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First Muslim

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Imam 'Ali (a)
First Imam of Shi'a

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The First Muslim (Arabic: أوّل مُسلِم) refers to the first person who believed in the Prophet Muhammad (s). Being the first Muslim was considered an honor and merit. Shi'a have mentioned Lady Khadija (a) as the first Muslim woman and Imam Ali (a) as the first Muslim man.


Being the first Muslim was considered an honor and merit. According to sources, the Prophet (s) considered being the first Muslim as a merit for Imam Ali (a). Some companions of the Prophet (s) who claimed to be the first Muslim took pride in it.

Lady Khadija (a)

Main article: Lady Khadija (a)

Historians, including al-Baladhuri and Ibn Sa'd in the third/ninth century, Ibn Abd al-Birr in fifth/eleventh century, Ibn Khaldun in the eighth/fourteenth century introduced Lady Khadija (a) the first Muslim.

Ibn Athir mentioned the order of those who believed first in Islam as following, "Khadija (a), Ali (a), Zayd b. Haritha and then Abu Bakr."

Some historians mentioned Lady Khadija (a) the first woman and Imam Ali (a) the first man who believed in Islam without mentioning which was prior. But, some sources have mentioned Lady Khadija (a) the first person who believed in Islam.

Some historians considered the consensus of Muslims believing that Lady Khadija (a) was the first person who believed in the Prophet (s) and the disagreements are about the first Muslim man.

Imam Ali (a)

Main article: Imam Ali (a)

According to some Shi'a hadiths, the Prophet (s) described Imam Ali (a) the first Muslim, the first believer and the first person who acknowledged him. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi mentioned a hadith from Imam al-Rida (a) who mentioned Imam Ali (a) the first believer in the Prophet (s). Khasibi, the Shi'a author of the fourth/tenth century, mentioned Imam Ali (a) the first Muslim and al-Allama al-Majlisi mentioned the order of believers as following, "First, Imam Ali (a), then Khadija (a) and then Ja'far b. Abi Talib believed in the Prophet (s)." Some researchers considered the consensus of Shi'a believing on the fact that Imam Ali (a) was the first Muslim man.

Some Sunni historians including al-Tabari, al-Dhahabi and others have mentioned reports suggesting that Imam Ali (a) was the first Muslim.

Other Reports

Some Sunnis have mentioned other reports based on which Abu Bakr was the first Muslim. In Imta' al-istima', al-Maqrizi considered Abu Bakr, the first Muslim who was capable to support and help the Prophet (s). In al-Isaba, Ibn al-Hajar al-'Asqalani considered the first Muslims as Imam Ali (a) among children, Khadija (a) among women, Zayd b. Haritha among freed slaves and Bilal al-Habashi among slaves. He mentioned Abu Bakr the first free man who became Muslim.

On the opposite, al-Tabari transmitted from Muhammad b. Sa'd that Abu Bakr accepted Islam after fifty other people. Some researchers believe that some historical sources which considered Abu Bakr the first Muslim, had no historical ground and their claim was due to religious disputes among Muslims.

According to some reports, Zayd b. Haritha was the first Muslim.