6. THE BIRTH OF MUHAMMAD AND HIS EARLY LIFE
The Prophet Muhammad was born on Monday 12th Rabi-ul-awal (571AD) which is approx. 20/22 of April. After he was born, Amina sent word to his grandfather, Abdul-Muttalib of the joyous news. Abdul Mutallib was at the Ka'bahand he rushed back to see his beloved new grandson.
Abdul-Muttalib tenderly held this newborn baby in his arms. He then took him to the Ka'bahand prayed to Allah and thanked him for such a great blessing. He then named him Muhammad - the praised one, which was not a name common to the Arabs. Muhammad was circumcised on the 7th day, which was the custom of the Arabs.
It was the general custom of the Arabs that their young children were sent to the desert to be brought up with the Bedouins. The tough desert life gave the child a good start in life and the language of the Bedouins was a much purer Arabic. For a few year, they grew up in this harsh but health desert life before returning to their parents.
The Prophet was entrusted to Halima Sadia. She was a poor wet nurse. She and her husband only had a donkey and old she-camel. She did not even have enough milk to feed the other child in her care. It was also the year of famine and drought so they would constantly pray for rain.
None of the other Bedouin wet nurses wanted to take the child Muhammad because he was an orphan. When a child was returned to the family of the foster child, they would reward the wet nurse generously. They couldn’t expect to gain many riches from a child who was an orphan. Every woman got a child to bring up but Halima, who had arrived last and did not find a child to foster. She was ready to go back when she decided to return and collect the child Muhammad, even though he was an orphan.
as soon as she lifted Muhammad (pbuh), her fortunes turned right around and her life was filled with immense good fortune. Both Muhammad and the other foster child were fully fed, even though the previous night there was no milk for the other child. The old she camel, which had not given a drop of milk, was soon over flowing with milk. Halima was at the very back of the group of women but now was at the front of the group. This was indeed a great blessing for this poor Bedouin family.
Halima knew that she had a blessed child with all the miracles and blessings she was seeing with her own eyes. Halima’s herd of goats used to come home full, and over flowing with milk. The rest of the Bedouins' goats used to come home scraggy and empty. They used to complain to the shepherd to take the sheep and goats to the same place that Halima takes her flock! There were many more signs about how her life was turned around.
After two years, Muhammad was returned to His mother Amina, but soon Amina was persuaded by Halima to return the baby back with them for another two years. At this time, Halima told Amina about the great blessings that she had received when Muhammad was in her care. There was also an illness in Makkah and the child would be protected from it.
A strange incident took place in the prophet’s childhood. Once both Muhammad and his foster brother were playing in the yard with the goats when the Angel Jibrael appeared to them. The Angel came split open Muhammad’s chest, took out his heart, removed a blood clot and washed it in Zamzam. The angel then returned the heart to Muhammad's body before going away. The angel said this was the part of shaytan in you.
His foster brother ran to Halima and said that Muhammad has been murdered. She rushed out and found Muhammad standing with a pale white face. She checked over his body and found that he was fine.
Very shortly she returned him to Amina, his mother. Amina found out from Halima about the events that had taken place. Amina assured Halima that Muhammad was not under the influence from any devil or jinn but even when she was expecting him she had seen great marvels and miracles. Muhammad was returned to the care of his mother Amina and continued to live with her and Barakah.
Barakah was a slave girl who had been purchased in the slave markets and given as a present to Abdullah. She lived in the household of Abdullah and Amina. When Abdullah passed away she looked after Amina and later took care of Muhammad. She was dedicated to looking after Muhammad her whole life. She also loved him immensely and was with him throughout his sadness and joys. Muhammad also had great respect and love for this woman.
When Muhammad was six years old, he accompanied Amina and Bakarah on a trip to Yathrib. This was a chance for Muhammad to become acquainted with his uncles in Yathrib and also to see the grave of his father, whom he had never met. On his journey, Amina told Muhammad about his father and his uncles but when they got there, Amina became ill and also passed away. Muhammad and Bakarah both returned in tears and Abdul Mutallib began to look after this orphaned child.
This was the second tragedy to strike this six-year-old child. His father passed away before he was born and now his mother had also passed away! He came under the guardianship of his grandfather Abdul Mutallib. Abdul Mutallib had loved Abdullah so much and had been greatly saddened when Abdullah passed away. In Muhammad he could see the beauty and character of Abdullah and he loved Muhammad dearly. He had extra compassion for his orphaned grandchild, Muhammad than for his other grandchildren.
Abdul Muttalib loved Muhammad, in fact some say he took compassion on Muhammad and loved him more than his own children. Abdul Muttalib thought that one day his grandchild Muhammad would be a very special and significant person. He saw Muhammad's kind and generous character and there was a special noor inside of him, which he couldn’t explain.
Abdul Muttalib often took Muhammad to the Ka'bahwith him. When Abdul-Muttalib used to lie on the couch near the Ka'bah, Muhammad was always near him sitting on the mattress. The rest of Abdul Muttalib's children would sit on the floor around the couch.
Hence, Muhammad came under the care of this kind and generous old man, his grandfather. Although Muhammad had suffered so much tragedy in his life, he never felt that he wasn’t loved. His grandfather surrounded him with love and looked after him as if he was his own son.
However, this love would not last for long. Another great catastrophe was ready to strike. When Muhammad was eight years old, Abdul-Mutallib passed away and that episode in the young child’s life also ended. He was heart broken at the death of his grandfather but would soon find much love and happiness under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. Abu Talib was by no means rich but was a kind and generous fellow. He was respected by all the tribes that lived in Makkah.
Living with Abu Talib wasn’t a life of ease so he tended sheep on the outskirts of Makkah as a youngster. This proved him to be a responsible and honest person. All the prophets were shepherds before they were given prophethood. He did have a loving guardian and was offered much love and friendship by Abu Talib's family. This he appreciated for the rest of his life.
Things were running smoothly for Muhammad. He wasn’t to know that signs were already showing of his greatness to be and that many great events were going to be taking place in his later life. How could he know what great trials he would face in the future? How would he know about the great responsibility he would bear which no human had ever been given before? How would he know that he would change the course of human history and touch the lives of billions of people that would come after him?
More to follow next week, inshallah.