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Khadija's father, Khuwaylid ibn Asad, who died around 585, was a merchant, a successful businessman whose vast wealth and business talents were inherited by Khadija, who successfully managed her father's business interests and preserved the family's fortune. It is said that when the Quraysh's trade caravans gathered to embark upon their lengthy and arduous journey either to Syria during the summer or to Yemen during the winter, Khadija's caravan equalled the caravans of all other traders of the Quraish put together. Fatimah bint Za'idah – Khadija's mother – died around 575, a member of the Banu `Amir ibn Luayy ibn Ghalib tribe and a distant relative of Muhammad.
Her renown for business dealings caused many highly respected Arabian men to seek her hand in marriage. However, by 585, Khadija remained unmarried.
Khadija did not travel with her trade caravans; she relied on others to trade on her behalf, whom she compensated with commissions. In 595, Khadija needed an agent for a transaction in Syria. Several agents whom she trusted (notably including Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib) and some relatives of hers recommended her distant cousin Muhammad ibn Abdullah, whose experience working with caravans in his uncle Abu Talib´s family business had earned him the honorific titles Al-Sadiq (the truthful) and Al-Amin (the trustworthy).
Muhammad had accompanied Abu Talib on trade trips and had keenly observed how Talib traded, bartered, bought, sold, and conducted business. Khadija hired Muhammad, who was then 25 years old. Khadija sent Muhammad word through Khazimah ibn Hakim, one of her relatives, offering him double the commission she usually paid. She sent one of her servants, Maysarah, to assist him. Maysarah gave accounts of Muhammad's performance and she was impressed.
Khadija was from a noble family and at the time of Muhammad, she was a widow. Khadija was very beautiful and she was also wealthy. For this reason, many men wanted her hand in marriage. However, Khadija refused to marry any of them. After being a widow, Khadija lost her interest in marrying a second time. That was until Muhammad came into her life.
One day, Khadija was looking for a person who would conduct business on her behalf in Syria. Since Muhammad was known to be a kind and honest person, his uncle, Abu Talib, got him the job. After Muhammad returned from Syria, Khadija's servant told her how well Muhammad had conducted her business in Syria. Khadija became impressed and it was said that Muhammad was the most honest person she ever met. So Khadija sent her sister to Muhammad to ask him whether he would consider marriage to her. Muhammad was generally regarded as a kind and handsome man so it would have been seen as an honor for any woman to marry him.
Becoming the first Muslim
When her husband received his first revelation from the Archangel Gabriel (Jibril), she was the first person (besides Muhammad) to convert to Islam. According to some sources, it was Khadija's parental cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who confirmed Muhammad's prophecy soon after his vision of the angel.
Khadija did not hesitate to embrace Islam at all, trusting to her husband's teachings.
During the 24-years of their marriage, Khadija's youthful husband abstained from the right of polygamy, and the pride or tenderness of the venerable matron was never insulted by the society of a rival. After her death, the Prophet placed her in the rank of four perfect women, Asiya (the wife of Pharaoh), mother of Jesus, and Fatima.
Among all His wives,she was most beloved to Muhammad, as has been stated in books of ahadith....
Ibn Kathir, the Islamic scholar and commentator on the Qur'an, writes in his book Wives of the Prophet Muhammad:
Khadijah had been the first to publicly accept Muhammad as the Messenger of Allah, and she had never stopped doing all she could to help him. Love and mercy had grown between them, increasing in quality and depth as the years passed by, and not even death could take this love away. The Prophet Muhammad never stopped loving Khadija, and although he married several more wives in later years and loved them all equally, it is clear that Khadija always had a special place in his heart. Indeed whenever Aisha, his third wife, heard the Prophet speak of Khadija, or saw him sending food to Khadija's old friends and relatives, she could not help feeling jealous of her, because of the love that the Prophet still had for her. Once Aisha asked him if Khadija had been the only woman worthy of his love. The Prophet replied: "She believed in me when no one else did; she accepted Islam when people rejected me; and she helped and comforted me when there was no one else to lend me a helping hand." It had been related by Abu Hurairah that on one occasion, when Khadija was still alive, Jibril came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and said, "O Messenger of Allah, Khadija is just coming with a bowl of soup (or food or drink) for you. When she comes to you, give her greetings of peace from her Lord and from me, and give her the good news of a palace of jewels in the Garden, where there will be neither any noise nor any tiredness." After the Prophet's uncle, Abu Talib, and his first wife, Khadija, had both died in the same year, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and his small community of believers endured a time of great hardship and persecution at the hands of the Quraish. Indeed the Prophet, who was now fifty years old, name this year 'the Year of Sorrow.'
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