By: Umm Maryam
The groom was 25, the bride, 40. The groom was a poor man, the bride the richest woman of town. He was an orphan, she the daughter of a wealthy merchant. But the differences were totally negligible as the groom was also the handsomest and noblest of all men, the bride the most beautiful and honoured of women. The groom was the chastest male of Makkah, Al-Amin, the Reliable, the Trustworthy, the Honest; the bride was called ‘Tahirah’, the pure one, and the Princess of Quraysh and Makkah.
It was an excellent match that proved to be also the most blessed marriage on earth. The bridegroom was none other than Muhammad bin Abdullah (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) and the bride, Khadijah bint Khuwaylad (radhiyallahu ta'ala 'anha).
It was when she had sent Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) as her deputy to sell her merchandise in Syria with her faithful servant Maysarah, that he had come back with excellent reports of not only Muhammad’s (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) expertise in trade but also his unparalleled character that Khadijah (radhiyallahu ta'ala 'anha) thought of sharing her life and possessions with him.
After he (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) had come back with the highest profits than anyone else, Khadijah consulted a friend of hers, Nufaysah, who offered to approach him on her behalf.
In the meantime, Maysarah came to his mistress and told her of strange things that had happened on the journey regarding her deputy. Among these was the strangest of spectacles of his brief witnessing of angels that were shading Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) from the piercing rays of the sun. hearing this Khadijah immediately thought of going to her cousin, Waraqah bin Nawfal, brother of Qutaylah, who had seen the light shine out of Hadhrat Abdullah’s face on his wedding day and offered herself in marriage to him. Both of them had been waiting for a prophet to appear in Makkah. She went to Waraqah and told him what Maysarah had said. “If this is true, Khadijah,” he said, “then Muhammad is the prophet of our people. I have long known that a prophet is to be expected and his time has come now.” What would she have felt like?
Meanwhile, Nufaysah came to Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) and asked him, “Why do you not marry, Muhammad?”
“I do not possess the means to marry,” he answered.
“But if you were given the means? And if you are bidden to an alliance where there is beauty, property, and nobility in abundance, would you not consent?” asked Khadijah’s friend.
Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) understood that she had come with a proposal. He asked, “Who is she?”
“And how could that happen?” he asked in wonderment.
“Leave that to me,” said Nufaysah.
Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) then gave his consent. “For my part, I am willing.”
Nufaysah went back to her friend and Hadhrat Khadijah then called Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) to her and offered her hand in marriage. It was agreed that he would speak to his uncles and she would speak to her elders to arrange the marriage.
The marriage took place and the bridegroom left his uncle Abu Talib’s house and went to live in the house of his bride. That day he set free his maid, Barakah; and the same day he was gifted a slave boy called Zayd by his new bride.
As well as being a wife, Hadhrat Khadijah was also his friend. Theirs was a happy marriage though sadness had its part as in anyone’s life. They had six children, two sons and four daughters. Their oldest child was named Qasim, after whom Muhammad (sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam) was called Abul Qasim. But the son died before his second birthday. Then came four daughters: Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, and Fatimah. The last was another son who also had a short life.
They were living in peace and harmony when Hadhrat Khadijah saw changes in her beloved husband. He started to have ‘true visions’. The result of which was that he started to love solitude. He would take provisions and retreat to the cave of Hira to worship Allah. On these trips, Khadijah would be a frequent companion. She would go with him, sometimes to the cave itself and at others stay at the foot of the mountain waiting for her husband to appear.
After the revelation, she was the first to accept Muhammad sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam as the prophet of Allah. She supported him with all she had, intelligence, emotion, and wealth, when all of Makkah became his enemy and persecuted him relentlessly.
In 'The Life and Times of Mohammed' Sir John Glubb writes " Whenever he encountered mockery or contradiction, he was sure, when he returned home in the evening, to find a cheerful and loving comforter. She was always ready by her confident equanimity to restore his courage and to lighten the burden of his fears."
They spent a blessed 25 years together. Nine years after Rasulullah sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam received prophethood, his first and then only wife died, leaving him greatly bereaved. She was nearly 65 and he was about fifty. Rasulullah sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam had never married another woman as long as his beloved wife was alive. Soon after her death Abu Talib also died leaving Muhammad sallallahu 'alaihi wasallam so distraught that the year was named the Year of Sorrow.