Khadija bint Khuwaylid

This article is about the wife of Muhammad. For the name Khadija, see Khadija (name). For other uses, see Khadija (disambiguation).
Mother of the Believers
Native name (Arabic): خديجة

Khadīja bint Khuwaylid
c. 555 C.E or 567 (according to earlier sources)

Mecca, Hejaz, Arabia
(present-day Saudi Arabia)


620 C.E (aged c. 53–65)

Mecca, Hejaz, Arabia
(present-day Saudi Arabia)

Resting place Jannat al-Mu'alla, Mecca, Hejaz, Arabia
(present-day Saudi Arabia)
Other names Khadīja al-Kubra
Spouse(s) 'Atiq ibn 'A'idh Al-Makhzumi
Abu Hala Malak ibn Nabash
Children Hind bint Atiq
Abdullah ibn Atiq
Hala ibn Abi Hala
Hind ibn Abi Hala
Zaynab bint Abi Hala
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 Abd-al-Uzza (grandfather)
Halah bint Khuwaylid (sister)
Waraqah ibn Nawfal (cousin)

Khadijah or Khadīja bint Khuwaylid (Arabic: خديجة بنت خويلد) or Khadīja al-Kubra (Khadija the Great) [1] (c. 555 or 567 – 620 CE) was the first wife and follower of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. She is commonly regarded by Muslims as the "Mother of the Believers" (i.e., Muslims).


Khadija's grandfather, Asad ibn Abd-al-Uzza, was the progenitor of the Asad clan[2] of the Quraysh tribe in Mecca. Her father, Khuwaylid ibn Asad, was a merchant.[2] According to some traditions, he died c. 585 in the Sacrilegious War, but according to others, he was still alive when Khadija married Muhammad in 595.[3][4] His sister, Umm Habib bint Asad, was the matrilineal great-grandmother of Muhammad.[5] Khadija's mother, Fatima bint Za'idah, who died around 575, was a member of the Amir ibn Luayy clan of the Quraysh[6] and a third cousin of Muhammad's mother.[7][8]

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.[9] To her first husband she bore two sons, who were both given what were usually feminine names,[10] Hala and Hind. He died before his business became a success.[11] To husband Atiq, Khadija bore a daughter named Hindah. This marriage also left Khadija as a widow.[12]

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.[13] She was known by the by-names Ameerat-Quraysh ("Princess of Quraysh"), al-Tahira ("The Pure One") and Khadija Al-Kubra (Khadija "the Great").[14] It is said that she fed and clothed the poor, assisted her relatives financially and provided marriage portions for poor relations.[14] Khadija was said to have neither believed in nor worshipped idols, which was atypical for pre-Islamic Arabian culture. According to other sources, however, she kept an idol of Al-‘Uzzá in her house.[15]

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").[16] Khadija hired Muhammad, who was then 25 years old, sending word through her kinsman Khazimah ibn Hakim that she would pay double her usual commission.[17]

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."[18] 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.[11]

Khadija then consulted her cousin Waraqah ibn Nawfal ibn Asad ibn 'Abdu'l-'Uzza.[18] 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.[11] Her cousin Waraqah told her not to be alarmed, for the sun was an indication that the Prophet would grace her home.[11] At this, Khadija considered proposing marriage to her agent.[19] Many wealthy Quraysh men had already asked for her hand in marriage,[11] but all had been refused.[20]

Marriage to Muhammad

Khadija entrusted a friend named Nafisa to approach Muhammad and ask if he would consider marrying.[21] 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.[22] 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.[18] It is disputed whether it was only Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib or only Abu Talib or both who accompanied Muhammad on this errand.[12] 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.[23]


Muhammad and Khadija had six children.[11] (Sources disagree about number of children; Al-Tabari names eight, but most sources only identify six).[9]

Their first son was Qasim, who died before his second birthday[24] (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.[11]

Two other children also lived in Khadija's household.

Becoming the first follower of Muhammad

A medal of Khadija seen in Promptuarii iconum insigniorum

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.[25] 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."[11] According to some sources, it was Khadija's cousin, Waraqah ibn Nawfal, who confirmed Muhammad's prophethood soon afterwards.[26]

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.[25] It was her encouragement that helped Muhammad believe in his mission and spread Islam.[27] 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.[28][29]

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.[30] Some died and others became ill. Khadija continued to maintain the community until the boycott was lifted in late 619 or early 620.[12]


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

Khadija died in "Ramadan of the year 10 after the Prophethood",[31] 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.[32] Khadija is said to have been about sixty-five years old at the time of her death.[33] She was buried in Jannat al-Mu'alla cemetery, in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.[34]

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.[35]




Sunni view

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."[43]

The Qur’an (33:59)[44] 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

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.[45]
  1. Hind bint Atiq. She married her paternal cousin, Sayfi ibn Umayya, and they had one son, Muhammad ibn Sayfi.[37][46]
  2. Zaynab bint Abi Hala, who probably died in infancy.[36]

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.[11]
  2. Ruqayyah (c.601–624). She was first married to Utbah ibn Abu Lahab and then to the future third Caliph Uthman ibn Affan.[11]
  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.[11][47]



Her important descendants

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 (Abbasids)


  1. Wife of the Prophet Muhammad Archived October 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. 1 2 Benedikt, Koehler (2014). Early Islam and the Birth of Capitalism. Lexington Books.
  3. Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 83.
  4. 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.
  5. Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 1. Translated by Haq, S. M. Ibn Sa'd's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, p. 54. Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.
  6. Early Life
  7. Haq, S.M. Ibn Sa'd's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, vol. 1. p. 54.
  8. The Women of Madina. Ta-Ha Publishers. p. 9.
  9. 1 2 al-Tabari (1990). Volume 9: The Last Years of the Prophet. State University of New York Press.
  10. "Khadija".
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 "Islams Women".
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 "Khadija bint Khuwaylid at the Tree of Faith".
  13. Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina, p. 10. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  14. 1 2 Islam, Peace and Social Justice: A Christian Perspective. James Clarke & Co. 2014. p. 162. |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  15. 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.
  16. Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, p. 33–34
  17. 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.
  18. 1 2 3 Guillaume (1955). The Life of Muhammad. Oxford.
  19. Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, p. 34–35
  20. 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.
  21. Lings (1983). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. New York: Inner Traditions Internationalist. p. 83.
  22. Lings (1983). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Inner Traditions Internationalist.
  23. Walther, Wiebke (1993). Women in Islam. Markus Wiener Publishing Inc. p. 104.
  24. Martin Lings, Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, p. 37
  25. 1 2 Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 111.
  26. Khatijatul Kubra
  27. Abbott, Nabia (1942). Women and the State in Early Islam. The University of Chicago Press. pp. 106–109. JSTOR 542352.
  28. Restatement of History of Islam: The Economic and Social Boycott of the Banu Hashim (A.D. 616-619)
  29. Restatement of History of Islam: The Deaths of Khadija and Abu Talib - A.D. 619
  30. Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 143.
  31. 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.
  32. Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 191.
  33. The Death
  34. Muhammad, Farkhanda Noor.Islamiat for Students. Revised Edition 2000: pp. 74–75.
  35. Qasimi, Ja'Far (1987). The Life, Traditions, and Sayings of the Prophet. New York: Crossroad. pp. 77–78.
  36. 1 2 Guillaume. The Life of Muhammad. Oxford. p. 792.
  37. 1 2 Muhammad ibn Saad, Tabaqat vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina p. 9. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
  38. 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.
  39. Shariati, Ali (1981). Ali Shariati's Fatima Is Fatima. Tehran, Iran: Shariati Foundation.
  40. Madelung, Wilferd (1997). The Succession to Muhammad. Cambridge University Press. pp. 52–53.
  41. Shariati, Ali (1981). Ali Shariati's Fatima is Fatima. Tehran, Iran: Shariati Foundation. p. 148.
  42. 1 2 Walther, Wiebke (1993). Women in Islam. Markus Wiener Publishing Princeton & New York. p. 108.
  43. 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
  44. Quran 33:59
  45. al-Istighathah, p. 69
  46. 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.
  47. Buhl. "UmmKulthum".

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