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Khadija

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The Islamic World: Past and Present What is This? Accessible coverage of Islam from the seventh century to the twenty-first century

    Khadija

    565 –ca. 623 Wife of the Prophet Muhammad

    Khadija bint Khuwaylid was the first wife of Muhammad , the prophet to whom the Islamic faith was revealed. Khadija and Muhammad were married for 24 years and had several children together, including Fatimah . Muslims revere Khadija and Fatimah, considering them to be among a few perfect women in history.

    Khadija's father had been an honored leader of the Quraysh tribe of Mecca (in present-day Saudi Arabia). He was one of the most successful Quraysh merchants of his time, with a considerable talent for business and the accumulation of vast wealth. His daughter Khadija inherited both his business sense and his great wealth, and successfully carried on the family business after her father's death in 585 .

    By 595 Khadija had been married and widowed twice. At age 40, she hired Muhammad to lead a trade caravan to Syria. He was a distant cousin, and although he was only 25 years old, he was known as an honorable and trustworthy man. He did such an excellent job, earning Khadija twice the profit she had expected, that she hired him to lead her next caravan as well. Soon thereafter, Khadija proposed marriage to Muhammad, and he gladly accepted.

    Khadija is honored by Muslims not only because she was the Prophet's first wife, but also because she was well-respected in her own right. During her lifetime, Khadija was known as “the pure one.” She fed and clothed the poor and provided financial assistance to family members. She was the first person with whom Muhammad shared his revelations, which form the cornerstone of the Islamic faith, and the first to publicly accept him as the Messenger of Allah. Khadija provided Muhammad with moral support when few others believed in him. Coming from an important family, Khadija used her great wealth to help Muhammad pursue his calling and establish Islam throughout Arabia.

    Despite many hardships, Khadija and Muhammad had a happy marriage. When Muhammad began to teach about the new faith of Islam, he and his family were persecuted for their beliefs. Nonetheless, Khadija remained devoted to her husband. By the time she died, Khadija had spent all of her fortune helping Muhammad establish Islam. See also Fatimah ; Muhammad .

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