Khadija bint Khuwaylid


Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her, came from a noble family. Her father Khuwaylid had been one of the most honored leaders of their tribe until he was killed in battle. Her husband had also died, leaving her a very wealthy woman. When Muhammad (peace be upon him) was still a young man, she entrusted him with some of her wealth, asking him to trade with it in Syria on her behalf. He was already well known for his honesty, truthfulness and trustworthiness. He returned from Syria after having made a large profit for Khadijah.

After hearing his account of the journey, she decided that he would make the best of husbands, even though many of the most important nobles of the Quraish had already proposed to her and had been refused, and in due course she proposed to him. After the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, had given the proposed marriage his blessing, Muhammad and Khadijah were married. At the time of the marriage, the Prophet was twenty-five years old, while Khadijah was forty years old.

For the next fifteen years they lived happily together, and Khadijah bore several children. Their first child, a son whom they named Qasim, died when he was only two years old. Two more sons, called Tayyib and Tahir, were also born, but they too died in their infancy. However, Muhammad and Khadijah also had four daughters who survived: Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm Kulthum and Fatima.

No one except Allah of course, knows more about a man than his wife, both his good and his bad qualities, his strengths and his weaknesses. The more Khadijah came to know about her husband, the more she loved and respected him. Everyone in Makka called him 'al-Amin', which means 'the trustworthy one', and she, more than anyone else, knew how fitting this name was. It became Muhammad's 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. Khadijah would always make sure that he was provided with food and drink during his retreat. Towards the end of one Ramadan, when he was forty and Khadijah fifty-five, Muhammad suddenly appeared at their house in the middle of the night, trembling with fear and saying, "Cover me up, cover me up!"

Khadijah was very alarmed to see him in such a state. Quickly she wrapped a blanket around his shoulders and, when he had calmed down, she asked him to describe exactly what had happened. He told her how a being whom he had never seen before - in fact it was the angel Jibril - had suddenly appeared to him while he was asleep and had said, "Read!"

"But I cannot read," he had replied, for he was unlettered and could neither read or write. "Read!" the angel had repeated, clasping Muhammad close to his chest. "I cannot read," he had repeated. "Read!" the angel had repeated, firmly embracing him yet again. "What shall I read?" he 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 and blessings of Allah be upon him) did not fully realize it at the time, this was the beginning of the revelation of the Qur'an; but in that first encounter with the angel Jibril "(Gabriel), Muhammad was very frightened, for he did not know who the angel Jibril was or what was happening. He woke up and ran out of the cave only to find Jibril still in front of him, and whenever he turned away from him, there Jibril was in front of him yet again, filling the horizon with his mighty yet beautiful form.

"Oh Muhammad," said Jibril eventually, "you are the Messenger of Allah and I am Jibril," and with these words he disappeared from Muhammad's sight.

After the angel had disappeared Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had clambered down the mountain as fast as he could run, not knowing if he was going mad and imagining things, or if he had been possessed by one of the jinn.

As she listened to Muhammad's words, Khadijah did not share any of these fears. She realized that something tremendous and awe-inspiring had happened to her husband, and she was certain, knowing him as she did, that he was neither mad nor possessed. "Do not worry," she said, "for by Him who has dominion over Khadijah's soul, I hope that you are the Prophet 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 and blessings of Allah be upon him) became a little more relaxed, Khadijah took him to see her cousin, Waraqa ibn Nawfal, for he was a man of knowledge, and she was sure that he would be able to explain the meaning of what had just happened to her beloved husband. 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 Moses and Jesus, peace be on them, and he knew many of the signs that would confirm the identity of this Prophet when he 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 Moses. I wish I was young and could be alive to support you when your people will drive you out."

"Will they drive me out?" asked Muhammad.

"Yes," replied Waraqa. "No Prophet 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 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 after Jesus, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

"This is the Seal of the Prophet hood!" he exclaimed. "Now I am certain that you are indeed the Prophet whose coming was foretold in the Torah that was revealed to Moses and in the Injil (Gospel) that was revealed to Jesus, (peace be upon him) You are indeed the Messenger of Allah, and the being who appeared to you on the mountain was indeed the angel Jibril!"

Khadijah as both overjoyed and awed to find that her understanding of what had happened on the mountain had been confirmed. Not long after this incident, Muhammad was commanded in a subsequent revelation from Allah, through the angel Jibril, to call people to worship Allah only, and it was at this point that Khadijah did not hesitate in expressing in public what she had now known for certain in secret for some time: " I bear witness that there is no God except Allah," she said, "and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah."

In the years that followed, difficult years in which the leaders of the Quraish did everything in their power to stop the Prophet spreading his message, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) was a constant source of help and comfort to Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the difficulties which he had to face. All her wealth was spent in the way of Allah, helping to spread the message of her husband, 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 success and did everything in their power to discourage both him and his followers, often inflicting awful tortures on them, but without success. The situation became so bad that the Prophet told some of his followers to go to Abyssinia, where their ruler, the Negus, who was a sincere Christian gave them shelter and protection. Eventually there came a time when, as Waraqa had foretold, Muhammad and his followers -along with all the members of his tribe, the Banu Hashim were driven out of the city of Mecca 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 and blessings of Allah be upon him) had received the first revelation of Quran through the angel Jibril. There, while their homes lay empty in Mecca, the Muslims 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 were enough for them!

It was during this period that the Muslims who had sought shelter in Abyssinia returned, only to find the situation even worse than when they had left it. Not long after, many of them returned to Abyssinia, their numbers swelled by those whom the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had told to accompany them. 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 of all the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, who was by then more than eighty years old, died; and then a few months later, during the month of Ramadan, Khadijah also died, at the age of sixty-five, may Allah be pleased with her. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) mourned her deeply. They had shared twenty-five years of marriage together and she had given birth to five of his children. Only one of the Prophet's future wives, Maria the Copt, would give him another child, Ibrahim, and he, like Qasim, was destined to die when he was still very young, at the age of eighteen months.

Khadijah had been the first to publicly accept Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as the Messenger of Allah, and she had never stopped doing all she could to help 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 and blessings of Allah be upon him) never stopped loving Khadijah, and although he married several more wives in later years and loved them all, it is clear that Khadijah always had a special place in his heart. Indeed whenever 'Aisha, his third wife, heard the Prophet speak of Khadijah, or saw him sending food to Khadijah's old friends and relatives, she could not help feeling jealous of her, because of the love that the Prophet still had for her.

Once Aisha asked him if Khadijah had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 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 (may Allah be pleased with him) that on one occasion, when Khadijah was still alive, Jibril came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, Khadijah is just coming with a bowl of soup (or food or drink) for you. When she comes to you, give her greetings of peace from her Lord and from me, and give her the good news of a palace of jewels in the Garden, where there will be neither any noise nor any tiredness." After the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, and his first wife, Khadijah, had both died in the same year, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah 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, who was now fifty years old, named this year 'the Year of Sorrow.'

In private his dearest wife was no longer present to share his life; and in public the insults that he received from the Quraish multiplied, now that he had no longer had the protection of his dead uncle. Even when he journeyed to Ta'if, a small city up in the mountains outside Mecca, to call its people to worship Allah, he was rejected and stoned by them. It has been related by Aisha that on his way back to Mecca, Jibril appeared to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 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, 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 Mecca together so that they are crushed between them." But the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah 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 the following Chapter of the Quran 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)

This article appeared on the Muslim American Society site called masnet.org


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  23 Comments   Comment

  1. Ahmed Ouahid

    I know it's been 10 years since this was written just want to say it's pretty good, and the fact that this site has been going on for 22 years is very hard to believe, but inshallah everything is well for everyone in the comments and i hope everyone has a nice day if you're having a bad one.

  2. Dana from USA

    This is a resonse to Joy: Ramadan was simply another month in the Arab calendar when Muhammad first encountered Jibril. It became the holiest month of the year and a month of fasting to commemorate that first Revelation. Hope this helps anyone else who was wondering.

  3. ABDUL JAMIU DAOOD RAJI from Nigeria

    As-salam alaykun, Dear Brothers Billahi-l-Azeem i realy ejoined this life lecture. May Allah be with u and further put His ligth (Nur)in your life and Muslims whose devoted their time in reading of these aticles here and hereafter inshallah. Wasalam alykum

  4. Joy McGruther Alaoui from USA

    I am a Christian woman. My husband is Muslim. I am learning about Islam and enjoyed this article very much. I have one question regarding what I learned. I'm a little ocnfused because it says that Muhammad (pbum) went to the cave every year during Ramadan, and during one particular year Jibril came to him. Buy why did Ramadan exist if the Koran had not previously been in existance? I always assumed Ramadan began with the arrival of the Koran. If Ramadan existed previous to the arrival of the Koran, what was its significance? Was it a month of fasting that had no ties to religion?

    Thank you for helping me better understand the history and origins of Ramadan and the Koran.

  5. mukhtar ibn hashim from nigeria

    assalamu alaikum i am full of happy of this,an i pray to almighty allah to reward you;and meet us in jannatul firdaus thanks.

  6. khalida n afzal irani from kenya

    your articles are excellent and very beneficial to all my family as we cannot read urdu

  7. ismail sheikh from kenya

    Assalaam aleykum' dear brothers in islam only almighty Allah will reward you for your effort in educating muslims community all over the world on various aspect of their religions. jazaakumul Allahu kheira.

  8. Hajj Madani from USA

    Dear Author of this article,

    I like what you wrote about the last prophet (Peace be upon him and his family), especially about his beloved wife Hazrat Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her), and some of the events that occurred during that period. I am not very knowledgeable in Islamic history, may Allah forgive me for that, but in explaining historic events, honesty means not only to be accurate in describing the events as they happened but also to place proper significance to various events to avoid distortion. You did not give even mentioned the event that the Prophet (peace be upon him) called his kinship (in 615) to a gathering inviting them to Islam [Holy Quran, (26,214)] . The gathering was especially important due to the content of what was said and heard by the Prophet and Ali ibn Abi Talib (upon whom be peace) involvement in this meeting[See a book: "Muhammad A Prophet for our Time", by Karen Armstrong, Harper Collins, 2006, pages 65-66]. Please refer to the Sunni and Shia sources for more detailed information. You may think that we cannot bring everything in a short article, but this story is so important that if you do not at least refer to it will distort the whole mission of the Most Noble and the Last Messenger (peace and blessings upon him and his family).

    May Allah guide us all in the right path

  9. abdulrahim from qatar

    beutiful artcle may allah please with umm khadija r a withh all his bounty we r expecting more articles about umm aisha r a and others.

  10. Dua KhaN from USA

    THIS IS TRUE AND WE BELIEVE IN THIS FULLY

    HIS WIFE KHATIJA BELIEVED IN HIM AND THIS IS SO IMPORTANT FOR A HUSBAND TO HAVE THE FULL MORAL AND SPIRITUAL SUPPORT OF HIS WIFE...WHO LIVES WITH HIM AND KNOWS HIM SO CLOSELY AS NO ONE ELSE DOES

    SUBHANALLAH

  11. salatho from kenya

    was very interesting $wonderful article,Inshaalah will follow the sunah of the prophat (SAW) and way of khadija

  12. Syed Mohammed Iqbal Azim from United Arab Emirates

    May Allah bless the author and all associated with it in Media circulation. The article is historic, based on real facts and records of Islamic History.

    The focus on our mother Khadija (R.A) may be taken as social lesson by our Islamic sisters on devotion and support for their Husbands and complete submission to Islamic cause. Similary, many of our Islamic bothers may also learn how we should care and respect wife in our married life. In the era, where social fabric of family and society is disturbed by cases of divorces/ seprations and lack of love and turst among many husband and wives, this historic essay would be an guiding path for many of us.

    May Allah bless all of us in the name of Phrophet(PBUH) and our mother Khadijah(R.A)

  13. abubakari from Antigua

    the history is so awesom, may the peace of almighty allah be with all the prophets and their companions, AAMEEN

  14. ALI from U.S.A

    BISMILAAHI RAXMAANI RAXIIM

    MAASHAAALAAH THIS IS WONDERFULL ARTICLE ABOUT MUSLIM WOMEN

  15. Rahamathunnisa from India

    Assalamu alaikum,

    just one suggestion brother. When you use our Prophet's (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) name, dont fail to say salam on him. Its in a hadith when Muhammad (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) was on mimber, he said ameen three times. He (sallallahu alaihi wassalam) then told the companions (may Allah be pleased with them) Jibril (alaihissalam) told 'doom to be to one who doesnt say sal on you and told him to say ameen' and other two ameens for other two things.

    Let Allah (subhana watha ala) guide us all.

    Wassalam.

    Rahamath

  16. dr javed ahmed shaikh from pakistan

    excellent eye opener for old & new generation always be put on net to encourage mulims& non muslims towards deeni islam.

  17. ABBA GANA BULANGU from NIGERIA

    May the Peace And Blessings of ALLAH be Upon Muhammad and his family for his efforts to bring humanity to a well established civilisations. Indeed everything has been done by the first generations ours is just to follow which we find it very difficult.What will we tell ALLAH on the day of judgement.May ALLAH bless Khadijah with jannatul-firdaus for her effort towards our Noble Prophet and the seal of all Prophets.Blessings also to all those who help ISLAM in one way or the other icluding the MUHAJIRUNS and ANSAR

  18. syed mahmood from harris

    please check your references and ensure that tayyab and tahir were names of two different people. as far as i know tayyab and tahir was one son, prophet muhammad swuh used to call him tayyab and bibi khadija used to call him tahir. his name was abdullah. the prophet had a third son whose name was ibrahim.this son was born to a lady who had been presented to the prophet by makakos.later the prophet married her.

  19. Mehboob Mustafa Siddiqui from Canada

    SUBHANALLAH- Every time I read this article my love for BIBI KHADIJA (RA)& Prophet MUHMMAD(PBUH)

    increase beyond imagination.Ameen

    KHUDA-HAFIZ

    Mehboob Mustafa Siddiqui

  20. K from USA

    This was an interesting article and recounts the life of this noble

    woman with the same information that I have read previously. It

    has, however, one inaccuracy that would cause some confusion

    when it states "It became Muhammad's custom each year to

    spend the month of Ramadan in seclusion and reflection in a

    cave ...". The month of Ramadan, to the best of my knowledge,

    was started after Muhammad (PBUH) received the Koran and, in

    fact was part of the quidance given in the Koran. That we

    should fast during that month in recognition of the blessing

    bestowed upon mankind for being given the Koran. Since the

    author of this article is "unknown" a correction to the writer is

    not possible, but your readers should be aware of this error.

    Thank you for your site.

  21. Khadija from Canada

    A wonderful article. It contricts today's media bia of how muslim women are submissive.It also shows the prophets PBUH love for his wife, his patience during a time of hardship and the good example that he has left us. May peace and blessing be upon him and his wife.