9. Marriage and Happiness

After his second trip with Muhammad, Maysara gave Khadija an even better report. He spoke to her of his gift in trade, and how well he treated all he came into contact with. He spoke to her of his honest personality. Khadija needed no more proof that this was the best man a woman could marry. She sent her friend to ask for his hand in marriage.

In Mecca, it was not unusual for a man to marry a woman much younger than him, nor was it unusual for a woman to marry a much younger man. Many people had asked for Khadija’s hand in marriage, but she had refused. Now, her friend went to Muhammad and suggested that he should get married. Muhammad told her that he did not have enough money to get married yet.  So Khadija’s friend said to him, “Ah, but I will suggest someone to you who is wealthy, beautiful, noble and wise.”

When Muhammad heard it was Khadija, he was surprised, and he agreed. He spoke to his uncle who went with members of the family to her father, and they gave a speech mentioning the virtues of Muhammad. The father agreed, so Muhammad married Khadija when he was twenty-five and she was forty. And so began one the happiest marriages ever.

People a long time ago used to do something very bad and very cruel. They would buy and sell people as if they were things. They called them slaves, and they made them do lots of work. The people who sold slaves sometimes would raid a tribe (which is a group of people living together that are all relatives) and kidnap women and children. Zaid was such a child. He was kidnapped when he was eight years old while travelling with his mother to visit her family. Then he was sold in Mecca. Khadija’s nephew bought him and gave him to her as a gift.  When she saw how tenderly and kindly Muhammad treated him and how much they loved one another, she gave him to her husband.

Zaid’s parents were broken-hearted when he was kidnapped. His father was a poet, and he recited poetry announcing that he was looking for his son and asking people to help him find out if he were alive or dead. Zaid’s father and uncles searched for him everywhere. One day, people from Zaid’s tribe visited Mecca; they came back with the news that Zaid was in Mecca with a family from Quraish. 

The father and uncles set out for Mecca immediately and were very happy to be reunited with Zaid. When they were ready to leave, they asked Muhammad to name a price for Zaid’s freedom, so they could take him back. Muhammad said, “I have a better idea. Let us give the boy the choice and if he wants to leave, he is free to do so.” When Zaid was asked, he quickly replied, “Please father, allow me to stay with Muhammad for I have never loved anyone like him, and I cannot think of living away from him!” When Muhammad heard Zaid’s answer, he took the child by the hand and walked quickly to the Kaba. There, in his loudest voice he announced to all of Quraish, “I have freed Zaid and adopted him as my son! From now on his name will be Zaid ibn Muhammad.”  Zaid’s Father and uncle were proud that someone important from the greatest tribe in Mecca had adopted Zaid. They were happy he was free. It was a great honor for him to belong to Quraish. They left knowing he was happy and well taken care of. 

Muhammad and Khadija lived happily. Muhammad continued to do trade for Khadija. She was a wonderful wife, and he was the best of husbands. Soon Allah blessed them with a son, al Qasem, who brought joy to their lives. Sadly, al Qasem died when he turned two. But then three wonderful daughters were born. First came Zainab, one year later came Ruqaiya, then Um Kulthoom the following year. Muhammad was a caring father who loved his daughters dearly. And they filled the house with happiness.

Muhammad, the orphan child, who was born after his father died was a father himself. Muhammad who had been separated from his milk mother Haleema who loved him, who had lost his mother and grandfather who dearly loved him, was a grown man with a wife and daughters who filled his days with love. Muhammad who had to work early, first as a shepherd to help his uncle, and then as a merchant, was wealthy. In fact, to help his uncle who had many children and was going through a hard time, he decided to bring to his loving family one of Abu Talib’s little children to raise himself. The child was called Ali, and it seemed now like the family was complete. But two more surprises were in store for the family. One was a happy addition and one turned very sad.