With respect to the lineage of Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), there are three levels: The first, whose authenticity is agreed upon by biographers and genealogists, states that Muhammad’s genealogy has been traced to `Adnan. The second, subject to various disagreements, traces his lineage beyond `Adnan back to Ibrahim. The third version, with some parts definitely incorrect, traces his lineage beyond Ibrahim back to Adam.
Some of these points have been mentioned earlier, here are the details of these three sections of lineage.
The first: Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) bin `Abdullah bin `Abdul-Muttalib (who was called Shaibah) bin Hashim, (named `Amr) bin `Abd Manaf (called Al-Mughirah) bin Qusai (also called Zaid) bin Kilab bin Murrah bin Ka`b bin Lo’i bin Ghalib bin Fihr (who was called Quraish and whose tribe was named after him) bin Malik bin AnNadr (also called Qais) bin Kinanah bin Khuzaimah bin Mudrikah (who was called `Amir) bin Elias bin Mudar bin Nizar bin Ma’ad bin `Adnan.
The second: `Adnan bin Add bin Humaisi’ bin Salaman bin Aws bin Buz bin Qamwal bin Ubai 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 `Awdah bin `Aram bin Qaidar bin Ismael (May peace be upon him!) son of Ibrahim (May peace be upon him!).
The third: Beyond Ibrahim, Ibn Tarih (Azar) bin Nahur bin Saru` (or Sarugh) bin Ra`u bin Falikh bin `Abir bin Salikh bin Arfakhshad bin Sam bin Noah, bin Lamik bin Mutwashlakh bin Akhnukh (Enoch) — who was said to be Prophet Idris — bin Yarid bin Mahla’il bin Qainan bin Anushah bin Shith bin Adam.
The Prophetic Family
The family of Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is called the Hashimite family after his grand father Hashim bin `Abd Manaf. Let us, now speak a little about Hashim and his descendants:
1. 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 Manaf and those of `Abdud-Dar compromised on dividing the duties between them.
Hashim was wealthy and honest. He was the first to offer the pilgrims stopped 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 the two journeys of summer and winter of the Quraish.
It has been narrated that he went to Syria as a merchant. Upon his return he went to Madinah, where he married Salma — the daughter of `Amr from Bani `Adi bin An-Najjar. He stayed with her in Madinah for some time, then left for Syria again while she was pregnant. He died in Ghazzah in Palestine in 497 C.E. Later, his wife gave birth to `Abdul-Muttalib and named him Shaibah because of the white hair on his head, 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, Nadlah and `AbdulMuttalib, and five daughters Ash-Shifa, Khalidah, Da’ifah, Ruqaiyah and Jannah.
2. `Abdul-Muttalib: We have already learned that after the death of Hashim,the charge of the pilgrims’ food and water went to his brother Al-Muttalib bin `Abd Manaf, who was honest, generous and trustworthy. When `AbdulMuttalib reached the age of boyhood, his uncle Al-Muttalib heard of him and went to Madinah to bring him to Makkah. 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.’’
In Makkah, people wondered at seeing Abdul-Muttalib, and 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 Radman in Yemen so `Abdul-Muttalib took over and managed to maintain his people’s prestige and outdo his grandfathers in his honorable behavior which gained him Makkah’s deep love and high esteem.
When Al-Muttalib died, Nawfal usurped the duties of `Abdul-Muttalib, so the latter asked for help from the 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 the Ka`bah. Abu Sa`d drew his sword and said: “I swear by Allah 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 unlawfully, and the notables of the Quraish were made to witness to his words.
Abu Sa`d then went to `Abdul-Muttalib’s house where he stayed for three nights, performed `Umrah and left to return to Madinah. Later on, Nawfal entered into an alliance with Bani `Abd Shams bin `Abd Manaf against Bani Hashim. When Khuza`ah, 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 Manaf’s mother was one of them.
They went into An-Nadwah House and entered into an 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. `AbdulMuttalib did witness two important events in his lifetime, namely, digging the Zamzam well and the Elephant raid.
In brief, `Abdul-Muttalib received an order in his dream to dig the Zamzam well at a particular place. He did so and found the articles that the men of the Jurhum had buried there when they were forced to evacuate Makkah.
He found swords, armors and two deer made of gold. The gate of the Ka`bah was stamped with 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 forth water, the Quraish made a claim to become partners in the enterprise, but `Abdul-Muttalib refused their demands on the grounds that Allah had singled only him out for this honorable job. To settle the dispute, they agreed to consult the diviner of Bani Sa`d. On their way, Allah showed them His Signs that confirmed
`Abdul-Muttalib’s privilege about the sacred spring. Only then did `AbdulMuttalib make a solemn vow to sacrifice one of his adult children to the Ka`bah if he had ten.
The second event was that of Abrahah As-Sabah Al-Habashi, the Abyssinian (Ethiopian) viceroy in Yemen. He had seen that the Arabs made their pilgrimage to the 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 the Kinanah tribe understood his motives, therefore he entered the church under the cover of night smearing excrement on its front wall. When Abrahah learned of this, he became enraged and led a great army of sixty thousand warriors to demolish the Ka`bah. He chose the biggest elephant for himself. His army included between nine to thirteen elephants. He continued marching until he reached a place called Al-Mugmas. There, he mobilized his army and prepared his elephants to enter Makkah.
When he reached the Muhassir Valley, between Muzdalifah and Mina, the elephant knelt down and refused to go forward. Whenever they directed it to the north, south or east, the elephant moved quickly but when directed towards the Ka`bah in the west, it knelt down. Meanwhile, Allah sent birds in flight upon them, pelting them with stones of baked clay so that they became like scattered chaff. These birds were like swallows and sparrows, each carrying three stones; one in its beak and two in its claws. The stones hit Abrahah’s men, cut their limbs and killed them. A large number of Abrahah’s soldiers were killed in this way and the others fled helter skelter and died at other places. Abrahah himself developed an infection that required his fingertips to be cut off. When he reached San`a’, he was in a miserable state and died soon after.
The Quraish fled for their lives to the hills and mountaintops. When the enemy was routed, they returned home safely.
The Elephant incident took place in the month of Al-Muharram, fifty or fifty-five days before the birth of the Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) which corresponded to late February or early March 571 C.E. It was a favor from Allah to His Prophet and his family. It could legitimately be regarded as a Divine auspicious sign of the light to come and accompany the advent of the Prophet and his family. In contrast, Jerusalem had suffered the atrocities of Allah’s enemies. Here we can recall the reign of Bukhtanassar in 587 B.C. and the Romans in 70 C.E. The Ka`bah, by Divine Grace, never came under the hold of the Christians, who were the People of the Book of that time, although Makkah was populated by polytheists.
News of the Elephant incident reached the most distant corners of the civilized world. Abyssinia (Ethiopia) maintained strong ties with the Romans while the Persians on the other hand, were watchful of any strategic changes looming on the socio-political horizon, and soon came to occupy Yemen. The Roman and Persian Empires made up the powerful civilized world at that time. The Elephant incident attracted the world’s attention to the sanctity of Allah’s House, and showed that this House had been chosen by Allah for its holiness.
It followed then if any of its people claimed Prophethood, it would conform with the outcome of the Elephant incident, and would provide a justifiable explanation for the ulterior Divine Wisdom that lay behind backing polytheists against Christians in a manner that went beyond the cause-andeffect formula.
`Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons: Al-Harith, Az-Zubair, Abu Talib, `Abdullah, Hamzah, Abu Lahab, Al-Ghidaq, Maqwam, Safar and Al-`Abbas. Some say that he had eleven sons, adding the name Qathim. Still others say that he had thirteen sons, with the additional names `Abdul-Ka`bah and Hajlah. They add that `Abdul-Ka`bah is the same as Maqwam and that Hajlah is the same as Al-Ghidaq, and that he did not have a son named Qathim. He also had six daughters, who were Ummul-Hakim (also called Al-Bayda’), Barrah, `Atikah, Safiyah, Arwa and Umaimah.
3. `Abdullah: The father of Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). His mother was Fatimah, daughter of `Amr bin `A’idh bin `Imran bin Makhzum bin Yaqzah bin Murrah. `Abdullah was the brightest of `Abdul-Muttalib’s sons, the most chaste and the most loved. He was also the son towards whom the divination arrows pointed to be slaughtered as a sacrifice at the Ka`bah. When `AbdulMuttalib had ten sons and they reached maturity, he disclosed to them his secret vow which they accepted obediently. 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 who was to be sacrificed. `AbdulMuttalib then took the boy to the Ka`bah with a razor to slaughter him. However, the Quraish, his uncles from the Makhzum tribe and his brother Abu Talib, tried to advise him against it.
He then sought their advice as regards his vow. They suggested that he would summon a woman diviner to judge the matter. She ordered that the divination arrows should be drawn again, but including ten camels and `Abdullah. She added that drawing the lots should be repeated with ten more camels every time the arrow showed `Abdullah. The action was thus repeated until the number of camels amounted to one hundred.
At this point the arrow showed the camels, consequently they were all slaughtered 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. Earlier it had been ten camels, but after this event it was increased to a hundred. Later on, this was approved of in Islam. It was reported that the Prophet once said:
“I am the offspring of the slaughtered two,’’ (meaning Ismael (May peace be upon him!) and `Abdullah).
‘Abdul-Muttalib chose Aminah, daughter of Wahb bin `Abd Manaf bin Zuhrah bin Kilab, as a wife for his son, `Abdullah. In the light of ancestral lineage, she had an eminent standing rank to nobility of position and descent. Her father was the chief of Bani Zahrah who was attributed great honor.
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-Nabighah Al-Ja`di. He was twenty-five years old when he died. Most historians state that his death was two months before the birth of Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Some others said that his death was two or more months after the Prophet’s birth. When Aminah was informed of her husband’s death, she commemorated his memory in a most heartrending eulogy.
`Abdullah left very little wealth — five camels, a small number of goats, a woman-servant, called Barakah (Umm Aiman) who would later serve as the Prophet’s nursemaid.