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Special Edition: Birth and forth years prior to the mission of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Jan 18, 2013, 11:45 AM

In this month of the Prophet’s birth, the Path to Islamic unity decided to bring part of the Prophet’s birth, sirah and his tradition. Birth and forth years prior to the Mission of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)


Muhammad, the master of Prophets, was born in the She’ab (quarter) of Banu Hashim, on Monday morning, the ninth of Rabi I, the same year of the Event of the Elephant and after forty years of the reign of Kisra (Khosru Nushirwan), i.e., the 20th or 22nd of April 571 A.D according to the calculations of great scholar Muhammad Sulaiman Mansoupuri.

Ibn Sa’ad reported that the Prophet’s mother said: “When I gave birth to Muhammad, it seemed that light came out of my womb and illuminated the palaces of Ash-Sham.” Ahmad and Ad-Darmy narrated something similar to this.

It is related that some significant precursors of the mission of Islam took place at the Prophet’s birth; fourteen galleries of the palace of Kisra fell down; the fire that Magis used to worship dies down; some churches around the Sawa Lake sank down and collapsed. This is transmitted by Imam At-Tabary, Al-Baihaqy and others.

When Amena bore her baby, she sent it to its grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib to inform him of his grandson. He became very glad and entered the Ka’aba with it praising and expressing gratitude to Allah. He chose Muhammad as the name of the newborn though it was unknown to Arabs before. As their tradition Abdul-Muttalib circumcised his grandson a week after birth. But according to some other narrations the Prophet was born circumcised.

Thuwaiba, the concubine of Abu Lahab, was the first woman to suckle the Prophet (PBUH) along with her son Masrouh after Amena. She also breast-fed Hamzah Ibn Abdul-Muttalib and Abu Salama Ibn Abdul-Asad Al-Makhzumy before the Prophet.

It was a custom of Arab town people to select wet nurses for their babies so carefully to protect them from the diseases of the urban areas and to make them develop vigorously and learn Arabic correctly and perfectly. So ‘Abdul-Muttalib hired a woman from Banu Sa’ad Ibn Abu Bakr as a wet nurse for the Prophet. She was called Halima bint Abu Zuaib ‘Abdullah Ibnul-Harith. Her husband who was called Al-Harith Ibn ‘Abdul-Uzza and whose nickname was Kabshah belonged to the same tribe.

As regards the Prophet’s foster brothers, they were Abdullah Ibnul-Harith, Anisa, the daughter of Al-Harith, Huzafah or Guzamah, the daughter of Al-Harith (who was nicknamed As-Shaymaa and looked after the Prophet (PBUH) for a period of time) and Abu Sufyan Ibnul-Harith Ibn Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s cousin.

Hamzah, the Prophet’s paternal uncle, was nursed in Banu Sa’ad Ibn Bakr. So his foster mother suckled the Prophet (PBUH) one day when he was at his foster mother’s, Halima. Thus Hamzah was the Prophet’s fellow suckling from two aspects, through Thuwaiba and Halima As-Sa’adeyya.

Halima noted that Muhammad was a blessed baby, which made her so astonished. Ibn Ishaq narrated: “Halima said: “I set out with my husband, baby that I was still breast-feeding and a group of women from Banu Sa’ad to search for suckling. We suffered from drought and aridity that very year. I mounted my white she-ass to make my journey. We had an old she-camel that could hardly provide us with drops of milk. Our baby got so hungry that we couldn’t sleep because he wept all the night. I could not breast-feed it enough. But we hoped for rain and prosperity. Bering so emaciated and weak, my she-ass lagged behind the company. Eventually, we reached Mecca to seek after suckling. Whenever the Prophet (PBUH) was offered to a woman of us and knew that he was orphan, she refused to take him. This was because we wanted to receive money from the baby’s father. So we said: “He is orphan. What can his mother and grandfather does for us?” this was the reason behind our hesitation to take him to nurse and look after. All women took babies except for me.

When we decided to go back, I said to my husband: “I hate to return without taking a baby. By Allah, I will go to such a baby and take it.” He said: “You could do so. I hope that Allah will grant us blessings if we take it.” So I went to the baby and took it. I did so only because I found no baby but it. I took it and returned to my baggage. As soon as I put it into my lap, my breasts became filled with milk. The baby and my son suckled to their satisfaction then they slept. Then my husband went to the she-camel and found its udder filled with milk too. He milked it and we drank of its milk till we quenched out thirst entirely. We spent the night happily and safely. Next day in the morning my husband said to me: “Know, Halima that you took a blessed baby.” I said: “By Allah, I think so, too.” Afterwards we went and I rode my she-ass carrying the baby with me. I covered a long distance by my weak she-ass. Out of astonishment my fellow women said: “Woe unto you, the daughter of Zuayb. Please, be gentle to us. Wasn’t this the very she-ass which you rode when we came?” I said to them: “Yes.” They replied; “By Allah, this ass is exceptional.” Then we came to our dwellings in Banu Sa’ad. I knew of no dry place other than out land. My sheep used to go back satisfied, with their udders full of milk. So, we used to milk them and drink of their milk while others found no drop of milk.

This prompted out resident fellow tribesmen to say to their shepherd: “Go and graze your sheep where the herder of bint Abu Zuayb goes.” But their sheep returned so hungry providing no drop of milk. We used to receive more blessings and welfare from Allah till the two years elapsed and Muhammad reached the weaning age. Muhammad developed in a way different from other babies. He was very vigorous and healthy. Then we brought him back to his mother though we were more eager to make him stay with us due to his being blessedness. I talked to his mother and said to her: “Would you leave my son with me till he has become older and stronger? I fear that one of the pestilences of Mecca should afflict him”, upon hearing this, she sent him back with us.”

Slitting open the Prophet’s breast:

Muslim narrated that Anas Ibn Malik reported that Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) while he was playing with his playmates. He took hold of him, made him lie prostrate on the ground and tore open his breast and took out the heart of it and then extracted a blood-clot out of it and said: “That was the part of Satan in you. And then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden washtub and then it was joined together and restored to its place. Thereupon boys hastened to his mother, i.e., his nurse, and said: Verily Muhammad had been murdered.” They all rushed toward him (and found him all right). He was pale. Anas said: “I myself saw the marks if the needle on his breast.” (Narrated by Muslim)

Muhammad (PBUH) returns to his warm-hearted mother:

After this incident, Halima, out of her fear, brought back Muhammad to his mother. He stayed with his mother till he reached the age of six. To celebrate the death anniversary of her husband Amena decided to go to Yathrib to visit his tomb. She left Mecca and took her orphan son with her, her servant Umm Ayman and Abdul-Muttalib. They walked about five hundred kilometres. Then they stayed there for a month and came back. On their way back Amena fell ill very seriously and died in Al-Abwaa (between Mecca and Medina).

Muhammad’s left to the care of his kind grandfather:

Abdul-Muttalib returned with Muhammad to Mecca. His warm feelings were directed at his orphan grandchild who sustained a new severe trial. He treated him more kindly and mercifully than he did to his own children. He never left him to his enforced loneliness. Rather, he used to favour him over his children. Ibn Hisham said: “Abdul-Muttalib had a mat that was spread beside the Ka’aba and none of his children could sit on it in reverence for him. But the Prophet (PBUH) used to come and sit on it when he was a boy. When his grandfather arrived to sit on it, his uncles made him sit behind him. If his grandfather saw them doing that, he said: “Leave this son of mine, for he will of high standing. “Then he seated Muhammad beside him on the mat and wiped over his back with his hands pleased with what the orphan blessed boy was doing.”

When Muhammad was eight years and two month of age, his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib died in Mecca. Before his death, he entrusted Abu Talib (Muhammad’s full paternal uncle) with the care and patronage of Muhammad.

To be continued