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The Legacy of Khadijah, First Woman of Islam – Her Story

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By Sakinah Alhabshi

First Woman of Islam – Her Story

By all accounts, Khadijah r.a. was a woman to be respected, admired, and loved. The stories of her business savvy, her generosity, wisdom, and grace-filled the pages of history books in the early days of Islamic civilization and growth.

Khadijah r.a. was the daughter of a merchant. When her father passed away, she inherited his business and continued expanding. At that time, the Quraysh would send their trade caravans to Ash-Sham (Syria area) in summer and to Yemen in the winter.

With her sharp mind and wisdom, the business grew to be one of the largest and most respected among the Quraysh. This was no small feat in a society that was male-dominated and often corrupt.

In the meantime, Khadijah r.a. had also gotten married, twice. Her first husband was ‘Atiq bin ‘A’idh, a respectable figure from the Makhzum tribe, and they had a daughter. After Atiq passed away, Khadijah r.a. married Abu Hala Malak ibn Nabash and they had two sons.

Khadijah r.a. was known for her generosity, often feeding and clothing the poor, financing some of her relatives, as well as providing monetary support for those who wanted to marry. Among the nicknames she acquired due to her status, was Ameerat-Quraysh (Princess of Quraysh) and Khadijah Al-Kubra (Khadijah the Great).

When Khadijah r.a. was looking to hire someone new to manage her caravans, she was drawn to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ who had a reputation of being honourable and of high integrity and he had the experience of working with his uncle Abu Talib’s family business.

He was only 25 years of age. Over the years, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had earned the titles Al-Sadiq (the Truthful) and Al-Amin (the Trustworthy), and this was even before he was appointed as a Prophet. So it was no surprise that Khadijah r.a. wanted to hire him.

Khadijah r.a. assigned her servant Maysarah to accompany Prophet Muhammad ﷺ on the trading journey to Ash-Sham. Not only did their expedition return with much more profit than expected, Maysarah also regaled Khadijah r.a. with tales of the good conduct, honesty, and intelligence of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

Despite the many marriages offers Khadijah r.a. had received, she had her heart set on proposing to Prophet Muhammad ﷺ and requested that her friend Nafisah Binti Manbah approach him on this matter. Our beloved Prophet ﷺ accepted.

Khadijah r.a. and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ had six children together and continued their trading business. As we know, Muhammad’s ﷺ prophethood began during his marriage to Khadijah r.a when he first received God’s revelations through the Angel Jibreel during one of his private retreats in Cave Hira’. Rushing back home – afraid and confused – it was dawning on him that his life was about to change forever, and a huge responsibility had been given to him.

As recorded in Sahih Bukhari, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Cover me! Cover me!”, and she (Khadijah r.a.) covered him till his fear was over, and after that, he told her everything that had happened. And he said, “O Khadijah! What is going on? I fear that something (bad) has happened to me.”

Khadijah r.a. replied, “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and the destitute, serve your guests generously and assist those stricken by calamity”.

What a beautiful, wise, and encouraging response to reassure a panic-stricken loved one! Khadijah r.a. was the first to believe in Muhammad’s ﷺ prophethood, making her the first “Muslim”.

She pledged her loyalty, her wealth, her life, and her love, for the Messenger, and more importantly, the Message itself. And today, Muslims have grown to beyond two billion across the globe, and to all of us, Khadijah r.a. remains our Umm Al-Mu’mineen (Mother of the Believers).

It is indeed a blessing to have a Khadijah in your life. That person who believes in you encourages you, comforts you in your moments of vulnerability and insecurity. The one who stands by your side no matter what, who will have your back when things get tough, who will invest his/her time, energy, and love in you and what you stand for.

Are you being a Khadijah?

Our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “Love for her runs in my blood and is nestled in my heart” (Musnad Ahmad), and “Indeed, I was nourished by her love” (Muslim).

Are you carrying on her spirit by being that kind of partner and companion to the people in your life? One who nourishes, and trusts, and uplifts.

Indeed that is the best way to demonstrate our love for Khadijah r.a. and ensure her legacy lives on until we reunite with her in Jannat ul Firdaus, the highest of Heavens.

Timeless Love between Khadijah and Muhammad ﷺ

Indeed, Loving Muhammad ﷺ was the greatest thing that had ever happened to Khadijah r.a, 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.

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

You might want to consider the Al Mustafa course as a part of your learning journey. Get ready as we recall the journey of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. This is not a study of only the seerah itself, it is a study of his sunnah.