Khadijah (rta) – A Guiding Light for Every Muslimah

beautiful-hibiscus-flower-dsc02642Do you ever wish to shake hands with a political figure, or pose for the camera standing next to a high heeled model, or even meet a celebrated Islamic scholar? Khadijah (rta) had the honour of receiving greetings from the Lord of the worlds from above seven heavens.

Jibreel (as) once came to the Prophet (sa) and said: “O Allah’s Messenger! This is Khadijah (rta), coming to you with a dish having meat soup (or some food or drink). When she reaches you, greet her on behalf of her Lord, and on my behalf, and give her the glad tidings of having a palace made of Qasab in Paradise, wherein there will be neither any noise nor any toil.” (Bukhari)

Today, we will spend some time with our dear mother and study the traits of this wonderful woman, who attained the certificate of greatest achievement that can ever be; the Pleasure of the Most High and a Palace in Jannah. What made her so outstanding?

Women especially, are champions at complaining. 

The first Muslimah

Khadijah (rta) readily and instantly accepted the message of Islam, without any hesitation. She was well-aware that proclaiming this new faith would mean inviting trouble as she was surrounded by an ignorant, stereotyped society. How many of us refrain from taking a positive step with the fear of what people might say, and there she accepted the call of Islam at the cost of her life. Whilst we are not willing to pay any price for the truth, Khadijah (rta) gave up everything, teaching us a lesson; our reputation, our wealth and our community, nothing is more valuable than faith and the principles of truth.

Whilst we are not willing to pay any price for the truth, Khadijah (rta) gave up everything, teaching us a lesson; our reputation, our wealth and our community, nothing is more valuable than faith and the principles of truth.

Patience and endurance

Women especially, are champions at complaining. A woman not complaining about her servants, husband, children, in-laws and the tiniest struggles of life is very hard to find! Being the wife of the Prophet (sa), Khadijah (rta) had to face the greatest of trials.

After Qasim, Abdullah too passed away soon after he was born. Instead of sympathies and consolation that one would have expected at that grievous occasion, the pagans rejoiced at the news and started making fun of Muhammad (sa). Moreover, Abu Lahab ordered his two sons to divorce the daughters of Muhammad (sa) who were in their marriage. Weren’t these arrows hard hitting for a mother?

Later, came three difficult years of suffering and starvation in the valley of Abu Talib. However, Khadijah (rta) bore the hardships and the uncomfortable lifestyle without complaining even once.. Every other day, her neighbour Umm-e-Jameel would throw garbage in the front yard of the honourable Khadijah (rta). Did she go and scream at her husband about what she had to go through because of him? No she did not! She did have a heart, but what an enduring heart it was!

Spending in the way of Allah (swt)

“Allah (swt) would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest and you answer the call of those who are in distress.” This is the well-known testimony given by Khadijah (rta) about her husband after the first revelation. In fact, in each act of kindness and charity, she had a major role too. She never stopped her husband or crashed his generosity like many of us would have in favour of our own kids.

With Ali Ibn Talib, Zaid Bin Harithah, their children and two children from Khadijah’s (rta) previous marriage, the expenses weren’t few. However, never was a beggar sent empty handed, or a needy one refused from the household of Khadijah (rta). She gave up all her wealth to spread the religion of Allah (swt).

Never-ending support for her husband

Khadijah (rta) always stood alongside Muhammad (sa) firmly and supportively against the toughest of tides. It was her to whom he returned after the perturbing event of revelations and she affectionately reassured him. Khadijah (rta) was like a shelter amidst the pelting stones of harassment and mockery, a refuge after the tiring and heart breaking days of Dawah. She was not the grumpy, selfish kind. Both were like pillars supporting each other. No wonder Muhammad (sa) loved her and reminisced about her so often.

Every Muslim woman, especially the wives of Islamic workers have a lesson in this: Be a bridge between your men and their worship, not barriers. Like the pillars of a house you may be obscure. However, you are the actual source of strength and power!

He once said: “I have not yet found a better wife than her. She had faith in me when everyone, even members of my own family and tribe did not believe me, and accepted that I was truly a Prophet and a Messenger of Allah (swt). She converted to Islam, spent all her wealth and worldly goods to help me spread this faith. And this too when the entire world turned against me and persecuted me. It is through her that Allah (swt) blessed me with children.”

Every Muslim woman, especially the wives of Islamic workers have a lesson in this: Be a bridge between your men and their worship, not barriers. Like the pillars of a house you may be obscure. However, you are the actual source of strength and power!

An exemplary mother

Behind the faith of Zainab (rta), the Hijrah of Umm Kulthum (rta) and the endless courage of Fatimah (rta) was the hand of their mother. Amongst the children of Khadijah (rta), only Fatimah’s (rta) Seerah is available in detail, and in it one can see the generosity, patience, selflessness and love for Islam that she took from her mother. Khadijah (rta) is not just herself one of the top four ladies of Jannah, she’s also the mother of one of the top ladies of Jannah!

Muhammad (sa) once drew four lines on the ground and asked his companions if they knew what those meant. They replied in the negative. He then told them that they stood for the four leading ladies of Jannah: Asiyah Bint Muzahim, Mariam (as) Bint Imran (as), Khadijah (rta) Bint Khuwalid (rta) and Fatimah Bint Muhammad (rta).

This leads to a question that each one of us should ask ourselves. “Do our sons and daughters get a nourishment of faith, patience and Haya (modesty) from us?

We always rush after successful people, praising them and seeking advice from them. Why don’t we dive into the books of Seerah and spend some evenings with these fabulous Queens of Jannah. Forget about Miss Fashion, Miss World and the Miss Universe because “All that glitters is not gold!” Aspire to be amongst the women with the heart of gold: the women of Jannah and the legendary ladies; follow their footsteps in order to accomplish Jannah where they belong.

May Allah (swt) make us enter Paradise and meet the Queens of Jannah. Ameen

Who are my Daughter’s Role Models?

footprintsOnce upon a time, there was a little girl who loved listening to stories. Her favourite were the stories about other little girls – just like her. She would listen to the tales of their adventures and later emulate them in her play. She loved to do everything the way the characters in her books did.

All children love stories and they need someone to look up to: someone to admire and someone to imitate. I’ve got two young daughters Alhumdulillah, and I can tell how the stories that are either read to them or discovered by them influence their imagination. It’s always the female characters that they are most interested in; after all every little girl wants to be a princess.

I got the feeling that maybe these are not the best stories to put in their little heads. After all, the princesses in the classic fairy tales don’t have that much to their merit. Even their goals are also not as ambitious as I would like for my children.

I used to tell my daughters the stories I was told when I was little: all the fairy tales about Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and so on. Then I got the feeling that maybe these are not the best stories to put in their little heads. After all, the princesses in the classic fairy tales don’t have that much to their merit. Even their goals are also not as ambitious as I would like for my children. Cinderella and other beauties only dream of getting married to a prince and in times of need, they rely upon the magic wand of the fairy godmother. Needless to say, magic is Haram; however, even in the make-believe world of fairy tales, the characters rely upon it; some events are beyond their control while others happen by pure luck. It gives children a lesson only in wishful thinking and an escapist approach. All the little girls want to be princesses and I don’t think that aspiring to be a ‘princess’ is necessarily a bad thing. I just don’t want them to be the Sleeping Beauty kind of princess.

The history of Islam is full of great stories. There were a number Muslimahs who were pious, courageous, and ambitious. They achieved success in this world as well as in the eternal life. First of all, there are the Greatest Four: the four women mentioned by the Prophet (sa), as those who have achieved the highest ranks in Jannat Al-Firdaus:

  • Asiya, the wife of the Pharaoh
  • Maryam, the mother of Isa (as)
  • Khadijah (rta), the first wife of the Prophet (sa)
  • Fatimah (rta), his daughter

Each of these women led a different lifestyle and each had been tried by Allah (swt). Each proved her individual strength.

Financial Status Asiya and Khadijah (rta) were rich, while Maryam and Fatimah (rta) lived in poor conditions
Marital Status Asiya had been tortured upon the orders of her husband, while Khadijah (rta) and Fatimah (rta) were happily married; Maryam was a single mother.
Professional Status Khadijah (rta) was a businesswoman, while Fatimah (rta) was a housewife

 

Each of them was different, but together they tell a story of all women and demonstrate a perfect example as to what it takes to be a great woman and a great Muslimah. And these are the characters that I would like my daughters to hear about and learn from. These are the best role models for young Muslimahs: the Princesses of the Akhirah.

Of course, there are many other great Muslimahs whose stories are worth telling: some of my favourite are Khawla bint Al-Azwar, a courageous warrior who rescued her brother from the enemy’s hands, and the Queen of Saba. As mentioned in the Quran, she was the one who recognized the truth of Islam and converted her nation. I would love to read such stories to my children, but sadly there is not much written about them in a format that would be suitable for young children.

Alhumdulillah, there is a wonderful variety of Islamic literature available in the bookstores nowadays, but most of them tell the stories of the Prophets. There is no doubt that these are very valuable stories, but I think it’s important for young girls to learn about female characters, so they can have someone to look up to and some good examples to emulate.

there are many other great Muslimahs whose stories are worth telling: some of my favourite are Khawla bint Al-Azwar, a courageous warrior who rescued her brother from the enemy’s hands, and the Queen of Saba.

Since there is this gap in the market, I have started reading adult literature on the Sahabiyat. I try to retell these stories to my kids in a language they would understand. And after a more thorough search, I have discovered some children’s literature, in which the main characters are young Muslimahs who have their problems and their adventures; they always come up with a solution that is in compliance with the guidance of Islam and teaches a valuable lesson to young readers. Seeing how powerfully stories influence children’s dreams, I am now much more considerate when choosing books for my daughters.

Of course, the role models for our children are not only the literary characters. It is the adults around them who affect them the most, teaching them by giving an example of everyday life. I know my daughters will learn from their aunties, grandmothers, elder cousins and friends. But first of all, they will learn from me. That’s why I should try to be the best example for them. It’s a huge responsibility, but also a great honour. I pray to Allah (swt) that He would make me the best I can become, so that my daughters would learn good ways from me, Insha’Allah.