Khadija: The Great; as people then used to hail her, was the first wife of Prophet Muhammad and also the first woman convert to have embraced ‘Islam’. She was one of the indomitable geniuses in those times when male dominance was as much part of their lives as breathing every second. Against all the odds, she was a woman of potential; she was a woman of intelligence; she was a woman of resolute; and she was a woman every woman could and must look up to, regardless of whichever religious sect you’re a part of. For over and above any religion, she is a ‘woman’ of fierce spirit.
Islam has always been and is till date repulsive to de rigueur freedom for the growth of their women. In fact, they are deliberately not open to the liberation of women in the garb of standards by ‘Quran’. Where on one hand, Khadija from 6th century is redolent of freedom and aspiration; Muslims from 21st century, on the other hand, are still unconvinced about the idea of equality between men and women.
If you are wondering who this ‘Khadija’ was and why is she still being put on a pedestal, the following words-to-come would clear the air. Notably, Khadija was one noble business-woman in her times, with numerous men slaves working as her employees. This may not sound offbeat today, where women in great numbers are already doing equally well as men are, rather out-performing, too. But, to be ‘Khadija’ then in 6th century was really kinder fantasy, but Khadija was gladly a reality. She traded between Mecca and Damascus and let her father’s inherited business flourish. She had many men employed, which she herself used to take care of using her discretion and judiciousness, to carry out her caravan business and trade goods in near-by cities. She minted abundant money and allowed her father’s business to burgeon more and more.
Why doesn’t Islam sing for this unsung ‘shero’? Why is it that Khadija was and is never glorified? Who other than Prophet’s most-beloved wife can kindle the idea of the necessity of ‘freedom’ to women? Why, despite the fact that History had witnessed someone as liberating as Khadija, do women from this community still feel suffocated and only dream of their liberation?
By Prerna Daga