Muhammad Ibn Abdullah (PBUH) was born into the noblest house (Banu Kinanah; sons of Isma’il, the son of Ibrahim (PBUH) of the noblest tribe (Quraysh) of the Arabs in the most sacred place on earth; Makkah. This was on the year of the Elephant, that corresponds to the mid of the year 570 C.E. The date, however, is not agreed upon, but some scholars hold the view it’s the 12th of Rabi al-Awal of the year of the Elephant during which the King Abraha of Yemen tried to tear down the Ka’abah (The sacred House of Allah).
Abdullah Ibn Abdul Muttalib and Aminah Bint Wahb, the parents of Muhammad PBUH were married for a few short days before Abdullah traveled on a business trip to the Levant on which he died leaving his wife pregnant.
Aminah was devastated; this was a few months before the birth of Muhammad PBUH.
There were some major signs concurrent to his birth (PBUH) that are accepted by some biographers:
1. Al-BayHaqiyy, Ibn`Asakir, and others narrated from the route of Hani’al-Makhzumi that he said:
On the night of the birth of the Messenger of Allâh, the palace of Kisra (the King of the Persians) shook and fourteen balconies fell from it. The fire of the Persians which had been burning continuously for one thousand years went out and the lake of Sawah (in Persia) dried up.
The fire of the Persians in reference that they worshiped had been kept burning day and night for one thousand years. On the night of the Prophet’s birth, this fire went out as a sign of the truthful call of Prophet Muhammad to worship Allah alone.
The lake of Sawah mentioned in the Hadith that dried up was a lake so vast that ships used to sail in it.
2. The Hafidh Al-`Iraqiyy mentioned in his book, Al-Mawlid Al-Hani, from the route of Baqiyy Ibn Makhlad:
Among the signs is that Iblis, the forefather of the devils, was blocked from the news of the sky so he rang out a very loud scream. Likewise, he rang out when he was damned when he was taken out of Paradise, and when the Chapter of the Fati’hah was revealed.
Being born an orphan his mother was left with the responsibility of his upbringing; she sent him away with a wet-nurse Halima, a woman from the tribe of Banu Asad, living in the east outside of Makkah. This was the custom of the Arab aristocrats; send their children to live in the desert for those children to learn to speak Arabic eloquently away from all the accents in Makkah and to protect them from diseases spread in Makkah by flooding pilgrims from everywhere.
Muhammad as an infant and as a toddler spent the first four years of his life with Halima; she brought him back to his mother in Makkah during his fifth year of life because of an incident narrated by Anas b. Malik:
He reported that Gabriel came to the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) while he was playing with the son of Halima and his playmates. He took hold of him and laid him on the ground, tore open his chest and took out his heart, then extracted a blood-clot out of it and said“That was the part of Satan in thee”. And then he washed it with the water of Zamzam in a golden basin and restored the heart back into its place. The boy came running to his mother Halima, and said: “Verily Muhammad has been murdered”. They all rushed toward him (and found him all right) his face was pale. Anas said, “I myself saw the marks of stitches on his chest.”(Sahih Muslim)
عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم أَتَاهُ جِبْرِيلُ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَهُوَ يَلْعَبُ مَعَ الْغِلْمَانِ فَأَخَذَهُ فَصَرَعَهُ فَشَقَّ عَنْ قَلْبِهِ فَاسْتَخْرَجَ الْقَلْبَ فَاسْتَخْرَجَ مِنْهُ عَلَقَةً فَقَالَ هَذَا حَظُّ الشَّيْطَانِ مِنْكَ. ثُمَّ غَسَلَهُ فِي طَسْتٍ مِنْ ذَهَبٍ بِمَاءِ زَمْزَمَ ثُمَّ لأَمَهُ ثُمَّ أَعَادَهُ فِي مَكَانِهِ وَجَاءَ الْغِلْمَانُ يَسْعَوْنَ إِلَى أُمِّهِ – يَعْنِي ظِئْرَهُ – فَقَالُوا إِنَّ مُحَمَّدًا قَدْ قُتِلَ . فَاسْتَقْبَلُوهُ وَهُوَ مُنْتَقَعُ اللَّوْنِ . قَالَ أَنَسٌ وَقَدْ كُنْتُ أَرَى أَثَرَ ذَلِكَ الْمِخْيَطِ فِي صَدْرِهِ.(صحيح مسلم)
Muhammad (PBUH) spent the first four years of his life with Halima and her family and during the fifth year of his life, she brought him back to his mother at Makkah. It was only a few short months till his mother died on the way back from a trip visiting her husband’s grave and her uncle’s tribe in Yathrib (Medina); he was just six years old. It was reported that he helped bury her with his caretaker woman, Um-Ayman.
Muhammad’s guardianship was then transferred to his grandfather Abdul Muttalib Ibn Hisham; he was a respected and revered man by his tribe and all of Arabs. Abdul Muttalib loved him dearly and used to accompany him everywhere all the time but soon, only two years later, he died. On his death bed; Abdul Muttalib called all his sons together, all eleven of them, and told them that he was leaving two “bequests” for them; one was the leader of the clan of Banu Hashim, and the other was Muhammad Ibn Abdullah’s guardianship, their orphan nephew of eight, and gave them the choice.
Only Abu Talib volunteered to take guardianship of Muhammad while all others were eager to lead Banu Hashim. To their surprise, Abdul Muttalib announced that his son, Abu Talib, would succeed him as the new chief of Banu Hashim and that he would also be the guardian of Muhammad. They all complied with their father’s wishes and were dismissed.
Abu Talib and his wife Fatimah bintu Asad took Muhammad into their lives, home, and hearts. Abu Talib was honored and revered as was his father Abdul Muttalib before him. Muhammad joined his uncle in his trading and rulings and learned a great deal, and built a reputation of being truthful and trustworthy (As-Sadiq Al-Amin). Muhammad honored his uncle’s wife dearly and thought of her as a second mother. Eventually, Fatimah bintu Asad believed in his message, became a Muslim and migrated to Madinah where she died a few years after. On her death she was wrapped in Muhammad’s robes PBUH, he dug her grave, helped bury her and supplicated Allah to reward her while crying in sadness for her death.
Muhammad’s childhood (PBUH) was a hard one; forging him to be able to withstand the hardships of his noble mission to come being the Final Messenger of Allah to humanity. Those ordeals he lived through were cornerstones to his extraordinary characters and perfect manners preparing him to fulfill his mission. May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, his family, and his righteous companions.