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Exemplary Women: KHADIJAH RA (Part 5)

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

Previously we talked about how Khadijah comforted the Prophet SAW when he came to her after the first revelation. Khadijah put all her effort to ease his stress and remove all his fears. When Prophet SAW had settled down she told him that they should go and see Waraqah. Who is this Waraqah? As mentioned earlier he is Khadijah’s paternal cousin.

 

Let’s discuss his background as he is an important personality. We know that the people of Mecca were pagans but at the same time, they professed to be on the religion of Ibraheem. The name itself tells us that the religion of Ibraheem was based on Tawheed (worship of one God) as that was the message he gave. Ibraheem had constructed the house of Allah to worship one God. Even though 99.9% of people were committing shirk (polytheism), the echo of Ibraheem’s message could still be heard and had not been eliminated. The remaining 0.1% of Arabs were still on the pure religion of Ibraheem and did not worship idols. Even though the aqeeadh (belief system) of the religion of Ibraheem was now just a faint memory but it was still there in the minds of people. However, the deeds were forgotten. How should Allah be worshipped? How should one pray? The method of prayer and Zakat was lost. Hajj was still performed but we know that they had made numerous changes in it. They did perform prayer but as mentioned in Surah Anfal: “And their prayer at the House is nothing but a whistling and clapping of hands”.

 

The original form of worship was lost but there was a distant memory that Ibraheem had said that there was only one Allah. There were a few people in Mecca who did not worship idols and they were called ‘Hunafa’. Allah calls Ibraheem AS ‘Hanif’ and that he was not amongst the polytheists. Four personalities are specially mentioned in this category of ‘Hanif. First was Ubaydullah bin Jahsh who never worshipped idols. We will discuss him later when we study Umme Habiba. Then there was Zaid bin Amr, Usman bin Huwayrith and lastly Waraqah bin Nawfal. Apart from Zaid bin Amr the remaining three of these personalities had gone to Syria.

 

Today we think ‘Shaam’ is Syria but it included many other areas at that time. Christianity was practiced here and this was the religion of truth till the prophethood of Muhammad SAW. There were many versions of Christianity including Trinity. However, there was one version that did NOT believe that Jesus was the son of God. They believed he was just a messenger and slave of Allah and this sect still exists today. They are called Unitarians. When they went to Syria they did their research on Christianity and as a result, Ubaydullah bin Jahsh, Usman bin Huwayrith and Waraqah bin Nawfal adopted the Nestorian form of Christianity. Zaid bin Amr did not convert to Christianity. It is said that he would cling to the Kaaba and call out to Allah that I want to worship you the way you like but I don’t know how to properly worship you. Zaid bin Amr passed away five years before the prophethood of Muhammad SAW. Saeed bin Zaid who is of the 10 companions promised paradise was Zaid bin Amr’s son. Saeed was married to Fatima, Hazrat Omar’s sister. It was his house where Hazrat Omar RA converted to Islam after hearing Khabbab bin Aratt recite the verses of Surah Taha. This was the lucky man Zaid bin Amr whose son was Saeed bin Zaid. Despite a lot of research Zaid bin Amr did not accept Christianity and chose to remain the way he was. However, the other three did accept Christianity.

 

Here we will inshaAllah speak about Warqah bin Nawfal. He was Khadijah’s eldest uncle Nawfal’s son. Nawfal was the eldest brother and Khuwaylid was the youngest. Waraqah was Nawfal’s son and Khadijah was Khuwaylid’s daughter. Even today we see that there is a very big age difference between cousins. Even we might have cousins that are around 20 to 22 years older than us. This was the case here as well. They had an age difference of at least 25 to 30 years. Khadijah was 25 to 30 years younger than Nawfal. His family was very noble and belonged to the tribe of Banu Adi. We studied earlier that there might have been talks of Khadija and Waraqah’s marriage. This is because they were very compatible with regard to their family, their temperament and their righteousness. However, Waraqah adopted a monastic way of life. He would spend most of his time in worship and travelling. He had learnt the Hebrew language and would write the divine books, Bible and Torah in Hebrew. He would eat only once a day and wore very simple clothes. He did not have activism in his nature. This meant that he did not actively propagate the message of truth. He would not challenge people involved in polytheism and did not question them about their beliefs. He led a quiet life and did not say anything to anyone.

 

Waraqah also gave the interpretation of dreams. Once Khadijah dreamt that the sun had descended into her house. Waraqah had given the interpretation that she would marry a highly respected man. He had knowledge of religion and philosophy. He was part of the society where Prophet SAW lived and his cousin was married to him. With the knowledge he had of divine scriptures Waraqah must have noticed something extraordinary about the Prophet SAW. Maybe he saw divine light emanating from him. The people of Mecca who were immersed in polytheism saw Prophet SAW’s qualities and called him ‘the truthful’ and ‘the trustworthy’. Then how is it possible for Warqah who was a scholar of divine Scriptures to not see Prophet SAW’s qualities? How could he not relate the signs he read in Torah and Bible to Prophet Muhammad SAW. He realized that Prophet SAW was special.

 

Waraqah was a very knowledgeable man but by time the first revelation came, he was an old man in his 90s and had also become blind. Khadijah took Prophet SAW to meet Waraqah and said: “Listen to the story of your brother’s son, O my cousin.” Saying brother’s son is just a way of addressing someone. Waraqah said to Prophet SAW “Tell me what you saw”. When he described his experience of meeting Jibreel AS, Warqah said, “This is the same Namoos (Jibreel) Allah sent to Moses.” He knew immediately!

 

‘Nomus’ means bearer of secrets and we know that revelation is a secret that comes from Allah. Jibreel AS wound bring this divine trust from Allah and hand it over to Prophet SAW. Waraqah said “you are the prophet of this nation”. I wish I was young and could live up to the time when your people would turn you out.” Prophet SAW was shocked at hearing this as he was greatly loved by his people. He asked “Will they drive me out? Waraqah replied in the affirmative and said, “Anyone who came with something similar to what you have brought was treated with hostility and if I should remain alive till the day you will be turned out then I would support you strongly.” This Hadith is in Sahih Bukhari.

 

Look at Warqah’s zeal! He is a 90-year-old man who had travelled thousands of miles to Syria to search for the truth. We can’t imagine how he must have felt when he saw Prophet SAW, knowing that he is the one the world has been waiting for. Imagine the intense longing he must have had to be young and to be able to support Prophet SAW. He could have said: May Allah make it easy, may Allah protect you from hardships, may Allah keep you safe from all suffering. Look at his passion! He said if I stay alive I will support you in every difficulty and exert all my energies for you. Waraqah probably knew he would not live to see that day. Soon afterwards he passed away. What would we call Waraqah? Will we call him the first companion? He was the first person to believe and acknowledge the truth. There is a slight technical difference as to who can be called a companion at this time as Prophet SAW had still not declared his prophethood. Some people say Waraqah was a musaddiq (acknowledger of truth).

 

When he died Khadija asked Prophet SAW about him. Where is he? Is he in paradise? Did Allah forgive him or his matters have been dealt with differently? Prophet SAW replied that he saw Waraqah in his dream. He was in the middle of paradise wearing silk garments. He didn’t do anything special. He didn’t even pray once. He was awarded paradise for his intentions and his affirmation of the truth. In another tradition, Prophet SAW said he saw Waraqah in a dream and he was wearing white garments. This was also a good dream implying that he had come under Allah’s mercy.

Her support at the time of suspension of revelation

After the first five verses of Surah Alaq, revelation stopped coming for some time. This is called ‘fatratul Thaniya’ (second suspension in revelation). The first break in revelation (fatratul Oola) was the 600-year gap between Prophet Jesus and Prophet Muhammad SAW.

During this time there was no revelation. There is a difference of opinion between biographers and scholars/exegetes regarding the length of the period of cessation of revelation. There was great wisdom behind the stoppage of revelation. Prophet SAW’s fear would dissipate and he would have complete conviction that he is in fact a prophet of Allah. Also, the wait would make him long for it to return and when it came, he would receive it with full faith, enthusiasm and confidence. In a way, Allah might be giving him time to prepare himself. Allah knows best the wisdom behind it.

When the revelation stopped and Jibreel AS didn’t come for a while Khadijah said to Prophet Muhammad to inform her when he sees the angel. Remember everyone can’t see an angel and Prophet SAW didn’t always see Jibreel AS in his original form. He saw Jibreel AS in his original form only twice. Only Allah knows in which form he was seen by the Prophet SAW. Sometimes Jibreel AS came in human form. Angels have a very beautiful and commanding personality. When Jibreel AS came in human form he would often take the form of a very handsome companion called Dahiya Kalbi. Not everyone could see Jibreel even when came in the form of Dahiya Kalbi. At times when he came in human form, all the companions in the gathering saw him while on other occasions a lot of people were unable to see him.

This happened with Ayesha (RA) as well. We will discuss this incident when we study her biography. Once Prophet SAW came and Hazrat Ayesha asked him what Dahiya was saying. Surprised, he asked Hazrat Ayesha if she had seen him. When she said yes, Prophet SAW said that it was Jibreel AS she had seen and not Dahiya Kalbi. Prophet SAW’s surprise tells us that everyone couldn’t see him even if he came as Dahiya.

We were mentioning that Khadija asked Prophet SAW to tell her when he sees Jibreel AS. Only Allah knows in what form he came. All we know is that Prophet SAW could see him and Khadija was unable to see Jibreel AS. So when Jibreel AS came Prophet SAW told Khadijah about it. There is a very interesting incident narrated by Dr Israr (may Allah shower his blessings on him) to which every loving married couple can relate to. On hearing that Prophet SAW could see Jibreel AS, Khadijah opened up her shirt a little and drew the Prophet SAW close to her chest. She then asked Prophet SAW if he could still see him. When he replied no, she said this is an angel, not Satan. This is because angels have modesty and leave when a husband and wife are together. However, Satan doesn’t leave. This is why we are taught supplications for entering the washroom as we are unclothed in it. When we enter we read: “O Allah, I seek refuge with you from all evil and evil-doers.” We also have prophetic supplications for removing our clothes and Allah’s name should also be mentioned before husband and wife have physical relations.

This also reflects Khadijah’s wisdom and intelligence: if it’s an angel it will leave as they are shy and modest. This was kind of an experiment done by Khadijah in order to reassure Prophet SAW. Khadija tried her best to do whatever she could to soothe Prophet SAW: comforted him, took him to Waraqah and even did this experiment.

Time passed and once again Prophet SAW went to cave Hira. Maybe because he thought that’s where Jibreel AS would come again with a revelation. When Prophet SAW was coming down from Hira he heard a voice calling out ‘O Muhammad’. He looked all around but did not see anything. This incident is found in Sahih Bukhari.

Jabir bin Abdullah narrates that Prophet SAW said: “While I was walking all of a sudden I heard a voice from the sky. I looked up and I saw the same angel who had visited me in cave Hira sitting on a chair between the sky and the Earth.”

We might wonder how Prophet SAW recognized him. He must have some familiarity with him. However, this is the first time Prophet (SAW) saw Jibreel AS in his complete magnificence. He was sitting on a chair between the sky and the Earth filling up the entire horizon.

According to another Hadith he had 600 wings. Some people object to this as well. How did Prophet SAW know he had 600 wings? Did he count them? We are aware that some people are very sharp in mental math. If there is a huge quantity of something they will look at a small part of it and by multiplying they can figure out the entire quantity. We can see videos of these skills on YouTube also. We should not get entangled in the small details and develop doubts about our faith. If Prophet SAW said there were 600 wings then it must be true. Jibreel (AS) was sitting in full glory in his original form. Sometimes we imagine angels as cute creations fluttering around like butterflies or maybe cute chubby babies. This is not true. They are awe-inspiring magnificent creations of Allah.

In Surah, Faatir Allah says: “He made the angels with wings two or three or four and He increases in creation what He wills.”

The 600 wings of Jibreel AS tell us his status in the sight of Allah. Allah says about him “who is obeyed in heaven and is trustworthy.” Prophet SAW said I bent down towards the ground with fear and came back home. It was not an ordinary feat to be able to see an angel, let alone see Jibreel in his original form. Even though Prophet SAW got scared after seeing Jibreel AS, it was only him who could bear the weight of this experience. Any ordinary person’s heart would burst with fear.

According to the Quran, polytheists repeatedly asked why Allah does not send an angel and why can’t we see it. Allah repeatedly replies that he doesn’t send angels without any reason. Even if it came it would take human form. Man’s sight and heart cannot bear to see an angel in its true form. Prophet SAW was extremely terrified and he came straight to Khadija. Whilst he was trembling with fear and holding onto Khadija, the following verses were revealed:

“O you covered up in your clothes

Arise and warn all.

Revere your Lord alone.

Purify your garments.

Continue to shun idols.

Do not do a favor expecting more in return.”

According to scholars ‘purify your garments’ means ‘to remain firm on Tawheed (oneness of Allah) and stay away from the filth of polytheism and sins’. Where was Prophet SAW when this revelation came? He was right next to Khadija holding her close to himself. This also tells us the status of Khadijah.

Prophet SAW said ‘O Khadija days of rest and sleep are gone’.

It is not known if this was said in words or by his actions. Allah has said to arise so the days of love, warmth and rest are gone. The one who is covered up was asked to leave everything and stand up and that’s what Prophet SAW did.

Acceptance of Islam

The first person that Prophet SAW invited to Islam was Khadijah. She accepted without a moment’s delay. She was the first to do ablution and pray and was the first in a lot of things. Prophet SAW was commanded in Surah Muddathir to start warning people and to start fulfilling the responsibilities of prophethood. The 13 years in Mecca would be the toughest part of his mission. There were opposition, ridicule and mockery from his own people. There was abuse and torture and Islam was in an extremely weak position. No one was willing to listen. Whoever accepted Islam was subjected to extreme torture. 

A pillar of strength

Who else was suffering in addition to the one being tortured? Who would be in extreme distress and agony to see Yasir, Ammar and Summaya being tortured? Obviously Prophet SAW! In these distressing times, Khadijah stayed by his side when those closest to him had turned into strangers. Khadijah’s wealth was depleting with time as no one had time to give to the business. The burden of guiding all mankind was on Prophet SAW’s shoulders. He had to rectify their distorted beliefs, guide them, improve their character and save them from hellfire. There was no hope at all for the success of this mission. Khadijah was a pillar of strength for him in these extremely difficult times. She was his source of support and comfort in this world. When the people of Mecca persecuted Prophet SAW she would provide a safe haven for him to run to. He would say that no sorrow or problem would not be removed by Khadija’s presence.

In a Hadith in Musnad Ahmed, Prophet SAW said, “She had faith in me when people rejected me, she believed me when people disbelieved me, she supported me with her wealth when people deprived me and Allah blessed me with children through her and not through any other wife.”

An incident is narrated by a trader called Afif Kindi who used to visit Mecca and meet Abbas RA. At this time Abbas RA had not accepted Islam. Afif narrates that during a visit to Mecca he was sitting with Abbas RA near the Kaaba when he saw a young man coming in. He was accompanied by a youth and a woman was walking behind them. The woman was covered up completely. Afif enquired about their identity. Abbas RA replied they are the only three in the world who pray here in this manner. He added that this is Muhammad and he has brought a new religion. This boy is his cousin Ali and the woman is his wife Khadijah.

When Abbas RA said they are the only three who worship in this manner Afif said he wished that he was the fourth and was one of them. We all know about the persecution that was being faced at that time. When a person is serving Allah’s deen he feels happy that Allah is helping him and he has been chosen for this great cause. He knows that there are external pressures and problems but wishes that at least his personal life should be free from problems. He should have no concerns regarding his children.

However, people who reach great heights have to face great trials. Along with outside pressure and problems, the Prophet SAW’s personal life was also troubled. According to some traditions his son Abdullah was born after prophethood. Allah knows better when he was born. The fact is that he died at a very young age. Abu Lahab was Prophet SAW’s paternal uncle as well as his neighbor. On hearing the news he started celebrating and hastened to the people of Mecca to give them the news that Prophet SAW had become childless. Since he lived next door he was the first to find out this news. Even though tribal societies had a lot of negative traits their greatest positive trait was that one person’s grief was the whole tribe’s grief and one person’s joy was the entire tribe’s joy. Abu Lahab did not even respect the traditions of his tribe and started celebrating that Muhammad had become childless.

At this point Surah Kawthar was revealed in which Allah says “Indeed your enemy is the one cut off.”

‘Abtar’ means someone who doesn’t have a male child. They thought that there will be no one to carry on his lineage and there will be no one to take Muhammad’s name after his death. Today we know that no one remembers Abu Lahab. Most people don’t even know his name as Abu Lahab was just his title. Prophet SAW must have suffered great trauma because of the death of his son. Two of Prophet SAW’s daughters were married to two of Abu Lahab’s sons, Utbah and Utaybah. Abu Lahab told his sons to immediately divorce Muhammad SAW’s daughters.

We know that divorce is very painful and embarrassing for both families and especially for the girl’s family. Sadly, this has become a tradition in our society. However, certain etiquettes must be followed in these matters. A person should privately divorce his wife. However, Abu Lahab’s sons publicly announced that they were divorcing Muhammad SAW’s daughters. In addition to this one of his sons held Prophet SAW by his collar, tore his shirt and tried to spit on his face. Prophet SAW was so heartbroken that he invoked against him and said: “Allah set one of your dogs on him.” This is exactly what happened during one of his travels. Abu Lahab had instructed the people in the caravan to protect his son as he feared for his life. They tried their best to protect him: camels guarded him, the fire was lit and he was made to sleep in the middle but a lion came at night and devoured him. This was bound to happen as a prophet’s supplication is always answered.

Dealing with trials

Imagine how this divorce must’ve affected Khadija! There was sorrow and grief on one end and tragedies affecting her children on the other. Her other son Al Qasim also died. According to some traditions he had just started to walk while others state that he was at the age where he could ride a camel. This meant he would be around 7 to 8 years old when he passed away. Khadijah had married her daughter Zainab to her sister Hala’s son. Zainab RA was quick to embrace Islam but Khadija’s son-in-law was not willing to do so. Look at her hardships: death of two of her sons, the agony of a son-in-law not accepting faith, two of her daughters, Rukkaya and Umm Kulsum, going through iddah (period of waiting for a woman after divorce). Only a mother can understand the pain her daughter is going through. In fact, a mother feels the pain of a daughter more than the daughter herself. They also had to face hostility and ill-treatment at the hands of their neighbors. In those days the kitchen was not separate like we have today. Food would be cooked in the courtyard of the house. When neighbours saw that food was being cooked they would throw filth into the food. It is difficult for anyone to tolerate this kind of humiliation, let alone Khadijah who was born in nobility, wealth and honour. It is an even bigger test for people who are respected to endure this kind of humiliation.

 

It must be so difficult for her to tolerate all this in addition to watching her beloved husband being mistreated. Sometimes Abu Lahab would throw stones at the Prophet SAW till his ankles bled. Khadijah would probably be cleaning the blood and consoling him. But her heart must have been in anguish .Once Prophet SAW went to pray at the Kaaba and came back covered from head to toe with smelly, insect-infested camel intestines. She must have cleaned the smelly infested filth off him. Sometimes she would take out thorns from his feet and would probably be advising him to remain steadfast .We have heard the story of the woman who used to throw thorns in Prophet SAW’s path.

 

Khadijah was equally affected by every hardship and struggle that came Prophet SAW’s way in his mission to guide mankind.

May Allah shower infinite blessings on her!

 

All praises are 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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