I know ‘accomplished’ is a dated term, but when I think of our mother, Lady Khadijah, I can’t think of anyone else in history who fits the description better. Can you? Just think of all the roles she played in her life: she accomplished so much.
But when we consider the ancient meaning, we see author Jane Austen describing an accomplished woman in her book ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as being skilled in dancing, music, painting, and foreign languages in order to be entertaining to guests.
This is not the way to describe the very first mother of the believers.
When I say accomplishments, I mean that Khadijah bint Khuwaylid was the very best at everything she did. She was the best mother, the best wife, the best businesswoman, the best friend, the best believer…whatever she did was blessed with excellence.
If a woman living today was able to do all that, we would be really amazed, but women have more freedoms than they did in Khadijah’s day. Thinking about that makes her accomplishments that much more inspiring.
A single mother
Before she made the best decision of her life and proposed to Prophet Muhammad, Khadijah lived among people who were in a state of ignorance.
They worshipped idols, ate dead animals and got into all kinds of horrible sins and acts with each other. It was a might-makes-right kind of lifestyle. They treated guests very badly unless they had someone to fight for them. The strong abused the weak.
So just imagine what life was like for a widow with young children, running a trading business.
A working woman
Her father died leaving a legacy of fame and fortune as he was a leader of the Quraish tribe in Makkah. Khadijah lived well growing up, and married Malak bin Nabash. After having two children, she wanted to use her father’s wealth to set her husband up in business. Unfortunately he died, and she became a young widow.
After some time, she married again, this time to Atiq Al Makhzumi. She had another daughter, but they couldn’t get along and so she was divorced. Now a young mother of three children, Khadijah continued to run a trading business in Makkah.
Allah blessed her hard work and bravery and her business and hers became one of the most famous businesses in the city. A loving and strong woman like herself could be very busy with children and work and still need to seek out love.
A wise proposal
Now we know that Prophet Muhammad became the best man that ever lived, but at the time Khadijah knew him, he was merely the son of Abdullah, grandson of Abdul Muttalib who herded sheep, part-time.
He was famous for one thing, though: trustworthiness. As all business owners know, the best one to hire is the trustworthy person. Perhaps at first Khadijah merely wanted to finally find someone who would travel with her goods and trade fairly. Perhaps she saw more than that in him.
All we know is that when he returned from his first business trip, her servant couldn’t say enough about how honest, hardworking, and noble Muhammad was. And he made even more profit on his trip than she had ever gotten from her other workers!
We see her wisdom, and can imagine what was going on in her mind. Could she make this business relationship something more? All the qualities he had that made him an ideal employee also made him great husband material. And on top of that, he was very, very handsome.
A perfect match
How attractive humility is! When her message came to him about marriage, he replied something like, ‘But why would she want to marry me?’
We all know he had all the perfect qualities of a husband, a man and a human being. Yet he was humble and surprised…but not enough to turn her down.
And so, by the grace and mercy of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) married Lady Khadijah and so began the most beautiful love stories ever to take place on the earth.
Would it be tested by the suffering and hardship of the message of Islam? Sure. But the love and respect they had for each other, their devotion and partnership withstood all tests.
A strong support
They lived in Makkah as the star couple. Muhammad, nicknamed ‘Al Ameen’, and the Lady Khadijah, well-known for her nobility and status, were starting a family. Life was good.
Even in that rough place, full of injustice and evil, the people of Makkah recognized the goodness of Prophet Muhammad. But when the revelation came and he began criticizing their worship of idols and threatening their lifestyle, they turned on this beautiful family.
Through all the madness that happened after that, Khadijah remained a strong support. Her wealth supported the da’wah, and her skills as a mother and wife held down the fort as Prophet Muhammad called to Islam and taught the new converts their deen.
Things went from bad to worse. The Muslims were forced out of Makkah for the boycott. Children were crying nonstop from hunger as the Muslims camped in Abu Talib’s valley, waiting for relief from Allah.
But you see Lady Khadijah was too good for this world. She had already done so much, and had given literally everything she could to support her dear husband, and the religion of Islam…until she had nothing left.
A beautiful greeting
We get excited when we get to meet a famous speaker and they give us salams. We tell others about it, saying ‘You know, I actually met so-and-so, they offered me salams!’ But no one could ever have a better story than Lady Khadijah.
During one of the many times she was bringing food to her dear husband, The Prophet of Allah told her somebody important was offering her salams. But she couldn’t see anyone with him.
It was the Angel Gibril. On. behalf. Of. Allah.
Now, how amazing must you be to have this ancient, wise creature of light offer you a greeting of peace from the Lord of the Worlds?
The angels taught this exact greeting to the first human, Adam (AS). He responded to their greeting while he was in the heavens. It is a greeting of Paradise.
And that’s not all. Angel Gibril had more to tell her.
Abu Huraira reported: The Angel Gabriel came to the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and he said, “O Messenger of Allah, here is Khadijah coming to you with a dish of stew, food and drink. When she arrives before you, greet her with peace on behalf of her Lord and myself. Give her glad tidings of a palace in Paradise made of reeds, wherein there will be no turbulence, nor fatigue.”
Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 3610, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 2432
May we join her in Jannah so we can finally meet this treasured, accomplished lady. May Allah have mercy on Lady Khadijah and allow us to follow in her footsteps of excellence.