I could sit here and talk for hours about how much I love this woman. She was so ahead of her time and is truly the greatest example about how a Muslim woman should be. She did things in her life that are trendy now. I decided to make her story a series because its so incredible and full of lessons that it needs to be told in parts in order to really give it the appreciation it deserves.
Lady Khadejah (RA) was born into a very respectable family in Quraysh. She was well educated and very beautiful, as all women from Quraysh were known for their beauty. She is related to the prophet Mohammed ﷺ from her fifth grandfather on her father’s side and her seventh grandfather on her mother’s side. Her character was an extremely rare blend of wisdom, intelligence, tenderness and strong faith. It is important to note Lady Khadejah (RA) was a monotheist and followed the religion of Abraham. Although she lived in a city of people who prostrated to idols, she had never in her life prostrated to an idol, even before Islam.
Her first marriage, at the age of eighteen, was to Atiq Al-Makhzumy with whom she had a son and daughter. However, he passed away a few years into the marriage. She was married a second time to Abu Hala Al-Tamimy, with whom she was also blessed with a son and daughter before his unfortunate death. When Atiq passed away, he left her a big fortune and being the wise woman that she was, she started to invest it in trade and multiply her wealth. By the time her second husband died, she was a thirty-seven year old single mother and she started to expand her business investments until she had many wide commercial holdings. Remember this is a time before Islam, when Mecca was extremely misogynistic. It was unheard of, not only for a woman to have her own business, but to be the boss over men. The way business was done at the time was that caravans were sent out to do trade with Syria and Yemen, similar to importing and exporting in our time. Lady Khadejah (RA) was well aware that as a woman, she would not be able to travel in the caravans through the desert with all the men, so she had many men in her employment that did the trading for her. Interestingly, because of her incredible work ethic, working for her became the most desired and honorable job in Mecca. Her business grew so much that her caravans were more than all the other business men put together.
In our time, when we think of a woman who is rich, beautiful and successful, more times than not she probably doesn’t have a good character. She might be cruel and merciless or very arrogant and proud. However, as we can see, Lady Khadejah (RA) was no ordinary woman. She led her businesses in an honest and pure way. Without cheating anyone or being merciless, she enjoyed a success that led her to eventually become in charge of the entire market.
Throughout time, she was quickly becoming the most popular, most respected woman in all of Mecca. She was given some great laqabs by the people of Quraysh. A laqab is a nickname, but unlike the average nickname, it is one that you earn and are held accountable to. One of Lady Khadejah’s (RA) laqabs was Al Tahira, the Pure Woman, for her purity, politeness and shyness. Another laqab she was given was Sayedat Nisaa Quraysh, Master of the Women of Quraysh, because of her chastity, her honesty and trustworthiness. All of these things made her the most sought after woman in Mecca and even in her late thirties and with four kids, she was getting an endless amount of marriage proposals from the most respected leaders of Quraysh. However, she refused all of them, instead choosing to focus on her career and raise her children.
Until a very interesting man came into her employment……
What an amazing woman and we haven’t even scratched the surface yet! Check back next Friday for the most amazing love story of all time!! Until then, lets recap a little bit on what we know about her so far:
*The number one most important point to take here is that this is the woman that Allah had chosen for his messenger ﷺ to marry. It wasn’t the meek, weak, oppressed woman, although in Mecca before Islam there were plenty. No, he was to marry the woman who was stronger than ten men, the woman who had been married twice previously and who had four children. He was to marry the most strongest, independent, business minded, pure woman with the best character. What does that tell you about Islam and women? What does that tell you about the character of the ideal MUSLIM woman? This is the role model chosen for us. How many of us are even 1/10th of her?
*Imagine how brave she was to be the first woman to go into business at her time. There were many business women after Islam in Mecca because they had the backing and support of the religion, while Lady Khadeja was completely on her own and up against large numbers of men. Even nowadays, many people might have a dream, but be too afraid to go into unchartered territory to make it happen.
*She was so ahead of her time and so relatable. How many single mothers do we have today? How many of them are struggling to provide for their households and balance a career and motherhood? How many of us have faced obstacles we have had to overcome? Even though the superficial aspects of our times are different, human nature doesn’t change and there is so much we can learn from her.
*Being honest in business can get you much farther than cheating people out of their money.
What do you think of Khadeja’s story so far? How many of you feel that you can relate to her or are in a stage of your life similar to hers?
Read the rest of this series:
Part 2-A Love Story, The beginning
Part 3-The Revelation, the love story continues
Part 4-One of the greatest women of all time, the love story continues
Part 5-The greatest love story of all time
Abd-Allah, Dr. Umar Faruq. “Famous Women in Islam.” Lecture.
Quṭb, Muḥammad ʻAlī. Women around the Messenger. Riyadh: International Islamic House, 2007. Print.
Webb, Suhaib. Mothers of the Believers : Lives of the Wives of Prophet Muhammad (upon Whom Be Peace). : Awakening Media, Audio CD.
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