When her father died, Lady Khadija (A) continued his business of sending trade caravans to Syria and Yemen. Under her sensible management, the business expanded and with the profits she helped the poor, the widows, the orphans, the sick and the disabled. If there were any poor girls, she got them married and paid their dowry.
Lady Khadija (A) preferred not to travel with the caravans and used to send her agents instead. She made such great profits that she was soon the richest trader in Makkah. Her trade caravans were larger than the rest of the traders combined, and her success earned her the title "Princess of Makkah".
Although the Arabs were mostly idol worshippers, a few of them had turned away from such practices and believed in One God as had been taught by the Prophets Ibrahim (A) and Isma'il (A).
One such man was Waraqa bin Naufal, the cousin of Lady Khadija (A). He used to stop people from the terrible practice of burying their baby daughters alive. He had a great interest in the Bible and Tawrat.
Lady Khadija (A) listened to her uncle's ideas and she also believed in One God. Her reputation for being a good lady earned her the name Tahira, which means "the pure one." As Lady Khadija (A) fame grew, many men asked for her hand in marriage, but she turned them all down.
In the spring of A.D. 595, at the time when the summer caravans were ready to leave Makkah for Syria, Lady Khadija (A) had not yet found a reliable agent to take her caravan. Meanwhile, Abu Talib was trying to find employment for his nephew, the Holy Prophet (S), who was now 25 years old. When he heard of this vacancy, he came to Lady Khadija (A) and asked her to consider his nephew for the job.
Like most people in Makkah, Lady Khadija (A) had heard a lot about the Holy Prophet (S). Already he had earned a reputation for his trustworthiness and honesty. Although he lacked experience, she had no hesitation in hiring him, saying that she would send along her slave Maysara, who was already an experienced traveler.
That year the trade caravan of Lady Khadija (A) made unusually high profits. The Holy Prophet (S) learnt the business quickly and in Syria he impressed the traders with his clever but fair dealing.
On their return to Makkah, the Holy Prophet (S) reported back to Lady Khadija (A) and then returned to his home. Maysara then told her about all the details of the trip. He was very impressed with the manner of the Holy Prophet (S) and spoke highly of his character and personality.
That is why, when Abu Talib sent his sister Safiya to the house of Lady Khadija (A) with a marriage proposal from the Holy Prophet (S) Lady Khadija (A) agreed immediately and a date was fixed for the marriage. Abu Talib himself took charge of the preparations for the marriage of his beloved nephew. On the day of the wedding he dressed the Holy Prophet (S) in the cloak of Abdul Muttalib and made him wear the ring of Hashim. Abu Talib at the agreed Mahar of 400 pieces of gold recited the sermon of marriage. The marriage was a cause of great celebration amongst the Quraysh.
Three days after the marriage, Abu Talib arranged for a feast in which every resident of Makkah was invited for a meal. This practice is known as "Walimah" and Islam later made it a recommended part of the marriage ceremonies.
At the time of their marriage the Holy Prophet (S) was 25 years old while Lady Khadija (A) was 40 years of age.
After her marriage to the Holy Prophet (S), Lady Khadija (A) began to lose interest in her business deals. She settled down happily in her new life as a wife. Because her business was so large, she could not close it overnight. Therefore she slowly began to cut down its size.
Although the Holy Prophet (S) still took her trade caravans to Syria and Yemen, she made no attempts to expand her contacts or increase the size of her trade caravans. After a few years, she was no longer a trader, although she still remained a very rich lady.
Lady Khadija (A) made it her duty to serve her husband and make him happy. In this she was very successful. Their marriage was blessed with happiness and children.
Their first child was Qasim. After his birth, the Holy Prophet (S) was called Abul Qasim - the father of Qasim - as per the custom of the Arabs.
The second child was also a boy. His name was Abdullah. He was also called Tahir and Tayyib.
Both boys did not survive very long and died while still very young. These losses made the Holy Prophet (S) very sad and when his cousin Imam Ali (A) was born, he brought him up in his house as his own son.
The Holy Prophet (S) used to spend a lot of time in the cave of Hira on a mountain near Makkah. Here he would think about Allah and wonder at His creations. He would also think about the actions of the people of Makkah and their bad habits made him sad.
Sometimes, he would remain in Hira for a few days before he returned. At these time Lady Khadija (A) would bring him food and drink and making sure he was comfortable.
When the Holy Prophet (S) was finally commanded by Allah to begin his mission to preach Islam, Lady Khadija (A) was the first woman to accept his message and become a Muslim.
She gave her entire wealth to serve the cause of Islam. Her money was used to buy the freedom of the early Muslims, many of whom were slaves. Later on, her money also financed the two migrations that the Muslims made to Abyssinia to escape the cruelties of the Quraysh.
As the Holy Prophet (S) continued preaching Islam, many of the Quraysh became his enemies. They began to call him names and insult him. Some of them called him "Abtar" which means an animal whose tail has been cut off. By this word they meant that the Holy Prophet (S) had no children who would inherit him and carry forward his name.
This mockery made the Holy Prophet (S) sad, until Allah revealed the Surae Kawthar in reply:
[In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Most Merciful. Verily, We have given you (O Muhammad) the Kawthar. So pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice. Verily, your enemy shall be "Abtar." (Quran 108: 1-3)]In these verses Allah promised the Holy Prophet (S) that he would not be childless, and soon afterwards his last child was born. She was a girl and he named her Fatima Zahra.
Lady Fatima (A) became the mother of our Holy Imams (A) and through the grandchildren of the Holy Prophet (S), his name remains forever.
Today the descendants of the Holy Prophet (S) are present throughout the world and they are call Sayyids. They can be identified by their turbans, which are black or green in color.
However, no one claims to be the descendants of Umar bin Aas or Abu Sufyan or Abu Jahl or any of the other enemies of the Holy Prophet (S). This is because of the promise of Allah in the above Sura, when He said to the Holy Prophet (S) that, "Verily your enemy will be Abtar."
Lady Khadija (A) was married to the Holy Prophet (S) for 25 years. She died on 10th Mahe Ramadhan in 10 A.H. She is buried in Makkah. In the same year the Holy Prophet (S) lost his uncle Abu Talib. He was so saddened by these two great losses that he called that year "Aamul Huzn", which means "The Year of Sadness".
While Lady Khadija (A) lived, the Holy Prophet (S) did not marry another woman and in later years he always said that she was the best of his wives.
The Holy Prophet (S) had said that Lady Khadija (A) was one of the four perfect women who had ever lived. The other three are:
- Lady Aasiya, the wife of Fir'aun,
- Lady Maryam, the mother of Prophet Isa (A), and
- Lady Fatima Zahra (A).
(Courtesy of:- Shia Ithna asheri Madressa)