Chapter 19: Khadija and Islam
Today, Islam is the greatest force in the world. Its enemies cannot do it any harm. It is like a mighty oak which the storms of the world cannot uproot. Yet there was a time when this mighty oak was a tiny sapling, and desperately needed someone to protect it from the hurricanes of idolatry and polytheism which threatened to uproot it.
Muslims may forget it but Islam cannot forget that in its infancy, it were Abu Talib and Khadija who protected it. They made Islam invulnerable. Abu Talib protected the sapling of Islam from the tempests of misbelief and heathenism; and Khadija irrigated it with her wealth. She did not let the sapling of Islam die from draught. In fact, she didn't even let it wilt from neglect. Protecting Islam was, for Abu Talib and Khadija, their foremost duty. Islam was their first love, and it was a love which they passed on, as their "legacy" to their children. If they - Abu Talib and Khadija - had protected the tree of Islam from its enemies in the lifetime of Muhammad Mustafa, and had "irrigated" it with vast quantities of gold and silver, their children and their grandchildren protected it, from its enemies after his death, and irrigated it with their blood. Their blood was the most sacrosanct blood in all creation. After all, it was the blood of Muhammad Mustafa himself - the Last and the Greatest of all Messengers of Allah, and the Chief of all Apostles and Prophets.
Khadija was an "eye-witness" of the birth of Islam. She nursed it through its infancy, through its most difficult, and through its most formative years. Islam was given shape and design in her home. If any home can be called the cradle of Islam, it was her home. She "reared" Islam. If any home can be called the "axis" of Islam, it was her home; Islam revolved around her home. Her home was the "home" of Quran Majid -the Book of Allah, and the religious and political code of Islam.
It was in her home that Gabriel was bringing Revelations from Heaven for ten years.
Khadija has collected more "firsts" in the history of nascent Islam than anyone else. She was the first wife of the last messenger of Allah. She was the first Believer. She was the very first mortal to declare that the Creator was only One, and that Muhammad was His messenger. Next to her husband, she was the very first individual who heard the Voice of Revelation. She was the first person who offered prayers to Allah with her husband. Whenever he went into the presence of Allah, she was his constant companion. She was the first Mother of Believers. She was the only wife of Muhammad Mustafa who did not have to co-exist with a co-wife. All the love, all the affection and all the friendship of her husband, were hers and hers alone -exclusively!
When Muhammad Mustafa proclaimed his mission as the messenger of Allah, and told the Arabs not to worship idols, and called upon them to rally under the banner of Tawhid, a tidal wave of sorrows broke upon him. The polytheists began to thirst for his blood. They invented new and ingenious ways of tormenting him, and they made many attempts to stifle his voice forever. In those times of stress and distress, Khadija was a bastion of strength for him. It was only because of her and Abu Talib that the polytheists could not disrupt his work of preaching and propagating Islam. She made, in this manner, a most important contribution to the survival and propagation of Islam.
Khadija set basic standards that spell domestic peace, harmony, happiness and fulfillment, and she upheld and reflected them in her life. She demonstrated that the key to a family's strength and happiness is the degree of emotional closeness between its members. She spelled out the rights and duties of husbands and wives. The standards set by her, became the "blueprint" for family life in Islam. Muhammad Mustafa and Khadija spent twenty-five years together, and in those years, they formulated the "laws" that make a marriage successful and a life happy. Since then, even in temporal terms, the rest of the world has not been able to find better laws. Islam incorporated the same laws in its own programme.
Khadija turned the abstractions of idealism into reality. Her life with Muhammad is concrete evidence of that fact. What she gave to the world was not merely a set of principles or theoretical ideas but an experience, rich in moments of pure enchantment with Islam, and subtle rhythms of love for Allah and His Messenger.
As mentioned earlier, the pagan Arabs had a sense of honor gone all awry. It was their "sense of honor" which impelled them to kill their daughters. Islam of course put an end to this barbaric and horrendous practice by making it at once a sin against Allah, and a crime against humanity. Besides putting an end to female infanticide, Islam also gave dignity, honor and rights to women, and it guaranteed those rights.
Allah Ta'ala wished to demonstrate that the laws of Islam were all practicable. To demonstrate the practicability of those laws, and to show the Islamic "Design of Life," He chose the house of His slaves, Muhammad and Khadija. Without Khadija, the laws of Islam would have remained meaningless. In fact, it is even possible that Muhammad Mustafa could not have promulgated those laws without her.
One of the greatest blessings that Muhammad Mustafa and Khadija received from Allah Ta'ala was their daughter, Fatima Zahra. As noted before, Fatima was born after the death of her brothers, Qasim and Abdullah. She was only five years old when her mother died. After the death of her mother, Muhammad Mustafa, the messenger of Allah, became both a father and a mother for her. In bringing up his daughter, the Messenger of Allah was demonstrating the applicability of the laws of Islam. Since he is the model for all Muslims, they have to imitate him in all his deeds. He bestowed the utmost love upon, and showed the greatest respect to his daughter.
Both in Makka and in Medina, many important persons, such as princes and leaders of powerful tribes, came to see the messenger of Allah. He never rose from the ground to greet any of them. But if he heard that his daughter, Fatima Zahra, was coming to see him, he rose from the floor, went forward to greet her, escorted her back, and gave her the place of honor to sit. He did not show so much esteem and regard to anyone at any time in his life - man or woman!
Such is the bounty of Allah, which He bestows on whom He will: and Allah is the Lord of the highest bounty. (Chapter 62; verse 4)
Allah Ta'ala bestowed His Bounty upon Fatima Zahra, the daughter of His friend and His messenger, Muhammad Mustafa.
It was Khadija's only daughter, Fatima Zahra, who became the recipient of the accolades of Heaven in the 76th chapter of Quran Majid - Sura Dahr. In fact, the whole chapter is "dedicated" to her and to her family comprising her husband, Ali ibn Abi Talib; her children, Hasan and Husain; and her maid, Fizza. She also became the "exegesis" of the 108th Chapter of Quran Majid - Sura Kauthar (=Abundance). Allah Ta'ala gave Khadija a son-in-law like Ali ibn Abi Talib who became the Lion of Allah; "the Right Arm of Islam;" and the shield and buckler of Muhammad Mustafa; and He gave her grandsons like Hasan and Husain who became the Riders of the Shoulders of the Messenger of Allah, and "the Princes of the Youth of Heaven."
Without a doubt, Islam means the practice of the house of Khadija; and without a doubt, Quran Majid is the "dialect" of her family. Her daughter, Fatima Zahra, and her grand-children, Hasan and Husain, grew up "speaking" Quran Majid. She has the same relationship to Islam and Quran Majid that light has to the eyes, lustre to a pearl; and fragrance to a rose.
Even the most eloquent of languages fails adequately to express or fittingly to commend, Khadija's merits. But Allah Ta'ala has promised His reward to his loving slaves like Khadija in the following verses of His Book:
Those who have faith and do righteous deeds, - they are the best of creatures.
Their reward is with Allah: gardens of eternity, beneath which rivers flow; they will dwell therein for ever; Allah well pleased with them, and they with him: all this for such as fear their lord and cherisher. (Chapter 98; verses 7, 8)