All tribes in Mecca were related to each other, thus they created treaties between each other to insure the security from attacks. However, for a stranger this was not the case. There was no one to protect a stranger if he had been oppressed. A man came to Mecca from another town to do some business. Aas Ibn Wa’el, a citizen of Mecca, purchased the man’s materials and didn’t pay anything in return. The man went to the tribe of Quraish and asked for help, but no one helped him. As a result of this event a group of youth from Quraish gathered and agreed to stop any oppression on strangers. They named the agreement as “Helf al-Fodul.” Being one of the main members of establishing this agreement, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) joined the agreement. Later on he regarded it as an excellent event.
From this discussion we can hopefully know and follow the Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.)
better than before.
1- Prophet (S.A.W.) in his childhood
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was breastfed by his mother Amena (A.S.) in the first
three (or seven according to some historians) days after his birth. Afterwards,
as a famous Arabian tradition, a nurse was chosen to breastfeed and take care of
him outside the city in desert of Arabia. There were a number of reasons for
this tradition: First, children would grow stronger and healthier in desert.
Second, since those who lived in deserts had far less communication with foreign
people, children could learn the Arabic language purely and without foreign
accents. Third, children would be protected from deadly diseases that prevailed
within the cities.
Historians believe that the Prophet (S.A.W.) had two nurses:
1. Thuwaybah Aslamiah: To the end of her life, she gained very high respect from
the Prophet (S.A.W.) and his wife Khadijah (A.S.)because of nursing and
breastfeeding the Prophet (S.A.W.). The Prophet (S.A.W.) was greatly grieved by
2. Halimah Sa’diah: The daughter of Dhu’ayyab, along with one of her three
daughters took care and nursed the Prophet (S.A.W.). The story that she was
selected as the nurse of the Prophet (S.A.W.) is briefly mentioned as follows.
Four months after the birth of the Prophet (S.A.W.), all the nurses of Bani Asad
tribe came to Mecca to breastfeed the Prophet (S.A.W.). The Prophet (S.A.W.)
drank the milk of none but Halimah; thus she became the Prophet’s (S.A.W.)
Halimah explains that with the entrance of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), blessings
showered her life such that their property and herd increased daily. Although
drought had spread throughout the deserts and cities, Halimah’s sheep were
healthy and full of milk. Their shriveled trees prospered and grew back green
leaves. The camels regained their milk. Furthermore, a number of ill people who
came to their house were cured because of the presence of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.).
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) stayed with the Bani Asad tribe for five or six years
till he grew up. During this period, Halimah took him to visit his mother, Amena
(A.S.), three times and the last time she did not take him back.
It has been narrated that when the Prophet (S.A.W.) and Khadijah (A.S.)got
married, Halimah came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and complained about the drought.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) gave her some sheep and camels and she returned to her
family. After the appointment of the Prophet (S.A.W.), Halimah and her husband
came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and converted to Islam.
2- The adolescence period
When Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) reached the age of six, his mother took him to
Yathrib (present day "Medina") so he could visit his relatives and his father’s
grave. They stayed there for one month.
Upon their return to Mecca, Lady Amena (A.S.)passed away. After her demise Abd
al-Muttalib (PBUH), the Prophet’s (S.A.W.) grandfather and the master of Quraish
who had the glory of the kings and the majesty of the prophets, took the
responsibility of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). It has been said that there was
always a carpet placed near the Kaaba for Abd al-Muttalib (PBUH). No one else
dared to sit on the carpet in respect of Abd al-Muttalib (PBUH), however when
the little Muhammad (S.A.W.) joined their gatherings, Abd al-Muttalib (A.S.)would
place him on the carpet next to himself and would say: "I swear by Allah that he
has a high rank. I seem to view a day where he will become your master."
When the Prophet (S.A.W.) became eight years old, Abd al-Muttalib (A.S.)passed
away as well. This incident made the Prophet (S.A.W.) very sad.
After that Abu Talib (PBUH), the Prophet’s (S.A.W.) great uncle and the master
of Quraish, accepted to look after him. He, like his father, Abd al-Muttalib (PBUH),
looked after Muhammad (S.A.W.) carefully. Although Abu Talib (A.S.)was not rich,
he and his honorable wife Fatimah bint Asad (the mother of Imam Ali (PBUH)),
tried their best in looking after Muhammad (S.A.W.).
His presence in his uncle’s house was not ordinary. Signs of his greatness could
be seen everywhere. His entrance to their house brought bountiful blessings to
the house of Abu Talib (PBUH). Lady Fatimah the daughter of Asad has said, "From
the moment that Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) entered our home, the tree, which had
dried up for years, prospered and offered fruits."
Abu Talib narrates that they would hear Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) praying at
nights. Though it was against the custom of Arabs to remember Allah (SWT) while
eating, the little Muhammad (S.A.W.) would not start eating or drinking unless
reciting the name of Allah (SWT). He would also end his meal by thanking Allah (SWT),
2.1 The travel to Shaam
Quraish’s businessmen used to go to Shaam and Yemen every year. Abu Talib used
to go with them from time to time. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) attended one of
these trips to Shaam with his uncle when he was 12 years old.
Abu Talib was the Prophet’s (S.A.W.) guardian after the demise of Abd al-Muttalib
(PBUH). In the trip, their caravan rested in the city of "Basri".
A great Christian monk named Bohayra had been living in Basri for many years.
Unlike every year, Bohayra came out of his monastery and invited the passing
caravan for a meal. While the others were having their meal, Bohayra seemed to
be seeking something. Finally, he found what he was looking for in the young
Muhammad (S.A.W.). Bohayra was carefully watching his actions and behaviors.
After everyone finished their food, Bohayra came to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and
asked him couple of questions from his past and other issues. Then he looked
upon the Prophet’s (S.A.W.) shoulder and found a speckle like he had expected
(which later became known as the seal of Prophethood). Bohayra told Abu Talib
that this young man would become a great person. He also made a suggestion to
Abu Talib (A.S.)to return Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) back to his hometown in
order to be safe from the Jews.
3- The adulthood period
3.1 The youth agreement
Another important aspect of Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) life before his
appointment to prophecy was his enrollment in "the youth agreement."
All tribes in Mecca were related to each other, thus they created treaties
between each other to insure the security from attacks. However, for a stranger
this was not the case. There was no one to protect a stranger if he had been
A man came to Mecca from another town to do some business. Aas Ibn Wa’el, a
citizen of Mecca, purchased the man’s materials and didn’t pay anything in
return. The man went to the tribe of Quraish and asked for help, but no one
helped him. As a result of this event a group of youth from Quraish gathered and
agreed to stop any oppression on strangers. They named the agreement as "Helf
al-Fodul". Being one of the main members of establishing this agreement, Prophet
Muhammad (S.A.W.) joined the agreement. Later on he regarded it as an excellent
3.2 Lady Khadijah (PBUH)
Before discussing Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) marriage with Lady Khadijah (PBUH),
let us briefly discuss her character.
She is the first woman who accepted the invitation of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
and converted to Islam.
According to most historians, she was 68 when Prophet (S.A.W.) moved from Mecca
to Medina. Her father was Khuwaylid Ibn Asad and her mother was Fatimah bint
Za’idah. Lady Khadijah (A.S.)was related to the Prophet (S.A.W.) from her
Some of the researchers have said that Fatimah al-Zahra (A.S.)was her only
child; however, most scholars say that she had other children as well.
Lady Khadijah (A.S.)was known as a clever person and she had great morality.
Moreover, at that time, it was common amongst Arabs to disrespect women and kill
their daughters. In such a period however, Lady Khadijah (A.S.)was famous for
titles such as "the pious" or "the Lady of the women of Quraish".
She was one of the richest merchants of Quraish. She used to lend some goods to
other merchants who went to other cities such as Yemen and on their return they
would share the profit of that business. Although most great merchants of
Quraish were willing to marry Lady Khadijah (PBUH), she chose to marry Prophet
Muhammad (S.A.W.) who was financially in a lower class. After marriage, she
devoted all her wealth in spreading Islam. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said: "Khadijah’s
wealth was the most useful wealth I ever had." In the 6th year after Prophet’s
appointment, when Muslims were surrounded in an area called "She’eb Abu Talib",
Lady Khadijah (A.S.)used her wealth and power among Quraish to help surrounded
Muslims. She spent all of her wealth for Muslims to the extent that before her
demise, she had nothing left.
She was one of the greatest women of the world and her rank is as high as the
great Mary (PBUH), mother of Prophet Jesus (PBUH). Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
says about her: "Four greatest women of the world are: Khadijah daughter
Khuwaylid, Fatimah bint Muhammad, Mary bint Emran and Asyeh bint Masher, the
wife of Pharaoh."
It has been narrated several times that, Gabriel, the angle of revelation,
inspired to the Prophet (S.A.W.) and brought Allah’s (SWT) salute for Prophet
Muhammad (S.A.W.) and Lady Khadijah (PBUH). This inspiration indicates the great
rank of Lady Khadijah (PBUH), because –according to the Holy Quran– Allah (SWT)
salutes to his Prophets (PBUT).
Gabriel said: "O Muhammad! Salute to Khadijah from Allah". Prophet told Khadijah
(PBUH): "This is Gabriel who has brought Allah’s salute and peace for you.
Khadijah (A.S.)replied: "Allah is all peace; peace is from Allah and my salute
Lady Khadijah (A.S.)had a great value in the eyes of the Prophet (S.A.W.) to the
extent that he did not marry a second woman while she was alive. The year that
she passed away, was coincident with the demise of Prophet’s uncle Abu Talib (PBUH).
As a result that year was called "the year of sadness." After her demise, the
Prophet (S.A.W.) regarded her many times as a great woman.
Aisha, one of the Prophet’s wives, narrates: "The Prophet never left our house
unless he reminded well of Khadijah." Aisha also narrates: "Whenever, Prophet
Muhammad slaughtered a lamb he would say: ‘Send this to friends of Khadijah.’
Once I asked for the reason of this action and he replied: ‘I like friends of
Khadijah as well."
Considering her high position, it might be easier to realize why she gained the
glory of being the Prophet’s wife and the honor of being mother of Fatimah
al-Zahra (PBUH), the Lady of all women of the worlds.
3.3 Prophet’s marriage (S.A.W.) with Lady Khadijah (PBUH)
As mentioned in the previous part, Lady Khadijah (A.S.)was one of the wealthiest
merchants of Quraish. She dispatched some men to different cities to trade;
afterwards, she would get her share from the profit of their business.
When Lady Khadijah (A.S.)was informed of Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.)
truthfulness, moral virtues, and his trustworthiness (as he was well-known for),
she offered him to go to Syria for trade. She also gave him a larger share than
the rest men.
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) accepted this offer and left for Syria; he was being
accompanied with Meysara, Lady Khadijah’s (A.S.)special servant.
When they arrived in Syria, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) came down in the shadow of
a tree near a monastery. A monk asked Meysara: "Who is the man under that tree?"
Meysara replied:" He is of Quraish tribe and from Mecca." The monk said: "I
swear to Allah that he is no one except a Prophet."
Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) sold what he had brought; he bought some other
material and then returned to Mecca. In this journey, all businessmen made
profit, especially Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) who made more than others. Once
they returned, Lady Khadijah (A.S.) asked Meysara about Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.);
he said that whatever he did was orderly, logical and wise. He also narrated the
happenings throughout the journey and said: "When one of the traders asked him
to swear to Laat and Ozza, the two famous idols in Mecca, he refused to do that
and said: ‘To me, nothing is inferior to Lat and Ozza.’"
Once Lady Khadijah (A.S.) became aware of these incidents, she sent a messenger
to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) to express her proposal for marriage. She wanted to
marry him because of his dignity amongst family, truthfulness, moral virtues,
Once Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was informed of this issue, he sent his uncles to
house of Lady Khadijah (A.S.) to propose for her hand in marriage. In the
proposal session, Abu Talib, the Prophet’s uncle, praised Allah (SWT) and then
spoke of the virtues of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). He proposed marriage on
behalf of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) to Lady Khadijah (PBUH). Lady Khadijah (A.S.)
accepted the proposal and got married to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.). At that
time, Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) was twenty-five years old, and according to some
narrators Lady Khadijah (A.S.) was 40. Other narrators, however, record that
Lady Khadijah (A.S.) was younger.
3.4 Putting Hajar al-Aswad in its place
Another important event that occurred before the Prophet’s mission was the
replacement of Hajar al-Aswad in its place. It has been recorded in history that
even before Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) appointment the house of Allah (SWT) (Kaaba)
was greatly revered by the Arabs. The Prophet (S.A.W.) and some of his ancestors
used to do rituals around the Kaaba.
One year, there was a flood in Mecca which destroyed the walls of Kaaba. Quraish,
who took the control over this house, decided to repair it. Once they built the
walls, a serious dispute raised amongst them, which was going to cause a bloody
war. Each tribe wanted the honor of putting the sacred stone of Hajar al-Aswad
in its place. Finally an old man who was highly respected by the Quraish tribe
suggested that the first man, who entered the mosque area, should become the
judge between them. Everyone accepted this suggestion. Meanwhile, Prophet
Muhammad (S.A.W.) entered the mosque and the great men of Quraish accepted that
he should be the judge.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) commanded them to widen a peace of cloth on the ground.
Then he put Hajar al-Aswad on it and called the head of every tribe to take one
corner of the cloth.
When they picked up the cloth by the wall, the Prophet (S.A.W.) took the stone
and put it in its place. With this wise judgment he put an end to the probable
This event shows us that although he was only 35 years old by that time, the
Prophet (S.A.W.) was greatly honored by the Quraish and they all agreed on the
honesty and trustworthiness of him.
4- The moral characteristics of the Prophet (S.A.W.)
By looking at the life of the great men and their spiritual characteristics, we
may know them and their distinguishing characteristics better. The study of
different stages of Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) life could give us a chance to
know more about his moral characteristics and also may help us to follow his
path as an ideal human.
It should be noted that what we say here is a little part of his moral
characteristics and we will consider this case more deeply in an article titled
as: "Moral Characteristics of the Prophet (S.A.W.)".
In short, his forty-year life period before the appointment was associated with
chastity and honesty, trustworthiness and rightness, doing good with the poor
and the lower, hatred towards the immoralities within the society along with its
custom of idol worshiping. His high moralities and generosity in his behaviors
gained the praise of all, to the extent that Allah (SWT) praised him in the Holy
Quran for his high moralities. The Prophet (S.A.W.) was nicknamed as "the
trustworthy" from the beginning of his youth, thus people trusted him to watch
over their properties.
Mostly everyone was against his mission as the Prophet (S.A.W.), but no one
doubted in his trustworthiness and thus he continued to secure their properties.
Despite the enmity that existed toward him in the city, no one doubted his
honesty. Therefore when he decided to migrate from Mecca to Medina, he appointed
Imam Ali (A.S.)to pay the debts and to return the properties to their owners.
The Prophet (S.A.W.) never accompanied the people of Mecca in their wining,
dining, and unethical nightly parties. Due to the great suffer he endured in
that society, he would head towards the cave of Heraa to worship Allah (SWT) for
long periods. (You may refer to the article of "The Appointment of the Prophet (S.A.W.)"
for more information).
He always named Allah (SWT) before eating, and never ate meat that was not
properly slaughtered. Like other prophets, he spent part of his youth as a
shepherd. Being a shepherd had great impact on the prophets. It allowed them to
separate themselves from the bad deeds of the society; it taught them to endure
the difficulties, and it increased their faith in Allah (SWT) as they saw the
power of Allah (SWT) and the order He has arranged for nature.
As noted in the section "The Prophet Muhammad’s (S.A.W.) Marriage", the Prophet
(S.A.W.) spent part of his youth doing trade. It was his high moral
characteristics that attracted Lady Khadijah (A.S.)towards himself and
eventually led to their marriage.