When the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam grew a little older he became a tradesman. It is said that he used to trade along with Saib ibn Abi Saib.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was the best to his companions. He would not argue or make lame excuses. He was trustworthy, truthful and a man of fine character; and this got him the title of Amin.
Being Employed by Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid
Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha was a merchant woman of stature and wealth. She would employ men to trade goods on her behalf. Being a woman, she chose to manage the business from her home instead of undertaking long journeys and dealing with men in the marketplace.
When the news of the Prophet’s trustworthiness, truthfulness and character reached her, she decided to hire him.
The Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam accepted the job and traveled to Syria in the company of Khadeejah’s slave Maysara. When they reached Syria, the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam traded the goods, earned a good profit and returned to Makkah.
Never before had Lady Khadeejah’s hired merchants made so much profit as Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When she heard from Maysara about his business skills and character she was impressed.
The Business Lady Sends Her Proposal
Returning to Makkah, Maysara not only narrated the tales of Prophet’s business acumen but also a strange incident that he observed. He informed her of two angels shading the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam on a hot day. When Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha learned of this, she gave herself in marriage to Allah’s beloved Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
When the proposal reached the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam he consulted with his uncles who approved of it and gave the couple good wishes for their future. Abu Talib conducted their Nikkah [Islamic marriage agreement] and said praises for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. It is said that mahr [bridal dowry] was decided to be either twenty or six camels.
Their marriage took place two months after the Syrian trade journey. At the time of their marriage, the bride was 40 years old and the groom was 25 years old. In some narrations, Lady Khadeejah’s age is said to be 28, however, there is more evidence of her being 40 years of age. Allahu A’lam!
Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha had been married twice in the past: once to ‘Ateeq ibn Aiz Makhzoomi and then to Abu Hala Tayyami. However, both her husbands passed away and she was left behind as a widow. She had one child from Abu Hala. Many men of high stature had proposed the widow, however, none of them appealed to her. She waited for the right man who would be of a fine character and not just marry her for her financial standing or beauty. For her right intentions, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala married her to the best of all mankind. Abundant peace and blessings be upon our Prophet.
Their marriage became the talk of the town because both the bride and groom were well-liked by the Makkans. People envied the couple.
This beautiful marriage contains many lessons for us. One of them is that if a woman finds someone suitable for herself instead of waiting for the man to propose her, she can initiate the proposal. We also learn that one’s age should not be an issue. If the two people getting married find each other compatible then it does not matter which race or culture they are from, or what their ages are. We also learn that what is worth assessing in a prospective match is a fine character. Sadly, we fall for the superficial things such as one’s financial standing or physical appearance instead of character. And then when the honeymoon phase is over we see the ugliness of the other person and regret our decision.
Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha was a woman of fine character herself. She was from a noble family and of a high stature. For her, Prophet’s meager means did not matter; what really mattered was his uprightness and character.
In our society many people claim to be seeking proposals of practicing Muslims, however, what they really are after is one’s wealth. Many parents reject proposals for their daughters on the basis that the groom-to-be does not earn well. It is not that one should completely ignore one’s financial standing, because everyone has a right to not live in miserly conditions, but it should not be the main criteria for assessing a potential prospect. Furthermore, it is not only the girls’ parents who look for rich families, many times it is the boy’s side looking for rich girls that will support their son. They are looking for Khadeejah (radhiAllahu ‘anha) while their sons are no Muhammad (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Have a look at the matrimonial ads published in newspapers, you will be shocked to see that having a foreign nationality is one of the criteria of marriage. They blatantly say: the girl should help our son settle abroad.
We also learn that just as the tragedies in the Prophet’s life did not lead him to depression, similarly, being a widow did not made Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha to entertain suicidal thoughts or give up on life. Her husbands were gone but she still had a life before her. Instead of crying over her loss, she busied herself in business. Sadly in our societies, people fall into self-pity. They only see the bad in their lives and do not reflect on the purpose of their pain. Why is Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala testing them? What does He want them to do?
If it is not the person, then one’s family or society keeps reminding them of their loss so much so that they will label them wretched. Surrounded by such negativity, the woman believes what is said about her and gives up on her life. Because she is under stress, she has no hope for her future and cannot think for herself.
We need to ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala for wisdom and rushd [right guidance], and stay away from negative people. Instead of brooding over our losses or deprivations, we need to get out of self-pity and fix our lives. We should remember that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala only helps those who help themselves. Neither did the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam sit back hoping for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to miraculously change his life nor did Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha wait for things to happen on their own. They found a purpose for their lives and continued to use Allah’s blessings in making a livelihood for themselves. How often do we look at our blessings, and how much do we complain about what we don’t have?
We should remember that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala treats a person as they are. If we compare our lives with others, chase the trends of this world and fall for the wrong things then it is our own mistake. Instead of arguing with people and blaming taqdeer [one’s fate], one should reflect on his decisions and the company that he chose. We should remember that all of us are different and Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has a plan for each one of us. We need to ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to show us our special talents and allow us to pursue them in His path, aameen.
Prophet’s Children from Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha
Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha was the Prophet’s first wife. He did not marry another woman for as long as she was alive. She was the only wife that delivered him children. However, Prophet’s son Ibraheem was born to Maria radhiAllahu ‘anha – he died a few months after birth.
The names of the Prophet’s children were: Qasim, Zeinab, Ruqaiyya, Um Kulthoom, Fatimah and ‘Abdullah.
All of the Prophet’s sons died in their infancy and for this the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was greatly mocked by his own people. The Quraysh would say: Muhammad has been cut off. It used to grieve the Messenger salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam a lot but he remained patient with the decision of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then revealed Surah Al-Kauthar and said, “Indeed, We have granted you (O Muhammad), al-Kauthar. So pray to your Lord and sacrifice (to Him alone). Indeed, your enemy is the one cut off.” (108:1-3)
All of his daughters embraced Islam, migrated to Madinah and died before the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam except Fatimah radhiAllahu ‘anha. She died six months after the death of her dear father.
The critics who label the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam to be a womanizer need to read his Seerah. His first marriage was at the age of 25 and for as long as Khadeejah radhiAllahu ‘anha was alive he did not re-marry. All of his later marriages were because of a reason. He had to teach us that it is absolutely permissible and liked to marry a divorcee, a widow, etc.
The revelation of Surah al-Kauthar teaches us that we need to have a firm belief in the Power of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Do not pay heed to what people say to you or about you. If they remind you of your pitiful state remind them and yourself: HasbeeAllahu wa Nimal Waqeel [Allah is sufficient for me and He is the Best Disposer of Affairs]. Whether you have been divorced, your child has died or some other calamity has struck you, do not worry because this is all part of Allah’s plans. Recite HasbeeAllahu wa Nimal Waqeel and ask Him to provide you solace and show you His next plan. When the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was going through a trial in his life, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala revealed Surah ad-Duha, and relieved him of distress. Read its tafseer and see how Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala consoles His servants.
If we reflect on this phrase: HasbeeAllahu wa ni’mal waqeel, we will realize that this is an excellent tool to detach ourselves from dunya and its blessings. When we are not attached to the temporary pleasures of this world and have the certainty that the next life is the real life, we will not grieve as much over petty matters of this life. Our life should not end with calamities. We need to learn the art of finding ease in hardship and to reflect on the wisdom in the pain.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala fix our affairs and teach us wisdom. May He allow us to become our own person and stop following and listening to naysayers, aameen. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is sufficient for us and He is all that we need!