Seerah – Life of the Prophet: The Prophets Parents
Episode 8: The Prophets Parents
Welcome to Seerah Pearls, which aims to highlight some tantalising learning points from each episode of the Seerah- Life of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
This episode explores the immediate family of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam): 1) his great-grandfather Hashim, 2) his grandfather Abdul Muttalib, 3) his mother Amina, and 4) his father Abdullah.
1) Hashim inherited the responsibility of giving water to those who visited the Kaba. He extended this hospitality to include giving food. His name was actually Amr, but the name Hashim occurred as a result of his crushing bread into the broth for the visitors. Hashim also established the economy of the area by starting travelling business caravans in both summer and winter. Whilst on a journey, Hashim married the great-grandmother of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) in Madina, named Salma bint Amr from the tribe of Banu Najjar. Thus, the Prophet’s (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) lineage is split between Makkah and Madina.
2) Hashim died in Gaza, Palestine whilst on a trade journey. Salma was expecting Abdul Muttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). His original name was Shaybah, meaning ‘little old man’, as he had some white hair at birth. He grew up in Madina, as his mother had kept the birth secret from his paternal family in Makkah, for fear of them taking him away. Eventually, the brother of Hashim goes to Madina to retrieve Shaybah once he discovers his existence. Salma reluctantly agrees for her son to go to Makkah. On their arrival in Makkah, people assume the young boy is the slave of Muttalib, hence the name ‘Abdul Muttalib’.
3) When Abdul Muttalib discovered Zam Zam, he vowed to Allah that if he were to be blessed with 10 sons, he would sacrifice one of them for his sake. Once his prayer was realised, he drew lots to determine which son would be sacrificed: every time the name of his most beloved, Abdullah, would arise. Abdul Muttalib was determined to fulfil his oath, despite everyone’s attempt to make him change his mind. A fortune-teller offered a solution to the dilemma: she advised drawing lots between the name of Abdullah and 10 camels- the lots would be drawn until the camels were drawn, with the compensation of 10 camels being totalled up each time Abdullah’s name was picked. The final compensation was 100 camels to avert the sacrifice of Abdullah.
4) Abdullah married Amina bint Wahab. Soon after, Abdullah went on a business trip. He stopped in Madina, where he died. In Makkah, Amina was pregnant with the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).
This episode also explores the commonly asked question as to the fate of people, such as the parents of the Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), in the hereafter.