Hazrat Khadija, who was well-known as Tahira, was daughter of Fatima bint Za’idah and Khuwaylid ibn Asad ibn Abdul-Uzza, her father was a prominent figure in the tribe. The first husband was Abu Hala ibn Zarrara Tamimi. She bore two sons Hind and Harris with her first husband. After the death of Abu Hala, she got married to Atiq ibn A’idh ibn Abdullah Al-Makhzumi. To husband Atiq, Khadija bore a daughter named Hind. After the death of Atiq, Prophet Muhammad (saw) at the age of 25 before the prophet-hood got married on the request of Khadija in Makkah.
As long as Hazrat Khadija lived, Muhammad (saw) did not enter into second marriage. Hazrat Khadija died three years before the Hijrath (migration). Muhammad (saw) and Hazrat Khadija had six children; two sons and four daughters. The boys died in childhood but daughters Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum and Fatima were alive.
Hazrat Zaynab was married to paternal cousin as per Safiur Rahman Mubarakpuri, author of the Sealed Nectar and as per Allama Shibli Nomani, author of Sirat-un-Nabi maternal cousin Hazrat Abu al-As ibn al-Rabi ibn Laqeet before the migration. Abu al-As remained on his ancestor’s religion and fought in the Battle of Badr from the side of the polytheists. When captured, Zaynab sent a ransom from Makkah including an onyx necklace that had been a wedding gift from Khadija. The necklace was returned on recommendation of Prophet Muhammad (saw) and Abu al-As was set free without any ransom but he was given a pledge that he would allow Zaynab to come to Madina upon his return to Makkah so Abu al-As did the same.
Abu al-As went to Syria for trade before the conquest of Makkah, upon his return from Syria he handed over the properties/goods to their owners and emigrated to Madina and accepted Islam. Prophet Muhammad (saw) sent Hazrat Zaynab to live with Abu al-As without new marriage contract.
Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum were married to Hazrat Uthman ibn Affan one after other. Hazrat Fatimah’s marriage took place during the middle period of the Battle of Badr and Uhud, with Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib. Hazrat Fatimah bore Hasan, Husain, Zaynab and Kulthum. None other than Fatimah’s lineage continued.
After the death of Hazrat Khadija, Prophet Muhammad (saw) made several marriages which totals to eleven in numbers. Of which, 9 wives were alive at the time of Prophet’s death. Two of them, Hazrat Khadija and Mother of the Poor Zaynab bint Khuzayma, died during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (saw).
It should be noted that there was no limit of marriage at that time. When the marriage restriction verse was revealed that one cannot keep more than four at a time, by that time Prophet’s wives had become Mothers of the believers. Their marriage was not lawful to anyone else, so Muhammad (saw) was allowed exclusively and further marriage was prohibited.
Often the seerat writers (Prophet Muhammad (saw) biographers) has written the age of Hazrat Khadija as 40 years at the time of marriage with Prophet Muhammad (saw) and her age as 65 years when she died. Prophet Muhammad (saw) was 50 years old at the time of Hazrat Khadija’s death.
Here the objection arises that Hazrat Khadija bore two sons with Abu Hala and one daughter with another husband Atiq when she was in her youth and she bore six children in her old age. In view of this, the Sabaʾiyya claims that (Zaynab, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum) are not Prophet’s daughters), but the fact is that there is a difference of opinion in Hazrat Khadija’s age.
There are different sayings of historians. One saying is of forty years, one saying of 35 years, another one of thirty years. Mughaltay has written 28 years. One saying is of 27-year-old and one is only of 25 years old. Our historians only took 40, the rest were buried although these sayings have historic importance.
’وَ نَقَلَ الْبَیْھَقِی عَنِ الْحَاکِمِ اَنَّہُ کَانَ عُمَرُ رَسُوْلِ اللّٰہِ صَلَّی اللّٰہُ عَلَیْہِ وَ سَلَّمَ حِیْنَ تَزَوَّجَ خَدِیْجَۃَ خَمْسًا وَّ عِشْرِیْنَ سَنَۃً وَ کَانَ عُمْرُھَا اِذْ ذَاکَ خَمْسًا وَ ثَلَاثِیْنَ وَ قِیْل خَمْسًا وَ عِشْرِیْنَ سَنَۃً۔‘ (البدایۃ و النھایۃ
Bayhaqi has narrated from Hakim that when the Prophet (saw) married to Khadija, he was twenty-five years old and Hazrat Khadija was thirty-five years old. And one saying is that it was 25 years. (Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah)
At other point, Hafiz ibn Kathir while describing the total age of Hazrat Khadija at the time of her death, writes that ’وَ بَلَغَتْ خَدِیْجَۃُ خَمْسًا وَ سِتِّیْنَ وَ یُقَالُ خَمْسِیْنَ وَ ھُوَ اَصَحُّ۔‘ Hazrat Khadija’s age was 65 years and there is a view that it has been fifty years and that’s right. (Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah)
All scholars and historians agree that Hazrat Khadija stayed for twenty five years in Prophet’s (saw) marriage and she died in tenth year of the Prophet-hood. In single word, Hafiz ibn Kathir said that the other point of view/sayings are incorrect and proved that Hazrat Khadija was only 25 years old at the time of marriage with Prophet Muhammad (saw).
A translated excerpt from the Urdu book “Seerat e Badr-ud-Duja” authored by Maulana Syed Shahabuddin Salfi Firdausi.