Khadijah & Muhammad: The Story of Love & Faith

The Woman of Beauty, Strength & Faith

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid – her very name evokes an image of strong, dignified femininity, of refined prestige and quiet power. She is remembered as a woman of strength, of compassion, of faith; the woman who was the first love of Prophet’s life, and who remained in his heart long after her death.

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was born fifteen years before the Messenger of Allah Muhammad (PBUH), to a family of high status in the Qurayshi echelons of Makkan society.

Her father was not only a tribal leader of standing, but a well-established businessman whose merchant company flourished.

Khuwaylid, the father of Khadijah, was unique in that he scorned many of the terrible behaviors common in Makkan society, such as that of burying infant daughters alive. Instead, he invested in his daughter by raising her to be well-educated, intelligent, business-smart, and to be an individual of strong ethics and personal conviction.
Once, a popular festival took place in the vicinity of the Ka’bah, and was attended by many of the women of Quraysh. Khadijah bint Khuwaylid was present, and took part in the festivities – but not in the worship of the idol Hubal. As the day wore on, an elderly Jewish man called out to the noblewomen: “O respectable women of Quraysh! A Messenger of God is due to arrive amongst you. Whoever of you has the opportunity to marry him, then do so!”These were the qualities that led her to not only be a brilliant businesswoman, but to be of those few individuals in Makkah who abhorred idol-worship and instead devoted their worship to Allah alone.

For a moment, there was stunned silence… and then the women erupted into laughter and mockery of this man who dared to disturb their event with his foolishness. Some, angered by their perception that he was insulting their idols, went so far as to hurl abuse and stones at him.

However, sitting amongst them all, refusing to take part in driving away the old man, was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, silent and thoughtful, considering his words. It was truly a moment of fateful foreshadowing.

Khadijah was a woman of  beauty, intelligence, and superior character. Known as ‘at-Taahirah’ – the Pure – she was highly sought after by the greatest men of Quraysh. She was married twice, and had children with both her husbands. After her second experience as a widow, she chose to focus her efforts on her business instead of marriage… or so she planned, anyway.

It was in her quest to hire employees to lead her merchant caravans that Khadijah bint Khuwaylid first came across Muhammad ibn Abdullah (PBUH). A handsome young man from a noble but impoverished family, he exuded an aura of dignity, power, and humility all at once.

For a man so young, he had also established a reputation of renown as as-Saadiq, al-Ameen (the Truthful, the Most Trustworthy). As a trader himself, he was scrupulously honest in every interaction and transaction, as Khadijah’s own servant Maysarah attested to on their very first business trip together.

With every positive experience and glowing report about Muhammad, Khadijah was filled with respect and admiration for him. Though she was significantly older than him, she was still a woman of beauty and young enough to consider marriage for a third time – and wise enough to recognize that though Muhammad had nothing to offer her financially, he brought with him something much more important.

Swiftly, marriage was proposed, accepted, and arranged… and thus began the first chapter of one of the most powerful stories of love and faith to ever be witnessed in history.

 

25-Year-Old Muhammad Marries 40-Year-Old Khadijah

The marriage of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid to Muhammad ibn Abdullah (PBUH) was something unique to Qurayshi society.

Though it was not uncommon for widows and divorcees to remarry, there was still something very different about the older, wealthier, established woman choosing a young, impoverished merchant as her life partner.

Yet despite their outward differences of age and financial status, the two made a power couple unlike any other in Makkah.
Muhammad (PBUH) was already known for his compassion towards the less privileged, as he was intimately familiar with their situations, and Khadijah was a woman of compassion as well as wealth.Their marriage was more than a simple relationship – it was a partnership of true love and understanding, of a shared spiritual foundation based on belief and worship of the One True God, and a worldview that encompassed much more than their own household. What Muhammad (PBUH) and Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) shared was a true meeting of hearts and minds – and all of society benefited from it.

Khadijah’s business thrived and flourished, due to both her excellent management as well as the barakah that accompanied Muhammad (PBUH) wherever he went.

The birth of their first daughter, Zaynab, was heralded with an influx of even more prosperity; immediately, they seized the opportunity to share it with those around them.

Although their household was growing steadily to encompass both Khadijah’s children from her previous marriages as well as their own four daughters, they never forgot that there were those around them who were less fortunate. Quietly, they ensured that widows and orphans were fed and clothed; that the poor and the needy would always find comfort at their doorstep.

It was quickly known that Khadijah’s home was more than just the residence of asSaadiq al-Ameen – it was also a place where no one seeking assistance would ever be turned away, or leave without a guarantee of security.

However, no marriage exists in a state of untroubled bliss. Though their four daughters were a source of joy for both Khadijah and Muhammad , they also experienced profound grief: the births and all-too-quick deaths of their two sons, al-Qaasim and Abdullah.

While other mothers sighed in exasperation at the antics of their toddlers, Khadijah found herself cradling her sons only long enough to lower them into their graves. She never heard their first words, the sound of their delighted laughter a memory that faded far too quickly.

Tracing the outline of their father’s features on their tiny faces, Khadijah mourned that she would never watch them grow into men as handsome, strong, and faithful as her beloved husband.

As a young father who adored his children, Muhammad (PBUH) was devastated each time. Yet with every passing year and test, Khadijah’s beauty – both inward and outward – simply deepened.

Witnessing her strength and dignity even at the greatest loss a mother could bear, Muhammad (PBUH) found himself falling in love with her even more deeply. Grief revealed just how profound her trust in Allah was; faith as pure and impenetrable as a diamond forged from the darkest of tests.

Husband and wife, mother and father, true believers in the One True God – Muhammad (PBUH) and Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) held each for comfort in the depths of the night, their tears mingling as they sought solace from Allah.

Khadijah & Muhammad’s Life: Love Into Action

Time passed, and the young man of twenty-five whom Khadijah married became a father of four daughters, adopted father to Zaid ibn Haarith– and increasingly sorrowful.

Khadijah and Muhammad (PBUH) were both witness to the raging violence of their society. Horrified, they held their daughters tightly as they saw others around them bury infant girls alive; with aching hearts, they watched women being abused, wars declared over petty tribalism, racism and classism used as excuses to enslave and torture those unable to defend themselves.

Though they did whatever they could to fight against the overwhelming oppression around them, they both felt a devastating weight on their consciences.
Tears running down his cheeks silently, Muhammad (PBUH) turned to his Lord in anguish, seeking a salve to his broken heart.Entrusting in Khadijah’s efficient management of her business, Muhammad began to withdraw from society and seek solitude. Outside of the city’s vicious constraints, he ascended to the mountain that would later be known as Jabal Noor (the Mountain of Light), and began to seclude himself in the cave of Hiraa’.

Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) understood exactly what her husband was going through. She herself had spent time with scholarly relatives like Waraqah ibn Nawfal, questioning the bizarre ritual worship of idols, unsatisfied with polytheism and feeling her heart yearning towards Allah alone.

She too was sickened by the crimes committed on a daily basis by her own people; she too felt that there was something deeply wrong with the society in which she lived.

Wordlessly, Khadijah packed food, drink, and clothing and pressed them into her husband’s hands. She knew how desperately he needed the solitude of Hiraa’; indeed, there were times when she entrusted her children with the other adults in her household, and accompanied him.

Together, in a silence that held more love than any words ever could, Muhammad and Khadijah would worship their Lord, surrendering themselves to His Divine Wisdom.

Nonetheless, as a mother and a businesswoman, Khadijah  was aware of her other responsibilities and returned home. Ensuring that her husband was comfortable, she turned her attention to raising her daughters.

Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with them) were girls who embodied the best of their parents’ qualities: intelligence, compassion, excellence of character, and a purity of faith. Khadijah was determined to nurture her daughters into women of integrity, able to make their own decisions without being pressured or swayed by popular opinion.

Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) was a woman who was so much more than ‘just’ a wife or a mother. To her, there was no contradiction in running her company and ensuring its success, and in being a supportive wife and involved mother. Instead, the same principles, determination, and values that had made her such a prominent businesswoman were the same ones that guided her through marriage and motherhood.

Caring for her husband did not make her somehow weak or diminutive; financially supporting him did not make him inferior in her eyes, but was a choice she made freely and out of fierce love for the man whom she recognized as unlike any other she had ever met.

Loving Muhammad (PBUH) was the greatest thing that had ever happened to Khadijah– and he felt the same way about her. They supported each other in what was important to them, and they actively encouraged each other to seek out and do what was right. Together, they were the best version of themselves, not just towards each other but to all those around them.

In a partnership of minds and hearts, Khadijah and Muhammad  embodied what it meant to transform love into action… and for those actions to have the power to change the world.

Muhammad Seeks Sanctuary in the Arms of Khadijah

Read!

An otherworldly voice thundered, calling into Mount Hiraa’ – where Muhammad (PBUH) raised his head in shock and terror to bear witness to that which only a select few had ever seen before.

“Read!” Six hundred wings buffeted the horizon, fashioned from pure Noor (light), almost too beautiful and too overwhelming to look at directly.

“Read! Read, in the Name of your Lord!” A powerful command from above the seven heavens, impossible to resist, demanding submission from the most perfect of all Allah’s Creation, he who was created solely to obey and to guide others to obedience.
And yet… and yet, he was still human.With these words brought from the Lord of the Worlds by His angelic messenger Jibreel (peace be upon him) to the most perfect of all creation, Muhammad ibn Abdullah was transformed into the Seal of Prophethood.

His entire body trembling with the weight of Divine Revelation, Prophet Muhammad sought sanctuary in the home and arms of his beloved. “Zammilooni, zammilooni!” he called out to Khadijah . “Cover me up!”

Immediately perceptive, Khadijah wrapped him in a cloak and held him until his shaking ceased. Desperately, he told her what had just transpired, his eyes dark with anxiety over his own sanity.

Khadijah’s steadiness never wavered. “No, by Allah!” she said fiercely. “Rejoice! Allah will never disgrace you, for you uphold the ties of kinship, you speak only the truth, you protect the poor and the destitute, host your guests with generosity, and support those who have been struck by calamity.”

Her words, though merely human and not divine, were both comforting and reassuring. Nor were her statements hollow – as the single person who knew Muhammad (PBUH) best, who lived with him during times of both ease and hardship, she spoke only with the utmost honesty.

It was Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her) who took the initiative to seek further answers to the questions raised by this extraordinary incident. Who was the otherworldly creature? What was the meaning of his visit?

She knew that the best person to ask would be her elderly relative, Waraqah ibn Nawfal – the monotheistic scholar with whom she had previously studied. Despite his blindness and old age, his mind was as sharp as ever. Listening to Muhammad relate his story in detail, Waraqah nodded in recognition.

“Indeed, this is the same angel who used to visit Musa (peace be upon him),” he confirmed. “Would that I were stronger, and that I would live to see the day your people drive you out.”

“They would drive me out?” Muhammad (PBUH) questioned in disbelief. Waraqah nodded again. “Yes. Whomsoever has brought forward a message such as yours in the past was treated with hostility and hardship. Should I live to witness the day that you declare your Prophethood, I will be of those who stands with you and supports you.”

Muhammad (PBUH) himself could scarcely believe that he had been visited by the ethereal messenger of Allah; truthfully, he doubted his own sanity. Seeing the uncertainty in his eyes, Khadijah clasped his hands in her own and said, “I swear by Allah that you are the Messenger of Allah.”

Laa ilaaha illAllah, Muhammadun RasulAllah. (There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah).

In a humble home in Makkah, between husband and wife, the nubuwwah(prophethood) was established upon the greatest man to ever live; first shahaadahwas declared upon the tongue of one of the greatest women… and thus began a new era that would forever change the world.

Life After the Revelation

The first few days and months after the initial Revelation were full of wonder and awe for Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her). Eyes sparkling, hearts filled with faith, Khadijah and Muhammad (PBUH) woke up every morning with renewed purpose, a sense of clarity and inner peace.

However, they also knew that they could not keep this incredible message of beauty and spiritual revolution to themselves. “Yaa ayyuhal mudaththir! Qum fa anthir!” The Words of Allah were a clear command: “O you who covers himself, arise and warn!” (Qur’an 74:1-2)

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) knew that they had a great task ahead of them. Nonetheless, they also knew that they needed to be careful – though simple, the message of Islam was also one that would be extremely difficult for their society to accept.


The logical thing to do, then, would be to first approach those whom they knew would most recognize the truth of the message. Even in the spiritual wasteland that was Makkah, there were individuals who stood apart as those who found themselves averse to idol-worship. Of those people were, of course, their own family –their children.
Belief in Allah alone, worshiping Him alone and without partners, was what every soul inclined towards, but the people of Makkah – and indeed, all of Arabia, and the world at large – had been so spiritually corrupted that they would react with anger and violence in response.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Khadijah gathered their daughters and spoke to them quietly of what had occurred – would they believe their father and worship their Lord with true sincerity and faith?

Without hesitation, Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and even young Fatimah declared their belief in Allah as their only God, and Muhammad as His Messenger. Having grown up witnessing the excellence of their father’s character, and knowing within themselves that the idol worship around them was something they could never accept, they immediately accepted Islam.

Ali ibn Abi Talib and Zaid ibn al-Haarith, also members of Prophet Muhammad’s household, were also of the first people to say the shahaadah (Testimony of Faith). They too had grown up watching him and Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), whether it was when they would seek solitude for worship in the cave of Hiraa, or when they spent their daily lives trying to improve the world around them.The message that Muhammad (PBUH) came with was clear, simple, and rang true: how could they deny it?

Thus began the time of the ‘secret’ da’wah – when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), began to speak to those closest to them about the radically beautiful message of Tawheed (oneness of God).

In small, quiet gatherings in their homes, the first group of believers submitted themselves to their Lord, seeking His pleasure and living in obedience to Him. Abu Bakr, Lubabah bint al-Haarith, Bilal ibn Rabah, Sumayyah bint Khabbaab – these were just some of the earliest believers, those whose hearts were already inclined towards the truth, who found inward serenity and strength in their belief in Allah alone.

Meanwhile, , the great angel Jibreel) himself came to Muhammad (PBUH) to teach him: to reveal the Divine Guidance, to provide spiritual comfort, to purify himself physically and to rise, bow, and prostrate in the most perfect form of worship ever to be taught to humankind… and the first person to hear the words of Allah being recited in the voice of His Messenger, with his strength and faith, with his beauty and conviction, was Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her).

From a Noblewoman of Quraysh to a Social Pariah

The first few months of the Da’wah – the call to Islam – were full of wonder and awe. The Divine Revelation came to Muhammad (PBUH) not only in Hiraa, but in the home of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) herself: she was the first to hear the Words of Allah on the lips of His Messenger (PBUH), the first to prostrate herself at his side, the first to stand up in prayer behind him at night.

However, no Prophet or Messenger was sent to remain silent, or to keep his Message a secret from the masses. Though a small and dedicated group of believers had formed, devoted to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), they were still a tiny minority – certain friends and family members who were already inclined to the truth, whose intellects had already questioned the poisoned beliefs and moral standards of their society.

After three years of quietly spreading the message of Tawheed (the Oneness of God), Allah revealed the following verse to His Messenger (PBUH):

{And warn, [O Muhammad], your closest kindred.} (Qur’an 26:214)

This was the command to announce Islam publicly, to declare it to his entire family – and to the Arab society at large. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the first to obey his Lord, no matter what the command, and so he fulfilled it immediately. The moment was a dramatic one, and life-changing for both Prophet Muhammad and his Companions, especially Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her).
“If I were to tell you that there were some horsemen in the valley planning to raid you, would you believe me?” Prophet Muhammad asked. Bewildered and already tensing at the implied warning, the people of Makkah confirmed their trust in him.One day, Muhammad (PBUH) ascended the mountain of Safa and called out to all of Makkah: “Yaa Sabahaa! O Bani Fahr! O Bani ‘Adi!” Alarmed, the tribesmen of Quraysh assembled before him, wondering what it was that was so urgent that Muhammad, the man whom they trusted above all others, felt compelled to gather them in such a manner.

“Then know that I am a warner to you all, of a severe torment!” The people were silenced by shock. Raising his voice further, Prophet Muhammad spoke the words of his message – calling them all to believe in and worship Allah alone, to abandon the filth that permeated their lives, the injustice that they inflicted so cruelly and casually upon each other.

As Khadijah, her daughters, and the existing believers watched, Muhammad’s voice rang out over the hills and valleys of Makkah, reciting the Divine Words of their Lord in a way that made the earth itself tremble.

Yet the hearts of the Quraysh were harder than rocks that were scattered across the desert in which they lived. In a matter of moments, they turned on the man whom they had adored for forty years, and proceeded to try and destroy him and the message with which he came.

And Life Has Changed Forever…

From that moment on, Khadijah’s life was changed irrevocably: from a noblewoman of Quraysh, from one of its most admired and formidable businesswomen, she was now a social pariah. Her husband was reviled by the elites of society amongst whom she used to mingle so easily; derided as a madman, a soothsayer, or a crazed poet, he was mocked mercilessly.

Khadijah bore the burden of verbal and physical abuse as well, and was subject to the humiliation that her entire society inflicted with a particular vengeance upon her household.

Khadijah’s three eldest daughters were married, and the people of Quraysh thought it would be particularly effective to try and destroy their lives as well. Marriages were considered an integral part of social politics, and they gleefully considered the ramifications it would have upon Muhammad’s family if they managed to break up his daughters’ marriages.

However, their plans backfired – Abu’l ‘Aas ibn Rabee’, the husband of Prophet Muhammad’s eldest daughter Zaynab, refused point-blank to divorce his wife, whom he loved dearly. Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum, the younger daughters, were both married to sons of Abu Lahab, and were in fact divorced – but to their own relief, as their father- and mother-in-law were particularly venomous towards them.

Of course, Allah had something even better planned for them; shortly after, ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan – one of the greatest of Prophet Muhammad’s Companions, and one of the most modest, humble, and honest men of Makkah after Prophet Muhammad himself – proposed to Ruqayyah (may Allah be pleased with her). Thus, even in a time of trial and difficulty, there was still joy to be found.

But She Remains Strong

Despite it all, despite the agony of having to witness her loved ones publicly mocked and humiliated, despite experiencing her own sudden loss of social status and influence, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) remained strong. Her faith was unshaken, and each increasingly difficult test merely reinforced her belief in Allah and fortified her character.

She was, after all, not a fickle woman – her heart and her intellect were both refined, and once she knew within herself the Divine Truth, she could accept nothing else. No matter what pain others tried to inflict on her and her family, she would never give them the satisfaction of seeing her give up.

To her daughters, to the vulnerable new Muslims, and to her husband, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was more than just a mother, a supporter, and a helper – she was a woman whose nobility shone at a time when her society cast her out. She spoke words of comfort and strength, provided a shoulder to lean on, and a heart to find joy in.

Khadijah was a woman unlike any other – a fact recognized not only by her husband and those around her, but by Allah and the angel Jibreel himself.

Once, as Jibreel visited the Messenger of Allah (PBUH), he paused and told Muhammad (PBUH), “Khadijah is approaching with food and drink. Convey to her salaam from Allah, the Most Glorious, and convey to her salaam from me, and give her glad tidings of a home in Paradise wherein there will be no loud noises or difficulty.”

“Allah Himself is as-Salaam, and peace comes from him. Salaam to Jibreel, the messenger of Allah. Salaam to you, and to all those listening, except for Shaytaan,” was Khadijah’s eloquent response… words as beautiful and full of wisdom as she herself.

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Zainab bint Younus is a young Canadian Muslimah who has been active in grassroots da’wah and writing about Islam and the Ummah for the last eight years. She was first published in Al-Ameen Newspaper (Vancouver, Canada) at the age of 14; became a co-founder, writer, and editor forMuslimMatters.org at age 16; and began writing regularly for SISTERS magazine at the age of 19 until today. 

Source: http://www.onislam.net/english/family/your-society/role-models/491191-muhammad-seeks-sanctuary-in-the-arms-of-khadijah.html

 

 

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2 Responses

  1. Abdullah says:

    So beautifully articulated that I enjoyed reading each and every word of it! Peace to you sister!

  2. Asif says:

    This was a great article!!!!

    It brings the importance of religion into a subject matter which depends on it. I see many articles written by Muslim sisters, yet they fail to acknowledge/incorporate the Islamic view points.

    Absolutely well done!!!!

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