7 Remarkable Things About Khadija, Wife of the Prophet of Islam

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I often get into debates with people about women in Islam. How we dress. How we don’t dress. What we think or don’t think or should-be-thinking. I get into debates about feminism. What it is and what it isn’t. I think I’ve spawned permanent foes because I don’t care to apply the label, feminist, to describe myself. (I’m not one for labels, sorry. But if it’s even required of me, “Muslim woman” suits me just fine.) But if we could agree for a moment that there exists a pure definition of the word feminist to mean: awesomely fierce to the millionth degree, then I’d like to introduce you to Islam’s first feminist.

Her name is Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She was the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him.) And she is one of the people that I think about when I face or debate issues surrounding women today.

Khadija’s existence precedes mine by more than 1,400 years; and, if I can at the very least, continuously strive to emulate her character, I will consider myself a success in life.

7 things you might not know about the awesomely fierce, Khadija (may God be pleased with her):

1. She was a successful and esteemed business woman.

I would give anything to do an on-the-job, ride-along with Khadija. Gladly swipe my car for a camel- my laptop for a government-issued glass weight to measure goods in trade. What could I learn in one day of shadowing this highly-respected business leader, trading furniture, pottery and silks? Khadija was born to a father who was a successful merchant in their Quraysh tribe of Mecca. She inherited her father’s skills in a time in history where society was male-dominated and dangerous. Upon her father’s death, she took over the business and traded goods through the primary commerce centers at that time, from Mecca to Syria and to Yemen, hiring the most trustworthy men of character to brave the dangerous trade routes. Her business was larger than all of the Quraysh trades combined and the most acclaimed with a reputation of fair-dealing and high-quality goods. She had a keen eye and was highly intuitive, earning the monikers, Ameerat-Quraysh (“Princess of Quraysh”) and al-Tahira (“The Pure One”) due to her stellar reputation. Khadija knew what she was doing business-wise, never compromising her modesty or integrity to succeed in the male-dominated trades- hiring only those that could meet these standards. Glass ceiling? Hah! 1,400 years ago, yes, Khadija shattered it.

2. She turned down many marriage proposals.

Being the most successful woman around, rich in worldly attainment as well as character, it seems Khadija faced a consistent campaign of men seeking her hand in marriage. She was married twice before her wedlock to the Prophet; both of these marriages produced children and both left her widowed. Her keen sense of character left her picky; and, she was less than eager to suffer another painful loss of a husband. She resigned herself to being a widowed woman taking care of herself and her family. Until …

3. She asked the Prophet to marry her.

Love comes when you aren’t looking, or so I have heard. (And experienced.) Khadija learned of the stellar character of Muhammad as well as his experience managing caravans on the trade routes accompanying his uncle, Abu Talib. She hired him into her conglomerate. Marriages at this time were typically necessary for survival and not always about love as we know it in today’s world. Khadija didn’t need a husband to take care of her financially. And Muhammad did not have the means to seek a wife. She fell in love with him, and through a friend, asked him to marry her. (He said yes.)

4. She was 15 years older than Muhammad.

If Khadija’s story hasn’t broken stereotypes about Islam yet, it might intrigue you to know that she was 40 years old when she married Muhammad. He was 25.

5. She was an ideal wife; theirs was a true love story.

“Your wives are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.” (Qur’an 2:187)

Taking multiple wives was a common practice, yet Khadija and Muhammad’s marriage was monogamous until her death 25 years later. Muhammad’s prophethood began during his marriage to Khadija, when he received the first of God’s revelations through the Angel Gabriel that left him frightened, strained and feeling alone when no one believed in him. Khadija comforted her husband and encouraged him during the most difficult days of his life. She bore him 6 children. He loved no one more than Khadija during his lifetime.

6. She was the first Muslim.

Khadija, the mother of Islam, was the first person on earth to accept Muhammad as the final prophet of God and accept the revelations that culminated into the Holy Qur’an. She was greeted with “Salam” (peace) by God himself as well as the Angel Gabriel. She bequeathed her worldly goods and put herself in the face of danger to stand by the Prophet Muhammad as Islam became established in the land.

7. She spent her worldly riches on the poor.

In Islam, whether rich or poor, one’s financial condition is a test. Khadija gave her earnings to the poor and to the orphans, to the widows and the sick. She helped poor girls get married and provided their dowry.

Khadija was one of history’s most remarkable women. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) once said that the four greatest women of mankind were: Khadija bint Khuwaylid, Fatima bint Muhammad (his youngest daughter,) Mary bint Emran (the Virgin Mary) and Asiya bint Muzahim (the wife of Pharaoh.) Khadija continues to inspire people to this day who revere her for taking great care of the Prophet of Islam and for showing the world, through her behavior, what a pious, modest and courageous woman can accomplish. The example she left for mankind remains timeless.

Reference

Yasmina Blackburn is a Freelance Writer / Journalist and regular blogger at: http://yasminareality.com. She a Muslim American Mom, and is currently a Board Member of MyJihad, Inc., an organization that aims to take back Islam from anti-Muslim and Muslim Extremists alike. Follow her on Twitter at: @yasmina_reality

7 replies

  1. Quoran commands Do not divided into sects. Period.

    All those who belong to any sect are violating the commandments as such such people are considered as out of Islam fold.

    Presently there are over 150 sects in Islam. They are all should be called as Non Muslims.

    Previously all Prophets brought a new message of prosperity for all mankind from God Almighty which people did not know. There is a sect who claims about a new prophet after Mohammad (SAW). I wish to know what kind of message he brought to mankind which is not there in Quoran.

    There are so many highly educated people in that sects but feel sorry they have forfeited their commonsense and wisdom and foolishly accepted a new prophet.

  2. Critics of Islam (and also many Muslim Ulama) would say that almost everything about Hazrat Khadijah stated in the above article relates to the time before Islam!

    For instance, the author writes under point number 4: “If Khadija’s story hasn’t broken stereotypes about Islam yet, it might intrigue you to know that she was 40 years old when she married Muhammad. He was 25.”

    How can this “break a stereotype about Islam” when this event occurred long before the Holy Prophet started his mission?

    Our own Muslim Ulama say that Hazrat Khadijah asking the Holy Prophet to marry her does not mean that it is allowed to women in Islamic shariah, since no Islamic law was revealed till after her death!

    We need to answer these hard questions.

  3. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace be on him condemned the practices that he felt Islam did not approve, for example, he talked about usury in his last sermon and forgave the interest due to his uncle.

    He always fondly remembered Hazrat Khadija to the point of provoking jealousy in other wives, but, he never suggested that she had no right to propose to him! In other words he approved of her proposing marriage to him.

    I guess every Muslim woman can prudently and discreetly use that right, at the appropriate time.

  4. Khadija, the mother of Islam, was the first person on earth to accept Muhammad as the final prophet of God and accept the revelations that culminated into the Holy Qur’an. She was greeted with “Salam” (peace) by God himself as well as the Angel Gabriel.

    Khadija greeted with Salam by Allah himself & Angel Gabriel is somewhat controversial, Allah has never in d Quran revealed d@ he greeted a single female wth Salam in this world, let alone Khadija who’s name was not mentioned in d Quran nor her wedlock. Allah directed d word Salam to be uttered by Muslims wen communicating eg. chapters 24v27,6v54,16v32,28v55 to mention but few.in d case of chapter 16:32, it was d Angels d@ greeted Salam to dos who die in good state not Allah himself. Khadija is still a respectful woman in d history of Islam but let not d@ respect b overemphasised. Allah has his ways of rewarding d goods by describing deir qualities in d Holy Quran, so if u wnt to b rewarded, strive to behave lyk dem, ie “….& whoever does good, whether male or female, & he/she is a believer, these shall enter the garden, which they shall b given sustenance without measure” (40v40). Chapter 23v1-11 has also described d qualities of good muslims.

  5. This is a great article. All of the facts in the article are well known and beyond dispute, such as 1) Khadija was a successful business woman 2) She hired men and was their supervisor or boss 3) She proposed marriage to Prophet Muhammad 4) He did not become upset, rather accepted the proposal 5) Prophet did use her wealth for charitable purposes 6) She was the first Muslim and 7) theirs was a true love story shown by the fact that the Prophet did not marry for 25 years until after her death.
    But that was then and this is now. In the sixth century Arabia the teachings of Islam were simple, peaceful, straightforward, compassionate and based upon common sense. Women were free and equal. They could propose marriage, and their consent was necessary. They were share holders in inheritance and their testimony was accepted. God of Islam liberated them from their inferior position and gave them equal rights. Holy Prophet and his companions accepted these teachings and used their common sense to implement them.
    But over the last 1400 years the ulema (read ignorant) of Islam have distorted the face of this beautiful religion. They have devised rules to restrict women. They want to wrap her in a way that it will become difficult for her to see or walk. They have imagined such explanations of Quran which are ridiculous. They restrict her right to go out of her house, her right to work, her right to inherit, her right to be a witness, her right to propose or accept a proposal of marriage. They oppose her right to education.
    It is a shame that in the 21st century Islam rights of women are nothing compared to 6th century Arabia.
    And for those who think that conduct of Khadija does not matter as it was before Islam, I say to them that the conduct of the Prophet surely mattered even before he declared his ministry, as he was a Prophet of God always even from the beginning of the time. He endorsed and participated in all of those things and validated them.

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