Recognizing the Role of Khadijah (RA) in the Revelation (Part 3)

Recognizing the Role of Khadijah (RA) in the Revelation (Part 3)

This is the third in a series of articles on Khadija (ra). Her story will be followed by the stories of several other women from Islamic history for #womenofislamwednesday.

Part 1

Part 2


Written by: Sofiyya


When we think about the revelation and Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alayhi wa salam–peace and blessings be upon him)), we all think of his wisdom, piety, good character, patience, and sacrifices, amongst other things. Khadijah (radhiyallahu anha–may God be pleased with her) was his first wife, his first love, and the first Muslim after the Rasool himself. She wasn’t just the first Muslimah, but the first Muslim to accept Islam.

Once Muhammad (s) and Khadijah (ra) were married, she remained the businesswoman she’d been prior to their meeting. They were a very popular couple, especially because of their noble character traits. The first fifteen years of their marriage seemed to be normal, and there isn’t much information about this time period. It wasn’t until what happened next that their marriage, social life, and family were put to the test. This is where we really get to see the strength of their love unfold. It is adversity that tests the bonds between husband and wife, and there is no question that their bond truly was strong. Many marriages buckle with illness or financial strain, but their marriage underwent every possible test, and they were resilient. They had faith in each other, strengthened by their faith in God. There are many lessons we can learn from the beginning of their marriage to each other and from Khadijah’s role as a wife.

Throghout their marriage, Prophet Muhammad (s) spent long periods of time in the cave of Mount Hira, worshipping God, whenever he was able to. Sometimes he would stay in the cave for up to a month at a time, seeking spiritual truth. This was something important to him, and Khadija supported him and was patient without knowing what greatness was going to happen. She used to climb up to the cave and bring him provisions and food so that he could continue his worship. Remember that she was between the ages of 40 and 55 at this time. She was running her own company and raising their children. It’s one thing to come home from work and cook and clean for your family, but can you imagine doing all of that and then going to climb a mountain every night to ensure your husband didn’t go to sleep hungry? She allowed him to pursue his passion, just as he supported her in her business. They stood by each other’s interests, beliefs, and passions.

Tangentially, can you imagine how fit she was? At her age! Imagine how much she loved him to climb all that way for him, and imagine how good of a husband he was to her and how much he loved her to deserve that type of response from his wife. Sisters, this should be a lesson to all of us to take better care of ourselves. God has blessed us with one body. The way some us disregard these gifts from God is unbelievable. Some of us put more effort in maintaining our homes and our replaceable, material possessions than the body that God has put life into. But I digress. Let’s focus on the real matter at hand: the revelation.

One day, Muhammad (s) rushed home from Mount Hira shivering with fear, repeatedly asking Khadijah to cover him and comfort him. When he calmed down a bit, she asked him what was wrong. He told her, “I feared for my life.”

Without knowing what happened, Khadijah immediately replied, “Never! By God, God will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your friends and family, you help the poor and the destitute, you serve your guests generously, and you assist the poverty-stricken ones.”

He told Khadijah what happened to him in the cave. He had been sitting quietly when an angel suddenly embraced him forcefully, pressing him hard, and said, “Iqra.” (“Read.”)

Muhammad (s) replied, “I do not know how to read.”

He was released, but the force embraced him once more, so tightly that Muhammad (s) thought it was his death. The angel repeated emphatically, “Iqra.”

Muhammad (s) again replied, “I do not know how to read!”

The angel pressed him tightly for a third time. “Iqra!”

Muhammad (s) finally replied in confusion, “What shall I read?”

The angel said, “Read in the name of your Lord, who created you; created man from clots [of congealed blood]. Read, and your Lord is the Most Honorable.” {The Holy Qur’an: Chapter 96, verses 1-3}

And as suddenly as the angel had arrived, he disappeared, leaving Muhammad (s) once more alone in the darkness of the remote cave, terrified. He ran home to the one and only person who would comfort him, the one and only person he wanted to tell: his wife.

Khadijah (ra), upon hearing this story, knew that there was someone who would be able to explain the meaning of these events. Her cousin, Waraqah Ibn Naw-fal, was a blind man who was a scholar of the Torah and used to tell her stories of the prophet of the end of times. She immediately took her shaking husband to see Waraqah, and Muhammad (s) related the story to him.

Upon hearing what happened, Waraqah stated, “This is the same tradition which God has sent to Moses and Jesus. This angel is Gabriel, and you are the prophet of this nation.”

As this statement started to sink in, Waraqah added, “I wish I was young and strong, at a time when your people will drive you out.” Everything was astonishing to the Rasool, but this scared him.

“Would they truly drive me out?” he asked.

“Any man who came with something similar to what you will come with was treated with hostility, and if I should remain alive until the day when you will be driven out, then I would support you strongly,” replied Waraqa.

The blessed couple left Waraqa’s house that night, with their lives completely changed by his statement and the earlier course of events. They were now aware how difficult the road ahead was going to be, but they also knew how important it was. Yet that knowledge couldn’t have prepared them for the course of the next few years.

As the realization started to settle in, Muhammad (s) turned to Khadijah (ra), his beloved wife, and said, “You are the first person I am calling to this faith.”

“I am the first to accept,” replied Khadijah.

“Then our days of rest have left us,” said Prophet Muhammad (s). This was the start of the dawah, calling people to the faith.

Khadijah (ra) was the first person to follow Islam from Prophet Muhammad (s). A woman was the first Muslim.

When the Prophet left the cave, he was scared and distraught. He could have sought support and guidance from his uncle Abu Talib, or his best friend, Abu Bakr, but he chose his wife. He knew his wife was not just there for comfort and support;  she was also wise and of sound judgment. She was the person he turned to. She had many reasons to be frustrated and fatigued by all her everyday stress, but she always made their relationship a priority. She loved him, for all that the word “love” truly means.

And so it began. In my next article, we will see just how important Khadijah (ra) was to the beginning of the spread of Islam. We will see how important it was that she was a strong independent woman and a supportive wife. Her love for her husband played a great role in the spread of Islam. When Prophet Muhammad (s) embraced the prophecy, the first person he wanted with him, was his wife. So who can deny the significance of women in Islam?


WATCH THIS EPISODE ON THE STORYTIME WITH SOFIYYA YOUTUBE PAGE:  RAMADAN 2016: Women in the Life of the Rasool (4) – Khadijah R.A. (Pt 3/5) 



Ghadanfar, Mahmood Ahmad. Great Women of Islam. Riyadh: Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, 2001. Print.

Quṭb, Muḥammad ʻAlī. Women around the Messenger. Riyadh: International Islamic House, 2007. Print.

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