The Wedding Anniversary of the Prophet of Allah (s) and the Lady Khadijah (s)
Rabīʻ al-Awwal 10th
Who was the Lady Khadijah?
The lady Khadijah was born to Khuwalid ibn Asad who was from one of the clans of the Quraysh tribe, and her mother was Fatimah daughter of Zā’idah. As regards her age at the time of her marriage with the Prophet, there are different views which we will examine subsequently.
There is little known about the Lady Khadijah’s life before the advent of Islam and historical resources and references do not contain much information on this issue. Nevertheless, one thing is clear in all of these resources: she was a highly honorable and respectable woman who enjoyed noble lineage and considerable wealth. She would engage in trade and she had some agents who conducted her trades for her.
Historical accounts indicate that it was the Lady Khadijah (s) who proposed to the Prophet (s). She did that after she saw how truthful, trustworthy, reliable, and well-mannered the Prophet (s) was; history suggests that a while before that Khadijah (s) had appointed the Prophet (s) as her special treasurer and trustee in a trip that her agents were going on a business trip to Damascus. Later, when they returned from that trip, her servant called Maysarah, told her how trustworthy, truthful and mannerly the Prophet (s) was.
Much has been written and said about how much the Prophet (s) cared for and respected his great wife, the Lady Khadijah (s), and how he always remembered her even long after her demise. Historical accounts indicate that the Lady Khadijah (s) was the best and most trustworthy advisor of the Prophet (s) and also the sole person who could always comfort him.
The Holy Prophet has been quoted as saying about his beloved wife, Khadijah, that : “Allah never gave me a wife better than her to be able to replace her for me; she confirmed and recognized me [as a prophet] when no one else did, and she helped and aided me in a time when no one else did. She gave me all her wealth when everyone else begrudged me their wealth.”
The Age of the Prophet (s) and the Lady Khadijah (s) at the time of their Marriage
One of the controversial issues regarding the story of the Prophet’s marriage with the Lady Khadijah (s) has always been their ages at the time of marriage. As regards the age of the Prophet (s) at that time, there are different and differing views held by various authorities. Some believe that he was twenty three years old at that time, while others have mentioned the ages of twenty five, twenty eight, and thirty.
Controversies regarding the age of the Lady Khadijah (s) at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (s) are even greater. The ages that have been mentioned for her at the time of her marriage range from 25 to 46. However, the most widely held view among historians is that she had been 28 years old. However, a rather suspicious attempt has been made in order to spread among the people the much less credited view that she was 40 at that time.
The renowned Sunni traditionalist of the fourth century Ah., Beyhaqī, has related two issues about the Lady Khadijah (s), from which it can be inferred that she had been about 25 years old at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (s). In one part of his book, Beyhaqī has written that the Lady Khadijah (s) passed away at the age of 50; in another section of his book, he has stated that the Prophet (s) married the Lady Khadijah (s) 15 years before he was raised to the status of prophethood.
It is also important to note that, according to most of the historical references, the Lady Khadijah (s) passed away in the year 10 after the Prophet was sent on his Divine Mission. Therefore, by comparing the years of her age at the time of her demise, the date of the beginning of the Prophet’s Divine Mission, and the date of her demise, one can clearly understand that Beyhaqī believed that she was 25 when she got married to the Prophet (s).
Nevertheless, the majority of researchers and historians are of the opinion that the Lady Khadijah (s) was twenty eight years old when she got married to the Prophet (s). For instance, the following accounts can be found in the book “Shadharāt al-Dhahab”: “Most experts prefer the view which indicates that she was 28 years old at the time.”  Ibn ʻAsākir and the late Arbalī have also quoted Ibn Abbas as saying that the Lady Khadijah (s) had been twenty eight years old when she got married to the Prophet (s). Based on yet another historical account, the late Arbalī has quoted Ibn Ḥimād as saying that the Lady Khadijah (s) had been 28 years of age at the time of her marriage.
However, as it was discussed above, there are some historians who believe that the Lady Khadijah (s) had been 40 years old at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (s). Therefore, they are also of the opinion that she passed away at the age of 65, 10 years after the Prophet was given his Divine Mission. However, there are prominent historians, including Ibn ʻṣ). al-Barr and Ibn Kathīr, who consider it quite unlikely that she had been 40 years old at that time.
It is, therefore, clear from the pieces of evidence presented above that it cannot be claimed with certainty that the Lady Khadijah (s) had been 40 years old when she got married to the Prophet (s). Yet, one thing which can be inferred from the above-mentioned evidence is that the age difference between her and the Prophet (s) had not been much.
Had the Lady Khadijah (s) ever been married to Anyone else before the Prophet (s)
Another controversial matter with respect to the marriage of the Prophet of Islam (s) with the Lady Khadijah (s) has been whether the Lady Khadijah (s) had married anyone else before the Prophet (s) or not.
There are unsubstantiated claims that she had married twice before marrying the Prophet (s) and had some children from her ex-husbands; however, the veracity of these claims is seriously in question as there is substantial historical evidence which indicates the opposite.
For instance, the famous Muslim historian, Ibn Shahrāshūb, has quoted several prominent historians and scholars, including Ahmad al-Balādhurī and Abulqāsim al-Kūfī as having stated in their books that the Lady Khadijah (s) was an unmarried virgin girl when she married the Prophet (s). Similarly, Sayyid al-Murtaḍā [in his book al-Shāfī] and al-Shaykh al-Ṭūsī [in his summary of the book al-Shāfī] have maintained that the Lady Khadijah (s) had been an unmarried virgin girl when she got married to the Prophet (s).
Ibn Shahrāshūb has further stated that this view had been confirmed and endorsed in various reliable historical references of his time, including the books al-Anwār wa al-Bidaʻ. So is it possible to ignore the views of such prominent and important scientists and just claim that the Lady Khadijah (s) had gotten married a few times before she married the Prophet (s)?!
Moreover, the resources which indicate that the Lady Khadijah (s) had married other men before the Prophet (s) all put forward the idea that she first married a man named ʻ(s) ibn ʻĀyidh ibn Abdullah ibn ʻUmar ibn Makhzūm, and they had a daughter. These resources further indicate that after ʻAtīq died, she got married to another man named Abuhālih Nibāsh bin Zurārah who belonged to the Bani- ʻAmr ibn Tamīm clan who were allies of the Bani-ʻAbdiddār clan.
In spite of this, Abulqāsim Kūfī has stated that there had been a consensus among the Sunni and Shi’a scholars, both traditionalists and historians, that there remained no man among the nobles of the Quraysh but that he had proposed to the Lady Khadijah (s) and she had rejected them.
But when the Lady Khadijah (s) finally got married to the Prophet (s), the women of the Quraysh got angry with her and refused to have relations with her. They told her: “All of the nobles and wealthy men of this clan asked you for your hand in marriage but you rejected all; now you have married Muhammad, a poor orphan who was brought up by Abūṭālib!!”
The Question that arises here is how did the Lady Khadijah (s) refuse to marry so many rich and powerful nobles but then she got married to two nameless Arabs from the rather nameless clans of Bani-Tamīm [i.e. Nibāsh ibn Zurārah] and Bani-Makhzūm [i.e. ʻAtīq ibn ʻĀyiz]?! How could she have preferred two nameless men to great, wealthy men with such noble lineages?!!
It might be argued that it is impossible for the Lady Khadijah (s) to have reached the age of 20, 25, or 28 [given that these estimates are true about her age at the time of marriage with the Prophet] and her father had not forced her to marry. In response to this, it should be noted that her father had passed away before the Battle of Fidjār. Therefore, her father was not alive to force her to get married.
After her father’s death, the Lady Khadijah (s) was brought up and taken care of by her uncle; clearly, her uncle did not have the power to force her to get married like a father. Moreover, the Lady Khadijah (s) was well-known for being chaste, honorable, and pious and due to these noble characteristics she was called the Lady of the Quraysh. Therefore, it is not surprising for such a noble lady to wait to find a chaste and honorable man to marry, particularly given the fact that she lived in the dark ages of the Ignorant Era.
Another noteworthy issue regarding the claims that the Lady Khadijah (s) had had other husbands before the Prophet (s) is that they indicate that she had some children with her former husbands, including one whose name had been Hind whereas they differ again with one another as to whether this “Hind” was a male or a female!!
Moreover, there is also much debate over whether this child’s father had been Abuhālah, i.e. Nibāsh ibn Zurārah, or Zurārah ibn Nibāsh, or a man called Hind, or even another man called Malik!! It is not clear whether Abuhālah married the Lady Khadijah (s) after Atīq or he might have possibly married her before Atīq?! Whether this man had also been a companion of the Prophet or not? Can it be said with certainty that the father of this child had been Abuhālah or we might consider Atīq as his father too?! Was this Hind a girl and the daughter of Atīq or a boy and the son of Abuhālah?! Was he finally killed in the battle of Jamal or after the outbreak of plague in Basra?!
These were but a few possibilities put forward in the resources which indicate that the Lady Khadijah (s) had gotten married before the Prophet (s) and that she had had a child named Hind. As it is clear, these claims are numerous and rather contradictory and this raises serious doubts about them.
Furthermore, there are some other historical accounts which indicate that the Lady Khadijah (s) had had two daughters, named Zeynab and Ruqayyah, before marrying the Prophet (s). Yet, the great Sunni historian Ibn Kathīr has made the following remarks with regard to one of these daughters: “Zeynab was the Lady Khadijah’s niece, the daughter of her sister called Hālah.”
There are also other accounts which suggest that Hālah had married a man from the Bani-Makhzūm clan and she had a daughter who was also called Hālah. These accounts further indicate that, later on, Hālah [the mother] married another man because her first husband died or they got divorced; her second husband was presumably from the Bani-Tamīm clan and was called Abuhind. She and her second husband Abuhind then had a child called “Hind”.
As you may have noticed almost exactly the same names who were attributed to the Lady Khadijah as her husband or child in some historical works, were also attributed to her sister in some others. Therefore, it is highly likely that those men as well as children claimed to be husband and children of the Lady Khadijah respectively were actually related to her sister.
Here is another historical account which corroborates this hypothesis; some resources indicate that this Tamimī man had had another wife and with her he had two daughters called Zeynab and Ruqayyah. After some time, Abuhind and his other wife [the mother of Zeynab and Ruqayyah] died and so Hind, his other daughter, was sent to live with the family of her father, the Bani-Tamīm. However, Hālah [Abuhind’s second wife], her daughter who was also called Hālah, and the daughters of her husband’s other wife, named Zeynab and Ruqayyah were left alone. So the Lady Khadijah (s) decided to take care of them and so they came to live with her. The Lady Khadijah’s sister, Hālah, died after the Lady Khadijah (s) married the Prophet of Allah (s) and those three little girls remained with the Lady Khadijah (s). So these girls were not the Lady Khadijah’s daughters; one of them was her niece and the other two were the daughters of her sister’s second husband Abuhind.
The issue of the Prophet’s marriage with the Lady Khadijah (s), their life together, and their children is a lengthy discussion which cannot be contained in this paper. However, it could be concluded from the discussions above that the myths which have been invented around this story [such as the claim that the Lady Khadijah (s) had been 40 when she got married to the Prophet (s) or that she had gotten married and had children before her marriage with the Prophet (s)] go against numerous convincing historical evidence. It is not clear how such myths have become so prevalent, but it is clear that they cannot withstand a rigorous historical research in to their validity.
For instance, the late Allamh Jaʻfar Murtaḍā, a contemporary researcher conducted an in-depth research of the Prophet’s life in recent decades whose outcome was his invaluable book called “Al-Ṣaḥīḥ min Sīrat-i al-Nabiyy al-Aʻẓam”. He has cited abundant historical evidence in his book which indicate that the age difference between the Prophet (s) and the Lady Khadijah (s) was very small. These pieces of evidence also indicate that the Lady Khadijah (s) had not gotten married before marrying the Prophet (s).
These proofs and pieces of evidence have also been studied and their validity confirmed by the Shi’a scholars and Marājiʻ, including Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi. His eminence has made the following remarks in this regard:
“Based on rigorous studies conducted by prominent researchers, the Lady Khadijah (s) was twenty five or twenty eight at the time of her marriage with the Prophet (s) and she was an unmarried, virgin girl at the time. The accounts which claim that she had been 40 when she got married to the Prophet (s) are not substantiated or dependable. Moreover, the two men who have been claimed to have been the Lady Khadijah’s husband before the Prophet (s) were, in fact, the husbands of her sister named “Hālah”. Similarly, the children which are ascribed to the Lady Khadijah (s) were, in effect, her nieces.”
Keywords: Khadijah daughter of Khuwaylid, the Prophet of Islam, Quraysh, the Lady Khadijah, Rabīʻ al-Awwal, wedding, Umm al-Mu’minīn, the Prophet of Allah (s), Hind, Abuhālah, Hālah, ʻAtīq, Zeynab, Ruqayyah, ʻUthmān, Jaīfah Murtaḍā, Makarem Shirazi
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 Jumal min Ansāb al-Ashrāf, ibid; Al-Yaʻqūbī, Ahmad ibn Isḥāq. Tārīkh al-Yaʻqūbī. Pub: Dār al-Ṣādir. Beirut, vol. 2, p. 20.
 Jumal min Ansāb al-Ashrāf, ibid.
 Tārīkh al-Yaʻqūbī, ibid.
 This issue has been related by Ibn Abbas; for more information in this regard refer to: Jumal min Ansāb al-Ashrāf, ibid; al-Dhahabī, Shamsiddīn Abu-Abdullah Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Uthmān ibn Qaymāz. Siyar Aʻlām al-Nubalā’. Researched by: a group of researchers headed by al-Arnā’ūṭ, Shuʻayb. Pub: Mu’assisah al-Risālah. 3rd ed., 1985, vol. 2, p. 111; Ibn ʻAsākir, Muhammad ibn Mukrim ibn Ali. Mukhtaṣar Tārīkh Damishq. Researched by: Al-Naḥāss, Rūhīh, Abdulhamid Murād, Riyāḍ, Muṭīʻ Muhammad. Pub: Dār al-Fikr li al-Ṭibāʻah wa al-Tawzīʻ wa al-Nashr. Damascus, 1984, vol. 2, p. 275.
 For more information in this regard, refer to: Al-Diyār Bakri, Husayn ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hassan. Tārīkh al-Khamīs fi Aḥwāl Anfus al-Nafīs. Pub: Dār Ṣādir. Beirut, vol. 1, p. 264; Mukhtaṣar Tārīkh Dimashq, ibid; Al-Nawawī, Abu-Zakariyā Muhiyiddin Yahyā ibn Sharaf. Tahdhīb al-Asmā’ wa al-Lughāt. Pub: Dār al-Kutub al-ʻIlmiyyah, Beirut, Lebanon, vol. 2, p. 342; Ibn Saʻd, Abu-Abdullah Muhammad ibn Saʻd ibn Munīʻ al-Hāshimī bilwilā’ al-Baṣrī al-Baghdadi. Al-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā. Researched by: Iḥsān, Abbas. Puyb: Dār Ṣādir. 1st ed., Beirut, 1968, vol. 1, p. 132.
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 For instance, refer to: ʻUyūn al-Athar fi Funūn al-Maghāzī wa al-Shamā’il wa al-Siyar, vol. 1, p. 151; Al-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā, ibid, vol. 8, p. 14; Al-Istīʻāb fi Maʻrifah al-Aṣḥāb, ibid, vol. 4, p. 1817.
 Ibid, p. 72.
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 Ibid, p. 133.
 Al-Istīʻāb, ibid, vol. 4, p. 1825.
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 Al-Sīrah al-Nabawiyyah, ibid, p. 263.
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 Tārīkh Madinat-i Dimashq. Ibid, vol. 3, p. 190; Al-Ṭabaqāt al-Kubrā. Ibid, vol. 8, p. 1415.
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 ʻUyūn al-Athar, ibid, vol. 1, p. 164; Ṣāliḥī Dimashqī, Muhamamd ibn Yusuf. Subu al-Hudā wa al-Rishād fi Sīrat-i Khayr al-ʻIbād. Pub: Dār al-Kutub al-ʻIlmiyyah. Beirut, 1414 Ah., vol. 2, p. 166.
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 Al-ʻĀmilī, Jaʻfar Murtaḍā. Al-Ṣaḥīḥ min Sīrat-i al-Nabiyy al-Aʻẓam. Pub: Dār al-Sīrah. 4th ed., 1415 Ah., Beirut. Vol. 2, pp. 121-122.
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 Al-Istighāthah, ibid, p. 112.
 Al-Kāmil fi al-Tārīkh, ibid, p. 114.
 Ibid, p. 113.
 For more information in this regard refer to: Al-Ṣaḥīḥ min Sīrat-i al-Nabiyy al-Aʻẓam, ibid, vol. 2, pp. 105-135, al-Qism al-Awwal, al-Faṣl al-Thālith: Khadijah fi Bayt al-Nabiyy (s).
The paper “Revisiting the life of the Lady Khadijah (s) from his eminence’s viewpoint”: