The Strengths and Struggles of Khadijah (RA) (Part 4)

The Strengths and Struggles of Khadijah (RA) (Part 4)

Written by: Sofiyya

This is the fourth 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

Part 3

In our everyday lives, there are numerous initiatives we ladies are part of. Whether it is a new project at work or a movement in our communities, Muslim women are always right in the middle of the good stuff. Sometimes we do it because we have no choice; on other occasions, its because we feel dedicated to the cause. Your name may not be published, or even mentioned on the big stage, but deep down, you know you were a part of it. When I get involved in Islamic work, even if it’s the smallest class or volunteer effort, I like to think of myself channeling my inner Khadijah. Her husband was the Messenger of Islam. She didn’t get much glory on the field, but she was an integral part of the struggle, and received a lot of the backlash first hand. God put her in the Prophet’s life because He knew the Rasool needed her, and nobody else could take her place.

Having a good support system at home helped the Prophet (s) deal with hardship outside the home. He and Khadija (ra) were not prepared for all of the hardship that would come their way. Ali ibn Abi Talib narrated that he heard the Prophet saying, “Mary [the mother of Jesus]. . .was the best among the women (of the world in her time) and Khadijah is the best amongst the women (of this nation).” {Sahih Al-Bukhari}

In the beginning, Prophet Muhammad (s) preached to his close relatives and those whom he trusted. Everything was done in secrecy for their safety and the sanctity of the mission. As time went on, Islam started to spread. Abu Bakr, Zaid ibn Harithah, Ali, and many others who realized the truth that Prophet Muhammad preached soon embraced Islam. Khadijah (ra) gracefully took charge to provide for the home and her family financially. She also approached her family members and spoke to them about the new message. She understood the importance of sharing it. She was willing to bear full responsibility with her husband and never wavered. Whenever Prophet Muhammad (s) would receive a revelation, Khadijah (ra) was the first to know. She was the first to learn how to pray. This is very poignant when remembering the story of Khadijah. She was the first Muslim to learn Islam, and she learned everything directly from the Rasool himself. Prophet Muhammad (s) knew it was important to teach his religion, but he knew it was important to start with his family. His wife was his first priority.

After three years of quietly sharing the new message of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (s) began to preach more openly. At this time, Khadijah (RA) became an even bigger help to her husband. She used her power and influence in society from her business to protect him, hiring bodyguards for him around the clock. She publicized Islam among the women during the day and worked on people of her own tribe in the evening.

It was at this point that the trouble started. The public did not respond to the message as well as their friends and family members had. Muslims were abused, insulted, cursed, and even killed for defying idolatry and denouncing the evils within their society. People did not like change, nor did they appreciate people trying to alter the practices of their ancestors. Prophet Muhammad (s) was called a lunatic, a magician, and worse, but he did not waver, nor did his supporters. The Muslims had faith, and they believed in God and His bounties.

Khadijah (ra) went from being one of the most respected and admired woman in Mecca to the most ridiculed and shunned. It was a huge shock for Khadijah (ra), and while she was hurt, she still persevered. The biggest battle for her was seeing her husband, whom she loved so much, suffer for his beliefs. Can you imagine seeing your loved ones suffer this fate on a daily basis? The tensions were growing, but Khadijah (ra) was always present to console her husband and her children, who were terrified. She was their strength. She was God’s way of providing comfort to his messenger. Sometimes our power is limited, but never underestimate the importance of giving emotional and psychological support to your loved ones. It’s a job that often goes unrecognized, but don’t ever sell yourself short. You can see with Khadijah’s story that things may have gone very differently if she was not as supportive and strong as she was.

Abu Lahab and Abu Jahl, the most powerful of the disbelievers, were not happy with the growth of Islam. When they saw Omar ibn Al Khattab and Hamza, two of Mecca’s most influential men, follow this new path, they were irate. They decided to really apply the pressure on the Muslims by increasing their torture and violence ten-fold. They initiated a full boycott of the Muslims: a social, political and economic betrayal. Through this boycott, the people of the Quraysh tribe were ordered not to marry from among the Muslims, not to buy or sell anything to them, not to accept treaties from them, and not to show any mercy to them. In this way, they starved and isolated the followers of a nascent faith from their society. When the Prophet (s) saw his people being targeted, tortured, and killed, he knew he had to protect them. He sent those who could to travel to Abyssinia (now known as Ethiopia), where the Najashi (king) would provide safety for them.

The Prophet (s) and his family were direct targets of the hatred. One daughter, Zainab, was amongst those who sought refuge in Abysinnia. Two other daughters, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum, were divorced by their husbands because of the boycott. They had been married to sons of Abu Lahab, and they vowed to see Prophet Muhammad (s) suffer. Their stories will be told in future articles.

Those who remained in Mecca were pushed to their limits. The Muslims were forced to retreat deep into the barren desert, to a valley owned by Abu Talib. People of the Quraysh verbally attacked Khadijah’s character and repatedly questioned her. They couldn’t understand why she would choose to suffer the same fate has her husband.

“You are a woman of honor and distinction. You may remain safe and sound in your house.” To this, she replied, “I swear by God, I shall never be except where the Muslims are.”  Even when she had a way out, she chose God, and she chose to stand by her husband. She was the epitome of loyalty and faith.

The Muslims suffered for three years in the desert. They ate leaves and grass. The cries of their hungry children could be heard from far away. But they did not waver or lose hope. They all recognized their situation as a test from God, and they knew they would be rewarded. Seeing the Rasool and his family stand by them was enough assurance that they were doing the right thing.

Khadijah (ra) tried with all her might to reduce the suffering of those around her. Despite her position as the wife of the prophet, she did not want any special treatment. She was equal to them all, as brothers and sisters in faith. She ate the same food and slept on the same hard ground as the others seeking refuge in the dessert. Even when a few of the people of Quraysh started to feel ashamed that Khadijah (ra), a person of such high caliber, was struggling, and they tried to smuggle food to her, she just gave it to the children, refusing to eat while others starved. She never complained of hunger or thirst, and gave her last morsels of food to feed her family and friends. She truly was a selfless and humble woman. She went from having everything to nothing within a few years. She endured all forms of discrimination and still had faith. How many of us collapse under burdens so much lighter than hers? By the time the boycott ended, Khadijah (ra) was 65 years old. The surviving Muslims were finally able to go back to their homes in Mecca.

Having a good support system at home helped the Prophet (s) be successful. We can see here how it was so important for Khadijah to be the strong, independent person that she was. If she wasn’t, she wouldn’t have been able to stand and assist those around her. Those who were weak wouldn’t have survived the struggles that she faced. She was able to be supportive financially, so that the Rasool (s) prophet could share his message, and she was able to use her power to protect him and help him. Can you see the message God is trying to give us through this aspect of Khadijah’s personality and social status? We need to be strong!

All of these tensions only caused the love between Khadija (ra) and Prophet Muhammad (s) to grow stronger. No struggle could reduce the affection between them. Financial strain, moving, seeing children suffer–you name it, they handled it. She supported him with all her being and he loved her, praised her, and acknowledged her virtue and strength. They were a team, and their love and mutual support was vital for the beginning of Islam. The Rasool (s) valued her more than anyone else. To him, she was a gem. He loved her, respected her, and revered her. He relied on her. Harness your inner might sisters! People will respect you for it.
WATCH THIS EPISODE ON THE STORYTIME WITH SOFIYYA YOUTUBE PAGE:  RAMADAN 2016: Women in the Life of the Rasool (5) – Khadijah R.A. (Pt 4/5) 



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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