Khadija Bint-e-Khuwaylid (R.A)

Khadija (R.A) came from a noble family. Her (R.A) father Khuwaylid (R.A) had been one of the most honored leaders of their tribe until he (R.A) was killed in battle.
Her (R.A) husband had also died, leaving her (R.A) as a very wealthy woman. When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was still a young man, she (R.A) entrusted
him (Peace be upon him) with some of her wealth, asking him (Peace be upon him) to trade with it in Syria on her (R.A) behalf. He (Peace be upon him) was already
well known for his (Peace be upon him) honesty, truthfulness and trustworthiness. He (Peace be upon him) returned from Syria with a large profit for Khadija (R.A). After hearing his (Peace be upon him) account of the journey, she (R.A) decided that he (Peace be upon him) would make the best of the husbands, even though many of the most important nobles of the Quraish had already proposed to her (Peace be upon him) and had been refused, and in due course she (R.A.) proposed to him (Peace be upon him). After the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) uncle, Abu Talib, had given the proposed marriage his blessing, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Khadija (R.A.) were married. At the time of the marriage, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was twenty-five years old, while Khadija (R.A) was forty years old.
For the next fifteen years they lived happily together, and Khadija (R.A) bore several children. Their first child, a son whom they named Qasim (R.A), died when he (R.A) was only two years old. Two more sons, called Tayyib (R.A) and Tahir (R.A), were also born, but they (R.A) too died in their infancy. However, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Khadija (R.A) also had four daughters who survived: Zaynab (R.A), Ruqayya, Umm-e- Kulsoom and Fatima (R.A).
No one except Allah knows more about a man than his wife, both his good and his bad qualities, his strengths and his weaknesses. The more Khadija (R.A.) came to know about her (R.A) husband (Peace be upon him), the more she (R.A.) loved and respected him. Everyone in Makka called him (Peace be upon him) “Al-Amin” which means ‘The trustworthy one’, and she (R.A.), more than anyone else, knew how accurate this name was. It became Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) custom each year to spend the month of Ramadan in seclusion and reflection in a cave on the mountain of Hira, which is on the outskirts of Makka. Khadija (R.A.) would always make sure that he (Peace be upon him) was provided with food and drink during his (Peace be upon him) retreat. Towards the end of one Ramadan, when he (Peace be upon him) was forty and Khadija (R.A.) was fifty-five, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) suddenly appeared at their house in the middle of the night, trembling with fear and saying, “Cover me up, cover me up!”
Khadija (R.A.) was very alarmed to see him (Peace be upon him) in such a state. Quickly she (R.A.) wrapped a blanket around his (Peace be upon him) shoulders and, when he (Peace be upon him) had calmed down, she (R.A.) asked him to describe exactly what had happened. He (Peace be upon him) told her (R.A.) how a being whom he (Peace be upon him) had never seen before (It was the angel Jibrael (A.S.)) had suddenly appeared to him while he (Peace be upon him) was asleep and had said, “Read!”
“But I cannot read,” he (Peace be upon him) had replied, for he (Peace be upon him) was unlettered and could neither read nor write. “Read!” the angel had repeated, clasping Muhammad (Peace be upon him) close to his chest. “I cannot read,” he (Peace be upon him) had repeated. “Read!” the angel had repeated, firmly embracing him yet again. “What shall I read?” he (Peace be upon him) had asked in desperation, and the angel had replied:
Read, in the Name of your Lord who created, created man from a clot, read, and your Lord is the Most Gracious, Who taught with the pen, taught man what he did not know. (Quran 96:1-5)
Although Muhammad (Peace be upon him) did not fully realize it at that time, this was the beginning of the revelation of the Quran; but in that first encounter with the angel Jibrael (A.S.), Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was very frightened, for he (Peace be upon him) did not know who the angel Jibrael was or what was happening. He (Peace be upon him) woke up and ran out of the cave only to find Jibrael (A.S.) still in front of him, and whenever he (Peace be upon him) turned away from him (A.S.), angel Jibrael was in front of him yet again, filling the horizon with his (A.S.) mighty yet beautiful form.
“Oh Muhammad (Peace be upon him),” said Jibrael (A.S.) eventually, “you are the Messenger of Allah and I am Jibrael,” and with these words he (A.S.) disappeared from Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) sight.
After the angel (A.S.) had disappeared Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had clambered down the mountain as fast as he (Peace be upon him) could run, not knowing if he (Peace be upon him) was going mad and imagining things, or if he (Peace be upon him) had been possessed by one of the jinn.
As she (R.A.) listened to Muhammad’s (Peace be upon him) words, Khadija (R.A) did not share any of these fears. She (R.A) realized that something tremendous and awe-inspiring had happened to her (R.A.) husband (Peace be upon him), and she (R.A.) was certain, knowing him (Peace be upon him) as she (R.A.) did, that he (Peace be upon him) was neither mad nor possessed. “Do not worry,” she (R.A.) said, “For by Him who has dominion over Khadija’s (R.A.) soul, I hope that you are the Prophet (Peace be upon him) of this nation. Allah would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you answer the call of those who are in distress.”
When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as a little more relaxed, Khadija (R.A.) took him to see her (R.A.) cousin, Waraqa ibn Nawfal, for he was a man of knowledge, and she (R.A.) was sure that he would be able to explain the meaning of what had just happened to her (R.A.) beloved husband (Peace be upon him). Waraqa had studied the books of both the Jews and the Christians very closely and he had learned a great deal from many of their wisest people. He knew that the coming of another Prophet had been foretold by both Musa and Esa (A.S.) and he knew many of the signs that would confirm the identity of this Prophet (Peace be upon him) when he (Peace be upon him) would appeared.
After listening closely to his story, Waraqa, who was both old and blind, exclaimed, “This is the same being who brought the revelations of Allah to Musa (A.S.).
I wish I was young and could be alive when our people will drive you out.”
“Will they drive me out?” asked Muhammad (Peace be upon him).
“Yes,” replied Waraqa. “No one has come with what you have been given without being treated with enmity; and if I were to live until the day when you are turned
out, then I would support you with all my might. Let me just feel your back.” So, saying, Waraqa felt between the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) shoulder blades and found what he was feeling for: a small round, slightly raised irregularity in the skin, about the size of a pigeon’s egg. This was yet another of the many signs that Waraqa already knew would indicate the identity of the next Prophet (Peace be upon him) after Esa (A.S.).
“This is the Seal of the Prophet hood!” he exclaimed. “Now I am certain that you are indeed the Prophet (Peace be upon him) whose coming was fore told in the Torah that was revealed to Musa (A.S.) and in the Injeel that was revealed to Esa (A.S.). You (Peace be upon him) are indeed the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) and the being who appeared to you on the mountain was indeed the angel Jibrael (A.S.)!”
Khadija (R.A.) as both over joyed and awed to find that her understanding of what had happened on the mountain had been confirmed. Not long after this incident, Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was commanded in a subsequent revelation from Allah, through the angel Jibrael (A.S.), to call people to worship Allah only, and it was at this point that Khadija (R.A.) did not hesitate in expressing in public what she (R.A.) had now known for certain in secret for some time: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah,” she (R.A.) said, “And I bear witness that Muhammad (Peace be upon him) is the Messenger of Allah.” Thus she is the first woman to embraces Islam in the Shariat of Mohamad (Peace be upon him).
In the years that followed, difficult years in which the leaders of the Quraish did everything in their power to stop the Prophet (Peace be upon him) spreading Allah’s message, Khadija (R.A.) was a constant source of help and comfort to Muhammad (Peace be upon him) in the difficulties which he (Peace be upon him) had to face. All her (R.A.) wealth was spent in the way of Allah, helping to spread the message of her (R.A.) husband (Peace be upon him), helping to free slaves who had embraced Islam, and helping to feed and shelter the community of Muslims that slowly but surely began to grow in numbers and strength.
The Quraish were infuriated by the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) success and did everything in their power to discourage both him (Peace be upon him) and his followers (R.A.), often inflicting awful tortures on them (R.A.), but without success. The situation became so bad that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) told some of his followers to go to Abyssinia, where the ruler, the Negus, who was a sincere Christian gave them shelter and protection. Eventually there came a time when, as Waraqa had foretold; Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his followers (R.A.) along with all the members of his tribe, the Banu Hashim were driven out of the city of Makkah and forced to camp out in a small ravine in the mountains nearby. This happened long after Waraqa had died, and about seven years after that extraordinary night of power in which Muhammad (Peace be upon him) had received the first revelation of Quran through the angel Jibrael (A.S.). There, while their homes lay empty in Makkah, the Muslims (R.A.) were exposed to the bitterly cold nights of winter and the fiery hot days of summer, with very little food and shelter. No one would buy and sell with the Muslims, or allow their sons and daughters to marry any of them. Fortunately those who secretly sympathized with the Muslims would send what food they could to them whenever the chance arose, sometimes by loading provisions onto a camel or a horse and then sending it off at a gallop in the direction of the camp, hoping that the animal would not stop or get lost before it reached its intended destination.
For three years the small Muslim community lived a life of hardship and deprivation, but although they suffered from hunger and thirst, and from exposure to heat and cold, this was a time in which the hearts of the first Muslims were both purified and also filled with the light of knowledge and wisdom. The Muslims knew that they were following the truth, and so nothing else mattered. They did not care what the Quraish did to them or said about them. Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him) were enough for them!
It was during this period that the Muslims (R.A.) who had sought shelter in Abyssinia returned, only to find the situation even worse than when they (R.A.) had left it. Not long after, many of them (R.A.) returned to Abyssinia, their (R.A.) numbers swelled by those whom the Prophet (Peace be upon him) had told to accompany them (R.A.). Finally the boycott was lifted and the Muslims were allowed to re enter the city; but the three years of hardship had taken their toll. First Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) uncle, Abu Talib, who was by then more than eighty years old, died; and then a few months later, during the month of Ramadan, Khadija (R.A.) also died, at the age of sixty-five, may Allah be pleased with her. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) mourned her (R.A.) deeply. They had shared twenty-five years of marriage together and she (R.A.) had given birth to five of his (Peace be upon him) children. Only one of the Prophet’s future wives, Maria (R.A.) gave birth to another child, Ibrahim (R.A.), and he (R.A.), like Qasim (R.A.), was destined to die when he (R.A.) was still very young, at the age of eighteen months.
Khadija (R.A.) had been the first to publicly accept Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as the Messenger of Allah, and she (R.A.) had never stopped doing all she (R.A.) could to help him (Peace be upon him). Love and mercy had grown between them, increasing in quality and depth as the years passed by, and not even death could take this love away. The Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) never stopped loving Khadija (R.A.), and although he (Peace be upon him) married several more wives in later years and loved them (R.A.) all, it is clear that Khadija (R.A.) always had a special place in his (Peace be upon him) heart.
Once Aisha (R.A.) asked him if Khadija (R.A.) had been the only woman worthy of his (Peace be upon him) love. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) replied: “She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand.”
It had been related by Abu Hurairah (R.A.) that on one occasion, when Khadija (R.A.) was still alive, Jibrael (A.S.) came to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and
said, “O Messenger of Allah, Khadija (R.A.) is just coming with a bowl of soup (or food or drink) for you. When she (R.A.) comes to you, give her (R.A.) greetings of peace from her (R.A.) Lord and from me (A.S.), and give her (R.A.) the good news of a palace of jewels in the Jannat, where there will be neither any noise nor any tiredness.” After the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) uncle, Abu Talib, and his (Peace be upon him) first wife, Khadija (R.A.), had both died in the same year, the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and his small community of believers endured a time of great hardship and persecution at the hands of the Quraish. Indeed the Prophet (Peace be upon him), who was now fifty years old, name this year “The Year of Sorrow”.
In private his (Peace be upon him) dearest wife (R.A.) was no longer present to share his (Peace be upon him) life; and in public the hardship that he (Peace be upon him) received from the Quraish multiplied; now that he (Peace be upon him) had no longer had the protection of his (Peace be upon him) dead uncle. Even when he (Peace be upon him) journeyed to Taif, a small city up in the mountains outside Makkah, to call its people to worship Allah, he (Peace be upon him) was rejected and stoned by them. It has been related by Aisha (R.A) that on his way back to Makkah, Jibrael (A.S.) appeared to the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and said, “Allah, may He be exalted and glorified, has heard what the people have said to you and how they have responded to your invitation, and He has sent the angel in charge of the mountains so that you can tell him what you want him to with them.” Then the angel in charge of the mountains called out to him and greeted him and said, “O Muhammad (Peace be upon him), Allah has listened to what your people have said to you. I am the angel in charge of the mountains, and your Lord has sent me so that you can order me to do whatever you want. If you wish, I can bring the mountain of the outskirts of Makkah together so that they are crushed between them.” But the Messenger of Allah (Peace be upon him) said to him, “Rather I hope that Allah will make their descendants a people who will worship Allah alone, without ascribing any partners to Him.”
It was a while after this that following Surah was revealed:
In the name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate
By the morning hours, and by the night when it is stillest, Your Lord has not forsake you nor does He hate you, And truly what comes after will be better for you than what has come before, And truly your Lord will give to you so that you will be content. Did he not find you an orphan and protect you? Did he not find you wandering and guide you? Did he not find you destitute and enrich you? So do not oppress the orphan, And do not drive the beggar away, And speak about the blessings of Your Lord. (Quran 93:1-11)

And so it happened. After three years of constant struggle, a relative of his (Peace be upon him), called Khawla (R.A), went to him (Peace be upon him) and pointed out that his (Peace be upon him) house was sadly neglected and that his (Peace be upon him) daughters needed a mother to look after them. “But who can take the place of Khadija (R.A.)?” He (Peace be upon him) asked. “Aisha (R.A.), the daughter of Abu Bakr (R.A.), the dearest of people to you,” She (R.A.) answered. Abu Bakr (R.A.) had been the first man to accept Islam and he (R.A.) was the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) closest companion. Like Khadija (R.A.), he (R.A.) had done all that he (R.A.) could do to help the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and had spent all his (R.A.) wealth in the way of Allah. However, while the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was now fifty-three years old, Aisha (R.A.) as only a little girl of seven. She (R.A.) was hardly in a position to look after either the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) household or children. “She (R.A.) is very young.” Replied the Prophet (Peace be upon him).” Khawla (R.A.) had a solution for everything. She (R.A.) suggested that he (Peace be upon him) should marry at the same time a lady called Sawda (R.A.), the widow of Al-Sakran ibn Amr (R.A.).