Khadija bt. Khuwaylid

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Khadija bt. Khuwaylid
Wife of the Prophet (s)
Al-Ma'lat cemetery after it was demolished by Wahhabis in 1343/1925
Full Name Khadija bt. Khuwaylid
Kunya Umm Hind
Well-known As Umm al-Mu'minin
Religious Affiliation Islam
Lineage Quraysh
Well-known Relatives The Prophet (s), Lady Fatima (a)
Place of Birth Mecca
Death/Martyrdom Ten years after Bi'tha/619
Burial Place Al-Hajun Cemetery, Mecca
Era Early Islam
Known for Wife of the Prophet (s)
Activities Supporting the Prophet (s), Help Muslims financially
Wives of the Prophet (s)






Zaynab (bt. Khuzayma)

Umm Salama

Zaynab (bt. Jahsh)


Umm Habiba




Date of Marriage

(27 BH/595)

(before Hijra/before 622)

(1,2, or 4/622, 623, or 625)





(5 or 6/626 or 627)

(6 or 7/627 or 628)




Khadīja bt. Khuwaylid (Arabic: خَدیجة بنت خُویلد) (d. ten years of bi'tah/619), known as Umm al-Mu'minun (Arabic: أمّ المؤمنین), was the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (s) and the first woman who converted to Islam. She was the daughter of Khuwaylid b. As'ad b. Abd al-Uzza b. Qusay and Fatima bt. Za'ida.

She was called al-Tahira (the pure woman) in Jahiliyya era. Prophet Muhammad (s) titled her as al-Kubra (the great). She married Prophet Muhammad (s) 15 years before Bi'tha (595-6 CE). Prophet Muhammad (s) did not choose another wife during his marital life with Khadija.

Except for Ibrahim, other children of Prophet Muhammad (s) were from Khadija al-Kubra; who were two boys (al-Qasim and 'Abd Allah) and four daughters (Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm Kulthum, and Lady Fatima (a)). Al-Tayyib and al-Tahir are only the titles of 'Abd Allah, not the names of other children of the Prophet Muhammad (s).

Khadija dedicated her wealth for expansion of Islam. Prophet Muhammad (s) always praised Khadija.

She passed away three years before Hijra (migration to Medina) [619 CE], in Mecca. She is buried in al-Ma'lat Cemetery (also known as Jannat al-Mu'alla) in Mount al-Hajun.

Family and Lineage

Umm Hind was the kunya of Khadija bt. Khuwaylid b. Asad b. Abd al-Uzza b. Qusay al-Qurayshi al-Asadiyya. Khadija was the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (s) and the first person who converted to Islam. She was born three or four decades before Bi'tha in Mecca, where she was raised in Banu Abd al-Dar b. Qusay tribe.

Family tree of the Prophet (s)
400 CE
'Abd al-'Uzza
'Abd Manaf
430 CE
'Abd al-Dar
464 CE
'Abd Shams
'Abd al-Muttalib
497 CE
Khadija (a)
'Abd Allah
b. 545 CE
Abu Talib
Muhammad (s)
b. 571 CE
'Ali (a)
b. 599 CE
Fatima (a)
'Abd Allah
Al-Hasan (a)
b. 625 CE
Al-Husayn (a)
b. 626 CE

Before Islam

The information on personality of Khadija prior to Islam is highly limited. According to sources she was a wealthy merchant who worked in a mudaraba (limited partnership), she employed other people to work for her and she gained some parts of its profit.

Khadija had high social status with ancestral nobility. As Ibn Sayyid al-Nas said: "She was an honorable and wise lady and God granted her with his blessing. She was a middle class lady (in lineage) among other Arabs, but she was a very successful and noble lady." Also Al-Baladhuri said: "Al-Waqidi stated that Khadija (a) had ancestral nobility and she was a successful merchant."


Before Marrying Prophet Muhammad (s)

The marriage(s) of Khadija (a) was a controversial matter among Shi'a and Sunni scholars. Sunni scholars believe she married two times before Prophet Muhammad (s) and they mentioned the names of her children.

Al-Baladhuri in Ansab al-ashraf introduced Safwan b. Muhraz and stated: "His name was Hind b. al-Nabash b. Zurara b. Wuqdan, who was Khadija's (a) husband before she married Muhammad (s)." Also Ibn al-Habib in his book, al-Munammiq, introduced al-Nabash and named Khadija (a) as his wife, before she married to Prophet Muhammad (s). Ibn al-Habib in his book al-Muhabbir , written after al-Munammiq, named some people who married three times. He mentioned Khadija (a), who was married to Abahala al-Nabash al-Usaydi and Atiq b. Abid b. 'Abd Allah b. Umar b. Makhzum before she married to Prophet Muhammad (s).

On the other hand, after numerous analyses, Shi'a scholars believed Khadija (a) did not marry anyone before Prophet Muhammad (s).

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

According to researches, children attributed to Khadija (a) both were the children of Hale, Khadija's sister. After the husband of Hala had passed away, she took the responsibility of Hala and her children. After Hala passed away, Khadija (a) looked after her children. Since in Arab culture, children of one's husband or wife are considered, one's children; they are assumed to be Prophet Muhammad's children.

Marriage with Prophet Muhammad (s)

As Ibn Kathir quoted from Ibn Ishaq: When Khadija (a) became familiar with honesty, trustworthiness and ethical characteristics of Muhammad (s), she entrusted him her wealth. Then after Muhammad (s) came from a commercial travel from Syria, Maysara (Khadija's (a) slave) reported the characteristics of Muhammad (s) to Khadija (a). Afterwards she proposed marriage to Prophet Muhammad (s). Also Ibn Sayyid al-Nas said: when Khadija (a) was informed about the ethical characteristics and honesty of Muhammad (s), she proposed marriage to him. Ibn al-Athir also mentioned the same thing in Usad al-ghaba .

According to all sources, Khadija (a) was the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (s). Ibn Abd al-Barr considered Khadija (a) as the first wife of Prophet (s) and he said Prophet (s) did not have any other wife during their marital life. He also said, Prophet (s) was 25 when he married Khadija (a), 26 years after 'Am al-Fil. As he quoted from al-Zahiri, the Prophet (s) was 21 years old when he married Khadija (a). In addition, Ibn al-Mas'udi considered Khadija (a) as the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (s). Ibn al-Athir emphasized the fact that Khadija (a) was the first wife of Prophet Muhammad (s) and he said they married before Bi'tha. He also mentioned different ages for Prophet Muhammad (s) at the time of his marriage: 21, 22, 25, 28, 30 and 37.

Age in Marriage to Prophet Muhammad (s)

Historians mentioned different ages for Khadija (a), when she married Prophet Muhammad (s), from 25 to 46. Most of sources stated that Khadija (a) was 40 years old when she married the Prophet (s). Ibn al-Mas'udi accepted the possibility of other ages (than 40 years old) for Khadija (a) in her marriage with Muhammad (s).

Analyzing the exact age of Khadija (a) at the time of her marriage with Prophet Muhammad (s) is difficult. If we consider that their marriage lasted for 25 years, from 15 years before bi'tha (593 CE) to 10 years after bi'tha (618 CE), and the age of Khadija (a) when she passed away was 65 or as al-Bayhaqi said 50; therefore, we can conclude that Khadija (a) was either 40 or 25 when she married Prophet Muhammad (s).

If we consider the age of Khadija (a) 50, when she passed away, then she married Prophet (s) at the age of 25, which is accepted by some of the researchers. Since this statement is not common, its acceptance would seem difficult. However if we consider that al-Qasim, Khadija (a) and Prophet's son, had passed away after Bi'tha, it means Khadija (a) was 55 when al-Qasim was born, which is unacceptable and improbable.

In addition, if we consider the situation and status of Khadija (a) among Quraysh, it seems improbable that she would not marry until 40 years old; therefore, she should not be more than 25 or 28 when she married Prophet Muhammad (s).


According to sources, Prophet Muhammad (s) and Khadija (a) had seven or eight children, or as some other sources said, six children. As Ibn Kathir quoted from Ibn Ishaq and Ibn Hisham, they had seven children; all the children of Prophet (s) are from Khadija (a) except for Ibrahim b. Muhammad. He has quoted the names of six children from Yunus b. Bukayr. As Ibn al-Athir have quoted from al-Zubayr b. Bakkar, al-Tayyib and al-Tahir, Prophet's children, were named after Prophet Muhammad's Prophethood. Also other sources mentioned all the Prophet's children were from Khadija (a) except for Ibrahim. Ibn al-Athir al-Jazari has quoted from Al-Zubayr b. Bakkar the names of eight children for Prophet Muhammad (s) and Khadija al-Kubra (a).

It seems the differences on the names of Prophet Muhammad (s) and Khadija's children are caused by their names and titles. Therefore, they had six children including two sons, al-Qasim and 'Abd Allah (al-Tayyib and al-Tahir as 'Abd Allah's titles) and four daughters, (Zaynab, Ruqayya, Umm Kulthum and Lady Fatima (a).

Converting to Islam

Most of historical sources consider Khadija (a) as the first one who converted to Islam. Even some sources claimed, it is agreed among all the researchers. Ibn Abd al-Barr claimed that Ali b. Abi Talib (a) was the first one after Khadija (a) who converted to Islam. Sources which discussed the timing of sahaba in converting to Islam, have mentioned Khadija al-Kubra (a) and Ali b. Abi Talib (a) as the first two people who converted to Islam. They have mentioned they were the first two people who performed prayer alongside Prophet Muhammad (s).

Role in Islam

After the financial help from Khadija al-Kubra (a), Prophet Muhammad (s) became financially privileged. As Allah mentioned the gift given to Prophet Muhammad (s): "Allah found you needy and made you prosperous." (Quran 93:8). Also Prophet Muhammad (s) always said: "No money was profitable than the wealth of Khadija (a)." Prophet Muhammad (s) applied her wealth in paying the debts of debtors, and on orphans, and the poor.

When Meccan boycotted Banu Hashim, the wealth from Khadija al-Kubra (a) helped Banu Hashim. According to a narration: "Abu Talib and Khadija (a) dedicated all their wealth for protecting Islam and helping the boycotted Muslims." Hakim b. Hizam, Khadija's (a) cousin, brought date fruits and wheat with difficulties and in a dangerous situation for Banu Hashim. Such dedications and generosity by Khadija (a) was accepted by God and considered as gifts to Prophet Muhammad (s). Prophet always mentioned her dedication and appreciated her generosity.


The Prophet (s) describing Khadija (a)

Allah did not grant me better than her; she accepted me when people rejected me; she shared her wealth with me when other people deprived me; and Allah has provided children for me from her, while He didn't provided children for me from other than her.

Al-Shaykh al-Mufid, al-Ifsah, p. 217

Khadija (a) was a notable, reliable, and wealthy lady of her time. Jabir b. 'Abd Allah al-Ansari has narrated a hadith from Prophet Muhammad (s) which mentioned the best of women: Khadija (a), Lady Fatima (a), Maryam, and Asiya. In addition, Prophet called her as one of the perfect ladies of world and also one of the best women. According to the sources, she was called al-Tahira (the pure woman), al-Zakiyya (the innocent woman), al-Marziyya (the respected woman), al-Sidiqqa (the truthful woman), the greatest woman of Quraysh. Umm al-Zahra and Umm al-Mu'minun were her kunyas.

According to sources Khadija (a) was the best and the most honest companion and consultant of Prophet Muhammad (s). Khadija al-Kubra (a) had a high status in Prophet Muhammad's perspective. Numerous reports have been stated on Khadija's (a) special role in Prophet's life, so that years after her demise, Prophet (s) always remembered her as the special one in his life.

Khadija (a) was truly a knowledgeable and honorable lady. As Ibn al-Jawzi said: Khadija (a) was known for her knowledge, fairness, progress, and her desire for spirituality and perfection. Since her young ages she was an honorable and virtuous woman among Arabs in Hijaz. Her unlimited spiritual wealth was more significant than her impressive wealth. Although different notable and wealthy men of Quraysh asked Khadija (a) for marriage but she rejected them and chose Muhammad (s) to guarantee her salvation in the Hereafter and rewards in Paradise. She was the first person who converted to Islam, who accepted his prophethood and performed prayer with Prophet (s).


An old picture of al-Hajun Cemetery where Lady Khdaija (a) is buried.
al-Ma'lat cemetery after it was demolished by Wahhabis in 1343/1925

According to most of sources Khadija al-Kubra (a) passed away ten years after Bi'that (620 CE); three years before the migration of Prophet Muhammad (s) to Medina. They mentioned that she was 65 when she had passed away. Ibn Abd al-Barr mentioned Khadija (a) passed away 64 years and 6 month after her birth. Some other sources, mentioned Khadija (a) passed away after Abu Talib had passed away, in the same year. Ibn Sa'd believed Khadija (a) passed away 35 days after the demise of Abu Talib. Other sources mentioned Khadija (a) passed away in Ramadan.

According to Islamic narrations, at first Prophet Muhammad (s) enshrouded her with his own cloak and then with another cloak from Paradise. Then he buried her in Al-Ma'lat Cemetery, on the slopes of Mount Al-Hajun.

See also


Further Reading