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Exemplary Women: KHADIJAH RA (Part 3)

We praise Him and send Durood upon His noble messenger.

 

I seek refuge in Allah from the outcast Shaytaan.

 

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

O, my Lord! Open for me my chest. Ease my task for me; And remove the impediment from my speech, so they may understand what I say

After marrying Khadija, Prophet SAW gained financial security. He now had time as he was free from the struggles of making a living. He had time to play an active role in the society and to reflect on the conditions of people and find solutions for their problems and social issues. Reflection is essential and time must be taken out for it. Reflection is worship in itself. Tafakkur (to reflect deeply) has significant emphasis in Islam.

According to some scholars one moment of reflection is better than extended periods of worship. It has been a practice of the prophets to ponder over the state of the society and find solutions to prevailing issues. We cannot live in our own bubble and feel satisfied that we have worked hard to earn halal and fulfilled our responsibilities. Instead of reflecting we spend our free time in entertainment. We say, “Now I want to relax; now I want to enjoy”.

Earning a livelihood and worldly affairs require physical hard work while reflection requires mental exertion and puts a strain on our mind. We learn that the nature and temperament of prophets was that they never wasted free time. They never spent large amounts of time on enjoyment and entertainment. If one saw them outwardly it would seem as if as they were not doing anything but their hearts and minds would be busy/ engaged. So reflection is also worship.

Her Household after Marriage

Prophet SAW’s personal and social life was very beautiful and comfortable .He was very well off and Allah had blessed him abundantly with regard to money, emotions and a partner. He was blessed with the best wife and life partner.

In addition to husband and wife, Zaid bin Haritha was also part of the Prophet SAW’s household. He was actually Khadijah’s slave. We find two traditions regarding him. According to one, Hakeem bin Hizam gave Zaid as a present to his paternal aunt. In those times of slavery, it was common to offer slaves as gifts. Zaid bin Haritha belonged to an elite and noble family and was not a slave by descent. However due to some reasons (maybe an attack) he got separated from his father and uncle. He was captured and sold as a slave in Mecca. Hakeem bin Hizam who we mentioned earlier bought and gifted him to his paternal aunt.

In another tradition it is mentioned that Khadija wanted to give a gift to Prophet SAW so she herself asked Hakeem bin Hizam to bring a boy who would serve the Prophet SAW. So Zaid bin Haritha was also present in the Prophet SAW’s home.

After some time Ali RA also became a part of this household. The reason for this was that the Prophet SAW’s uncle, Abu Talib, who brought him up had a big family and was not financially well off. In order to help him out Abbas took his nephew Jafar under his care .Jafar was Ali’s brother and the famous personality who was murdered in the battle of Mautah. So Abbas took in Jafar and Prophet SAW took responsibility of his paternal cousin Ali .Thus Ali also became a part of the Prophet SAW’s household.

Her Children

Soon Allah blessed Prophet SAW and Khadija with a son. They named him Al Qasim, after whom the Prophet SAW kept his kunya:Abul Qasim. Then Zainab was born. However according to some traditions first Zainab was born and then Al Qasim. Allah knows best. Then came Abdullah, Umm Kulsum, Rukayya and the youngest was Fatima (May Allah be pleased with them all). According to most traditions, Fatima was the youngest while some state that Rukayya was the youngest. As we mentioned earlier there is no information regarding the other children of Khadija except Hind. Only Allah knows where they went.

Alhamdolillah the family of the Prophet SAW was growing .Khadijah’s slave Barakah also came with her and her title was Umm Ayman. Who is this Umm Ayman? She was a black Abyssinian slave that belonged to Abdullah .People believe that maybe she came as part of Abraha’s army that came to attack the Kaaba. We know that the army was destroyed but some people survived. Maybe this little girl was one of them. Abdullah,father of the Prophet SAW bought this girl. We can only roughly calculate how much older she was than the Prophet SAW. If we make a cautious estimation of her age then she must be six to seven years older than the Prophet SAW.

Umm Ayman lived in Prophet SAW’s house even before he was born. She stayed with Amina after Abdullah’s death and later accompanied her back to Madina. At that time her age must be around twelve as Prophet SAW was approximately six years old when Amina died .So if we add up, Umm Ayman must be around eleven to twelve years old.

Amina died on the way back from Madina. It was Umm Ayman who brought back Prophet SAW from Madina to Mecca. Now you may think that how it is possible for an eleven or twelve year old to travel back alone? Obviously she must be part of a caravan. However she took responsibility of Prophet SAW and after Amina’s death she is the one who took care of him. Prophet SAW used to address her as ‘O my mother’. She could not speak Arabic properly as it was not her mother tongue. She probably learnt it when she came to Mecca. We know that some people are unable pronounce certain words in the correct way .For example some say khaa or kaa instead of qaaf while others say khaa instead of haa .We struggle with the haa in ‘Bismillah hir Rahman nir Raheem’. Some people say ‘Bismillah hir Rakhman nir Rakhim’. They cannot say haa .This is a natural handicap and they cannot be blamed for it. So maybe Umm Ayman had the same issue and could not pronounce and articulate certain words and letters. Allah knows best.

According to traditions she could not speak Arabic very well and would make mistakes when speaking.Umm Ayman got married to Ubayd bin Zaid al Khazraji and had a son named Ayman. This is why she was called Umm Ayman even though her real name was Barakah. Her son Ayman had the honour of being a sahabi and embraced martyrdom in battle of Hunayn .She was widowed. In Mecca Prophet SAW said: “Should one of you desire to marry a woman from paradise let him marry Umm Ayman”. Zaid bin Haritha who was also in the household heard this and married her.

We know that Zaid was around the same age as Prophet SAW’s children. How much older do you think Umm Ayman was to him? A rough estimation shows the figure of fifteen to twenty years. However we have repeatedly mentioned that 1500 years ago the expectations from marriage were very different from what they are today. The preferred age difference and basis for choosing a partner have changed today. The rules and expectations from a marriage fifteen centuries ago were very different from what they are today. So Zaid married her upon hearing that she was a woman of paradise. The marriage lasted till battle of Mutah in which Zaid bin Haritha was martyred.

Who is in the household now? Umm Ayman was already there. She then married Zaid and they were blessed with a son, Usama bin Zaid (May Allah be pleased with him). This whole family used to live in Prophet SAW’s house and were all taken care of by Khadijah;  Zaid bin Haritha, Umme Ayman and their child Usama bin Zaid, whom the Prophet SAW loved dearly as he was born in his house. They happily lived together Alhamdolillah. Usama and Prophet SAW’s children used to play together. Since Prophet SAW loved Zaid like his own son then he must have treated Osama like his own grandson.

We know that Zaid’s father and uncle came to Mecca looking for him. They offered Prophet SAW money to free their son Zaid. Prophet SAW said that he did not need the money and if Zaid wanted to go with his family he was free to leave. When Zaid was called he recognized his father and uncle. They asked Zaid to come with them to which he said no. He said I give preference to being a slave to Muhammad than being free. I will not leave him under any circumstances. This made the Prophet SAW very happy as he loved him a lot. Prophet SAW went to the Kaabah and announced that from today Zaid is his son and he started being called Zaid bin Muhammad instead of Zaid bin Haritha.

The companions used to say that we knew him only as Zaid bin Muhammad until verses of Surah Ahzab were revealed: “your adopted sons are not like your real sons .Call them by the name of their fathers not their adoptive fathers”. After this his name was reverted back to Zaid bin Haritha and he started being called by this name again.

So this was the household of the Prophet SAW. Not only did Khadijah take great care of Prophet SAW but also had the best conduct with the people in his life. She loved Umm Ayman and Usama just like Prophet SAW did. Once when Prophet SAW’s foster mother Halima Saadia came to visit, Khadijah gifted her forty sheep and one camel. Who is she being good to? Her in-laws!

Sometimes we hear Muslim girls say why should I take care of my in-laws? What rights do they have on me? We should do it because our mother taught us. Who is our mother? Khadijah – mother of believers. Conduct with the husband’s family and relatives should not only be good but excellent. This is the secret to a harmonious and happy marital life. It makes the husband very happy when his wife takes care of his relatives. In the same way a wife is overjoyed when the husband is good with her family.

We learn about the generosity of Khadija. She could have gifted just one sheep instead of forty sheep and a camel. Another learning point is that giving gifts increases love and something that is taught by our mother. We learn that we should be generous when giving gifts and not tightfisted. Avoid giving gifts that are of poor and inferior quality. She spent lavishly on relatives and people that loved her husband.

Reconstruction of Kaabah

An important event occurred when the Prophet SAW was around 35 years old. A flood came after which there was concern that the Kaaba would collapse. The structure of the Kaaba had already become worn out and it seemed it would fall down any time. The people of Mecca decided to demolish and rebuild it entirely. They started collecting money for this purpose. They made an announcement that they will be fundraising but would not accept money gained from usury and prostitution. Prostitution was practiced as a trade at that time and people earned money from it. They used their slave girls for this purpose .They said they will only accept pure money.

The reconstruction of the Kaaba started. The walls of the Kaaba were raised and time came for the placement of the Black stone. The sanctity and importance of the Black Stone was the same at that time as it is now. A disagreement started as to which tribe would place the Black Stone in its position .The disagreement intensified and it seemed that war resulting in bloodshed was imminent. It was decided that they would wait till the next morning and the first person to enter the Kaaba would be accepted as an arbitrator. The first person to enter the Kaaba was Muhammad SAW.

When they saw him they exclaimed “the trustworthy has come, we accept him. He is Muhammad.” The Prophet SAW took a piece of cloth and placed the Black stone in it and told all the tribesmen to lift the cloth and bring it to the position of Black Stone. Then the Prophet SAW himself took the Black Stone and fixed it in its original position with his blessed hands. This incident reflects his wisdom and how well he knew the psyche of his people. Allah mentioned this repeatedly in the Quran that ‘We have sent a messenger from your own people.’ This is done so he is able to understand their psychology, their emotions, and traditions and thereby can do justice to spreading the message of Allah. An outsider would not understand the psychology and sensitivities of a nation or their social customs or sanctity of things in their society.

Look at the respect given to Prophet SAW by the people of Mecca by unanimously accepting his decision. They were not people who easily agreed to things and were excessively quarrelsome. Their sense of honour had crossed all limits. Honour is a good thing but not when it is excessive. There is no doubt that they gave this status to Prophet SAW because of his prominent family. He was the grandson Abdul Muttalib and belonged to Banu Hashim. This held great importance in a tribal society. We can’t say that this is backward mentality because today we also have the same mentality. Today it’s a matter of which passport a person has. One person has an American passport and the other a Pakistani. Which one is considered superior? Obviously the American passport! Today tribe has been replaced by country and nationalism has replaced tribalism. Citizens of a certain country automatically consider themselves superior than others. People from first world countries consider themselves better than those from third world countries even though they might have migrated from a third world country themselves. When they migrate to a first world country they start to look down on their own country of origin. This happens today and has always been prevalent in societies.

The value of a tribe at that time was the same as that of a passport today. So it was no ordinary thing to be the grandson of Abdul Muttalib and to belong to Banu Hashim. In addition to this, everything about Prophet SAW’s personality was exceptional – his character, his morals, his wisdom, his integrity.

We cannot deny the elevation of his social status after his marriage to Khadijah. We know that the importance of money is etched in the minds of people and more value is given to the opinion of wealthy people. This has always been the reality and will always remain this way. Society is divided this way and we cannot end this gap. Some people will always be wealthier than others. We have seen the outcome of people who tried to artificially end this gap. At one point communism gained such popularity that people said that even Islam is inherently communist. They misinterpreted the verses of Quran and distorted the sayings of Prophet SAW to make them conform to communism.

Since Islam is a practical and pragmatic religion it accepts the natural distribution of wealth in society. There is no communism in Islam.

Her Wealth and Financial stability of Prophet SAW

This socio-economic stability greatly benefited the Prophet SAW. Khadija spent her wealth abundantly on the Prophet SAW and it was her wealth that gave him financial stability. This act of Hazrat Khadijah has been indirectly acknowledged by Allah in Surah Dhuha :

“And did he not find you needy and satisfied your needs”.

 

According to scholars this is an indirect reference to Khadijah. How did Prophet SAW get wealthy/ prosperous? Through Khadijah who in turn inherited it from her first husband. Some definitely came from her father as well. We mentioned earlier that two of her brothers were killed in the battle of Fijar so only one was left behind. Daughters and sisters did not get a share of the inheritance but in Arab tradition brothers were very generous to their sisters. Thus it is possible that Khadija‘s brother gave her a very generous share out of their father’s inheritance.

Her Love for Prophet SAW

In addition to this material wealth there was another very invaluable wealth that Prophet SAW got from Khadijah. According to a hadith in Sahih Muslim Prophet SAW said “Allah granted me the Rizq of her love”. Their love for each other was deeply ingrained in their hearts. This love is god gifted. It cannot be taught. One cannot take formal classes and learn and teach how to love. It is from Allah. Prophet SAW said I have been provided with her love. This brings sweetness in our lives.

Her understanding and care

Once Prophet SAW came home in a sad mood. Khadija asked him the reason for his sadness. As we said earlier he now had more time to enquire about the affairs of the people. The Prophet SAW said that he had gone outside Mecca where he saw an extremely poor tribe that did not even have food to eat. After saying this he became silent. So how did Khadijah fill in the blank? Prophet SAW must be thinking that I wish I had money to spend on them. He was sad because the wealth belonged to his wife so he couldn’t just spend it at his own discretion. What a wife she was!

 

She asked him to call all the leaders of Mecca. He left quietly to call them. What a husband he was! Today if a wife says this without giving any reason the husband will first ask ten questions: what? why? how? I’m worried and you want me to go and call the leaders! When there is no respect between spouses, there is exchange of harsh words. There are suspicions and doubts and disrespect. Sometimes people call it frankness. Being rude and being frank is not the same. Here we can see how much regard Prophet SAW and Khadijah had for each other.

 

Prophet SAW went to call the leaders of Mecca. According to tradition whilst he was gone Khadija accumulated a heap of gold coins which was so high that when the Prophet SAW sat down it obscured him. Khadija said to the leaders to bear witness that she had gifted all this wealth to Muhammad SAW. No one ever heard them fighting. Houses were close to each other. They did not have big houses with boundary walls and big lawns. Like the ones we see in small neighborhoods. We can imagine what they would be like as we live in a third world country! If they had been fighting all the neighbours would have heard them. No one ever said just yesterday you were fighting with your wife and now you claim to be a prophet. People are very quick to taunt others and would have definitely publicized it if they heard them fighting.

 

In respectable families where people have regard for each other voices are never raised during arguments. According to neighbours there is only one incident when voices were raised in Prophet SAW’s house. What was heard? Prophet SAW was repeatedly saying,

“O Khadija I will not worship the idols Lat and Uzza.”

Khadija was saying in a calming tone, “Leave Lat alone, leave Uzza alone.”

 There might have been some kind of social pressure on Prophet SAW to attend a festival or celebration of these idols. We get these kinds of invitations too and sometimes arguments and misunderstandings occur over them. Maybe there was some kind of societal pressure on Prophet SAW to attend a gathering he dint want to be a part of. Maybe they were celebrating and worshiping Lat .Prophet SAW did not even touch the food that was part of offerings to the idols. So Khadijah was consoling him that don’t go if you don’t want to. Please don’t think that god forbid Khadijah was telling him to be part of this gathering. We have mentioned earlier that most people say Khadijah never worshipped idols. This was either due to Warqah bin Nawfal’s influence on her or her own pure nature. Allah knows best. Khadijah was telling him not to get upset and not attend the gathering if he didn’t  want to.

 

This also tells us that Prophet SAW did not want to cut himself away from gatherings. He wanted to be part of society. Maybe he got agitated as he did not feel comfortable about this event. That’s why Khadijah was telling him to leave it and not go if he didn’t want to. This also tells us that when there is social pressure husband and wife should be on the same page. A wife should not pressurize a husband to go to a place where Allah and His messenger are being disobeyed.

 

Khadijah could have said if you don’t go to these gatherings no one will marry our daughters! Who will be there for us in our difficult time? We get worried about “what will people say”. Sometimes it’s the husband pressurizing the wife, “So what if Allah’s laws are being broken? So what if you have done a Quran course? Come with me to this gathering. We must be seen at these events because of our social status.”

 

Today there are many kinds of social pressures: photographs are being taken, videos are made, and anyone who holds any status in society must be seen at a certain event. There are many societal pressures we have to face but husband and wife must be seen as a like-minded team. This makes life very smooth.

 

All praise is due to Allah who is the Lord of the worlds.

 

Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise is to You. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You.

The Best / Perfect Woman

The following Hadith shows the exceptional personality of Khadija. There is a little debate about its chain of narration but it can be quoted:

 

“Many men attained perfection but of women four attained perfection: Asiyah bint Muzahim, wife of pharaoh, Maryam daughter of Imran, Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and Fatima daughter of Muhammad.”

Another Hadith that comes with a sound chain of narration has the word ‘best’ not ‘perfection’ in it. It says: “Mariam, daughter of Imran and Khadija are the best women of this world.” This is not an ordinary honour to be called perfect or best among women of the world. Perfect faith was associated with prophets .This is why Prophet SAW said many men achieved perfection. Hundred and twenty four thousand prophets were sent who had perfected faith. This is a great honour. However this is understandable as they received revelation communicated directly with Gabriel and received news of the Unseen. It is comparatively easier for them than an ordinary person.

 

However it is an extraordinary and difficult feat for someone who isn’t a Prophet to achieve perfection in faith. Also keep in mind the time at which Khadijah perfected her faith. If we want to really try hard to elevate the level of our faith, what will we do? We will increase our worship: fasting, Hajj, Umrah, optional prayers etc. We will try to improve the quality and quantity of our prayers.

 

However when Khadija perfected her faith prayer, fasting, hijab, zakat were not even obligatory. There were no specific rules of halal and haram. How did she do it?

Prophet SAW said:

”the most complete of believers in faith are those with the best character”. 

We need to focus on our character. Imagine the exemplary character and morals of Khadija. We can try but we cannot even reach perfection by striving hard in our worship as well as our character. Maybe we can try to reach the status of a Muhsin(doer of good). Just think about her faith and her ability to recognize Allah and His signs. Her nature was in perfect harmony with Allah. In reality there are some God conscious people whose hearts are connected with Allah. They instinctively know what Allah doesn’t like. Their instinct also guides them to the deeds that please Allah. They are inherently pure people.

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