The Birth of the last Prophet


On Monday, 12th of Rabi-al-Awwal -- 570 years after Jesus ascended into heaven to await his return before the end of the world -- Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her ) gave birth to her blessed son in the house of Abu Talib. Ash-Shaffa, the mother of Abd Al Rahman, attended his birth and as Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) gave birth her blessed baby was delivered prostrating upon his tiny hands and knees, then sneezed and said, "Al Hamdulillah" -- praise be to Allah -- whereupon a voice from the heavens replied, "May Allah have mercy upon you." As Ash-Shaffa looked out into the night sky the horizon became illuminated so that the very distant castles of Greece became clearly visible to her. Incidentally, "Al Hamdulillah” was the same praise Prophet Adam offered as he sneezed upon reaching earth.
The beautiful baby was born without a trace of dirt upon him, and a sweet aroma caressed his perfect little body. Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) remembered the instruction she had been given in her vision and supplicated to Allah with it for her little son, then gave him to Ash-Shaffa, the mother of Abd Al Rahman to hold.
News that Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) had given birth to a son was sent straight away to Abd Al Muttalib. As soon as he heard the good news he rushed to see his new grandson. When he reached the house his heart was filled with joy and tender loving care. He cradled the sweet baby wrapped in a white cloth in his arms and then took him to the Ka'ba where he offered a prayer of thanksgiving to Allah for the safe delivery of his grandson.
Before returning his new grandson to Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) he went home to show him to his own family. Standing at the door waiting for his father's return was his three year old son Abbas. Lovingly, Abd Al Muttalib told his son, "Abbas, this is your brother, give him a kiss," so Abbas, who was in reality his uncle, bent over and kissed his new baby brother.
After everyone had admired the baby, Abd Al Muttalib returned to Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) and in accordance with her vision and a vision Abd Al Muttalib had seen, the sweet baby was named Muhammad. When people asked why they had named him Muhammad they replied, "To be praised in the heavens and earth." Before that time the name Muhammad was unknown and no other child had ever been given that special name.
Abu Talib's house, the house in which the Holy Prophet was born exists today and is used to house an Islamic library.
Ash-Shaffa was not the only person to witness miraculous events of this very special night. As Othman, the son of Abi As's mother gazed up into the night sky she witnessed the stars lower themselves and a light so brilliant appeared at the time of his birth that she could see nothing except light.
In the kingdom of Chosroes, fortifications shook and balconies collapsed, whilst the waters of Lake Tiberias ebbed, and the famous flame of Persia, which had not been extinguished since it was lit a thousand years before, was suddenly quite unexplainably extinguished.
In the heavens, meteors were commanded to be on guard so as to prevent the satans from listening to the news the angels bore about the events of this very blessed night.
Amongst the citizens of Mecca were several Jews, one of whom was knowledgeable of the scriptures. He knew from his learning and the signs of the time that the birth of a new prophet was imminent and anxiously awaited his arrival.
On the night Prophet Muhammad, was born, a strange feeling came over him that prompted him to rush to the door of his house and ask some Koraysh tribesmen, who happened to be passing, if they had heard of any births that night. The tribesmen replied that they knew of none, so he asked them to go and find out then bring word to him. He felt sure that this was the night in which the new prophet had been born, and if his feelings were correct he knew he would indeed be able to recognize him by a special, prominent mark on his skin that lay between his shoulders.
Sometime later, the tribesmen returned to the expectant Jew and told him that a son had indeed been born to Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her), the widowed wife of Abdullah, son of Abd Al Muttalib. The Jew asked them to take him to see the newly born and his mother, so in haste they made their way to Abu Talib's house.
When they arrived, Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) presented her darling son to them and as the cloth that covered him was gently rolled back the Jew saw the unmistakable mark and fainted. When he regained consciousness he announced the prophethood had been taken away from the Children of Israel and said, "O people of Koraysh, by Allah, he will conquer you in a way that the news will traverse both east and west."
The mark the Jew referred to was circular and read, "There is no god except Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet", and it was from this identifying mark that the sweet aroma of musk exuded.
Abdullah was a young man when he died and therefore had very little to leave his wife and unborn baby. All he was able to leave them was an Abyssinian maid named Barakah, which means blessing, a few camels and some goats. Barakah was also known by the name Umm Ayman.
During the first days of our beloved Prophet's life, Barakah helped his mother to take care of him, and Thuwaybah, who attended his birth, became his first wet-nurse.
In those days it was the practice of noble and well-to-do families to entrust their newly born infants to the care of good families living far from Mecca where the infant would be less likely to contract the many diseases that all too often accompanied the pilgrims.
Among the many advantages of sending a newly born to be raised in the desert was that it was there that Arabic in its purest form was spoken, and the accomplishment of speaking pure Arabic was a most sought after quality. Youngsters also learned the essential art of survival through the mutual love and care for one another that in turn lead to excellent manners and a chivalrous nature.
With this in mind Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) and Abd Al Muttalib decided to send Muhammad to be raised in the desert.
Soon after his birth, several Bedouin families made their twice yearly journey to Mecca in search of a child to foster. No fee was requested by the foster parents as one might suppose, rather, the intent was to strengthen ties between noble, well-to-do families and perhaps receive a favor from its parents or relatives.
Amongst the prospective foster mothers was a lady called Halima(ra), the daughter of Abdullah Al Sadiyyah from the tribe of Banu Hawazin. Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s family had always been poor, and that year in particular had been harsh for them on account of the drought that devastated the area.
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) had a young baby of her own, so together with her husband, Abi Kabshah, and baby they traveled in the company of other families from their tribe to Mecca. Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) carried her son as she rode upon their donkey whilst her husband walked by her side and the sheep ran along beside them. When they set out, the sheep's milk had been a constant source of nourishment for them, but the strain of the journey took its toll and its milk dried up. Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s own milk was insufficient to satisfy her baby, and many a time her baby cried itself to sleep out of hunger.
Before reaching Mecca, there was another setback, Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s donkey started to show signs of lameness, so they proceeded slowly at their own pace whilst the others went on ahead. Because of the delay, Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) and her family were the last of the prospective foster parents to reach Mecca. By the time she arrived each of the other prospective foster mothers had visited the homes of parents wishing to send their newly born to the safety of the desert, and chosen a baby. However, the planning of Allah was that all had declined the offer to take Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her)'s baby on account of him being an orphan, and so when Halima(ra) arrived he was the only one available.
As Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) entered Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her)'s house she found the tiny baby sleeping upon his back wrapped in a white woolen shawl under which a green piece of silk had been placed. Instantaneously, with just one glance, in the same way that the wife of Pharaoh’s heart had been filled with love for the baby Moses, Allah filled Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)’s heart with overflowing love.
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) was overcome by his beauty, and as she bent down to pick him up she smelt the delicate fragrance of musk. Fearing she might disturb him, she placed her had over his chest and as she did he smiled, then opened his eyes and from his eyes beamed a radiant light. Gently, and lovingly she kissed him between his eyes and offered him her right breast and immediately felt a surge of milk, he accepted her breast and suckled away contentedly. After a little while she offered him her left breast but even at this very tender age fairness was inherent in his nature and he declined leaving it for his new suckling brother.
Later on that day, Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) returned to her husband and told him that there was no doubt in her mind that she wanted to foster Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her)'s baby -- it was of no consequence to her that the baby was an orphan, or that future favors may not be possible -- the baby had completely captivated her heart.
It is through the nourishing milk a foster mother gives to her charge that the baby gains an extended family into which marriage to its siblings is not permitted. And so it was that Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s foster child would refer to her in later years as his mother, and to her children as his brothers and sisters.
Right from the very beginning, the bonding between Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) and her foster child proved to be a very great blessing for not only her family but the entire tribe. And it was because of this very close relationship that her people were, in the years that followed, protected and led to Paradise.  
Whilst Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) was nursing Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her)'s baby, her husband, Abi Kabshah, went to tend his sheep and was very surprised to find its udder full of milk. When he milked it there was so much milk that there was more than enough to satisfy the entire family, that night they drank their fill and slept peacefully. When they awoke, Abi Kabshah exclaimed, "Halima(May Allah be pleased with her), by Allah, I see you have chosen a blessed spirit, did you notice how we spent such a blessed night and are enjoying its benefits?"
The time soon came for the foster parents to set off for their desert home with their charges, so Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) made her farewells to Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) who handed her beloved son up to her as she sat upon her donkey.
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) and her husband were quick to notice the multiple blessings that constantly came their way. Their donkey had always been the slowest ride because it was frail, and more recently showed signs of progressive lameness, but now it out-ran the others whilst the rest of the party looked on in amazement asking Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) if the donkey was the same one she had come with.
Before they reached the land of Bani Sa’ad, the vegetation had already become scant, but upon reaching it there was no vegetation in sight, the land was barren with signs of drought everywhere. However, Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s sheep would wander off yet always return full. It was so noticeable that the others in her party told their shepherds to take their sheep and follow Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s, however, hers always returned full but theirs did not and yielded abundant milk.
The blessings never ceased to escape the attention of Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s family and when they reached home their land became fertile once more an the palm trees bore an abundance of dates.
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) had an older daughter named Hudhafa, also known as Al Shaima. Al Shaima loved her new brother dearly and never had to wait to be asked to look after him. It was a very happy time for the entire family and Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s foster child grew rapidly in strength and out grew other children of similar age.
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s tribe in particular was famous for speaking pure Arabic and many of its tribesmen had become famous on account of their eloquent speech and poetry; it was in such an environment that the young Muhammad learned the art of the precise diction of pure Arabic, however he did not learn how to read or write.
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) never ceased to wonder at the growth and strength of her foster son and thought it was time for him to visit his mother in Mecca so preparations were made for the journey.
When they reached Mecca Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) was delighted to see and hold her son once more, but an epidemic had broken out and she feared for his safety so it was agreed that Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) should take him back with her to their desert home.
Little Muhammad loved to play with his brothers but also enjoyed sitting alone by himself. Several months had passed since his return from Mecca when one day as his brothers were playing not far away among the sheep and he sat alone, two angels, having taken the appearance of men, dressed in pure white robes came to him with a golden bowl containing snow.
Muhammad was neither afraid nor yet concerned when they miraculously opened his chest, felt around his heart, washed it, then sealed his chest and left leaving no trace whatsoever of an incision.
His brothers saw the two men, and watched in awe what had happened and as soon as they left ran as fast as their legs could carry them to tell their mother. Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) and her husband rushed to Muhammad and found him standing alone. His face looked somewhat pale and Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) held him gently in her arms and asked what had happened. He told them about the two men and how they had opened his chest and looked for something, but what it was they were looking for he told them he did not know. Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) looked at his chest but there were no signs of an opening whatsoever, nor yet were there any traces of blood. She looked for the two men, but there was no sign of them either. The only difference she could find was that the small mark she had taken to be a birth-mark between his shoulders appeared to be raised a little more than usual.
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) and her husband questioned their sons repeatedly, but none deviated from the account they first related and were convinced that the boys had spoken the truth. Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) and her husband were extremely worried by the incident and feared that bad jinn were trying to harm their beloved foster son.
Fearing for his safety, it was decided to return the young Muhammad to Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her), so once again Halima(ra) set off with Muhammad to Mecca.
HALIMA(May Allah be pleased with her)'S DECISION
Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) decided not to tell Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) the real reason for his early return but Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) was quick to realize she was concealing something. At last Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) persuaded Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) to tell her the real reason for her son's hasty return.
Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) listened intently to the account of the opening of his chest and of Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s fear that some bad jinn may be trying to harm him. Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) comforted her and told her that no harm would come to him because she had been told that he was destined for an important role. She also told Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) about her blessed pregnancy and of the light that had shone from her womb. After hearing this Halima(May Allah be pleased with her)'s heart was at peace once more and greatly relieved to know her fears for her beloved foster child were unfounded.
Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) thanked Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) for the loving care she gave her son and once again Halima(May Allah be pleased with her) and her foster son returned to their home in the desert where he lived with his extended family until he reached five years old at which time he returned to live with his mother in Mecca.
The event of his chest opening was described in detail by Prophet Muhammad, in later years. He told his companions that the men were angels and when they opened his chest they were looking for a speck of black. Upon finding it they removed it and washed his heart in pure snow from the golden bowl then resealed his chest. He also said that each son of Adam, except Mary and her son, is touched by satan at birth.
It wasn't long before the young Muhammad had settled down very happily to his new lifestyle in the City of Mecca and found that he had lots of cousins, an affectionate grandfather named Abd Al Muttalib, as well as many uncles and aunts.
Amongst the children Muhammad loved most were Hamza and his young sister Saffiyah, the children of his grandfather, Abd Al Muttalib. Muhammad and Hamza(ra) were practically the same age, however, Muhammad was the elder, although technically speaking, Hamza was his uncle and Saffiyah his aunt.
One day, Lady Amina(ra) learned that a caravan would soon be leaving Mecca and pass through Yathrib (Medina) on its way north. It was a wonderful opportunity for Muhammad, who was now six, to meet the rest of his cousins and relatives that lived there.
Barakah, Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her)'s maid, made the necessary preparations for the eleven day journey and they left with the caravan riding two camels, one ridden by Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) and her son, the other by Barakah.
They stayed in Yathrib for a month and the young Muhammad met more of his cousins, the children of Adiyy. He enjoyed being with them and went kite flying and sometimes they would take him to their large well where he learned to swim. It was a happy time but the month soon passed and the caravan destined for Mecca was ready to leave, so they made their farewells and departed.
THE DEATH OF LADY AMINA(May Allah be pleased with her)
As the caravan journeyed to Mecca, Lady Amina(May Allah be pleased with her) was taken seriously ill and never recovered. The angels took away her soul at a village called Al Abwa and it is there that she lies buried.
Barakah did her best to comfort the sobbing young Muhammad whose heart became vacant at the loss of his mother and together they made the heartbreaking journey to the house of his grandfather in Mecca. Abd Al Muttalib, deeply saddened by the loss, took his grandson into his own household and a very special love bonded them even more closely together.
For many years Abd Al Muttalib had taken to sleeping near the Ka'ba at Hijr Ishmael, the place where he had been told in a vision to dig for the well of Zamzam many years before Abdullah, Muhammad's father was born. At Hijr Ishmael his couch would be spread out for him and more often than not it was there that one would find him.
There was an unwritten rule that no one sat on his couch, not even his young son Hamza, however, such was the love he had for his grandson Muhammad that he alone was welcome to join him there. One day some of Muhammad's uncles found him sitting on the couch and suggested he should not do so. Immediately, his grandfather told them, "Let my son stay, by Allah, he has a great future." The young Muhammad was a constant source of pleasure to his grandfather and both enjoyed the company of each other. Such was his endearing personality that anyone who met him loved Muhammad.
It was noticeable that even at such a tender age, Muhammad showed signs of wisdom far beyond his years and when Abd Al Muttalib attended important tribal meetings in the House of Assembly with other elders of the tribe, he would take his grandson with him. Muhammad's opinion was often sought in earnest despite his age, whereupon, Abd Al Muttalib would proudly comment, "There is a great future ahead for my son!" Abd Al Muttalib always referred with pride to his grandson as being his "son".
Abd Al Muttalib was now eighty-two years of age and a few months after his grandson's eighth birthday he was taken ill and passed away. Before Abd Al Muttalib died he entrusted the care of his grandson to his son Abu Talib, the blood brother of Muhammad's father Abdullah, so without hesitation Abu Talib gladly became Muhammad's guardian and took him into his own household.
As Abd Al Muttalib's bier was carried to a place known as Al Hujun for burial, many walked in his funeral procession and his young grandson shed many tears as he walked with them to the graveside. It was a time of great sorrow.
Like his father before him, Abu Talib became a loving guardian to his nephew and his wife, Fatima, daughter of Asad, Hashim's son, and half brother of Abd Al Muttalib, did all she could to compensate for the mother he had lost. Indeed, such was the degree of her care that in later years after her beloved trust had attained prophethood, he told those around him that rather than let him go hungry, Fatima would have preferred to let her own children go without, but he was never of a greedy nature and would share whatever he was given.
Upon the death of Abd Al Muttalib the ascendancy to the house of Hashim had weakened for his family. All but one of the honorable offices he had held for so long now passed to Harb, the son of Umayya. The only position left for his household was that of providing for the pilgrims.
When Abd Al Muttalib passed away there was very little left for his heirs to inherit and Abu Talib, although his circumstances were restricted, was rich in heritage, honor and nobility. Like his father, he loved his nephew dearly, there wasn't anything he would not do for him. Many a night the young Muhammad would be found snuggled up to his uncle in bed, sleeping peacefully until the light of the morning.
During the day, Muhammad would go with him wherever he might go and when he was old enough Abu Talib taught him the skill of how to masterfully shepherd, with both tenderness and care his sheep, which was a vital source of food and income to his family.
It was a position of trust and one will no doubt recall that most prophets, peace be upon him, were shepherds at one time or another during their life.
Drought had stricken Mecca and its neighboring settlements in the valley yet again. It was a hard time for everyone both old and young alike. Abu Talib was highly respected in his tribe and in times of need, such as this, they would often turn to him for help and advice.
The situation continued to worsen and so in desperation several of the Koraysh went to Abu Talib to ask him to pray for rain. Muhammad was with him and heard their request so together, with Abu Talib carrying him on his shoulders, they made their way to the Ka'ba to supplicate to Allah.
As they entered the precincts of Ka'ba the sky was blue and the heat of the sun beat down just as it had done so for many weeks. Muhammad, with his delicate tiny hand held on tightly to his uncle's fingers and together they supplicated for rain. Within moments, clouds gathered from all directions and rain started to fall -- the drought was over. Like Halima(May Allah be pleased with her), Abu Talib was quick to recognize the multiple blessings he and others shared on account of his nephew.
It was time for the annual trip to Syria. Even though Hashim had secured pacts with tribes along the caravan route many years before, the journey was arduous and not without danger. With this in mind Abu Talib decided to leave his nephew behind thinking it was better for him to remain at home with Fatima and his other children.
When the time came for the caravan to depart, Muhammad, who was now twelve years old, rushed up to him and threw his arms around him. Abu Talib never had the heart to refuse his nephew anything at all and so it was agreed that he would join him on the long trip north to Syria.
After many weeks of arduous travel the caravan reached a place called Tayma, a village on the outskirts of Basra.
It was there that a monk by the name of Buhairah lived alone in a hermitage that had been inherited by a succession of hermit monks. Over the centuries, important religious documents had been brought to the hermitage and left by his predecessors so Buhairah had made it his life's work to study them well and had become very knowledgeable. In the documents were prophecies that told of another prophet to come after Jesus, peace be upon him. The prophecies described in detail the time in which he would be born, his appearance, character and background and it was Buhairah's dearest wish to be blessed to live long enough to see him.
One day as Buhairah was meditating outside his hermitage he noticed a caravan in the distance making its way towards the city. It was a common sight to see caravans making their way there, but as he gazed towards it he noticed there was something very different about this one. In the blue sky was a lone white cloud that floated just above the caravaners heads, when the caravan changed direction the cloud would follow. He watched the caravan more intently and when it started to descend the neighboring hills he witnessed the palm tress bow their branches as the caravan passed by. He noticed something else even more strange, when the caravan came to rest under the trees the cloud disappeared and the palm branches bowed down still further to provide a dense and cooling shade.
Just before the caravan reached the market place it halted again under the shade of the trees and Muhammad, being the youngest, was asked to tend to the camels whilst the others went to the marketplace. Buhairah made haste to greet the caravaners and invited them to eat with him; caravans had stopped there many times before, but Buhairah had never invited them nor yet any other caravaners to join him.
As they sat down to eat Buhairah looked at each one in turn, then asked if there was anyone missing from the party. They informed him that there was another, a boy, whom they had asked to tend the camels. Buhairah insisted that the boy should join them, and the caravaners felt embarrassed at their unintentional forgetfulness and so Muhammad was invited to join them. When he arrived, Buhairah observed his appearance and manners closely. After a while he questioned him and then asked him to swear by the idols of Mecca -- which was common practice amongst the Arabs. Muhammad refused saying, "There is nothing more hateful to me than to do that." 
The answers Muhammad gave Buhairah convinced him ninety-nine percent that the young boy, in whose company he was, was none other than the one prophesied in the scriptures to become the last Prophet of Allah. However, one thing bothered him, Abu Talib had referred to Muhammad as being his son, and the scriptures stated quite clearly that the last prophet would be an orphan, so he inquired about Muhammad's parents and was told that indeed Muhammad was an orphan, and that Abu Talib was not his real father, rather, he was his paternal uncle.
Now, Buhairah knew for certain that his dearest wish had been fulfilled and that he had been blessed to live long enough to meet the boy destined to be the last Prophet of Allah. He was overcome with joy but at the same time a great sense of fear struck deep within his heart. He told Abu Talib that he must take great care of Muhammad and advised him not to continue onto Basra as he feared the descendants of the Jews that had migrated to Arabia many years before to await the arrival of the last prophet would also notice his signs and try to harm him as he was not of their race. Abu Talib took Buhairah's advice and they returned to Mecca.
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