The Marriage of Khadija

Muhammad was twenty-five years old. He was known all over Makkah. People knew that he was fair, decent and honest with a clear conscience, so they nicknamed him Al-ameen, the honest. Khadija was a noble rich woman of Quraysh. Each year Khadija hired some men to trade for her. She loaned money to merchants and made them her partners in trade and profits. That way she guaranteed that they would be honest in their business. On the day Khadija was making arrangements with the merchants, Abu Talib met his nephew Muhammad. Abu Talib said to him, “I am a penniless man. Business is getting very bad for we have had a couple of bad years. Now we have to trade. The caravan is preparing to leave and Khadija, the daughter of Khuwaylid, is hiring men to trade for her. Those men make lots of money. Why don’t you go and ask her to hire you. She will give you preference over the others for she has heard a lot about your decency.” Muhammad said, “Maybe she is going to suggest that herself.” His uncle said that he was afraid she might hire someone else if they did not ask. Muhammad refused to ask her. He did not want to ask people to do things for him.

Abu Talib went to Khadija and asked, “Would you hire Muhammad?” Khadija answered, “ If you asked me to hire a stranger, I would have done it for you. How can I refuse such a decent honest man as Muhammad.” Then she sent for Muhammad. When he came she said to him, “I have decided to hire you because I have heard about your truthfulness, your honesty and your decent manners. I am offering you twice what I would offer another man.” Muhammad accepted the offer to trade for her. Later he met his uncle Abu Talib and told him about Khadija’s offer. Abu Talib said, “That is something Allah sent to you.” Muhammad prepared to leave with Khadija’s caravan. Her servant Maysara was going with him. Muhammad’s uncles came to say goodbye to him. They asked the other merchants to take care of him and help him. This was the first time Muhammad had gone trading without his uncles. The caravan traveled for days and nights. Muhammad and Maysara chatted together. Maysara enjoyed hearing Muhammad. He liked his good manners and the longer they stayed together, the more Maysara admired Muhammad.

The caravan arrived at the market at Busraa. Muhammad and Maysara started to sell Khadija’s goods. In one sale a dispute arose between Muhammad and a customer. The customer said to Muhammad, “Swear by the Latt and the Uzzaa.” Latt and Uzzaa were two idols which some of the people worshipped at the time. Muhammad said, “I never swear by the Latt and Uzzaa.” The customer was astounded. All the Arabs swore by these two idols. So he said, “Whatever you say.” The customer accepted Muhammad’s word because he realized that Muhammad was not like other merchants. They swore by the idols and still told lies and cheated. The men sold all the goods they had. They made good profits. So Maysara said to Muhammad happily, “Muhammad, we have traded for years for Khadija but we never made as much profit as we made with you.”

Khadija stood looking through a high window, waiting. It was time for her caravan to return. Finally she saw the camels, donkeys and mules causing the dust to rise in the distance. The returning caravan was indeed Khadija’s. Muhammad and Maysara were in front when Maysara said to Muhammad, “Why don’t you hurry to Khadija to tell her about the profits Allah has given to us.” So Muhammad went ahead. Khadija was watching at the window when she saw Muhammad on his camel. She recognized him and prepared herself to meet him. Muhammad walked in, handsome and beautiful. He told her about what he did not the trip and about the profits they had made. She was listening to him delighted. Her heart opened to him. After he told her everything, she asked, Where is Maysara now?” Muhammad answered, “Still in the desert.” Khadija said, “Go back to him and ask him to hurry.”

Maysara came and told her about profits made in the trip. It was twice what she usually made, but she was not interested in how the business went. She wanted to know about Muhammad and what he did on the trip. Maysara told her everything.

Khadija was forty years old. The people nicknamed her the pure woman and the “Lady of the Quraysh”. She was beautiful. She had a fair complexion, and was slightly plump. Her hair was raven black and smooth while her eyes were wide. Many of the noble people of Quraysh wanted to marry her, but she refused them all. However, when she saw Muhammad, she loved him and thought of marrying him. But how could she propose to him?

Since Muhammad and Maysara had become friends on the caravan, Khadija decided to send Maysara to Muhammad to talk to him. So Maysara went to Muhammad and asked, “Muhammad, why don’t you get married?”

Muhammad answered, “I do not have enough money to get married.”

Maysara said, “Suppose you do not need money. Suppose you could marry a rich beautiful wife of a noble family. What would you say?

Muhammad asked, “Who is she?”

“Khadija,” Maysara answered.

Muhammad could hardly believe it. He said, “how can that be. I have always admired her.”

Maysara said, “I shall arrange everything.” Maysara told Khadija that he had talked to Muhammad about marrying her, and that Muhammad welcomed the idea. She was satisfied and sent for Muhammad, “Dear cousin, I am interested in you because of your relation to me, because of your honor among the people, because of your honesty, good manners, and truthfulness.”

Khadija was a relative of Muhammad. His great great grandfather, Qusay, was Khadija’s great great grandfather, too. They agreed on a time to bring Muhammad’s uncles to finalize the marriage. At the set hour, Muhammad came with two of his uncles, Abu Talib and Alhamza, sons of Abdulmuttalib. Some of the other noble people of Quraysh came along also. When they entered the house they found Khadija’s family waiting.

Abu Talib stood up and said, “this is my nephew, Muhammad, son of Abdullah. He is better than other youth in honor and honesty, in wisdom and merit. Maybe he has only a little money, but money is something that comes and goes. He is asking for your precious Khadija in marriage.” Waraqa, son of Nawfal, was a relative of Khadija. He stood up and said, Bear witness, people of Quraysh, that I give Khadija, daughter of Khuwaylid, in marriage to Muhammad, son of Abdullah.” But Abu Talib wanted to hear the consent of her closest relative, so he said, “I would like her uncle to join you in this.” Khadija’s uncle stood up and said, “bear witness, people of Quraysh, that I give Khadija,daughter of Khuwaylid, to Muhammad, son of Abdullah, in marriage.” The men went to the feast prepared by Muhammad while Khadija asked her dancers to dance and play their tambourines. Thus Muhammad, Alameen, married the pure Khadija, the Lady of Quraysh.