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Abdullah ibn Abd al-Muttalib: The Noble Father of the Prophet (s)

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The father of the Noble Prophet of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (s) was Abdullah, the youngest son of Abd al-Muttalib (at the time of his birth). He was the favorite son of Abd al-Muttalib and the full brother of the great Abu Talib. Abdullah was a merchant who used to travel to different places for trade. In this article on Islam4u, we will look at the life of this noble personality.

His Birth

The exact date of birth of Abdullah is unclear. However, historians say that Abdullah was born circa 546 CE in Mecca. His mother was Fatima, the daughter of Amr ibn ‘A’idh al-Makhzumi. Abdullah, Abu Talib (the father of Imam Ali [a]), Zubayr, and five other daughters of Abd al-Muttalib shared the same mother. Abdullah was the youngest son of Abd al-Muttalib and his favorite son. He used to say that he could see the light of prophethood from his forehead due to his illuminant face.

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Abdullah’s Teknonym (Kunya)

Abdullah means “the servant of God.” His teknonym (kunya) was either Abu Muhammad or Abu Ahmad. Kunya is usually, but not always when a person is called by his son’s name. Therefore, Abdullah’s son was Prophet Muhammad (s) and he was called Abu Muhammad or Abu Ahmad, “the father of Muhammad or Ahmad.” However, sometimes one’s Kunya does not have anything to do with the name of one’s son. For example, Imam al-Rida (a) was called Abu al-Hassan, even though he did not have a son named Hassan. Likewise, Imam al-Jawad (a) did not have a son named Ja‘far, yet he was called Abu Ja‘far.

Abdullah’s Marriage With Amina

Abd al-Muttalib decided to have his son Abdullah married to the daughter of the head of the Bani Zuhra tribe. Her name was Amina bint Wahab. She was the noblest woman of Quraish at that time in terms of her lineage and status. The fruit of this marriage was Prophet Muhammad (s), who was born on Rabi‘ al-Awwal 17 in the year of the elephant, coinciding with 570 CE.

Abdullah’s Faith

Abdullah was a monotheist. He was not an idolater like most of the people of Arabia. In fact, most of the members of the Banu Hashim clan, such as Abd al-Muttalib, Abu Talib, Hamza, and Abdullah, were monotheists and followers of the religion of Prophet Ibrahim (a) and Prophet Ismail (a), before the advent of Islam. In other words, Abdullah was a hanif, just like his forefather Ibrahim (a). The Prophet (s) has said in a hadith, “I was transferred from one pure loin and one pure womb to another.” Both Shia and Sunni narrators have narrated this hadith. Therefore, the Prophet’s father and mother and all his forefathers and foremothers until Adam (a) were pure monotheists.

Plan to Kill Abdullah

The Jewish soothsayers and rabbis who knew about the birth of the Prophet of Islam did their best to prevent the Noble Prophet from being born. All the characteristics of the Prophet, his father, his mother, etc. were written in their books. As the Quran says, “They knew him (i.e., the Prophet) like they knew their sons.” (2:146; 6:20) Therefore, their first attempt was to kill Abdullah. As a result, they prepared poisoned food and took it to Abd al-Muttalib’s house. Before they could even eat the food, the food began to speak and said, “Do not eat me, I have been poisoned.” Therefore, they did not eat that food.

On another occasion, Abdullah went outside Mecca to hunt. The Jews took advantage of this opportunity and surrounded him with the intention of killing him. However, a group of Hashemites arrived and rushed to Abdullah’s help. Some say that Abdullah’s suspicious death was owing to the Jews poisoning him. However, it was too late because Muhammad was already conceived and would soon be born, or as some say he was already born when Abdullah died. It is not improbable that He was poisoned because the Jews hatched many plots to kill the Prophet (s) himself.

Abdullah’s Demise

There is a difference of opinion concerning the demise of Abdullah. Most historians say that he died before the birth of Prophet Muhammad (s). However, there are some historians like Ya‘qubi who by narrating a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a) maintain that Abdullah died two months after the birth of the Noble Prophet (s). Some narrations have said that he died seven months after the Prophet’s birth, and some have even said 28 months after the birth of the Prophet (s).

The reason for his death in Medina has been said to be due to illness (probably due to poisoning by the Jews). Abdullah went on a trade journey to the Levant (Sham) with a caravan of Quraish. On his way back, he stopped in Medina owing to illness and stayed there for a month, after which he passed away at the age of 25. Abdullah left several things as inheritance including a slave woman named “Umm Ayman,” five camels, a herd of sheep, an old sword, and an amount of money. The Noble Prophet (s) who was the only son of Abdullah inherited them. Abdullah is buried in Medina in a place called Dar al-Nabighah (دار النابغه).

Conclusion

Abdullah, the youngest son of Abd al-Muttalib at the time of his birth, was the esteemed father of the Noble Prophet (s). He was a righteous man who believed in and worshipped one God similar to his father and ancestors. It has been said that the light of prophethood could be seen in his face. For this reason, Abdullah was Abd al-Muttalib’s favorite son. He married Amina bint Wahab and the fruit of their marriage was the Noble Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (s). Abdullah died shortly before the birth, or several months after the birth of the Prophet (s). He died due to illness (or poisoning as some say) at the age of 25. He is buried in Medina. May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

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