As I put pen to paper, I contemplate the reasons why I feel honoured to be called Khadijah. Although, I was not always sensible of this honour; unlike most reverts, I was fairly young when I chose my Muslim name. Only just hitting double figures, I picked the first name that “sounded pretty”. My Mum became Muslim when I was just 8 years old, and I followed along with my mind until my heart embraced the deen completely, when I was 14. At this point, I had been known as Khadijah by everyone around me since I had started secondary school. Yet, there were times when reading about ‘A’isha’s feisty, yet playful attitude, that I wished I hadn’t been so hasty in my name choice.
However, 2007 brought a nasheed into my path – a nasheed that divulged the true beauty around the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid (RA). The words of this nasheed touched my heart in a way I never thought possible, with its lyrics describing the strength of Khadijah and the unwavering loyalty that bonded her with the Prophet Muhammad (SAW). It explained the respect, love and understanding that existed between them and made their marriage one of the most inspiring love stories I’ve ever heard. Hearing this nasheed motivated me to purchase books, look up articles and search hadiths, as I was desperate to learn more about their beautiful marriage. Putting Romeo and Juliet to shame, I have always seen Khadijah’s marriage to Muhammad (SAW) as one of the most exquisite partnerships in history, and I struggle to discuss the beauty and tenderness behind their relationship without tears filling my eyes and a lump forming in my throat.
When the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) stumbled home, trembling in fear and confusion, Khadijah (RA) comforted and reassured him. But not stopping there, Khadijah (RA) delivered constructive, practical assistance and accompanied her husband to visit Waraqah, to allow Muhammad (SAW) to gain further clarity on his experience. She became the wife he inspired her to be, and her companionship and support enabled him to continue being the epitome of perfection for all future mankind. When Allah (SWT) decided it was time for Khadijah to return to Him, the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) felt utterly helpless and did all he could to comfort her. Without leaving her side, he stroked her head, whilst reminding her of all the blissful promises Allah (SWT) had delivered and soothed her fears by articulating the beautiful, eternal tranquility that awaited her. Their marriage, love and loyalty meant so much, that years after her death, when he had many other wives, armies to command and a city to govern, his eyes filled with mournful tears and his heart ached when he found an old piece of jewellery belonging to his beloved Khadijah (RA).
Knowing all of this, I yearned to support and comfort my spouse the way Khadijah had. In 2009, I was granted this opportunity when I met my husband. A strong man in both deen and character, he appeared to need little assistance and consistently supports our family financially, and he always takes the time to help me nurture my iman and help me achieve my goals. It took me a while to realise that, no matter how strong and independent a man appears to be, his job is always easier with a supportive wife who is contributing to the family – that is what makes it a partnership.
One day, an idea was proposed by my husband which tested my intention to simulate Khadijah’s trust and understanding, “What do you think about me teaching abroad?” he asked, “There are more opportunities than here. Especially for us, as a family.”
The suggestion caught me off guard – move abroad? Away from my friends and family? A panic and fear of the unknown coursed through my veins, and I mumbled a few lukewarm positives about our current country of residence, quickly trying to formulate a plan to somehow discourage this idea. However, mid-thought, a small voice in my mind challenged me, “What would Khadijah do?” This stopped me in my tracks, and I contemplated the wondrous manner with which Khadijah put her trust in her husband’s judgement and ability to do the best for her and the children. Not only this, but she would provide her services in any way possible, in order to lighten the load on her husband’s shoulders.
My attitude quickly changed, and I now assist my husband in researching the possible places abroad and asking opinions of people who live there. Me and my husband now bond whilst discussing the possibilities and developing action plans for our family’s future; now, it really feels like a partnership. I find myself wondering on a daily basis, “What would Khadijah do?” So, by advising and comforting, or practically lending a hand, I do my best to stand equal at my husband’s side as we work together to raise our family. Whether it is arranging business ideas, helping with lesson plans, or even something simple, like baking his favourite cake, I try my best to make him smile. All the while, Khadijah’s memory motivates me, encouraging me in this endeavour – which is not always the easiest of tasks.
I now wonder what my marriage would be like if I dug my heels in the ground, resisting all proposals I disliked and striving to mould my husband to my liking, demanding my rights with misguided self-importance. It doesn’t paint a pretty picture – certainly not the kind of marriage I wish to have. Submitting to my husband is easy when I have a practising Muslim husband, who fears Allah (SWT) and adheres to the Sunnah. Plus, he always returns the favour, increasing the love and compassion between us.
I choose Khadijah’s path. Through the grace and guidance of Allah (SWT), the example of Khadijah Bint Khuwaylid (RA) has kept my marriage strong and happy. For, where would the Ummah be if Allah (SWT) had not blessed Muhammad SAW) with her companionship and assistance?
I thank Allah (SWT) everyday for this enlightenment, I thank Him for providing Khadijah as such a beautiful example for Muslim women. I persist in my du’as and work towards the day when I hope to meet Khadijah (RA) herself, to offer her salam, and hear from her lips the wisdom that makes me love her so much.
Khadijah Stott-Andrew is a freelance Editor and Proofreader and has just embarked upon her writing career. Catch her blog at www.whalesandbluebirds.blogspot.com.