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Khadijah bint Khuwaylid or Khadija bint Khuwaylid (Arabic: خديجة بنت خويلد‎) (555 CE[1] – 22 November 619 CE) was the first wife and first follower of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Khadijah was the daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad, a leader of Quraysh tribe in Mecca, and a successful businesswoman in her own right.

Native name
(Arabic): المنكوحة خديجة
Khadījah bint Khuwaylid"

555 AD[1]
Mecca, Hejaz, Arabia
present-day Saudi Arabia
Died11 Ramadan BH 3 in the ancient (intercalated) Arabic calendar[2]
22 November 619 AD
Mecca, Hejaz, Arabia
Resting placeJannat al-Mu'alla, Mecca
Other namesKhadījah al-Kubra
Spouse(s)'Atiq ibn 'A'idh Al-Makhzumi
Abu Hala Malak ibn Nabash
ChildrenHind 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
RelativesAsad ibn ‘Abdul-‘Uzza (grandfather)
Halah bint Khuwaylid (sister)
Waraqah ibn Nawfal (cousin)
Amr-Ibn Asad (uncle)

Khadijah is often referred to by Muslims as "Mother of the Believers (as are other wives of Muhammad).” She and her daughter Fatimah are two of the most important female figures in Islam. Muhammad was monogamously married to her for 25 years. The number of children she bore before and to Muhammad is disputed, but it is generally agreed that they had six to eight children together.

Before marrying MuhammadEdit

Her familyEdit

Khadijah's father, Khuwaylid ibn Asad, was a merchant[3] and leader. 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.[4][5] Khuwaylid also had a sister named Umm Habib binte Asad.[6]

Khadijah's mother, Fatima bint Za'idah, who died around 575 CE,[7] was a member of the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh[8] and a third cousin of Muhammad's mother.[9][10]

Her professionEdit

Khadijah became a very successful merchant. It is said that when the Quraysh's trade caravan travelers gathered to embark upon their summer journey to Syria or winter journey to Yemen, Khadijah's caravan equalled the caravans of all other traders of the Quraysh put together.[11] Honorifics associated with Khadijah included, “Ameerat-Quraysh (“Princess of Quraysh“),” “The Pious One,” and “Khadijah Al-Kubra (“Khadijah the Great”).”[12] It is said that she fed and clothed the poor, assisted her relatives financially and provided marriage portions for poor relations.[12] Khadijah was said to have neither believed in nor worshipped idols (Taghut), which was atypical for pre-Islamic Arabian culture.[13]

Khadijah did not travel with her trade caravans; she employed others to trade on her behalf for a commission. In 595 Khadijah needed an agent for a transaction in Syria. She chose Muhammad ibn Abdullah for the trade in Syria. With the permission of Abu Talib ibn Muttalib, his uncle, he was sent to Syria with one of Khadijah's servants. This caravan experience earned Muhammad the honorific titles “Al-Sadiq ("the Truthful")” and Al-Amin ("the Trustworthy" or "Honest").[14] But no reference can be found in Islamic tradition books of people actually calling him these titles. Khadijah hired Muhammad, who was then 25 years old, sending word that she would pay double her usual commission.[15]

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 Khadijah had expected.[16] However, he never conducted any trading for her after that and her wealth has disappeared.

Differing views on previous marriagesEdit

Sunni versionEdit

Khadijah 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 Atiq ibn 'A'idh ibn' Abdullah Al-Makhzumi and second Malik ibn Nabash ibn Zarrara ibn at-Tamimi.[17] To her second husband she bore two sons, who were named Hala and Hind.[18] He died before his business became a success.[19] To husband Atiq, Khadijah bore a daughter named Hindah. This marriage also left Khadijah as a widow.[20]

Khadijah proposed to Muhammad when he was 25 years old and she was 40 years old. Khadijah consulted her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn 'Abdu'l-'Uzza.[16] Waraqah said that Muhammad was the prophet of the people, who was already expected.

Shia versionEdit

Shi'a scholars believed Khadijah did not marry anyone before Muhammad.

Ibn Shahrashub quoted from al-Sayyid al-Murtada in al-Shafi and al-Shaykh al-Tusi in al-Talkhis that Khadijah was a virgin when she married Muhammad.[21] In addition, considering the cultural and intellectual situation in Hijaz and high position and status of Khadijah al-Kubra among other people, it would be highly improbable that she marry men from Banu Tamim and Banu Makhzum (the two “low” tribes).[22]

According to researchers,[who?] two children attributed to Khadijah were the children of Hala, Khadija's sister. After Hala’s husband’s death, Khadijah took care of Hala and (after Hala’s death) Hala’s children.[23]

Khadijah was 25 or 28 when she was married to Muhammad.[24][25][26][27]

Marriage to MuhammadEdit

Khadijah entrusted a friend named Nafisa to approach Muhammad and ask if he would consider marrying.[28] When Muhammad hesitated because he had no money to support a wife, Nafisa asked if he would consider marriage to a woman who had the means to provide for herself.[29] Muhammad agreed to meet with Khadijah, 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 Khadijah.[16] It is disputed whether it was Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib, Abu Talib, or both who accompanied Muhammad on this errand.[20] Khadijah's uncle accepted the proposal, and the marriage took place. At the time of the marriage Muhammad was 25 years old and Khadijah was 40 years old.[citation needed]

Muhammad and Khadijah were married monogamously for 25 years. After her death, Muhammad took other wives.


Muhammad and Khadijah may have had six or eight children.[19] (Sources disagree about number of children: Al-Tabari names eight; the earliest biography of Muhammad, by Ibn Ishaq, names seven children; most sources only identify six).[17]

Their first son was Qasim, who died before his second birthday[30] (hence Muhammad's kunya Abu Qasim). Khadijah 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 was declared a prophet by the Angel Gabriel as a direct message from Allah. Abdullah also died in childhood.[19]

Two other children also lived in Khadijah's household: Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son of Muhammad's uncle; and Zayd ibn Harithah, a boy from the Udhra tribe who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. Zayd was a slave in Khadijah's household for several years, until his father came to Mecca to take him home. Muhammad insisted that Zayd be given a choice about where he lived, and Zayd decided to remain where he was, after which Muhammad legally adopted Zayd as his own son.[20]

Becoming the first follower of MuhammadEdit

A medal of Khadijah seen in Promptuarii iconum insigniorum

According to the traditional Sunni narrative, when Muhammad reported his first revelation from the Angel Gabriel (Jibril), Khadijah was the first person to convert to Islam.[31] After his experience in the cave of Hira, Muhammad returned home to Khadijah in a state of terror, pleading for her to cover him with a blanket. After calming down, he described the encounter to Khadijah, 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."[19] According to some sources, it was Khadijah's cousin, Waraka ibn Nawfal, who confirmed Muhammad's prophethood soon afterwards.[32]

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 Khadijah 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.

Khadijah was supportive of Muhammad's prophetic mission, always helping in his work, proclaiming his message and belittling any opposition to his prophecies.[31] It was her encouragement that helped Muhammad believe in his mission and spread Islam.[33] Khadijah 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.[34][35]

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.[36] Khadijah continued to maintain the community until the boycott was lifted in late 619 or early 620.[20]


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

Khadijah died (فطست) in "Ramadan of the year 10 after the Prophethood",[37] 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.[38] Khadijah is said to have been about 65 years old at the time of her death.[39] She was buried in Jannat al-Mu'alla cemetery, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.[40]

In the years immediately following Khadijah'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.[41] Muhammad migrated to Yathrib (Medina) after Khadijah's death.

Sons and DaughtersEdit



  • Zaynab bint Malik
  • Hind bint Malik
  • Halah bint Malik
  • Jariya bint Atiq
  • Hind bint Atiq
  • Zaynab (c.600–629). She was the eldest daughter of Muhammad and Khadijah .She married her maternal cousin Abu al-Aas ibn al-Rabee before al-Hijra.[43] She faced severe hardships and suffered from abortion when she migrated to Medina along with her children Umamah and Ali Later she lived with Muhammad. Her husband accepted Islam before her death in 629.
  • Ruqayyah (c.603–624). She was first married to Utbah ibn Abu Lahab and then to the future third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan.[43]
  • Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad
  • Fatimah az-Zahra bint Muhammad (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.[44] 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.)[45] 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.[46] Muhammad forbade Ali to take additional wives because, "What caused pain to his daughter grieved him as well."[47] Fatima died after the attack on her house shortly after her father died. All of Muhammad's surviving descendants are by Fatima's children. Muhammad loved her two sons Hassan and Husayn, who would continue his heritage.[47]

Sunni viewEdit

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."[48]

The Qur’an (33:59)[49] 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") ...

Shia viewEdit

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.[50]

  1. Hind bint Atiq. She married her paternal cousin, Sayfi ibn Umayya, and they had one son, Muhammad ibn Sayfi.[51][52]
  2. Zaynab bint Abi Hala, who probably died in infancy.[42]

The adopted daughters attributed to Muhammad are:

  1. Zaynab (c.600–629). She married her maternal cousin Abu al-Aas ibn al-Rabee before al-Hijra.[19] Later lived with Muhammad. Her husband and accepted Islam before her death in 629
  2. Ruqayyah (c.603–624). She was first married to Utbah ibn Abu Lahab and then to the future third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan.[19]
  3. Umm Kulthum (c.604–630). 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.[19][53]



  • 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 Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, but the marriage never took place. Waraqah is noteworthy because he converted from polytheism to Christianity before Muhammad's revelation.[54] 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”[55]

Hakim bin Hazam (nephew)

See alsoEdit

Her important descendantsEdit

Quraysh tribe
Waqida bint Amr
Abd Manaf ibn Qusai
Ātikah bint Murrah
Nawfal ibn Abd Manaf
‘Abd Shams
Muṭṭalib ibn Abd Manaf
Salma bint Amr
Umayya ibn Abd Shams
ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib
Abū al-ʿĀs
Abī Ṭālib
Abū Lahab
ʾAbī Sufyān ibn Harb
(Family tree)
Khadija bint Khuwaylid
(Family tree)
Khawlah bint Ja'far
ʿAbd Allāh
Muʿāwiyah I
Marwān I
ʿUthmān ibn ʿAffān
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
ʿAli ibn ʿAbdallāh
(Family tree)
Abu Hashim
(Imām of al-Mukhtār and Hashimiyya)

Ibrāhim "al-Imām"


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  26. ^ Ibn Saad. Al Tabaqat Al Kubra.
  27. ^ Abo Abdullah Al Hakim. Al Mustadarak.
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  39. ^ "Chapter 12: The Death".
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  43. ^ a b "Islams Women".
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  49. ^ Quran 33:59
  50. ^ al-Istighathah, p. 69
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Further readingEdit