Khadija al-Kubra

Mary the mother of Jesus is the best of women of the Heavens, and the worthiest woman of the earth is Khadija bint Khuwaylid.

Khadija al-Kubra رضی اللہ عنھا was the wife of the Prophet ﷺ and a great heroine in Islam by her own right. Her full name was Khadija bint Khuwaylid, born around 555CE. She was given the title, al-Kubra, because of her virtue and nobility. She was also called Sayyida, the great lady, Tahira, pure and Jayyidah, insightful.

Her father’s names was Kuwaylid, he was was regarded highly in the Arabian peninsula and sat with Abdul Muttalib, chief of the Hashimites. Her grandfather’s house was just nine meters away from the Kaabah. She was related to the Prophet ﷺ through Qusayy on her father’s side and Luayy and Abdi Manaf on her mother’s side. Her father died in battle, so her uncle Amr ibn Asa’d made sure she was looked after. Many of her family members were virtuous and supported Islam.

Khadija alongside some of her relatives and others in the peninsula were Hanifs. the Hanifis sought the truth and rejected false idols. They were aware of the Abrahamic Lord and awaited the Prophet ﷺ in these lands.

Khadija previous marriages

Prior to marrying the Prophet ﷺ, Khadija had already been married twice. Her first husband was called Atiq ibn ‘A’idh ibn ‘Abdullah Al-Makhzumi and they had a boy called Hala and a daughter called Hind. Atiq died, leaving Khadija a widow. Then she got married to Malik ibn Nabash ibn Zargari ibn at-Tamimi, they had a son called Hind. Malik also died. Khadija was now a widow with three children. Both her husbands were merchants so she inherited their wealth and their businesses. They used to lead trade caravans to Syria and Yemen. She continued the family business by organising caravans for multiple merchants.

Marriage to the Prophet ﷺ

After some time, she started to have dreams of an illuminated person and signs that a Prophet is to come. On one occasion, when they were at the Ka‘bah, a Jew came and called them, saying: “O women of Taymā’, a Prophet ﷺ will appear in this era, so whoever wants to become his wife, then let her do so.” The women started to laugh except Khadija, she took the news seriously. She continued having dreams so much that she knew the Prophet ﷺ will be a Hashimi Qurayshi. When she assessed all the men of the Hashimi clan, only Muhammed ibn Abdullah had potential traits of a Prophet ﷺ so she started observing his behaviour.

One day, Khadija was planning her next caravan to Damascus. She needed someone to lead and manage the caravan on her behalf as well as conduct her personal business whilst out there. The Prophet’s uncle, Abu Talib heard about this opportunity so he encouraged the Prophet ﷺ to step up and lead the caravan. The Prophet’s paternal aunt ﷺ, Safiyya bint Abd al-Muttalib, who was Khadija sister in law too advised Abu Talib to recommend the Prophet ﷺ personally to secure the job.

Abu Talib proposed the Prophet ﷺ as the best man for the job. Khadija was aware of the qualities of the Prophet ﷺ so she immediately accepted. Abu Talib requested double the rate for the Prophet ﷺ due to his honesty, nobility and uprightness. Khadija replied, if you asked for more, I would have accepted. This would also provide Khadija opportunity to further assess the Prophet ﷺ. She sent her slave Maysara to personally assist the Prophet. He was to also report back everything he saw regarding the Prophet with regards to his conduct and dealings.

Maysara fed back everything. One particular event he notes is a heated exchange whilst the Prophet ﷺ was negotiating a deal. The other person asked the Prophet ﷺ to swear upon Lat and Uzza, to which he would not. In the end the man gave up and the Prophet ﷺ walked away with the deal on his terms. As the Prophet ﷺ walked away, the man stopped Maysara and asked who is that man!? The one who won’t swear on Lat and Uzza when the rest of us do, even in vain. Before Maysara could answer, the man said, ‘he must be a Prophet!’

On their journey back to Mecca, they stopped by a tree (currently in Jordan) and the Prophet ﷺ rested there. Before long, a Monk called Nestor ran up to the caravan, and asked who is that man resting under that tree? They told him his name, lineage and that he was a merchant. The Monk said, “No! Verily that man is a Prophet!” The Monk enquired more about the Prophet ﷺ, and after each statement he confirmed that this is surely the coming Prophet ﷺ and his finality. The Monk then went to the Prophet ﷺ and kissed his forehead, telling him, he is the promised Prophet mentioned in the Torah.

When they came back to Mecca and the accounts were done, they had doubled in profits so it was a successful business trip. Khadija was happy but was more ecstatic about Maysara’s Feedback. Maysara only had the best things to say. Khadija shared this with her cousin and mentor, the knowledgeable Waraqa bin Nawfal.

Khadija knew Muhammad will be a Prophet ﷺ one day so in order to serve the esteemed Prophet, she wanted to be his wife. It is worth knowing, after Atiq died, Khadija had many proposals for marriage which she rejected. Abu Jahl, who was known as Abu Hakam in Jahilliyah was also one of those who proposed.[/efn_note]Some say, Khadija’s rejection of him and acceptance of Muhammad was one of the reasons he hated the Prophet ﷺ.[/efn_note] Although Khadija was a confident woman, she did not know how to approach or even bring up marriage with the Prophet ﷺ.

Her friend Nafisa bint Munya saw anxiety upon her face so asked what is it worrying you? Khadija spoke about marriage to which Nafisa said, “You have rejected many proposals, you have stated you do not want marriage any more.” Khadija then told her about Muhammad bin Abdullah and his virtues. She wanted to marry him. Nafisa at once said, I’ll speak to Muhammad.

She said to the Prophet ﷺ, ” O Muhammad, what is stopping you from marrying!?” the Prophet ﷺ replied, “Financial means.” Nafisa told him not to worry about finance and wealth but think about the virtue of a woman he would want to marry. She then proposed Khadija to which the Prophet ﷺ was silent, but it was a silent approval. She didn’t tell him Khadija was interested in marrying him, but that they should both visit her. The Prophet ﷺ preferred to discuss it with his elders to get their permission and blessing instead of approaching Khadija directly. Abu Talib and Hamza proposed the Prophet ﷺ to Khadija’s uncle, Amr ibn Asad. Both families were of nobility so they accepted the proposal. The Prophet ﷺ gave a dowry of 500 dirhams, and Khadija was so joyed, she did not leave anybody out of the wedding reception. She also invited the Prophet’s ﷺ wet nurse, Halima Sadia and gave her gifts when she left the reception. After the marriage, Khadija bought a house from her cousin in the Ajyad Mountain pass and she lived here with the Prophet ﷺ for the next 25 years.

Her Children

Khadija already had three children from her previous marriages. She had six children with the Prophet ﷺ. The first was a boy called Qasim, hence the Prophet ﷺ was also called Abul Qasim, he died around one years old. Then she had a daughter called Zaynab. Zaynab was married to her cousin Abu al-As ibn al-Rabi’ and they had two children. Then Khadija gave birth to two more daughters, Ruqayya and Umm Kulthum, both married to the sons of Abu Lahab, Utba and Utayba. When the Prophet ﷺ announced his prophecy, in order to hurt him and Khadija, Abu Lahab pressured his sons to divorce their wives. Ruqayya got married to Uthman and when she died, Uthman married Umm Kulthoom, hence he was known as the Possessor of Two Lights. The fifth child was Fatima who was born when the Prophet ﷺ was 35. She married Ali ibn Talib and bore five children Hasan, Husayn, Muhsin, Zaynab and Umm Kulthum. Muhsin died in his infancy. The sixth child of Khadija was a boy called ‘Abdullah (also called Tahir), he died in infancy.

Other than these children there were others who were part of the household. Ali bin Talib, Zayd bin Haritha, Umm Ayman, Hind the son of Khadija, Zubair ibn Awaam who would often stay with the Prophet and there may have been several other slaves. Khadija was certainly a noble lady with any children in her household.

Her role in Prophethood

Six months before prophethood, the Prophet ﷺ would share his dreams with Khadija and his ambition to worship Allah alone. Khadija would support him in his endeavours. She would send him food when he spent time in cave Hira, sometimes via her slave and sometimes personally. When the revelation finally came, she stood by the Prophet ﷺ. The Prophet ﷺ came back trembling, he said: ‘Cover me! Cover me!’ She covered him, until the fear had left him, then he told her what had happened, saying: ‘I feared for my life.’ Khadija responded: ‘No, by Allah. Allah would never humiliate you. You maintain family ties, help to carry people’s burdens when they are tired, you give to the poor, you are generous to your guests, and help people in times of hardship.’ She knew this was the revelation of Prophethood. She was the first Muslim and the first person to pray behind the Prophet ﷺ. She would be the first to hear about new revelation or guidance from the Prophet ﷺ so would be the first to practice it too.

Afif Kindi relates that ‘Abbas bin ‘Abdul Muttalib was a great friend of his and he used to visit him often in Yemen in connection with his business in perfumes. On one occasion when they were standing and chatting in Mina, they saw a handsome young man approach. He carefully washed his hands and feet and then stood respectfully with his arms crossed on his breast. Soon a dignified lady of noble bearing and a young boy also joined him. ‘Afif asked ‘Abbas what they were doing and whether this was a new form of exercise. ‘Abbas replied that the youth was his brother ‘Abdullah’s son, and the lady was his wife. She was a woman of great wealth and virtue, and an ideal wife and mother. The child was his brother Abu Talib’s son, Ali. Afif loved what he saw and was eager to know more about this new deen, but he never got the chance to enquire or accept Islam. Later when he became Muslim, he often recalled his regret of having the chance of being the first Muslim.

On one occasion Khadija was on her way to take food and drink to the Prophet ﷺ. Jibril was with the Prophet ﷺ so he told him to tell her, Allah conveys greeting to you and give her glad tidings and that she will have a castle made of pearls in heaven, a place of no conflict and no fatigue. But instead of rejoicing and taking a back seat and letting this glad tiding distract her, she continued to be a devout Muslim and wife of the Prophet ﷺ.

When the Prophet ﷺ used to preach in Mecca, he used to host dinners to invite people to Islam. Khadija would pay for these dinner from her own money. During the Boycott, many years later, Khadija continued using her money to fund the Muslims.

Aisha used to say, the Prophet ﷺ used to mention Khadija often, so much that she sometimes used to get jealous. When the Prophet ﷺ would sacrifice an animal, he would also share with Khadija’s friends. One day, Khadija’s sister, Hala was at the door. Her voice and mannerisms resembled Khadija so much that the Prophet ﷺ thought Khadija has arrived. Aisha spoke out to why he remembers her so much since she is gone now. The Prophet ﷺ said because of her sacrifice to the deen, “When the people denied me she believed me. When they called me a liar, she affirmed me. When they deprived me, she supported me with her wealth. And she gave me many children.” She was worthy of remembrance. Aisha now understood and sought pardon.

During the end of the Boycott period, Khadija died. Once again Jibril gave the Prophet ﷺ glad tidings that she has been given Jannah.

Many years later, when Zaynab sent something to ransom her husband imprisoned in Madina, she sent her mothers necklace. On receiving it, the Prophets remembered Khadija and teared up.

Khadija’s extended family

Khadija’s legacy does not stop here, her extended family were also noble.

Her son Hind was still young when she married the Prophet ﷺ so he was nicknamed Rabib Ar-Rasulullah, trained by the Messenger. Hind was present in the battles but died in the Battle of the Camel, fighting along side Ali. He is also known due to his description of the Prophet ﷺ, as narrated to Hassan and Husyan.

Khadija’s daughter, also called Hind, became Muslim and when she had a child, she called him Muhammad. The sons of Muhammad were known as the Sons of Tahira.

Khadija had a nephew called Hakim ibn Hazam, who was born in the Kaabah. He was three years younger than Prophet ﷺ. He used to help her conduct her business and was a good friend of the Prophet ﷺ. He bought Zayd ibn Harith as a slave and gave him to Khadija as a gift. After seeing the Prophet ﷺ treat him like a son, she gifted him to the Prophet ﷺ, who instead freed him and became his guardian. Hakim helped Muslims during the boycott, smuggling in food and goods. However he did not become Muslim until after the Battle of Hunayn. The Prophet ﷺ was joyed with this news and acknowledged his previous beneficence. It is worth noting, it is not that Hakim did not believe in the Prophet ﷺ, but everyone had their own circumstance, some people were in positions where they could not declare their Islam in the open.

Hakim spent his time trying to recoup all the deeds he missed out on not being a Muslim. Dar al Nadwa was the meeting point in Mecca where the leaders came to discuss important matters. This came to Hakim as his inheritance. He then sold it and and donated proceeds to Muslims. During one Hajj, he donated 100 camels, slaughtered 1000 sheep and freed 100 slaves. He never asked anyone for anything. He went on to live 120 years, 60 years as a non-Muslim and 60 years as a Muslim.

Khadija also had a cousin brother called Waraqa bin Nawfal. He knew the Torah and Gospel very well and found idol worship false and settled for Christianity. He was aware about the final prophet ﷺ named Ahmad and would advise and motivate the monotheists. After his death the Prophet ﷺ saw him in white clothing testifying that Allah has accepted him and he is a Janati. Some say he was the first male to accept Islam and first Sahabi.

Khadijas brother Awaam bin Khuwaylid was married to Safiyya bint Abd al-Muttalib, the paternal aunt of the Prophet ﷺ. They had a son called Zubair ibn Awaam, so he was the cousin brother of the Prophet ﷺ and the nephew of Khadija. Zubair was 12 when he became Muslim and the first to draw his sword in Mecca when the Kufaar provoked the Muslims too far. It is said in Badr, the angels descended in his form. He was also listed as one of the Asra Mubashra and after the Prophet ﷺ, he was one of the leaders of the Muslims.

Her death

Khadija died in 9AH during the end of the Boycott. Her grave was prepared at a place called Hujjun, also called Jannat al-Mu’alla.

The best of the women of Paradise are Khadījah bint Khuwaylid, Fāŧimah bint Muħammad, Āsiyah bint Muzāħim (the wife of Pharoah), and Maryam the daughter of ‘Imrān, may Allah be pleased with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.