Seerah Episode 14: Death of Prophet’s Mother

— After Muhammad (saw) is returned to his mother Aminah’s care at the age of 4 ½ , he had a typical experience of a child his age – learning to dress & feed himself

  • His milkmother Halimah & her family return to Banu Sa’ad

— The main father-figure of Muhammad was his grandfather Abdul Mutallib

— After the chest-splitting incident at age 4, the next major event in Muhammad’s life at age 6 was the death of his mother Aminah

  • Aminah was well known for being very intelligent. She was a woman of high regard & well-respected. The Prophet’s life was surrounded by people of high calibre.

— The Prophet’s grandfather, Abdul Mutallib, was a leader of his tribe (Quraysh)

  • Generally, a person of leadership tends to be wealthy, but Abdul Mutallib was broke at times. This was primarily due to the cautiousness of Abdul Mutallib; he never wanted to take advantage of his influence or his connections as a leader, because he used to say that these connections are only to lead the people & to manage the affairs of his people. He didn’t want to use his influence for financial gain. This shows the great nature of Prophet’s grandfather.
  • His son, Abu Talib (Muhammad’s uncle), inherited the responsibilities of his father. Abu Talib was also a very poor man. He’s like a zuhud man as we know today.
    • Abu Talib’s son, Ali, was raised in the house of the Prophet. Abu Talib was elderly & not well-off financially, so his son was sent to be raised by his nephew Muhammad when Muhammad was independent.

— When Muhammad was about 6, Aminah decided to travel to Yathrib

  • Varying narrations as to why Aminah decided on this trip
    • Muhammad’s uncles lived in Quba, a suburb of Yathrib.
      • Quba is where the first masjid of the new religion was built (Masjid al-Quba)
      • Abdul Mutallib’s maternal relatives are from Quba. Aminah wanted Muhammad to meet his extended relatives.
      • Muhammad’s father Abdullah had died in Yathrib, where he was also buried. Aminah wanted to travel 300 km from Makkah to Yathrib to visit her late husband’s grave
  • Aminah traveled with two others in this journey – her son Muhammad & his milkmother Baraqah (aka Ummu Aymen)

— They stayed for some time in Quba with Abdul Mutallib’s family & in Yathrib, where they visited Abdullah’s grave. They stayed there for about a month

  • Much later on, during the Medinan period of Prophethood, the Prophet was passing by the houses of Banu Adi (family of tribe of al-Khazraj) while walking around in Medina. He stopped & remarked to the Sahaba around him; he pointed to a house & told his Sahaba, “This is the same house where my mother & I stayed when we visited Medina in my childhood.” Then Muhammad spotted a pond & pointed to it, saying, “This is the same pond in which I learned to swim.” Then he pointed to an open field, & said, “This is the same field where I ran around & played with other kids during my visit.”

— Ummu Aymen recalls an incident during this visit to Yathrib. She was sitting with Muhammad when two Jewish men approached them.

  • The men asked, ‘Where is the child, Ahmad?”
    • Aminah liked calling her son Ahmad. Remember in previous sessions, we were told that Aminah actually preferred the name Ahmad, but his grandfather prefererred the name Muhammad.
  • Then they looked at the child, turned him on his back – to look for the seal/mark of prophethood
    • One of them says to the other, “This is the Prophet of our times. This city, Yathrib, this is the place he will migrate to. Dar-ul-Hijra.”
    • They also said, “There will be great battles and many prisoners will be taken that will revolve around this child.”
  • When Aminah was informed of this entire conversation, she became frightened for Muhammad’s safety & immediately packed her bags to leave the place. So, she might have wanted to stay longer over there, but because of that incident, we decided to shorten her stay.

— Once they left Yathrib, they reached a small town named Abua, which is about 23 miles from Johfa

  • It’s possible that during her stay in Yathrib, Aminah wasn’t feeling very well. During the journey back to Makkah, Aminah’s health worsened so they were forced to stop at Abua
    • It was a short time before she passed away
  • Ummu Aymen buried Aminah & took Muhammad with her.

— Some narrations say that Ummu Aymen returned to Yathrib for a few days until Abdul Mutallib received a letter about his daughter-in-law’s passing & then came to retrieve Muhammad himself

  • Other narrations say that Ummu Aymen herself brought Muhammad back to Makkah

— In his later years, Muhammad faintly remembered his mother

  • One time, the Prophet & the Sahaba went to a place called Waddan, which wasn’t too far from the place Abua. He told his Sahaba to stay where they were, while he went off on his own for a bit. This is unusual because the Prophet usually with somebody for his protection. But this time, he wanted to be alone. He wanted an alone-time to himself. He came back to them later looking so distraught. The Sahaba recalled that the Prophet looked sick & heavy-hearted.
  • The Prophet explained to them, “I went to the grave of my mother. I asked Allah to give me intercession (make dua) on her behalf, but Allah refused.”

— One of the common practices in legislation during the lifetime of the Prophet was that if people had a hard time abandoning one of their bad habits, then that practice would be made completely forbidden

  • In the old days, the Arabs would take vegetables such as squash or fruits like melon & hollow out the vegetable/fruit.
    • Then they’d rub animal grease inside the hollow area & leave it out in the sun for days until it completely hardened.
  • After the container hardened, the Arabs would put their alcohol in there & plug it; it would keep the alcohol cool & fresh.
    • They also used the containers for water & milk
    • But it was identified primarily with alcohol
  • When alcohol first was made haraam, the Prophet the use of those containers was also haraam, so that it would remain completely distant from the alcohol practice, to not let there be any association with alcohol
    • Find some other container for milk or water.
    • When people got the need to drink alcohol out of their system, Prophet made it okay to use those containers for water & milk

— Same with visiting the grave. To create distance from grave worshipping, Prophet made visiting graves haram

  • When people had become secure in their Tawhid & their imaan, the Prophet allowed graves to be visited

— This story carries a valuable lesson for us – when we become carriers of the deen, it’s important to keep in touch with your emotions

  • The Prophet, even though he’s a prophet, a Messenger of Allah, he even been to isra’ and mi’raj – he’s seen heaven and hell, he was not above being emotional. He cried openly sitting at his mother’s grave.

— After his mother’s death, the Prophet went into the care of his grandfather Abdul Mutallib

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