Give Muhammad a chance



  • I just read this lovely article. Might shake things up a bit :)

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/splitthemoon/2014/04/give-muhammad-a-chance/

    At 21 I married a man five years older than me. The second time around, at 31, I married a man five years younger than me.*

    Eight years into our marriage, it still sends little shock waves through people when I mention this. There are sometimes oooohs and aaahhhs, eyes get bigger and rounder, and I can almost see folks wanting to high five me and slap my husband on the back for biting the bullet and marrying an older, divorced, single mom. I have, no joke, been asked at least a dozen times how I managed to pull this off.

    But a decade ago when he proposed to me, I didn’t bounce off the walls. I advised him to speak to his elders and family, which he did. I was mature enough to know that marrying into a South Asian family meant actually marrying the family, and without their blessings there would likely be no blessing in the marriage. So he dutifully approached his parents, armed with the story of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (saw)**, confident as an aalim and haafiz Quran himself. They took the news fairly well, asking for time to think. Istikharas were had all around and the green light came about a month later, at which point his mother called my mother.

    My parents, who I assume had little hope that I’d remarry because they never brought it up, were amazed. Amazed that I found somebody on my own when plenty of my single friends couldn’t. Amazed at the courage of his family in the face of cultural stigmas. Amazed at this brave young man who, never married before himself, would be willing to take on a divorcee and responsibility for her child. All things that, by many measures, are probably greatly admirable.

    Except at the time, and even now years later, I didn’t feel that way. While the messages came hard and fast that I had landed a major coup, I was thinking “no actually, the coup is his”. And for good reason.

    Like most of us, I grew up having been taught a few major lessons from the story of Khadijah (ra) and Muhammad (saw). One, that Muslim women can independently and of their own choice propose marriage. Two, other than puberty as a starting point, there are no age barriers for Muslims marrying. Three, our beloved Prophet (saw) was man enough, confident enough, and humble enough to marry an older woman. We see these themes repeated as our poor scholars, even today, entreat the brothers to marry older women (not even women older than themselves, but women who happen to be in their 30’s instead of their 20’s).

    There is no denying the framework of this narrative, encapsulated beautifully here in an excerpt taken from a piece titled “She’s Not Damaged Goods, We Have Damaged Standards”:

    It is extraordinary, awe-instilling, incredible, beautiful, and bold that a man like Muhammad (saw) married Khadijah (ra). Except that it’s not. The story of their marriage, to me, is the story of a wealthy, noble, independent, admired, and apparently beautiful woman from an elite socio-economic class who gave a young man a chance. A young man who, at the time, had little to his name but his character and reputation. Granted he came from a respected tribe, but as an orphan his status in society was shaky. He lived under the protection of his grandfather and uncle. He was employed by Khadijah, and like any employee, he presumably answered to his boss. Whether 1400 years ago or today, any reasonable understanding of the situation would be that it was Khadijah who was in the position of being able to marry anyone of her choosing. At the time of the marriage, Khadijah (ra) was the prize, not Muhammad (saw).

    I truly appreciate the attempts by our scholars and others to cultivate the will and interest of younger men in marrying older women, but I just want to push back a little on how this is being framed. In assuring them of the gallantry of such a decision, that there is no disgrace in it, that it’s a noble sacrifice, that it doesn’t make them less manly, we almost seem to be reinforcing all of their hesitations. This script needs some flipping.

    From where I stand, and stood a decade ago, Muhammad*** didn’t give me a chance. I gave him a chance. He was still studying, I was a licensed attorney. He owned no property and had no wealth, but I knew my sustenance was written so didn’t pay attention to that. I knew how to run a household, balance a checkbook, cook for over a hundred people, write a resume, raise a child, network with new people, and essentially be an adult. He was on the verge of learning all of those things. Which he did. Initially I supported us financially, and after a while he took the reigns and has held them since. I introduced him to pad thai and sushi, foreign films, kathak dance, parenting, qawwali concerts, foreign policy, and a world of ideas that a 21 year old me could never have. He found me in my prime, while I found him in the beginnings of his maturity.****

    When I imagine the scene in which our Prophet (saw) ran home in terror after Gabriel’s first visit (ra), and how Khadijah (ra) covered him, I see a certain dynamic. I see the dynamic of Khadijah being his rock and his stability, I feel his need for her, not her need for him. Of course, as we all know, the chance that she took on him was repaid to her in this world and the next in ways she could have never imagined. Not only was he a loving, kind, faithful husband in the first 15 years of their marriage, he remained so even after Prophethood. After her death, she remained in his heart. I’m sure it had to do not only with her being a wonderful wife, but the fact that she had married an orphan with nothing to his name, supported him and helped him grow, even though she could have married any man of her choice.

    And so I say to my brothers, don’t despair. There is surely a Khadijah out there for you. Surely there are women who bring with them worlds of understanding, maturity, intelligence, who can advise you from a place of experience, who will be patient with you as you grow. It may seem like you have little to offer a woman who is established, but there are women who are willing to give a young man the support he needs to reach his potential.

    And ladies, I ask you to please, don’t overlook the young men who may be struggling with studies, with finances, who may not have a house or even a car, who don’t necessarily have all the material trappings or the pedigree of a dream husband. Don’t let it feel beneath you to marry such a man, let your maturity guide you to what’s important in a human being – character, faith, kindness. The lesson of Khadijah (ra) for us should be this: give Muhammad a chance. You never know what he’ll become with you by his side.



  • I've written about Prophet's first marriage so many times. The author of the article correctly states that Muslims have an incorrect point of view of this marriage. Prophet was the main beneficiary of the marriage not Khadijah. Moreover, it was more like a move to strengthen himself politically and financially. On the other hand, Hazrat Khadijah could have gotten the protection, security or companionship from any other man.

    A second false propaganda is made that the Prophet married only war windows (except one), and that somehow demonstrates that he didn't have any lust for women.

    In Arab culture, especially 1400 years ago, Arabs used to marry their daughters at a very young age, such as under 10. Prophet himself married all of his daughters when they were under 10. So, if a man was looking for a 15 or 18 years old unmarried woman, he wouldn't find any. So, there were two choices: either marry an under 10 girl (which he did) or marry a young window/divorced woman (which he did as well multiple times).

    It's true that in every society, Muslim or non Muslim, people are okay if a 50 years old man marries a 25 years old women but give a strange look to a couple if things are the other way around.

    Finally, why don't we see examples where a wealthy young man marries a poor/ordinary looking woman. An older women has to be beautiful or extremely rich to lure a young lad, why?



  • @ qarar sahib

    why didn't someone marry Khajida at the age of 10... and what made her to marry a poor arab Prophet at the age of 40... instead of all rich around her...



  • "a poor Arab Prophet"


    At the time of marriage he was not Prophet.



  • @fear ji,

    Hazrat Khadijah married THREE times before the Prophet. She also bore many chilrdren from other husbands. Since no birth records were kept in those days, no one knows what was her age at the time of her first marriage. Most likely very young, keeping in mind Arab traditions.

    Why did she marry the Prophet? Perhaps, he was young, honest and handsome.

    Or she might have wanted someone from a humble background who would always be obliged to her. It's hard to tell what were her real motives. It could also have been love.



  • javed shaikh

    ok what made her to marry a common arab..



  • qarar sahib you didn't get the point.. you said...Hazrat Khadijah could have gotten the protection, security or companionship from any other man.....why did she feel more secure in marrying a poor arab person... I didn't understand perspective of marriage from Khadija point of view... what did she get in this marriage if we believe in your story...



  • @fear ji,

    Because the marriage wasn't about protection for herself.



  • @qarar ji

    then for what.. please tell... and also tell me from history you learned what happned to her three previous husbands.. and why makes her marriage successful with Prophet



  • @fear ji

    Please read my above post, where I said this:

    "Why did she marry the Prophet? Perhaps, he was young, honest and handsome.

    Or she might have wanted someone from a humble background who would always be obliged to her. It's hard to tell what were her real motives. It could also have been love."

    People marry for various reasons. Some for sex and pleasure, and others for children, protection, and whole other reasons.

    Since Hazrat Khadijah already had children so that cannot be the reason. Also, she had money and her family, so we can rule out protection as well. Most likely, she married for companionship, which was a very good reason.

    As I told before, I can't see what's inside people's heart, so neither can you. So, what makes you so certain that it was all about protection?



  • ok thanks qarar sahib i get your point... atleast you agree Prophet was honest/handsome and good background... thanks



  • fear,

    "ok what made her to marry a common arab.. "


    Do you mean that Khadija (raz) married a common Arab to plant another Prophet in Arabia?

    I guess Mr. Qarar has explained each and every possible aspect of the story.



  • salam

    @fear wrote:

    ok thanks qarar sahib i get your point... atleast you agree Prophet was honest/handsome and good background... thanks


    even the worst enemies of Prophet Mohammad (S A W) testified about his truthfulness, honesty and his best reputation as trustee. so, how qarar sahib can deny and about marrying older woman, hazrat khadijah was not the only one, Hazrat Sauda (R A) was also a bit older lady when she became wife of Prophet Mohammad (S A W).

    May ALLAH bless Pakistan and Pakistanis.



  • @ukpaki1

    Prophet lived a good, honest, and to some an exemplary life in Mecca when he was just a preacher. But something happened to him when he migrated to Madina. Madni life was very different from Makki, and included lots of bloodshed. Most of the criticism is about his policies after he obtained power.

    Do you fully know the story of Hazrat Sauda? Prophet wanted to divorce her and he didn't want to spend a night with her because of her old age; there were other young wives available. She gave her night to Hazrat Aysha, which stopped the divorce. There is even a Quranic Ayat about this incident and an authentic hadith.



  • " The story of their marriage, to me, is the story of a wealthy, noble, independent, admired, and apparently beautiful woman from an elite socio-economic class who gave a young man a chance. A young man who, at the time, had little to his name but his character and reputation. Granted he came from a respected tribe, but as an orphan his status in society was shaky. He lived under the protection of his grandfather and uncle."

    Unfortunately, ninety nine percent people on earth look everything through their materialistic eyes and filters. To them nobility in character and high moral traits are not worth anything. One can never convince them Hazrat Khadijah proposed marriage to Mohammad ibne Abdullah because of his character not just based on his reputation but also first hand experience as a person who through his Akhlaq took her caravan of trade and returned with best results.

    They are forgetting that as in religion of Islam, Hazrat Khadijah proposed not other way around. She wanted to marry a person of highest character and nobility in family. Just like today when some people look for best gene in selecting sperm and egg, it was known even then that off springs depend on character and family of husband and wife.



  • Madni life was very different from Makki, and included lots of bloodshed. Most of the criticism is about his policies after he obtained power.


    qarar sahib.. what would had you done, place yourself at prophet surround by enemies... and enemies who don't want any peace talks...enemies who break treaties with you like bani quraiza...you have two options... fight with enemies or surrender to them... please tell us better option what should had prophet done in Madini life.. In makki life.. some of his friends were killed and tortured.. please also keep makki life torture in while telling us better option..



  • @qarar,

    I did not read this long artice but i read your post where u claim prophet gave this impression or atleast muslims think prophet did a favor to ammi khadijah by marrying her.

    This is 100% wrong. Anyone with baisc knowledge of history knows that prophet himself acknowledged the assistance and support of hazrat khadija and called the year of her death, the year of sorrow. Ab talib also died the same year. All islamic history books consider this year as the turning point in prophet's mission as prophet was left on his own in this world after the death of his two supporters.

    Prophet would express his love for hazrat khadija years after her death to the point that ammi ayesha would feel envy of her and ask him what is about that old woman that she could'nt provide and prophet would say..ayesha you wont understan what khadija was for me.



  • The deviants on this forum just have the agenda of hurting the feelings of the Muslims. Damn to their souls.



  • Correction

    Last sentence of my previous post was incorrect. Prophet did not say that to ammi ayesha, he only repeated hazrat khadija's favor to him



  • All our Sahabas and Sahabiats are great personalities.