The Lineage and Family of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace)
With respect to the lineage of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace), there are three versions: The first was authenticated by biographers and genealogists and states that Muhammad’s genealogy has been traced to ‘Adnan. The second is subject to controversies and doubt, and traces his lineage beyond ‘Adnan back to Abraham. The third version, with some parts definitely incorrect, traces his lineage beyond Abraham back to Adam (peace be upon him).
After this rapid review, now ample details are believed to be necessary.
The first part: Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib (who was called Shaiba) bin Hashim, (named ‘Amr) bin ‘Abd Munaf (called Al-Mugheera) bin Qusai (also called Zaid) bin Kilab bin Murra bin Ka‘b bin Lo’i bin Ghalib bin Fahr (who was called Quraish and whose tribe was called after him) bin Malik bin An-Nadr (so called Qais) bin Kinana bin Khuzaiman bin Mudrikah (who was called ‘Amir) bin Elias bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Ma‘ad bin ‘Adnan. [Ibn Hisham 1/1,2; Talqeeh Fuhoom Ahl Al-Athar, p. 5-6; Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/11-14,52]
The second part: ‘Adnan bin Add bin Humaisi‘ bin Salaman bin Aws bin Buz bin Qamwal bin Obai bin ‘Awwam bin Nashid bin Haza bin Bildas bin Yadlaf bin Tabikh bin Jahim bin Nahish bin Makhi bin Aid bin ‘Abqar bin ‘Ubaid bin Ad-Da‘a bin Hamdan bin Sanbir bin Yathrabi bin Yahzin bin Yalhan bin Ar‘awi bin Aid bin Deshan bin Aisar bin Afnad bin Aiham bin Muksar bin Nahith bin Zarih bin Sami bin Mazzi bin ‘Awda bin Aram bin Qaidar bin Ishmael son of Abraham (peace be upon him). [Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/14-17]
The third part: beyond Abraham (peace be upon him) , Ibn Tarih (Azar) bin Nahur bin Saru‘ bin Ra‘u bin Falikh bin Abir bin Shalikh bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin Noah (peace be upon him) , bin Lamik bin Mutwashlack bin Akhnukh [who was said to be Prophet Idris (Enoch) (peace be upon him)] bin Yarid bin Mahla’il bin Qainan bin Anusha bin Shith bin Adam (peace be upon him). [Ibn Hisham 1/2-4; Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/18; Khulasat As-Siyar p.6]
The family of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) is called the Hashimite family after his grandfather Hashim bin ‘Abd Munaf. Let us now speak a little about Hashim and his descendants:
- Hashim: As we have previously mentioned, he was the one responsible
for giving food and water to the pilgrims. This had been his charge when the
sons of ‘Abd Munaf and those of ‘Abd Ad-Dar compromised on dividing the
charges between them. Hashim was wealthy and honest. He was the first to
offer the pilgrims sopped bread in broth. His first name was ‘Amr but he was
called Hashim because he had been in the practice of crumbling bread (for
the pilgrims). He was also the first man who started Quraish’s two journeys
of summer and winter. It was reported that he went to Syria as a merchant.
In Madinah, he married Salma — the daughter of ‘Amr from Bani ‘Adi bin An-Najjar.
He spent some time with her in Madinah then he left for Syria again while
she was pregnant. He died in Ghazza in Palestine in 497 A.D. Later, his wife
gave birth to ‘Abdul-Muttalib and named him Shaiba for the white hair in his
head,[Ibn Hisham 1/137;
Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 1/26,2/24] and brought him up in her father’s
house in Madinah. None of his family in Makkah learned of his birth. Hashim
had four sons; Asad, Abu Saifi, Nadla and ‘Abdul-Muttalib, and five
daughters Ash-Shifa, Khalida, Da‘ifa, Ruqyah and Jannah.[Ibn
- ‘Abdul-Muttalib:: We have already known that after the death of
Hashim, the charge of pilgrims’ food and water went to his brother Al-Muttalib
bin ‘Abd Munaf (who was honest, generous and trustworthy). When
‘Abdul-Muttalib reached the age of boyhood, his uncle Al-Muttalib heard of
him and went to Madinah to fetch him. When he saw him, tears filled his eyes
and rolled down his cheeks, he embraced him and took him on his camel. The
boy, however abstained from going with him to Makkah until he took his
mother’s consent. Al-Muttalib asked her to send the boy with him to Makkah,
but she refused. He managed to convince her saying: "Your son is going to
Makkah to restore his father’s authority, and to live in the vicinity of the
Sacred House." There in Makkah, people wondered at seeing Abdul-Muttalib,
and they considered him the slave of Muttalib. Al-Muttalib said: "He is my
nephew, the son of my brother Hashim." The boy was brought up in Al-Muttalib’s
house, but later on Al-Muttalib died in Bardman in Yemen so ‘Abdul-Muttalib
took over and managed to maintain his people’s prestige and outdo his
grandfathers in his honourable behaviour which gained him Makkah’s deep love
and high esteem.
[Ibn Hisham 1/137,138]
When Al-Muttalib died, Nawfal usurped ‘Abdul-Muttalib of his charges, so the latter asked for help from Quraish but they abstained from extending any sort of support to either of them. Consequently, he wrote to his uncles of Bani An-Najjar (his mother’s brothers) to come to his aid. His uncle, Abu Sa‘d bin ‘Adi (his mother’s brother) marched to Makkah at the head of eighty horsemen and camped in Abtah in Makkah. ‘Abdul-Muttalib received the men and invited them to go to his house but Abu Sa‘d said: "Not before I meet Nawfal." He found Nawfal sitting with some old men of Quraish in the shade of Al-Ka‘bah. Abu Sa‘d drew his sword and said: "I swear by Allâh that if you don’t restore to my nephew what you have taken, I will kill you with this sword." Nawfal was thus forced to give up what he had usurped, and the notables of Quraish were made to witness to his words. Abu Sa‘d then went to ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s house where he stayed for three nights, made ‘Umra and left back for Madinah. Later on, Nawfal entered into alliance with Bani ‘Abd Shams bin ‘Abd Munaf against Bani Hashim. When Khuza‘a, a tribe, saw Bani An-Najjar’s support to ‘Abdul-Muttalib they said: "He is our son as he is yours. We have more reasons to support him than you." ‘Abd Munaf’s mother was one of them. They went into An-Nadwa House and entered into alliance with Bani Hashim against Bani ‘Abd Shams and Nawfal. It was an alliance that was later to constitute the main reason for the conquest of Makkah. ‘Abdul-Muttalib witnessed two important events in his lifetime, namely digging Zamzam well and the Elephant raid. [Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool, p.41,42; Ibn Hisham 1/142-147]
In brief, ‘Abdul-Muttalib received an order in his dream to dig Zamzam well in a particular place. He did that and found the things that Jurhum men had buried therein when they were forced to evacuate Makkah. He found the swords, armours and the two deer of gold. The gate of Al-Ka‘bah was stamped from the gold swords and the two deer and then the tradition of providing Zamzam water to pilgrims was established.
When the well of Zamzam gushed water forth, Quraish made a claim to partnership in the enterprise, but ‘Abdul-Muttalib refused their demands on grounds that Allâh had singled only him out for this honourable job. To settle the dispute, they agreed to consult Bani Sa‘d’s diviner. On their way, Allâh showed them His Signs that confirmed ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s prerogative as regards the sacred spring. Only then did ‘Abdul-Muttalib make a solemn vow to sacrifice one of his adult children to Al-Ka‘bah if he had ten.
The second event was that of Abraha As-Sabah Al-Habashi, the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) viceroy in Yemen. He had seen that the Arabs made their pilgrimage to Al-Ka‘bah so he built a large church in San‘a in order to attract the Arab pilgrims to it to the exclusion of Makkah. A man from Kinana tribe understood this move, therefore he entered the church stealthily at night and besmeared its front wall with excrement. When Abraha knew of that, he got very angry and led a great army – of sixty thousand warriors – to demolish Al-Ka‘bah. He chose the biggest elephant for himself. His army included nine or thirteen elephants. He continued marching until he reached a place called Al-Magmas. There, he mobilized his army, prepared his elephants and got ready to enter Makkah. When he reached Muhassar Valley, between Muzdalifah and Mina, the elephant knelt down and refused to go forward. Whenever they directed it northwards, southwards or eastwards, the elephant moved quickly but when directed westwards towards Al-Ka‘bah, it knelt down. Meanwhile, Allâh loosed upon them birds in flights, hurling against them stones of baked clay and made them like green blades devoured. These birds were very much like swallows and sparrows, each carrying three stones; one in its peak and two in its claws. The stones hit Abraha’s men and cut their limbs and killed them. A large number of Abraha’s soldiers were killed in this way and the others fled at random and died everywhere. Abraha himself had an infection that had his fingertips amputated. When he reached San‘a he was in a miserable state and died soon after.
The Quraishites on their part had fled for their lives to the hillocks and mountain tops. When the enemy had been thus routed, they returned home safely. [Ibn Hisham 1/43-56; Tafheemul-Qur'an 6/462-469]
The Event of the Elephant took place in the month of Al-Muharram, fifty or fifty five days before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) which corresponded to late February or early March 571 A.D. It was a gift from Allâh to His Prophet and his family. It could actually be regarded as a Divine auspicious precursor of the light to come and accompany the advent of the Prophet and his family. By contrast, Jerusalem had suffered under the yoke of the atrocities of Allâh’s enemies. Here we can recall Bukhtanassar in B.C. 587 and the Romans in 70 A.D. Al-Ka‘bah, by Divine Grace, never came under the hold of the Christians – the Muslims of that time – although Makkah was populated by polytheists.
News of the Elephant Event reached the most distant corners of the then civilized world. Abyssinia (Ethiopia) maintained strong ties with the Romans, while the Persians on the other hand, were on the vigil with respect to any strategic changes that were looming on the socio-political horizon, and soon came to occupy Yemen. Incidentally, the Roman and Persian Empires stood for the powerful civilized world at that time. The Elephant Raid Event riveted the world’s attention to the sacredness of Allâh’s House, and showed that this House had been chosen by Allâh for its holiness. It followed then if any of its people claimed Prophethood, it would be congruous with the outcome of the Elephant Event, and would provide a justifiable explanation for the ulterior Divine Wisdom that lay behind backing polytheists against Christians in a manner that transcended the cause-and-effect formula.
‘Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons, Al-Harith, Az-Zubair, Abu Talib, ‘Abdullah, Hamzah, Abu Lahab, Ghidaq, Maqwam, Safar and Al-‘Abbas. He also had six daughters, who were Umm Al-Hakim – the only white one, Barrah, ‘Atikah, Safiya, Arwa and Omaima. [Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/56,66; Talqeeh Fuhoom Ahl Al-Athar, p8,9]
- ‘Abdullah: The father of Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace). His mother was
Fatimah, daughter of ‘Amr bin ‘A’idh bin ‘Imran bin Makhzum bin Yaqdha bin
Murra. ‘Abdullah was the smartest of ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s sons, the chastest
and the most loved. He was also the son whom the divination arrows pointed
at to be slaughtered as a sacrifice to Al-Ka‘bah. When ‘Abdul-Muttalib had
ten sons and they reached maturity, he divulged to them his secret vow in
which they silently and obediently acquiesced. Their names were written on
divination arrows and given to the guardian of their most beloved goddess,
Hubal. The arrows were shuffled and drawn. An arrow showed that it was
‘Abdullah to be sacrificed. ‘Abdul-Muttalib then took the boy to Al-Ka‘bah
with a razor to slaughter the boy. Quraish, his uncles from Makhzum tribe
and his brother Abu Talib, however, tried to dissuade him from consummating
his purpose. He then sought their advice as regards his vow. They suggested
that he summon a she-diviner to judge whereabout. She ordered that the
divination arrows should be drawn with respect to ‘Abdullah as well as ten
camels. She added that drawing the lots should be repeated with ten more
camels every time the arrow showed ‘Abdullah. The operation was thus
repeated until the number of the camels amounted to one hundred. At this
point the arrow showed the camels, consequently they were all slaughtered
(to the satisfaction of Hubal) instead of his son. The slaughtered camels
were left for anyone to eat from, human or animal.
This incident produced a change in the amount of blood-money usually accepted in Arabia. It had been ten camels, but after this event it was increased to a hundred. Islam, later on, approved of this. Another thing closely relevant to the above issue goes to the effect that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) once said:
"I am the offspring of the slaughtered two," meaning Ishmael and ‘Abdullah. [Ibn Hisham 1/151-155; Rahmat-ul-lil'alameen 2/89,90]
‘Abdul-Muttalib chose Amina, daughter of Wahab bin ‘Abd Munaf bin Zahra bin Kilab, as a wife for his son, ‘Abdullah. She thus, in the light of this ancestral lineage, stood eminent in respect of nobility of position and descent. Her father was the chief of Bani Zahra to whom great honour was attributed. They were married in Makkah, and soon after ‘Abdullah was sent by his father to buy dates in Madinah where he died. In another version, ‘Abdullah went to Syria on a trade journey and died in Madinah on his way back. He was buried in the house of An-Nabigha Al-Ju‘di. He was twenty-five years old when he died. Most historians state that his death was two months before the birth of Muhammad (Allah bless him and give him peace) . Some others said that his death was two months after the Prophet’s birth. When Amina was informed of her husband’s death, she celebrated his memory in a most heart-touching elegy. [Ibn Hisham 1/156-158; Fiqh As-Seerah p.45]
‘Abdullah left very little wealth —five camels, a small number of goats, a she-servant, called Barakah – Umm Aiman – who would later serve as the Prophet’s nursemaid. [Muslim 2/96; Talqeeh Fahoom Ahl-Athar p.4; Mukhtasar Seerat Ar-Rasool p. 12]