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 Introduction

Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad Mustafa, the Messenger of Allah, (may Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bayt), and the first Believer, evokes a most extraordinary personality. She played a stellar role in the history of nascent Islam. She was, with Abu Talib, one of the two greatest benefactors of Islam and the Muslims. At a time when Islam was under unremitting predation pressure; and was, for three years, in a state of unrelenting siege, she bailed it out, by her incredible sacrifices. Her constancy, her tenacity, her vision, and her indomitable faith in Allah, and in the mission of Muhammad Mustafa - His Last and the Greatest Messenger - were the sine qua non as the underpinnings of Islam during the first ten years of its existence.

For some mysterious reason, Khadija's role - so central in shaping the destiny of Islam - has not received the recognition to which it is entitled, from most of the Muslim biographers and historians. Such recognition as they have given it, is, at best, perfunctory and tentative. To the best of my knowledge and belief, a standard biography of Khadija has not been published yet. This is a most lamentable lack in the inspirational literature of Islam, especially at a time when, in the West, there is growing interest in Islam as a creed, and in the story of the respective roles of its various protagonists in its early days.

The material which is extant on the life of Khadija in various sources, is scanty and fragmentary. Even this scanty and fragmentary material is not free from stereotypical interpretations or misinterpretations of history. The biographer or the historian must create a sensitized climate of authentic understanding of Islam, and he must make an evenhanded assessment of the roles of those personages who shaped its history. Khadija is one of the most dynamic and vital personages in the entire history of Islam. It is impossible to tell the story of Islam without telling the story of the contribution she made to its survival, its consolidation, and its eventual triumph.

Islam owes Khadija an unpayable debt!

Therefore, I believe that the publication of a biography of Khadija - reflecting scientific spirit and scientific principles - which at one time I envisioned as a necessity, now confronts the Muslim biographers and historians as an overwhelming imperative.

Another reason why all Muslims should have access to the life-story of Khadija, is, that like her husband, Muhammad Mustafa, may Allah bless him and his Ahlul-Bayt, she too is a symbol of the unity of his umma. She is a symbol that fosters unity of the Muslim umma.

An attempt has been made in this book to put together whatever material on the life of Khadija was available in numerous scattered sources. But it is an attempt which, it must be conceded, is hopelessly inadequate. It purports to be a mere outline - to be referred to only until such time as more authoritative works on the subject become available. Nevertheless, it is essential for all Muslims, but especially for the Muslim women, to be familiar with the story of the life of Khadija and her work for Islam. She blended her personality with the personality of Islam so thoroughly that she became its heart and core.

Khadija literally lived and died for Islam.

If Muslim women are in search of happiness in this world, and salvation in the Hereafter, they must live in imitation of the sainted life of Khadija. She is the "guardian" of the secret of winning the pleasure of Allah; and she is the "custodian" of the key that will unlock for them, the gates of success in the two worlds. She would be glad to share the "secret" with them, if they want to know what it is; and she would be glad to put the "key" in their hands, if they would seek it from her.

May Allah bless Khadija and her family.

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