A NOBLE UPBRINGING
Khadijah Radiallahu Anha was born in Makkah in the year 556 CE. Her mother's name was Fatimah bint Za'ed. and her father's name was Khawaylid bin Asad. He was a very popular leader among the tribe of Quraish, and a very prosperous businessman who died while fighting in the famous battle of Fujjar. Khadijah Radiallahu Anha thus grew up in the lap of luxury.
She married Abu Halah Malak bin Nabash bin Zarrarah bin At Tamimi. She bore him two children, Halah and Hind. She wanted to see her husband prosper and financed him in setting up a big business. But unfortunately he passed away. Some time later the young widow married 'Atique bin' Aith bin' Abdullah Al-Makhzomi, and she had a daughter by him as well named Hindah. But the marriage soon broke up on grounds of incompatibility. After this all her attention was devoted to the upbringing of her children, and building up the business she inherited from her father.
TRADE PERSPICACITY AND SOUND JUDGEMENT
Her astuteness and business ability made hers one of the most widespread businesses among the Quraish. Her policy was to employ hardworking, honest and discriminating managers to deal on her behalf. There was no network of travel and communication as there is today and a lot depended on the integrity of the employees who traveled far and wide on her behalf. She exported her goods to far away markets like Syria, and her managers bought goods from those markets to be sold at home. Makkah being strategically located on the trading caravan routes and the centre of international trade fairs, was a very profitable market for the goods brought back. The managers would get fifty percent of the profit, and this was enough incentive for them.
EMPLOYMENT OF RASULULLAH SALLALLAHU ALAYHI WASALLAM
Khadijah Radiallahu Anha had heard of the integrity/ honesty and principled behavior of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, and sent a job offer to head her trading caravans. He gladly accepted the offer and started working for her. Khadijah sent him on a business trip; her old and trusted slave Maisarah being delegated to accompany and serve him.
This trip proved to be an extremely profitable venture and Maisarah was astounded by some very remarkable scenes he witnessed on this trip. He was impressed and completely won over by the Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam’s integrity, strength of character, adherence to principles, his amicable dealings and his business abilites.
A MIRACLE AND GLAD TIDINGS
On the way back from Syria, Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam lay down under a tree to rest for a while. Nestora, a Jewish monk, noted for his knowledge of religion and for his insight saw him and asked Maisarah who he was. Maisarah told him all about Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam and his reputation for honesty and intelligence. Nestora then told him that this man would be elevated to Prophethood in the future, as no man had ever rested under that particular tree but Prophets.
Tradition has it that Maisarah saw two angels bearing a cloud over Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam’s head to protect him from the glare and heat of the sun. He was stunned and overcome by a sense of gratitude that he had been given the opportunity of benefiting from the close companionship of this man soon to be chosen by Allah Ta’aala as his Messenger.
ASPIRATION FOR MARRIAGE AND THE CONUNDRUM
When he returned home Maisarah reported to Khadijah all that had taken place on the trip to Syria. She was deeply moved and impressed, and started thinking of proposing marriage to Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam - But how could she express her thoughts to him? She already rejected several proposals of marriage from men belonging to some of the noblest families of the Quraish. How would her tribe react? What would her family say? And what was more, would her proposal be acceptable to this young, yet unmarried man of the tribe of Quraish? As she pondered over these questions and debated within herself, one night she dreamt that the shining sun had descended from the heavens into her courtyard, radiating her home.
When she woke up she went for the interpretation of this wonderful dream to her cousin, Waraqah bin Nofal, a blind man noted for his skill in interpreting dreams, and for depth of his knowledge, particularly of the Torah and the Injil. When he heard her dream, he gave a serene smile, and told her not to worry, as this was a very promising dream. The glorious sun she saw descending into her courtyard indicated that Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam whose advent had been predicted in the Torah and the Injil was to grace her home and she would gain from his presence in her life. After this meeting with Waraqah she became stronger in her desire to marry Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam - But she was still not sure how to go about it.
A TRUE FRIEND
One of her very close friends, Nafeesah bint Manbah knew of her inclination. One day she told Khadijah Radiallahu Anha that what was bothering her so much was not a major problem, and she herself would help her to solve it. She went immediately to Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam, and without much ado she requested his permission to ask him a very personal question. When he said he had no objection, she asked why he had not yet got married. He said he did not have the financial resources. Then she asked him if he would be willing to marry a beautiful lady from a noble and wealthy family, who was inclined towards marriage with him. He asked whom she was referring to; when he learnt her identity he said that he was willing, provided she was willing to marry him.
THE BLESSED NIKAAH
Of course Khadijah Radiallahu Anha was overjoyed. Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam was then twenty five years of age and Khadijah Radiallahu Anhu was forty years old. (According to one tradition, she was twenty-eight). The two uncles of Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam Hamzah Radiallahu Anhu and Abu Talib approached her uncle, 'Umar bin Asad, with the formal proposal. It was accepted and the date was fixed. The two families began preparing for the nikah. On the date that had been fixed, the families and friends gathered and the marriage was solemnized.
GRATITUDE AND GENEROSITY TO THE “MILK-MOTHER IN LAW”
Halimah Sa'adiah who nursed Rasulullah Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam in his infancy was specially invited for the wedding and traveled to Makkah from her village. When she left after the festivities, Khadijah Radiallahu Anhu presented her with household goods, a camel and forty goats as an expression of gratitude to the lady who had taken such good care of Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam in his infancy.
Source: Great Women of Islam