When we think of love stories, we mostly think of examples such as Romeo and Juliet or for Arabs, Qays and Layla, a real life story similar to Romeo and Juliet. However, those stories are tragedies that end before they began and do not have a happily ever after. I don’t mean a Disney happily ever after with birds singing and flowers and a perfect life. I mean happily ever after as in having a love that is strong enough to overcome the most imperfect life and the most difficult and unusual circumstances. If you notice, most movies end when the couple gets together or the last scene is their wedding. In the movies, it is mostly a story of how a couple met and the buzz that goes along with a new relationship instead of a more realistic viewpoint as to the real life between a couple.
Lady Khadejah(RA) and Mohammed’s ﷺ marriage is a beautiful and realistic example of love, because you get the full story. With these two wonderful people, you get an incredible story of how they met, and then you get to witness 25 years of a wonderful marriage with the good and bad times. You get to see them having children, losing children, being part of their communities, the revelation and prophecy, the hard times after that and really just a complete example of a real marriage. Most of all, you can see how strong their love was throughout it all and how even with the passing of Lady Khadejah, Mohammed ﷺ never stopped loving her until the day he died.
For the next few parts of Lady Khadejah’s (RA) life, I want you to witness this love story. This is only the first part. Today we will talk about how they met and the beginning of their marriage, but that is only because it is so long that I must split it up. However, as you read the next parts in the upcoming weeks, pay attention to the love story. Look at how we are given this amazing story about the prophet’s ﷺ relationship as an example. Everything is a lesson and it is timeless.
We have established that Lady Khadejah (RA) was a respectable business woman and was known for her intelligence, kindness, and purity. Also, we talked about the way that business was done in Mecca, with caravans being taken to Syria and Yemen for trade. Lady Khadejah (RA) did not travel on her own caravans but sent men to trade for her. Her slave, Maysara, whom she highly trusted, would go on the caravans and keep an eye on her employees so he could tell her who among them was trustworthy.
One day, Mohammed’s ﷺ uncle, Abu Talib, went to Lady Khadejah (RA) and asked her if it was possible to give his 20-year-old nephew a job. They were a very poor family and in need of some income. In all her wisdom, Lady Khadejah replied, “ If you had requested this for the sake of a loathed stranger, I would have agreed. How can I refuse when it is for an honorable acquaintance?” (Remember that they are distant relatives)
So Lady Khadejah (RA) employed Mohammed ﷺ and put him in charge of her caravan from his very first trip, which happened to be to Yemen. Maysara, of course, was also on this trip and as always would be keeping his eye on the new hire. When the caravan from Yemen returned, Mohammed ﷺ turned in profits to Lady Khadejah (RA) that were beyond that of which she had ever gotten before and were extremely accurate. However, that fact was overshadowed by something else. Maysara came back with the most unusual stories about the new employee. “I saw strange happenings related to this young man,” said Maysara.
In the first story, Maysara said that he saw a cloud above Mohammed ﷺ that moved as he moved and stopped when he stopped, always staying above him and shading him in the heat. Maysara wanted to test if what he was seeing was true, so he challenged Mohammed ﷺ to a race. All throughout the race, the cloud was above Mohammed ﷺ.
In the second story, Maysara said that Mohammed ﷺ was sleeping under a tree when its branches suddenly leaned in to shade him. Maysara thought that maybe it was the wind, until a Rabbi that he had previously traded with, asked him who that man was under that tree. Maysara replied that was Mohammed ibn Abdullah ﷺ and he is a Meccan. The Rabbi shook his head and said that man is a prophet. Nobody sits under that tree unless he is a prophet.
In that time, when people were making trade in the market and giving prices, they used to swear to the different idols, just as today someone might say something like, “Wallahi, I swear to God, that’s the best price I can give you.” In the third story, Maysara reported that a Jewish man was bargaining with Mohammed ﷺ and he asked him, “Do you swear by Al-Latt and Al-Uzza?” Mohammed ﷺ replied angrily, “I never prostrated to them, so how can I swear by them?!” The Jewish man bought from Mohammed ﷺ but whispered in Maysara’s ear, “Stay close to this man, he is the prophet of the end of times.”
Lady Khadejah (RA) is listening to these stories in amazement of the man she just hired, the man that greatly increased her profits. The concept of there being a prophet of the end of times was not new to Lady Khadejah (RA). Her cousin, Waraqa ibn Nawfal was a scholar of the Torah and would often tell her stories about the prophet that is yet to come. Also remember that Lady Khadejah was a monotheist and she was probably impressed at Mohammed ﷺ sharing similar religious beliefs.
She eventually began to take a large interest in him. She would constantly ask Maysara for all the information and stories he had. She was also hearing other people around the city refering to Mohammed ﷺ as Al Amin, the trustworthy. It became very evident that she was starting to have feelings for this man.
She confessed her feelings to her friend Nafisa bint Al-Munabbih. She told her that she had never seen a man so patient, generous, gallant, of noble origin, honest and trustworthy and she felt that he is going to be important in the future. Nafisah, upon hearing that Lady Khadejah (RA) was interested in marrying Mohammed ﷺ, told her that she would send him the message. Nafisah went to Mohammed ﷺ and said to him that a beautiful, honorable, well-mannered and wellborn woman is interested in his hand in marriage. “But I am poor and cannot support a family,” he replied. She told him that this is not an issue for Lady Khadijah (RA), who has not met a man more decent or honest than Mohammed ﷺ.
So the marriage was accepted on both ends and Mohammed’s ﷺ uncle Abu Taleb and Hamza ibn Abd-Al-Muttalib held a wedding feast. At the time, Lady Khadijah (RA) was forty and Mohammed ﷺwas twenty-five.
Lady Khadijah (RA) and Mohammed were married for twenty-five years, fifteen of those years before the revelation. During these fifteen years, they raised eleven children, three of whom were not their own. They had four daughters, Fatima, who was named after Lady Khadejah’s mother, Zainab, Ruqayya, and Umm Kolthoum. Lady Khadijah’s (RA) children from her previous marriages were all married except Hind Ibn Hala, who was also part of this new household. In addition, they raised Ali Ibn Abu Taleb, Zubair Ibn Al Awwam, and Zayd Ibn Haritha. Lady Khadijah (RA) and Mohammed ﷺ had three sons, Abdullah, Al Taher, and Al Qassem, all of whom passed away at young ages.
In this time, Mohammed ﷺ used to spend long periods of time in the cave in Mount Hira, meditating and worshiping God. This was something important to him and his wife supported him and was patient without knowing what greatness was going to happen. She used to climb up to the cave and bring him provisions and food so that the can continue his worship. Remember that she was in the ages of 40 to 55. However, she used to climb up to the cave stronger than any youth could.
It is important to note that Lady Khadejah (RA) was still the big business woman that she was before she got married. She was still in charge of the entire market and was the breadwinner of the family. However, this did not get in the way of the mutual respect between Lady Khadijah (RA) and Mohammed ﷺ. They were also a very popular couple, especially because of their noble character traits.
The first fifteen years of their marriage seemed to move like normal and there isn’t much information on it. However, it wasn’t until what happened next that their marriage, social life and family were put to the test. This is where we really get to see the strength of this love unfold. The love story continues next week!
Since we have still just scratched the surface you might not yet have noticed the significance of this love story. It is adversity that test the bonds between husband and wife and later we will be able to see how strong their bond was. However, for now, there are many lessons we can learn from the beginning of their marriage to each other and from Lady Khadejah’s role as a wife.
*First thing to note is that Lady Khadejah(RA) did it first. 1400 years ago, she was an older woman who married a younger man, way before it became trendy in Hollywood. She proposed to him, which shows how fearless and ahead of her time she was. Most girls in our time wont have the courage to propose to a man that they like. And it is important to note that she did it in a respectful and modest way. She was also the breadwinner of her family and continued her career even after marriage and motherhood. She had children in her 40s and raised her children in addition to opening her house to others.
*Another important lesson is the support she gave her husband. She didn’t tell him that she is tired of him going up to the cave. She used to climb up to make sure he ate and he was well because she felt that this was his passion and gave him room to continue to do it. Just like I am sure that he supported her in her business and her career. They stood by each other’s interests, beliefs, and passion.
*One of the most applicable lessons here is what Khadejah (RA) was looking for and what she liked in the husband that she chose. She liked that he was honest, generous, patient man from a good family and whose character was well liked and respected by all. She did not care that she made more money than him, or what he looked like. She chose him based on his manners and character and that is a major lesson for girls to emulate.
*When Nafisah told Mohammed ﷺ that a woman was interested in marrying him, his first reaction was to say that he couldn’t afford it. He felt that his responsibility included providing for his family and he didn’t want to go through with a marriage if he was not going to be able to be a good provider. This is a message to men of our time to plan ahead and think of the future. Marriage needs hard effort and finances and that has nothing to do with dowry or girls that want big weddings. Its about being able to meet day to day commitments, especially as they increase with children.
*Fatima Al Zahraa was named after Lady Khadejah’s (RA) mother. You can see how much Mohammed ﷺ loved her and his devotion to her. Notice that he agreed to name his daughter after her mother and not his out of love and respect for her.
*Can you imagine how fit she was? Look below at the location of the cave. It is about 800 feet high and takes about 600 steps to reach. She climbed that at 55! She used to go up there all the time just to bring food to Mohammed ﷺ. Now that is commitment to your partner and their interests. Imagine how much she loved him to climb all that way for him and also imagine how good of a husband he was to her and how much he loved her to deserve that type of response from his wife.
How did reading about this part of Khadejah’s life impact you? Do you feel that you can relate to her in someway? Don’t you feel that Khadejah is a great role model, even for women today? I want to know your thoughts.
Read the rest of the series:
Part 1-Early life
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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