She was one of the noblest women around and came from a very prominent family. She also was a prominent business women with a considerable amount of wealth, and quite beautiful on top of all that. To marry her would have been a great feat for any man--and indeed, many important and wealthy men had asked for her hand. But she rejected them all. A widow, she had lost the desire to marry again.
Until he came into her life.
He was young man of 25, 15 years her junior. And although he was also of a noble family, he was an orphan and was not a man of many means. He made a meager living tending sheep in the hills surrounding the city. But he had an impeccable moral character--he was widely known as one of the most honest men around. That is what attracted her to him: She was looking for someone honest who could conduct business for her, as she-- a woman in a fiercely patriarchal society-- could not do it herself. So he started working for her.
After he came back from his first business trip, she asked her servant, whom she sent with him, about the young man’s conduct. The servant amazed her by his report--this young man was the kindest, gentlest man the servant had ever met. And there was more. As they traveled in the heat of the desert, the servant noticed that a cloud had followed them the entire time, shading the young man from the blazing sun. The businesswoman was quite impressed with her new employee.
Not only that, this new employee proved to be an astute businessman. He sold his employer’s goods, and with the profits bought other merchandise that he sold again, thus profiting twice. All these good things stirred her soul. The embers of love in her heart that were extinguished re-kindled again, and she resolved to marry this young man despite their age difference.
So, she sent her sister to the young man. She asked him, "Why are you not married yet?"
"For lack of means," he answered.
"What if I could offer you a wife of nobility, beauty, and wealth? Would you be interested?" she told him.
He replied in the affirmative, but when she mentioned her sister, the young employee chuckled in amazement.
"How could I marry her? She has turned down the most noble men in the city, much wealthier and prominent than me, a poor shepherd," he said.
"Don't you worry," the sister replied, "I'll take care of it."
Not long after, Khadijah married the soon-to-be Prophet Muhammad, the young man who had caputured his heart with his kindness and impeccable character. It was the beginning of one of the most loving, happiest, and sacred marriages in all of human history. Though Khadijah was 40 years old, it did not bother the Prophet one bit. They loved each other truly and deeply. They were married for 25 years, and she bore him seven children: three sons (who all perished at young ages) and four daughters. Theirs was one of the greatest love stories of all.
But what makes this love story so special? Perhaps because this first marriage of the Prophet was ensconced in such a special love. Much has been made about the Prophet Muhammad’s multiple marriages. Some have even gone as far as smearing the Prophet as a womanizing philanderer (or even worse) citing the many wives he had taken after emigrating to Medina. But each of these marriages had a very practical explanation, and many of his spouses were older widows. By marrying these different women, the Prophet gave them care and protection in those turbulent times.
Khadijah, likewise, was a source of immense love, strength, and comfort for the Prophet Muhammad, and he leaned heavily on her on the most important night of his life, when the Angel Gabriel first came to him with a message from God.
As the story goes, while the Prophet Muhammad was meditating in cave of Hira, the Angel Gabriel came to him, revealed the first verses of the Qur'an, and declared to him that he was to be a prophet. The experience terrified the Prophet Muhammad, and he ran home, and sought refuge in his wife’s arms crying, "Cover me! Cover me!" Khadijah was startled by his terror, and after soothing and comforting him, the Prophet calmed down and related to her his experience. He feared he was going mad or being possessed.
Khadijah put all his fears to rest: "Do not worry," she said, "for by Him who has dominion over Khadijah's soul, I hope that you are the Prophet of this nation. Allah would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest, and you answer the call of those who are in distress." She then took him to her cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, a scholar well-versed in the Judeo-Christian scripture, and he confirmed to the Prophet that his experience was Divine, and he was to be the Last Prophet.
After his ministry began and the opposition of his people became harsh and brutal, Khadijah was always there to support the Prophet Muhammad, sacrificing all of her wealth to support her beloved husband and the cause of Islam. When the Prophet and his family were banished to the hills outside of Mecca, she went there with him. The three years of hardship and deprivation eventually led to her death. The Prophet Muhammad mourned her deeply, and even after her death, the Prophet would send food and support to Khadijah's friends and relatives, out of love for his first wife.
Once, years after Khadijah died, he came across a necklace that she once wore. When he saw it, he remembered her and began to cry and mourn. His love for her never died, so much so, that his last wife, A'isha, became jealous of her. Once she asked the Prophet if Khadijah had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet replied: "She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand."
In a song about the Prophet and Khadjiah, Muslim rappers Native Deen sing: "We look for stories of love in places dark and cold/When we have a guiding light for the whole world to behold." Many of what we call "love stories" today are nothing more than stories of lust and desire, physical attraction disguised as love. Yet, I can find no love story more powerful, more spiritually uplifting, more awe-inspiring then that of the Prophet Muhammad and Khadijah. It is a shining example of what an ideal marriage is.
If I ever claim that I love my wife, I must gauge my actions with that of the Prophet. As the country commemorates Valentine's Day, I cannot help but reflect upon, what is to me, the greatest of all love stories--that of the Prophet Muhammad and Khadijah. Even with all of its amazing creative talent, Hollywood could not have come up with a story greater than this.