Muhammad, literally, the highly praised, is the chief name of the great Prophet and founder of the religion of Islam, wrongly called after him Mohammedanism. The birth of Muhammad is stated to have been attended by many remarkable signs. “Muhammad was born in Bani Hashim lane in Makkah on Monday morning, the ninth of Rabi’ Al-Awwal, the same year of the Elephant Event, and forty years of the reign of Kisra [Khosru Nushirwan], i.e. the twentieth or twenty-second of April, 571 A.D. His mother immediately sent someone to inform his grandfather ‘Abdul-Muttalib of the happy event. Happily he came to her, carried him to Al-Ka‘bah, prayed to God and thanked Him. ‘Abdul-Muttalib called the baby Muhammad, a name not then common among the Arabs. He circumcised him on his seventh day as was the custom of the Arabs.” 
‘Abdullah: the father of the Prophet Muhammad, ‘Abdullah was the smartest of ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s sons, the most charming 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 revealed to them his secret vow in which they silently and obediently accepted. Their names were written on divination arrows and given to the guardian of their most beloved god, 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 discourage him from executing his purpose. He then sought their advice as regards his vow. They suggested that he summon a she-diviner to judge where about. 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 three days 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 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 Amnah, daughter of Wahab bin ‘Abd Munaf bin Zohra 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 Zohra to whom great honour was attributed. They were married in Makkah, and soon after ‘Abdullah was sent by his father to buy dates in Medina where he died. He was twenty-five years old when he died. Most historians state that his death was two months before the birth of Muhammad. When Amnah was informed of her husband’s death, she celebrated his memory in a most heart-touching elegy. ‘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.
It was the general custom of the Arabs living in towns to send their children away to bedouin wet nurses, so that they might grow up in the free and healthy surroundings of the desert, whereby they would develop a robust frame and acquire the pure speech and manners of the bedouins, who were noted both for chastity of their language and for being free from those vices which usually develop in sedentary societies. The Prophet was later entrusted to Haleemah bint Abi Zu’aib from Bani Sa‘d bin Bakr. She used to nurse the Prophet and Hamzah bin ‘Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s uncle, in the country of the clan of Sa‘d, they found the scales of fortune turned in their favour. The barren land sprouted forth luxuriant grass and flocks of animals came back to them satisfied and full of milk. Muhammad stayed with Haleemah for four years until he was weaned.
Haleemah returned the boy to his mother with whom he stayed until he was six. Before the child completed the 6th year of his age, his mother died and the doubly orphaned Muhammad was under the charge of his grandfather ‘Abdul Muttalib who took the most tender care of him. ‘Abdul-Muttalib brought the boy to Makkah. He had warm passions towards the boy, his orphan grandson, whose recent disaster [his mother’s death] added more to the pains of the past. ‘Abdul-Muttalib was more passionate with his grandson than with his own children. He never left the boy a prey to loneliness, but always preferred him to his own children. “But the old chief died two years afterwards. On his death-bed he confided to his son Abu Talib who was the brother of the Prophet’s father the charge of the orphan. Abu Talib took the charge of his nephew in the best way. He put him with his children and preferred him to them. He singled the boy out with great respect and high esteem.”
When Muhammad was twelve years old, he accompanied his uncle Abu Talib on a business journey to Syria and they proceeded as far as Busra. The journey lasted for some months. It was at Busra that the Christian monk Bahira met Muhammad and he is related to have said to Abu Talib: “Return with this boy and guard him against the hatred of the Jews, for a great career awaits with your nephew.” After this travel, the youth of Muhammad seems to have been passed uneventfully, but all authorities agree in ascribing to him such correctness of manners and purity of morals as were rare among the people of Makkah. The fair character and the honourable bearing of the unobtrusive youth won the admiration of the citizens of Makkah, and by common consent he received the title of ‘Al Amin’, the faithful. 
In his early years, Muhammad was not free from the cares of life. He had to watch the flocks of his uncle, who like the rest of the Hashimites, had lost the greater part of his riches.
From youth to manhood he led an almost solitary life. The lawlessness, widespread among the Makkahns, the sudden outbursts of causeless and murderous fights among the tribes frequenting the fair of Okaz [the Arabian Olympia], the immorality and scepticism of the Quraishites naturally caused feelings of pity and sorrow in the heart of the sensitive youth. Such were to him scenes of social misery and religious degradation characteristic of an immoral age.
When Muhammad was 25 years old, he travelled once more to Syria as the agent of a noble and rich Quraishite widow named Khadija, and having proved himself faithful in the commercial interests of that lady, was soon rewarded with her hand in marriage. This marriage proved fortunate and exceptionally happy. Khadija was much the senior of her husband, but in spite of the disparity of age between them, the loving heart of a woman who was ever ready to console him in his despair and to keep alive within him the feeble, flickering flame of hope when no man believed in him- not even himself and the world appeared gloomy in his eyes. 
“Till he reached the 30th year of his age, Muhammad was almost a stranger to the outside world. Since the death of his grandfather, authority in Makkah was divided among the ten senators who constituted the governing body of the Arabian Commonwealth. There was no such agreement among them as to ensure the safety of individual rights and property. Though family relations afforded some degree of protection to citizens, yet strangers were frequently exposed to persecution and oppression. In many cases, they were robbed, not only of their goods, but even of their wives and daughters. At the instigation of the faithful Muhammad, an old league, called the Federation of ‘fudul’, i.e. favours, was revived with the aim of repressing lawlessness and defending every weak individual, whether Makkahn or stranger, free or slave, against any wrong or oppression, to which he might be the victim, within the territories of Makkah.
“When Muhammad reached the 35th year of his age, he settled by his judgment a critical dispute, which almost threatened to throw the whole of Arabia into a fresh series of her ever-recurring wars. In rebuilding the sacred Ka‘bah, in 605 A.D., the question arose as to who should have the honour of raising the black stone, the most holy relic of that Shrine, into its proper place. Each tribe claimed that honour. The senior citizen advised the disputants to accept for their arbitrator in this difficulty the man who would be the first to enter from a certain gate. The proposal was agreed upon, and the first man who entered the gate, was Muhammad, “The Ameen” Muhammad gave them an advice, which served to satisfy all the opposing parties. He ordered the stone to be placed on a piece of cloth, and each tribe to share the honour of lifting it up, by taking hold of a part of the cloth. The stone was thus deposited in its place, and the rebuilding of the Ka‘bah was completed without further interruption.” 
“These are nearly all the public acts related by historians, in which Muhammad had taken part within the 15th years after his marriage with Khadija. As for his private life he is described to have been ever helpful to the needy and the helpless. His uncle Abu Talib had fallen into distress through his endeavours to maintain the old position of his family, and Muhammad, being rather rich at his time by his alliance with Khadija, tried to discharge part of the debt of gratitude and obligation which he owed to his uncle, by undertaking the bringing up and education of his son Ali; and a year later he adopted Akil, another of his uncle’s sons.”
“Khadija had born Muhammad three sons and four daughters, all of the males died in childhood, but in loving Ali he found much consolation.
About this time, Muhammad set a good example of humanity which created a beneficial effect upon his people. His wife Khadija, to gratify her husband, made him a present of a young slave, named ‘Zaid son of Haritha’ who had been brought as a captive to Makkah and sold to Khadija. When Haritha heard that Muhammad possessed Zaid, he came to Makkah and offered a large sum for his ransom, whereupon Muhammad said, ‘Let Zaid come here, and if he chooses to go with you’ addressing the boy’s father, “take him without ransom; but if it be his choice to stay with me, why should I not keep him? And Zaid, being brought into Muhammad’s presence, declared that he would stay with his master who treated him, as if he were his only son. Muhammad no sooner heard this, than he took Zaid by the hand and led him to the black stone of Al-Ka‘bah where he public adopted him as his son and constituted him his heir, to which the father accepted, and he then returned home well satisfied. Henceforward Zaid was called the son of Muhammad.” 
Muhammad was now approaching his 40th year and his mind was ever engaged in profound meditation and reflection. “Before him lay his country, bleeding and torn by fratricidal wars and intolerable conflicts; his people, sunk in barbarism, addicted to the observation of rites and superstitions, were, with all their desert virtues, lawless and cruel. His two visits to Syria had opened to him a scene of unutterable moral and social desolation, rival creeds and sects tearing each other to pieces, wrangling over the body of the God they pretended to worship carrying their hatred to the valleys and deserts of Hidjaz and rending the townships of Arabia with their quarrels and bitterness.
 Ibn Athir, Ibn Hisham etc.
 The Sealed Nectar.
 The Sealed Nectar.
 Hugh’s Dictionary of Islam, pp. 368 – 369.
 Hugh’s Dictionary of Islam
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