Khadijah bint Khuwaylid radiya Llahu ‘anha

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Khadijah bint Khuwaylid radiya Llahu ‘anha

 

The Muslim women of today can achieve true success by following in the footsteps of the best of women who lived in the best of eras. The pious will be thrilled to stick behind such women who were nurtured in the best of homes; the home of nubuwwah.[1] Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala raised their status and elevated their rank. He revealed verses of the Holy Qur’an in praise of them:

 

يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ

O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah.[2]

 

They had most definitely inculcated Taqwa[3] within themselves. Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had chosen them for his beloved Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from all of creation. He bestowed upon them superiority; they transcended the women of the world by the virtue of nobility and greatness. He cleansed them from physical and spiritual maladies, freeing their hearts from disbelief, polytheism, hypocrisy, and evil disposition. He purified the honourable consorts of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from actions which beget calamities. Allah the High says:

 

يَا نِسَاءَ النَّبِيِّ لَسْتُنَّ كَأَحَدٍ مِّنَ النِّسَاءِ إِنِ اتَّقَيْتُنَّ فَلَا تَخْضَعْنَ بِالْقَوْلِ فَيَطْمَعَ الَّذِيْ فِيْ قَلْبِهِ مَرَضٌ وَقُلْنَ قَوْلًا مَّعْرُوْفًا

O wives of the Prophet, you are not like anyone among women. If you fear Allah, then do not be soft in speech [to men], lest he in whose heart is disease should covet, but speak with appropriate speech.[4]

 

وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوْتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُوْلَىٰ وَأَقِمْنَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتِيْنَ الزَّكَاةَ وَأَطِعْنَ اللَّهَ وَرَسُوْلَهُ إِنَّمَا يُرِيْدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيْرًا

And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.[5]

 

As we have previously established the wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam form part of the Ahlul Bayt.

This chapter is dedicated to one of the wives of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. The mother of the believers, an intelligent woman of noble heritage; Umm al Qasim Khadijah bint Khuwaylid ibn Asad radiya Llahu ‘anha. She grew up having instilled in herself qualities of good and having adorned herself with refined mannerisms. She was known for her chastity and nobility. In Makkah her title was Tahirah[6]. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam married her and she was an enviable spouse. She was a pillar of support for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with herself, her money and her intelligence. She was also an emotional stronghold for her husband, confiding in her his worries and challenges.

Strange is the sentiment that envelopes us with the mere mention of the name Khadijah. It takes us back centuries to the first call towards Islam. The faith emerged from her home and she was the first person of this ummah to believe. The historian Ibn al Athir rahimahu Llah writes:

 

خديجة أول خلق الله أسلم بإجماع المسلمين ، لم يقدمها رجل ولا امرأة

There is consensus of the Muslims that Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha was the first of the creation to accept the creed of Islam, no woman or man preceded her in accepting Islam.[7]

 

When Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala intended sending guidance to a world devoid of the light of tawhid[8], he sent Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam with a message of mercy to every individual in all times. Whilst meditating in the cave of Hira truth came to him by way of an angel.

The angel came to him and asked him to read. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam replied, “I do not know how to read.” The Prophet added, “The angel caught me [forcefully] and pressed me so hard that I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read and I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ He caught me again and pressed me a second time till I could not bear it any more. He then released me and again asked me to read but again I replied, ‘I do not know how to read.’ He caught me for the third time and pressed me, and then released me and said:

 

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِيْ خَلَقَ خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ الَّذِيْ عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ عَلَّمَ الْإِنْسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

Read in the name of your Lord who created. Created man from a clinging substance. Recite, and your Lord is the most generous. Who taught by the pen. Taught man that which he knew not.[9]

 

The Messenger of Allah returned with the inspiration and with his heart beating fast. He went to his wife, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid radiya Llahu ‘anha and said, “Cover me! Cover me!” She covered him until his fear had passed. He then told her what had transpired, following it by saying, “I fear something may happen to me.” What was the response of the intelligent Khadijah? She pacified him with a strong heart and said, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, carry the weak, help the poor, serve your guests generously, and assist the calamity-afflicted ones.”[10]

Such was her reaction – she had such confidence in his integrity and soundness of mind and spirit, and she possessed such maturity of thought, that she immediately quelled his anxiety and doubts of sanity, instead gave him support from the very first moment his Prophethood came into being.

This is how a pious intelligent woman reacts. She stands at the side of her husband, helping and supporting him with her speech and actions.

Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam began spreading the message of his Lord in Makkah while being on the receiving end of taunts, jeers, and physical abuse from his own clan and family. ‘Urwah ibn Zubair rahimahu Llah once asks ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al As radiya Llahu ‘anhu of the worst Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had been subjected to by the polytheists of Makkah. He replies by saying, “While Allah’s Apostle was praying in the courtyard of the Ka’bah, ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’it came and seized Allah’s Messenger and twisted his garment round his neck and throttled him severely. Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu came and seized ‘Uqbah’s shoulder and threw him away from Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, “Would you kill a man because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah’?”[11]

Abu Lahab would follow Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam in the markets and gatherings of people with the sole purpose of belying him publicly whilst his wife, Umm Jamil, would gather thorns and place it in the path of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[12]

Oppression and torment. Harm and ridicule. Degradation with no end in sight. Through these tough times Khadijah bint Khuwaylid radiya Llahu ‘anhu was there for Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam at every turn. She gave him her heart and mind. Sympathy and a strong mind was from amongst her strengths. He would return to her after having abuses hurled at him, she would pacify him and keep him steadfast. She was a great woman and a devoted spouse. Never once did she rudely talk back to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam nor did she harm him in any way. The result of this devotion can be gauged by the following narration:

 

أتى جبريلُ النبيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: يا رسولَ الله، هذه خديجة قد أتت معها إناء فيه إدام، أو طعام، أو شراب، فإذا هي أتتْك فاقرأ عليها السلام من ربها، ومنِّي، وبشِّرْها ببيت في الجنة مِن قصب، لا صخبَ فيه ولا نصب

It had been related by Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu that on one occasion, Jibril ‘alayh al Salam came to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, “O Messenger of Allah, Khadijah is coming with a bowl of soup (or food or drink) for you. When she comes to you, give her greetings of peace from her Lord and from me, and give her the good news of a palace of jewels in Jannat, where there will be neither any noise nor any fatigue.”[13]

 

Ibn al Qayyim expounding on her receiving greetings from Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says, “This is an honour not known by any other women besides her.”[14] Suhayli mentions her palace in Jannat is a reflection and reward for the calm and tranquil environment that she herself generated for her husband. Neither did she raise her voice above his, nor did she cause him distress.[15]

Muhammad salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam worked to be sure that Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha was remembered in the best light, and he would comment, “I have been instilled with her love.”[16] Aisha al Siddiqah radiya Llahu ‘anha says, “When Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would talk of Khadijah radiya Llahu ‘anha, he wouldn’t tire in enumerating her virtues nor would he stop seeking forgiveness on her behalf.”[17]

She was pious, and she imbued piety in her house, the rewards of which she reaped in the form of her and her daughter being the best women of Jannat.

 

The best of the women of Paradise are Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Asiyah bint Mazahim the wife of Pharaoh, and Maryam bint ‘Imran.[18]

و كم استفاض النور فيك و غردا

يا خدرها كم كنت مشرق رحمة
من ربه يلقي السلام مرددا

ويجيء جبريل الامين محييا

في قمة الفردوس ربي شيدا

و مبشرا بالبيت من قصب لها ما
طهرا و تشريفا و مجدا مفردا

مثل خدرك يا خديجة رفعة

اهدى الى الدنيا الرسالة والهدى

لولا حراء لكنت اول منزل

 O, her room so radiant with mercy, illuminated by divine light.

Jibril would come with greetings, from his Lord repeatedly.

Giving glad tidings of a palace of jewels, in the highest stations of Paradise.

Where to find a room like yours, O Khadijah, brimming with purity and honour.

If it weren’t for the cave of Hira your house would have been, the first to receive guidance.

 

NEXT⇒Aisha bint al Siddiq


[1] Prophethood.

[2] Surah al Ahzab: 32.

[3] Consciousness of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala.

[4] Surah al Ahzab: 32.

[5] Ibid: 34

[6] Pure.

[7] Usud al Ghabah, vol. 5 pg. 434.

[8] Monotheism.

[9] Surah al ‘Alaq

[10] The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was famed for these characteristics toward friend or foe. The narration appears in Sahih al Bukhari, 6467 and Sahih Muslim, 231. Narrated by Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.

[11] Sahih al Bukhari, 3475.

[12] Sahih Ibn Khuzaimah: 159, ‘Allamah Habib al Rahman al A’zami has graded it as Sahih in his critical analysis of the book. Sahih Ibn Hibban, 6562. ‘Allamah al Dhahabi has graded it as Sahih in al Talkhis ala al Mustadrak, 4219

[13] Sahih al Bukhari, 3609, Sahih Muslim, 2432.

[14] Zad al Ma’ad, vol.1 pg.102

[15]Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, vol. 3 pg. 128. Ibn Kathir has narrated it in his book on Sirah as well, vol. 2 pg. 133.

[16] Sahih Muslim, 2435.

[17] Al Tabarani in al Kabir, vol. 13 pg. 13/21. Al Haythami classified the chain of narrators as sound in his Majma’ vol. 9 pg. 224. Ibn ‘Asakir comments after mentioning this narration in his book al Arba’in fi Manaqib Ummahat al Mu’minin, vol. 1 pg. 56, “The narration is gharib no one is known to have narrated it from ‘Abdullah al Bahi besides Wa’il ibn Dawood al Laythi al Kufi rahimahu Llah, and Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.”

[18] Musnad Imam Ahmed: 2668/2903. Sahih Ibn Hibban: 7010. Musnad Abu Ya’la: 2722.