The Model Life Companion
Happiness is the word that sums up the first marriage of the Prophet (peace be upon him). Khadijah gave him all that a man needs from a loving, caring and thoughtful wife. When we remember that Khadijah was a woman of sound mind and willing to place duty above comfort, we realize that the Prophet had nothing to worry about at home as he went about delivering his message and discharging the task assigned to him by God. He appreciated all that she gave him and her memory remained alive with him to his last day. As it is well known, the Prophet lived with Khadijah for 25 years without ever entertaining a thought of marrying another woman, although polygamy was accepted as perfectly normal in his community, if not throughout the world. After she passed away, he married several wives but she retained her supreme position in his heart. Ayesha, the one of his later wives he loved most says: “No woman did I envy as much as I envied Khadijah, even though the Prophet married me only after she had died.”
What distinguished Khadijah was the fact that she was the only one of the Prophet’s wives who married him 15 years or longer before the start of his message. She was a mature woman who had married twice before and had children through her earlier marriages. She was the one to propose marriage, because Muhammad (peace be upon him) could not have thought that such a marriage would have been possible, due to his poverty while Khadijah was a rich woman who employed him and others on her business. She recognized his fine qualities and refined character. Their mutual love was of the deeply rooted, profound type that gets stronger every day.
When the Prophet began to receive his message, she gave him all the reassurance he needed. It was the sort of reassurance that a wise woman could give, looking at her husband’s character and standing. When he expressed his worries after his first encounter with the angel, she said to him: “You have nothing to fear; be calm and relax. God will not let you suffer humiliation, because you are kind to your relatives, you speak the truth, you assist anyone in need, you are hospitable to your guest and you help in every good cause.” A man who combined all these characteristics would never be humiliated by God. Hence, once she realized the nature of the message assigned to him, she was the first to believe in him. She continued to give him her unwavering support to the last day of her life. When she passed away, the Prophet called that year ‘the year of sorrow’. A few weeks earlier he had lost his uncle Abu Talib who ensured his protection and supported him against the combined efforts of his people, the overwhelming majority of whom remained strongly opposed to his message.
The Prophet lived 13 years after Khadijah had passed away during which he married several women. Yet he continued to cherish her memory to his last day. Her position in his heart and mind is summed up in the following Hadith reported by Ayesha: “Halah bint Khuwaylid (Khadijah’s sister) announced herself as she came visiting the Prophet. The Prophet was startled as she sounded very similar to Khadijah. He said: ‘My Lord, let that be Halah.’ I felt jealous and said: ‘Why do you keep remembering an elderly woman from the Quraysh, with reddened mouth edges, who had died long ago, when God has given you a wife better than she was?’ He said: ‘By God, He has not given me better than her. She believed in me when others denied me, gave me full support when others let me down, and helped me with her money when others left me deprived. ” (Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).