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From Birth to Divine Appointment

According to the preponderance of hadiths, the birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took place on the 17th of Rabi` al-Awwal of the year of `Amm al-Fil (570 AD), or according to some others on the 12th of the same month. His father was `Abd Allah son of `Abd al-Muttalib and his mother was Aminah daughter of Wahab, both of the tribe of Quraysh, a powerful and influential clan in Mecca most of whose members were in the merchant business. A short time before the birth of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), his father `Abd Allah fell ill after returning from a business trip to Syria and passed away. According to the custom of the day Muhammad (PBUH) was given to the care of a woman named Halimah so that he would grow up in the serene environment of the desert life. At the age of six he accompanied his mother in a journey to Yathrib (Medina). Upon their return Aminah also fell ill and died as a result and was buried at Abwa’ cemetery near Medina. Muhammad (PBUH) was then trusted to the care of his grandfather `Abd al-Muttalib. Two years later, upon the death of his grandfather, Muhammad (PBUH) found a new guardian in his uncle Abu Talib, who spent a great deal of effort in raising his nephew. During one of Abu Talib’s business trips to Syria Muhammad (PBUH) was seen by a Christian monk named Bahira who informed Abu Talib about the signs of prophethood in the young boy. Among the pre-Appointment events of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) life is his participation in the accord known as Half al-Fuzul in which a group of Meccans committed themselves to the protection of the weak and their rights. A compact that was held in great esteem by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the later years of his life and about which he said that he would join any similar one upon being called to do so. 

Muhammad’s (PBUH) honesty and truthfulness reached such prominence that he came be given the title Amin (trustworthy). This fact was brought to the attention of Khadijah, daughter of Khuwayld, who put Muhammad (PBUH) in charge of her business activities in Syria. Later, she became so impressed with the integrity of Muhammad (PBUH) the Amin that she took the initiative in offering her hand in marriage to him; in spite of the fact that based on many accounts she was 15 years his elder. Khadijah was a loyal wife for Muhammad (PBUH) and he did not take another wife while Khadijah was still alive. She gave birth to several boys, none of whom reached the age of maturity. Among the girls Fatimah (PBUH) is the most famous. Very few details are available about this period of the Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) life, except that he was known as a man of reflection who was dismayed about the despicable manners of his people, the basest instance of which was their idolatry which he shunned vehemently. For a short period prior to his divine appointment he used to seek solitude in a cave near Mecca called Harra.

* source: Gorji , Abolghasem "Islam Entry" The Great Islamic Encyclopedia. Ed. Kazem Musavi Bojnourdi.Tehran: The Center of Great Islamic Encyclopaedia , 1989-, V.8 ,pp.396 - 397

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