Passing away of the First Lady of Islam

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Passing away of the First Lady of Islam

 Yesterday was the 10th of fasting Ramadhan, the day Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) became a widower. It was on this day that he lost his beloved and loyal wife after a quarter century of marital bliss. Life would never be the same for the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messenger with the departure of the faithful Khadija bint Khuwailed, the Mother of all True Believers, from his life. Stay with us for a special feature on the First Lady of Islam, whose departure from the mortal world left the young Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), her only surviving child, an orphan.

"O Allah! You are the Peace, the Source of all peace, Peace to You, and to You (all) Peace returns; Glorified are You Lord, the Lord of (all) Dignity from whatever is ascribed; Greetings to the Messengers; Praised be Allah the Lord of the universe; Greetings to you O Prophet and Allah’s Mercy and Munificence (upon you)…”

The words of praise of the Lord Most High which we recited to you were the English translation of the Arabic supplication, or more properly greetings to God, the Messengers, and to Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny). This is recited by the faithful after the daily prayers. This Greeting, along with its source, its reason, and the very first person who recited it, is found in the books of hadith of all denominations of Islam including the books of our Sunni brethren such as “Sahih Bukhari”, “Sahih Muslim”, “Sunan Abi Da’oud”, “Tirmidhi”, etc. In the books of the followers of the School of the Ahl al-Bayt, this Greeting mentions by name the Prophet’s 12 Infallible Heirs, beginning with the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (peace upon him), and ending with the Awaited Saviour of mankind, Imam Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance to cleanse the world of all oppression and establishment of the global government of peace, prosperity and justice. Amen.

Irrespective of the slight variations of words, all are unanimous that this was recited spontaneously by Omm al-Momineen, Hazrat Khadijah Kobra (peace upon her), when Archangel Gabriel descended upon her husband asking him to convey to her the Greeting of Allah the Glorious. Today, on the 10th of Ramadhan, we are commemorating her departure from the mortal world after over 25 years of marital bliss with Prophet. The last ten years of her life, following the advent of Islam and her spending of everything for the promotion of her husband’s divine mission, were spent in a state of poverty, to the extent that she could not leave any pecuniary inheritance for her only surviving daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her), although at the time of her marriage she was the Richest Lady of Arabia.

Where did Khadija’s wealth go? How did it vanish? Why didn’t she leave some it for her only daughter?

The answers are obvious.

It was not squandered by her or by the Prophet. It was all spent in the way of God to feed, clothe, and shelter the persecuted neo-Muslim community of Mecca, ever since the public proclamation of Islam by her husband over a decade ago. For the sake of Islam, Khadija (SA) sacrificed every comfort and went through all sufferings that started with her being shunned by her rich circle of family and friends because of her marrying the parentless and poor son of Abdullah and Amena, and culminating in the 3-year socio-economic boycott imposed by the pagan Arabs.

An aggrieved Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) performed her last rites and laid her to eternal rest in the grave at the gorge outside Mecca known till this day as She’b Abi Taleb, assisted by her foster son and future son-in-law, Imam Ali (AS), as the orphaned Fatema (SA) watched with tears flowing down her face. Life now would never be the same for the Prophet, though he would marry nine wives in the last ten years of his life in Medina – out of social necessity and to break the customs of Jahiliyya. This is evident by the famous hadith mentioned in the book “Sahih Bukhari” of our Sunni brethren, when one of his wives named Ayesha tried to taunt him for always cherishing the memory of the Late Khadija (SA), and calling herself a better one. The Prophet was displeased and said:

"By God, the Almighty did not grant me a better wife than her. She believed in me when the people used to mock at me and she acknowledged me when the people denied me. She shared her wealth and property with me, and she bore me children which I was not destined to have through other women."

This statement of the Prophet is firm testimony of the unrivalled merits of the One and Only Mother of all True Believers, to whom Islam and Muslims will always remain indebted. The Prophet in this hour of grief was soothed by his uncle, Abu Taleb, who a quarter century earlier had solemnized the nuptials of this made-for-each-other-pair, and who like Khadija and the other members of the Hashemite-Asad clan was a monotheist untainted by the worship of idols. No wonder, the Almighty chose the son of Abu Taleb to marry the daughter of Khadija, so that these two pure persons would be progenitors of the Prophet's progeny, the Ahl al-Bait, whose purity God Himself has vouched in ayah 33 of Surah Ahzaab.

In view of these facts, Islam and all true Muslims will forever remain indebted to the sacrifices of the real “Omm al-Momineen”, whose memory the Prophet used to cherish, despite taking as wives nine women out of social necessity in his last ten years. If in her lifetime, she had spent all her wealth for the sake of Islam, after her passing away, whenever Islam required, it was Khadija’s offspring that rose to the defence of the Creed of God, and gave it fresh life in every age and era. It is outside the scope of this brief radio programme to recount the glorious record of the Immaculate Progeny of the First Lady of Islam over the past fourteen centuries. It is sufficient to say that if Karbala and the martyrdom of her grandson, Imam Husain (AS), was the supreme example of sincere sacrifice in the way of God; it is the promised advent of her Awaited Descendant, Imam Mahdi (AS) that will salvage humanity by establishment of the global government of peace, prosperity and justice.

Here is a tribute in verse to Hazrat Khadija (SA) by Iran’s English language poet, Dr. Hassan Najafi:

The First Lady of Islam today dies

From the hot sands to the cool shades of heaven flies.

And on her eventful life history to comment,

Orphaned Fatema left to lament,

When she died she had nothing but her belief

In Islam and her husband a key of relief.

Her camels kept alive the trade routes

And the routes deepened the trade’s roots.

As her camels went in caravans far and wide

Spread her name to bring back pride,

Nobody stood in rivalry to her nor could compete

Turned into Arabia’s richest lady, an incredible feat,

Such a lady to others is an aspiration,

No Arab worthy of her hand; all faced rejection.

Until the Noble Youth of the monotheist Hashemite clan,

Assumed management of her caravans, as per God’s Plan,

Impressed by Mohammad’s honesty and integrity,

The Virgin sought marriage with him in dignity,

It was marriage made in heaven,

Its fruit, Zahra the heavenly maiden,

Progenitor of the blessed Ahl al-Bayt,

Khadija spent all her wealth to ensure Islam’s fate,

Everlasting her glory, never to fade,

The one true Mother of Believers provides the perpetual shade,

Although reduced to poverty yet she was above the great

Such soared beyond limits her blest fate.

After a quarter century of marital bliss,

She gave to her little daughter the parting kiss,

The Prophet robed in the garb of woe

And the associates along with the coffin go.

Never will the widowed Prophet feel companionship of a worthy wife

Though nine spouses he would marry in last decade of life.

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