The womb of Aaminah bint Wahb was that womb wherein the noble foetus (of Allah’s Messenger) settled. This seed has been moving from loins of men, generation after generation until Allah in His Divine wisdom decreed that it moved to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib, the youthful Qurayshi who excelled his contemporaries in greatness and beauty and in whose eyes the light of Prophethood was shining.
The birth of the Seal of Prophethood would firmly be rooted in the history of mankind, bearing witness to Allah’s absolute Will. There is no change in His Words and there is no preventer for what He has decreed. “Allah chose Adam, Nooh; [Noah], the family of Ibraheem [Abraham] and the family of ‘Imraan above the Aalameen [mankind and jinn] [of their times]. Offspring, one of the other, and Allah is the All-Hearer, All-Knower”. (Surah Aal ‘Imraan/03, v: 33-34)
‘Abdullah, father of Prophet Muhammad (Sallaallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam). ‘Abdullah was the smartest of ‘Abdul-Muttalib’s sons, the most chaste and the most loved. His mother was Faatimah, daughter of ‘Amr bin ‘Aa’idh bin ‘Imraan bin Makhzoom bin Yaqdha bin Murra. He was also the son whom the divination arrows pointed at to be slaughtered as a sacrifice to the Ka‘bah. When ‘Abdul-Muttalib had ten sons and they reached maturity, he divulged to them his secret vow in which they silently and obediently acquiesced. 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 to be sacrificed. ‘Abdul-Muttalib then took the boy to the Ka’bah with a razor to slaughter the boy. His uncles from the Makhzoom tribe and his brother Abu Talib, however, tried to dissuade him from consummating his purpose. He then sought their advice as regards his vow. They suggested that he summon a she-diviner to judge whereabout. 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 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. Another thing closely relevant to the above issue goes to the effect that the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) once said: “I am the offspring of the slaughtered two,” meaning Ismaa‘eel (Ishmael) and ‘Abdullah.
On their way back ‘Abdul-Muttalib and his son passed a woman from Bani Asad ibn ‘Abdul ‘Uzza, a fortune-teller from TibaIah who was known as Faatimah bint Murr al-Khath‘amiyyah. This woman was one of the most beautiful and most chaste Arab women. She looked into the face of ‘Abdullah, that was illuminating with the light of Prophethood which seemed to glow more now than ever. She said, “You will be given the like of the camels that were sacrificed for your ransom if you can cohabit with me now.” But ‘Abdullah replied her that it was better to die than to commit unlawful thing and that a noble man preserves his honour and religion.
The news of a Prophet that would come out from the children of lsmaa‘eel (‘Alayhis-Salaam), was spreading among the Arabs all over the peninsula. This news was based on what the people of the Scripture narrated and from what is recorded in their Torah implicitly and explicitly, as well as from what the fortune-tellers and astrologers were saying.
‘Abdul-Muttalib chose Aaminah, daughter of Wahb bin ‘Abd Manaaf bin Zahrah bin Kilaab, 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 Zahrah to whom great honour was attributed. They were married in Makkah, and soon after the twenty five year old ‘Abdullah was sent by his father to buy dates in Madeenah where he passed away. In another version, ‘Abdullah went to Syria on a trade journey and died in Madeenah on his way back. Most historians state that his death was two months before the birth of
Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam). When Aaminah 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 Ayman – who would later serve as the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) nursemaid.
The separation was painful, arid more painful than this is the movement of the foetus in her womb. It had already become an orphan before it was born and before it could open its eyes. That was the degree of her psychological pain. But she had a consolation- her own self. She was strong and persevering. She also found consolation in ‘Abdul-Muttalib who took care of her and showed her compassion. He would not leave her for a second, unless if he had to attend to his private needs. Her greatest consolation was however her baby. She never felt any hardship or inconvenience, whether physical or psychological. What she felt was rather the opposite of that. She was comfortable and at ease. She felt as if she was a different person because she had no consideration for materialism of the humans. She was just like a spectre that hovers in the air.
Someone came to her while she was asleep and told her, “You are pregnant with the leader and the Prophet of this Ummah.” He came to her again before she gave birth and told her, “Say after you have delivered him, ‘I seek protection for him with the One (Allah) from the evil of every jealous.’ Then name him ‘Muhammad’.” Thus did Aaminah continue to see dreams. And more than once did the dreams give her glad tidings, strengthen her, encourage her to be patient, console her and elevate her stand and that of the pregnancy she was carrying.
The delivery day was a great day. It was on the twelfth day of Rabee’ul-Awwal at dawn. This very time has its meaning and significance. It has its dimensions in the horizons of time. It was the dawn that removed the darkness from mankind, the accumulated darkness that had made mankind deviated from the straight path and the darkness of humans’ injustice against their fellow humans. Yes! It was in the Spring … after the cold, hurricanes, roars and thunders of the winter and after the darkness of its clouds. It was in the Spring after the heat and the scorch of the Summer and after the dryness and the changes in the nature that come with Autumn.
Aaminah said, “When I delivered him, a light came out with him that illuminated what is between the East and the West. The light illuminated palaces and markets of Syria until I saw the necks of the camels in Basra. I saw three erected flags: one at the East, one at the West and the third over the Ka’bah.”
‘Abdul-Muttalib, the Prophet’s grandfather came and took the boy Muhammad to al-Ka’bah, going round the Ka’bah with him and saying, “Praise be to Allah Who gave me this greatly important boy; I seek Allah’s protection for him.”
It is here that Haleemah bint Abi Dhu‘ayb of the clan of Bani Sa’d, entered the life of Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) as his second mother (wet nurse of the Prophet Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam). Before we commence our discussion about her life and the role she played we need to make a quick mention of the first milk that entered the Prophet’s noble stomach. She is Thuwaybah the freed maid of his uncle Abu Lahab (‘Abdul-‘Uzza ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib) who dearly loved his brother ‘Abdullah. Abu Lahab was gravely saddened by the death of his brother. And when his maid, Thuwaybah came to him and broke the good news of the birth of Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) to him, he was so happy that he set her free. That was the habit of the Arab noble men. It was a source of pride and glory for them.
It appeared that Thuwaybah stayed with Aaminah for few days after she delivered. She also had just delivered a baby then. Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) was breastfed by her until Haleemah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) came and took him with her.
The role that Haleemah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) was to play in the Prophet’s (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) early childhood was fundamental and important. The two periods of his stay with her at the dwellings of Bani Sa’d were full of important events.
Muhammad (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) stayed with Haleemah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) for two years until he was weaned as Haleemah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) said: “We then took him back to his mother requesting her earnestly to have him stay with us and benefit by the good fortune. At last, we were granted our wish and the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) stayed with us until he was four or five years of age.” Haleemah (RadiyAllaahu ‘anhaa) later returned the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) to his mother with whom he stayed until he was six.
In respect of the memory of her late husband, Aaminah decided to visit his grave in Yathrib (Madeenah). She set out to cover a journey of 500 kilometers with her orphan son, woman servant Umm Ayman and her father-in-law ‘Abdul-Muttalib. She spent a month there and then took her way back to Makkah. On the way, she had a severe illness and died in Abwa on the road between Makkah and Madeenah.
“Women Around The Messenger” by Muhammad ‘Ali Qutb. Translated by ‘Abdur-Rafi’ Adewale Imam. International Islamic Publishing House
“Ar-Raheeq Al-Makhtum (The Sealed Nectar)” by Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri