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Exemplary Women: KHADIJAH RA (Part 7-Last)

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

We were talking about how Khadija RA and Prophet SAW spent 25 years, quarter of a century together. Prophet SAW did not marry anyone else during her lifetime as there was no vacuum or need that needed to be fulfilled in his life. For 25 years he was only married to Khadijah RA. How old was he now? His youth had passed. He had married Khadijah at the peak of his youth and now he was a middle-aged man. In fact he had already started his journey towards old age. The average age in the world at that time was eighty. Even that is high. Most probably the average age of the world was not more than 50 or 60. Prophet SAW was now moving towards old age and he was only married to Khadijah RA until now.

After Her Death

Even though he later married many times, he never forgot Khadijah RA. He used to remember Khadijah RA so much that Ayesha RA used to say it seemed there is no other woman in the world except Khadijah RA. Do you think Ayesha RA was saying this out of happiness? Let’s learn something today. There is a word called ‘gheerah’ in Arabic or ‘raqabat’ in Urdu (which is harsher). The natural feeling that arises between co-wives for each other is called ‘gheerah’. This is a valid/legitimate emotion because it is not in a person’s control to have these feelings. It’s not easy to share one’s husband with another woman/wife. It is natural to sometimes get these feeling so we pray that Allah does not hold us accountable for them. Since Allah has allowed men to marry more than once there is great wisdom behind it. We will not raise any objection to any commandment of Allah. Allah in all His mercy and grace will take into consideration the feelings of a woman. It is even more difficult to share with another woman for a wife who loves her husband deeply. Those who have not gone through this matter cannot understand these feelings. Only someone who has been through this situation will understand these emotions.

We will keep hearing the word ‘gheerah’ which was manifested sometimes in the wives of Prophet SAW. Those who have not experienced this situation would definitely have at least dealt with their mother in law. Today women can’t even share their husband with his mother and sisters. At least the mother and sisters are humans; women can’t share their husband with the cell phone! They develop rivalry with the cell phone! I have a heard of women throwing smashing their husband’s cell phone and crushing it with their feet. If they can compete with a cell phone then how would they tolerate a woman who becomes his wife? Therefore it is perfectly natural if occasionally a few words slip out of a person’s mouth. These things don’t reduce the importance of the companions or the wives of Prophet SAW. In fact, our respect for them increases and they become more relatable to us. After all they were human.

Ayesha RA must have said this out of irritation. Later we will see how irritated she would get. Prophet SAW could not stop himself from talking about Khadijah RA as he just could not forget her. He would praise her; she was accomplished, she was intelligent, she was very loyal, she took great care of me, she defended me, she spent her wealth on me. Ayesha RA said she would constantly listen to all this praise till one day she got enraged and said: Khadijah! Khadijah! All the time Khadijah!

Prophet SAW would not react at all when he heard such things. He knew this matter was something between the co-wives so he would let them resolve it amongst themselves.

After migrating to Medina, whenever Prophet SAW sacrificed an animal he would keep aside some meat and send it to Khadijah’s friends and relatives.

Karen Armstrong, a non-Muslim woman, has written a book. She seems lslam friendly. However, only Allah knows the inner state of the heart. She writes in her book that most people don’t appreciate their living wives like Muhammad cared and loved his dead wife.

Once Khadijah RA’s sister Hala came to visit. Who is this Hala? She is Khadijah‘s sister and also Prophet SAW’s sister in law. She was also his daughter Zainab’s mother-in-law. This is because Zainab was married to Hala’s son. Once, Hala came to visit Prophet SAW when he was taking his afternoon nap. We know an afternoon nap is necessary in very hot countries especially for those who are awake since Fajr (the morning prayer). Prophet SAW used to take an afternoon nap regularly so we should try to adopt this Sunnah. Also an afternoon nap has a lot of benefits. It takes away a person’s fatigue. These days words like power snooze are used for naps. A nap does not mean we sleep for three hours. It’s literally a power nap lasting for 15 to 20 minutes or maximum half an hour. It does not mean that one sleeps so soundly that only the blowing of the trumpet on the Day of Judgment will wake us up! A nap also facilitates worship at night. One feels fresh in order to pray Tahajjud (night prayers).

So one day when Prophet SAW was taking his afternoon nap he heard Hala’s voice which resembled Khadijah’s voice a lot. Prophet SAW got up as soon as he heard her voice and said, (this Hadith is in Bukhari), he was overwhelmed with happiness and excitement. He said: “O Allah I hope it is Hala or Hala is here.” She came and sat down and both talked about Khadija for a long time. Guess whose house Prophet SAW was in? Ayesha’s! She must have been listening attentively. Ayesha RA wouldn’t have said: please excuse me I will go and visit Hafsa. No, she wanted to listen. This is because she had a great thirst for knowledge and wanted to know everything. We should also know that the qualities and virtues of the Khadijah RA that have reached us are through Ayesha. So despite having ‘gheerah’ she was a just person. Everything has its own place. Despite her gheerah, her thirst for knowledge had its own place. Along with being a teacher she was also a human being. They are not angels. They also have emotions.

Since Ayesha RA was eager to learn she wanted to know what was being said about Khadijah. So Hala came and both of them sat for long time and shared their memories of Khadijah RA. Ayesha RA said herself in a Hadith in Sahih Bukhari: “I never felt jealous about any wife of Prophet SAW as I did for Khadijah RA. She had died before I married the Prophet SAW.” If she was not even alive then what was the reason for the jealousy? Ayesha RA said because Prophet SAW used to mention her so often. In another Hadith in Sahih Muslim, Ayesha RA says: “I had never even seen Khadijah”.

Prophet SAW would mention her so much in his routine life so imagine how much he must’ve spoken about her to Hala. Ayesha kept listening patiently but when Hala left she burst out. In a Hadith in Bukhari Ayesha RA said: “I felt envious and said: What makes you remember an old woman amongst the old women of Quraysh, an old woman (with a teethless mouth) of red gums who died long ago, and in whose place Allah has given you somebody better than her?”

Since Ayesha RA had never seen Khadija she was just imagining her to have red gums. It’s obvious that no co-wife would imagine the other one to be beautiful. Ayesha RA probably thought that since Khadijah RA was so old her teeth must have fallen out. Also Khadija RA was referring to herself as somebody better than Khadija RA. As soon as Ayesha RA said these words the colour of Prophet SAW’s face changed. The way it changed when Allah’s commands were broken or when revelation came to him. Ayesha RA words made Prophet SAW very angry.

He said: “No, by Allah, he did not give me a better one than her.”

On the basis of this part of the Hadith scholars say that Khadijah’s status is higher than all the other wives.

Her Status

She was in a league of her own and cannot be compared to the other wives. We can compare the other wives to each other but not to Khadija. She is way above everyone. Prophet SAW said: “She believed in me when people disbelieved. She testified in me when they denied me, she assisted me financially when others deprived me and Allah granted me children from her and not from any other.”

When Prophet SAW reacted in this manner Ayesha knew that a red line had been crossed. She decided that she would never mention Khadijah RA name again, except in a good and positive way. According to a narration in Mustadrak Al Hakim, Ayesha says that once Prophet SAW was with her when a old woman came to visit. Prophet SAW asked her: Who are you? She replied: “I am Juthama al Mazniya.” Prophet SAW said: “No, you are not Juthama, you are Hussanah.” It was Prophet SAW’s practice to change names that had a bad meaning. Prophet SAW said, “How are you? How have you been since we left you?”

 After the woman left Ayesha curiously asked Prophet SAW why he received her in such a warm and respectful manner even though she was an old woman. He replied that she used to visit us whilst I was with Khadijah RA.

Prophet SAW said that many men have achieved perfection however out of the women only four achieved perfection namely Asiyah, Khadijah, Mariam and Fatima RA.

Prophet SAW missed Khadijah to the extent that he even remembered the jewellery that she owned. In the battle of Badr, Prophet SAW’s son in law Abul Aas was part of the army of the disbelievers as he had still not accepted Islam. He was taken prisoner. People had to arrange a ransom for the prisoners. Zainab who was in Mecca sent a necklace that Khadijah RA had given her at the time of a marriage. Like most mothers, Khadijah had also given some the jewellery to her daughters. Allah knows what it was like but it is said that the necklace was made of onyx.

When Prophet SAW saw the necklace he got extremely emotional and tears filled his eyes.

We have to remember that it wasn’t Prophet SAW’s practice to cry publicly. Prophet SAW requested the companions if he could return the necklace to his daughter. Abul Aas was not given freedom without ransom. Instead of taking the necklace as ransom Prophet SAW told him that when he reaches Mecca he should send Zainab back to Medina. It was like an exchange.

Her Children

Now let’s discuss Khadijah RA and Prophet SAW’s children.

Not much is known about her children from her previous marriages except Hala who Alhamdolillah reached the status of companionship. She narrated a Hadith about Prophet SAW’s appearance. However, its chain of narration is a little weak.

We will talk about the children that Khadijah RA had with Prophet SAW.

Her daughter Zainab RA was married to her maternal cousin Abul Aas Ibne Rabaeh. Allah blessed them with a daughter named Umama. Her name is often mentioned in connection with a Hadith about the validity of prayer whilst holding a child. Once, Prophet SAW led the prayer whilst he was holding Umama. He would put her down when he went in Ruku and prostration and would lift her up when he stood up in Qiyam.

It is that when Fatima was dying she told Ali to marry Umama. Zainab also gave birth to a son Ali who died in childhood. One Ali is her husband and the other Ali is her brother. Zainab RA had a grandson Hilal bin Ali, who was the son of Umama and Ali. When Zainab RA was migrating, a man called Habbab bin Al Aswad struck her ride, most probably a camel, with a spear. The camel went into frenzy and Zainab RA was thrown off. She was pregnant at the time and suffered a miscarriage. Zainab RA returned to Medina in this state while Abul Aas remained in Mecca.

Abul Aas was a very kindhearted man. Since he had still not accepted Islam he was still a polytheist. Also Abul Aas and Zainab RA deeply loved each other. When Abu Lahab had pressurized his sons to divorce Prophet SAW’s daughters, Abul Aas must have been pressurized as well to divorce Zainab. There are narrations that tell us about this. However he strongly refused and said he will never leave Zainab as they both loved each other deeply.

These things involve emotions. We think that the companions were robots and did not have any emotions. She left her beloved husband just for the sake of Allah and his Prophet .You think Zainab must have happily left on the camel? Imagine a woman leaving her husband not knowing if she will ever see him again or if he would accept Islam and save himself from the Hellfire. It’s not easy to do righteous deeds. Every good deed does not give pleasure and a sense of peace. We think good deeds are only the ones that make us happy. Some good deeds are very difficult and test our patience. However, the price of paradise IS patience.

Anyway Zainab went to Medina. However Allah planned things in a way that Abul Aas accepted Islam in 624 A.D. This means their separation lasted five years .Zainab came to Medina in 2A.H. and Abul Aas in 7 A.H. Zainab RA died as a result of the wound incurred during the miscarriage.

Umme Aimen (who took care of Prophet SAW when his mother died), Sawdah and Umme Salma washed her for burial. Prophet SAW gave a piece of his clothing to shroud her. He told Umme Atiyyah who was also present there to wrap his daughter nicely, make made three braids out of her hair and perfume her with the best fragrances. Prophet SAW read the funeral prayer himself. According to some narrations Abul Aas and Prophet SAW himself descended into the grave. He was obviously very sad and said that Zainab suffered because of her love for me. May Allah shower infinite blessings on her.

Prophet SAW had a son Qasim who passed away in his childhood. He is the one from whom Prophet SAW took his Kuniyat, Abul Qasim. There is a minor difference of opinion whether Qasim was older or Zainab. Allah knows best. Zainab RA was thirty years old when she died. According to some narrations, Qasim was old enough to walk when he died. So he must have been around one year old. According to others he was old enough to ride a camel. In that case he was at least six years old as a small child cannot ride a camel. Allah knows best.

Prophet SAW and Khadijah RA had another son, Abdullah. He was known as Tayyab and Tahir. He passed away after Prophet SAW announced his Prophethood. It was Abdullah’s death that was celebrated by Prophet SAW’s uncle, Abu Lahab. He was running around happily and saying: “Today Muhammad has been cutoff.” Allah revealed Surah Kawthar at this point and said “Indeed it is your enemy who is without posterity.”

Rukayya RA was born around seven years before the start of the revelation. These are just approximate dates as no exact records were kept at that time. Prophet SAW was around 33 years old at this time. Rukayya RA was married to Utbah bin Abu Lahab. He divorced her before she went to live with him. Later, she got married to Usman RA and migrated to Abyssinia. Prophet SAW had said this is the first couple migrating in the path of Allah after Ibrahim AS and Sara. Their son Abdullah was born in Abyssinia. Usman RA’s kuniyat, Abu Abdullah was taken from his son’s name. Rukkaya and Usman RA came back to Mecca and then again to Abyssinia. Eventually they migrated to Medina.

In 2 AH just before the battle of Badr, Rukayya fell ill with small pox. At that time small pox used to be a fatal disease. Since she was critically ill and needed care, Prophet SAW asked Usman RA to stay back and look after Rukkaya RA. Thus Usman RA did not take part in the battle of Badr. People were busy in the burial of Rukkaya when Zaid bin Haritha entered Medina to announce the victory at Badr.

It really hurts to think that Prophet SAW’s joys were never hundred percent complete and were often overshadowed by some kind of pain. Battle of Badr was a huge victory. Rukkya RA was buried as it was uncertain when Prophet SAW would return from Badr. On his return he visited her grave. Rukkaya RA’s son Abdullah was six years old at this time and Prophet SAW loved him dearly. Anyone who has lost a son or daughter who leaves behind children knows how their love for their grandchildren increases after their child’s death. A hen pecked Abdullah in the eye with its beak when he was six years old. His eye got infected as a result of which Abdullah died in 4 AH. Prophet SAW led his funeral prayer.

Prophet SAW’s third daughter was Umme Kulsum RA. It is said that she was a year younger than Rukkaya RA. There is a minor difference of opinion regarding this as some people say Umme Kulsum was the youngest. However majority of the scholars say that Fatima RA was the youngest. She was married to Utaibah bin Abu Lahab who later divorced her. Utaibah later converted to Islam. One of Abu Lahab’s sons had converted to Islam that, she got married to Usman RA. She lived for six years after her marriage and passed away in Shaban 9 AH. Prophet SAW gave a piece of his own clothing to shroud her and read the funeral prayer himself. Umme Kulsum had no children.

Fatima RA was Prophet SAW’s youngest daughter. As we mentioned earlier some are of the view that Umme Kulsum RA was the youngest. Fatima RA also migrated to Medina with her father. Around 2 or 3 AH she was married to Ali RA. We can imagine how many companions must have sent proposals of marriage for Fatima RA when she reached the age of marriage. Abu Bakr proposed and Prophet SAW kept silent. Omar RA proposed and Prophet SAW kept silent. We have this notion that the companions never had time to talk about marriage. They only had revelation, Hadith, Quran, swords and battles on their mind. Can you imagine Abu Bakr and Omar discussing that Fatima is not married and the reason why Prophet SAW is not accepting any proposals?

A thought crossed their mind that it might be in Ali’s destiny to get Prophet SAW’s daughter. So they went to find Ali. Can you imagine that! We talk about the matchmaking Aunty. We can’t imagine that the companions were worried about match making. So they asked Ali RA why he wasn’t sending a proposal for Fatima. He replied he had nothing to give or maybe he was shy to send a proposal. They both convinced Ali to go and speak to Prophet SAW. Ali RA went and spoke to Prophet SAW who was really happy about the proposal. Ali and Fatima got married and had four children together who outlived Fatima RA. Hasan and Hussain were two of them. Prophet SAW had said that Fatima is the leader of the women of paradise and had her included in the women who reached perfection. She has a very high status. Her sons Hasan and Hussain will be the leaders of the youth in paradise. Who will be the leader of the women? Fatima RA!

Hasan and Hussain RA have their own history. Ali and Fatima had two daughters Zainab and Umme Kulsum. Fatima also had another son named Mohsin who died in his childhood. Fatima and Ali were married for around ten years. Fatima died in 11 AH, six months after the death of Prophet SAW.

Prophet SAW had given the news of her death to Fatima beforehand. When Fatima went to visit him during his sickness, Prophet SAW had said something to her that she started crying and after that he had said something that made her smile. Nobody knew what it was. Later Ayesha RA asked Fatima what Prophet SAW had said. Fatima replied that first he had said that he will not survive this sickness so she started crying. However, she had smiled when Prophet SAW had told her that she would be the first to meet him. It is said that she had a great resemblance to Prophet SAW and so did her son Hasan RA. Ayesha RA relates that Fatima’s habits and mannerism resembled Prophet SAW a lot.

Sometimes daughters are exactly like their fathers in the way they carry themselves. Prophet SAW loved Fatima so much that when she came to meet him he would get up, kiss her on the forehead and make her sit in his place. He would say Fatima is a part of me. She was his only living child as all his other children from Khadija RA passed away during his lifetime. Fatima RA died six months after Prophet SAW.

Fatima’s daughter Zainab got married to Jafar’s son, Abdullah bin Jafar. Omar RA had proposed for Fatima‘s daughter Umme Kulsum. Look at their age difference. The age difference was not of a father and daughter but one that is between a grandfather and granddaughter. This is why we keep repeating this and we must understand that age difference was not a big issue at that time. We extrapolate our values of 2021 onto the society that existed 1450 years ago. What was not important to them is important to us today. It is our narrow-mindedness to think that they should follow our norms. This just shows our arrogance and egotism. Who are you to judge them? Who gave you the right to judge those tribes, their tribal lifestyle and traditions? There’s no issue in their traditions if they are not going against the laws of Allah. We have created a new concept of marriage, sexuality and romance and superimposed it on them. We cannot do this!

Omar RA asked Ali for Umme Kulsum’s hand in marriage and Ali RA accepted the proposal. They also had children together.

These are some facts about Khadija RA and her children. This is just a small effort as we cannot do justice in expressing her virtues and her status with Allah. May shower infinite blessings on her. However we do need to learn certain lessons from the lives of the mothers of believers.

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