In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
In line with my resolutions this year, I have decided to polish up on my Sirah by reading this book. It is in Bahasa Indonesia, which makes it a good opportunity for me to brush up my language skills. I have only started to read the first chapter, which talked about the marriage of Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Khadijah (blessings be upon her).
In short, the chapter gives us insight into the profiles of Muhammad and Khadijah. They were both good people with good character and good families. Khadijah was a virtuous woman and was well-known for her wealth as well in Mecca. She worked hard as a single mother, managing her business and raising her children from her previous two marriages.
To me, the fact that she dealt with men as a businesswoman, shows that women should have the right to work as an employer and not just as an employee and that interactions between the two gender should not be a problem. Business interactions should also be respectful instead of discriminatory or flirtatious. Therefore, Khadijah actually makes a very good role model for women, especially to Muslimahs — in the personal aspect and the business aspect.
Khadijah needed someone to manage her business in Syam, which at that time constituted of Syria and neighbouring places like Lebanon and Jordan. Muhammad’s integrity as a man was well-known in the city. Khadijah got wind of it and hired him to manage her business.
This made me think about a female as a boss. We have often debated about whether male bosses are better or female bosses are better. This story confirms for me that it is actually okay for a man to work for a female boss. Again, the relationship between both genders in the case of employer-employee should also be a healthy and respectful one. In the end, it does not matter what the gender is as long as the employer is of good character.
The chapter went on to reveal the instances which made Khadijah fall in love with Muhammad. Now, it is very interesting to note that Khadijah grew fond of Muhammad and she was the one who initiated their marital union. At that time, the Arabs believe that women should wait for the men to propose. In fact even in this day and age, that belief resonates around the world. However, Khadijah believed that she had the right to choose her life partner. This is an important aspect of Islamic teachings as well — that females have the right to choose and refuse their suitors. Not their parents. Not their guardians. Not their brothers. However, the West tend to either overlook this or believe otherwise. It does not help that there are Muslims who practice forced marriages today. The fact is women in Islam have the right to marry the permissible suitors of their choice. Islam also does not forbid women from proposing to men.
Personally, I have on occasions revealed my feelings to guys I liked. Although none of my efforts were fruitful and it did feel upsetting when they were not requited, I have to admit it feels right to be able to make such choices.
The chapter also highlighted the age difference between Muhammad and Khadijah. Khadijah was 40 years old while Muhammad was 25 years old. Islam permits such union. However, our society in general have either twisted outlooks on it or attached a stigma to it.
Personally, I am noting 25 years of age as an ideal age to marry. Unfortunately, I have just passed that age but it is okay. I am not burdened by the lack of marriage prospects. One day, Insya Allah, I will have a blissful marriage like Khadijah.
Muhammad was initially hesitant to accept the proposal to marry Khadijah as he had no riches and was worried that he would not be able to support her and he felt that she deserved better. However, he was eventually convinced by the middle person sent by Khadijah, Nafisah binti Umayyah, who conveyed the marriage proposal and incidentally became one of the key figures in the spread of Islam.
It just shows to me that if Allah wills it, none can go against it so no matter your conditions, if marriage is to be for you, it will happen. Hence, I have also relaxed considerably in my pursuit of marriage. I do not fear deprivation.
And He is Knower of all things. – MM