By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"All praise is due to Allah Who has made us the progeny of Abraham, the seed of Ishmael, the descendants of Ma`ad, the substance of Mudar, and Who made us the custodians of His House and the servants of its sacred precincts, making for us a House sought for pilgrimage and a shrine of security, and He also gave us authority over the people. This nephew of mine, Muhammad (SAWA), cannot be compared with any other man: if you compare his wealth with that of others, you will not find him a man of wealth, for wealth is a vanishing shadow and a fickle thing… He has sought Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid for marriage.”
The above passage found in the acclaimed biographical work of our Sunni brethren "As-Sirat-an-Nabawiyyah” of Ibn Hisham, is part of the famous sermon of Abu Taleb (AS) while solemnizing the nuptial of the person destined to be the Almighty’s Last Prophet to mankind, with the spotlessly pure lady (at-Tahera), Khadija (SA), the daughter of Khuwaylid Ibn Asad and Fatema bint Za’adah.
Note the words of Abu Taleb. He is praising and invoking the One and Only Creator of the Universe. He is proud of being the descendant of the iconoclast, Abraham. He means to say that the authority he and his clan has over the Arabs, as custodians of Allah’s Symbolic House, the Holy Ka’ba, is because of his lineal link to Ishmael and the monotheistic creed of his descendants.
In other words, while officiating the start of marital life for his loving nephew (who has yet to declare his prophetic mission), Abu Taleb is not invoking any of the idols of the Arab pantheon, such as Laat, Manat, Uzzah, and Habal – as most of the Arabs used to do prior to becoming Muslims and claiming to be the "Sahaba” or companions of the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA).
This is ample proof of the fact that unlike the Abu Sufyans, the Abu Jahls, and the other idolaters of Mecca, whose progeny would one day masquerade as caliphs of Islam – in order to distort the mission of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) – Abu Taleb was a "Hanif” (the Upright Monotheist), the term God has used in the Holy Qur’an for his great ancestor Abraham.
This means that on the eve of the advent of Islam, the land of Hejaz still had the primordial Muslims amongst its inhabitants, in contrast to the freewheeling ways of the deviated and debauched majority.
What I intend to emphasize here is that neither the Prophet had any remotest links with the polytheists, nor his family, and this includes the lady (a distant cousin) whom he was marrying and who as a member of Abraham’s illustrious offspring was a monotheist by birth and belief.
Khadija (SA), the Richest Lady of Arabia, was to spend 25 years of marital bliss with the seemingly poor orphan of Abdullah Ibn Abdul-Muttalib, she chose as her husband over numerous suitors, having testing his honesty and integrity while employing him as manager of her trade caravans.
Fifteen years later, when God would command him to declare his universal mission as the Last of the Divine Messengers, she would immediately believe in her husband’s Divine Mission. Thereafter, Khadija (SA) would spent all her proverbial wealth for the promotion of Islam and the defence of Muslims, by clothing, feeding and sheltering the neo-Muslim community, to the extent that when she breathed her last, no material inheritance remained for her only surviving child, daughter Fatema (SA).
The loving husband in turn would never take any spouse as long as the First Lady of Islam was alive. Even in the last ten years of his life when out of social necessity and to break the un-Islamic customs of Arabia he had to marry nine other women, he would always cherish the memory of the loyal Khadija (SA).
These undeniable facts are mentioned in the works of our Sunni brethren as well. For example, the author of "Sahih Bukhari” mentions that once when one of his wives called Ayesha tried to mock the memory of "Omm al-Momineen” (Mother of all True Believers), Hazrat Khadija (AS), the Prophet reprimanded her, saying:
"By God, the Almighty did not grant me a better wife than her. She believed in me when the people used to mock at me and she acknowledged me when the people denied me. She shared her wealth and property with me and she bore me children which I was not destined to have through other women."
Today, while offering heartfelt condolences on the passing away anniversary of Hazrat Khadija (SA) to her direct descendant (and in fact the direct descendant of Abu Taleb as well), the awaited Saviour of mankind, Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) 12th and last Infallible Heir, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his advent), we picture the grief of the orphan Fatema az-Zahra (SA).
After performing the last rites, the Prophet consoled his orphaned daughter and for a while became speechless to her question: O Father, where has my mother gone? He broke his silence when Gabriel descended, and revealed the following to him:
"Your Lord commands you to inform Fatema that He sends His blessings upon her and says: Your Mother is in a house of brocade, its corners are made of gold, and its poles are of rubies. It is located between the houses of Asiya bint Muzahem (the tyrant Pharaoh's virtuous wife) and Maryam bint Imran – the Virgin Mother of Prophet Jesus (AS).”
Little Fatema (SA) was a picture of profound patience, and expressing gratitude in the Divine Court, she said: "Surely Allah is Salaam (Eternal Peace), and peace is from Him and to Him.”
For the moment, the little girl of hardly seven years finds solace in the arms of her father. She now bravely takes on the role of housekeeper for the widower Prophet to the extent that she would be known as "Omm Abiha” (Mother of her Own Father). But over a dozen years later, with the departure from the world of the Seal of Prophets, Fatema (SA) would find her inheritance sized, the right of her husband (the son of Abu Taleb) usurped, and the door of her house set on fire, by those ingrates who had survived on her mother Khadija’s wealth, and who will now masquerade as caliphs of political heirs of her father, even though God and the Prophet had already appointed Imam Ali as the Vicegerent at Ghadeer.
To end this brief column, I cite a famous statement of the Prophet – also mentioned by our Sunni brethren – calling Hazrat Khadija (SA) as one of the four most perfectly virtuous ladies of all time – the other three being: Mary the Mother of Jesus, Asiya bint Muzahim, the monotheist wife of the tyrant Pharaoh, and last nut not the least, the noblest of them all Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA).
Condolences on the Passing Away Anniversary of Hazrat Khadija (SA)