Review – Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation


khadijah_hardback-booksmall2_1024x1024Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation

By Fatima Barkatulla

Published by Learning Roots

‘Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation’ retells the story of one the greatest women in the history of Islam, and by extension probably one of the greatest women in the history of humanity.

She was the mother of the believers and the first wife of our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). She was the first to accept Islam and supported the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) during the difficult early years of Islam under the persecution of the Makkans and the Quraysh.

In this book the reader is transported back in time to seventh century Arabia where the events of the Seerah took place. We are taken on a journey that starts with the twice widowed Khadijah seeking a merchant to manage her Caravans to Syria, for which she picks the trustworthy and truthful Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), to her proposal and marriage to him, to the events that unfolded after the Revelation and her untimely death in 620 CE.

The book covers the life of Khadijah (RA) from the time of her marriage to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) to her death following the years of the boycott. It covers their home and family life, their children and foster children, their interaction with Quraysh and the wider Makkan society before the Revelation. It goes through the struggles that they faced after the Revelation and Khadijah’s uncompromising support for her husband, the Prophet of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him), throughout the whole period up to her death.

There are times in the book when it is not fully clear whether you’re reading about the life of Khadijah (RA) or whether you’re reading a story from the Seerah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as the focus does shift from time to time to the person of the blessed Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). However, I don’t think this is the fault of the author as the lives of Khadijah (RA) and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) are so intertwined that it would be practically impossible to separate the events of their lives.

As someone who thought they knew the Seerah pretty well, I was still able to learn new facts about the life of Khadijah (RA) and the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). For instance I was unaware of the interaction between Nestor the Monk and the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when he took Khadija’s caravan to Syria for trade. I was also unaware that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had step children with Khadijah called Hind and Hala who were born in her previous marriage.

The book is written in the style of story and flows seamlessly well in that regard. Fatima Barkatulla has done a great job in bringing the rich history of Islam and the Seerah and transformed that into a story that children and adults alike can read and enjoy without getting bored with a dry narrative that is so common in historical books. This book is definitely a page turner.

Below is a brief extract from the book to give a flavour of the style in which it is written:

‘There was a scar on her beloved husband’s chest, which was the remnant of an extraordinary event that had taken place when he was very young. He had been outside playing in his foster mother’s yard, when all of a suddenly, a heavenly creature appeared and struck his chest so hard that it split open. It was an angel in human form, who seized and lifted the alarmed boy’s heart right out of his body, washed it, removing a black spot from it, before plunging it back into his chest and sealing and sealing it up as quickly as he had opened it.’

The only slight shortfall, if I can call it that, would be the limited information provided on Khadija’s (RA) ancestry and lineage. I would have liked to see a little more information on her mother and father and a little more information on the tribe to which she belonged.

I would also have liked to see more of a focus on her character and moral standing as a woman of Islam capturing some of her virtues and character traits.

As a story and narrative, this book stands as an excellent contribution towards the biographies of historical figures that are available in the English Language. Fatima Barkatulla has done a great service to the English speaking youth who will find this book an indispensable resource on the Life and Story of our Mother – Khadijah (RA).

Abu Zaynah

23/11/2016

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