There was once a woman who lived long ago in a city in a desert land. She was a noble woman, respected and upright. She was married and had children of her own, but one day her husband passed away and she was widowed. She spent the days of her life as a single mother, busying herself with her business she had running. It was a big business, she was a merchant and she used to trade goods.
She was not a normal trader, she was intelligent and always invested in the best products. She had the natural ability to discern something of that which had quality. Out of her brilliant mind, the business grew and she became wealthy and successful in her career. She was instantly known amongst her peers and became praised in her community.
The more her business grew, the more people she had to employ to assist her in running it. She had many maidservants, and hired many men to go on trading expeditions for her. Unfortunately, many of those whom she hired were only trying to rob her of her wealth and were dishonest with their dealings with her. This was because they were aware of how much wealth she had earned from her trade. She would regularly hire new people from the city to replace them.
One day, she decided to hire a handsome young man to run her business dealings for her. This man was not like other men, there was something about him that was different, a quality he had, but she could not decide what it was. Days passed and she would notice him, sometimes even sort of spy on him to see what he was up to. When the man returned from his tradings for the day, he would always return with more than what she had expected. His returns would constantly be more than what the others had.
This took her by surprise and she began liking him, although the hired man was completely unaware of the fact that he had caught her attention.
Days turned into weeks, and weeks into months. Her business flourished, all thanks to this young man. He was always honest with her, and never tried to cheat her. Her love for him grew, and one day she decided to make a big decision. She wanted to ask for his hand in marriage, but like all women, she was afraid at first.
Why wouldn’t she be? He was a bachelor in his mid twenties, while she was a widow with children. So she decided to consult her elders, and close friends. Upon hearing this great news, her close ones were elated. They were so happy and supportive of her choice, and admitted that the two would make a great match for each other.
So the woman sent one of her trusted maidservants to inquire about this matter to the man, to see if he was available for marriage, and whether he would consider her. A man who had a beautiful character, who was honest, hardworking, trustworthy, and produced amazing results for her business.
And we all know how the man responded. Because if it was not for his response, we would probably not be who we are today. To everybody’s delight, he responded with a yes and graciously accepted her offer. And one the most amazing tales of marriage and shared life was to be told from then on.
So who was this woman? She was none other than the Mother of Believers, Khadijah, may Allah be pleased with her. And the man, was our beloved Rasulullah, may peace and blessings be upon him. And the city in which this event took place was in the blessed city of Mecca.
SubhanAllah, doesn’t it sound hard to believe? Here we have the story of Muhammad SAW, his life story, his seerah. A woman older than him, previously married with children, was inquiring about a younger man, from one of the best families in town. The honour of his acceptance wasn’t just Khadijah’s alone. It was his too. He was going to marry one of the most beautiful hearts in all of the city, in all of Mecca. A woman who’s heart would soon sacrifice everything she had to support him, and Islam.
What I would like to highlight is that Khadijah asked for Prophet Muhammad’s hand in marriage. She initiated the communication. She was the one who proposed to Muhammad, not the other way round.
Remember that Khadijah was not just any woman. She was a dignified, honourable lady. Just hearing her name instantly inspires us to want to be a better Muslims, to sacrifice more, to discover inner strength and the true spirit of altruism. Personally, she is the epitome of what I think a woman can be, intelligent, successful and esteemed in character and conduct.
Might I remind you that it is because of her that, after Muhammad, Islam began with a legacy that starts with a woman. It is because of her sacrifices that we are Muslims today. She gave all that she had, everything she owned, from her hands, heart, and soul for Islam. Sometimes we overlook the details and fail to appreciate how this beautiful love story began. Khadijah asked. And it was because she asked, that she got that blessed answer.
Sadly, we have ignored this example from Islam of women sending someone to inquire on their behalf about marriage. That back in the day, women themselves were proactively involved in the marriage process. Sisters nowadays accuse others of being desperate when they let others know they are looking to get married. Families believe that a daughter must be sought after and it is shameful for a daughter and her family to approach a man for marriage.
And so, many beautiful, smart, educated, talented women are waiting and waiting for Mr. Right to knock on their father’s door. And in the silence of a new beautiful day, when no one is looking women may feel sad and despair.
Of course, we all know everything is in the hands of Allah. Of course we know that there is reward in sabr, but in every other area of ibadah, we don’t just sit around and wait for things to happen. For Hajj we save, for money we work, for knowledge we seek it out. Marriage doesn’t have to be an exception.
It’s time to re-examine our value system, and not forbid or look down upon the sunnah. Practiced by one of the best women to have walked the face of this earth. Remember being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. It’s harder to give away your love, when risking the potential to get hurt or disappointed, then it is to receive it. Khadijah did it, so why not follow the sunnah like her? Because she asked, you could too.