khadija immediately believed in Prophet Mohammed (SAWA). With the formal proclamation of the message of Islam, the most difficult times set in for the couple, as the Arabs and even family members, mocked and ridiculed Khadija’s husband. In those days, it was a strange sight to see only three persons praying to the One and Only God, with the Prophet leading the prayer, while behind him stood his wife, and his young ten-year cousin. Soon after the Prophet’s Me’raj or miraculous ascent to the heavens and back in a fraction of a single night, Khadija became pregnant again. This time God granted her a radiant daughter, who was named Fatema (SA), and who was chosen by God as the Noblest Lady of all times.
Khadija bore patiently the hardships, and sacrificed all her proverbial wealth to feed, clothe, and shelter the neo Muslim community of Mecca. She helped free slaves with her money, and when the Muslims were placed under social and economic boycott at She’b Abi Taleb, the gorge outside Mecca known till this day by this name, it was Khadija’s money that helped procured much-need grains for the Muslims. Nevertheless, Khadija stood steadfast beside her husband, and for the sake of God spent all her money, to the extent that when she finally departed from the world in the month of Ramadhan, shortly after the end of the social-economic boycott, she had become penniless, and there was no inheritance for her daughter, Fatema (SA) her only surviving child. The same year, the Prophet’s beloved unlce, Abu Taleb also passed away, and because of the profound grief of the Prophet, the year is known as Aam al-Hozn or the Year of Grief in the annals of history. The Prophet ceremonially washed Khadija and enshrouded her with the cloth that Gabriel has brought from God Almighty for her.