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Khatejah, Woman of God, The 3rd Archetype

Studying Prophet Muhammad's biography can leave us with a glazed portrayal of amazing Khatejah. But what is it that made her the enterprising 'Mother of Believers', a remarkable woman of God?

Married With Kids (The Apprentice)
Khatejah radhi-allah `anha [may Allah be pleased with her] was from the rich, noble and powerful Khuwaylid family in Madina. Her father was Khuwaylid, a noble leader of his tribe. However, he was killed in battle while Khatejah was young.

Khatejah married twice, and such is the Qadr (power) of Allah that she became a widowe twice. Her first husband was “Abu (father of) Halah”, Hind ibn Zar’ah, who belonged to the Banu `Adiyy tribe, and her second marriage was to Ateeq ibn `Aa’ith. Both men belonged to Banu Makhzoom. In her first marriage she gave birth to a son who was named after his father, Hind, and who came to be one of the greatest Sahabis, Companions of the Prophet. He participated in both battles of Badr and Uhud, and he is famous for describing the Prophet's physique.

Heavy focus is laid on Khatejah's double-widowed status in contemporary biographies. Granted, it is significant; Khatejah has paved a marital path of Istiqamah, a 'keep living' attitude for future widows and divorcees. Her life prior to marrying Rasool-Allah is just as relevant as her role after. Yet her marriages tend to be side swept by authors as a grand but short-term experience which she supposedly overcame. Far from it.

DID YOU KNOW? Khatejah was also called Ameerat Quraish which means the Princess of the Qur’aish, and At-Tahira which means ‘the pure’.

As a consequence of the demise of both father and husbands, Khatejah was left without a leading man to train her. She inherited a substantial amount of wealth, along with her husband's trading business. Classical books tell us Khatejah had children. She was now a single parent, and a woman practicing to fulfil both mother and father roles, while expanding her business and making plans for the future.

Within a few decades of life, Khatejah had had the grieving experiences of handling deaths, of learning to work with a diversity of business people and investing in money without being obsessed over it.

Rival to, and one could argue, more competent than The Apprentice's Alan Sugar, Khatejah's vast business knowledge meant she could employ people according to their skills and character. Her nephew worked for her as a key salesman to sell her products in the markets and travel abroad while she had a close confidant in Barakah, a friend and future go-to between Khatejah and Prophet Muhammad salallahu `alayhi wa-sallam (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him).

  • Invest in good friends, make thoughtful choices and build a strong business in whichever FAIR area you want, just like Khatejah recognised people’s character and she knew how to invest properly.
In Islam, we call Khatejah Umm’ul Mu`mineen, the mother of the believers or “Our mother” because Allah says in the Qur’an:
“The Prophet is more worthy of the believers than themselves, and his wives are [in the position of] their Mothers”. (33:6)

Khatejah and Prophet Muhammad
While Prophet Muhammad salallahu `alayhi wa-sallam was in training by Allah to become a prophet, Khatejah was looking for a business partner.

Prophet Muhammad got a job working for Khatejah and he took her trade for business in Syria. He was truthful, considerate, he did not exaggerate or cheat. People liked him. Khatejah sent her nephew to see how Prophet Muhammad did and they both came back with profit. Despite working so far as a shepherd (training to prophethood), Prophet Muhammad lived up to his two nicknames in the field of trade and commerce. He was Al-Amin the trustworthy person and As-Siddeeq the most honest person.

Khatejah believed Prophet Muhammad was someone special. He wasn't a prophet yet. But from a while back Khatejah wondered when this Prophet of God would arrive and, naturally, who would be his wife? Khatejah herself received many marriage proposals because she was a beautiful, intelligent and wealthy woman. When she had decided to be forthright and gain Muhammad's hand in marriage, she told Baraka to do the asking. He, peace be upon him, was shy and said ‘ask my uncle’.

Which uncle was looking after the Prophet?

Prophet Muhammad’s uncle was his only guardian so he “gave him away” in marriage. Prophet Muhammad was 25 years old. Khatejah was 40 years old.
“She simply fell in love with Muhammad (ص) just as the daughter of the Arabian Prophet Shu`ayb had fallen in love with then fugitive prophet Moses (ع) as we are told (in Surat al-Qasas).
Muhammad (ص) was of medium stature, inclined to slimness, with a large head, broad shoulders and the rest of his body perfectly proportioned. His hair and beard were thick and black, not altogether straight but slightly curled. His hair reached midway between the lobes of his ears and shoulders, and his beard was of a length to match.” (Al-Islam online)
The young Prophet and his wife were married for 15 years before Khatejah tul-kubra passed away. During the boycott years against the first convert Muslims, Khatejah fell ill on the outskirts of Makkah.

  • Think about your LONG-TERM relationships with people. Think about how you are with your friends, your parents, your family. Who does more for each other? Them, or you? Do you see ALL their good points? Do you help them get better?

The Prophet’s Family
Khatejah and Muhammad had 6 children:
  1. Baby Qasim – passed away at 2.
  2. Baby Abdullah (also called Tayyib/Tahir) – passed away as a baby.
  3. Zaynab.
  4. Ruqayya.
  5. Umm Kulthum and
  6. Fatema az-Zahra.
Khatejah The Super-Supportive Wife
Khatejah quickly realised the special qualities about Rasool-Allah and she loved him deeply. The community was awaiting for the next and final prophet. Khatejah thought it could be her husband. Khatejah's loyalty and admiration for Prophet Muhammad consequently paid off when Prophethood (Nabuwwa) came to him at 40. It was her arms which he fled to first.
+ Video: Khateja's Loyalty to Rasool-Allah.

Khatejah The Super-Mum
Khatejah raised her children to love their father. She always supported him and this had a positive effect on their children. She taught her daughters important life skills and helped them get married.
She was an excellent, hardworking wife, mother and teacher. These children’s first “Madrassah” (school) was the house of Prophet Muhammad. Can you IMAGINE what it would be like to have Muhammad and Khateja as your parents?!

Prophet Muhammad in the Cave (Seclusion = Khulwa)
Rasool-Allah frequently visited cave Hira to get away from the corruption in Makkah. He wanted to be near Allah and as a Hanif monotheistic believer, he spent days fasting. He spent up to 40 days at a time doing Dhikr and reflecting on Allah’s signs.

Khatejah supported him in this. She did not complain. She brought him food. She did not see him for weeks some times. She knew he was taking spiritual time for Allah.

When the first revelation from Allah came to the Prophet, he rushed to Khatejah, “Cover me! Cover me! (Zamilooni)” Khateja responded with:
“Do not worry. I know by Allah who made my soul, that it was a good event. I hope you are the prophet of this nation. Allah would never humiliate you. Why? Because you are good to your relatives, you are always true and keep your promises, you support the weak, you feed your guests and you answer anyone who is in distress”.
Khatejah also took her husband to visit her cousin: the ancient, wise and Christian monk Waraqa. She received advice which confirmed another and final prophet was expected after Prophet Isaa, as was written in the scriptured of the Torat and Injeel. Waraqa saw all the signs of prophethood on Muhammad.

  • It is important to seek spiritual and religious advice. Khatejah didn’t go to a friend, or another relative. She searched for religious advice relating to the world of prophets and revelations. She didn’t go sharing her personal matters with strangers.

Later, Prophet Muhammad was commanded by Allah to tell people to ‘stand up’ and accept Allah and Islam. Khatejah was the first person to immediately and publicly accept this call. She said “Ash-shahadu an-laa ilala illallah, wa ash-shahadu anna Muhammad ar-RasoolAllah”, I testify there is no other god worthy of worship except the One True Allah, and I testify Muhammad is the Messenger of God. She knew he would be a prophet and it came true!

Khatejah’s Status
Once, angel Jibreel came to Prophet and said:
“Ya Rasool-Allah, Khatejah is coming with a bowl of soup for you. When she comes, give her greetings of peace from her Lord and from me. And give her the good news of a palace of jewels in the Garden, where there will be no noise or tiredness.”

The Boycott: Khatejah’s Passing Away
About seven years after the first revelation, the Quraysh were so awful to the Muslims that they drove out Prophet Muhammad, his followers and his family, along with their tribe Banu Hashim, from Makkah. They camped outside the city in a small valley near the mountains.

The Muslims had no shelter, they slept without a roof and were bitterly cold at night. They had only the food they brought with them. Nobody would do business with them so they couldn’t buy food or even marry their children off. Some kind people would secretly give the Muslims food. They were so hungry they began to eat leaves.

The Muslims spent 3 years like this, living a life of deprivation. Khatejah would send food on camels and her nephew would travel through the valley to give it to the Muslims. She spent all of her wealth giving what she could. She gave her property and money and business to help the people, for Allah’s sake.

She herself was also affected by the boycott and became malnourished. During this time, Prophet Muhammad’s uncle Abu Talib died. A few months later, Khatejah tul-Kubra also passed away at 65 years old, in Ramadan.

Khadijah died of an attack of fever on the tenth or eleventh day of the month of Ramadan, ten years after the start of the Prophetic mission (in the year 619 A.D.), 15 years after her marriage with Prophet Muhammad), and she was buried at Hajun in the outskirts of Mecca. The Messenger of Allah dug his wife's grave and buried her. No iddah (waiting to grieve) period or time alone to be consoled.

Funeral prayers (salat al-janaza) had not yet been mandated in Islam. It is reported that by the time she died, her entire wealth had already been spent to promote Islam; she left not a single gold Dinar nor a single silver Dirham behind.
يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ ارْجِعِي إِلَى رَبِّكِ رَاضِيَةً مَّرْضِيَّةً، فَادْخُلِي فِي عِبَادِي وَادْخُلِي جَنَّتِي
"O soul that is at rest! Return to your Lord, well-pleased (with Him), well-pleasing (Him), so enter among My servants, and enter into My garden. (Qur'an, 89:27-30)

Prophet’s Love for Khatejah
Imagine losing your favourite person. How would you feel?

Prophet Muhammad was so deeply affected by the death of his wife that he remembered her for years later as though she was still around. He gave food and gifts to her family and sister. He talked about her – which would sometimes make `Aisha jealous. He replied to her once,
“She believed in me when no-one else did. She accepted Islam when people rejected me and she helped me and comforted me when there was no-one else to lend me a helping hand”.
  • You cannot expect success without putting in the sacrifice 
  • Khateja was a WOMAN first. This means she didn’t shake off her female qualities or demand a form of unusual "equality" prevalent today. She cooked, washed dishes, had children, cleaned, nurtured people, sacrificed.
  • She worshipped Allah every hour, every day. She had 100% trust in Him ALL THE TIME. 
  • She had Prophet Muhammad as her husband because she was born with a SOUND HEART = Qalb Saleem. This teaches us that to get the best you have to be the best.

Class Hawa, Shariah Notes: Women of God (Lesson 4)
The 3rd Archetype: Khatejah tul-Kubra, bint Khuwaylid
Book: The Wives of the Prophet Muhammad, Ta-Ha Publishers, London

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