Khadijah (between 555-570 C.E. – about 630 C.E.) was the first wife of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad. Khadijah al-Kubra, the daughter of Khuwaylid ibn Asad and Fatimah bint Za'idah, belonged to the clan of Banu Hashim of the tribe of Banu Asad. She became the first person to follow Muhamamd. This is undisputed. There is discussion about who was the second, with Ali ibn Abi Talib favored by Shi'a and Abu Bakr by Sunni. Muhammad had earlier worked for Khadijah. She fully supported Muhammad, especially after his first experience of reviving revelation when he was uncertain exactly what had taken place, and she assured him that God was speaking through him and had a purpose for him. Khadijah occupies an almost iconic place in Islam. She is often invoked to illustrate that Muslim women played important roles in early Islam. She was a successful business woman, so worked. She also took initiative; for example, she proposed marriage to Muhammad and in 610, when Muhammad was trying to understand his prophetic calling, she advised him to meet with her relative, Waraqah because of his knowledge of scriptures.
Scholars calculate her date of birth as somewhere between 555 C.E. and 570 C.E., since it is only estimated from her age (around 40) at the time of her marriage to Muhammad. While some deny that she had previous husbands, other sources state that after a first husband named Abu Halah ibn Zurarah died, she married Ateeq ibn Aidh Makhzumi (Otayyik). When he also passed away, Khadijah (who was a businesswoman) required the services of an honest individual to manage her trade. At that time, Muhammad who was 22 years old at the time, was recommended as a suitable choice for the job by several notable people of Mecca. Due to his success in managing her various commercial ventures, Khadijah prospered in her business.
With the passage of time, Khadijah's admiration for Muhammad developed into a deeper affection. When he was 25 years old, she proposed the idea of marriage to him. After he accepted the offer, they were married in 595 C.E.
When her husband was said to have received his first revelation from the Angel Gabriel, Khadijah was the first person—among both males and females—to accept Islam. In spite if the difficulty he first encountered when preaching the revelations he received, Khadijah remained at Muhammad's side and supported him throughout his mission to spread Islam.
Muhammad took no other wife until after Khadijah's death, out of his devotion to her. The year of her death is known as the Year of Sorrow, because of the devastation that it caused him. It was also the same year in which his uncle and protector Abu Talib died. Khadijah's body was buried in Mecca.
She had a total of six children: two sons and four daughters. All six were born before Muhammad started preaching Islam. The first son, Qasim ibn Muhammad, died when he was two. Muhammad was sometimes referred to as Abu Qasim, meaning the father of Qasim. The younger son was named Abdullah. He also died in infancy. Muhammad left no male heirs.
Certain Shi'a historians argue that some of her daughters were from her previous marriage, while Sunnis insist that all her children were by Muhammad.
Her oldest daughter Zainab bint Muhammad embraced Islam before her husband and migrated from Mecca to Medina; she died in about 630 C.E. Two of Khadijah's other daughters, Ruqayya and Umm Khulthum, were wed to two of Muhammad's cousins, one of whom became a bitter enemy, Abu Lahab, who is condemned in chapter 111 of the Qur'an. Both daughters were divorced in retaliation after Muhammad started preaching Islam. Ruqayya then married Uthman ibn Affan, who later became the third caliph and she migrated with him to the city of Axum in Ethiopia, when Muslims were being persecuted in Mecca. She later returned to Medina and died around 624 C.E. Uthman then wed her sister Umm Khulthum, who passed away in about 631 C.E., without having had any children. Khadijah's fourth daughter Fatimah was married to Ali ibn Abi Talib, who later became the fourth caliph.
Khadijah is remembered as Muhammad's first and most beloved wife, who supported him through the difficult first days of his mission.
For Sunnis, Khadijah is known as one of four perfect women in Islam. As Muhammad's first confidant and protector during his troubled days in Mecca, she is upheld as a benevolent protector and a model wife. Although Sunnis do not place the same primacy on family lineage as a source of political or spiritual authority as do Shi'a Muslims, her familial connection to Muhammad makes her, in the Sunni view, one of the "Mothers of the Faith."
The following view of Khadijah can be found in the book Fatima The Gracious: “As for Lady Khadijah, she was a beautiful, tall, light skinned woman, considered noble among her people; she was wise in decision-making, enjoyed a great deal of intelligence and sharp discernment. She bestowed her brilliant insight of economical principles, especially in the export and import field, on the trade market. This was Khadijah the human, the woman, and the wife; on the other hand, she granted thousands of dinars to her husband to use as he saw fit. Thus, Khadijah's financial support had a great role in strengthening Islam during its prime days, when it was still in the formation stage and critically needed material aid. Allah foreordained Khadijah's property to help Islam and fulfill its goals.”
Allah's Messenger said in this regard:
"No property has ever been so useful to me as Khadijah's." While in Mecca, the Prophet used this property to free slaves, help the needy, support the poor and rescue his financially inflicted companions. He also paved the way for those who wished to immigrate; all this through Khadijah's wealth from which he spent freely during her life; and when she died, he and her children inherited it.
Therefore, the meaning of the Prophet's saying ... becomes clear:
"Religion succeeded and became manifest only through dhulfiqar (Ali's sword) and Khadijah's property." 
All links retrieved June 11, 2014.
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