In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
In this chapter, we get a closer look at the household affairs of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Khadijah (blessings be upon her). Muhammad took the role of the breadwinner by continuing Khadijah’s business while she looks after the needs of her husband and children. It is what she preferred doing as a wife. Although they have servants to do household chores, they still help out at home, not allowing their servants to be burdened by the workload.
I think this sets the tone of an ideal household. The man manages the work aspect but at the same time does his share of the housework while the woman manages the home aspect but at the same time supports the man’s efforts in work. There is also nothing wrong in engaging domestic help but care has to be taken in not overworking them either.
Khadijah was also portrayed in this chapter to have similar thought processes like any wife — being concerned over having children and meeting the needs of the husband and children. Her worries were mostly based on being afraid of disappointing her husband. This is something men should note — women are not worry warts because they simply are. Rather, they love their husbands so much that they hate to disappoint and husbands would do well to assuage their wives’ fears. Khadijah at one point was quite depressed (this is the feeling I get from reading the book) due to not giving her husband more sons and the death of their first son together at a young age of two just increased that sadness. However, Muhammad never tire of cheering her up and being that, in my own words, emotional rock that every woman needs to be honest. In fact, he was so attuned to his wife’s sensitivity that he was afraid she would break down when she gave birth to their last daughter, Fatimah (blessings be upon her), as he knew very well she was afraid of disappointing him. Instead, he was glad to find her overjoyed that Fatimah resembled Muhammad the most out of all of their children.
At the time of Fatimah’s birth, Muhammad was 35 and Khadijah was 50. They had spent 10 years together as husband and wife. The fact that their marriage, under circumstances highlighted in the previous chapter, lasted that long shows that it is down to the couple themselves that decide the longevity of a marriage. Many things can happen, especially trials and tribulations that may potentially hurt the marriage but if both husband and wife are able to support each other emotionally, then it can definitely last long.
Another interesting thing about this married couple is their sense of social responsibility. They often spared a thought about others who are less fortunate and also looked out for their family members, especially during an economic crisis in Mecca.
I cannot help but see that the household of Muhammad and Khadijah is very well-balanced. Unfortunately, we metropolitan Muslims and Muslimahs struggle to achieve a good balance our everyday lives but persevere, we must.
And He is Knower of all things. – MM