4. ABDUL MUTALLIB
After the time of Prophet Ibrahim (as) and Ismael, the people gradually began to worship and pray to Idols. They began to believe in many gods, who they said were partners with Allah. This is the worst sin called shirk and led to the downfall of this once healthy and prosperous society.
as time went on, things became so bad that the house of Allah, the Ka’bah, was filled and surrounded by 360 idols. Allah made the people hard-hearted and they fought over the smallest thing. Much hatred and bloodshed existed within this community and evil was rampant. This period is known as Jahaliat, the times of ignorance.
The period before Islam is described in this poem:
Arabia is the location of this rhyme,
long ago, before our prophets time.
It was a very harsh and barren land,
surrounded by vast oceans of sand.
The Arab society, lacked law and order
and was infested with chaos and disorder.
All the Arabs did was quarrel and fight.
Few were educated, a handful could write.
The strong and ruthless ruled the tribes,
consisting mainly of corruption and bribes.
Much blood was spilt in many a feud,
and their fighting was unjust and crude.
They fought over the smallest thing
and death and mourning, this would bring.
These tribal feuds, for years would last
and deep into misery, the society was cast.
Every vice and evil, they staunchly followed
In their depravity, like animals they wallowed
Chasing every desire, alcohol they drank.
To the depth of corruption, they now sank.
Rights and dignity they didn’t respect,
to call them barbaric would be correct.
Their treatment of orphans was inhumane,
cause them suffering and so much pain.
The women’s status was considered low.
Not a shred of respect, did they ever show.
It is evident enough that evil did thrive,
when newborn daughters were buried alive.
They worshipped gods made of stone
Others made of wood, feathers or bone
Some worshiped trees, stars or the sun
And the belief in one god, they did shun
Every civilization had passed them by
To conquer them, no nation would try
To them the Arabs were a lost cause
A society riddled with evil and flaws
In total ignorance, the Arabs thus dwelled
and against Allah, they continually rebelled
To truth and knowledge, they were blind
and this rang true, for the rest of mankind
It was from Arabia, the truth shone bright
The words of Allah, an illuminating light
It came in the form of the Holy Qu’ran.
Guidance from Allah – the Lord of man.
There were a few significant people that came before the prophet, which are worth mentioning. Qusay was one of the main chiefs of Makkah, who was from the tribe of Quraish. He was a handsome fellow and the leadership of Makkah fell to him after a bitter war. War was common amongst the Arabs. The Quraish were considered amongst the noblest tribes because they were direct descendents of Ismael.
Qusay ruled Makkah like a king. He would collect the taxes from the people, to provide for the pilgrims who still visited Makkah and performed the Hajj. Qusay built himself a big spacious house close to the sanctuary. He also encouraged his tribesmen to build themselves houses. Previously the people had lived in tents, camping close to the Ka’bah.
Qusay had many sons, the most prominent and famous was Hashim. He was very gifted and provided water and food for the pilgrims, when they came to Makkah. He was a great merchant and established the two great trade routes through Makkah. Both the trade routes passed through Yathrib, which was a small oasis town which lay on the ancient incense route. The winter trade route was between Makkah and Yemen whilst the summer trade route went into northern Arabia going into Palestine and Syria.
Through this trade, Makkah began to prosper and became a major city which attracted much wealth. Hashim married Salma, the daughter of Amr, from the clan of Khazraj. Salma and Hashim had one son whom they named Shaybah. Both Salma and Shaybah remained in Yathrib and were often visited by Hashim on his trade journeys. However, Hashim wasn’t granted a long life and he passed away in the Gaza in Palestine. Shaybah remained with Salma in Yathrib, until Shaybah was about 14 years of age.
Muttalib, the brother of Hashim took over the role of looking after the affairs of the pilgrims. However, he had great love for his brother, Hashim, who had passed away at such a young age. He also heard a lot of good things said about Hashim’s son, Shaybah. Shaybah had continued to live in Yathrib with his mother Salma after his father had passed away. He was growing into a pleasant youngster with a kind nature.
Mutallib decided to visit Salma and Shaybah in Yathrib. On reaching Yathrib he spoke to his nephew and Salma. He explained to them that since Shaybah was a son of Hashim, he should come and live in Makkah. Makkah was a great city and had a lot more to offer than Yathrib. This was especially true because Shaybah was from the tribe of Quraish, the most respected and honoured tribe in Arabia. He also had the possibility of taking over the sacred and noble duties at Hajj, which his father fulfilled so well.
Salma, reluctantly at first, decided to let Shaybah travel to and live in Makkah with his uncle Muttalib. Both Uncle and nephew set off for Makkah, leaving behind Yathrib. When they reached Makkah, the people were amused at the sight of seeing Muttalib and this young boy, whom they assumed to be the slave of Muttalib. They referred to him as Abdul Muttalib, which means the slave of Muttalib. After Muttalib corrected them and told them that he was his nephew, they lovingly continued to call Shaybah by the name of Abdul Muttalib.
After Abdul Muttalib came to Makkah, he came to be loved by the people, He managed to secure his rights from his family and lived happily in Makkah. After Muttalib passed away, Abdul Muttalib took over in the duties of proving food and water for the pilgrims. He excelled in this, which further enhanced his reputation for leadership and fairness.
One of the first events which took place at the time of Abdul Muttalib was the rediscovery of the blessing of Zamzam. The Zamzam had been taken away from the people when they had strayed from tawheed. The Zamzam was a great blessing of Allah which had been gifted to the people many hundreds of years earlier. The people had gradually moved away from the truth and became more wicked and unjust. They began to worship idols, which is such a grave sin. Allah took the Zamzam away from the people and this blessing had been lost for many years.
The story begins when Abdul Muttalib was sleeping under the shade of the Ka’bah, at a place near the Hijr Ismael. This was a common occurrence for people to see Abdul Mutallib sleeping there. One time, he had a dream which repeated itself three times and in the last dream, he heard a voice asking him to dig in a certain place near the Ka’bah.
Abdul Muttalib was initially stunned by the dreams but then decided he would listen to this voice in the dream. Abdul Muttalib, in the company of his son Hashim, took two pick axes and began to dig near the Ka’bah. It was at the place where animals were sacrificed, between the two idols. Before long a crowd gathered to see what was happening. He was asked to stop by some of the people but he continued to dig with his son Harith watching over him.
Before long he came to some well stones where he found some treasures the tribe of Juram had buried. This included swords, armours and the two gold statues. He also found the well of Zamzam that had been lost and forgotten about for so many years. When he unearthed it, the water gushed forth and others tried to join Abdul Muttalib in this blessed work. However, he lay claim to the finding and the tradition of providing Zamzam fell exclusively to him.
After this Abdul Muttalib gained lots of respect from the Arabs. He did a prayer that may Allah provide him with ten sons and promised that if they all grew up into young men he would sacrifice one of them. Little did he know that Allah would soon bless him with ten sons and he would need to fulfil this promise.
Over time he had ten sons and with regret he remembered his promise to sacrifice one of them. For such a long time he dreaded this day but he knew in his heart that he would need to. Abdul Mutallib decided to fulfil his promise but which son would he choose? Abdul Muttalib drew lots and the fate of the sacrifice fell on Abdullah, the youngest and his most beloved son. He was very sad but he knew that he must fulfil this promise.
Abdul Muttalib went to the Ka’bahwith his son Abdullah intending to sacrifice him. When the people saw this they stopped him asking him where he was going with this handsome young boy and the knife. The people learned that he was going to sacrifice him so they told him to sacrifice some camels instead.
After listening to their advice he decided to consult a wise woman from Yathrib. Adbul Mutallib told the whole story to the wise woman and she advised him to sacrifice ten camels at a time until the promise was fulfilled. He would know that the promise was fulfilled when the divining arrow would point at the camels instead of his son. The divining arrows was a way of deciding a matter in the days of ignorance.
He would sacrifice ten camels and the arrow would point towards his son. He would sacrifice another ten camels and would check with the arrow each time. He sacrificed a total of a hundred camels (ten at a time) until he knew that this was acceptable to fulfil his promise.
Abdul Muttalib arranged for his son, Abdullah, to marry a lady by the name of Aminah from a tribe in Yathrib. Abdullah was only a young man of twenty-five, was very handsome and a noor filled his face when he was going to get married. They were a well-matched couple and everyone celebrated with great happiness and joy.
Aminah and Abdullah started their life together and after a few months he was asked to go on a trade journey to Syria. Aminah was upset because they had only been married for a few months and now Abdullah was going to leave. Deep down she knew that they would be together soon when he returned from the journey. Little was she to know that he would not return to her alive.