Name: Khadija bint-e-Khawailad (SA)
Father: Khawailad bin Asad
Mother: Fatemah bint-e-Zaedeh
Death: 10th Ramadan 3 years before Hijrah at the age of 64 years. Buried: in Makkah
Birth and Geneology
Hadrat Khadija (SA) was the first wife of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hf). She was born in Makka. Her father’s name was Khuwaylid bin Asad and he was a wealthy trader.
The Geneology of both Prophet Mohammad (pbuh&hf) and Hadrat Khadija (SA) was the same reaching upto Qusayy.
Her mother and father both died within 10 years of each other. Their wealth was divided amongst the children but it was Hadrat khadija (SA) who took over the family business and expanded it. With the profit she made she helped the poor, widows, orphans, sick and the disabled people of Makka.
She had a cousin called Waraqa bin Naufal who was very learned man and who was not an idol worshipper. Both Waraqa and Hadrat Khadija were monothiests and believed in one Allah.
First contact with Prophet Mohammad (pbuh&hf)
Because of her excellent Akhlaq the Arabs (who at that time used to look down upon women) called her Tahira – the pure one. She was also known as the ‘Princess of Makkah’ because of her wealth. A lot of Arab nobles and princess wanted to marry her but she refused all of them.
In 595 AD, Hadrat Khadija was looking for someone to be in charge of her caravan to Syria. Hadrat Abu Talib (AS) suggested the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh&hf) to her. She had heard of his trustworthiness and agreed to employ him although he did not have much trading experience. To help him she sent her slave Maysara.
The trading caravan was a great success and when Hadrat Khadija (SA) heard of the Prophet’s skills and excellent conduct, she became his admirer.
There are only four women in the entire world who measured up to the lofty standards of real greatness and perfection set by Islam. They are:
1. Bibi Asiya (SA), the God fearing wife of Pharaoh
2. Bibi Maryam (SA), the mother of Jesus (Isa) (AS)
3. Bibi Khadija (SA), the daughter of Khawailad
4. Bibi Fatima Zahra (SA), the daughter of Prophet Prophet Muhammad (SAW)
Bibi Khadija (SA), the holy wife of The Lord of Prophets, Prophet Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the mother of the Mistress of the Ladies of the Worlds, Bibi Fatima Zahra (SA), combined in her person all those attributes, which add up to perfection. Malikatul Arab (SA) was the ideal woman, the ideal wife for The Seal of Prophets, Prophet Prophet Muhammad (SAW), and the ideal mother.
Early Life of Bibi Khadija-tul-Kubra (SA)
After the death of Khawailad, Bibi Khadija (SA) took charge of the family business, and as a result, it rapidly expanded. With the profits she made, Bibi Khadija (SA) helped the poor, the widows, the orphans, the sick and the disabled. If there were any poor girls, Bibi Khadija (SA) married them off, and gave them dowry.
Although some family members acted as Bibi Khadija’s (SA) advisors on business matters, she trusted her own judgment, yet she still welcomed their advice and considered it. Most merchants who had cargo to sell in Syria or Yemen, such as Bibi Khadija (SA), didn’t have any interest in traveling with their caravans. So someone called an agent, was sent in the merchants place. The man chosen for the job was usually well known for his responsible business sense.
Bibi Khadija (SA) hired an agent whenever her caravan was equipped and ready to away. She gave him the responsibility of carrying and selling her merchandise in the foreign markets. By wisely selecting smart agents, and selling and buying at the right time and the right place, Bibi Khadija (SA) made fantastic profits, which made her the richest merchant in Mecca.
Whenever caravans of the Meccan merchants set out on their journey, the cargo of Bibi Khadija (SA) alone was equal to the cargo of all the other merchants of the Quraysh put together. The citizens of Mecca referred to Bibi Khadija (SA) as the Princess of Quraysh because she demonstrated the proverbial “golden touch,” which implied that whatever she touched practically turned into gold.
Bibi Khadija (SA) had a deep dedication to Islam, and love for and gratitude to Allah. She sacrificed all her wealth for Islam and stood by the side of her husband, the Messenger of Islam (SAW). Holy Prophet Prophet Muhammad (SAW) did not take another wife as long as Bibi Khadija (SA) lived.
Muhammad ibn Ishaq, the biographer of the Prophet (SAW), says that when Divine revelation was resumed after its cessation following the first two visits of Gabriel, Bibi Khadija (SA) received a tribute and a salutation of peace from Allah Almighty. Gabriel communicated the message to Prophet Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and when he conveyed it to Bibi Khadija (SA), her words were: “Allah is Peace, and from Him is all Peace, and may peace be on Gabriel.”
The Prophet (SAW) forever remembered Bibi Khadija (SA) with love, affection and gratitude. Her death filled his heart with deep pain and sorrow. Bibi Khadija (SA) expired on the 10 Ramadan of the 10th year of the Proclamation of Islam in 619, and was laid to rest in Hujun, Meccah Mukarramah. The Messenger of Allah himself descended into her grave to lay in it for a few moments. He (SAW) smoothed the earth on her grave after the burial.
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) was asked about his wife the great Muslim lady, ‘Bibi Khadija-tul Kubra (RA), he said: “When none believed me, Bibi Khadija (RA) did. She made me a partner in her wealth.”
Bibi Khadija (RA), married the Holy Prophet (SAW) when she was 40 and he was 25. She stood by the Prophet (SAW) all the time. In moments of trial and difficulty the Prophet (SAW) used to come to her and she consoled and comforted her husband and encouraged him. Bibi Khadija’s (RA) wealth was used for the cause of Islam. The Prophet (SAW) remained busy in preaching Islam and his devoted and loving wife looked after the children and family affairs.
In Mecca, the Quraysh did all they could to stop the Prophet (SAW) preaching Islam. Nothing worked. The Prophet (SAW) continued his mission, relying on Allah. Bibi Khadija (RA) was his source of encouragement and comfort. She also had to bear enormous strain and suffering during the boycott at Sha’bi (the valley of) Abu Talib for three years.
The great Muslim lady Bibi Khadija (RA) passed away on10th Ramadan in the tenth year of Hejira, 620 CE, at the age of 65. Her death was a great loss to the Prophet (SAW). He said:
“I cannot bear the scene, I believe that Allah has kept much good in it.”
He loved Bibi Khadija (RA) so dearly that after her death he used to remember her often. Bibi Khadija’s (RA) status was such that the Angel Jibraeel (AS) used to bring salam (greetings) for her from Almighty Allah.
The holy matrimony between the 25-year-old Prophet (SAW) and the noble lady 40-year-old Bibi Khadija (SA) marked the starting point of great transformations in Islamic history. (Kanzul-Daqaieq, vol. 1, p. 397).
This felicitation and glorious wedlock provided the Prophet (SAW) with a strong financial backing to withstand the threats and economic sanctions of polytheists and to continue his mission unhindered. Above all, placed a sympathetic pious companion at his side in the difficult course of his Prophetic mission. (Muruj az-Zahab, Vol. 2, p. 284).
Bibi Khadija (SA) so earnestly and with such great love and devotion rested full authority of all her wealth on the Prophet (SAW), to ease the difficulties and release the pressure on new Muslim converts, that Almighty God brought her great generosity to the attention of the Prophet (SAW) with the descending of the following Verse which says: “… and found you in poverty and made you free from need.”. (Biharul-Anwar, vol. 43, p. 34. Holy Qur’an “Wa Zuha”, Verse 8).
Hadrat Khadija (S.A.), Mother of All True Believers
“By God, the Almighty did not grant me a better wife than her. She believed in me when the people used to mock at me and she acknowledged me when the people denied me. She shared her wealth and property with me and she bore me children which I was not destined to have through other women.” (Sahih Bukhari)
These are not the emotional words of any ordinary husband lamenting the loss of a wife. These are, in fact the words of the Last Divine Messenger to mankind, who, as God vouches in the Holy Qur’an: “Does not speak out of desire. It is naught but revelation that is revealed.” (53:3,4)
Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) did not express these words in the state of bereavement at the passing away of the faithful Khadija (SA), who for over 25 years was his one and only spouse. He said these years later when one of the many wives that he had taken in the last ten years of his life out of social necessity, dared to mock the memory of the Mother of all true Believers (Umm al-Momenin) and thought herself as a younger and better wife. (Those interested in the identity of that barren woman who was duly reprimanded by the Prophet for her insult to the memory of Hazrat Khadija (SA) should refer to authentic compilations of hadith including the one by the esteemed Sunni scholar Bukhari).
A closer scrutiny of the Prophet’s tribute to his beloved wife reveals some interesting facts. It is a confirmation of the great sacrifices offered by Hazrat Khadija (SA) to the cause of Islam and Muslims. She was no ordinary Arab lady. As the daughter of the noble Khuwailed, she was linked five generations earlier to the same pedigree as the Prophet’s. She was respected in the pre-Islamic society of Arabia, not mere for her vast wealth that earned her the title of Malikat al-Arab (Queen of Arabia) but for her wisdom, knowledge, dignity, excellent temperament and above all chastity to the extent that she was acclaimed as Tahera (Spotlessly Pure).
On hearing of the reputation of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) – who had not yet been commanded by God to announce his mission – as Sadeq (Truthful) and Ameen (Trustworthy), she entrusted him with management of her trade caravans. Impressed by the 25-year old youth’s honesty in discharging his duties, she proposed marriage to him, thereby setting a lasting precedent (as is evident in the Aqd formula for every Muslim marriage) that it is the woman who proposes and the man who accepts.
The Prophet consulted his uncle and guardian Hazrat Abu Taleb (AS), and history bears witness that the latter along with his younger brother Hazrat Hamza (AS) and other chiefs of prominent Arab families assembled at the house of Hazrat Khadija (SA) to formally seal the marriage offer. The nuptials were solemnised with great rejoicing by Abu Taleb (AS) who recited the khutba on behalf of his nephew the groom.
For the next quarter century they made the perfect husband and wife pair. Fifteen years after marriage when divine revelation dawned upon the husband the dedicated wife immediately believed in his mission as the Almighty’s Last Messenger to mankind and thereafter spent all her wealth in the propagation of Islam and protection of the neo Muslim community from persecution and poverty. Afif al-Kindi, who years later became a Muslim, says that on one of his visits to Mecca he accompanied Abbas ibn Abdul-Mutallib to the Ka’ba where an unfamiliar sight greeted him. He saw a man praying in what appeared to him a strange manner, while behind him stood a lady and a lad, earnestly emulating his acts of worship as he bent down in genuflexion (ruku’) and touched his forehead on the ground in prostration (sajda). He was told that the gentleman was (Prophet) Muhammad (SAWA), the lady was his wife Khadija (SA) and the lad was his cousin and ward, Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS). Afif was told: Besides these three there is no one in the world professing the new faith.
The couple had several children including son Qasem, from whom the Prophet derived his agnomen (kunya) Abu’l-Qasem. But all died in infancy except the youngest daughter Fatema az-Zahra (SA), who was conceived after the Prophet’s return from Me’raj (ascension to the heavens in the twinkling of an eye) and his tasting of the fruits of paradise. That is one of the reasons God has referred to Hazrat Fatema (SA) as Kowsar (Spring of Perpetual Abundance) in the Holy Qur’an.
Islam will forever remain indebted to the sacrifices of Hazrat Khadija (SA), who as part of her selfless jihad for faith, endured three years of socio-economic boycott imposed on the Muslims by the pagan Arabs led by Abu Jahl and Abu Sufyan. During those days of confinement to the mountain pass outside Mecca known as She’b Abi Taleb, she spent everything, up to her last dirham, for the sake of Islam, to protect and feed the persecuted neo-Muslim community. Often, her future son-in-law, Imam Ali (AS) would risk his life to procure the needed grains for the Muslims. When she passed away on 10th Ramadhan shortly after uplifting of the siege by the frustrated pagans, the wealthiest Lady of Arabia had no money left for even a shroud, let alone leaving any inheritance for her daughter Fatema (SA). She was shrouded in the cloak of her weeping husband and laid to rest in the Jannat al-Mu’alla Cemetery, which alas was desecrated and destroyed by the Saudi Arabian authorities in 1925.
The sacrifices of Hazrat Khadija (SA) for Islam and her sufferings at the hands of ingrate Muslims (including the barren woman who dared to mock her memory in order to annoy the Prophet) do not end with her passing away. History bears witness that whenever Islam and Muslims were in danger it was the progeny of Khadija (SA) that rose to the rescue with Karbala being the crowning moment of the Great Sacrifice by her grandson Imam Husain (AS). The fact, that till this day in every corner of world, her direct descendants are known by their honourific epithet of Seyyed, is a lasting testimony to the only true Mother of all Believers.