Imam Ibn Hisham’s The Birth of the Prophet Muhammad and his Lineage

Figure 1A: The Prophet Muhammad (center) is among the “lawgiving” figures that line the North Wall frieze inside the U.S. Supreme Court chamber. U.S. Supreme Court website. Even people who are not Muslim recognise the monumental significance of the Arabian Prophet.

Figure 1A: The Prophet Muhammad (center) is among the “lawgiving” figures that line the North Wall frieze inside the U.S. Supreme Court chamber. Photo courtesy of  U.S. Supreme Court website. Even people who are not Muslim recognise the monumental significance of the Arabian Prophet.

 

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate

Praise be to Allah, Lord of all creation. And peace and blessing be upon our master Muhammad, and all his family.

And we depend upon Him for help.

The Pure Lineage of Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.

This is a book on the life of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his family. He is Muhammad, the son of `Abdullah, the son of `Abdul Muttalib. The name of `Abdul Muttalib is Shaibah ibn Hashim. The name of Hashim is `Amr, the son of `Abdu Manaf, the son of al-Mughirah the son of Qusayy, the son of Kilab.

He is the son of Murrah, the son of K`ab, the son of Lu’ay, the son of Ghalib, the son of Fihr, the son of Malik, the son of An-Nadr, the son of Kananah, the son of Khuzaimah, the son of Mudrikah. Mudrikah is known as `Amir, the son of Ilyas, the son of Mudar, the son of Nizar, the son of Ma`d, the son of `Adnan, the son of Udd.

Udd is also known as Adad, the son of Muqawwim, the son of Nahur, the son of Tairah, the son of Ya`rab, the son of Yashjab, the son of Nabit, the son of Isma`il, the son of Ibrahim, the Khalil of the Most Merciful, the son of Tarih, who is known as Azar.

Azar in turn is the son of Nahur, the son of Sarugh, the son of Ra`u, the son of Falikh, the son of `Abir, the son of Shalikh, the son of Arfashadh, the son of Shem, the son of Nuh, the son of Lamek, the son of Mattushalakh, the son of Akhnukh. Akhnukh is also known as Idris, the Prophet, which is referred to and Allah knows best. He is the first of the children of Adam given prophethood and writing with the pen.

Idris is the son of Yerd, the son of Mahlil, the son of Qainan, the son of Yanish, the son of Shith, the son of Adam, peace be upon him. Ziyad ibn `Abdullah Al-Ka’ii, related to us from Muhammad ibn Ishaq Al-Muttalibi the whole of this genealogy of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him and his family, to Adam, peace be upon him.

He narrated to us all of that lineage and the discussion on Idris and other things. Khallad ibn Farrah ibn Khalid as-Sadusi also narrated the same to us from Shaiban ibn Zuhair ibn Shaqiq ibn Thawr from Qatadah ibn Di’amah, who said:

Isma`il is the son of Ibrahim, the Khalil of the Most Merciful, the son of Tarih-also known as Azar-the son of Nahur, the son of Asragh, the son of Arghu, the son of Falikh, the son of `Abir, the son of Shalikh, the son of Arfakhshad, the son of Shem, the son of Nuh, the son of Lamek, the son of Mattushalakh, the son of Akhnukh, the son of Yarad, the son of Mala’il, the son of Qayin, the son of Anush, the son of Shith, the son of Adam, peace be upon him.

If Allah wills, I will be beginning this book by mentioning the lineage of Isma`il, the son of Ibrahim and who gave birth to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, from his sons and their sons and their relatives.

The progenitors and all the ancestors will be discussed from Isma`il to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. We will discuss the lineage that deals with that of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, while leaving that which concerns the history of other children, based upon the brevity of the book.

We will go from there then into the discussion on the life of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, leaving some of what Ibn Ishaq discussed in this book that was not directly mentioned of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, nor was it mentioned in the Qur’an, nor was it a reason to have it in this work. Some of these things had no commentary, nor witness that this had taken place for it.

There was also poetry in the book that was not accounted for by all the authorities I have accessed. Then there were things that were neither spoken of nor deserved to be, some things led other people astray while at one point there were narrations I and others were not able to account for in terms of reliability.

Thus we found things that Ziyad Al-Bakka’ii did not narrate to us through his chain of transmission. Whatever is besides all these issues possesses narration and evidence for it and there is definite knowledge conveyed of it, if Allah wills.

The Children of the Prophet Isma`il, peace be upon him

Isma`il, the son of Ibrahim, peace be upon both of them, gave birth to twelve sons: Nabat, the oldest, Qaidar, Adhbul, Mansha, Mis`ama, Mashi, Dimma, Adhar, Tima, Yatura, Nabish, Qaidhuma. The mother of these children was the daughter of Mudad ibn `Amr Al-Jurhumi.

He is sometimes called Midad, he came from Jurhum, the son of Qahtan, who is the father of all of Yemen, the son of `Amir, the son of Shalikh, the son of Arfakhshad, the son of Sam, the son of Nuh.

Isma`il lived to be 130 years, then he died, may the mercy and blessing of Allah be upon him, being buried in the chamber of the Ka`bah with his mother Hajir, Allah have mercy on both of them. The Arabs sometimes pronounce her name Hajir while at other times Ajir, replacing the A with an H sound.

The Arabs sometimes do this with names, another example being the name Hiraq sometimes being pronounced Araq instead. Hajir is from the people of Egypt. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, told us about this people, “Allah! Allah! Take care of the people under our care. They are the people of a black land, with black, wavy hair. Indeed they are people of great lineage and are related by marriage.”

`Amr, the freed man of `Ufrah, stated that the lineage of these people is that the mother of the Prophet Isma`il, peace be upon him, is from them. And them being related by marriage is that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, had a servant from amongst them with him.

The mother of Isma`il is indeed Hajir, the Mother of the Arabs, she came from a place in Egypt called Farama. The son of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, whose name is Ibrahim was also from this land of Egypt. His right hand possess was named Mariyah, who was given to him by the King of Egypt, Muqawqis was from the place called Hifn, in southern Egypt in an area called Kawrah Ansina.

Ibn Ishaq tells us that Ibn ush-Shihab Az-Zuhri narrated a hadith from `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Abdullah ibn Ka`b ibn Malik Al-Ansari As-Sulami that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said, “When you conquer Egypt, show goodness to its’ people. Indeed they have a covenant and they have mercy coming to them.”

Ibn Ishaq asked Az-Zuhri what was meant by the mercy which the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, meant was for them. Imam Az-Zuhri replied that the reference was to Hajir the mother of Ismai`il being from them.

After all of this, we can know that all the Arabs trace their lineage to the children of Isma`il and Qahtan. Some of the people of Yemen say that Qahtan is from the Children of Isma`il and they say that Isma`il is the father of all of the Arabs without exception.

Ibn Ishaq held the position that the following were Arabs without exception

  1. `Ad, who was the son of `Aws, the son of Iram, the son of Sam, the son of Nuh,

  1. Thamud and Judais-the two sons of `Abir, the son of Iram, the son of Sam, the son of Nuh

  1. Tasm, `Amlaq, Umaim, who were the sons of Luwadh, the son of Sam, the son of Nuh.

Nabit, the son of Isma`il, had a son Yashjab, then he had a son named Ya`rab. Ya`rab in turn had a child named Tayrah, who then had Nahur, who had Muqawwim. Muqawwim’s wife gave birth to a son by the name of Adad, who then had a son named `Adnan. And `Adnan is the son of Udd.

And it is from `Adnan that the Arab tribes began to subdivide and break into smaller divisions. This is the account of the Children of Isma`il, the son of Ibrahim, peace be upon both of them.

Mentioning the Oath of `Abdul Muttalib to Slaughter is own son

`Abdul Muttalib was according to what was narrated, Allah knowing best, that he had made an oath that whoever he should meet from the Quraish at the time of excavating the Zamzam well that if he had ten sons, then they reached the age of adulthood while under his head, he would slaughter one of them for Allah in the presence of the Ka`bah.

Then he did come to have ten children and he knew that they were old enough, he informed them of his oath and called them to fulfil that for the sake of Allah. So they gave him the word and said, “How shall we fulfil it?” He said, “So let every man from you take a divining arrow and write his name in it.

Then come to me with it.” They all did so and he came along with them to the idol Hubal which was inside of the Ka`bah. Hubal sat on top of a well inside of the Ka`bah and that well is where they would gather things together that had been donated to the Ka`bah.

There were seven divining arrows based in front of Hubal. Every divining arrow had writing on it. One had the word ‘restitution’ written upon it. So when they differed in who should bear the ‘bloodmoney’ in an infraction, they would draw lots. And if that arrow was drawn out, then the one who drew it would have to pay the lot.

Another arrow bore the word, ‘affirmative,’ for any matter when they wanted an answer they would draw lots. And if they drew the arrow marked affirmative, then they would do what they had planned. Still another arrow was marked ‘negative’ when they were seeking the answer to a question in regards to divining.

And if they pulled this arrow, then they knew not to do that action. ‘From you’ was marked on another arrow and ‘joined’ on one besides that. Still another arrow bore the inscription ‘from besides you,’ while one read ‘the waters.’ This one was for occasions when they consulted whether or not to dig a well for water. They would consult the divining arrows and when they drew this one, they would do so.

Whenever they desired to circumcise a male, conduct a marriage, bury someone dead, raise a complaint regarding lineage or near relatives, they would go with this complaint straight to Hubal and bring 100 dirhams and a camel for slaughtering. They would give this too the keeper of the divining arrows which he would draw from and they would come near to their companion which had the choice that they desired. They would then say, “Our god. This is so and so, the son of so and so.

And we intend by him the following.” They would then bring out their decision. They would say to the arrow keeper, “Now draw.” If he brought out the arrow, ‘from you,’ they he would be an intercessor from them.

If it was the arrow, ‘from other than you,’ he would be the oath giver. If the ‘joined’ arrow was drawn, then there would be something against his house, no lineage for him and no oath of allegiance. And if something came from besides these arrows by way of what they were looking to do and the word ‘affirmative’ appeared, they would do it. And if the word, ‘negative’ appeared, they would delay the matter for a year, come again at another time and defer their matters to that by whatever came from the divining errors.

So `Abdul Muttalib said to the arrow keeper, “Draw against these children of mine by the arrows.” He mentioned the oath that he had made. He gave the name and arrow of every man among them involved. These were `Abdullah, the youngest, Az-Zubair and Abu Talib, which had their mother Fatimah, daughter of `Amr.

`Abdullah was the most beloved of the children to his father and he hoped that there would be some slip or the matter would be taken away. This same `Abdullah was the father of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. When the arrow keeper took the arrow and drew it, `Abdul Muttalib stood in front of Hubal and called Allah, then the arrow was drawn. The arrow that appeared had the name `Abdullah.

`Abdul Muttalib took him by the hand and with unsheathed sword went in front of Isaaf and Naa’ilah to slaughter him. Then the Quraish stood up and came over from near by where they had been watching and called him. They asked, “What do you intend to do with him?”

Shaibah replied, “Well, I have to slaughter him.” The Quraish and his children said, “By Allah! Don’t do so until you have first sought an excuse. If everyone did as you intend without seeking excuse, many children would have been sacrificed and no people would have remained.”

He was then addressed by Al-Mughirah, the son of `Abdullah, the son of `Amr, the son of Makhzum, the son of Yaqazah, his father `Abdullah was the son of the sister of this great people. Al-Mughirah remarked to `Abdul Muttalib, “Do not slaughter him until you have atleast sought an excuse first.

If he is to be ransomed by our wealth, then we shall do so.” The Quraish and his children spoke to him as well, saying, “Don’t do it. Take him to the Hijaz as there is an astrologer there and she has a following. So ask her. So you have right over your people. If she should order you to slaughter him, then do so, but if she should order you with some other affair, then you have been given respite.”

So the troop set out until they reached Al-Madinah and they found her there. She was according to the historians, at the location of Khaibar and they rode their camels up to her and came into her presence. They asked her and `Abdul Muttalib told her about his vow as well as what he had promised to do with his son.

The astrologer said, “Return to your place today and come back later and ask me.” They left from the area and waited. During this time, `Abdul Muttalib stood and called on Allah, then in the morning they returned to the female astrologer and she said to the gathering, “The answer has indeed come to me. How much is the blood money for your people?”

They answered that it was ten camels to be given. The astrologer instructed them to return home and then come to the arrow keeper and bring ten camels with them. Then draw lots for these using the arrows.

If the arrow should come out in favour of the arrow keeper, then increase the amount of the camels until your Lord is pleased with that. And if you should draw the arrow for the camels thereafter, then you are to slaughter the amount of camels in stead of the child as your Lord will be satisfied and your son will be spared.

The whole group set out until they reached Makkah yet again and they gathered together to do what they were commanded, with `Abdul Muttalib standing and calling on Allah, then he came forward with `Abdullah and ten camels and he stood in front of Hubal and called on Allah, Mighty and Majestic.

Then they drew lots and the arrow appeared for `Abdullah. They added ten camels to the ransom which made it twenty camels and `Abdul Muttalib continued to call on Allah while they drew lots, which again landed on `Abdullah. So they added another ten camels, which made it thirty camels altogether.

`Abdul Muttalib continued to call on Allah while they drew lots, which again landed on `Abdullah, so they had to add another ten, which brought the number of camels to forty in number. As the grandfather called on Allah, another lot was drawn and the youngest son was yet again chosen, which led to another ten being added to make the number fifty camels.

Another lot came up for `Abdullah, so the number of camels was raised to sixty, with the grandfather continuing to supplicate Allah. When they drew another lot, it fell to `Abdullah, so the ransom came to seventy camels, they drew again and it came to 80, then again and it hit 90 camels. Then they did so again and the number of camels stood at 100, with the father still calling on Allah. The next lot they drew brought up the name of the camel.

The Quraish and the others present said, “The Pleasure of your Lord has been sufficed `Abdul Muttalib.” He responded to them by saying, “No, by Allah! I will draw three more lot against the camels to be sure.” He returned and did so and the lot came up for the camel. He repeated it for a second time and the lot came up for the camel. The third time the lot came up for the camel. So the camel had indeed been chosen. He left the boy and chose the camels.

Mentioning the Woman who Sought to Marry `Abdullah in his youth 

`Abdul Muttalib took `Abdullah by the hand and passed by a woman from the Banu Asad, who was the sister of Waraqah, the son of Nawfal and her name was Ruqaiyyah. Ruqaiyyah was at the Ka`bah and said to him when she looked at his forehead, “Where are you going?” He answered, “I am going with my father.”

“You have all these camels being slaughtered as a ransom for you. Why don’t you make me your ransom?” He answered, “I am with my father right now and I will not oppose him nor leave his side.”

`Abdul Muttalib brought `Abdullah to Wahb, the son of `Abdu Manaf, who at that time was the leader of the Banu Zuhrah in lineage and honour. Wahb married his daughter Aminah, the daughter of Wahb to him and she was the best of the women in the Quraish in that time in terms of lineage and honour.

In looking at the female ancestors of Aminah, the mother of Aminah was Barrah, the son of `Abdul `Uzza and the mother of Barrah was Umm Habib, the daughter of Asad. The mother of Umm Habib was Barrah, the daughter of `Awf.

Once the marriage was contracted and she came to live with him, they were together and she conceived from that first time the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then he went out from her presence the following day and met the woman that had sought him before, but she did not seek him.

He said to her, “You no longer seek me today?” She said, “Yesterday, I had seen you and you had a light that was with you then, but now that light is no longer with you and I have no need of you today.” She had heard from her brother Waraqah, the son of Nawfal, the one who had converted to Christianity and had followed that book, that there would be in this nation a prophet.

`Abdullah in the past had a woman at the same time as Aminah and he used to work with clay and had some traces of that clay on his clothes one day. So he called that woman to himself and she refused when she saw the traces of clay on him. So he went away from her, washed and cleaned himself from the traces of clay then made his way to Aminah.

On the way he passed by the woman who called him to her, but he avoided her and refused. He made his way to Aminah and they were together and this was when she conceived Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, then he passed by that woman of his later.

He said to her, “Do you want me now?” She refused, citing, “At that time I saw a light of blazing whiteness between your eyes, but when I called you refused me. You went to Aminah and now this light is with her.” So the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was the most noble and righteous of his people in his time and lineage from both his mother and father’s side.

Aminah conceives the Messenger of Allah 

Aminah, the daughter of Wahb, the mother of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said that when she had conceived him, it had been said to her, “You have conceived the master of this nation.

When he enters into the earth, then say, ‘I seek refuge in the One from the evil of every envious one. Then you are to name him Muhammad.’ ” And when he was born, then a light came from her and lit up the palaces of Busra from the land of Sham.

`Abdullah, the father of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, did not live to be him born and died while Aminah, his mother, was pregnant with him.

The Birth of the Messenger of Allah 

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was born on Monday, 12 Rabi` ul-Awwal, in the year of the elephant. Qais, the son of Mukhrimah, mentioned, “I and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, were born in the year of the elephant, so we were the same age.”

Hassan, the son of Thabit also said, “By Allah, I was a youth of seven or eight years and I was aware of all that I heard. I heard the Jews raising their voices one night over the rooftops of Yathrib saying, ‘Dear Jews!’ He kept saying so until they gathered to him.

He said, ‘Tonight, the star of Ahmad has risen, the time when he shall be born.’ ” Ibn Ishaq mentioned that Hassaan, the son of Thabit was the representative of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, in Al-Madinah and he was sixty years of age while the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was fifty three years of age and Hassaan heard much from him while he was fifty seven.

When his Aminah gave birth to him, she sent word to his grandfather, `Abdul Muttalib, that she had given birth to a boy, so the grandfather came at once and looked at him. `Abdul Muttalib took him and brought him with him to the Ka`bah and stood, calling on Alalh and praising Him and brought him back to his mother and handed him over.

She appointed a woman to breastfeed the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and this has been mentioned in the Book fo Allah, Glorified and Exalted, regarding the story of Musa, peace be upon him, surah, ayah

The woman chosen was from the Banu Sa`d, her name being Halimah, the daughter of Abu Dhu’aib. Abu Dhu’aib has the name `Abdullah, the son of Al-Harith. He had what are known as milk brothers and sisters and these were `Abdullah ibn Al-Harith, Unaisah bint Al-Harith, Khidhamah bint Al-Harith, who bears the name Ash-Shaima’. This name become so famous for her that she was only known among her people by this name.

Halimah As-Sa`diyyah is the milk mother of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and she left from her land with her husband, a small child and other women from the Banu Sa`d that came to hire children for the people of milk mothering.

She told them to hurry as there would be nothing left for them once they arrived late. She said, “By Allah! We could not sleep in the night and could not concentrate as the child kept us up at night crying for food but I had no milk in my breast to feed the child.

We hoped for some relief or some solution in adopting one of the children that we were travelling to take back with ourselves. All of the women sought children from the clans and everyone was seeking one boy until they found that he was an orphan.

We came in hope of taking some wealth form the father of the child. When he heard that it was orphan we wondered what his mother or grandfather could do, so we did not want to take the child that was an orphan. But every child had already been taken that had parents and a father to give some wealth.

But I said to those with us that I disliked returning to our land without, by Allah. By Allah, I will take this orphan, so I took it. My husband said that maybe there is no harm for you and that Allah will make for us some blessings with this child. So we took him and he went with us and we had no other child we could take with us.”

Halimah went on further, “So I returned to my mount and put him in the saddle and all of a sudden my breasts filled with milk and he drank. Then after that, his milk brother drank until his fill. Then both he and the milk brother slept. Previous to then, we were not able to sleep due to his constant crying.”

But when I brought him back, one of my riding companions said, “Look at this matter. By Allah, Halimah! You have brought a noble omen.” She said, “By Allah I hope for that and we left and rode off and I took this child with me. We had a mule that was old but upon his mounting it, the mule gained speed it did not have before until it overtook the others in the pack.”

I was asked if this was the same pack mule that we had left with and I replied in the affirmative that it was the same one. We soon arrived at the housing of the Banu Sa`d and I don’t know of any land from the lands of Allah more barren and suffering from more famine that our very one.

The sheep came to us while their ribs were revealed and we would milk them and nothing would come out. No milk was found in the udders of the creature so that those of our people present saw nothing but this state. They came to me and said, ‘Woe be to you, daughter of Abu Dhu’aib! The flock of our sheep have gone to nothing and we have always sought increase from Allah and gone and we are waiting for some favour to come and something to come about.’

So we came with him to his mother and we were really hoping he would remain with ourselves and when we saw the blessing that came from him, we spoke to his mother and I said to her that it would be good if she left her children with us so that he does take on the roughness of Makkah.

And I did not leave her alone until she allowed her to return with us. So we returned with him and by Allah, after we came back with him to his brother for a month, they were playing in back of our houses when his milk brother came to us hastily.

He said, ‘My Quraish brother was playing with me and two man wearing white clothes came, took him and laid him on the ground and split his chest open.’ I and his father ran out with him in search of the boy and we found him standing in the open area with a face that was flushed.

So I and his father took him and shook him, asking him what happened to him. He told us, ‘Two men came wearing white clothes and they laid me on the ground and split open my chest they took something out of me I don’t know what it was and then closed my chest.’

After this, his milk father said, ‘Halimah, I am scared for this boy that something may happen. Let’s return him to his people before something else happens.’ So we took him and carried him back and came to his mother. She asked me why I was returning him when I had been so adamant about having him in the first place and his staying with us.

I answered that Allah had already brought about the completion of his time with us and that now I was returning him. We were worried about something happening so we returned him to her just as she wanted. She demanded I tell her what had happened and she would not leave me alone until I informed her of exactly what had transpired.

She asked if I was afraid because there was a demon against him to which I replied yes. But she swore by Allah that no demon had a way to take anything of him. She then asked me if I would like her to tell me what had happened with him when she had given birth and I said yes to that.

She informed me that when she had conceived him and then later gave birth, there was a light that came from her that lit up the castles of Busra from the land of Sham. And that when she conceived him, she found nothing lighter or easier than him and that at the time of his birth, he put his hands on the ground to catch his fall and raised his head to the sky. He called him from you. Now go about and be guided.”

Some of the people of knowledge mentioned a narration that the companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was asked by his companions, “Messenger of Allah, tell us of your affair.”

He replied, “Yes, I am the prayer of my father Ibrahim, the good news of the Prophet `Isa. My mother, when she conceived me, saw that there was coming from her a light that lit up the castles of Sham at Busra.

I was sent to the Banu Sa`d to be given a milk mother. I was playing with a milk brother behind our houses when there came to me two men wearing white clothes. They had a basin of gold  filled with cool water. Then they took me, split my chest open and took out my heart. They then took a black clot from it and threw it away, washed my heart and belly with that cool water until it was cleaned.

One of them said to the other, ‘It is the weight of ten of his Ummah.’ So they weighed me with them and I weighed them. Then they said, ‘He is the weight of one hundred of his Ummah,’ then they weighed me and I them.

Then they said, ‘He is the weight of one thousand of his Ummah, them they weighed me and I them.’ Then one said, ‘No, it is more than that, if you were to weigh him against his entire Ummah, he would have been more than them.’ ”

Ibn Ishaq also mentioned that the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, used to say, “Every prophet was a shepherd.” Someone asked, “Even you?” He replied, “Yes, even I. I am the most Arab of all of you. I am of Quraish and was nursed among the Banu Sa`d.”

Some of the people of knowledge mentioned that once when Halimah came to visit Makkah that she had the youth with her but he was lost amongst the Makkans and she looked around and could not find him. She came to `Abdul Muttalib and said that she had come that night with Muhammad but she was in the highest area of Makkah when she lost sight of him. She swore by Allah she did not know where he was and could not find him.

`Abdul Muttalib stood up in front of the Ka`bah, called on Allah to return him, then not long after Waraqah ibn Nawfal and another man from Quraish found him and they came with him to `Abdul Muttalib.

They said to him, “Here is your son. We found him in the higher region of Makkah.” `Abdul Muttalib took him and put him on his neck and made tawaf around the Ka`bah with him, prayed for him then sent him to his mother Aminah.

It is also mentioned by the people of knowledge that when Halimah came to return him to his people, she was dreading do so as this would involve telling her what had taken place with the boy. Then out of nowhere, a group of Christians from Ethiopia appeared on a caravan. They saw him with her when they passed by and they looked at him. They asked her about him, and kissed him. They they said to her, “You should take this boy with care. Let us take him to our king and our land. This young boy will come to be great indeed.” And they almost tried to take him from her caravan.

The Death of Aminah and the Messenger of Allah going to his grandfather, `Abdul Muttalib 

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, was with his mother Aminah bint Wahb and his grandfather `Abdul Muttalib ibn Hashim in the care of Allah and His Preservation, Allah gave him a safe upbringing according to what He intended with His Goodness for him.

Then when the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, reached six years of age, his mother Aminah bint Wahb died. She died at the place called Al-Abwa’, which is between Makkah and Madinah, as they had been to see his uncles from the Bani `Adi ibn An-Najjar. She died on the way back to Makkah from Al-Madinah while in caravan.

So from that time, he went to stay with his grandfather `Abdul Muttalib, who used to put a mattress down for his grandson in the shade of the Ka`bah where he would sit. His own children used to sit around the mattress even when the youth used to leave to be with his grandfather, as they all had respect and fondness not to sit in his place, even the grandfather.

When he was small, he also used to go around pits and sit on them, but his uncles used to prevent him from doing so, for fear he might fall into them. But his grandfather said, “Leave my son. By Allah, he has a high rank and will be of great stature.” He would then sit his grandson next to him, rub his back with his hand and be happy and smile with whatever he used to do.

The Death of `Abdul Muttalib

When the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, reached eight years of age, `Abdul Muttalib, son of Hashim, died and this took place eight years after the year of the elephant. At the time when death was near for him, and he knew that he would be gone soon, he gathered his daughters, which were six in number, Safiyyah, Barrah, `Aatikah, Umm Hakim Al-Baida’, Umaimah and Arwa.

He told them all, “You should weep for me so that I hear what you will say before I die.” After his death, the maintenance of the well of Zamzam, feeding and watering the pilgrims and distributing the wealth went to Al-`Abbas, the son of `Abdul Muttalib.

At that time, he was the youngest of the brothers and the matter fell to his responsibility and remained so until when Islam was established while he was in charge of this rite.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, confirmed this right of his according to what had passed from his leadership and it has remained to this day with the family of Al-`Abbas as it had been at that time.

Abu Talib becomes the guardian for the Messenger of Allah 

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, after the death of `Abdul Muttalib, was entrusted to his uncle Abu Talib. Before his death, `Abdul Muttalib had made a bequest that he should take care of him.

The reason for this is that his children `Abdullah and Abu Talib were from the same mother and father, their mother being Fatimah, daughter of `Amr, the son of Aa`idh, the son of `Abd, the son of `Imran, the son of Makhzum.

There was a man called Lihb from the Azd Shanu’ah tribe and he was known as a noble man who could see premonitions. When he came to Makkah, men from the Quraish came to him so that he could look at their children and make a premonition. Abu Talib and his youth came to him and he looked at all the children. He saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and was greatly impressed by him.

When he finished, he tended to some other business but said, “I would like to have that youth with me.” Abu Talib noticed that he wanted to take his nephew with him and the man had said in private, “Woe be to you! Give me the youth that I saw earlier today. By Allah, he will certainly come to be something amazing.” Abu Talib promptly took him and left.

The Meeting with Bahira

Abu Talib one day left on a business trip for the sake of commerce to Sham. When he came to his mount and ride, he was told to leave him behind but decided he would take the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, with him and said, “By Allah, he shall indeed go with me and he is not to be left behind and I will not part with him ever.”

So he left with him. He came to Busra in the land of Sham and dismounted and came across a monk in the area and his name was Bahira in his cloister. He had knowledge of Christianity and he was almost always in that cloister since taking on his monk practices. So people brought their issues to him regarding the book and they he was given an inheritance of the great from the great.

Abu Talib and his nephew came to that area in a caravan and there were many of them and Bahira was there, but Bahira did not speak to them nor did he seek them out until the time had come that he would recognise them. When the caravan came near to his cloister he brought food he had prepared for them.

The reason for this is that he had seen something while in his cloister and he had seen the image of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, riding up when they dismounted and there were clouds above him shading him from the intense heat of the sun. Upon everyone dismounting and coming to the shade of a nearby tree, Bahira saw the cloud that had come over to the tree they were under.

He could see that the tree was enshrouded by this and that it was over the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, until he was shaded under the clouds. Bahira witnessed this from his cloister and and came out and had food made and brought to them.

He sent it to them and said upon his arrival, “Quraish clan! I have made this food for you and I would love for all of you, your large and small, slave and free to be present here to have the food.”

One of the men answered, “By Allah! Bahira, you are certainly doing something today. You have never brought food like this for us before and we have passed by these location numerous times. So what is so different about today?” Bahira replied, “You have spoken the truth indeed. What you said in the past was true, but you are guests and I want to honour you, so I made food for you and I would like all of you to eat it.”

They gathered around and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, was young and stayed behind in the travel group and pack camels of his companions under the shade of the tree. Bahira looked around and could not see the description of the one that was shown to him in the vision.

So he said, “Quraish! Do not hold back any one of your people from my food!” The Quraish said, “Bahira, we have not held anyone back from this gathering for food except one youth and he is the youngest of people. He has stayed back with the riding mounts and property.”

Bahira told him, “Don’t do that! Call him so he can have some of this food with you.” One of the Quraish said, “By Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza, Indeed it is blameworthy for us to allow the son of `Abdullah, the son of `Abdul Muttalib to remain behind away from the food that is among us.” So he went and took the boy and had him sit with them among the people.

Once Bahira laid eyes on the young boy, he eyed him carefully and looked at every aspect of his body and found that this was the exact description of the vision that he had been shown and continued to observe him until the people finished their food and begin to break up and head back to their camp.

Bahira stood and said, “Boy! I ask you by Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza that you tell me whatever I ask you.” Bahira made this remark as he heard the people swearing by both of these and the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, answered, “Don’t ask me anything by the names Al-Lat and Al-`Uzza. By Allah, nothing has made me more angry than anger about them.”

Bahira modified his words and said, “Then by Allah, I ask you that you tell me whatever I ask you.” The boy said, “Ask me what you like.” So he asked the boy about everything he could, his sleeping habits, manners and other affairs.

Then he had the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, answer questions about other matters until he saw that this coincided with what he knew of his description. He looked at the boy’s back and saw the seal of prophethood between his shoulder blades, which was according to the description given.

This seal was the size of the egg of a pigeon. Bahira then asked his uncle as the boy was going away, “What relation is this boy to you?” His uncle said, “He is my son.” Bahira further asked, “He cannot be your son as this one is not supposed to have a father that is living.” Abu Talib then said, “Indeed, he is the son of my brother.”

Bahira asked, “So what came of his father?” Abu Talib answered, “He died, while his mother was pregnant with him.” Bahira then said, “You have spoken the truth. So return home with the son of your brother to his land and beware of the Jews. By Allah, if they saw him and knew it was him as I do, they would mean him harm. Yes, this son of your brother will be great indeed in the future.”

After this encounter, Abu Talib hastily left with the boy and went back to his land. He made his way back to Makkah as soon as he could and on the way ran across Zurair, Tammam and Daris tribes, which were a group of the People of the Book and they saw the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and they recognised that which had been seen by Bahira on that journey when he was with his uncle.

They wanted him but Bahira refused them this and Allah had already mentioned that and that they would find in their book from his mention and description. And they had gathered together and they wanted him and did not want anything but that but then Bahira narrated what he had said to him and they bore witness of the truthfulness of what he said. So they left him and went away from him.

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, grew into his youth and Allah, Exalted be He, guarded, preserved and safeguarded him from the filth of the Days of Ignorance according to His Plan for him which involved his honour and mission so that when he reached the age of adulthood he was the best and most noble of his people, the best of them in manners, the most noble in character and the best neighbour and the greatest in standing and the most truthful in speech.

He was the most trustworthy, the nearest from perversion and evil manners of men committed. He was preserved and honoured to the point that the people in his time called him Al-Amin, the trustworthy. He was named this due to what Allah had brought together in him of the noble and pious attributes.

It was mentioned of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, that he was preserved in his youth by Him and the matter of Jahiliyyah was mentioned when he said, “Some of the youth of the Quraish saw me trying to play with some of the stones they were stacking.

When carrying them he would take his izar and pull it up to his knees and carrying the stones in it. I decided to play with them and turn around but I saw what was happening and did not take part. One of them said to me, ‘Tie up your izar.’ So I took it and tied it up above my knee and I carried them in there among my companions.”

Selected passages taken from As-Sirat un-Nabawiyyah by Imam `Abdul Malik ibn Hisham Al-Basri (d. 213 AH), vol.1, pp. 7-8; 142-167
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