We often hear the stories of the wives of the prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) as it pertains to his life and message. He is the messenger of Allah (SWT) and learning from his life is a tenant of our faith.
But learning about the people who surrounded the Prophet and specifically his honorable wives can give us a better glimpse into the best generation of mankind. As Allah states,
“You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah.” (Qur’an 3:110)
The wives of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), known as the mothers of the believers, were human beings like you or me, or your sister or mother. And learning about their human qualities can make them more real to those of us who strive to imitate their character nearly a millennia and a half after they walked the earth, struggling to please Allah (SWT). And so we embark on a journey to discover if our mothers were funny, sensitive, outgoing, introspective, self-doubting, or fearless.
The first of the wives of the messenger of Allah as most of us know was Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her). So, with lady Khadijah we begin our journey of discovering the personalities of the Prophet’s wives.
Khadija was confident
Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) was never shy to go after what she wanted. As a woman of great intellect and acute business sense, she eventually took over her father’s business in trade. In a time when cameras and HR departments did not exist and women were generally thought to be weak, she had to seek out employees with the most integrity to be in her employ. She knew that if she didn’t, she would risk losing everything to corrupt deals and dishonest men.
Knowing about the high level of honesty and trustworthiness of a local man named Muhammad (PBUH), she understood that he was just the kind of man who would do well for her in her business. So, she did not wait around for him to come to her for a job. She confidently sought him out, asking if he would come and work for her. He accepted.
Khadija surrounded herself with the best people
As a woman of much success, prestigious lineage, and impeccable character; Khadija had a parade of men seeking her hand in marriage. But she was someone who knew her own worth and the worth of others. She was not about to settle for someone who was her moral and intellectual inferior.
After seeing amazing things from her employee, Muhammad (PBUH), and coming to understand how truly impressive he was, she started to wonder if he was the one for her not only in business but in life. One night she:
“dreamt that the shining sun had descended from the heavens into her courtyard, radiating her home. When she woke up she went for the interpretation of this wonderful dream to her cousin, Waraqah bin Nofal, a blind man noted for his skill in interpreting dreams, and for depth of his knowledge, particularly of the Torah and the Injil (Bibble). [He told her] the glorious sun she saw descending into her courtyard indicated that [a Prophet] was to grace her home and she would gain from his presence in her life.” (Great Women of Islam by Mahmood Ahmad Ghadanfar p. 24)
After her dream and this assurance from her cousin, she knew that Muhammad was the sun in her dream. She sent a proposal of marriage to him. And he accepted.
Khadija was loyal
Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) knew her mind and believed endlessly in the goodness of her husband, Muhammad (PBUH). She was his advocate and supporter so much that she believed in him and comforted him when he came to her with the most extraordinary story that an angel had come to him in the Cave of Hira.
Upon the advent of the revelation from Allah through the angel Gabriel, “Khadija, a picture of loyalty and serenity consoled him saying that Allah would surely protect him from any danger, and would never allow anyone to revile him as he was a man of peace and reconciliation and always extended the hand of friendship to all. […] These soothing and encouraging words of sympathy and understanding from Khadija gave him immeasurable strength and confidence.” (Ghadanfar p. 26)
The Prophet said of Khadija’s loyalty that
“[…] she accepted me when people rejected me. She believed in me when people doubted me. She shared her wealth with me when people deprived me. And Allah granted me children only through her”. (Muslim)
Khadija was courageous
Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) willingly gave everything up for the truth. With the love and support of Khadija, Muhammad (PBUH) gained confidence and strength, and publically affirmed that he was a prophet of Allah. After seven years of receiving revelation, declaring his prophet hood, and teaching the message of Allah’s oneness; the disbelieving Quraysh started a boycott of the Muslims.
Having lived her entire life in wealth and luxury, Khadija, because of the boycott of Quraysh, was now doing without the most basic necessities of life. Yet, even though she was used to lavish surroundings and by this time was an older woman, she faced heartache, starvation, and extreme circumstances with patience, perseverance, and dignity.
She would not turn away from Allah’s message and His messenger for the enjoyment of this life. Due to the extreme circumstances of the boycott, her health suffered and she passed away a short time after the boycott. She had so much courage that she sacrificed everything, even her own life, for her belief in One God and His messengers (Peace be upon them all).
Khadija was one of a kind
Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) was one of a kind. Even Allah (SWT) sent her greetings. The angel Gabriel came to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! This is Khadija, coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord (Allah) and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil, (fatigue, trouble, etc.)”. (Bukhari)
Kadijah is truly a role model for all women, for all times.