THE TALE OF A NATION-2
A Detailed Analysis Of Muslim History
Pre-Islamic Arab, Mecca, Society and family where Muhammad born. From birth till death of grandfather.
Recitation of the Holy Scripture.
And, when God took the covenant of the prophets, [saying], “Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a messenger confirming what is with you, you must believe in him and support him.” [God] said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged it.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”
Then whoever turns away after that – then those are the defiantly disobedient.
Say, “We believe in God and what is revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham and Ishmael, and Isaac, and Jacob, and the descendants and what was given to Moses, and Jesus, and the Prophets from their Lord. We do not make any distinction between them and to Him we are submissive.
End of Recitation of the Holy Scripture.
In this tale of a nation previous program we just ended at the valley of Mecca just before the birth of Prophet Muhammad. Now let’s turn again towards Mecca in Arabian peninsula where Abraham left his son Ishmael who settled there along with his mother Hajjar. After almost 2400 years of this incident and nearly 60 generations after Ishmael and 79 generations after Adam, Muhammad born to the house of Abdullah and Aminah bint Wahb on 570 AD. An Adnani Arab household direct descendent of Ishmael’s descendent Adnan thru the following family tree. Muhammad s/o Abdullah s/o Abdul-Muttalib s/o Hashim s/o Abd Manaf s/o Qusai s/o Kilab s/o Murrah s/o Ka’ab s/o Lu’ay s/o Ghalib s/o Fihr s/o Malik s/o An-Nadr also called Quraysh s/o Kinanah s/o Khuzaimah s/o Mudrikah s/o Ilyas s/o Mudar s/o Nizar s/o Ma’ad s/o Adnan. Before going any further let’s go back and focus first on the Tribe of Quraysh which has a special significance in Islam as prophet Muhammad belongs to it. Quraysh is also mentioned in Quran in chapter 106. Understanding Quraysh’s origins and its structure will help you understand the roots of the biggest divide that Muslims have, originated from the very structure of the Quraysh tribe. The Quraysh were a mercantile Arab tribe that historically inhabited and controlled Mecca and its Kaaba. The Islamic prophet Muhammad was born into the Banu Hashim clan of the Quraysh tribe. Quraysh foundation was laid by one of his decedents called Nadr bin Kainanah. With the passage of time, they subdivided into small clans or branches like Banu Hashim Banu Ummaiyah, Banu Asad, Banu Nofil, Banu Taym, Banu Abd al Dar and Banu Makhzoom. There are different views on the etymology of Quraysh. It can be from Qirsh which means Shark but as no possible connection can be seen, therefore some say that the name stemmed from taqarrush an Arabic word meaning coming together or association while others say that it is from word Taqrash which means economy and trade. As Quraysh tribe’s primary source of provision is from trade which they do in vast areas as far as Syria thus they got the name and started calling as Quraysh by other people of their time.
Quraysh main profession was trading but the biggest gift was Kaaba, the House of the Lord. People from all over the world would come to visit it. Quraish had a lot of respect, prominence & power at that time. Also, it is a source of significant income through pilgrims. Quraysh tribe was primarily in control of Mecca, and Mecca was a very influential city to control because it was a religious center for the region. Kaaba is the center of Islamic worship today and at that time, it housed hundreds of idols which were important to the various tribes and to the people of Arab. As they made the pilgrimage towards Mecca to worship their idols, it also benefited the economy of Mecca in a significant way.
In this tale of Muslim nation other than Mecca and Medina, one important city or country is Sham, modern day Syria. I have told you about the family tree of Muhammad. In that one name is very important which is Abd Manaf s/o Qusai the great great grandfather of Muhammad. Abd Manaf has four sons Hashim, Abd Shams, Nawfal and Muttalib. Hashim and Abd Shams were the eldest and twins while Muttalib was the youngest. There is a narration that Hashim and Abd Shams were adjoined twins born with Hashim’s leg attached to his twin brother’s head and that their father separated his joined sons with a sword and that people believed that the blood that had flown between them signified wars between their progeny. After Abd Manaf, Hashim became the guardian of Kaaba and for all the affairs related to Pilgrims. The word Hashim means pulverizer in Arabic. He was a generous man and famous for providing crumbled bread in broth for the pilgrims. One other narration tells that word Hashim comes from the Arabic root word Hashm, which means to save the starving, which literally he did in Mecca during a seasonal famine, and he thus became the man who fed the starving. This respect for Hashim made many his enemies one of which was Umayyah, the son of his brother ‘Abd Shams. When Prophet Muhammad born Bani Hashim and Bani Ummaiyah were the strongest and most prominent tribes. Bani Hashim were respected the most as they were in charge of the Religious affairs i.e. looking after Kaaba, Pilgrims & the related matters. Bani Ummaiyah were the most powerful; they were rich and bigger in number and also have more of Army/fighting men. The hostility and opposition between Banu Umayyah and Banu Hashim began before Islam because of the old grudges, conflict of interest and tribal superiority complex. Bani Umayyah and Bani Hashim were the chiefs of Mecca and held high offices even during the Age of ignorance.
Coming back to Hashim getting the charge of Kaaba, Umayyah challenged his position and the matter brought forth to all the elders and decision was in favor of Hashim and Umayyah got no real support and shifted to live out his life in Syria. There he earned much growth in contacts and economy. And back there in Mecca, his family became influential because of this increase in trade contacts and wealth.
Now another incident happened and now with Abdul Muttalib the grand father of Prophet Muhammad. Abdul Muttalib real name was Shaybah ibn Hashim. Same as in case of prophet Muhammad His father Hashim died while doing business in Gaza, before ‘Abdul-Muṭṭalib was born. He was given the name Shaybah meaning white-haired or Ancient because of the streak of white through his jet-black hair. His mother was Salmah bint Amr from Banu Najjar, a clan of the Khazraj tribe in Yathrib later called Madinah. You remember I told you that Abd Manaf has four sons Hashim, Abd Shams, Nawfal and Muttalib. Now after the death of his father, Hashim Shaybah (Abdul Muttalib) remained there in Madina with his mother till eight years but later his youngest uncle Muttalib came to know about him and he went to Madina Yasrib and claimed him from his mother. During his return upon arriving in Mecca, the people assumed the unknown child was Muttalib’s slave, giving him the name ‘Abdul-Muttalib (slave of Muttalib) Thus he got this name. Let’s come back to the incident that happened with Abdul Muttalib which further increased the gulf between two clans of Banu Hashim and Banu Ummayah. On the death of his uncle Muttalib, Shaybah(Abdul Muttalib) succeeded him as the chief of the Hashim clan and took over the duties to look after for the needs of the pilgrims. He achieved much fame and his people loved him and his name was great among them. But Harb the son of his cousin Ummayah once again claimed over the custodianship of the Kaaba. They requested king of Habsha to become an arbitrator in their dispute but he refused then the matter was brought to ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab’s grandfather Nufayl ibn Abdul Uzza who gave his verdict in favor of ‘Abdul-Muttalib by saying these words to Harb s/o Ummayah “Why do you pick a quarrel with a person who is taller than you in stature; more imposing than you in appearance; more refined than you in intellect; whose progeny outnumbers yours and whose generosity outshines yours in luster?” Thus the custodianship of Kaaba remained with Banu Hashim but this deepens the gulf of rivalry between Ummayah and Hashims. One more thing to add about Abdul Muttalib the grandfather of Muhammad is that he was the person who dealt with Abrahah who marched towards Mecca to demolish the Kaaba. In a meeting with Abrahah Abdul Muttalib said the famous words written in history “The Owner of this House is its Defender, and I am sure He will save it from the attack of the adversaries and will not dishonor the servants of His House” The same happened as is mentioned in Quran in Surah Feel chapter 105.
Now before going to the birth of Muhammad a little word about his father Abdullah. Abdullah was the most handsome of all men in Mecca. Born in 546 AD and died in 570AD just six months before the birth of Muhammad. He was the son of Abdul-Muttalib ibn Hashim and of Fatimah bint Amr of the Makhzum clan. He was married to Aminah bint Wahb. Majority of the girls in Mecca wanted to marry him. It is written in history that there was a majestic light that shines his face especially forehead and that this light was the promise of a Prophet as offspring. Many women approached him so that they might gain the honor of producing his offspring. But the light was destined to be transferred to Aminah through Abdullah after his marriage. Aminah got pregnant but soon after their marriage went for a trade caravan.. On his return while he was preparing to join a caravan to Mecca this is when he felt ill and died there. In history, this is what available about Abdullah but I ask you a question to just consider what would have happened to all his family specially his wife. A beautiful, handsome young Man who died only at the age of 24. In what a grieved and painful atmosphere Muhammad born and opened his eyes. Imagine the level of pain he would have felt in the womb of his mother than when he born what discussions he would have started hearing at his young age just after he started listening. And then just after six years, his mother passed away. Do you have any idea that how all this situation would have changed and effected him? History is silent on this and history always remain silent on these issues of all great men born in this world. People always look towards the achievements that those great men earned but no one bothered on looking at how much pain and grief they would have crossed in their lives.
There are some among Muslims who consider Muhammad’s parents are disbelievers who are in Hell. While the fact of the matter is that they are with my Lord in peace and pleasure.
After the death of Muhammad’s parents, his grandfather Abdul Muttalib took charge of him. But then his grandfather died when he was eight years old and he went under the custody of his uncle, Abu Talib.
If my Lord Wills, I will continue this in next program.
Recitation of the Holy Scripture.
Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is God ” and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised.
We are your protectors in the life of this world and (also) in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you ask,
A hospitable gift from the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.