The perfection of status granted to the Beloved Messenger of Allah, upon him be utmost blessings and peace, extends to the fact that even his lineage itself is sacred. From his ancestors, Prophet Adam to Prophet Ibrahim, to his own blessed parents, and then from his own household to his daughter Sayyida Fatima, to his grandchildren, to his descendants from them; they were all people of enlightenment and purity.
It is also interesting to note how Messengers before him were delivered through blessed and pious parents – such as Prophet Zakariyya, father of Prophet Yahya or Sayyida Maryam, mother of Prophet Isa, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon them all. Therefore, it is only fitting that the most superior of all Messengers be granted through righteous and blessed parents.
Events recorded in history from the life of his parents demonstrate character traits of honourable purity in both of them. May Allah’s peace be upon them both!
Life and Union of the Prophet’s Parents
Sayyidina Abdullah was the son of Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib, Custodian of the Holy Ka’bah and leader of the noble tribe of Banu Hashim.
Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib himself once saw a vision in which he was shown the Well of ZamZam, which had been concealed or hidden away at that time. When he located that place, he dug it up and found the sacred well as well as some buried treasures. He restored the treasures back to the Holy Ka’bah and then established the practise of distributing ZamZam water to pilgrims. From this, it is apparent that Sayyidina Abdullah was raised in a respectable environment, one which revolved around the sacred House of Allah, revered even by the pagans.
When he became of age, Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib sought to fulfill a vow he had once made in his earlier days; that he would sacrifice one of his sons if he was blessed with ten. Sayyidina Abdullah, a dutiful and obedient son, willingly followed his father to the Ka’bah where he was to be sacrificed, without objection. It was only at the request and pleas of others that Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib finally agreed to instead pay 100 camels as blood money for his vow, instead of slaughtering his son.1
This incident became famous throughout the city of Makkah, and the young Sayyidina Abdullah began to capture the interest of many young women who hoped to marry him. However, he chose to remain single for a while.
After some time, his father Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib chose for him a beautiful young lady named Aminah, daughter of Wahb ibn Manaf, from the respectable tribe of Banu Zuhra. At the time, he was 25 years of age and Sayyida Aminah was roughly 15 years old.
When this news became publicly known, a woman named Qutayla – sister of Waraqah ibn Nawfal – rushed to Sayyidina Abdullah to ask her to marry him. She had noticed an extraordinary radiance shining from his forehead, and recognised that a Messenger of God was to arrive through him. In her eagerness, and with the hope of bearing that precious child, she offered him the price of a hundred camels if he would take her instead of Sayyida Aminah. Sayyidina Abdullah refused explaining that he would not go against the will of his father, so she withdrew disappointed.
The wedding and union of Sayyidina Abdullah and Sayyida Aminah proceeded, and Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib gifted his son with a black servant girl named Barakah, may Allah be pleased with her. The new couple happily settled into their new home and anticipated a bright future together – but their bliss was short-lived. Several weeks later, Sayyidina Abdullah was needed by his father to travel to Syria to organise trade and business matters.
Sayyida Aminah became grieved at this separation and as a result, she became weak and frail. For two months after this, she was in a state of feverishness and grief, with the attentive Barakah constantly by her side trying to comfort and nurse her. It is reported that one morning, Sayyida Aminah woke up in a better frame of a mind; she had dreamt of a light radiating from her womb which lit up the palaces of Syria.
It soon became apparent that she was pregnant. Barakah ran to Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib to break this news to him, and he was delighted. Sayyida Aminah longed to see her husband again; eager to tell him that he was soon to be a father. But she was never to see him again.
After completing his business trip, Sayyidina Abdullah took the return journey through Madinah which was then known as Yathrib. Here, he rested at the house of his uncles for some nights, but eventually the intense humid atmosphere took its toll on his health and he was struck with a violent fever. For a month, he struggled against it and the caravan to Makkah left without him as he tried to recover back to full health. But he did not make it. Soon Sayyidina Abdul Muttalib received the shattering news of his son’s death.
Barakah ran home with this tragic news, afraid of how greatly it would devastate the ailing Sayyida Aminah. As feared, she was heartbroken with the news, and she lay faint and unconscious for a while in a pained state whilst Barakah stayed by her side, nursing her anxiously. It is reported that Sayyida Aminah attributed the following elegy in memory of her husband: “Death invited the son of Hashim and when he accepted, mankind has not been left with his equal. Yet even if he is dead, his noble deeds have survived him; he was so generous and compassionate.”
Throughout this difficult period of life, Sayyida Aminah’s faith and patience gave her strength. She was carrying a baby who would bless the entire world, her grief soothed by that which her womb carried. She was often graced by enlightening dreams and visions which consoled her, brought her peace and gave her courage to endure.
Birth of the Beloved
At the time of the Beloved Prophet’s birth, Sayyida Aminah was accompanied by Barakah and a lady named Shifa 2, the future mother of the esteemed Companion Sayyidina Abdur Rahman ibn Awf, may Allah be pleased with her, and with him. As Sayyida Aminah had seen in her vision, a light now emanated from her womb which was so radiant and intense that she could see the palaces of Syria.
Truly blessed was her pregnancy; she felt no pain or discomfort. Eventually the blessed child entered into the world from her enlightened womb. When she delivered him, his small precious body emerged prostrated in the sujood position, already circumcised 3, with his tiny fists clenched tightly. Sayyida Shifa reported that there was a Divine Presence around them, and a voice called out “May Allah have mercy on you.”
The loving Barakah, may Allah be well pleased with her, rushed forward to be the first to hold him in her arms, then washed and wrapped him with utmost care. The newborn child glowed with incredible beauty, his soft face radiant with a most resplendent light. He was born on a Monday, 12th Rabiul Awwal, in the Year of the Elephant, 570 CE. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him!
[credits for references and information: http://www.ruqaiyyah.karoo.net/articles/prophfamily6.htm]
Did They Believe?
The majority of scholars of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaat have agreed that the parents of the Beloved Messenger are amongst the inmates of Paradise.
Hadhrat Pir Mohammad Karam Shah al-Azhari, may Allah have mercy upon him, writes, “The majority of the Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaat scholars adhere to the opinion that the parents of the Prophet, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him, are recipients of salvation and are blessed with the bounties of Paradise.” [Zia ul-Nabi, Vol. 2, page 78]
It is narrated from Sayyidina ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Beloved Prophet said, “Allah continued to transfer me from the loins of the pure to the wombs of the pure, clean and mannered. No two groups have appeared except I was the best of the two.” [Imam Abu Nu’aym, Dala’il al-Nubuwwah]
Sayyida Aisha, may Allah be pleased with her, narrated that the Prophet said, “Jibra’il said to me, ‘I have searched the earth, the Easts and the Wests. And I did not find a man better than Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and I did not find a clan better than the clan of Bani Hashim.’ [Imam Tabrani in Awsat; Imam Bayhaqi in Dala’il al-Nubuwwah]
Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuti writes in his book Masalak al-Hunafa, “It is proven from authentic Ahadith that from the time of Adam to Abdullah [the Prophet’s father], the Prophet’s lineage were the best of their people. No one was better than his lineage in any generation.”
Imam Jalaluddin al-Suyuti has also published several works in defense of the blessed parents of the Prophet, upon him and them be Allah’s peace and blessings. Below are listed some works of Imam al-Suyuti regarding the parents of the Beloved Messenger of Allah, all available in print:
• al-Duruj al-Munifa fil-Aba’ al-Sharifa
(The Outstanding Entries Regarding the Noble Ancestors [of the Prophet]);
• al-Fawa’id al-Kamina fi Iman al-Sayyida Amina wal-Ta`zim wal-Minna fi anna Abaway Rasulillah fil-Jannah
(The Treasured Benefits Regarding the Muslim Belief of the Lady Aminah [bint Wahb] and the Laudatory Gift That the Prophet’s Parents are in Paradise);
• al-Maqamat al-Sundusiyya fil-Nisbat al-Mustafawiyya
(The Resplendent Stations Concerning the Prophetic Lineage);
• Masalik al-Hunafa fi Waliday al-Mustafa
(Methods of Those With Pure Belief Concerning the Two Parents of the Prophet”) translated in the Encyclopedia of Islamic Doctrine (2:143-159);
• Nashr al-`Ilmayn al-Munifayn fi Ihya’ al-Abawayn al-Sharifayn
(The Proclamation of the Two Lofty Knowledges Regarding the Resuscitation of the Prophet’s Two Parents);
• al-Subul al-Jaliyya fil-Aba’ al-`Aliyya
(The Manifest Paths on the Lofty Ancestors [of the Prophet]),
– epitomized by Imam Yusuf al-Nabhani in Hujjat Allah alal-Alameen (p. 413-421).
And Allah knows best.
1 Hafiz ibn Kathir 1.126; Ibn Ishaq pg. 67-68
2 Hafiz ibn Kathir 1.72,148
3 Hafiz ibn Kathir 1.149, from Bayhaqi. He used the words makhtum and masrur.