I had a question about Hadhrat Khadeejah. Muslims often state that women during the time of Jahilliyah (Pre-Islamic era) were mistreated and oppressed. How was it possible for Khadeejah to maintain such a wealthy business and trade?
It is correct that usually the pre-Islamic Arabian women are portrayed as oppressed in all circumstances. However, it is not true. In the tribal society of pre-Islamic Arabia, different tribes had different traditions regarding women. For example, female infanticide was not the norm of all the tribes, as usually believed. Apart from that the class differences within different tribes also represented different traditions regarding women. Rich women belonging to the upper classes enjoyed more freedoms compared to lower class women, such as right to property, indirect participation in the politics of that time etc. Hadhrat Khadeeja (ra) belonged to the upper class of her tribe and hence enjoyed those privileges which women of her status had. She inherited a large property from her deceased husband and was able to maintain a wealthy business. However, this was not the norm of that society. These were only exceptions, and as I have said earlier these exceptions belonged to the upper classes only, and the upper class in any society is always in the minority. The best statement in this regard will be that, generally the women were oppressed in that time. This statement leaves room for exceptions as obvious from the word “generally”.
I hope this explanation answers your question. You can always get back if you are still unclear. However, this is only my opinion in this regard and I admit any chance of mistake in forming this opinion. I would be open to other points of view if based on stronger reasons. May Allah guide us all towards the right path.
Note: This response was written by Mr. Amar Ellahi Lone