Jumuah lecture on Friday 17 May 2019 (11 Ramadaan 1440)
Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider
Ahlul Bait (a.s) Masjid, Ottery, Cape Town
When we think of Lady Khadijah (s.a), the big question that arises is why there is so much negativity and negligence towards this great personality in Islam. Abu Talib (a.s) was beyond any doubt the only shelter of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). Even those who degrade him acknowledge that he was the only refuge of Rasulullah (SAWA).
As we know, Rasulullah (SAWA) lost both his parents during the very early part of his life, and Abu Talib was the one who took care of him from when he was 8 years old. Rasulullah (SAWA) lived in the house of Abu Talib, and everybody acknowledges this fact and everyone also acknowledges that during this time, the sons of Abu Talib were given second preference over Rasulullah (SAWA).
Another very well recorded fact of history was that Rasulullah (SAWA) used to refer to Fatima bint Assad, the wife of Abu Talib, as his mother. He used to say that she is his mother after the mother who gave birth to him.
ABU TALIB: THE SHELTER OF COURAGE AND PROTECTION FOR RASULULLAH (SAWA)
The shelter which Abu Talib provided to Rasulullah (SAWA) in his house went way beyond their relationship as uncle and nephew respectively, considering that he was orphaned. Much stronger support from Abu Talib came when Rasulullah (SAWA) stood in front of the Quraish and said that he brought the message of Almighty Allah (SWT) to them.
Abu Talib was the only person who stood like an iron wall of protection and shelter during the time when the Quraysh attacked Rasulullah (SAWA) from every side. All the way until Rasulullah (SAWA) was nearly 50 years old.
Abu Talib, with his very strong influence and affluent personality in the Meccan society, never allowed anyone to come close to hurting Rasulullah (SAWA). In fact, there is a Hadith recorded from Rasulullah (SAWA), where he says that Quraysh could not hurt him for as long as Abu Talib was alive.
Now, I don’t think there is any dispute about this role of Abu Talib. Unfortunately, the dispute amongst Muslims pertains to the Imaan of Abu Talib, despite loads of evidence being available about the commitment and sacrifice of Abu Talib towards Islam. Despite this, we find that this pioneer of Islam is referred to as a Kaafir (non-believer).
This is the paradox when people declare Abu Sufyan as Muslim, and Abu Talib as Kaafir. This is the biggest joke of our history, that Abu Sufyan, who was involved in every conspiracy against Islam, is regarded as Muslim, and is guaranteed Paradise, whereas Abu Talib, who withstood all the pressures is regarded a Kaafir!
ABU TALIB’S COMMITMENT TO THE PROPHETIC MISSION IS UNDENIABLE
The Imaan (faith) and Aqeedah (ideology) of Abu Talib is not hidden. A well-known Sunni scholar by the name of ibn abil Hadid al-Mu’tazali wrote a commentary on Nahjul Balagha, and has gone to great lengths to discuss Abu Talib. He has narrated thousands of items of poetry from Abu Talib, who was a well-known poet too.
When we reflect on the poetry of Abu Talib, we will realize what was the Imaan and Aqeedah of Abu Talib. We will realize how Tauheed flourished, and is shining through his poetry together with his devotion to Rasulullah (SAWA). Abu Talib speaks about Rasulullah (SAWA) in the most beautiful manner, calling him the shelter of orphans, the rescuer of widows, and the source of blessings and goodness from Almighty Allah (SWT).
Abu Talib further exemplifies Rasulullah (SAWA) who constantly walks with the cloud covering him for shelter. Abu Talib lived with this great devotion! There is so much to discuss about this magnanimous pioneer of Islam.
UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS TO DEGRADE THE GREAT LADY KHADIJAH (S.A)
The second very important personality connected to the first 10 days of Ramadaan is again, one of the early pioneers of Islam. Islam would not have been successful had it not been for the extraordinary contribution of Lady Khadijah al-Kubra (s.a). She was the most beloved wife of Rasulullah (SAWA).
Rasulullah (SAWA) says that Almighty Allah (SWT) has blessed him with the love of Khadijah (s.a). There are so many important angles to explore when it comes to Lady Khadijah (s.a). Again, we unfortunately see the unfairness and injustice of the people when it came to this great lady.
The reason is again very clear, that if Abu Talib is the grandfather of the Ahlul Bait (a.s), then Lady Khadijah (s.a) is the mother of Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a), which makes her the grandmother of Ahlul Bait (a.s).
Lady Khadijah (s.a) was a highly successful woman in a society where being a woman was the biggest curse, and baby girls were buried alive. In this uncivilized era, the role of women was confined to nothing more than to satisfy the lust of men.
So, against the backdrop of such a barbaric society, we find this woman, Lady Khadijah (s.a) emerge as a highly successful business woman, and establishes her character in this same Jahiliyya society, where she was called Tahera ie. the pure one.
They used to regard her as Ummul Aytaam ie. mother of orphans. This is one aspect of her personality, namely, she was a very strong, influential and prominent woman, which attracted many proposals for marriage. History has recorded that she refused them all.
THE UNEQUIVOCAL SUPPORT OF LADY KHADIJAH (S.A) TO THE MISSION OF ISLAM
Now, it is most important to understand and reflect on how this woman, Lady Khadijah (s.a), feels about our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA). It really shows the personality of Lady Khadijah (s.a). She rejects all the proposals from the people in Meccan society who had money, influence and so on, and decides to marry Rasulullah (SAWA) instead.
This shows the purity of soul already in Lady Khadijah (s.a), that she was not looking for money and worldly pursuits, because Rasulullah (SAWA) was an orphan who worked under her management in her business.
She does not look at material interests. This shows where Lady Khadijah’s (s.a) mind was, and the one who performed this Nikah was none other than Abu Talib, whom Muslims shamefully refer to as a non-believer.
This very same Abu Talib starts the Nikah with the Hamd, in praise of Almighty Allah (SWT).
Then, what is really important is to reflect on how close Lady Khadijah (s.a) was to Rasulullah (SAWA) when the first revelation came and he had that great experience of receiving the first message from Almighty Allah (SWT) for the Holy Quran, namely the first verse of Surah Alaq (chapter 96):
اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ
“Read in the name of your Lord Who created.”
We note in this experience that Lady Khadijah (s.a) was the most confident person towards Rasulullah (SAWA). Rasulullah (SAWA) came and shared this most crucial secret with none other than Lady Khadijah (s.a).
And then of course, the level of confidence which Lady Khadijah (s.a) has in Rasulullah (SAWA) upon being informed by him about the start of divine revelation. She did not express an iota of doubt in him, nor any confusion, nor did she request for him to double-check or verify the authenticity of what was revealed to him.
Lady Khadijah (s.a) took this revelation as a reality and unequivocal truth. History has recorded that she tells Rasulullah (SAWA) that she can see the Noor on his face, to which Rasulullah (SAWA) replied that this is the Noor of Nubuwwat (Prophethood), and she then proclaimed the Kalimah Shahada.
LADY KHADIJAH (S.A) PROVIDES ALL SUPPORT TO RASULULLAH (SAWA)
As you may have noticed, I am not discussing the life of Lady Khadijah (s.a). Rather, I am focusing on those striking points in the approach of Lady Khadijah (s.a), as the successful business woman, the great administrator whose values are not material, despite having access to abundant wealth.
This inner faith and light and search for truth takes Lady Khadijah (s.a) to the point that as soon as she hears this news of Rasulullah (SAWA) receiving the divine message from Almighty Allah (SWT), she accepts it without reservation and stands confidently with this divine message.
Unfortunately, on this point as well, stories have been fabricated to create doubts about her and reduce her stature. This is purely because Lady Khadijah (s.a) is the mother of Fatima Zahra (s.a), and the mother of Ahlul Bait (a.s) and the grandmother of Imam Hassan (a.s) and Imam Hussain (a.s). This is the “crime” of Lady Khadijah (s.a)!
Let’s reflect on the commitment of Lady Khadijah (s.a) after the introduction of Islam. Unparalleled loyalty from this woman who came from a background of huge wealth and resources at her disposal, and then she dedicates all of this in the service of Islam, leaving nothing behind for herself. This was the sacrifice of Lady Khadijah (s.a)!
Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) had the social support of Abu Talib (a.s) and the financial support of Lady Khadijah (s.a). Beyond the financial support of Lady Khadijah (s.a) we see the sharing of pain and stress and suffering and pressure on our beloved Rasulullah (SAWA) at the very start of his mission of Islamic propagation.
LADY KHADIJAH (S.A) COUNTERED THE SANCTIONS AGAINST ISLAM WITH HER INFLUENCE
During those early days of Islam, there were some who perhaps did not know or did not agree, and they said that they witnessed 3 people in front of the Ka’bah doing “funny things”, as they worshipped differently to them.
Who were those 3 people? They said that they would see a person by the name of Muhammad (SAWA) in front, and a young boy behind him called Ali (a.s), and a woman behind both of them and her name was Khadijah (s.a). These 3 people were worshipping in a very different way.
These are the first 3 people who prayed in front of the Holy Ka’bah. Those days of sanctions against Rasulullah (SAWA) and Islam, when they were isolated in the gorge of Abu Talib, and they were banned from any social or economic interaction with Mecca. They were basically living on bushes and leaves in those days.
There was one supporter besides Abu Talib who stood behind Rasulullah (SAWA) and used her own influence and connections with Mecca which provided the link for the early pioneers of Islam to survive under those most harsh sanctions. This is Lady Khadijah (s.a)!
No statement can be stronger than what Rasulullah (SAWA) uttered when he lost Abu Talib (a.s) and Lady Khadijah (s.a) in the same year. He accordingly announced the whole year as Aamul Huzn – the year of mourning and sadness, yet some people continue to question the faith of Abu Talib! Abu Talib and Lady Khadijah (s.a) are clearly pioneers of Islam!
The Holy Quran explains that there was someone from the people of Fir’oun who used to hide his Imaan (faith). Abu Talib was such a personality, who concealed his Imaan for the greater interest of Islam and the protection of our Nabi & Rasul (SAWA).
After the demise of Lady Khadijah (s.a) and Abu Talib, Rasulullah (SAWA) was left without any support in Mecca. It was at this time when he started to suffer physical attacks, torture and insults which resulted in his migration, as it was no longer possible for him to live in Mecca and Meccan society, because that shelter of Abu Talib and Lady Khadijah was gone!
LADY KHADIJAH (S.A) IS THE PERFECT EXEMPLAR FOR ALL WOMEN
Years passed after our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) moved to Medina and established the Islamic state and overcame those very difficult early days of Islam. While there were now new challenges he had to contend with, amazingly his remembrance of Lady Khadijah (s.a) never subsided, nor did his memories of her selfless devotion and sacrifice.
When a sheep was slaughtered in the house of Rasulullah (SAWA), he always insisted on a share is kept for the friends of Lady Khadijah (s.a). Hardly a day passes in the life of Rasulullah (SAWA) without the memory, love, sacrifice and commitment of Lady Khadijah (s.a).
This reached the point where some people would get upset and ask him for how long is he still going to complain about an old woman who has long passed away already, while Almighty Allah (SWT) has already granted him much younger wives.
The response from Rasulullah (SAWA) was that they should never even try to compare with Lady Khadijah (s.a). He further amplifies this point by categorically announcing that Khadijah (s.a) testified and accepted him while everyone else denied him! He went further to say that when everyone else took away their support, it was Lady Khadijah (s.a) who provided him support!
Then, this point was the final nail, where Rasulullah (SAWA) said that it is not him, but rather a divine system that places Lady Khadijah (s.a) on that supreme status, in the sense that Almighty Allah (SWT) has provided him children only through one person, and that is Lady Khadijah (s.a).
If the lineage and family of Rasulullah (SAWA) will continue, it is only Lady Khadijah (s.a) who has the esteemed honour of being the mother of the children of Rasulullah (SAWA). Yes, Lady Khadijah (s.a) has many angles to her esteemed personality with great lessons we can derive from this very powerful and influential woman.
I always say that the presence, role and status of Lady Khadijah (s.a) in the very first days of Islam rejects and refutes all the baseless claims that Islam has a problem with women, or that women are second grade in Islam and should be confined to the house! It is sufficient to simply take the example of Lady Khadijah (s.a) and her daughter, Lady Fatima (s.a) to debunk this notion.
I will conclude this first khutbah with the Hadith from our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), where he says that the best of women are 4:
- Aasiya (s.a): the pious wife of Fir’oun;
- Mariam (s.a): the mother of Jesus (a.s);
- Khadijah (s.a)
- Fatima Zahra (s.a)
NO CESSATION OF OPPRESSION ON THE UMMAH DURING RAMADAAN
Alhamdu Lillah, more than one third of Ramadaan has passed, and we cannot be sufficiently grateful to Almighty Allah (SWT) who has blessed us with the greatest of His favours in this holy month. At the same time, in this same Ummah of Rasulullah (SAWA), there are scores of people facing tremendous challenges.
It is in the same month of Ramadaan where we witness the Saudi alliance attacking civilian targets in Sana’a, Yemen. This attack in the month of Ramadaan has claimed the lives of a number of women and children, and elderly civilians. They hardly have anything to break their fast, but instead have to contend with bombs exploding on their homes, destroying them. This is how they have been killed.
We have a similar situation in Gaza, Palestine, which is the heart of the Ummah of Islam. What a Ramadaan they have to endure. Tons of bombs and shells have been dropped over these people.
Then we are also witnessing the very, very tense situation with the threat of war in the Middle East, and the way the enemies of Islam are continuing unabated. They think that by making loud threats, that they will be able to make those who are committed and have resisted and stood firm in the face of all the challenges for the past 40 years, give up.
I was reading a headline on the website of CNN which was saying that the environment in Tehran, on the backdrop of these warnings of war, is not fear but rather defiance. They wanted to bring fear but the truth on the ground is resistance. It is standing, in the face of oppression and this hegemony, and to put it simply, attitude of arrogance.
وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ
“And (the unbelievers) plotted and planned, and Allah too planned, and the best of planners is Allah.”
Verse 54 of Surah Aal-Imraan (chapter 3 of the Holy Quran)
يُرِيدُونَ لِيُطْفِئُوا نُورَ اللَّهِ بِأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَاللَّهُ مُتِمُّ نُورِهِ وَلَوْ كَرِهَ الْكَافِرُونَ
“They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths but Allah will perfect His light, though the unbelievers may be averse.”
Verse 8 of Surah Saff (chapter 61 of the Holy Quran)
They are looking for any excuse to start this war, and it is not far-fetched that they will create this excuse to start the war! Our Islamic leadership has summed it up very clearly in by saying that there will be no war and there will be no negotiations. It is as simple as that!
May Almighty Allah (SWT) protect this Ummah from these plans of the enemies and their conspiracies and may He grant us victory over these forces who are against the Islamic Republic of Iran and against the revival of Islam as a challenging power to their control and dominance over the world.