Khadija bint Khuwaylid

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Mother of the Believers
Native name (Arabic): خديجة
Born Khadījah bint Khuwaylid
c. 555 C.E or 567 (according to earlier sources)
Died 620 C.E (aged c. 53–65)
Resting place Jannat al-Mu'alla, Mecca
Other names Khadījah al-Kubra
Spouse(s) 'Atiq ibn 'A'idh Al-Makhzumi
Abu Hala Malak ibn Nabash
Children Hind bint ‘Atiq
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Atiq
Halah ibn Abi Halah
Hind ibn Abi Halah
Zaynab bint Abi Halah
Qasim ibn Muhammad
Abd-Allah ibn Muhammad
Zaynab bint Muhammad
Ruqayyah bint Muhammad
Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad
Fatimah bint Muhammad
Parent(s) Khuwaylid ibn Asad
Fatimah bint Za'idah
Relatives Asad ibn ‘Abdul-‘Uzza (grandfather)
Halah bint Khuwaylid (sister)
Waraqah ibn Nawfal (cousin)

Khadijah, Khadījah bint Khuwaylid (Arabic: خديجة بنت خويلد‎‎) or Khadījah al-Kubra (Khadijah the Great) [1] (c. 555 or 567 – 620 CE) was the first wife and follower of the Islamic Nabi (Arabic: نَـبِي‎‎, Prophet) Muhammad. She is commonly regarded by Muslims as the "Mother of the Believers" (i.e., Muslims). Khadijah, is regarded as one of the most important female figures in Islam, like her daughter, Fatimah. Muhammad was monogamously married to her for 25 years. After the death of Khadijah, Muhammad was later married in polygyny.

Khadijah was the closest to Muhammad and confided in her the most out of all his following wives. It is narrated in many hadiths that Khadijah was Muhammad's most trusted and favorite among all his marriages. It is narrated in Sahih Muslim: The messenger of Allah said: "God Almighty never granted me anyone better in this life than her. She accepted me when people rejected me; she believed in me when people doubted me; she shared her wealth with me when people deprived me; and Allah granted me children only through her."[2] ‘A’ishah narrated of Muhammed and Khadijah in Sahih Bukhari: "I did not feel jealous of any of the wives of the Prophet as much as I did of Khadijah though I did not see her, but the Prophet used to mention her very often, and when ever he slaughtered a sheep, he would cut its parts and send them to the women friends of Khadijah. When I sometimes said to him, "(You treat Khadijah in such a way) as if there is no woman on Earth except Khadijah," he would say, "Khadijah was such-and-such, and from her I had children."[3] It is also narrated: The Messenger of Allah said: "The best of its women is Khadijah bint Khuwailid, and the best of its women is Maryam bint ‘Imran."[4]

Khadijah was the first female and person to become a follower of Muhammad. Muhammad was married to her until her death and Khadijah was the only wife to be married to Muhammad in monogamy, thus sometimes regarded as Muhammad's most beloved. She is regarded as one of the most important women in Islam, and in terms of the progression of Islam, the most important out of all of Muhammad's wives.


Khadija's grandfather, Asad ibn ‘Abdul-‘Uzza, was the progenitor[clarification needed] of the Asad clan[5] of the Tribe of Quraysh in Mecca. Her father, Khuwaylid ibn Asad, was a merchant.[5] According to some traditions, he died c. 585 CE in the Sacrilegious War, but according to others, he was still alive when Khadijah married Muhammad in 595.[6][7] His sister, Umm Habib bint Asad, was the matrilineal great-grandmother of Muhammad.[8] Khadija's mother, Fatima bint Za'idah, who died around 575,[citation needed] was a member of the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh[9] and a third cousin of Muhammad's mother.[10][11]

Khadija married three times and had children from all her marriages. While the order of her marriages is debated, it is generally believed that she first married Abu Hala Malak ibn Nabash ibn Zarrara ibn at-Tamimi and second 'Atiq ibn 'A'idh ibn 'Abdullah Al-Makhzumi.[12] To her first husband she bore two sons, who were both given what were usually feminine names,[13] Hala and Hind. He died before his business became a success.[14] To husband Atiq, Khadija bore a daughter named Hindah. This marriage also left Khadija as a widow.[15]

Khadija became a very successful merchant. It is said that when the Quraysh's trade caravans gathered to embark upon their summer journey to Syria or winter journey to Yemen, Khadija's caravan equalled the caravans of all other traders of the Quraysh put together.[16] She was known by the by-names Ameerat-Quraysh ("Princess of Quraysh"), al-Tahira ("The Pure One") and Khadija Al-Kubra (Khadija "the Great").[17] It is said that she fed and clothed the poor, assisted her relatives financially and provided marriage portions for poor relations.[17] Khadija was said to have neither believed in nor worshipped idols,[citation needed] which was atypical for pre-Islamic Arabian culture. According to other sources, however, she kept an idol of Al-‘Uzzá in her house.[18]

Khadija did not travel with her trade caravans; she employed others to trade on her behalf for a commission. In 595 Khadija needed an agent for a transaction in Syria. Abu Talib ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib recommended her distant cousin Muhammad ibn Abdullah. The experience that Muhammad held working with caravans in his uncle Abu Talib's family business had earned him the honorific titles Al-Sadiq ("the Truthful") and Al-Amin ("the Trustworthy" or "Honest").[19] Khadija hired Muhammad, who was then 25 years old, sending word through her kinsman Khazimah ibn Hakim[citation needed] that she would pay double her usual commission.[20]

She sent one of her servants, Maysarah, to assist him. Upon returning, Maysarah gave accounts of the honorable way that Muhammad had conducted his business, with the result that he brought back twice as much profit as Khadija had expected. Maysarah also relayed that on the return journey, Muhammad had stopped to rest under a tree. A passing monk, Nestora, informed Maysarah that, "None but a prophet ever sat beneath this tree."[21] Maysarah also claimed that while he stood near Muhammad as he slept, he had seen two angels standing above Muhammad creating a cloud to protect him from the heat and glare of the sun.[14]

Khadija then consulted her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn 'Abdu'l-'Uzza.[21] Waraqah said that if what Maysarah had seen was true, then Muhammad was in fact the prophet of the people who was already expected. It is also said Khadijah had a dream in which the sun descended from the sky into her courtyard, fully illuminating her home.[14] Her cousin Waraqah told her not to be alarmed, for the sun was an indication that the Prophet would grace her home.[14] At this, Khadija considered proposing marriage to her agent.[22] Many wealthy Quraysh men had already asked for her hand in marriage,[14] but all had been refused.[23]

Marriage to Muhammad[edit]

Muhammad and Khadija performing the first wudu, as illustrated in the Siyer-i Nebi

Khadija entrusted a friend named Nafisa to approach Muhammad and ask if he would consider marrying.[24] At first Muhammad was hesitant because he had no money to support a wife. Nafisa then asked if he would consider marriage to a woman who had the means to provide for herself.[25] Muhammad agreed to meet with Khadija, and after this meeting they consulted their respective uncles. The uncles agreed to the marriage, and Muhammad's uncles accompanied him to make a formal proposal to Khadija.[21] It is disputed whether it was only Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib or only Abu Talib or both who accompanied Muhammad on this errand.[15] Khadija's uncle accepted the proposal, and the marriage took place.

Muhammad and Khadija were married monogamously for twenty-five years. This monogamous marriage contrasts with Muhammad's later practice of polygyny after Khadija's death. Muhammad's youngest wife, Aisha, was to be jealous of the affection and loyalty that Muhammad maintained for Khadija even after her death.[26]


Muhammad and Khadija had six children.[14] (Sources disagree about number of children; Al-Tabari names eight, but most sources only identify six).[12]

Their first son was Qasim, who died before his second birthday[27] (hence Muhammad's kunya Abu Qasim). Khadija then gave birth to their daughters Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatima; and lastly to their son Abd-Allah. Abd-Allah was known as at-Tayyib ("the Good") and at-Tahir ("the Pure") because he was born after Muhammad declared himself a prophet. Abdullah also died in childhood.[14]

Two other children also lived in Khadija's household.

  • One was Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son of Muhammad's uncle, whom Muhammad raised as his own when Abu Talib was under financial hardship.[15]
  • The second was Zayd ibn Harithah, a boy from the Udhra tribe who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Zayd was a slave in Khadija's household for several years, until his father came to Mecca to bring him home. Muhammad said Zayd should be given a choice about where he lived. Zayd decided to remain with Khadija and Muhammad, after which Muhammad legally adopted Zayd as his own son.[15]

Becoming the first follower of Muhammad[edit]

According to the traditional Sunni narrative, when Muhammad reported his first revelation from the Angel Gabriel (Jibril), Khadija was the first person to convert to Islam.[28] After his experience in the cave of Hira, Muhammad returned home to Khadija in a state of terror, pleading for her to cover him with a blanket. After calming down, he described the encounter to Khadija, who comforted him with the words: "Allah would surely protect him from any danger, and would never allow anyone to revile him as he was a man of peace and reconciliation and always extended the hand of friendship to all."[14] According to some sources, it was Khadija's cousin, Waraka ibn Nawfal, who confirmed Muhammad's prophethood soon afterwards.[29]

Yahya ibn `Afeef is quoted saying that he once came, during the period of Jahiliyyah (before the advent of Islam), to Mecca to be hosted by 'Abbas ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib, one of Muhammad's uncles mentioned above. "When the sun started rising", he said, "I saw a man who came out of a place not far from us, faced the Kaaba and started performing his prayers. He hardly started before being joined by a young boy who stood on his right side, then by a woman who stood behind them. When he bowed down, the young boy and the woman bowed, and when he stood up straight, they, too, did likewise. When he prostrated, they, too, prostrated." He expressed his amazement at that, saying to Abbas: "This is quite strange, O Abbas!" "Is it, really?" retorted al-Abbas. "Do you know who he is?" Abbas asked his guest who answered in the negative. "He is Muhammad ibn Abdullah, my nephew. Do you know who the young boy is?" asked he again. "No, indeed," answered the guest. "He is Ali son of Abu Talib. Do you know who the woman is?" The answer came again in the negative, to which Abbas said, "She is Khadija bint Khuwaylid, my nephew's wife." This incident is included in the books of both Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Al-Tirmidhi, each detailing it in his own Ṣaḥīḥ.

Khadija was supportive of Muhammad's prophetic mission, always helping in his work, proclaiming his message and belittling any opposition to his prophecies.[28] It was her encouragement that helped Muhammad believe in his mission and spread Islam.[30] Khadija also invested her wealth in the mission. When the polytheists and aristocrats of the Quraysh harassed the Muslims, she used her money to ransom Muslim slaves and feed the Muslim community.[31][32]

In 616 the Quraysh declared a trade boycott against the Hashim clan. They attacked, imprisoned and beat the Muslims, who sometimes went for days without food or drink.[33] Some died and others became ill.[citation needed] Khadija continued to maintain the community until the boycott was lifted in late 619 or early 620.[15]


Mausoleum Khadija, Jannatul Mualla cemetery, in Mecca, before its destruction by Saud

Khadija died in "Ramadan of the year 10 after the Prophethood",[34] i.e., in April or May 620 CE. Muhammad later called this tenth year "the Year of Sorrow", as his uncle and protector Abu Talib also died at this time.[35] Khadija is said to have been about sixty-five years old at the time of her death.[36] She was buried in Jannat al-Mu'alla cemetery, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.[37]

In the years immediately following Khadija's death, Muhammad faced persecution from opponents of his message and also from some who originally followed him but had now turned back. Hostile tribes ridiculed and stoned him.[38]




  • Zaynab
  • Ruqayyah
  • Umm Kulthum
  • Fatima (605–632), although it is sometimes asserted that she was born during the first year of Muhammad's mission (610–611). She had the by-name "The mother of her father", as she took over caring for her father and being a support to her father once her mother died.[42] She married Ali, who became the fourth Caliph in 656. (According to early debate after the death of Muhammad, some would argue that Ali would be the proper succession to Muhammad.)[43] Ali and Fatimah moved to a small village in Ghoba after the marriage, but later moved back to Medina to live next door to Muhammad.[44] Muhammad forbade Ali to take additional wives because, "What caused pain to his daughter grieved him as well."[45] Fatima died a few months after her father died. All of Muhammad's surviving descendants are by Fatima's children. Muhammad loved her two sons Hasan and Husayn, who would continue his heritage.[45]

Sunni view[edit]

The Sunni scholar Yusuf ibn abd al-Barr says: "His children born of Khadīja are four daughters; there is no difference of opinion about that."[46]

The Qur’an (33:59)[47] says:

"O Prophet! Say to your azwaj (Arabic: أزواج‎‎, wives) and your banat (Arabic: بـنـات‎‎, daughters) and the nisa’il-mu’minin (Arabic: نـسـاءِ الـمـؤمـنـيـن‎‎, "women of the believers") ..."

Shi‘ite view[edit]

According to some Shi‘ite sources, Khadijah and Muhammad together had only one biological daughter, Fatimah. The others either belonged to Khadijah's sister or were from a previous marriage and were treated by Muhammad as his own daughters. The Shi'i scholar Abu'l-Qasim al-Kufi writes:

When the Messenger of Allah married Khadijah, then some time thereafter Halah died leaving two daughters, one named Zaynab and the other named Ruqayyah and both of them were brought up by Muhammad and Khadijah and they maintained them, and it was the custom before Islam that a child was assigned to whoever brought him up.[48]

  1. Hind bint Atiq. She married her paternal cousin, Sayfi ibn Umayya, and they had one son, Muhammad ibn Sayfi.[40][49]
  2. Zaynab bint Abi Hala, who probably died in infancy.[39]

The adopted daughters attributed to Muhammad are:

  1. Zaynab (c.598–629). She married her maternal cousin Abu al-Aas ibn al-Rabee before al-Hijra.[14]
  2. Ruqayyah (c.601–624). She was first married to Utbah ibn Abu Lahab and then to the future third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan.[14]
  3. Umm Kulthum (c.603–630). She was first married to Utaybah bin Abu Lahab and then, after the death of her sister Ruqayyah, to Uthman ibn Affan. She was childless.[14][50]



  • Abd-Allah ibn Umm-Maktum
  • Waraqah ibn Nawfal was the son of Nawfal b. Asad b. ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā b. Ḳuṣayy and Hind bt. Abī Kat̲h̲īr. Waraqah had been proposed to marry Khadija bint Khuwaylid, but the marriage never took place. Waraqah is noteworthy because he converted from polytheism to Christianity before the Prophet Muhammad's revelation. [51] Ibn Ishaq claims that Waraqah is also important because he plays a role in legitimizing Muhammad's revelation.

"There has come to him,” Waraḳa says, “the greatest law that came to Moses; surely he is the prophet of this people”[52]

Her important descendants[edit]

Quraysh tribe
Abd Manaf ibn Qusai
Ātikah bint Murrah
‘Abd Shams
Salma bint Amr
Umayya ibn Abd Shams
‘Abd al-Muttalib
Abu al-'As
ʿAbd Allāh
Abî Ṭâlib
ʾAbī Sufyān ibn Harb
Affan ibn Abi al-'As
(Family tree)
Khadija bint Khuwaylid
`Alî al-Mûrtdhā
Khawlah bint Ja'far
ʿAbd Allâh
Marwan I
Uthman ibn Affan
Fatima Zahra
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
ʿAli bin ʿAbd Allâh
Umayyad Caliphate
Uthman ibn Abu-al-Aas
Hasan al-Mûjtabâ
Husayn bin Ali
(Family tree)
al-Mukhtār ibn Abī ‘Ubayd Allah al-Thaqafī
Muhammad "al-Imâm" (Abbasids)


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  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Benedikt, Koehler (2014). Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism. Lexington Books. 
  6. ^ Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 83. 
  7. ^ Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1. Translated by Haq, S. M. Ibn Sa'd's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, pp. 148–149. Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.
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  9. ^ Early Life
  10. ^ Haq, S.M. Ibn Sa'd's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 1. p. 54. 
  11. ^ The Women of Madina. Ta-Ha Publishers. p. 9. 
  12. ^ a b al-Tabari (1990). Volume 9: The Last Years of the Prophet. State University of New York Press. 
  13. ^ "Khadija". 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Islams Women". 
  15. ^ a b c d e "Khadija bint Khuwaylid at the Tree of Faith". 
  16. ^ Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina, p. 10. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  17. ^ a b Islam, Peace and Social Justice: A Christian Perspective. James Clarke & Co. 2014. p. 162.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  18. ^ Ahmed ibn Hanbal, Musnad vol. 4 p. 222. Cited in Margoliouth, D. S. (1905). Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, 3rd Ed., p. 70. London: G. P. Putnam's Sons.
  19. ^ Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, p. 33–34
  20. ^ Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1. Translated by Haq, S. M. Ibn Sa'ad's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, p. 145–146. Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.
  21. ^ a b c Guillaume (1955). The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. 
  22. ^ Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, p. 34–35
  23. ^ Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1. Translated by Haq, S. M. Ibn Sa'd's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, p. 149. Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.
  24. ^ Lings (1983). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. New York: Inner Traditions Internationalist. p. 83. 
  25. ^ Lings (1983). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Inner Traditions Internationalist. 
  26. ^ Walther, Wiebke (1993). Women in Islam. Markus Wiener Publishing Inc. p. 104. 
  27. ^ Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, p. 37
  28. ^ a b Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 111. 
  29. ^ Khatijatul Kubra
  30. ^ Abbott, Nabia (1942). Women and the State in Early Islam. The University of Chicago Press. pp. 106–109. JSTOR 542352. 
  31. ^ Restatement of History of Islam: The Economic and Social Boycott of the Banu Hashim (A.D. 616-619)
  32. ^ Restatement of History of Islam: The Deaths of Khadija and Abu Talib - A.D. 619
  33. ^ Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 143. 
  34. ^ Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l-Muluk. Translated by Landau-Tasseron, E. (1998). Vol. 39, Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors, p. 161. New York: SUNY Press.
  35. ^ Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 191. 
  36. ^ The Death
  37. ^ Muhammad, Farkhanda Noor.Islamiat for Students. Revised Edition 2000: pp. 74–75.
  38. ^ Qasimi, Ja'Far (1987). The Life, Traditions, and Sayings of the Prophet. New York: Crossroad. pp. 77–78. 
  39. ^ a b Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 792. 
  40. ^ a b Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina p. 9. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  41. ^ Tabari, Tarikh al-Rusul wa'l-Muluk. Translated by Landau-Tasseron, E. (1998). Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors vol. 39 p. 80. New York: SUNY Press.
  42. ^ Shariati, Ali (1981). Ali Shariati's Fatima Is Fatima. Tehran, Iran: Shariati Foundation. 
  43. ^ Madelung, Wilferd (1997). The Succession to Muhammad. Cambridge University Press. pp. 52–53. 
  44. ^ Shariati, Ali (1981). Ali Shariati's Fatima is Fatima. Tehran, Iran: Shariati Foundation. p. 148. 
  45. ^ a b Walther, Wiebke (1993). Women in Islam. Markus Wiener Publishing Princeton & New York. p. 108. 
  46. ^ al-Istī`āb fī Ma`rifat al-Aşĥāb Yusuf ibn abd al-Barr, The Comprehensive Compilation of the Names of the Prophet's Companions vol. 1, p. 50
  47. ^ Quran 33:59
  48. ^ al-Istighathah, p. 69
  49. ^ Tabari, Tarik al-Rusul wa'l-Muluk. Translated by Landau-Tasseron, E. (1998). Biographies of the Prophet's Companions and Their Successors vol. 39 p. 161. New York: SUNY Press.
  50. ^ Buhl. "UmmKulthum". 
  51. ^ Robinson, C. F. (2012). Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition. ISBN 9789004161214. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  52. ^ Ishaq, Ibn. The Life of Muhammad (Reprint ed.). Karachi ; New York:: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0196360331. 

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