In Memory of the First Lady

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In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionat. dear friends accept our condolences on a doleful occasion. Today the 10th of the blessed month of Ramadhan is the day the Almighty's Last Messenger to mankind became a widower at the age of 51 years with the death of his devoted wife, with whom he enjoyed 26 long years of marital bliss. this is a special article in memory of the First Lady of Islam, Hazrat Khadija (peace upon her), who as long as she was alive, was the one and only wife of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).

“And He (God) found you in need and made you free of want.”

What you just listened to was verse 8 of Surah 93 of the Holy Qur’an titled Zuha or the Brightness of the Morning. According to some exegetes of the Heavenly Scripture, in His address here to Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), the Almighty reminds of the lasting favour He has bestowed upon him in the form of a loyal wife, Hazrat Khadija (peace upon her), who was reputedly the Maleekat al-Arab or the richest woman of Arabia. Whatever the learned scholars say, it cannot be denied that the First Lady of Islam was the ideal spouse to the Prophet, and a great blessing that remains fresh to this day. Today on the passing away anniversary of Omm al-Momenin or the Mother of all True Believers, it is but natural to pay proper condolences to the Seal of Divine Messengers.

Khadija, the daughter of Khwailed (peace upon her) was a paragon of virtue. She was spotlessly pure, and even in those days of ignorance before the advent of Islam, she was known as Tahera or the Pure. Khadija (peace upon her), by courtesy of that other stalwart of early Islam, the Prophet's uncle and guardian Abu Taleb (PBUH), entrusted to the parentless and poor youth, named Mohammad, the management of her trade caravans. He didn’t use the profit of trade to lead a life of luxury but distributed it among the poor and spent days and months in fasting and contemplation upon the wonders of creation. Impressed by his integrity, she proposed marriage to the 25-year old son of Abdullah. He accepted. Not because she was super rich but because she had peerless virtues unrivalled by any woman of Arabia. They made an excellent husband and wife pair. Fifteen years later when God formally appointed him as Prophet, she immediately believed in his mission. Here it would not be out of context to mention a famous incident that shows the modest beginnings of Islam. Afif al-Kindi, who years later became a Muslim, says that on one of his visits to Mecca he accompanied Abbas ibn Abdul-Mutallib to the Ka’ba where an unfamiliar sight greeted him. He saw a man praying in what appeared to him a strange way, while behind him stood a lady and a lad, earnestly emulating his acts of worship as he bent down in genuflexion or ruku’ and touched his forehead on the ground in prostration or sajda. He was told that the gentleman was called Mohammad, the lady was his wife Khadija, and the lad was his cousin and ward, Ali ibn Abi Taleb (peace upon then). As Abbas said to Afif, “besides these three there is no one in the world professing this new faith.”

The proverbial wealth of Hazrat Khadija (peace upon her) was dedicated to ease the burden of life of the Muslim converts who were under severe persecution from the idolaters of Mecca. She spent in the way of God all that she had, never feeling any concern for the future of her only surviving daughter, Hazrat Fatema Zahra (peace upon her). During the three-year economic boycott of the neo-Muslim community and its confinement in She’b or Valley of Abi Taleb outside Mecca, it was the wealth of Khadija that bailed out many of the persecuted Muslims from certain death through starvation. Alas, no sooner did the frustrated polytheists lift their futile siege, the Mother of Believers left the mortal world. She left the Prophet in a state of mourning. He had spent twenty-six years of marital bliss with her and as long as she was alive he never took another spouse. Thus at the age of fifty-one years Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) found himself a widower, while his daughter, little Fatema Zahra (peace upon her) became an orphan. Khadija (peace upon her) was no more, but her memories would live with the loyal husband despite the fact that out of social necessity and to break the customs of jahiliyya or ignorance he would marry several women in the last ten years of his life in Medina.

It is interesting to note that once when one of his wives felt jealous at his reminiscing of Khadija and called herself a young and better one, the Prophet’s complexion changed and he 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."

Our readers can refer to the famous collection of hadith of our Sunni brothers, titled Sahih Bukhari, for this saying of the Prophet. In that book they can also find the name of the Prophet's barren wife who felt jealous towards the deceased Khadija. Thus, it was on the 10th of Ramadhan, over a year-and-a-half before the Prophet's historic migration from Mecca to Medina that Hazrat Khadija, the Umm al-Momineen or Mother of all True Belivers, left the mortal world for her heavenly abode. The loss of the faithful wife was a great blow to the Prophet. The One and Only First Lady of Islam breathed her last this day but after an accomplishing an immortal mission, of which the greatest fruit was her daughter, Hazrat Fatema az-Zahra (peace upon her) the greatest lady of all time, to whom we offer our sincere condolences.

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