Early Life of the Prophet – I
The Prophet, , grew up as an orphan but Allah The Almighty gave him refuge. He was also poor, but Allah The Almighty made him self-sufficient. His father, ‘Abdullaah, died before his birth and Thuwaybah (Abu Lahab’s bondwoman) then breastfed him for a few days. [Al-Bukhari] Haleemah As-Sa‘diyyah, may Allah be pleased with her, then took him to the desert to live with the tribe of Banu Sa‘d, where she breastfed him for about four years.
It was during this period that his chest was split open while he was once playing with some boys there. In a Hadeeth on the authority of Anas, may Allah be pleased with him, he said, “Jibreel [Gabriel], may Allah exalt his mention, came to him while he was playing with these boys. He took him, threw him to the ground, split open his chest and took out his heart. He then extracted a clinging clot out of it, and said, ‘This is the devil’s portion of you.’ Then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden basin. After that, his heart was restored to its place. The boys went running to his mother [i.e. his nursemaid] and said, ‘Muhammad has been murdered.’ Everyone rushed out towards him to find that he was alright, except that his face was pale.” Anas added, “I would later see the mark of the suture in his chest.”[Muslim]
After this grave incident, Haleemah As-Sa‘diyyah, may Allah be pleased with her, feared for him and therefore returned him to his mother, Aaminah bint Wahb.
Later, his mother took him with her on a visit to his maternal uncles in Madeenah, but she died while she was returning to Makkah at a place between Makkah and Madeenah known as Al-Abwaa’. At that time, the Prophet, , was six years, three months and ten days old. [Muslim]
When his mother died, his grandfather, ‘Abdul Muttalib, took care of him, but he died when the Prophet, , was only eight years old. Before his death, ‘Abdul Muttalib asked his son, Abu Taalib, an uncle of the Prophet, , to take care of Muhammad, . Abu Taalib took care of the Muhammad, , perfectly and gave him the finest support when Allah The Almighty commissioned him as His Messenger, despite the fact that he continued with his Shirk (polytheism)until he died. Hence, Allah The Exalted lightened his torment in Hell because of the intercession of the Prophet, . In this regard, the Prophet, , said: “He is in a shallow fire, and had it not been for me, he would have been inthe lowest depths [of Hell]." In another narration, he, , said: “Perhaps my intercession will be helpful to him on the Day of Judgment so that he maybe put in a shallow fire reaching only up to his ankles and causing his brain to boil."[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Abu Taalib was very kind to the Prophet, , so when he once went on a business journey to Ash-Shaam (greater Syria), he took Muhammad, , who was twelve years old at the time, as there was nobody to care of him in his absence. During the journey, Abu Taalib and his companions saw many signs that made his uncle take more care of him.
In a Hadeeth on the authority of Abu Moosa Al-Ash‘ari, may Allah be pleased with him, who said,
Abu Taalib once went to Ash-Shaam accompanied by the Prophet alongwith some of the Qurayshi leaders. When they were near an area where a monk lived, they dismountedand untied their baggage, and the monk came out to them. He would never do this whenever anyone passed his way. While they were untying their baggage,the monk began to walk among them until he reached the Messenger of Allah . He took him by the hand and said, ‘This is the Master of the Worlds. This is theMessenger of the Lord of the Worlds whom Allah will send as a mercy to theworlds.’ Some of the Qurayshi leaders asked him how he knew this. He replied, ‘When youcame over that hill, not a tree or a stone failed to bow in prostration, and they prostratethemselves only to a prophet. I have recognized him by the Seal of Prophethood, like an apple,below the end of his shoulder-blade.
It was also mentioned in this Hadeeth that a cloud shaded the Prophet, , alone and that the shade of a tree inclined over him. In addition, the monk adjured his uncle to send him backto Makkah in the fear of the Jews hurting him if they saw him, and so his uncle sent him back to Makkah. [At-Tirmithi, Al-Albaani - Saheeh]
Later, Khadeejah bint Khuwaylid, may Allah be pleased with her, sent him on a business journey in the company of her slave Maysarah. Khadeejah’s trade yielded large profits and Maysarah witnessed magnificent occasions with the Prophet, on this journey. When they returned to Makkah, Maysarah told Khadeejah about what he had seen of Muhammad, , and she therefore wanted to marry this extraordinary man. Allah The Almighty bestowed this unimaginable goodness on this great woman. The Prophet, , married her when he was twenty-five years and she was forty years old.
Since his early childhood, Allah The Almighty protected the Prophet, , from the taints and impurities of the pre-Islamic era. He never glorified an idol nor attended any of the scenes of Shirk. He would reject their invitations to attend these scenes, and Allah The Almighty protected him against ever attending them. He never drank alcohol or committed adultery. He was aware that the peoples beliefs were false, thus he never associated partners with Allah The Almighty or attended any of their idle gatherings.
He never committed any of the evil and immoral acts that were rampant in his society. It was customary among the people of the Prophet, , to associate and invoke others with Allah The Exalted. Additionally, murder, injustice, adultery, exchanging wives, collective and individual adultery, allowing the widow to marry the first man who would come to her, and violating honor, property and lives were also customary among his people with no one available to protest. Furthermore, baby girls were buried alive for fear of poverty or shame, and gambling and drinking alcohol were sources of pride during the pre-Islamic era. This does not mean that the whole Arab society was committing these evil acts and crimes, but the lack of objection proves that these were socially acceptable actions. However, the Prophet, , never committed any of these evil practices as he was perfectly refined by his Lord.
The fine morals of the Prophet, , were known to his people who called him ‘Muhammad Al-Ameen’ (Muhammad the Trustworthy) [Ahmad, Al-Albaani - Hasan]
When the Prophet, , was thirty-five years old, the Quraysh rebuilt the Ka‘bah. When the time came to place the sacred Black Stone back in its proper place, strife emerged among the members of the Quraysh tribe because each one wanted to have that honor for himself. Fortunately, they agreed that the first one to enter the area where they were would put the sacred Stone in its place. The Messenger of Allah, , happened to be the first to enter. On seeing him, they were all delighted and cried, “Al-Ameen [the trustworthy] has come!” They agreed to abide by whatever his decision would be. Calm and self-possessed, Muhammad, , asked for a mantle which he spread on the ground and placed the stone in its centre. He then asked the representatives of the different tribes among them to lift the stone all together. When they had reached the proper place, he laid it in its proper position with his own hands.
After that, Allah The Almighty endeared to the Prophet, , seclusion and isolation from people, so that he could to worship Him. He would stay in seclusion in the cave of Hiraa’ worshipping Allah The Almighty in accordance with the religion of Ibraaheem (Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention.
Early Life of the Prophet – II