She was the first wife of the Prophet and the first heart to be affected and to accept his call to Islâm. She was Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid. When she reached adolescence, she came to be known as Taahira (righteous, virtuous) due to her noble and sublime character. (Al-Isaabah of Ibn Hajr (8/60))
She was married but soon both her father and husband died, leaving her in charge of the trade. Khadeejah became a business woman in her own right, know and respected throughout the Qur’aysh (The noblest tribe in Makkah; they were the keepers of the Ka’bah and the tribe that Khadeejah & the Prophet came from) for her noble character, wealth and good manners.
She heard the Prophet’s fair dealings and how he was acclaimed to be al-Ameen (the trustworthy) amongst the people, and so she asked if he could accompany her merchandise to its various destinations – he agreed.
At the age of twenty-five, the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam accepted the proposal of Khadeejah, his distant cousin, who was fifteen years his senior. They had six children: two sons, Qaasim and ‘Abdullaah, both of whom died in infancy, and four daughters, Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthoom, and Faatimah.
Fifteen years later, what do we find Khadeejah saying when the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam came to her with his heart trembling after receiving the first Revelation? He informed her of the happening and said to her “O Khadeejah what has happened to me? I fear for myself?” She replied: “It can’t be. Be happy. I swear by Allâh that he will never humiliate you. By Allaah, you join ties of relationship, you speak the truth, you bear people’s burdens, you help the destitute, you entertain guests and you help the vicissitudes which affect the people.” (Reported by ‘Aa’ishah & collected by Muslim (eng. Trans vol.1 pp.96-8 no.301). Imaam an-Nawaawee, who wrote the commentary on Saheeh Muslim said that the scholars have explained Khadeejah’s statement by saying that she knew that Allâh would never allow one who had been given such a generous character and noble manners by Him, to be affected by madness, since good manners is itself such a blessing from Allaah)
Look at her conviction in what the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said. Pause for a moment and note her weighty words. She didn’t doubt him, nor show the slightest hesitation towards the words he uttered. In fact she was his greatest source of comfort, the first to provide security for him and be sincere to him. He attested to the messengership of her husband and was the first to believe in him, and who could have known him better? After all, she had been married to him for fifteen years. She was convinced that it could only be one of such eloquent character who could be worthy of revelation from Allâh and thus hers was the first heart to be moved, and to accept Islâm.
However, her loyalty and assistance didn’t culminize there. By accepting and supporting his call to the worship of Allâh alone, Khadeejah, a woman highly esteemed among the Qur’aysh, was now denouncing their way of life, and the Qur’aysh were a proud and affluent people; and Makkah was at the heart of trading and the home of the idols – much revered by the Qur’aysh. They were not going to stand back and allow a man to now come and preach a way of life alien to theirs, rejecting their beliefs and everything they stood for. And remember when Islâm was first cultivated, the Muslims were small in number, and, in such a trying period, Khadeejah remained alongside the Messenger of Allâh in support whenever the Qur’aysh disclaimed him or contracted hostility towards him. She assisted him in preaching the words of Allâh and hence witnessed the division between the people of faith (eemaan) and those of disbelief (kufr).
This continued until her death on the eleventh of Ramadaan in the tenth year of the Prophethood – at the age of sixty-four. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would think of Khadeejah often. Open up any book written on the life of the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and you will not fail to find Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid mentioned and evidences pertaining to her excellence. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Sufficient for you, from the women of the worlds are, Maryam bint Ibraaheem [the mother of Eesaa], Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, Faatimah bint Muhammad [sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam] and ‘Aasiyah, the wife of Fir’awn [Pharoah].” (Saheeh – Reported by Anas in Ahmad, at-Tirmidhee & others. Declared authentic by al-Albaanee in his Tarteeb Saheeh ul-Jaami’ (no.18).
Further proof of the Prophet’s inherent love for Khadeejah can be seen in ‘Aa’ishah’s statement: “I was not so jealous of any of the Prophet’s wives as I was of Khadeejah. I never saw her, but he frequently mentioned her and he would often kill a sheep, cut it in pieces and send them round among Khadeejah’s friends. I often said to him: ‘It seems as if Khadeejah was the only woman in the world!’ And he replied: ‘ She was indeed a fine woman and I had children from her.” (Collected by al-Bukhaaree (eng. Trans. Vol.5 p.104 no.166) & Muslim (eng. Trans. Vol.4 p.1297 no.5972))
So we have the perfect role models, and it is only through reading about them, that we can truly love them and love to be like them, and understand why they are happy occupants of al-Jannah. And Jibreel, ‘alayhis-Salaam, came with the good news from Allaah, saying to the Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, “When she [Khadeejah] comes, give her a greeting from her Lord and me, and give her the good news that in Jannah she will have a house of brilliant pearls, in which there will be no clamor or toil.” (Reported by Abu Hurayrah & collected by al-Bukhaaree (vol.5 pp.104-5 no.168) & Muslim (vol.4 p.1297 no.5967))
May Allâh be pleased with her and grant us all ability to be like her.