Khadija – mother of history’s greatest nation: book review

In today’s society it’s important for Muslim girls especially,  to have female Muslim role models to look up to. Whilst we have examples of strong Muslim women from the present, the exceptional examples come from the past. And in this way can learn from both the past and the present about how to make ourselves better Muslims. One of these inspirational role models from the past is Khadija (R.A). She was one of the four greatest woman who ever walked the face of the earth. The greatest woman of her time and she was the wife of the prophet [saws].

Sister Fatima Barkatulla has written a book about the life of Khadijah (R.A) which was published through Learning Roots who produce educational books for children. Normally, Islamic books about Muslim role models usually feature men. This is why it’s wonderful to have a book predominantly about a successful female role model. Learning about Khadija’s (R.A) life teaches us what made her great and we can use that to make ourselves better Muslims in sha Allah.

What I like about this book is the language is really easy to understand. The author uses simplified language so that children, even as young as the age of 9, can read it without needing help. The hardback cover has vibrant illustrations, making it more appealing for children. Inside the actual book, the chapters have been kept intentionally quite short. This is good as children might not have as long an attention span as adults, so they can easily get through a whole chapter without getting distracted.

Initially, I thought this book would just be a normal history book, just like any other. But I was surprised at this unique writing style, so much more relaxed and age appropriate. Sister Fatima Barkatulla really keeps the audience in the focus of her mind when she’s writing. The book doesn’t just give facts and descriptions about Khadijah’s (R.A) life, it transforms it into more of a novel type of book because we see an insightful view into her life including her feelings and emotions. Even as a 14 year old girl, I still enjoyed it. Although the book is aimed at younger readers, which is made obvious by the language, I still picked up a lot of facts that I didn’t know about.

Business woman and single mum.

I see how difficult and time consuming it is to run a business from watching my mum. It must be really hard, looking after children day in and out by yourself with no support, but on top of that running your own business. Khadija (R.A) must have had a lot of determination and energy in order to not only be a business woman, but a successful business woman. Most businesses were run by men, so Khadijah (R.A) being a woman making a living for herself and her children on her own shows how strong she was. Due to the fact that businesses were only run by men, Khadijah (R.A) would have had to hire a man to go out for her and do business on her behalf which was even harder as she would’ve had to trust him a lot, know he was suitable and make sure he was up to standard. Then we know that she went on to employ  prophet Muhammad [saws] to conduct business on her behalf. When she saw how trustworthy he [saws] was and the type of person he [saws] was, she went asked him to marry her. Khadija (R.A) knew herself so well that she knew what kind of husband she wanted. She didn’t marry any old person who could have then taken on her wealth, she was holding out for someone who was amazing. She had enough confidence that when she saw something she liked in the prophet [saws], she made the first move. It shows her strength of character because she didn’t wait for things to happen, she made them happen.

Khadija’s (R.A) patience

Khadija’s (R.A) story teaches you how she overcame all the obstacles she had to face using her patience.

She tied down her emotions and kept everything in perspective regarding her place as a slave of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). For example, she had people mercilessly attacking her house every day – throwing stones and placing thorns around her front door to injure her  – yet still did not retaliate.  Having three siblings, I know how hard it is to not fight back and argue. It made me realize how ignoring insults for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will benefit me more.

Khadija (R.A) came from a well known and respected tribe. She was respected until her own people turned against her. People went from admiring her –  to disbelieving in her and insulting her because of her husband’s teachings. Khadijah (R.A) knew that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) would help her and be with her at all times. She knew when the prophet [saws] had said Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) had sent him that he wasn’t lying. Her reward lay with Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and would be worth more. This is why she was promised a palace in jannah- because of her extreme patience. She was promised a palace made of pearls and jewels and that in paradise, she would not face any distress again.

Belief and faith

I started learning why I should have more faith in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) when I am in hard times thanks to the example set by Khadija (R.A).

Increasing my belief in Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will help me more than fighting back against people. Sister Fatima Barakatullah has shown me that Khadijah (R.A) also had faith in prophet Muhammad [saws], her husband. When he [saws ]had a message, she didn’t question him [saws]. Even when everyone disbelieved him, she trusted him.

When people rejected the prophet’s [saws] teachings and disbelieved him, Khadijah (R.A) supported him and was the first woman to accept his message and embrace Islam. But what actually made her great doing this? A lot of people might trust their husbands, what was different about Khadijah (R.A)? It was when she believed in the prophet [saws] she gave and risked a lot of things. She supported him financially, she wasn’t demanding of him.  People wanted to harm her yet she still helped the prophet [saws] to carry out the message of Islam. Her status in her town dropped significantly. She went from being one of the most admirable women, to one of the most insulted women. But she never complained. She carried on helping her husband.

When prophet Muhammad [saws] used to go to the cave of Hira to reflect, Khadija (R.A) understood that he might need space, and gave it to him.  For all of these things, she is regarded highly in Islam. She was so significant and inspiring to many people. And sister Fatima Barkatulla teaches you all of that in an interesting and easy to understand way for kids to read. She put a lot of effort into this book because we don’t know that much about Khadijah (R.A), yet Fatima Barkatulla used her knowledge and developed  it into an incredible book. It flows really nicely and everything is spread out quite a lot. Although she mentions prophet Muhammad [saws], she still made sure Khadijah was the main focus. We have seen an insight into Khadijah’s life and the way this book is written is like Khadijah is alive in our eyes. The book truly is enjoyable and educational at the same time. 

 

You can purchase your copy here

Written by Zaara Din

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