Initially, after his birth, Thuwaybah, the freed slave-girl of Abu Lahab Ibn 'Abdul-Muttalib, suckled him for seven days. She had suckled Hamzah, may Allah be pleased with him, the uncle of the Prophet (may Allah exalt his mention) also. Thus, both Masruh Ibn Thuwaybah and Hamzah were his foster brothers. According to the custom of the Arab nobles, on the eighth day he was entrusted to lady Haleemah of the Banu Sa'd clan of the Hawaazin tribe to suckle him and bring him up. The nobles of Arabia would entrust their babies to bedouin women so that they would become healthy and strong in the open and free climate of the desert. Besides this, it would help develop eloquent speech, because the language of the bedouins was more pure, graceful and eloquent than those living in urban areas.
Muhammad the orphan - I
- Publish date:29/04/2009
Haleemah Sa'diyyah would come to Makkah twice a year to show him to his mother and grandfather. Haleemah Sa'diyyah suckled him for two years and he remained with her for four years altogether. His mother summoned him to Makkah at the end of four years. According to some narrations, he remained with Banu Sa'd for five years. He was five years of age, when he was out grazing goats along with his foster brother and sisters and other boys of the same age when the event of the opening up of his chest occurred.
According to a narration of Seerat Ibn Hisham, Haleemah bint Abu Dhuayb relates this event in these words: "One day both of my children came fearfully to me and said that two cleanly dressed persons seized our Qurayshi brother and split open his chest. I went to the spot along with my husband (Haarith Ibn 'Abdul-'Uzzaa) and saw that he was sitting there with a pallid face. Upon inquiry, he stated that two cleanly dressed persons came to him, laid him down with his face up, took out his heart, and extracted something from it." Yet, Haleemah found no trace of any injury or spot of blood. Having thought that a Jinn had affected the boy, she brought him to Makkah without loss of time and related the whole event to his mother. His mother, instead of being afraid of what had happened, spoke with all the confidence at her command that her son would achieve a very distinctive place in the world, and would surely remain safe from all calamities. She related that when he was in her womb, she heard many things from the angels and noticed many uncommon happenings. Imaam Muslim reports from Anas Ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, that one day when he was playing with the boys of Makkah, Jibreel (Gabriel) came to him, split his chest, took out a black spot from it, and said: "This was the portion of Satan." Following that, he washed his heart in a tray of gold with Zamzam water and then replaced it.
After this event, Haleemah was worried about the boy and returned him to his mother with whom he stayed until he was six.
In respect and memory of her late husband, Aaminah – the Prophet's mother - decided to visit his grave in Yathrib (Madeenah). She set out to cover a journey of 500 kilometers with her orphan boy, woman servant Umm Ayman and father-in-law ‘Abdul-Muttalib. She spent a month there and then started her way back to Makkah. On the way, she had a severe illness and died in Abwa on the road between Makkah and Madeenah.
To His Compassionate Grandfather:
‘Abdul-Muttalib brought the boy to Makkah. He had warm feelings towards the boy, his orphan grandson, whose recent disaster (his mother’s death) added more to the pains of the past. ‘Abdul-Muttalib was more passionate with his grandson than with his own children. He never left the boy a prey to loneliness, and always preferred him to his own children. Ibn Hishaam reported: "A mattress was put in the shade of Al-Ka‘bah for ‘Abdul-Muttalib. His children used to sit around that mattress in honour of their father, but Muhammad used to sit on it. His uncles would pull 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."
The Death of 'Abdul-Muttalib
When Muhammad was eight years, two months and ten days old, his grandfather 'Abdul-Muttalib passed away in Makkah. When 'Abdul-Muttalib's funeral procession was proceeding, he joined it with tearful eyes. However, 'Abdul-Muttalib had entrusted him to his son Abu Taalib before his death, stressing the utmost care and protection for the boy. Despite having several other sons, 'Abdul-Muttalib was wise enough to give him to the care of Abu Taalib because he and 'Abdullaah, the father of the boy, were born of the same mother. The assessment of 'Abdul-Muttalib came true and the nephew became Abu Taalib's favourite.
Support of Abu Taalib
Abu Taalib took special care of his nephew and held him dearer than his own sons. He made him sleep on his own bed. He singled the boy out with great respect and high esteem. Abu Taalib remained for forty 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 . Ibn ‘Asaakir reported on the authority of Jalhamah Ibn ‘Arfootah who said: "I came to Makkah when it was a rainless year, so Quraysh said: ‘O Abu Taalib! The valley has become leafless and the children hungry, let us go and pray for rainfall.’ Abu Taalib went to the Ka‘bah with a young boy who was as beautiful as the sun and a dark cloud was over his head. Abu Taalib and the boy stood by the wall of the 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.