Khadijah al-Kubra — The First Muslim Woman was actually a Business Woman
The First Muslim Woman ‘Khadijah al-Kubra (may peace be upon her)’ was actually a leading and successful Business Woman in Arab. One of the best inspiration in our lives; is the woman of wonders, the great Khadijah-tul-kubra (pbuh). She was delicate and intelligent and sharp. There is no doubt that Khadijah was Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’s most trusted and favorite among all his marriages.
Khadijah (pbuh) was a successful and esteemed business woman. Khadija was born to a father who was a successful merchant in their Quraysh tribe of Mecca. She inherited her father’s skills in a time in history where society was male-dominated and dangerous. Upon her father’s death, she took over the business which was a literally hard time for her to take this responsibility and trade goods through the primary commerce centers of that time, from Mecca to Syria and to Yemen. She hired the most trustworthy men of character to brave the dangerous trade routes. Her business was larger than all of the Quraysh trades combined and the most acclaimed with a reputation of fair-dealing and high-quality goods.
She had a keen eye and was highly intuitive, earning the monikers, Ameerat Quraysh (Princess of Quraysh) and al-Tahira (The Pure One) due to her stellar reputation. No doubt she was a woman of capabilities and power in her-self. Khadija (pbuh) knew what she was doing business-wise, never compromising her modesty or integrity to succeed in the male-dominated trades.
According to a well-known publication ‘Khadijah (pbuh) was born in Makkah in the year 556 CE. Her mother’s name was Fatimah bint Zayd, and her father’s name was Khuwaylid bin Asad. He was a very popular leader among the tribe of Quraysh, and a very prosperous businessman who died while fighting in the famous battle of Fujjar. Khadijah thus grew up in the lap of luxury. All her attention was devoted to the building up the business she inherited from her father. Her astuteness and business ability made her business one of the most widespread businesses among the Quraysh.
Her policy was to employ hardworking, honest and distinguished managers to deal on her behalf as a lot depended on the integrity of the employees who traveled far and wide on her behalf. She exported her goods to far away markets like Syria, and her managers bought goods from those markets to be sold at home.
Khadijah (pbuh) had heard of the integrity, honesty and principled behavior of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and sent a job offer to him to head her trading caravans. He gladly accepted the offer and started working for her. Khadijah sent him on a business trip; her old and trusted slave Maysarah being delegated to accompany and serve him. Maysarah was impressed by the Prophet’s integrity, strength of character, adherence to principles, his amicable dealings and his business abilities. On the way back from Syria, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) lay down under a tree to rest for a while. Nestora, a Jewish monk, noted for his knowledge of religion and for his insight saw him and asked Maysarah who he was. Maysarah told him all about Muhammad (pbuh) and his reputation for honesty and intelligence. Nestora then told him that this man would be elevated to Prophet hood in the future, as no man had ever rested under that particular tree but Prophets. Tradition has it that Maysarah also saw two angels bearing a cloud over Prophet’s head to protect him from the glare and heat of the sun.
When he returned home Maysarah reported to Khadijah all that had taken place on the trip to Syria. She was deeply moved and impressed, and started thinking of proposing marriage to Muhammad. But how could she express her thoughts to him? She already rejected several proposals of marriage from men belonging to some of the noblest families of the Quraysh. How would her tribe react? What would her family say? And what was more, would her proposal be acceptable to this young, yet unmarried man of the tribe of Quraysh?
As she pondered over these questions and debated within herself, one night she dreamt that the shining sun had descended from the heavens into her courtyard, radiating her home. When she woke up she went for the interpretation of this wonderful dream to her cousin, Waraqah bin Nawfal, a blind man noted for his skill in interpreting dreams, and for his depth of knowledge, particularly of the Torah and the Injil. When he heard her dream, he gave a serene smile, and told her not to worry, as this was a very promising dream. The glorious sun she saw descending into her courtyard indicated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) whose advent had been predicted in the Torah and the Injil was to grace her home and she would gain from his presence in her life.
After this meeting with Waraqah she became stronger in her desire to marry Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). One of her very close friends, Nafisah bint Manbah knew of her inclination and she went to Muhammad (pbuh) and requested his permission to ask him a very personal question. When he said he had no objection, she asked why he had not yet got married. He said he did not have the financial resources. Then she asked him if he would be willing to marry a beautiful lady from a noble and wealthy family, who was inclined towards marriage with him. He asked whom she was referring to; when he learnt her identity he said that he was willing, provided she was willing to marry him. Khadijah’ was overjoyed.
Khadijah (pbuh) donated all the goods to the needy after marriage with Prophet (pbuh). Khadijah who had been brought up in luxury in her wealthy father’s home now faced the economic hardships with patience and courage, which are a necessary part of any siege. Khadijah’s nobility of character and conduct pleased Allah, so much that He sent special greetings for her. Khadijah was the ideal wife and mother. The Prophet (pbuh) lived in her house which became a blessed place due to his presence and the fact that Jibril (pbuh) came often to visit him there with Quranic revelations. It became the center of Islam, where all the Companions male and female visited often to partake of the hospitality of Muhammad (pbuh) and his wife.
There is no doubt that this great woman of all wonders ‘Khadijah (pbuh) was a great leader, had high magnitude skills of business and home making, Khadijah left the business to help poor and people who were in need. By her will, knowledge and support ’Khadijah Al Kubra proved her as a great companion and loving mother and a great ideal for the women of all times.