Family tree of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
There may be little information on the early life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him, abbreviated to pbuh), but there is one aspect of his life which is plentiful: his genealogy. His family tree and that of his relatives have been recorded and handed down in enormous details.
With respect to the lineage of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), there are three levels:
- The first, whose authenticity is agreed upon by biographers and genealogists, states that Prophet Muhammad's genealogy has been traced to Adnan
- The second, subject to various disagreements, traces his lineage beyond Adnan back to Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh)
- The third version, with some parts definitely incorrect, traces his lineage beyond Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) back to Prophet Adam (pbuh)
3 groups of Arabs
Arab people have been divided into three groups according to their lineage:
Lineage back to Prophet Ibrahim (peace be upon him)
Many Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a descendant Prophet Ismail (also spelt Ishmael, pbuh), the son of Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) and his second wife Hajar (also spelt Hagar). They believe that Muhammad was the descendant of Ismail that would establish a great nation, as promised by God in the Old Testament (Bible).
Note: 'ibn' means 'son of' and 'bint' means 'daughter of'. For example, Adnan ibn Add means Adnan, the son of Add, and Fatimah bint Sa'd means Fatimah, the daughter of Sa'd
Dua (supplication) of Prophet Ibrahim which resulted in Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them)
When Prophet Ibrahim was building the Ka'bah with his son Ismail they made a dua (supplication) requesting Allah to send a messenger among their progeny:
Wa iz yarfa'u Ibraaheemul qawaa'ida minal Baitiwa Ismaa'eelu Rabbanaa taqabbal minnaa innaka Antas Samee'ul Aleem
Rabbanaa waj'alnaa muslimaini laka wa min zurriyyatinaaa ummatam muslimatal laka wa arinaa manaasikanaa wa tub 'alainaa innaka antat Tawwaabur Raheem
Rabbanaa wab'as feehim Rasoolam minhum yatloo 'alaihim aayaatika wa yu'allimuhumul Kitaaba wal Hikmata wa yuzakkeehim; innaka Antal 'Azeezul Hakeem
Surah 2 Al-Baqarah (The Cow), ayat (verse) 27 - 29
And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], "Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.
Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful.
Our Lord, and send among them a messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, the Wise."
Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) knew that he'd have prophets from the lineage of his other son Ishaq (Isaac, pbuh). Muslims believe there was a covenant from Prophet Ishaq's lineage for thousands of years until it was transferred to the sons of Ismail. Even before the birth of Ishaq, Allah told Ibrahim that he'll have Ishaq and later Yaqub (Jacob) (peace be upon them). Therefore, from Ibrahim until the birth of Muhammad, all the prophets came from the descendant of Ishaq. But only one prophet - and the final one - came from the descendant of Ismail: Muhammad (pbuh).
So Prophet Ibrahim's dua for Ismail was fulfilled and among his Arabian lineage a prophet was finally born. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) confirmed this in an authentic hadith where he also revealed that he was the 'good news' (translated as 'gospel' by Christians) that Jesus spoke about:
I am the supplication of my father Ibrahim and the glad tiding of Isa. And when my mother was carrying me [In another version he said gave birth to me] my mother saw a light emanate from her that cast its light to the city of Busra in the land of Syria.
Musnad Ahmad, Book 5, Number 262
The clan counted as everything. And to some extent, it could be argued, that the Prophet's greatest accomplishment, at least his greatest political accomplishment, was overcoming the clan organisation of Arabia and substituting it with a new and different organisation, an Islamic organisation, for it. That was a tremendous change for that to take place and itself shows the acute drama of the situation that existed in the life of the Prophet.
Dr. Khalid Yahya Blankinship
Qusai ibn Kilab was the great great great grandfather of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). During his time Hulail ibn Hubshiyyah, the chief of Banu Khuza'a tribe, was the trustee and guardian of the Ka'bah. When he came of age, Qusai asked for and married Hubba, daughter of Hulail. He continued to work hard at his trade and acquired much affluence, great respect, and many children. When his father-in-law died after a fierce battle which ended in arbitration, he gave the keys of the Ka'bah to Hubba, wife of Qusai. Hulail preferred Qusai from his own sons as Qusai was outstanding among Arabs of his time and therefore according to Hulail's will, got the trusteeship of the Ka'bah after him.
Qusai bought some of his nearest of kin and settled them in the valley besides the sanctuary. Among these were his brother Zuhrah, his uncle Taym ibn Murrah, his cousin Makhzum, and one or two distant cousins. These members were known as 'Quraysh of Hollow'. Other distant relatives settled in the the ravines of the surrounding hills and in the countryside beyond. These were known as 'Quraysh of the Outskirts'.
Qusai ruled as a king and is reputed to have brought great honor and illustriousness to his tribe due to his wisdom. He reconstructed the Ka'bah from a state of decay, and made the Arab people build their houses around it. He is known to have built the first "town hall" in the Arabian Peninsula a spacious dwelling which was known as the House of Assembly. Leaders of different clans met in this hall to discuss their social, commercial, cultural and political problems. A provident leader, Qusai created laws so that pilgrims who went to Makkah were supplied with food and water, which was paid for by a tax that he persuaded his people to pay. He distributed the responsibilities of looking after the visitors during pilgrimage taking care of Ka'bah, warfare and pacifying amongst myriad tribes living in Makkah.
Banu Abd al-Manaf clans of Quraysh
Four clans comprised the Banu Abd Al-Manaf section of the Quraysh (also spelt Quraish). These are:
- Banu Hashim - named after the Prophet's great-grandfather Hashim
- Banu Abd Shams - named after Abd Shams
- Banu Al-Muttalib - named after Al-Muttalib (who would discover the Prophet's grandad Abdul Muttalib)
- Banu Nawfal - named after Nawfal
Quraysh gives birth to great Ummayad and Abbassid dynasties
Two of the biggest Muslim dynasties, or Caliphate, to rule after the death of the four rightly guided caliphs (may Allah be pleased with them) were the Ummayad Caliphate (661 - 750) and Abbassid Caliphate (750 - 1258). Both come from the Quraysh tribe.
Abd Shams, the Prophet's great grandad Hashim's brother, had a son Umayya ibn Abd Shams who was the founder of the Ummayad dynasty. This was the first dynasty to rule after the death of the four rightly guided caliphs and at its peak covered more than 5 million square miles (13 million km sq), making it the fifth largest contiguous empire ever to exist.
Abbasid Caliphate, the second great dynasty, was founded by the descendent of Abbas, Prophet's paternal uncle.
The family of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is called the 'Hashimite' family after his great grandfather Hashim bin Abd Manaf.
Hashim was called 'Amr al-'Ulā but he was given the nickname Hashim, Arabic for pulverizer (crusher or grinder), because he initiated the practice of providing crumbled bread in broth for the pilgrims to the Ka'bah in Makkah al Mukarramah (Makkah the Holy).
Conjoined twin with 'Abd Shams
Hashim and his brother 'Abd Shams were conjoined twins born with Hashim's leg attached to his twin brother's head. It was said that they had struggled in the womb seeking to be firstborn. Their birth was remembered for Hashim being born with one of his toes pressed into the younger twin brother's forehead. Legend says that their father, Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, separated his conjoined sons with a sword and that some priests believed that the blood that had flown between them signified wars between their progeny (confrontations did occur between Banu al-Abbas, Hashim's grandson Al-Abbas' clan, and Banu Ummaya ibn 'Abdu Shams, 'Abd Shams son's clan, in the year 750 AH).
Wealthy businessman meets wife Salma in Madinah
Hashim was a wealthy and honest man responsible for giving food and water to pilgrims. This had been his charge when the sons of Abd Manaf and those of Abdud-Dar compromised on dividing the duties between them.
Hashim was also the first man who started Quraysh's two journeys of summer to Syria and winter to Abyssinia (present day Ethiopia). It was reported that he went to Syria as a merchant. Upon his return he went to Madinah, where he married Salma, the daughter of 'Amr from Bani 'Adi bin An-Najjar. He spent some time with her in Madinah then he left for Syria again while she was pregnant. He died in Ghazzah in Palestine in 497 C.E. Later, his wife gave birth to Shaibah bin Hashim (later to be renamed to Abdul-Muttalib), named after the white hair in his head, and brought him up in her father's house in Madinah. None of his family in Makkah knew of the birth of Shaibah.
Hashim had 4 sons and 5 daughters. The "Banu Hashim" clan (or the "Hashimite" family), from which the Prophet Muhammad descended, is named after him.
Hashim's sons & daughters
- Asad (maternal grandfather of four caliph Ali radhiallahu'anhu)
- Abu Saifi
- Shaibah (Abdul-Muttalib)
After the death of Hashim, the charge of pilgrims' food and water went to his brother Al-Muttalib who was also known for his honesty, generosity and trustworthiness.
When Shaibah reached the age of boyhood his uncle Al-Muttalib came to know about him and went to Madinah to fetch him. When he saw him tears filled his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. He embraced him and took him on his camel. The boy, however, abstained from going with him to Makkah until he took his mother's consent. His mother Salma was reluctant to let him go but Al-Muttalib was insistent that his nephew would grow under his guidance and care.
Your son is going to Makkah to restore his father's authority and to live in the vicinity of the Sacred House.
What Al-Muttalib said to Salma to convince her to let Shaibah go to Makkah with him
When Muttalib returned to Makkah with his nephew people thought he was his new slave, so Shaiba became known as "Abd al-Muttalib" (servant of Muttalib) because slavery was so common and rampant at that time. Al-Muttalib corrected everyone and let them know that the kid was in fact his elder brother Hashim's son, but the name stuck. Thus young Abdul-Muttalib was brought up in Al-Muttalib's house, and when his uncle Al-Muttalib died later on in Radman in Yemen, Abdul-Muttalib took over and managed to maintain his people's prestige and outdo his grandfathers in his honourable behaviour which gained him Makkah's deep love and high esteem.
During the time of Abdul-Muttalib two major events happened, the digging of Zamzam water and the Elephant raid.
Event #1: Well of Zamzam
Abdul-Muttalib saw in his dream that he was instructed to dig for the well of Zamzam in a particular place. Waking up, he did as he dreamed and re-discoverd the Zamzam Well and established the practice of providing pilgrims with its water.
In Islam the Zamzam Well has a major significance. It marks the site of a spring that had miraculously issued forth from a barren and desolate wadi (non perennial stream) where the Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh), under Allah's command, had left his second wife Hajar (May Allah be pleased with her) and their infant son Ismail (pbuh) around 2,000 BC.
Hajar was desperately seeking water for Ismail (pbuh) but could not find any as Makkah is located in a hot dry valley with few sources of water. She ran seven times back and forth in the scorching heat between the two hills of Safa and Marwah looking for water for Ismail (pbuh), who was dying of thirst, and also to look for passing karawans for help. Allah, in His mercy, sent the Angel Jibrail (Gabriel), who scraped the ground, causing the spring to appear. On finding the spring, and fearing that it might run out of water, Hajar enclosed it in sand and stones. The name Zamzam originates from the phrase Zomë Zomë, meaning 'stop flowing', a command repeated by Hajar during her attempt to contain the spring water. The area around the spring, which was later converted to a well, became a resting place for caravans, and eventually grew into the trading city of Makkah, birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh) later returned to rebuild Ka'bah, the first Bait-ul-Allah (House of Allah), originally said to have been built by Adam (pbuh). It is the holiest Muslim shrine. The Ka'bah now stands in the center of the Masjid Al-Haram, also called Sacred Mosque or Holy Mosque. The Zamzam well is located within the Al-Haram at about 20 metres (66 feet) east of the Ka'bah.
In honour of this miraculously-generated source of water from Allah, millions of pilgrims performing the Hajj or Umrah try to drink its water. The Well never dries up despite the millions of litres of water consumed every year. Muslim also perform the walk from Safa to Marwah seven times in recognition of Hajar's motherly act.
Having re-discovered the Zamzam Well Abdul-Muttalib was proposed by the Quraysh tribe to go in partnership with them when the well gushed forth water. But Abdul-Muttalib refused their demands on the grounds that Allah had singled only him out for this honourable job. In order to settle the dispute they made way to consult with Bani Sa'd's diviner. On their way, Allah showed them His Divine Signs which confirmed Abdul-Muttalib's right to the well. In honour of this, Abdul-Muttalib vowed to sacrifice one of his children to Al-Ka'bah if ever he had ten. This unfortunate child was to be Abdullah, the father of the Prophet (pbuh).
Event #2: Elephant Event
In order to rival the popularity of Makkah as a place for pilgrimage for Arabs, the Abyssinian (Ethopian) viceroy in Yemen, Abrahah As-Sabah Al-Habashi decided to build a large church in San'a. However, a man from Kinanah tribe recognised this manoeuvre and stealthily entered the church at night and smeared its front wall with excrement.
Fuming at this action, Abrahah led an army of 60,000 warriors to demolish Al-Ka'bah. His army included 9-13 elephants, and he had the biggest elephant. They marched towards a place called Al-Mugmas and mobilized the army in preparation to attack Makkah. When he reached Muhassir Valley, between Muzdalifah and Mina, the elephant knelt down and refused to go forward. Whenever they directed it northwards, southwards or eastwards, the elephant moved quickly but when directed westwards towards Al-Ka'bah, it knelt down.
To protect the Holy Ka'bah, Allah unleashed birds, similar to swallows and sparrows, carrying 3 stones each (one in its beak and two in its claws) which they hurled at the army. These stones of baked clay were like green blades which cut the limbs of the army personnel and killed a large number. Others fled and died randomly. Abrahah himself had an infection that had his fingertips amputated. When he reached San'a he was in a miserable state and died soon after.
The Quraysh fled for their lives to the hills and mountaintops. When the enemy was routed, they returned home safely.
Alam tara kayfa faAAala rabbuka bi-as-habialfeel. Alam yajAAal kaydahum fee tadleel. Waarsala AAalayhim tayran ababeel. Tarmeehim bihijaratin minsijjeel. FajaAAalahum kaAAasfin ma/kool.
Surah 105 Al-Fil (The Elephant)
"Have you not considered, [O Muhammad], how your Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant? Did He not make their plan into misguidance? And He sent against them birds in flocks, Striking them with stones of hard clay, And He made them like eaten straw."
The Elephant incident took place in the month of Al-Muharram, 50-55 days before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
News of the Elephant incident reached the most distant corners of the civilized world. Abyssinia (Ethiopia) maintained strong ties with the Romans while the Persians on the other hand, were watchful of any strategic changes looming on the socio-political horizon, and soon came to occupy Yemen. The Roman and Persian Empires made up the powerful civilized world at the time. The Elephant incident attracted the world's attention to the sanctity of Allah's House, and showed that this House had been chosen by Allah for its holiness.
It followed that if any of its people claimed Prophethood, it would conform with the outcome of the Elephant incident, and would provide a justifiable explanation for the ulterior Divine Wisdom that lay behind backing polytheists against Christians in a manner that went beyond the cause-and-effect formula.
Saifur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, author of 'The Sealed Nectar' (1979)
Abdul-Muttalib had 10 sons and 6 daughters. It was Abdullah, his youngest son, who was to become the father of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).
Abdul-Muttalib's sons & daughters
- Abu Talib
- Abu Lahab
Some say that he had 11 sons, adding the name of Qathim. Others say he had 13 sons, with the additional names Abdul-Kabah and Hajlah. But it is believed that Abdul-Kabah is the same as Maqwam and that Hajlah is the same as Al-Ghidaq, and that he did not have a son named Qathim.
The father of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Abdullah bin Abdul-Muttalib, was the smartest, chastest, and most loved of Abdul-Muttalib's sons. It was said that Abdallah's face shone with a special light and that this light was the promise of a Prophet as offspring.
Abdullah's mother was Fatimah, daughter of 'Amr bin 'A'idh bin 'Imran bin Makhzum bin Yaqzah bin Murrah.
Very little known about Prophet Muhammad's parents
Only few lines are known about the life and times of Prophet Muhammad's parents Abdullah and Aminah. There's a number of reasons for this. Firstly, they both lived short lives as such there isn't much which could be said about their life. They both died in their early 20s, may be even before then.
Secondly, they died long before Muhammad (pbuh) got his prophethood. So nobody was recording the life and times of his parent, however short it was. They were just regular people of Quraysh. There was no prediction that they were going to become the parents of a prophet.
Thirdly, when Muhammad (pbuh) became a prophet 40 years has already passed. By the time he gets to Madinah it's 53 years. By the time he passes away it's 63 years. So there wasn't hardly anyone around to remember the life and times of the prophet's parents. When Islam finally becomes powerful and stable, who's alive to remember those early days of his parents and elders?
The 10-year Madinan period of the Prophet (pbuh) is three times more documented than the 53-year Makkan period. Since Islam is now stable, people are in a position to write and talk and remember. When the followers have become peaceful and secure it's easier to document event. Earlier they were being persecuted and fighting to just survive. Even the Prophet's own early life is very little documented, so there's no chance of his parents being recorded. Much of their stories today are legend and not proven facts. They are open to dispute. But there are few known facts.
Saved from sacrifice over father's Zamzam vow
Abdullah was also the son whom the divination arrows pointed at to be slaughtered as a sacrifice to Al-Ka'bah. When Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons and they reached maturity, he disclosed to them his secret vow (made during the discovery of Zamzam Well) which they silently and obediently accepted. Their names were written on divination arrows and given to the guardian of their most beloved statue god, Hubal. The arrows were shuffled and drawn. An arrow showed that it was Abdullah to be sacrificed. Abdul-Muttalib then took the boy to Al-Ka'bah with a razor to slaughter the boy.
However, Quraysh, his uncles from Makhzum tribe, and his brother Abu Talib talked him out of carrying this slaughter. They argued that his act would establish an example that other Arabs might follow. They suggested that he seek advice from a woman diviner regarding alternative solutions. She ordered that the divination arrows should be drawn with respect to Abdullah as well as ten camels, and each time it pointed to Abdullah he should add ten more camels until it finally pointed to the camels. After which the camels were to be sacrificed in exchange of Abdullah. Thus Abdul-Muttalib carried out the action as per the she-diviner's instruction. After the tenth time the arrows pointed to the hundred camels. Consequently these 100 camels were all slaughtered to the satisfaction of Hubal instead of his son Abdullah. The slaughtered camels were left for any human or animal to eat them.
This incident produced a change in the amount of blood-money usually accepted in Arabia. It had been ten camels, but after this event it was increased to a hundred. This was later confirmed in the Noble Qur'an.
Immediately after saving Abdullah from sacrifice, Abdul-Muttalib decided he needed to choose a bride for his son. Abdullah was then aged 18 - 25, so he was still a young man.
Abdul-Muttalib chose for him the daughter of the Banu Zuhrah chief Wahb bin 'Abd Munaf bin Zuhrah bin Kilab to whom great honour was attributed. Banu Zuhrah clan were also from the Quraysh tribe like Banu Hashim. Since Quraysh was a big tribe, there were sub-tribes within it like Banu Hashim and Banu Zuhrah.
Wahab's daughter was Aminah who was born in Makkah. In the light of ancestral lineage, Aminah stood eminent in respect of nobility of position and descent. So Abdul-Muttalib proposed to Aminah on behalf of Abdullah and this proposal took place shortly before the caravan season when the caravans were about to depart for As-Sham (present day Syria). Since both Abdul-Muttalib and Wahab were chieftains, the marriage went ahead in Makkah few days before the caravan were to depart.
The marriage of Abdullah and Aminah was extremely short. According to biographer Ibn Sa'd, Abdullah spent barely 3 - 5 days with newly bride Aminah before he had to leave on a trade journey for Syria.
On the way back from Syria, Abdullah fell severely ill and he was slowing the caravan down. By the time they got to Yathrib (later Madinah), he said to the caravans I am slowing you down, I have relatives in Yathrib, I'll stay with them until I recover, you go back to Makkah. The relatives Abdullah was referring to was his paternal grandmother, Abdul-Muttalib's mother Salma bint 'Amr from the clan Bani 'Adi bin An-Najjar of Khazraj tribe. Abdullah told his colleagues to proceed without him and he'll stay with his cousin in Yathrib and travel back when he is well.
In another version of this story, it is said that soon after his marriage Abdullah was sent to Yathrib by his father to buy dates.
Both version agree that it was very soon after the marriage and Abdullah had in fact travelled to Yathrib.
Allah prepared some relationship between Muhammad and the city he'd go to. This was very rare as the Quraysh married among themselves. It was not common for the Makkans to go there.
The Prophet visited Yathrib as a 6 year old boy because his mother wanted to take him there.
Sheikh Yasir Qadhi, Islamic scholar
Aminah widowed at age 18 or 19, or possibly younger
According to Ibn Sa'd, by the time the caravans reached Makkah, Aminah was very excited to tell her husband that she's pregnant. But he's not with the caravan. So Abdullah probably didn't even know Aminah was pregnant.
Aminah is told that Abdullah is sick and should return in few weeks after he has recovered. But the next news came that Abdullah, sadly, has passed away in Yathrib. There are no record of what his sickness was. He passed away at young age (less than 25) and is buried somewhere in Yathrib. Nobody knows where he is buried. Nobody has ever discovered this.
So Aminah became a widow at a young age, possibly 18 or 19 or even younger, carrying the offspring of Abdullah.
There are some historians who state that Abdullah died two months before the birth of Muhammad (pbuh). Others say that his death was two or more months after the Prophet's birth.
Abdullah is believed to have left very little wealth - 5 camels, a small number of goats, a woman-servant called Barakah (Umm Aiman) who would later serve as the Prophet's nursemaid.
Jannatul Mualla cemetery, also known as Al-Hajun cemetery, in Makkah, Saudi Arabia contains the grave of the Prophet's great great grandfather Abd Manaf, his great grandfather Hashim, grandad Abdul-Muttalib, uncle Abu Talib, wife Khadijah (RAH) and son Qasim.