By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"In the Prophet of Allah there is certainly for you an Excellent Exemplar, for those who look forward to Allah and the Last Day, and remember Allah greatly.”
The Best of creation was raised by God with the universal mission of Islam for the salvation of mankind and perfection of all humanitarian values, including a healthy family life that revolves around a loyal wife and morally sound offspring.
God Almighty thus blessed Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) with the most excellent lady of his times, Hazrat Khadija (SA), as his soul companion in the prime of his manhood to share 25 years of marital bliss, during which the husband never took another spouse.
The sweet, eternally surviving fruit of this auspicious union that was solemnized in Mecca on the 10th of Rabi al-Awwal in the Year 25 Aam al-Feel (595 AD) was the Immaculate Daughter Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA) – the Noblest-ever Lady of all times – whose marriage to the Infallible Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) gave the Prophet such Impeccable Grandchildren as Sons, Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS), and Daughters Hazrat Zainab and Hazrat Omm Kolthoum.
Although out of social necessity and in order to break the taboos of Jahiliyya the middle-aged widower Prophet had to marry in the last ten years of his life 9 other wives who were never equal to the First Lady of Islam, the eternity of his progeny was ensured through Hazrat Khadija (SA) – or more precisely through their Radiant Daughter, Hazrat Fatema (SA)
Addressed with the honourific title of "Saadaat” (plural of "Seyyed”), they are respected till this day throughout the world, while the most peerless amongst them, such as the Infallible Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt, have ensured the glory of Islam in every age through their self-sacrificing efforts – the climax being the immortal epic of Karbala.
Moreover, the Redeemer of mankind, the Awaited Imam Mahdi (AS), who will reappear in the end times to cleanse the Earth from corruption and oppressed by establishing the global government of peace, prosperity, and justice, is the direct descendant of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) and the Matchless Khadija (SA).
These undeniable facts make celebration of the auspicious anniversary of the Prophet’s marriage all the more important since it was his only formal wedding and was conducted with unrivalled splendour, as his uncle and guardian, Hazrat Abu Taleb (AS), arranged a three-day feast for the guests, while the wealthy bride fed the whole populace of Mecca for over a month in order to make the event unforgettable forever.
Our sincere salutations to Khadijat-al-Kubra (SA), the daughter of Khwualed ibn Asad and Fatema bint Za’idah (a third cousin of the Prophet) – a family which like the Bani Hashem had safeguarded the monotheist traditions of Prophet Abraham the Iconoclast, in those dark days of ignorance of the pagan Arabs.
The 25-year old "Maleekat al-Arab” (Richest Lady of Arabia), who had never married any person before and had spurned all suitors as unworthy, was indeed Divinely-inspired when she chose the future Prophet as her husband, on being impressed by his honesty and moral integrity as manager of her trade caravans, even though he was poor (having long lost his parents Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttaleb and Amena bint Wahb).
Acclaimed as the "Tahera” or the Chaste for remaining single so far, the "Nikah” or nuptials were solemnized by none other than that primordial Muslim, Abu Taleb (AS), who along with his wife Fatema bint Asad (SA), had brought up his orphaned nephew as his own son.
No wonder, God Almighty says in Ayah 8 of Surah Zuha: "Did He not find you needy, and enrich you?”
These Divine Words are not a reminder of some forgotten favour to His Messenger, but is a clear reference to the change of fortune in the life of the 25-year old scion of the noble Hashemite clan.
In other words, it was a marriage made in heaven. Anyone in doubt about belief in the Oneness of Allah, the God of Abraham, by Khadija (SA), by her family, by her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal, and by Abu Taleb, are advised to ponder on the sermon delivered by the uncle while solemnizing the nuptials of his nephew, as recorded by the famous Sunni scholar, Ibn Hisham in "Sirat-an-Nabawiyya”:
"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… He also gave us authority over the people. This nephew of mine Muhammad cannot be compared with any other man…he has sought Khadija daughter of Khuwaylid for marriage…”
Then Waraqah stood up and said: "All praise is due to Allah Who has made us just as you have mentioned and preferred us over those whom you have indicated, for we, indeed, are the masters of Arabs and their leaders, and you all are worthy of this (bond of marriage). The tribe (Quraysh) does not deny any of your merits, nor does anyone else dispute your lofty status and prestige. And we, furthermore, wish to be joined to your rope; so, bear witness to my words, O people of Quraysh! I have given Khadija daughter of Khwaylid in marriage to Mohammad ibn Abdullah.”
These passages are indeed proof of the fact that Khadija (SA) and her family were staunch monotheists. That is the reason, the moment her husband told her of God’s command to him to publicly proclaim his mission as the Last and Greatest Prophet with the universal message of Islam, she immediately believed in him. Thereafter, she spent all her wealth to feed, clothe, and shelter the persecuted neo Muslim community, to the extent that when she passed away, there was hardly anything left for her only surviving child, that is, daughter Fatemat az-Zahra (SA).
Even though the First Lady of Islam passed away in Mecca before his historic migration to Medina, her memory was alive in the mind of the middle-aged Prophet, who never considered the spouses he had taken in the last years of his
life to be on a par with the beloved Khadija (SA), whose memory he used to cherish. Once when a certain wife felt jealous at the mention of Khadija’s (SA) name and thought of herself as young and attractive, the Prophet scolded her by 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.” (refer to Sahih Bukhari which mentions the name of this barren woman as well)
No wonder, when five years later, Abu Taleb’s youngest child, son Imam Ali (AS) was born, the Prophet and Khadija (peace upon them), who had lost their sons in infancy, took him under their care to nurture, raise and eventually marry him to their Infallible Daughter, thus ensuring eternity for their blessed progeny.
Could there be a better precedent set by the Prophet than his marriage to the most virtuous lady of her times; his respect for her during the quarter century of marital bliss; his cherishing of her memory till the end of his life as one of the Four Noblest Ladies of all time; his profound affection for their daughter Fatema (SA), son-in-law Imam Ali (AS) and grandsons Imam Hasan (AS) and Imam Husain (AS); and his emphasis on her Immaculate Progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt, as the evergreen tree of Divine guidance for all mankind?
In fact, so firm was the faith of First Lady of Islam that Archangel Gabriel conveyed to the Prophet a special message for her, saying: "O Messenger of Allah! When Khadija comes to you, greet her from Allah and give her the good tiding of a house made of precious stones in Paradise.”