The first wife of the Prophet Mohamed has earned many honorifics: Ameerat-Quraish (Princess of Quraish), al-Tahira (the Pure One), and Khadijah Al-Kubra (Khadija the Great)
She is also one of the 4 "queens" or "righteous women" of Islam, along with Asiya (wife of the Pharaoh, foster mother to Moses/Musa), Maryam (mother of Jesus/Isa), and Fatima (daughter of the Prophet Mohamed and Khadijah). As the first Muslim, the first to believe that her husband Mohamed was experiencing prophetic visions, she is also one of the "mothers of the believers", who include the later wives of the Prophet Mohamed. Major accounts tell of a deeply loving and strictly monogamous marriage between Khadijah and the Prophet Mohamed.
Khadijah was born in about 555, and died on the 10th day of Ramadan in either 619 (most commonly cited) or perhaps in 623. The daughter of an extremely successful merchant, Khuwaylid ibn Asad (خويلد بن أسد) of the Banu Hashim, and his wife, Fatimah bint Za'idah, of the Banu `Amir ibn Luayy ibn Ghalib tribe, Khadija became a highly successful businesswoman in her own right. She established major caravans trading as far as Syria and Yemen. A woman of irreproachable character, she was very charitable with not only family, but the poor of the community.
In 595, Khadijah needed a trader to travel with a caravan to Syria, and on the recommendation of one of her traders,Abū Ṭālib ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib (أبو طالب بن عبد المطلب), Mohamed's uncle, and others, she employed the novice but reputable trader Mohamed, a distant maternal cousin, who was by then known as both truthful and trustworthy--Al-Sadiq, and Al-Amin.
Khadijah was pleased with both the unexpectedly high profit that this novice trader was able to procure, and with the reports about him made by her servant Maysarah. For these reasons, she again hired Mohamed for a trip to Yemen. As both trips involved unusual challenges, Khadijah paid Mohamed double, then triple the usual commissions.
Over time, what was mutual admiration in a business relationship, grew into desire for marriage on Khadijah's part. She initiated the proposal and both (orphaned of their fathers) agreed to speak to their respective uncles to negotiate the marriage contract. They were married by Abu Talib in 595.
Eventually they would have 2 sons and 4 daughters (Shia believe only the youngest, Fatima, was the biological daughter of Mohamed, and that the others were either Khadija's from a previous marriage, or her nieces, though raised by her and Mohamed). Both sons died very young: Qasim ( 605-607) <2 years old; and, Abd-Allah (?- 615) in infancy. Between the births of these 2 sons, Khadija and the Prophet Mohamed had 4 daughters, Zainab, Rukayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatima, all of whom lived to adulthood, and married, the latter to Ali bin Abi Talib, the Prophet's cousin.
Perhaps the most important marital function that Khadijah served, was to be not only the first to believe her husband, but the one to soothe his distress about the physically and psychologically taxing experience of the process of the revelations. However, she also privately and publicly supported him, living a life of hardship and persecution because of it.
"Here is an image of the mosque and grave of Sayyidatina Khadija, the Mother of the Muslims, the First Believer."
From Bin Gregory Productions.
From Bin Gregory Productions.
Khadija died aged 64, leaving her beloved 50-year-old husband devastated. The Prophet Mohamed lost his uncle and guardian Abu Talib about the same time, and in the same year. Both died following the ending of the Makkan boycott (c.616/7-619) of the Muslims, which caused severe privation, and weakened each of them. Khadija died a few days after the boycott ended and Abu Talib one month later. As a result of their deaths, and the Prophet Mohamed's grief, this year is known as the Year of Sorrow.
Jannatul Mu'alla,جنة المعلى, Makkah, pre-1925
Khadija was buried in a grave in Jannatulla Mu'alla (جنة المعلى ) Cemetery, also called Al-Hajun, in Makkah. The grave remains, although the tombs or burial monuments, placed later, were removed by the Al Saud in 1925.
Jannatul Mu'alla,جنة المعلى, Makkah, post-1925
The graves may still be visited, as below.
Jannatul Mu'alla,جنة المعلى, Makkah, contemporary, from this site.
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