Genealogy of Khadijah's daughters

Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, the first wife of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, had six children. Some Shia 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.


The dispute extends to Zainab, Umm Kulthum and Ruqayyah. Shias believe Fatima 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, Zayd ibn Harithah, and Zayd's 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.

This debate becomes significant and contentious since two of the children, Ruqayyah and Umm Kulthum were consecutively married to Uthman, one after the death of the other. Due to marrying two of the prophet's daughters, Uthman was called 'Dhul Nurayn' (Arabic: ذو النورين، He of the Two Lights).


The Quran refers to Muhammad's daughters as "banatika" ([Quran 33:59]), the plural[1] for "daughters".

There is another argument regarding the explanation of word "Banatika" that it does not refer to the immediate daughters but the daughters till the day of judgement. Means the Daughters of Daughter of Fatima.

This is the argument against the that the sisters of Fatimah were not the biological daughters of the prophet Muhammad as according to the universally accepted Islamic creed that the Qur'an will remain unaltered till it is lifted totally. Shia discard this logic based on a similar contradiction found in context of event of Mubahila for which Quranic verse 3:61 ([Quran 3:61]) was revealed, though the verse calls for (in 'Arabic) at least 3 "sons", at least 3 "women", and at 3 least "selves" from each side in the Mubahila, only Imam Hasan ibn 'Ali and Imam Husain ibn 'Ali represented the "sons" of the Prophet, only Fatima al-Zahra represented the "women", and only Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib represented as the "self" or "soul" of the Prophet.[2][3]

Sunni view

Sunnis outright reject any notion of them being born anywhere but in Muhammad's marriage. Sunni believe that Ruqayyah was born three years after the birth of Zainab, when Muhammad was 33.[4] Sunnis believe that the only reason Shia reject that Muhammad and Khadija had four daughters are due to the fact that two of their daughters married Uthman ibn Affan, whom the Shia dislike., a Shia website, agrees with the Sunni opinion that Khadijah did indeed have four daughters:

Khadija, peace be upon her, was the first woman who believed in the Prophet's divine prophecy. She put all her wealth at his disposal to propagate and promote Islam. Six children were born of his marriage: two sons named Qasim and Tahir who died as infants in Makkah and four daughters named Ruqiyah, Zaynab, Umm Kulsum, and Fatima, who was the most prominent and honoured of them all.[5]

Shi'a view

Shia scholars maybe view them as adopted children,[6] and that this fact is obscured in order to give greater merit to Uthman, the first caliph from the Bani Ummayah tribe. Those Shi'as view is that Fatimah was Muhammad's only biological daughter and the only one who married a Khalifah, i.e., Ali. They 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.

See also


  1. 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.
  2. @ Al-Islam.ORG
  3. Mubahala (Imprecation) @
  6. Al-Tijani in his The Shi'ah are (the real) Ahl al-Sunnah on note 274

Further reading

For Sunni view see:

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

For views from Western scholarship see:

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