The Noble Characteristics of Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid (RA)

Allah Most High granted her the good fortune of being the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad pbuh. They spent a good portion of blessed married life together. Prophet pbuh had deep affection, love and respect for her is evident to anyone who has studied the Sirah.

So, one may ask, why did Allah’s Messenger pbuh value her so much? Although this can only be truly understood by studying her life in detail, what follows is a brief summary of what made her shine among the women of her era and ultimately be treasured by Allah’s Messenger pbuh.

Following are eight profound lessons we can all learn from the life of Khadija RA.

#1 Live a life of taqwa :
When piety is discussed nowadays, people fear the topic, strangely they dread the change it will bring in their lives. Praising those who adopt the quality of taqwa -defined by the scholars as God-Fearing piety i.e. abstinence from every deed that displeases the Creator- Allah Most High says in the Qur’an:

“Verily the most honourable of you by Allah is the one who has the most taqwa.” (49:13)

This quality of taqwa was so strongly embedded in the nature of our mother, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), that, in a hadith, Allah’s Messenger pbuh described her as “the best amongst the women (of this nation)”. (Bukhari)

Living a life of taqwa brings out a person’s true worth. It makes one realise the true value of this life instead of just living to fulfill our base desires.

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) had sought out the truth from her learned cousin Waraqa long before the establishment of faith in Arabia. She was one of those special few who lived an upright life even in the days of ignorance (jahiliyyah) and guarded herself from the unscrupulous traits that were prevalent in that era. She was for this reason well-known by the name of Tahirah (one who is pure and untainted).

Lesson: Instill in yourself the qualities of piety and abstention from sin, even though it may go against the social standards or practices that are prevalent in the society and even though you may face opposition for staying upright.

# Cherish the bonds of marriage :
More often than not we hear complaints of spouses, how they each prefer spending time away from each other rather than together. Arguing and squabbling has become the norm in many homes. It takes a considerable effort and sacrifice on the part of both spouses to keep the spark of love alive in the home.

A woman can positively enhance the environment of her home with the décor of her good character and disposition. As it is said, “Life’s pleasures are doubled with a devoted and pious partner”.

Even during trying times when society was opposing her husband, Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) stood strong as a pillar of support for him and refused to give up. Due to her excellent nature, Khadijah RA always held a special place in the heart of Allah’s Messenger pbuh even though he married several more wives in the later years. Her death left a special place in His heart that none other could fill.

The warm nature and love displayed by Khadijah RA in her marital home was exemplary. She always remained a constant source of contentment for her husband, she built their home upon the foundation of tranquility and never left any stone unturned in inculcating piety in her family.

When Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) was a child, she would sometimes ask Allah’s Messenger pbuh and Khadijah RA questions which displayed her vast intelligence and aptitude. Fatimah (may Allah be pleased with her) once asked her mother, Khadijah RA, “My beloved mother! Will we be able to see Allah, who created us and everything in this world?” Khadijah RA replied, “My daughter! If we worship Allah in this world, be kind to his servants, abstain from that which he has prohibited us, do not ascribe partners to him, understand him only to be worthy of worship, and bring iman in his Messenger, then on the Day of Qiyamah we will most certainly see Allah. On that day reckoning will be taken for the good and evil one commits.’’ (Hundred Stories of Fatimah (May Allah be pleased with her), p. 33, Zam Zam Publishers).

Lesson: Cherish your spouse and work hard to build your family on a strong set of values if you are married or make a firm intention to instill these Islamic values in your family and offspring in time to come, if you are still in the process of seeking marriage.

#3 Loyalty to one’s spouse and being a pillar of support for those in need :
When one’s spouse is facing difficulties, a quality of a good husband or wife is that one consoles the other instead of compounding problems by ranting and complaining. The Glorious Qur’an states:

“Pure women are for pure men and pure men are for pure women.” (24:26)

The Messenger of Allah pbuh was the purest of creation and thus was blessed by Allah with a partner who was on a high level of purity fitting with his lofty status, who was his pillar of strength at one of the most crucial periods in the history of Islam.

After receiving the first revelation, Allah’s Messenger pbuh was clearly shaken. He sought refuge in the secure and safe world of Khadijah RA who had uttered the words that relieved all his sorrows and pain. Instead of panicking, she exuded a calm, comforting demeanour and assured him by saying, “Allah will never forsake You, You maintain ties and always speak the truth” (Bukhari).

Through every outrage and persecution of the people of Makkah, Khadijah RA was his dearest companion and helper.

Lesson: This life is too limited to fuss over little details. Be the source of encouragement that others need instead of being a burden to them.

#4 Racing towards good :
At the time when your eyes close, the chance to earn reward stops. It will not be possible then to get the reward of one glorification of Allah or one minute good deed. We need to gather our treasures for the next life while we are alive. The more we race to goodness, the more we will store in our balances for the hereafter.

Allah Most High says in the Qur’an:

“Race towards virtue.” (5:48)

Success in executing this command was clearly portrayed in the life of Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her). She was so far ahead, it was difficult, almost impossible for anyone to surpass her and her virtues. Khadijah RA was the first to hear the message of Allah when it was freshly revealed. At such a crucial time, she was not going to leave the Best of Humanity alone. She immediately declared her faith in him and in all that was revealed to him. She was the first to pray with him, the prayer taught by Angel Jibril pbuh.

A narration of Sahih Muslim mentions that “whosoever sets a good precedent in Islam will receive the reward for it and the reward of all those who practice on this (deed) after him, without any of their rewards being decreased”. Khadijah RA along with the other forerunners of faith set a precedent for later generations on how to accept the truth when it is presented, and they will thus be rewarded for this till the end of time.

Lesson: Seize the opportunity to do good wherever you can. Do not postpone any good deed for tomorrow as you might not know if a tomorrow will come for you, or how your condition might change.

#5 Rewarding goodness with goodness
We live in a world filled with selfishness, people say things like “Don’t go the extra mile for those who won’t take one step for you”. Some go around thinking that the world owes them, expecting all good to fall at their feet without putting out the goodness first. There is a wise saying: “Do good and don’t care who takes the credit”. Allah’s rule is that he lets no good go unrecognized and unrewarded. He is Shakur, the All-Appreciative. If you love him and do work for his sake, he will accept you and place love for you in the hearts of his creation.

People gain merit through the sacrifices they make. The Qur’an promises this by stating:

“Is there any reward for good other than good?” (55:60)

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her) earned her place in the heart of the Messenger of Allah pbuh who often described her worth. He would mention Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her)’s name at every opportunity talking of her virtues to whoever He saw.

Once A’ishah RA enquired from the Messenger of Allah pbuh about Khadijah RA to which He replied: “She believed in me when no one else did, she accepted Islam when people rejected me and she helped and comforted me when there was no other helping hand.”(Tabarani, Mu’jam al-Kabir)

The Messenger of Allah pbuh never even forgot her loved ones. He would often slaughter a sheep and send portions of it to the friends of his beloved Khadijah RA.

Lesson: Just like Khadijah RA earned her lofty status through struggle and service, we too can strive to sincerely assist humanity while solely expecting compensation from Allah. The good you do will be cherished in the hearts of those around you, your legacy will be etched into their minds and this will reflect in the stories they share about you.

#6 Being a good parent :
Nowadays a widespread problem is that children are neglected due to parents being engrossed in their careers. Khadijah RA never let her wealth and status come in the way of love and affection. She never neglected her family and raised them well.

Khadijah RA had the honour of bearing the offspring of the Messenger of Allah pbuh. He said the following in praise of her: “She supported me from her property and Allah gave me children through her.” (Ahmad)

Khadijah RA was an excellent parent and this can be determined from the fact that she brought up her children so perfectly amidst all the challenges she faced in the initial stages of prophethood. Her daughters were honoured with being accepted into the marriages of prominent khulafa (leaders) and her youngest daughter, Fatimah RA was well known for her compassionate and gentle personality and was given the glad tidings of being the leader of the women in Paradise.

Lesson: No matter what you’ve done for yourself or for humanity, if you can’t look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?

#7 Exchanging gifts to increase love
Once the Messenger of Allah pbuh saw a necklace of His beloved Khadijah RA which she had gifted to her daughter Zaynab RA on her marriage. He became sentimental and emotional as this took Him back to the blessed times spent with Khadijah RA in Makkah. Exchanging gifts is a proven practice from the Sunnah to melt the hearts of near and dear ones.

A hadith mentions that “gifts to each other increase mutual love”(Bayhaqi).

The above-mentioned account shows us the truth of this exhortation and we see how the love was sensed even much later.

Lesson: The upper hand is better than the lower hand. Many people are habituated only to take, but the superior ones are those who give. Give freely from what you own and don’t fear a decrease from Allah, The Owner of the Mighty Throne.

#8 Preparing for the Akhirah
During her lifetime Khadijah RA was informed of a serene palace in Jannah for her due to her efforts and sacrifice. What an honour to know where you are going, and your status in the afterlife!

Abu Hurayrah RA narrates that on one occasion Angel Jibril pbuh came to the Prophet pbuh and said: “O Messenger of Allah, Khadijah is coming to you with a bowl of soup. When she comes to you give her greetings from her Lord and from me and give her the glad tidings of a palace of pearls in paradise, where there will be no noise or tiredness” (Bukhari).

Some interpret this to be a reward for the calm and tranquil environment that she afforded to the Messenger of Allah pbuh.

After her passing, Khadijah RA was dearly missed by the Messenger of Allah pbuh and her absence affected him deeply. He would return to visit her resting place as if to refresh the memories of her loyalty and devotion. History proves undeniably that the world has never seen the likes of her.

Lesson: Seek knowledge about deeds that will build palaces for you in the hereafter and put them into practice. Seek Allah’s pleasure and ask him for Jannah and abstain from his displeasure and seek protection from the Hellfire.

Khadijah was one of history’s most remarkable women. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) once said that the four greatest women of mankind were: Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad (his youngest daughter,) Maryam bint `Imran (the Virgin Mary) and Asiyah bint Muzahim (the wife of Pharaoh.) Khadijah continues to inspire people to this day who revere her for taking great care of the Prophet of Islam and for showing the world, through her behavior, what a pious, modest and courageous woman can accomplish. The example she left for mankind remains timeless

May Allah Most High bless us with the qualities of Khadija RA and unite us with her in Jannah. Ameen.

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