Genealogy of Khadijah's daughters

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Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, had six children. Some Shi'ites dispute whether all of the children were born in her marriage to Muhammad, or if three of the four daughters were born to a previous marriage.[1]


The dispute extends to Zainab, Umm Kulthum and Ruqayyah. Shi'ites believe Fatimah was the only daughter of Khadija whereas Zainab, Ruqayya and Umm Kulthum were the daughters of Khadija's sister, Hala, who had strained relations with her husband and the two girls were brought up by Khadija after the death of Hala. It is notable that before the revelation of the Quran, Muhammad also had an adopted son, that is Zayd ibn Harithah, whose name was changed back from Zayd bin Muhammad to Zayd bin Harithah, after the prohibition of conferring the non-biological father's name to the adopted.[2]

This debate becomes significant and contentious[citation needed] since two of the children, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum were consecutively married to Uthman, one after the death of the other, and was thus called Dhul-Nūrayn (Arabic: ذو النورين‎, "He of the Two Lights").[3]


The Quran refers to Muhammad's daughters as his banāṫ (Arabic: بَـنَـات‎, 'daughters').[4][5] There is another argument regarding the explanation of word "Banat" that it does not refer to the immediate daughters, but the female descendants from the line of Fatimah till the Day of Judgment.[citation needed]


Sunnis reject the notion of them being born anywhere but in Muhammad's marriage. Sunnis believe that Ruqayyah was born three years after the birth of Zainab, when Muhammad was 33.[3] Sunnis believe that the reason why Shia reject that Muhammad]] and Khadija had six children in total (4 daughters and 2 sons) is due to the fact that Khadijah was of advanced age at the time and mothered no children during her last 2 marriages.


Shi'ites believe that Fatimah was Muhammad's only biological daughter.[1] Shia argue it improbable for Khadija to have given birth to so many children at such an advanced age, while at the same time having abstained from having children in both her previous marriages. A third version also exists which views the two daughters as being the children of Khadijah's deceased sister, Halah bint Khuwailid.[clarification needed]

An evidence that Shi'ites use to justify their belief that Fatimah was the only biological daughter of Muhammad was what had been reported regarding the event of Mubahila. Concerning this event, the Quran says: "But whoever disputes with you in this matter after what has come to you of knowledge, then say: Come let us call abnā’anā (Arabic: أَبـنـاءنـا‎, our sons) and abnā’akum (Arabic: أَبـنـاءكـم‎, your sons) and nisā’anā (Arabic: نِـسـاءنـا‎, our women) and nisā’kum (Arabic: نِـسـاءكـم‎, your women) and anfusanā (Arabic: أَنـفـسـنـا‎, ourselves) and anfusakum (Arabic: أَنـفـسـكـم‎, yourselves), then let us be earnest in prayer, and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars."[Quran 3:61 (Translated by Shakir)] According to a hadith in Bihar al-Anwar, no woman other than Fatimah was present at the Mubahilah. For this reason, Shi'ites believe that the phrase "our women" in the Quran refers only to Fatimah.[6][7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Al-Tijani in his The Shi'ah are (the real) Ahl al-Sunnah on note 274
  2. ^ Quran 33:04
  3. ^ a b Archived 2006-06-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ The Arabic language has three persons - singular, dual, and plural, with the latter referring to more than two. For further explanation, refer to Arabic grammar.
  5. ^ Quran 33:59
  6. ^ @ Al-Islam.ORG
  7. ^ Mubahala (Imprecation) @

Further reading

For Sunni view see:

For Shi'a sources that mention other daughters of Muhammad, see:

For views from Western scholarship see:

  • G. Levi Della Vida-[R.G. Khoury]. ʿUT̲H̲MĀN b.ʿAffān. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. 3 April 2007
  • Veccia Vaglieri, L. Fāṭima. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. 3 April 2007
  • Watt, W. Montgomery. K̲H̲adīd̲j̲a. Encyclopaedia of Islam. Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W.P. Heinrichs. Brill, 2007. Brill Online. 3 April 2007
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