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The Life of Khadija

Bryan Marcell
Hist 134

Khadijah, Khadjah bint Khuwaylid or Khadjah al-Kubra (Khadijah the Great) lived

from 555 or 567-620 BCE. She was the first wife and first follower of the Islamic prophet

Muhammad. She is commonly regarded by Muslims as the "Mother of the Believers.i She is

revered as one of the most important female figures in Islam just like her daughter, Fatima.

Muhammad was monogamously married to her for 25 years, after she had passed away was

when he was married in polygyny. Polygyny is the most common and accepted form of

polygamy, entailing the marriage of a man with several women. Most countries that permit

polygamy are Muslim-majority countries in which polygyny is the only form permitted.ii

She was the closest person to Muhammad and he confided in her above everyone else, including

the wives he took after her death. It is actually written in many hadiths that she was his most

trusted and favorite among all the wives. It is narrated in Sahih Muslim: The messenger of Allah

said: "God Almighty never granted me anyone better in this life than her. 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.iii He also held her in

high regard for she was his first follower.

Khadija's grandfather, Asad ibn Abdul-Uzza, was the progenitor of the Asad clan of the Tribe

of Quraysh in Mecca. Her father, Khuwaylid ibn Asad, was a merchant. According to some

traditions, he died in 585 CE in the Sacrilegious War, but according to others, he was still alive

when Khadijah married Muhammad in 595. His sister, Umm Habib bint Asad, was the

matrilineal great-grandmother of Muhammad. Khadija's mother, Fatima bint Za'idah, who died

around 575, was a member of the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh and a third cousin of

Muhammad's mother.iv Khadija was actually married three times and had children from all three


Khadija had also become a very talented merchant, there have been accounts that when the

Qurayshs trade caravans were gathered to leave for their summer journey to Syria or during the

winter journey to Yemen, her caravan was equal to all the other trade caravans combined. She

was known by the by-names Ameerat-Quraysh ("Princess of Quraysh"), al-Tahira ("The Pure

One") and Khadija Al-Kubra (Khadija "the Great"). It is said that she fed and clothed the poor,

assisted her relatives financially and provided marriage portions for poor relations. Khadija was

said to have neither believed in nor worshipped idols, which was atypical for pre-Islamic Arabian

culture. According to other sources, however, she kept an idol of Al-Uzz in her house.v

She never left with her trade caravans, she would always employ others to that job for her. In

595, she needed someone to employ to run a caravan when someone recommended Muhammad,

who at that time had great experience and earned the titles Al-Sadiq ("the Truthful") and Al-

Amin ("the Trustworthy" or "Honest"). She sent one of her servants, Maysarah to assist

Muhammad on this caravan. When Maysarah returned, he told her of the honorable way

Muhammad conducted his business and how he brought back twice as much profit than Khadija

was expecting. Maysarah also told her of an account where Muhammad rested under a tree and

that a monk told him that only the prophet would rest there. He also told her that while he rested

under the tree, he saw two angels standing above Muhammad, they created a cloud to protect

him from the heat and glare of the sun. Upon consulting her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn

Asad ibn 'Abdu'l-'Uzza, Waraqah told her that if what her servant was true, then he was in fact

the prophet. Khadija also had a dream in which the sun descended from the sky and into her

courtyard, lighting her home. Waraqah then informed her that the sun was a sign that the prophet

would soon grace her home. This was when Khadija decided to propose to him even though

many wealthy Quraysh men had already asked her to be their brides.

She sent a friend by the name of Nafisa to approach him and ask if he would consider the

marriage. He was first apprehensive due to the circumstances that he had no money to support a

wife at that time. Nafisa then asked if he would consider it if the woman had the means to take

care of herself. He agreed to at least meet with her and after the meeting they both consulted

their uncles. The uncles agreed, and Muhammads uncles accompanied him as he made a formal

proposal to her. After her uncle accepted, the marriage was then to take place.

Khadija died in "Ramadan of the year 10 after the Prophethood",[34] i.e., in April or

May 620 Muhammad later referred to this tenth year as the Year of Sorrow. As this was

the same time frame in which his uncle and protector Abu Talib also died. It is said that she was

about sixty-four years old at the time of her passing. She was buried in Jannat al-Mu'alla

cemetery in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. In the years following her death, Muhammad would face

persecution from his opponents of his message and also from some people who were once his

followers who turned back. Hostile tribes would then ridicule and stone him.

i. Used to describe how the Muslims referred to her as.
ii. Used to describe the meaning of polygyny.

iii. Telling how Muhammad felt about her.

iv. Used to illustrate her family and how they were connected.
v. Describes other names and actions she was known for.
vi. Describing the time of her death.

i "Khadija bint Khuwaylid Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 Apr.

ii "Polygyny." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 17 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 Apr. 2017.

iii "Khadija bint Khuwaylid Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 Apr.

iv "Khadija bint Khuwaylid." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 Apr.

v "Khadija bint Khuwaylid." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 Apr.

vi "Khadija bint Khuwaylid." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 22 Apr. 2017. Web. 23 Apr.