SEERAH OF THE PROPHET MUHAMMED (peace be upon him)
Summarized Translation of Tarek Swaydans’ series
by Mona Soueid
Part 6 - The Birth of the Prophet Muhammed
When Abdullah, the father of the Prophet (peace be upon him) grew up Abdul-Muttalib decided that he should get married. So he then got married to Amina Bint Wahb. She is also from Bani Abdi Manaf and hence from the Quraysh who are from the decendants of Ismaeel. So the Prophet (peace be upon him) is from the most respected and honourable lineage. Aminas’ mother was from Yathrib and Amina lived in Yathrib. Abdul-Mutallib hence took his son and got him married to Amina in Yathrib. They returned thereafter to Makkah. Amina got pregnant and after a few months into her pregnancy Abdullah passed away, the father of the Prophet(peace be upon him). He became an orphan before he was even born.
When the time came close to the birth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), his mother saw a dream that she gave birth to a boy and with this boy a magnificient emergence of light spread out and enveloped the earth until it reached Busra in al-Sham. She also saw herself in the dream saying ‘u’iithuhu bilahil-wahid min shari kuli hasid’ which means ‘I seek for him, refuge in Allah the One from the evil of every envier’.
On a Monday, the 12th of Rabee’ al-Awwal (based on the strongest opinion) during the year that became known as the ‘Year of the Elephant’, 50 days after the incident of the Elephant, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was born. And with his birth, a number of interesting and extraordinary incidents occurred. We recall them, keeping in mind that the greatness of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is not in these incidents, but simply that it is from the signs and glad tidings of his arrival. His greatness is not in his birth, but rather it is within the message and teachings that he brought to mankind.
Hassan Ibn Thabit, (the poet of the Prophet peace be upon him) who was in Madina when he was seven years old, says about the birth of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that, ‘One day when I was seven years old, I was with or at the place of the Jews in their suburb, and there was a rabbi from the Jews who was sitting high on top of a house and was calling out ‘O Jewish people, today the star of Ahmad has emerged or appeared, and it does not appear except with his arrival’.
From amongst the signs also was that his mother while she carried him during her pregnancy, it was a pregnancy with no hardships or discomfort. Even though the norm is that pregnancy brings with it hardship. Allah says about the pregnant woman, ‘She carried him with hardship and she bore him (gave birth to him) with hardship’.
Furthermore, from the extraordinary incidents reported, was that when he was born, he came out supporting himself with his hands, and he raised his head to the sky. He was born Makhtun (circumcised) and Masrur (his umbilical cord was cut off). His birth was made easy.
When his mother gave birth to him, the good news reached Abdul-Mutallib, who was overjoyed by the news. And when he heard about the way he was born, circumcised, umbilical cord cut off, and supporting his body with his hands, his joy and happiness increased, and he said, ‘By Allah, verily for this son of mine there is an important matter’. He took Muhammed (peace be upon him) before he was even named, into the Ka’bah and raised him and thanked Allah for his birth.
As for naming him Muhammed, there is a story behind it. Abdul-Mutallib was on a journey in al-Sham with three of his companions. Along the way they met with a group of rabbi Jews. The Jews asked, ‘From where did you come?’ They replied ‘We are from Makkah'. So one of the rabbis said to them 'That from your country a Prophet will emerge'. They asked, ‘What is the name of this Prophet?’ He replied ‘His name will be Muhammed’. Until then, the name Muhammed was not used by the Arabs. These four companions, when they returned, each one of them decided to name any of their new offspring Muhammed. Abdul-Mutallib could not have anymore children, so he wanted to name the first child that would be born to any of his children Muhammed. And so it happened to be the Prophet (peace be upon him) and so he named him Muhammed.
Another sign that happened when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was born, was that Qisras’ palace shook and fourteen of its shurta (pillars) collapsed. Also, the fire of the Majoos (which they worship) got extinguished. Furthermore, with the earthquake that hit the palace of Qisra, they had a boat which was holy to them called ‘buhayrat sa’waa’, the earth opened up under the boat and enveloped it, so the boat of sa’waa disappeared. This caused great fear to overcome Qisra, so he gathered the kuhan (sorcerers) and munajimeen (astrologists) and some of them had contact with the jinn. Allah informs us that the jinn used to eavesdrop on the talk in the heavens, "And verily we used to sit there in stations, to (steal) a hearing, but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush" (S 72: V 9). The Jinn would then report what they heard to the Kuhan. Qisra questioned the kuhan, some of them replied that these incidents are due to the birth of a Prophet. Furthermore, they were asked about the fourteen pillars that had collapsed. They said, 'There remains from the rulers of Faris fourteen kings then the reign of Faris will come to an end.' Qisra said, ‘Fourteen kings, that is still along time away’. After his death, the leaders of Faris fought each other for his rule, so in four years ten people ruled over Faris. These were all indications to the disintegration of Faris. These were all signs bearing glad tidings for the arrival of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him).
It was from the customs of Quraysh, that if an infant was born they would not raise him up in Makkah for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is that Makkah has a high influx of people coming for Hajj, and some of them would stay in Makkah for a long time thereafter, so they mix with the people. And the children that would be raised up in Makkah, there Arabic Fus’ha (classical Arabic) would not be 100% (as eloquent) because they would get influenced by these people remaining after hajj. So the people of Quraysh used to prefer that there kids were raised outside of Quraysh, until they get used to the Arabic fus’ha, then they would return with a solid foundation in their language. A further reason, is that they wanted their kids to be raised in the desert so that they get used to living a rough life. Kids raised in the city become lenient, and soft. The third reason was because it is a city and there is a continual influx of people, diseases would be brought in, compared to the desert which is clean and free of diseases. It is rare to hear of diseased Arabs living in the desert. So for these reasons they would prefer that there kids were raised outside of Makkah.
It was from the customs of the Quraysh, that the Arab would take them and live with them outside of Makkah until they grow up. The Arab would do this as a form of Rizq - provision to earn a wage, however they would not accept payment for breastfeeding, they considered this rude. So they would take the children without agreeing on or determining a wage, but it was customary for them to be paid later as a form of gratitude and honour. The breastfeeding women of Bani Sa’ad arrived. Among them was Halima Asa’diya and her husband Al-Harith. They were also looking for an infant to take. They were in a very poor state, and Halima had an infant boy whom she was breastfeeding already. She says that ‘Due to our state of poverty I didn’t even have enough milk for my child’ but she was in search of a child out of anticipation for the wage to be paid later on. She came to Makkah riding on a very weak female donkey, which as a result of its weakness it would delay the group of riders. The women would say to her, ‘O Halima, hurry it up, you have delayed us’ and she would try to hurry up the donkey but it would be unable to walk any faster. They finally got to Makkah, and started searching for the infants. Amina would offer them her child (peace be upon him), but once they would realize that he is an orphan they would refuse him. All of the breastfeeding woman refused him. Halima searched and searched for an infant but did not find one, so she left. While her and her husband were sitting outside Makkah, her husband Al-Harith said, ‘We are going back without an infant whereas all your friends are returning with an infant, how about we return and take the orphan child lest that we take from his blessings.’ So they agreed. Halima went and took Muhammed(peace be upon him) and the blessing began.
The first blessing was that the state of the donkey changed. On the way back this donkey was now ahead of the rest and Halima was trying to hold it back. The other women asked her, ‘O Halima, is this the same donkey that you came on?’ She replied 'Yes' and they were bewildered. Also, her breastmilk became ample, wherein she would feed her infant and then feed Muhammed (peace be upon him) until they were both full. They returned to their home in Banu Sa’ad. They had a widowed camel which they had lost all hope in, but subhan'Allah the camel began to increase in weight, and her mammary glands began to get full with milk. They were astonished, how? Also the sheep that they owned began increasing in weight and number very quickly, whereas everyone else’s sheep where not putting on weight. So the people would say to the shepards, ‘Take the sheep to graze where Halima’s sheep graze’. They would reply, ‘By Allah our sheep graze with them, but without the same benefit’. This is from the blessing of the Prophet(peace be upon him).
Life went on normally, and the Prophet was now two years old. Halima says about him, that he grew quickly in a way that most kids don’t grow. She says when he was a child of two years, he looked as if he was a child of six years old. Furthermore, he would speak fus’ha Arabic when he was only two years old. This is from the honor of Allah to the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him). After two years, the custom is that the kids are returned to Makkah and there parents decide to either keep their children or to return them to the desert environment for a little while longer. Halima kept persisting on returning Muhammed (peace be upon him) with her, until she finally convinced his mother Amina. So the Prophet returned with Halima.
Halima says that after a few months an incident took place. The Prophet peace be upon him had brothers and sisters from Halima. One day his brother (who used to breastfeed with him) ran to his parents Halima and Al-Harith frightened. He said ‘My Qurayshi brother is unconcious’, They said, ‘what is wrong with him?’ He replied, ‘Two men came to him wearing white clothes and hit him’. So Halima and Al-Harith became really concerned and they ran to the Prophet (peace be upon him). They found him, his face having changed and in a state of great fear. They said, ‘What happened to you?’ He said, ‘Two men came to me wearing white clothes. They then hit me causing me to fall to the ground, they then opened up my chest and removed my heart, and washed it in a vessel of gold with the water of zamzam, and they removed from it a black clot and threw it away. They then said, this is the chance of shaytan with you, and they filled my heart with wisdom’. They then returned his heart to its place and closed up his chest and stitched it up. This hadith is sahih. The Prophet (peace be upon him) uncovered his shirt and the marks of the stitching were still present. Here Halima got really scared, so she said to her husband ‘Maybe they are from the Jinn, let us return the child to his mother’. So they returned Muhammed to his mother Amina. She said ‘What happened, you were so keen to keep him with you?’ They said, ‘We were afraid if something happens to him, we thought it would be better that we return him while he is fine’. She said, ‘No by Allah, something happened’. She kept at them until they told her about the incident. She said, ‘Were you afraid for him from the Jinn?’ They said ‘Yes’. She said, "No by Allah, I had seen when giving birth to him a man calling me in a dream and requesting me to say, ‘u’iithuhu bilahil-wahid min shari kuli hasid’ which means ‘I seek for him, refuge in Allah the One from the evil of every envier’ by Allah evil will not touch him". Amina then left them after giving them ikraam.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him)was six years old, Amina passed away, so he became an orphan of the mother and father. His uncle now took him up and a new stage of the Prophets (peace be upon him) life then began.