Born circa 20-22 April 571

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was born in Bani Hashim area of Makkah on Monday morning, the 9th of Rabi‘ ul-Awwal (i.e. 20-22 April 571), according to the scholar Muhammad Sulaiman Al-Mansurpuri and the astronomer Mahmud Pasha. The difference in dates is merely due to the earlier and later method of calendar calculations.

When he was born, there was a light that issued out of my pudendum and lit the palaces of Syria.

Aminah on her son Muhammad (pbuh), as reported by Ibn Sa'd 1/63

'Muhammad' (Praiseworthy) - a name chosen by grandad Abdul-Muttalib

Prophet's mother Aminah immediately sent someone to inform his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib of the happy event. Happily he came to her, carried the infant to Al-Ka‘bah, prayed to Allah and thanked Him. ‘Abdul-Muttalib called the baby "Muhammad", meaning "Praiseworthy", a name not then common among the Arabs. He circumcised him on his 7th day as was the custom of the Arabs.

Other name of Prophet Muhammad in the Qur'an

The name 'Muhammad' occurs four times in the Qur'an:

  1. Surah Al-'Imran (3) verse 144
  2. Surah Al-Ahzab (33) verse 40
  3. Surah Muhammad (47) verse 2
  4. Surah Al-Fath (48) verse 29

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Throughout the rest of the Qur'an, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is addressed in the second person, not by his name but by the appellations prophet, messenger, servant of God ('abd), announcer (bashir), warner (nathir), reminder (mudhakkir), witness (shahid), bearer of good tidings (mubashshir), one who calls [unto God] (dā‘ī) and the light-giving lamp (siraj munir).

Nursed by bedouin wet nurse Halimah

Thuwaibah - first woman to suckle the Prophet after his own mother

The first woman who suckled Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) after his mother was Thuwaibah, the freed slave (concubine) of Abu Lahab. She suckled him along with her own son Masruh. Thuwaibah had previously suckled the Prophet's uncle Hamzah bin 'Abdul-Muttalib and later Abu Salamah bin 'Abdul-Asad Al-Makhzumi.

Arabic custom encouraged sending children to noble bedouin

It was the general custom of the Arabs living in towns to send their children away to bedouin wet nurses so that they might grow up in the free and healthy surroundings of the desert. The belief was that in the desert one learned self-discipline, nobility, and freedom. That they would develop a robust frame and acquire the pure speech and manners of the bedouins, who were noted both for chastity of their language and for being free from those vices which usually develop in sedentary societies. This also gave young Muhammad (pbuh) the chance to learn Arabic and Arab traditions.

Halimah As-Sa'diyah of Banu Sa'd

The Prophet (pbuh) was later entrusted to Halimah bint Abi Dhuaib, a poor woman from Bani Sa‘d bin Bakr tribe. Her husband was Al-Harith bin ‘Abdul ‘Uzza called Abi Kabshah, from the same tribe. Like Thuwaibah, Halimah had previously suckled the Prophet's uncle Hamzah bin 'Abdul-Muttalib.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had several foster brothers and sisters:

  1. ‘Abdullah bin Al-Harith
  2. Aneesah bint Al-Harith
  3. Hudhafah or Judhamah bint Al-Harith (known as Ash-Shayma') - she used to take care of the Prophet (pbuh)
  4. Abu Sufyan bin Al-Harith bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib (the Prophet’s cousin)

Infant brings good fortune

Traditions delightfully relate how Halimah and the whole of her household were favoured by successive strokes of good fortune while the baby Muhammad (pbuh) lived under her care. Ibn Ishaq states that Halimah narrated that she along with her husband and a suckling babe, set out from her village in the company of some women of her clan in quest of children to suckle.

It was a year of drought and famine and we had nothing to eat. I rode on a brown she-ass. We also had with us an old she-camel. By Allah we could not get even a drop of milk. We could not have a wink of sleep during the night for the child kept crying on account of hunger. There was not enough milk in my breast and even the she-camel had nothing to feed him. We used to constantly pray for rain and immediate relief.

At length we reached Makkah looking for children to suckle. Not even a single woman among us accepted when the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was offered to her. As soon as they were told that he was an orphan, they refused him. We had fixed our eyes on the reward that we would get from the child’s father. An orphan! What are his grandfather and mother likely to do? So we spurned him because of that.

Every woman who came with me got a suckling and when we were about to depart, I said to my husband: "By Allah, I do not like to go back along with the other women without any baby. I should go to that orphan and I must take him." He said, "There is no harm in doing so and perhaps Allah might bless us through him". So I went and took him because there was simply no other alternative left for me but to take him. When I lifted him in my arms and returned to my place I put him on my breast and to my great surprise, I found enough milk in it. He drank to his heart’s content, and so did his foster brother and then both of them went to sleep although my baby had not been able to sleep the previous night.

My husband then went to the she-camel to milk it and, to his astonishment, he found plenty of milk in it. He milked it and we drank to our fill, and enjoyed a sound sleep during the night. The next morning, my husband said: "By Allah Halimah, you must understand that you have been able to get a blessed child". And I replied: "By the grace of Allah, I hope so".

 

The tradition is clear on the point that Halimah's return journey and her subsequent life, as long as the Prophet (pbuh) stayed with her, was encircled with a halo of good fortune. The donkey that she rode when she came to Makkah was lean and almost lame. It recovered speed much to the amazement of Halimah's fellow travellers. By the time they reached the encampments in the country of the clan of Bani Sa'd, they found the scales of fortune turned in their favour. The barren land sprouted forth luxuriant grass and beasts came back to them satisfied and full of milk.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stayed with Halimah for two years until he was weaned.

We then took him back to his mother requesting her earnestly to have him stay with us and benefit by the good fortune and blessings he had brought us. We persisted in our request which we substantiated by our anxiety over the child catching a certain infection peculiar to Makkah. At last, we were granted our wish and the Prophet stayed with us until we returned with him.

Halimah

Chest ripped open and heart cleaned by Angel Jibrail (Gabriel)

The Prophet (pbuh) stayed with Halimah until he was about four or five years of age. Then, as related by Anas in Sahih Muslim, Jibrail (Gabriel) came down and ripped his chest open and took out the heart. He then extracted a blood-clot out of it and said: "That was the part of Satan in thee." And then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a gold basin. After that the heart was joined together and restored to its place. The boys and playmates came running to his mother, i.e. his nurse, and said: "Verily, Muhammad (pbuh) has been murdered". They all rushed towards him and found him to be alright and that only his face was pale.

I have seen the mark that was left on his chest.

Anas, Sahih Muslim (1/92)

After this event, Halimah was worried about the boy and returned him to his mother with whom he stayed until he was six.

Death of mother Aminah

In respect of the memory of her late husband Abdullah, Aminah decided to visit his grave in Yathrib (Madinah). She set out to cover a journey of 500 kilometers with her orphan boy, her father-in-law ‘Abdul-Muttalib and woman servant Umm Aiman. She spent a month there and then made her way back to Makkah. On the way, she suffered a severe illness and died in the village of Abwa on the road between Makkah and Madinah. She was buried in the same village. The year was 577 AD.

Thus at the tender of six Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) became an orphan with neither a father nor a mother.

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Grandad Abdul-Muttalib & uncle Abu Talib shower young Muhammad (pbuh) with love

‘Abdul-Muttalib brought the boy to Makkah. He had warm emotions towards the boy, his orphan grandson, whose recent disaster (his mother’s death) added more to the pain of his past bereavement. ‘Abdul-Muttalib was more compassionate and loving with his grandson than with his own children. He never left the boy fall prey to loneliness, but always preferred him to his own kids.

A mattress was put in the shade of Al-Ka‘bah for ‘Abdul-Muttalib. His children used to sit around that mattress in honour to their father, but Muhammad (pbuh) used to sit on it. His uncles would take him back, but if ‘Abdul-Muttalib was present, he would say: "Leave my grandson. I swear by Allah that this boy will hold a significant position". He used to seat the boy on his mattress, pat his back and was always pleased with what the boy did.

Ibn Hisham (1/168)

When Muhammad (pbuh) was 8 years, 2 months and 10 days old, his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib passed away in Makkah. The responsibility of looking after the Prophet (pbuh) now passed on to his uncle Abu Talib, brother of the Prophet’s father. Abu Talib became the new leader of Banu Hashim after his dad's death.

Abu Talib took the charge of his nephew in the best way. He put him with his children and preferred him to them. He singled the boy out with great respect and high esteem. Abu Talib remained for 40 years cherishing his nephew and extending all possible protection and support to him. His relations with the others were determined in the light of the treatment they showed to the Prophet (pbuh).

Ibn ‘Asakir reported on the authority of Jalhamah bin ‘Arfuta who said: "I came to Makkah when it was a rainless year, so Quraish said "O Abu Talib, the valley has become leafless and the children hungry, let us go and pray for rainfall". Abu Talib went to Al-Ka‘bah with a young boy who was as beautiful as the sun, and a black cloud was over his head. Abu Talib and the boy stood by the wall of Al-Ka‘bah and prayed for rain. Immediately clouds from all directions gathered and rain fell heavily and caused the flow of springs and growth of plants in the town and the country.

Mukhtasar Seeratir-Rasul by Sheikh Abdullah An-Najdi (page 15,16)

Bahirah the Monk first to recognise prophetic qualities

When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was 12 years old, he went with his uncle Abu Talib on a business journey to Syria. When they reached Busra (which was a part of Syria, in the vicinity of Hawran under the Roman domain) they met a monk called Bahirah (some say his real name was "Georges"), who showed great kindness, and entertained them lavishly. He had never been in the habit of receiving or entertaining them before.

Bahirah instantly recognised the Prophet (pbuh) and said while taking his hand: "This is the master of all humans. Allah will send him with a Message which will be a mercy to all beings".

Abu Talib asked: "How do you know that?"

He replied: "When you appeared from the direction of ‘Aqabah, all stones and trees prostrated themselves, which they never do except for a Prophet. I can recognize him also by the seal of Prophethood which is below his shoulder, like an apple. We have found this in our books".

 

Bahirah also asked Abu Talib to send the boy back to Makkah and not to take him to Syria for fear of the Jews. Abu Talib obeyed and sent him back to Makkah with some of his men servants.

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