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Exemplary Women: KHADIJAH RA (Part 4)

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

Let’s continue our discussion about the life of Khadijah (May Allah be pleased with her). Prophet SAW was approaching the age of forty. For some time his personality and nature was going through some changes. There was something different in his normal behavior.

Her support for her husband

Until now we saw Prophet SAW as an active and outgoing person. We wouldn’t call him an extrovert as that gives the impression of a very loud person who likes to party (We seek refuge in Allah). We can say that is just a personality type. Prophet SAW had an interactive personality. He was very involved in society and never cut himself off from people. However the change that now came in his personality was that he lost interest in society. He started to prefer solitude and was lost in his own thoughts. He became reclusive and wasn’t enjoying meeting people. As we said earlier he was worried about the state of the society and maybe these worries were increasing now.

Since his personal life was ideal it could not be the reason for this reclusion and contemplation. There was no distress or problem. He had a loving and faithful wife and Allah had blessed him with sons and daughters, social position and financial security. Also an emotional cushion was present .Society loved and respected him. He was known as the Truthful and the Trustworthy. What else could one want?

Allah had showered him with all kinds of blessings of this worldly life. One couldn’t imagine a better life. So, none of these things were a cause of concern for him. However, a sensitive person’s happiness is not just confined to his own self. Selfishness is not humane. Animals are oblivious and indifferent to their surroundings. If an animal and its offspring have a full stomach, it doesn’t care if others around it die. An animal will not worry about others. But we are not animals. Allah has created us in the best form.

The Quran says:

” We have indeed created man in the best of moulds”. 

Humanity demands that we are not unaware of what’s happening around us .We cannot be insensitive .Prophet (SAW) saw the darkness of polytheism all around him. Human rights were being abused; there was oppression, cruelty and moral decay. People were committing indecent acts under alcohol intoxication and squandering wealth in gambling.

With passing time, people of Mecca were getting well off. However as their wealth increased so did their selfishness. They started committing sins that they previously avoided. One of the qualities of Arabs was that they were by and large just and honest people. When people would come for trade they would take the goods from them and not pay them their money. These kinds of things had started happening. Prophet (SAW) saw that things were not getting better and there was a further increase in the moral degradation of the society. This situation was extremely painful for him and he couldn’t remain unconcerned and indifferent .The hustle bustle and noise of the city was disturbing him so he decided to distance himself from society.

We have already spoken about his household. It was one with a lot of people in it which in itself is a blessing of Allah. The sound of children playing, women involved in their activities, people coming and going. Alhamdulillah It is said that fortunate and lucky are those that have a constant flow of guests in their home. So Prophet SAW’s home was a busy one: full of people and activity. Therefore he could not find privacy there. The house wasn’t that big that he could restrict himself to a portion of the house. He then started leaving his house and going towards cave Hira.

Let’s discuss the location of Prophet SAW’s house. His house actually belonged to Khadijah as he did not own a house himself. It was located near Mount Marwa. If you have gone for Umrah and Hajj you would know that Khadija’s house is near mount Marwa. He would leave his home to go to Hira which is located in Jabal e Noor (mountain of light). This mountain is quite far from Marwa and also very steep. If you have had a chance to go there you know it takes at least one and a half hour to climb it .It probably took longer at that time as there were no stairs or any other facilities available. So climbing the steep mountain took at least two hours. Then add the distance from Marwa to Jabal e Noor. The whole journey to Hira probably took between 2 to 3 hours. Thus Prophet SAW made Hira his place of contemplation.

The word used by scholars for this seclusion is TAHANNUS. The word HINS means sin. We find the word HINSIL AZEEM in the Quran. TAHANNUS means abstaining from sin. Prophet SAW was innocent. What mistake or sin did he commit? We have seen his life and his character so our mind should not even go towards sin. TAHANNUS meant he busied himself in worship. Since there was no prayer or Quran at this time, only Allah and His messenger know how he worshipped and remembered Allah. He would spend his time in meditation and contemplation.

This was the time when some changes were taking place in his personality. He would come and discuss with Khadija as she was his pillar of strength in difficult times and the keeper of his secrets. He would tell her that strange things were happening to him: sometimes I see a light, sometimes I hear sounds and a rock in Mecca gives me greetings of peace. We find this in a Hadith in Sahih Muslim.

When Prophet SAW went to Madina he said “Even today I recognize the stone in Mecca that used to greet me”.

We should not be very surprised by this. If metal can speak then why can’t a stone greet someone? Forget 1500 years ago even if 200 years ago someone told us that metal will speak we would’ve declared it as nonsense .Don’t our cell phones speak to us and computers teach us? All this is happening now. Sometimes due to our lack of knowledge we deny miracles and the special status and attributes given to prophets. This characteristic is not a sign of intelligence and does not suit people of knowledge.

We have no issue in believing that a stone greeted the Prophet SAW.

It is also a creation of Allah. In the Quran, Allah says:

“The seven heavens, the Earth and all those in them glorify Him. There is not a single thing that does not glorify his praises. But you simply cannot comprehend their glorification.”

In shaa Allah if we study the life of the Prophet SAW we will learn about the time when the Prophet SAW took a handful of small pebbles and the companions heard them glorifying Allah. When we study atoms we learn how electrons move around the protons and nucleus. This movement also has a sound so maybe that’s how atoms glorify Allah. We can only hear the sound. We don’t know in which language an atom glorifies Allah. Prophet SAW said he heard the stone greeting him but at other times he only heard but did not see someone greeting him.

He started spending many days at a time in cave Hira and totally distanced himself from society. He even lost interest in his family. He would return home after many days just to get some food supplies. Khadijah was silently observing all this and would console him. Khadijah would address him as “Son of Abdullah”. This way of addressing the Prophet SAW was unique to Khadijah as Prophet SAW had been already declared a prophet when he married the rest of the wives. They could only address him as “O Prophet of Allah”. In a way this was a unique honour given only Khadijah to be able to call him ‘O son of Abdullah”.

Her Wisdom

She would always console him. Khadijah was a woman of great intelligence and wisdom. She did not have any inferiority complex about her age. She didn’t feel that since I am old I should try to act young and immature. Some women develop this issue and have a problem with accepting their age. Society has made a woman, God forbid into a doll or a decoration piece. It has reduced a woman’s value to just a hollow face and body. You are worth something only if you have looks, body and youth. You have no value when your beauty, youth and body have faded away. God forbid. Allah has made us a woman not a toy! Khadijah accepted her age and acted according to it. She did not want to look like a little girl always trying to look younger than before. Today’s women over exert themselves trying to look young. Suppose we take the figure of her being 15 years older than Prophet SAW, she had no issue or complex that she was older than her husband. She did not act immature and throw tantrums, always trying to be the focus of her husband’s attention, always trying to make sure not to look older than him at any cost. Khadijah acted according to her age and demonstrated maturity and wisdom. Khadija supported Prophet SAW wholeheartedly as she knew he was going through an emotional turmoil. In today’s terminology we could say he was existing in a parallel universe. She did not disturb him at all. She did not make a fuss and start crying that she has to bear all the responsibilities alone -the whole day you are not at home and I have to take care of the kids and everyone in the house!

She understood that success does not lie in just focusing on oneself and believing in the motto of ‘me, myself and I’. Khadijah knew that real strength lies in supporting others. We cannot overestimate the importance of Khadijah. This was a very delicate time in Prophet SAW‘s life. No doubt Allah was his biggest support but Allah also created support in this world for his prophets. At this time no one supported Prophet SAW except for Khadijah. She did not doubt him nor did she put him in doubt regarding herself. Any immature wife would’ve said no need for you to go to Hira, just stay at home, you are getting really worried and making me upset too, children are getting neglected and so on. This is what women cry about and are always too busy worrying about themselves.

Her care for her husband

Sometimes Prophet SAW would stay in Hira for a whole month and not come down. What would Khadija do? She would go and visit him. At this time she was not a young girl of 18 or 20 years. It is tough for anyone to climb the steep slope to Hira. Her love and loyalty for her husband made her do it. Which emotion is more motivating than love! So sometimes she would take the food up to Hira herself. We are pretty sure that a slave would also accompany her to carry the heavy provisions. The point being made is that Khadija would worry that Prophet SAW would be hungry and she would take food to him. According to a few traditions sometimes when she was taking the food to him she would meet him on the way up and then he would climb down with her. Other traditions tell us that Khadija would sometimes stay somewhere near Hira with Prophet SAW. This is because the cave Hira itself is not big enough that two people can sit, stand or worship in it. It is very small and not even a proper cave, just some stone protruding out – an enclave, nothing more than that. So she would spend time in a nearby cave or resting place.

When he was six months short of turning forty, he started seeing true dreams. Whatever he dreamt would shine true like the bright daylight. When Prophet SAW reached the age of 40, which is considered the age of mental maturity, Allah revealed to him his position of prophethood. Angel Gabriel came down with a revelation on Monday 21st Ramadan.

He said to Prophet SAW “Read”. Prophet SAW replied I cannot read. According to some traditions the first few verses of Surah Alaq were sent to him on a piece of silk cloth. Prophet SAW was shown these verses and asked to read them. He said I do not know how to read.

Prophet SAW himself stated that Jibreel (May Allah bless him) squeezed him so hard that all his energy was drained. Then he left him and again said read. Prophet SAW said I do not know how to read. Then he squeezed him hard and again all his energy was drained.

Hazrat Jibreel then released him and said

“read in the name of your Lord who created you”

and recited the first five verses of Surah Alaq that were revealed to Prophet SAW.

Prophet SAW had never thought or imagined that Allah would use him for this extraordinary work. Prophet SAW was experiencing extreme fear. He was literally cold with fear. I do not know if any of you have experienced this kind of fear when a person starts shivering with fear even though it’s hot. Hands and feet become cold and one feels the need to wear a sweater or something else. Prophet SAW had gone through a terrifying/harrowing experience and was gripped by extreme fear. He climbed down from Hira and was in dire need of comfort and consolation. The words used in narrations are: “his heart was trembling”. Since it’s easier to climb down it must have taken an hour to climb down. Then we add another half an hour or forty five minutes to get home. The whole journey back home must have been around 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Imagine the fear and terror he must’ve felt in that time. His heart was trembling.

Her comfort at the time of first Wahi (Revelaiton)

Who did he go to? Prophet SAW did not go to Abu Talib or his dear friend Abu Bakr.A man goes in search of comfort and peace to only person. This is mentioned in the Quran as follows: “so that you take comfort in them”. The wealth of peace has been kept by Allah with one person that is the wife. This peace and comfort cannot be bought in any market. The comfort a husband finds in his wife’s lap or when she is by his side cannot be found anywhere else. Prophet SAW was going through deep emotional trauma at this time. When women go through a trauma their strong ego and self-respect is able to endure a lot of bashing. Men are physically very strong but emotionally weak. Why don’t they express their emotions? Wives often complain that their husbands don’t express their feelings. This is because they are emotionally fragile and vulnerable. Their ego and self-respect is easily damaged. They usually bottle up their feelings as they fear rejection. Women do not have this problem as they tend to share their feelings. When they are going through a crisis or they feel any kind of weakness they share this with other women: their mother or sister or children. But a man’s ego prevents him to express his weakness in front of anyone. He does not want to be vulnerable in front of anyone. He realizes that he is in a responsible position and he needs to be strong.

This is the reason why we see in our society that if a boy cries people say: why are you crying like a girl? Even though now this is considered politically incorrect .We CANNOT say this and we SHOULD NOT say this. There is nothing wrong with crying. Also when a girl falls down and hurts herself we pamper her a lot. But when a boy falls and starts crying we say: what is this? You are a boy, stand up and be brave! This has always been the practice. It is ingrained and inbuilt in men that they don’t want to appear vulnerable in front of anyone. They only open up and express their weaknesses in front of the one who does not hurt his ego and will not use his weaknesses to blackmail him emotionally. The one who finds this support in his wife has found the greatest wealth in this world – a wife who is the guardian of his secrets, empathetic and when alone protective of all his trusts.

Prophet SAW said: 

“This world is but provisions and there is no provision in this world better than a righteous wife.” 

It is the height of luck for a man to find a wife who shares his sorrows and doesn’t constantly bash his ego. Prophet SAW went straight to Khadija. He was drenched in sweat, trembling and cold with fear. Prophet SAW said: “cover me up, wrap me up“ and held Khadija close like a child holds his mother. She also held him close to herself and covered him up. Prophet SAW must have spent two to two and a half hours in this state of fear. Within minutes, the warmth of Khadija‘s love and sincerity removed all his fears. ”Till his fear was over” are the words that come in narrations. Whilst holding onto Khadija, Prophet SAW said: “the one who used to come in my dreams came to me”. Prophet SAW saw Jibreel in Hira in the same form as in his dreams. This was not his original form. Fearfully he told Khadijah: ”I fear that something may happen to me”.

Her Selflessness

Prophet SAW thought that a jinn had possessed him or something was wrong with his mind. He started questioning himself and doubting his sanity. He started having doubts about what he actually heard and saw. May Allah shower endless blessings on Khadija. We cannot find words of praise for her response. She did not have time to think and was acting on her reflexes. Here we find a synopsis of her personality: whether her wisdom, her love and trust in her husband will be manifested or her self-centeredness, selfishness, complexed or broken personality will reveal itself. If she had been another type of woman she would’ve said: “I told you earlier not to go. God knows who is chasing you. All the responsibility has come on me. You just disappear for days. I don’t know what has happened to you. I have already gone through the grief of losing two husbands. Now look what you have done to yourself. Alas this is my fate!” This could’ve been her response of self pity and one of a self-centered person but she was Khadijah Al Kubra (Khadijah the great)!

She was the best form a woman could take. She displayed the best attributes of selflessness and peace that Allah has ingrained in the nature of a woman .Alhamdulillah!  As a woman we should recognize the powers that Allah has given us. Instinctively Khadijah’s pure and generous nature, noble character and integrity came to light. Her healing presence removed all his self doubts.

 She said:
“Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you”. 

Look at her selection of words. She had not prepared a speech. She was unaware that her words would be repeated till the Day of Judgment. She had no idea the status that she would be given in history. We should also be very careful how we react and how history will judge us. We need to be careful!

So she did not know and she reflexively said that Allah will never disgrace you. Allah is with you and then I am with you. According to some traditions she said: “Never! Be happy, this is good news for you. By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you.” According to scholars there are many narrations regarding the way Khadijah comforted Prophet SAW and there are only minor differences in them. So why wouldn’t Allah disgrace Prophet SAW? Khadijah only focused on his character: “You keeping good relations with your kith and kin, help the poor and destitute, serve your guests generously, assist the deserving and the calamity afflicted ones”. There is an addition in Tabqat Ibne Saad in which Khadijah said: “You always speak the truth, you take care of trusts, you are the most noble in character”. According to a narration in Tabari, Khadijah said: “You have never committed a lewd or indecent act.”

No one is in a better position than a wife to know if a husband commits any indecency. The whole world can think good of a person but only a wife knows what the person watches on the Internet. Khadijah testified that Prophet SAW never committed ‘Fahisha’. Please remember that Fahisha isn’t ONLY open indecency but also abusive language and insolent speech. Khadijah testified that Prophet SAW never used abusive language. Khadijah believed in him before he believed in himself. She removed his doubts and converted his fear into peace.

Allah made Khadija the means through which Prophet SAW’s doubts were removed. Every single word that Khadijah used was a profuse expression of her Husn e Zun (favorable opinion of Allah) and Tawwakul (trust in Allah’s plans). Interestingly she did not say your biggest quality is that you don’t worship idols .Khadijah mentioned the qualities that Allah himself mentions in the Quran about Prophet SAW: 

“You are truly of outstanding character”.

Ayat ul Birr (verse 177 of Surah Baqarah) which was revealed in Medina mentions the same list of qualities that Khadija mentioned: spending wealth on others, keeping your pledges, being patient, being truthful and being mindful of Allah in your life. These are the qualities mentioned by Allah. It also mentions those who establish prayer and give Zakat. Khadijah is mentioning those qualities of a ‘momin’ that Allah will mention later in the Quran. Some people are inspired by Allah. Their speech is the truth and in accordance with Allah’s will. Some people have recognition and consciousness of Allah. At this point in time Quran had not been revealed and nothing is known through prophethood. Their inherent nature is synchronized with their Creator .When this happens then a man’s moral sense remains intact and this is what differentiates us from animals. Otherwise we would be nothing but higher reward animals. What explanation can we give for moral values? Kant, a famous philosopher said the two things that convince me of the existence of God are: “the starry heavens above and the moral law within”.

In conclusion, all praises 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.

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