- Defining Legacy
- How Legacy Extends Your Life on Earth
- Your Purpose of Existence and the Making of Good Legacy
- The Three Domains of Making a Good Legacy
- The Other Side of the Coin of Legacy
- The Art of Making Legacy
- The Art of Making Legacy; The Example of ‘Uthmān
- The Art of Making Legacy; The Example of Sayyidah Khadījah
Alhamdulillah… Infinite praise and thanks are due to the Almighty Allah, the ultimate inspirer of all good legacy. He has provided for us all the possible means to attain the good of the first part of life as well as the second. Complete blessings and salutations go to the best of good legacy makers, Sayyidinā Muhammad, his household, his companions, and all those who follow his guided path till the end of time.
This article supplements the previous two articles, The First Part of Life: What It Means and How to Live It and The Second Part of Life: What It Means and How to Attain Its Bliss. It discusses the art of making a good legacy, the way some of the companions of the Prophet did. Making a good legacy is important for anyone who wants to continue to harvest rewards after his departure from this world.
It is about how you can make good investments so your legacy and impact stays on among mankind on the earth, after your death. It’s about how your legacy makes the world–not only the people, remember you, how it makes them feel your presence even after your body–not your soul–might have decomposed. Therefore, it’s not about eternity, when mankind is judged and rewarded with paradise or sentenced to life in hell. It’s about how to avoid all possible little regrets after your passing.
The English Dictionary defines legacy as “an amount of money or property left to someone in a will,” or “something left or handed down by a predecessor.”
By the literal definition, legacy could be substantial but it’s physical in nature. However in Islam, legacy comes in various forms. It comes in the form or money or property. It comes in the form of children. It also comes in the form of knowledge.
This is understood from the ḥadīth of Imām Abū Dāwūd from the narration of Sayyidunā Abū al-Dardā’ raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu, that the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam says:
وَإِنَّ الْعُلَمَاءَ وَرَثَةُ الأَنْبِيَاءِ وَإِنَّ الأَنْبِيَاءَ لَمْ يُوَرِّثُوا دِينَارًا وَلاَ دِرْهَمًا وَرَّثُوا الْعِلْمَ فَمَنْ أَخَذَهُ أَخَذَ بِحَظٍّ وَافِرٍ
“The learned are the heirs of the Prophets, and the Prophets leave neither dinar nor dirham, leaving only knowledge, and he who takes it takes an abundant portion.”
The duration for which everyone is destined to live on this earth is already in the divine records. However, it differs from one person to another. Thus, some live on the earth for a day or less, some live for a week, some for a month and some for a year. Some do live tens of years. And some others go beyond a hundred years.
Regardless of how long or short you live on this earth, no one lives his first life beyond the period destined for him by the Creator. Moreover, the duration of your first life is not determined by any external factors, such as knowledge, wealth, physical fitness, social rank; nor it is determined by devices, i.e., life support devices. It’s rather determined by how long you can consciously make decision and recognize yourself and the life around you.
وَلِكُلِّ أُمَّةٍ أَجَلٌ فَإِذَا جَآءَ أَجَلُهُمْ لَا يَسْتَأْخِرُونَ سَاعَةً وَلَا يَسْتَقْدِمُونَ
“For all people a term has been set: and when [the end of] their term approaches, they can neither delay it by a single moment, nor can they advance it” (Sūrah al-A‘rāf, 7:34).
Having different lifespan is one thing. The other thing is that no one knows how long he is destined to live. Neither does anyone knows where and how his first part of life is destined to end.
وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًا وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌۢ بِأَىِّ أَرْضٍ تَمُوتُ إِنَّ ٱللَّـهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ
“No soul knows what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die. Surely, Allah is all knowing, all-aware” (Sūrah Luqmān, 31:34).
Now the question is, does one’s legacy extends his life on earth? In your physical person, that’s not possible. But in form of legacy, that is possible. Your legacy lives longer than your real age on earth. Regardless, whether it’s a good legacy or the otherwise.
Examples are any of the great scholars, whose names can’t stop popping up, if only you’ll discuss Islam or beneficial knowledge. Look at Imam al-Nawawī. He passed on at the age of 36. Some reports imply that he passed on at the age of 40. Either way, the man lived a bachelor’s life. He had no children. Neither did he leave behind wealth. Imam al-Nawawi, however, left behind a significant amount of Prophetic knowledge that you can’t ignore, if you ever want to dwell in Islamic studies as well as Islamic jurisprudence. In fact, if you also want to dwell in Islamic spirituality (zuhd and Sufism), you will find Imām al-Nawawi as one of the most authentic ones whom you can learn a lot from.
Imām al-Bukhārī, Imām Muslim, Imām Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal are great scholars of ḥadīth who devoted their lives to preserve the purity and authenticity of the tradition of the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
The same thing is applicable to every scholar you know or hear about.
The only common secret among all these is sincerity. This means, others have sacrificed more than these did. However, their legacies couldn’t survive as much as that of those we embrace their knowledge. No doubt, they were famous during their times, but their legacy passed on with them.
The real purpose of our existence on this earth is to worship Allah. However, wherever you turn around, you see enjoyment that can easily divert you from your actual mission. You see entertainment all over the places. You see easy access to all sort of prohibitions, zina, pornography, ribā, liquor, and the list builds on.
No matter how long you enjoy your transit on this earth, you must move on to the next phase of your life when the time comes for you to do so. The Almighty will take care of your moving. Angels will be assigned to take your soul while your relatives and loved ones will take care of your body. The only thing that none will take care of is your legacy. Your legacy will automatically take care of itself by itself, depending on how you build it, and depending on the extent of sincerity you sow in it.
Literally, your wealth is part of your legacy. But the truth is that your wealth is not your legacy. It’s your inheritance which your children and immediate family members will inherit from you. In some cases, it’s strangers who will inherit your wealth. In some other cases, the government of your country will take over your wealth. In some worse cases, a government of a foreign country may take over your wealth. Whoever inherits your wealth may use it to build legacies of their own; not necessarily yours. Your wealth only becomes part of your legacy if you have planned for it to be so.
Similarly, your children are not your legacy, until you have trained them to carry your message and legacy. Whether in a righteous way or the otherwise.
It is reported in a ḥadīth reported by Imām Muslim from the narrations of Sayyidinā Abū Hurayrah, raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu, that the Messenger of Allah ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam says:
إِذَا مَاتَ الإِنْسَانُ انْقَطَعَ عَمَلُهُ إِلَّا مِنْ ثَلاثٍ: إِلا مِنْ صَدَقَةٍ جَارِيَةٍ أَوْ عِلْمٍ يُنْتَفَعُ بِهِ أَوْ وَلَدٍ صَالِحٍ يَدْعُو لَهُ
“When a man dies, his deeds come to an end, except for three: Except for a continuous charity, knowledge by which people derive benefit, and a pious son who prays for him.”
The above ḥadīth clearly indicates that when you pass on, all your deeds will seize to operate. You won’t be able to pray. Neither will you be able to give in charity or call anyone to righteousness. You will also not be able to invoke Allah. There will be only three domains that are given the exception, and they are: (1) a continuous charity you have given sincerely, (2) beneficial knowledge that you sought Allah’s Pleasure with, and (3) a righteous child who prays for you. These are investments that you make in the forms of acts of worship (‘ibādah). And it’s best made in your life.
One can notice that, these investments are such that our children cannot inherit from us. They are the three most valuable noninherited treasures. A charity you’ve built can’t be owned by your children, nor can they inherit it. A beneficial knowledge you leave behind is yours and not your children’s. Your children can’t inherit knowledge from you. To attain knowledge like yours, they must put in equal effort to attain it.
Another important thing to note is the variation of the lengths of the deeds which stay on after your death. Some stay longer than others. And this depends on your sincerity when you carried them out.
It’s worth emphasizing that our existence on this earth is not but for a transit. Your stay depends on your rout and linking flights. Everyone whom you have met was coincidental, including your spouse, friends and acquaintances. You chanced upon them and decided to hook up with them for your personal interests. The only ones you had no choice in meeting are your parents and children. Your parents may think they decided to reproduce, but Allah is the One who decided you for them. The same is trueforn you and your children. You wanted to make children, but He decided whether to give you or not, and what to give you.
This is to say, your relevance in this transit–life, depends on who you choose to associate yourself with. It’s they who will make you relevant in a good and righteous way after your passing. You won’t be able to communicate with this world after your flight departs. Your second part of life will be too demanding that you can’t think about this world. The only way through which you can communicate with this world is your legacy. In fact, it will be your legacy that communicates with you; not the other way around. The rewards or sins of your legacy will continue to pile up for your evaluation on the Day of Judgement.
Before we elaborate on the three domains that helps you in making a good legacy, it’s important that we are constantly reminded, that these three domains are sensitive to haram income. That same problem that takes away barakah from our pursuit for happiness. Haram income turns your pursuit of happiness (making a good legacy) into a pursuit for misery (making a bad legacy) in the next life.
Now, let’s briefly look at each of the three domain for making a good legacy.
One of the three domains that makes it possible for anyone to a make a good legacy is a continuous charity. A continuous charity is a project you start and aim for it to run and continue to operate for the longest possible time. You endow it for the benefit of the public, whoever finds it useful. This means its profits must go in charity. By doing that, you don’t expect any form or rewards–including praises–from anyone, but from Allah.
It comes in many forms. It can be a physical building, i.e., school, mosque, library, orphanage, water well, street, farm, business entity or anything that can benefit the community, especially the needy among them.
A continuous charity which you initiate will stay if it remains relevant and beneficial to people, animals or the environment. If it’s a physical charity, i.e., a building, well or a farm, and a day comes that the location requires redevelopment, your continuous charity may have to make way for estates, roads and other national facilities. And this is how some ṣadaqah jāriah (continuous charity) die off.
Some continuous charities may die off in your lifetime. Some stay for years. Some stay for decades. Some stay for centuries. The truth is, these lengths are all determined by the extent of the purity of your intention and sincerity. Have you heard of Sayyidina ‘Uthmān’s well? Read about it in the next few sections…
It’s, therefore, important if you are considering this kind of post-lifetime deeds, that you ensure ‘strictly’ pure sincerity in what you are doing. Your sincerity is not measured by what you tell people. It’s measured by what you tell Allah. And it may be realized by how long it stays after your passing. In addition to pure intention and sincerity, you must have a long vision for your project, and a strategic plan!
The second domain that makes it possible for anyone to a makde a good legacy is learning and sharing beneficial knowledge. Beneficial knowledge is the knowledge that leads to Allah. It doesn’t necessarily have to be Islamic religious science. But it should lead to Allah. It should make its learners more productive Muslims.
Spreading beneficial knowledge is the most effective post-lifetime deeds a Muslim can ever establish. And it comes in three main forms, (1) sharing the knowledge you have, (2) supporting institutions of beneficial knowledge, and (3) sponsoring seekers of knowledge to acquire the beneficial knowledge.
If you have any beneficial knowledge that can lead its beneficiaries to God, then you should make it available to benefit others. However and whatever means you are going to use for that knowledge to be accessible is up to you and your circumstances.
You support the spread of good knowledge by sponsoring it when it needs sponsorship. You may also share it with others.
Either way, the purity of sincerity is a prerequisite. Countless number of Muslim scholars have written books. But those who remain as authority and reference are countable. Even among the recognized ones, some have written a lot of books, but only a few are used as reference. So, don’t forget to work on the intention and sincerity.
The third domain for making a good legacy bearing and raising a pious child. A pious child is the one whom you’ve brought up successfully and have succeeded in instilling the love and fear for Allah in his heart.
A pious child will certainly pray for his parents, even if they were not committed Muslims. But his prayers can only stay if he lives. This means, a pious child may not live long after the passing of his parents. Thus, if you want to put expectations on your children to pray for you, you should provide them with the appropriate Islamic education.
That way, they may teach others morality and righteousness. Anytime someone prays for them, you have a share in that, even if you and your child are no longer in this world.
You may leave a lot of wealth behind for your children, but nothing can guarantee that they will remember you. One thing that will always guarantee that your children remember you is to be able to instil God-consciousness in their hearts. (See: The Three Most Valuable Noninherted Treasures.)
The above hadīth and its elaborations (interpretations) focus on one side of the coin of legacy. That is the good and righteous legacy. The other side of the coin of legacy is anything that lies in the opposite for the above-mentioned three domains of continues deeds. That is if it happens with your blessings and approval. Examples are as follows:
Initiating or Supporting Evil Acts and Institutions
On the other opposite end of continuous charity is the support for any sort of evil acts, that limits the effects of spreading the word of God. It is a legacy that will always be attached to your name. Thus, people will swear and curse you for that reason.
To play safe from being part of this, one should refrain from supporting evil if he can’t support a righteous cause or initiate it. A circumstance may render you helpless in standing up for good causes. But no circumstance should recruit you to support evil.
Just like good and beneficial knowledge lead to the guidance of the Almighty Allah, sharing destructive knowledge leads to deviating routs. It leads to losing morality. It prevents the children of Adam from living the purpose for which they were brough to this world.
If one can’t spread beneficial knowledge, one should refrain from leading or being part of spreading deviating knowledge.
This worth emphasis in the era of social media, where the ability of spreading falsehood, blaspheme, and fake news are in a click away.
Nurturing Evil Children
Bringing up children righteously is one of the most difficult task parents have ever being naturally entrusted with. Your success or failure in getting them on the right path is nothing but a luck, and nothing much.
Sayyidunā Nūḥ’s child perished in deviation. He refused to subscribe to his father’s message. He belied the father and transgressed against his own soul.
On the other hand, the children of Abu Lahab (don’t confuse him with Abū Jahl), the fiercest enemy of Islam, embraced Islam and propagated Islam in effective ways. Did Abu Lahab want that to happen? Obviously, no. But it happened.
The one who nurtures evil children will have his children carry on with his legacy, and he will be credited with sins of every evil act of the children.
As of 2017, Muslims represent more than two billion of the world’s population. Let’s assume there were around 500 million Muslims during the 15th century. Whenever any of the 21st century Muslims emulates their good example, they earn rewards for inspiring us towards good and righteousness. Likewise, both present-day Muslims, and those of the 15th century cause the Muslims of the 6th century; that’s the first generation of Muslims, to earn a significant amount of rewards whenever we carry out any form of righteousness that is inspired by their examples.
This is to say, when you inspire righteousness in someone, you are rewarded whenever he makes good use of that inspiration. Thus, if two other people get inspired by his actions, you will have earned rewards from three different people. When another two different people are inspired by any of the two who were inspired by the first person who learnt from you, you are rewarded from five or seven or more different sources at a time. The more the chain expands, the more rewards you earn. And this shall continue on the day of resurrection.
This is understood from the ḥadīth of Imām al-Tirmidhī, from the narration of Jābir ibn ‘Abdillāh, raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhumā, in which the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam says:
مَنْ سَنَّ سُنَّةَ خَيْرٍ فَاتُّبِعَ عَلَيْهَا فَلَهُ أَجْرُهُ وَمِثْلُ أُجُورِ مَنِ اتَّبَعَهُ غَيْرَ مَنْقُوصٍ مِنْ أُجُورِهِمْ شَيْئًا وَمَنْ سَنَّ سُنَّةَ شَرٍّ فَاتُّبِعَ عَلَيْهَا كَانَ عَلَيْهِ وِزْرُهُ وَمِثْلُ أَوْزَارِ مَنِ اتَّبَعَهُ غَيْرَ مَنْقُوصٍ مِنْ أَوْزَارِهِمْ شَيْئًا
“Whoever starts a good tradition which is followed, then for him is a reward, and the likes of their rewards of whoever follows him, there being nothing diminished from their rewards. And whoever starts a bad tradition which is followed, then for him is the sin, and the likes of the sins of whoever follows him, there being nothing diminished from their sins.”
Intellectually, the greatest names in our Islamic literature started humbly, but they strived in their making of good legacy. Think of Imām Muslim, Imām al-Bukhari, Imām Aḥmad, Imām al-Shāfi‘ī, Imām Mālik, Imām Abū Ḥanīfah , Imām Nāfi‘, Abdullāh ibn ‘Umar raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhumā, as well as Abū Hurayrah. Each one had his own way of making a good legacy that gives him a mention in a humble article like the one you are reading at this moment, hundreds of years after his passing.
In the world of business and entrepreneurship, big companies that dominate the world of money today were started by one or a few individuals. These companies continue to operate and make great profits even after the passing of their founders and various generations of their children and successors.
This is true in the case of Nokia, Apple, and Adidas. It’s also true in the case of Nestle, McDonalds, as well as KFC. Profits continue to pour in for these companies. Yes, there are good and effective successors who ensure the smooth operation of such companies. But the founders were aiming for this kind of legacy.
It’s fundamental in our Islamic creed, that life continues after death, and that death is nothing but a transit every man must make at one point in his life. Thus, the first part of life takes place on this earth, and begins the moment you escaped, among millions of competing sperm heads, into your mother’s womb. It ends at the time you are announced dead, and are no longer able to benefit from anything on the earth, i.e., food, water, air, and interaction with your surroundings.
That very moment, when death comes to you marks the beginning of the second part of your life. It takes place in the grave or what is known in Arabic is the world of ‘barzakh,’ until one is resurrected for the next phase of life. That moment puts to stall all your physical activities. The only thing that, that moment can’t stop is your legacy. And that will extend to your second part of life.
When the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam went to Madinah. There were limited access to good drinking water. The only water well that had desired water was owned by a Jew. It was called the well of Rūmah.
The man used to sell the water of his well to the Muslims at a high price when not many among them could afford that price. The Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam called among his companions,
“Who will purchase this well of Rūmah and place his bucket alongside the buckets of the Muslims, in exchange for better than that in Paradise?”
The moment the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu’alayhi wa sallam made that statement Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān took up the challenge.
He approached the Jew. After tedious negotiations, they agreed that ‘Uthmān buys half of the well. This means, the Jew and Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān will take ownership of the well on alternate days. That way, each partner has a full control to whatever he wants to do with the water on his day of ownership.
The Jew continued to charge for a high price on his day of ownership. But Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān offered the water to the people of Madinah, on his day of ownership, for free.
People decided to support ‘Uthmān’s business model and boycotted the Jew’s. Thus, they avoided fetching (buying) water on the days of the Jew’s ownership. Instead, they will fetch the water they need when it’s Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān’s turn of ownership.
The man’s share become with no value. Despite that, when he offered to Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān to buy his share, he agreed and bought it at a hefty price.
After that, Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu endowed the well for the benefit of the people of Madinah.
The people of Madinah continued to benefit from the water of the well, which was later named after Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān. The water from the well did not only quench the people, it also watered the palm trees surrounding it. It has been more than a thousand years now… and the well continues to operate and benefit the people of Madinah until the present day.
Three Forms of Legacy From Uthmān’s Story
The legacy which Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu made here comes in three forms. The first is giving the water of the well in charity. The second is endowing the well for the use of the people of Madinah. And the third is inspiring Muslim rich men of the need to strengthen the Muslim community economically.
First, Sayyidunā ‘Uthman will be rewarded for any drop of water that goes out of the well in charity. Next, whoever survived death with the aid of the water from Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān’s well, and gains energy to do any righteousness will be rewarded for his righteous deed, and Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān will be equally rewarded for the righteous deed of the beneficiary of his charity.
Also, whoever gains the strength to spread Islam/knowledge and earns rewards for that, Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān will equally earn the same amount of rewards. Moreover, whoever, gains, from the water of the well, the ability to reproduce a righteous child, the righteous child is rewarded for being righteous, his parents are rewarded for bringing up a righteous child, and Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān is rewarded for giving in charity the water of his well to that parents.
Second, Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu is rewarded for endowing the well for the benefit of the people of Madinah. Whoever follows in the footsteps of ‘Uthman, based this story, and becomes inspired to make endowments for the benefit of the Muslim community will be rewarded, and ‘Uthman will have his fair share of that inspirations.
Third, Sayyidunā ‘Uthman raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu is rewarded for inspiring the idea of the need to support and strengthen the Muslim community economically. Whoever adopts this idea and implements it will certainly reap greater rewards. Equally, Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān will also reap greater rewards for inspiring that.
Food for Thought
This is how much Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān gets for one deed. The good news is, Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu has plenty of stories of this nature. And it’s only Sayyidunā ‘Uthman. What about the Prophet Muhammad who inspired ‘Uthmān to do that? Mind you, He inspired ‘Uthmān, Abū Bakr, ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, ‘Ali ibn Abī Ṭālib, ‘Abdul-Raḥmān ibn ‘Awf, Mu‘ādh ibn Jabl, Abū ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrāḥ, Ṭalḥah ibn ‘Ubaydillah, Abu al-Dardā’, Bilāl ibn Rabāḥ, Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī, ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir and his parents, Khadījah, ‘Āishah, Fāṭimah, raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhum and thousands, millions and billions like these great people.
Imām al-Nawawī reports in his Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn a ḥadīth from Imām al-Bukhārī and Muslim from the narration of Abdullāh ibn Abī Awfā raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhu, that
“The Messenger of Allah ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam gave glad tidings to Khadījah about a palace of hollowed pearls in Paradise, free from noise and toil.”
The question is, how did Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā earn such a unique good news from the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam?
When Sayyidunā Jibrīl ‘alayhi al-salām first descended with the first revelation to the Prophet, he came in his real Angelic image. That marked the beginning of the Prophet’s prophethood. The Prophet had never seen such a scary creature before, and hence, he was caught in an extreme shock. To overcome that, he needed someone to console and reassure him. The first person he could think of was none but his wife, Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā. So, he ran, just to her.
At this point of time, the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam and Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā have been married for 15 wonderful years.
Being Sayyidah Khadījah; a woman of wisdom, big heart, and above all, sincere love and compassion for her husband, she listened to the story of the Prophet. Among the other concerns he raised, he said:
لَقَدْ خَشِيتُ عَلَى نَفْسِي
“I fear that something may happen to me.”
After listening to him, she said to him: “Never! By Allah, Allah will never disgrace you. You keep good relations with your kith and kin, you help the poor and the destitute, you serve your guests generously and you assist the deserving calamity-afflicted ones.”
Sayyidatunā Khadījah then accompanied him to her cousin, Waraqa ibn Nawfal. Waraqah was a learned and aged Christian during the pre-Islamic Period. He knew the signs of prophecy and the descriptions of Angels who descended upon Prophets. Therefore, he could reassure the Prophet, that his experience was none but something only Prophets and Messengers could experience.
He then told him the hard truth; he should expect the worst from his people (the people of Makkah). They will expatriate you out of your home(town). True enough, they did. And they are still doing, until this day.
Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā was a rich business woman who inherited a significant amount of wealth and a career of trading from her father before marrying Sayyidunā Muḥammad ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. In fact, it was through this career that she and Prophet come to know each other.
As Sayyidunā Muḥammad formally becomes a Prophet, his challenges began to pile up. His followers were tortured and persecuted. They lacked the money and necessities for survival. All that, and Sayyidatunā Khadījah was there to support with her money in addition to her continuous moral and emotional support for the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his mission.
At that time, Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā already had six children with the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam. They are Al-Qāsim, Zaynab, Abdullāh, Ruqayyah, Ummu Kulthūm and Fāṭimah, raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhum. Al-Qāsim and ‘Abdullah died during their infancy. The rest reached maturity. Knowing how exemplary and role models these children were, one can rightly tell what type of a good mother they had at home. And she was none but Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā.
Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā passed on seven years after the mission of the Prophet began. It was during the most difficult times for the Prophet and the Muslims. This means, she lived with the Prophet for approximately 23 years.
Legacies We Can Learn from Sayyidah Khadījah
Sayyidatunā Khadījah has made three forms of legacies for us to emulate. The first legacy is showing support for her husband’s righteous cause. The second is being the most reliable one her husband could have. And the third is being a good mother and a role model for her children.
First, the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam needed Sayyidatunā Khadījah’s financial support, more than she need him. She could have simply abandoned him. After all, he was (financially) a poor man. She could have betrayed and belied him, just like the wives of Sayyidunā Nūḥ and Sayydinunā Lūṭ ‘alayhimā al-salām did to their husbands.
Nevertheless, she chose to stand by his side, and utilized all she had in support of his cause. She was the first person on earth to believe in him and accept his message! Of course, he wasn’t a person of double standards or someone she could doubt. Thus, he already had her full trust. She also knew he was doing the right thing.
The support Sayyidah Khadījah rendered the Prophet has benefitted in strengthening the spread of Islam. It lifted high the Prophet’s morale and emotional wellbeing. It gave him the courage to teach and inspire his followers. Thus, he was able to inspire Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān (as you’ve seen above) and all the other companions.
Any companion (including Sayyidunā ‘Uthmān) and any Muslim who extracts inspirations from this stance of Sayyidatunā Khadījah’s (by unconditionally supporting your spouse’s righteous cause) earns greater rewards. Equally, Sayyidah Khadījah earns her fair share of rewards.
Second, Rasūlullah had his friends, whom he could have gone to, when he encountered the shocking moments with Jibrīl ‘alayhi al-salām. He was good friends with Abū Bakr at that time. But because his wife was reliable enough, he chose her over his friends. And being reliable to one’s spouse is a character that earns you rewards and gives you a happy life. Moreover, any Muslim woman who emulates Sayyidatunā Khadījah in this, and chooses to be reliable for her spouse, seeking Allah’s pleasure, will gain His rewards. And Sayyidatunā Khadījah too will be rewarded equally.
Third, Sayyidah Khadījah was among the richest women of her time. But she didn’t prioritize her business over her children. Thus, her children received the upbringing they needed to be good role models and source of inspirations for others. Her two sons with the Prophet (Al-Qāsim and Abdullāh) died during their infancy. Their four daughters (Zaynab, Raqayyah, Ummu Kulthūm and Fāṭimah) led life of modesty that reflected the upbringing that their mother gave them.
Learning from Sayyidah Khadījah the art of dedication in parenting (despite her wealth) is a virtue our wives, sisters and daughters should emulate, while seeking the pleasure of Allah. This will help us produce and provide responsible children to our respective communities; communities of purity and modesty. When they achieve that, they earn greater rewards from Allah. At the same time, Sayyidah Khadījah also reaps her fair share of rewards.
Food for Thought
Again, this is how much Sayyidatunā ‘Khadījah gets for standing by her husband for the good cause. The support she rendered the Prophet and Islam has enabled him (the Prophet) to have some reassurance, moral and emotional support, which resulted to an absolute piece of mind for him in his mission.
If that much is what we expect Sayyidatunā Khadījah raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhā to reap in rewards, then what about the Prophet Muhammad who inspired Sayyidatunā Khadījah to do all that? His noble character was enough to earn her love, respect and absolute support. He also inspired ‘Abū Bakr, ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān, ‘Ali ibn Abī Ṭālib, ‘Abdul-Raḥmān ibn ‘Awf, Mu‘ādh ibn Jabl, Abū ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrāḥ, Ṭalḥah ibn ‘Ubaydillah, Abu al-Dardā’, Bilāl ibn Rabāḥ, Abū Dharr al-Ghifārī, ‘Ammār ibn Yāsir and his parents, ‘Āishah, Fāṭimah, raḍiya Allāhu ‘anhum and thousands, millions and billions like these great people.
“Every soul shall taste death” (Qur’an, 3:185). And every soul shall continue to live, until the blow of the horn. However, the extent of our living and the quality of our living and its impact vary.
Everyone leaves a legacy behind. And it’s only you who decide what your legacy becomes after your passing. It’s not by magic; magic doesn’t work after death. It’s by the purity of your sincerity. If you plan good and for good, your legacy is likely to be a good one. If you plan the otherwise and for the otherwise, then your legacy is likely to be the otherwise.
It’s better to live after your death than to live your short life and die forever, leaving behind no impact, nor good legacy. It’s however good if you can live here and there together. But you must be careful so as you don’t compromise on your principals, values and moralities that stand to preserve purity and humanity.
Allah knows best.
Allahu Hafiz 🙂