Seerah episode 8: The Prophet’s Parents

— Hashim ibn Abd Manaf is Muhammad’s (saw) great-grandfather & the father of Abdul Mutallib (birth name is Shaybah)

— Hashim had assumed the responsibility of providing water to the hujjaj & cleaning up the Ka’bah. This was after a period of civil unrest (2 families feud over custodianship of Ka’bah)

Hashim was extremely wealthy & a leader of Banu Abd Manaf. He was also known as a man of great respect & culture.
He was the first one to go beyond just serving water to the hujjaj; in the past, they only serve water to the hujjaj. He also went on to serve full meals to them. Imagine the high cost to provide for all that food to all the pilgrims. This shows how wealthy he was.

— Hashim’s actual name is Amr

He’s called Hashim (pulverizer, one who crushes) because he would serve crushed bread into a type of broth to the hujjaj. He’d wait until the bread was baked, then he’d crush the bread with his own hands & prepare the meals for the hujjaj himself. When people saw this, they started calling him, Hashim.

— Hashim is also credited with establishing an economy in Makkah, by having a business caravan travel during the winter & one in the summer (“rihlata ashshita-iwassayf” as mentioned in the Quran)

— As a young man, Hashim traveled to Sham for business & stopped by in Yathrib.

He noticed the stark difference in weather between Makkah (very hot, desert) & Yathrib (cooler, agriculture town, grows dates in abundance)
Hashim sees a woman named Salma bint Amr (from Banu Najr) in Yathrib & married her.

During Hijra to Madinah, Prophet Muhammad didn’t immediately get into Madinah, but first stopped at Quba, just outside Yathrib. This is where the first mosque was built. Quba was a suburb of Yathrib. Prophet stayed there because his great uncle & other uncles lived there, who were related to Salma. So we know that the Prophet has families over there.

After a while, Hashim continued on to business to as-Sham. Salma, who had become pregnant, stays in Yathrib. Hashim ends up falling ill & died in Gaza (modern day Palestine)
When news reached her that her husband died, Salma knew that Hashim’s family will come to take the baby to Makkah, especially if it’s a son (since he’ll be carrying on the name).
— Salma’s afraid to let go of her first child, so she doesn’t send the news back to Makkah that she’s expecting.

She gave birth to a boy named Shaybah (“old man”) because he was born with some white hair, like an old man. This baby is the Prophet’s grandfather.

Hashim had 4 sons & 5 daughters in total.
— Shaybah grew up in Yathrib. As he grows older, there are rumors that Hashim actually had a son with a wife from Yathrib. These rumors come about from the business travelers that goes through Yathrib.

This news starts to spread among Hashim’s family in Makkah. One of Hashim’s brothers (Shaybah’s uncle) went to Yathrib to retrieve the boy & to take him to Makkah.

When that uncle which is Al Mutallib arrives in Yathrib & laid eyes on Shaybah, al Mutallib started to cry, because Shaybah looks like his late father, Hashim. Al Mutallib hugged his nephew & puts him on his camel. “I need to take you back to Makkah with me.”

Shaybah initially refused to go to Makkah unless they get permission from his mother.

Uncle Al Mutallib said to Shaybah’s mother, Salma: “Send the boy back with me to Makkah. He needs to assume the property & the responsibilities of his father. That’s his birthright. Also understand that your son from his father’s side comes from a very blessed family; we’re the inhabitants of the Haram. Let him live near God’s House.”
Salma very reluctantly releases her son Shaybah to the care of his uncle
Shaybah to Makkah, and Al Mutallib trained Shaybah of his father’s responsibilities of the Ka’bah.

After some time, Uncle Al Mutallib travels to Yemen & died on the way over.

— How did Shaybah become known as Abdul Mutallib?
No one in Makkah knew of Hashim having a son. When Al Mutallib came back to Makkah with a young boy on his camel, the Makkans assumed that Al Mutallib purchased a slave boy. So they called the boy Abdul Mutallib (slave of Mutallib).

Al Mutallib tried to correct them saying that this is “Ibn Akhi” (brother’s son), and he’s brought his nephew home. But the name stucked.

— After Al Mutallib’s passing, Shaybah has to assume both late father’s and Uncle Al Mutallib’s responsibilities.

Shaybah had another uncle named Nowfaal, who usurps all the wealth & responsibilities of the family. He was the younger brother of Hashim & Al Mutallib – had a bit of an inferiority complex. Before this, he lives behind the shadow of his brothers.

Now that his older brothers are dead, Nowfaal pushes Abdul Mutallib out of the family & takes over the responsibilities that belong to his nephew.
Abdul Mutallib goes to the other family heads of the Quraysh.
Abdul Mutallib said: “We have an issue here. You knew my father, Hashim. You knew my uncle, Al Mutallib. All of you guys had really good relations. You know that my father chose my uncle, & my uncle chose me. I have another uncle who’s taking over – he’s not trustworthy. He’s caused a lot of problems in our family & he’ll cause problems for you. It’d be in your best interests to be on my side & give the responsibility back to who it belongs.”
The family heads reply, “We don’t want to get involved. This is between you & Nowfaal. This is a family affair.”

Abdul Mutallib wrote a letter to his maternal uncles in Yathrib. The eldest of his uncles responded and came to Makkah along with 80 warriors on horses.

When they arrived, Abdul Mutallib said to them: “Come, eat some food, rest, & in the morning we’ll handle this.” But the Uncle said: “Absolutely not. I’m going to see this uncle of yours right now.”

Abdul Mutallib’s uncle finds Nowfaal sitting near the Ka’bah with other family heads. He drew his sword. “Give my nephew back what belongs to him, or I’ll kill you right here right now.”
Nowfaal can’t defend himself & says, “Fine, I’ll back down. I’ll give him back his wealth & his responsibilities.”

Abdul Mutallib resumes his tasks. Uncle goes back to Yathrib.
But this isn’t over.
— Nowfaal still really wants be the caretaker of the Ka’bah & all, so he approaches other family tribes of the Quraysh & aligns himself with them. “Why don’t you guys join me & we can rise up against Banu Hashim. This way you can be the most powerful family in Makkah.”

Nowfaal goes to other families as well to get their support
But all the other families refuse. They’d rather ally themselves with Shaybah’s family in Yathrib. Abdul Mutallib gains a lot of support without even trying.

Banu Hashim is the most powerful family of Quraysh (most powerful tribe of Arabia), so Abdul Mutallib is seen as the powerful leader of the Quraysh. His leadership is universally respected across Arabia

— Abdul Mutallib & his children by 5 wives
He had 10 sons. Some books say he had 11 or 13 sons. 10 is agreed by all to be the minimum.
While he dug up the well of Zamzam, he supplicated, “Oh Allah, if you bless me with 10 sons, then I’ll sacrifice one of them for Your Sake” (oath – nadr)

Al Harith
Al Zubayr
Abu Talib
Abdullah (father of Muhammad)
Abdul Uzza (aka Abu Lahab)
Al Gheedak
Al Muqaowwim
Al Abbas
Abdul Kabal, Hajal (?) – maybe servants or adopted

6 daughters
Umm al Hakim – albino

Albinism was seen as freak of nature. But it helps to know that an aunt of Muhammad (saw) was an albino, and this was not a condition of evil as according to old wives’ tale. We also note that saidina Hussain (grandson of Muhammad) was a major stutterer. Physical defect is not something to be cried about.

— Abdullah
Mother of Abdullah was Fatima, the grandmother of Muhammad. Abdullah was one of the youngest, but also one of the most beloved, well-behaved, & intelligent of Abdul Mutallib’s children. As a child, Abdullah would be walking around with his dad on his shoulders around Makkah.

Abdul Mutallib was a very spiritual & devout man. He wanted to fulfill his oath but nervous about telling his sons about this oath about sacrificing one of his sons, but his sons understood. They drew straws. Straw fell on Abdullah, Abdul Mutallib’s most beloved child.

— Abdul Mutallib picks up his son & a knife to sacrifice Abdullah, who was only a young boy.
Other members of the family & leaders of the Quraysh are nervous. Mother Fatima was also nervous. Maternal uncles show up along with other family members. They’re trying to talk Abdul Mutallib from doing this. He says, “What am I supposed to do? I took an oath! I took an oath on sacred water!” Because he made that oath while digging the Well of Zamzam.
They decided to go to a soothsayer to figure out what to do
In pre-Islamic society, if you intentionally killed someone, you’d be killed in return, but if you accidentally killed someone, you’d have to pay blood money of 10 camels to the family of the deceased victim to show your remorse over your negligence.
The soothsayer suggests that since blood money is 10 camels, you take 2 straws. One straw is for Abdullah, the other straw is for 10 camels.
If you draw the 10-camels-straw, you sacrifice 10 camels. If Abdullah’s name comes up, you add 10 more camels. You keep doing that until you get to the camels.
Following the soothsayer’s advice, they draw straws, and Abdullah’s name is drawn ten times. Abdul Mutallib keeps getting more and more nervous, until the straw comes out to 100 camels.
Abdul Mutallib says, “100 camels is a lot to sacrifice. That would mean no food for the family or transportation. That’s a huge money waste.”
100 camels back then is like buying 100 Mercedes & driving them off a cliff. That’s a lot of money.
At the same time, his son’s life has been spared.
— Based on this story, Muhammad said, “I am the son of the two that were meant to be sacrificed” (Ismail & Abdullah)

Even in Islam, blood money (retribution) for someone who’s accidentally killed is 100 camels. It used to be 10 camels. After that incident with Abdullah, people took it as a precedent that blood money is now 100 camels. Islam blessed this practice.

— As he grew older, Abdullah was known as a prince of Makkah – very handsome, gifted, eloquent. He’s the most eligible bachelor at the time.

When time comes for Abdullah to get married, his father Abdul Mutallib sets him up with Aminah bint Wahab, who was known as Zahratu Makkah (Flower of Makkah)
She was raised by Uncle Wahaib
Abdullah & Amina get married.
— Sometime after marriage, Abdul Mutallib sent Abdullah to Yathrib for business about dates. Some narrations say that he was sent to Sham, but stopped for R&R in Yathrib. Abdullah fell ill, & died there at age 25.

Majority of narrations say that during Abdullah’s death, Aminah was expecting
Very few narrations say that Muhammad was 2 months old when his father died.
When the news of Abdullah’s death reaches Aminah in Makkah, she’s overcome with grief. Being very eloquent, Aminah recited some poetry, mourning her husband:
“The earth has become lonely without the son of Hashim. Abdullah has gone to become the neighbor of the grave, and he’s out there amongst the noise (the word for noise is in regard the sounds like a water buffalo when being attacked by a predator, or a sound a warrior makes in battle). Death called on him, and Abdullah went to answer the call. Death needs to remember that death did not replace the son of Hashim as his equal. It’s the evening time, and they’re carrying him out to the graveyard. They’re fighting to take part in carrying his body. The uncertainty of death snatched him away, but death should realize that Abdullah was a gift and blessing to many.”

Abdullah’s worldly possession consisted 5 camels, a small flock of goats, & 1 servant (a Habeshi named Baraqa, but was known as Ummu Ayman – one of the milk mothers of Muhammad)
A woman that nurses an infant basically becomes like the kid’s mother, so that means that he can never marry his milk mother of any of her biological children
Important to note that one of the Prophet’s milk mothers was a black woman

— Are Prophet’s parents & grandparents considered Believers? Do they go to Jannah?

Majority position of scholars throughout Islamic history is, “It’s not something we have to know. Their status don’t determine the key point of our Imaan. It plays no part in our deen. You will not be asked about it in the grave.”

— There are 2 minority groups who take one position over the other. First minority group says that the parents of the Messenger are NOT Believers.

Prophet once addressed a Bedouin & said, “My father & your father are in Hellfire.”
Another narration says the Prophet was sitting at his mother’s grave crying. “I asked permission to Allah to make dua for my mother, but was denied. So I asked for permission to visit my mother, and was granted the permission.”

— Another minority group says that the Prophet’s parents & grandparents ARE Believers.

1st understanding was that they were the type of people (Hunafa) who were the worshippers of one God before Islam was revealed
2nd understanding is a very weak narration that mentions that after Message of Prophet was revealed, his parents came back to life, listened to the narration, believed him, and died again. But remember that this is a very very weak hadis.
3rd understanding – a hadith that says there are 4 types of people Allah will test on Qiyamat.
1. Deaf man
“Oh Allah, Islam came & I couldn’t hear anything”

2. Person who lacked intelligence (mentally insane or disabled – not rational)
“Oh Allah, Islam came, the children used to throw cow dung at me” (expression that means kids would make fun of them)

3. Very old senile person (Islam came to this person when he was very old)
“Oh Allah, Islam came & I was unable to understand”

4. Person who died during Fatra – an extended period of time (centuries) when there were no Messengers sent to Earth (5 to 6 centuries). It was the time period between Isa & Muhammad – Isa’s message didn’t travel worldwide.
“Oh Allah, I was never told. I never witnessed the Messenger nor heard his message”

All of their arguments are completely legitimate.
Allah will test them by saying, “Promise me that you’ll obey me.” The people will promise to obey Allah
Allah will then show them a fire, and tell them to walk into it.
Those who walk into the fire will find Jannah. Those who disobey, will face Hellfire.
So basically, this argument says that Muhammad’s parents are considered the people of Fatra. Allahu a’lam.


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