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8. Marriage and the Rebuilding of the Ka'bah

Khadija was a well-respected woman amongst the Makkans. She was from a noble lineage and was also respected as a good merchant. She did not do the trade herself but hired others to carry out her business on her behalf. Through this trade she became very well off.

In the past, some of the Makkans had proposed to her for marriage but she had refused them. She was now forty years old and there was someone she was interested in marrying. She had heard about Muhammad and his fine character. She had met this youngster of twenty-five years of age and liked his good manners and honesty. She had hired him and seen that he was decent and honest, as well as a good businessman. She was thinking about marrying this young man.

She spoke to a close friend of hers called Nufaysah. Nufaysah said that she would look into this matter on her behalf. She went to Muhammad and spoke to him about marriage. Muhammad told her that he wasn’t married and that he felt that he wasn’t in a position to get married. On further discussion Nufaysah said she would arrange a meeting between Muhammad and Khadija. Both Muhammad and Khadija got together and decided to speak to their uncles about getting marriage.

Muhammad (pbuh) was twenty-five years old and Khadija was about forty years old when they got married. From that day onwards Muhammad and Khadija were very happy and also became the very best of friends.

On the day of the marriage, Muhammad had a 'wet nurse' Barakah who had looked after Muhammad all his life. She was a slave woman from the time of Abdullah, his father. Muhammad set Barakah free who later got married to someone in Yathrib. Khadija offered Muhammad a servant to help. He was a young boy by the name of Zayd. Zayd was bought from one of the great slave markets and then given to Khadija.

Khadija was a great friend to Muhammad and also a loving companion. She bore him six children. There was great joy as well as some sadness in their marriage. Muhammad was blessed with six children: His son Qasim was the oldest but he passed away at the age of about two years old (Muhammad got the title Abu Qasim - the father of Qasim); the next four children were daughters - Zaynab, Rukayah, Umm Kulthum and Fatima. After them another son was born who again passed away at an early age.

Halima used to visit them sometimes and they were always very generous to her. There was a time when there was a great drought in Hijaz and Khadija gave Halima forty sheep and a camel. It was at this time that Ali, the son of Abu Talib, came to stay with Muhammad.

Life after marriage was very simple without anything out of the ordinary happening. He lived a normal life in this city of Makkah. He had a stable home life with his loving companion Khadija. They lived comfortably and looked after each other and their family and friends. Muhammad was known to be kind, honest and generous other than which there was nothing exceptionally different about him.

Muhammad would often take some provisions and go out for a few days to the caves around Makkah, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This was an age-old practice where a few days were dedicated to solitude and reflection. Muhammad would go and spend some time in this secluded environment then return back to normal everyday life.

Muhammad never prayed or worshipped the Idols that lay around the Ka'bah. He kept himself clear of this form of shirk. He would look after the poor and the orphans. He would entertain his guests and look after them. He was considered very kind and honourable amongst the Arabs. Other than this Muhammad was like anyone else. He did not know at this time the great responsibility he would be burdened with in the near future. He did not know that he would be given prophethood and be sent to Mankind to reform them and to teach them about Allah. He did not know that he would be given a divine message that would transform not only Arabia but the whole world.

There was one incident that took place, which showed the respect the Makkans had for Muhammad. In this incident, Muhammad managed to prevent bloodshed and kept the peace amongst the different tribes of Makkah. This incident took place when Muhammad was 35 years of age.

The Ka'bahhad existed from the time of Ibrahim (as) and had been a place of pilgrimage and worship. However, the Ka'bahitself was showing signs of wear and tear as well as getting old. The white stoned walls of the Ka'bahwere cracking and weakening. The Ka'bahwas roofless and the walls were not very tall. The Ka'bahbecame an easy target for anyone to climb in and steal the treasures. There was significant damage done in the great flood of Makkah and was in urgent need of repair.

The Makkans decided that they would rebuild and repair the Ka'bah. They would make it stronger and more secure as well as repair the damaged done. The first person to remove the stone was Abu Wahab who lifted the stone from top of the wall but it fell back into the place where it was removed. The people moved away from the Ka'bahwith fear.

Then Wahid, the chief of the tribe of Makhzume, took a pickaxe and was ready to destroy the Ka'bah. He did a prayer saying that he only intended good. He then took his pickaxe and destroyed one side of the wall. The people all watched and the following morning when they found that nothing had happened to him during the night came and helped him.

The walls were brought down to their foundations. They came across some large greenish cobbled stones that Ibrahim (as) had laid, which were the original foundations. One of the men put a crowbar between the stones to move them. There was a tremendous quake that shook Makkah. It was taken as a sign not to remove these foundations.

Quraish then began the tremendous task of rebuilding the Ka'bah. They gathered extra stones so that they could make the new walls higher. They worked together, each clan working at a particular part of the building. They built it up until it became high enough for the black stone to be put in its place.

There was a disagreement about who should put the black stone into the corner of the Ka'bah. Each tribe wanted the honour of placing the stone in the Ka'bah. This lasted for four or five days until it came to the point that they were ready to go to fight over this.

One of the old men said that the next person to come to the Ka'bahshould decide who will put the stone in the Ka'bah. They all agreed with the old man and waited anxiously for the next person to walk into the Ka'bah. Muhammad, who had been absent for a while, came to the Ka'bahand was greeted by spontaneous joy from all the Arabs.

Muhammad listened to the people and then asked them to bring a cloak. When they brought him a cloak, he placed it on the ground and put the black stone in the middle. He then asked one member of each tribe to hold the ends of the cloak and lift it into the air. When the stone was at the right height Muhammad placed it in the right place with his own hands.

The Arabs were happy with the decision and this stopped the violence and bloodshed that was going to follow. The funds used to build the Ka'bahwere only collected from lawful sources so the whole project could not be completed. Although, the Ka'bahitself was completed, the Hateem that is like a semi-circular wall was not built. The door of the Ka'bahwas raised by two meters from the ground. This improved the security and also meant that the Makkans could choose who was allowed into the Ka'bah.

It was only a short time after this that the Angel Jibrael came to Muhammad and brought to him the first few verses of the Qu'ran. He was in a cave in mount Hira, on the outskirts of Makkah when this happened. That is another story for another week, inshallah.