Among the greatest tragedies of the modern world is the debasement of Islam. Among the greatest tragedies of Islam is the debasement of its women. No society can prosper with half its popluation suppressed by the other half. No surprize thus, that Islamic society world over is in shambles.
It takes a single objective look at the lives of women of the Prophetic era and of those mentioned in the Quran to gauge the wide gap between the status of the Muslim women as it is and what it ought to have been.
Here we take a brief look at the peronality of Khadija RA and get a taste of feminism as endorsed by Islam.
Khadijah al-Kubra was the daughter of Khuwaylid and belonged to the clan of Banu Hashim of the tribe of Banu Asad. In the anals of Islamic history, she is known as the beloved wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who he was married to for 25 years.
Speaking in popular language Khadia (RA) was the 'first lady' of Islam. That is not only because she was Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) first (and only as long as she lived) wife but for the more individual reason of being the first person to accept Islam.
Let it be noted that the first person to accept the message of Islam was a woman. People who take an initiative are mocked at, doubted and suspected. A 'first' always takes immense courage and insight. And in case of Islam, the credit of that courage and insight goes to a woman.
Narrated by Aisha (RA) the Prophet (peace be upon him) had said regarding Khadija (RA) years after her death "Never did Allah (SWT) give me a better wife than Khadijah. She hailed my mission at a time when everybody shouted against it. She lent me the support of her conviction when there was hardly a believer. She enlivened my heart when I felt lonely and deserted. Khadijah's love was given to me by Allah (SWT). How could I forget her?"
At the time of her meeting with the Prophet (peace be upon him) she was a well established business woman, notably the employer of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and older to him by fifteen years while the Prophet (peace be upon him) was twenty-five years old and still fifteen years away from attaining prophethood. She had been at the time widowed twice, having lost both her husbands in wars that had plagued Arabia and had children by both her first marriages.
Intrestingly, it was Khadija (RA) who initiated the marriage proposal through her servant. Marrying an older, richer and more successful woman, a two time widow to add to it is not an idea that sits too well with the 'modern' man irrespective of his socio religious background.That however is the example set by the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the mother of believers.
Her success as a businesswoman is well chronicle. If they had a forbes list at the time Khadija (RA) would have easily figured in it for it has been said that regarding Khadija's trade caravans which went to Syria during summers and to Yemen during winters that it was as big as that of all the Quraish traders added to each other.
1400 years ago, Kahdija (RA) was way ahead of the 'modern woman' who is still struggling to establish social and economic parity with her male counterparts.
In nutshell, following points vouch for her independence and her strenghth as a woman:
- Khadija (RA) took her own decision. She proposed the Prophet (peace be upon him) for marriage through her servant.
- Khadija (RA) did not allow social pressures to subdue her. She accepted Islam when the general tide of opinion was against it.
- Khadija (RA) married thrice. She never let widowhood and motherhood be an impediment in her individual life choices.
- Khadija (RA)was financially independent, strong and in control of her resources. It has been widely repored that Islam spread greatly due to Khadija (RA)'s wealth.
- Khadija (RA) had characteristics and accomplishments that few flag bearers of women's liberation of 21st century can boast of.
Such a woman loved Islam and its Prophet (peace be upon him). And such a woman the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) loved.