Editor's Note: The article below was co-authored by Inusah Mohammed and Alhassan Ahmed Tembineh. Their feature touch on some facts of the prophet's life that are not often told as other facts.
If you are coming across them for the first time, savor, relish and appreciate the quintessential life of our noble prophet. We hope and pray you enjoy and learn something from the piece.
1. He suckled from the same breast as his uncle Hamza Ibn Mutallib
After the battle of Uhud, the prophet and Muslims were downcast.
They were sad because they let down an early victory for a humiliating defeat. The sadness was profound because majority of the Muslim dead were mutilated. Hind bint Utbah led a bevy of Makkan ladies to mutilate some of the dead. Chief amongst these mutilated dead was Hamza bin Abdul Mutallib. His lower abdomen was cut and his liver taken out,chewed and savored by Hind. This was in vengeance of the death of her brother, father (who were killed by Ali ibn Abi Talib) and uncle (who was killed by Hamza) that fell at Badr.
When the Prophet saw how badly his uncle Hamza was treated, he became angry and harbored thoughts of revenge. Just then Allah revealed the following verses:
“And if you punish them, then punish them with the like of that with which you were afflicted. But if you have patience with them, then it is better for those who are patient. And be patient, and your patience will not be, but by the help of Allah. And do not grieve over them, and do not be distressed by their plots.” (Qur’an 16:126-127)
But there was a connection between the Prophet and his Uncle Hamza beyond the commonality of faith and paternity. There was the connection of mammary liquid. They were foster-brothers. They both suckled from the same breast of the slave Thuwayba al-Aslamiyah. The day Prophet Muhammad’s father Abdullah bin Abdul Mutallib married his mother Aminat bint Wahb, his grandfather Abdul Mutallib married a woman called Halah bint Uyay (Hamza’s mother). They both were given birth to around the same time though Hamza was the younger. Prophet Muhammad said of Hamza’s daughter “She is the daughter of my nursing brother.”
2. The prophet’s father was worth a hundred camels
In Pre-Islamic Makkah, to own a camel was a mark of extreme opulence. It so happened that the grandfather of the Prophet, Abdul Mutallib executed the duties of Siqayah (providing pilgrims with water and maintenance of the Zamzam well) and Rifadah (provision of food to the pilgrims) but with limitations. Plurality of descendents was an asset in the execution of his duties but he had only one son. So he made a vow that should he be given ten sons he would sacrifice one of them to the gods. Fortunately he had ten fully-grown sons. He decided to fulfil his vow. He cast lots among his sons and the lot fell on Abdullah (the prophet’s father). He then took him to the Ka’aba to fulfil his vow. However, because of the love and admiration everyone had for Abdullah, the whole of Makkah suggested to him the he should offer ten camels which was the amount of a man’s blood wit.
He went to cast divination arrows between the ten camels and Abdullah. The first time it fell on Abdullah. He was then exhorted to increase the number and each time it fell on the same Abdullah until the number of camels reached hundred. The arrows then fell on the hundred camels. To be certain, he repeated this feat three times and each time it fell on the hundred camels. Thus the Prophet’s father was held in extremely high esteem amongst his people before his death.
3. The prophet’s last words
There are certain statements that are not taken lightly. They are cherished on high with utmost religiosity by some. A whole lot attain political significance thus are copiously quoted by surviving men. These are the last words articulated by men at the point of death.
Some of the famous last words in history are; ‘” I feel ill. Call the doctors” by Mao Zedong, “the seven sayings of Jesus Christ” as stated by those who believe he died on earth, “Money can’t buy life” as Bob Marley’s last words to his son Ziggy Marley.
The Prophet of Islam, the exemplar beyond compare, also had his fair share of the last words of men as the best of all mankind. As he approached death, he brushed his teeth with miswak. He then looked up to the sky and raised his hand and moved his lips. So ‘Aisha listened to him. She heard him say: “With those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace with the Prophets and the Truthful ones (As-Siddeeqeen), the martyrs and the good doers. O Allah, forgive me and have mercy upon me and join me to the Companionship on high.” Then at intervals he uttered these words: “The most exalted Companionship on high. To Allah we turn and to Him we turn back for help and last abode.”
4. The only life the prophet took
The Prophet was as harmless as a lamb. He was meek and mild. He was gentle and genteel. He never hurt a fly. One companion who lived for several years with the Prophet stated that the Prophet never rebuked him “why did he do this or that?” A testament to his overwhelming magnanimity.
After the Battle of Badr, the morale of the Makkans was badly battered. The town itself reverberated with profound melancholy. The women of Makkah led by the embittered Hind bint Utbah resolved not to accommodate their men in their beds until they avenge themselves.
A year later, Uhud was fought. And when the Muslims out of disobedience lost the early morning victory they had to the Makkans, they really suffered the onslaught of the Makkans. The Makkans vowed to finish the agenda by killing the Prophet.
During the heat of the onslaught, many companions formed a protective ring around the Prophet to prevent him from been seen after it was believed that he had died. One of the approaching disbelievers looked through the human ring, saw the Prophet and proceeded to attack. The Prophet took a weapon from Suhail ibn Amr and threw it at the approaching infidel. It scratched him at his back which eventually led to his death. That infidel was Ubayy ibn Ka’ab. Thus he was the only man the Prophet killed.
5. The actual name of his grandfather
The fourth grandfather of the prophet by name Qussay Bun Kilab was blessed with three children, Abdal Uzza, Abd Manaf and Abd al Dar.
Abd Manaf, the most promising son of Qussay bun Kilab grew up and gave birth to Al Mutallib, Hashim and Nawfal. Hashim, a trade man, became the leader of his people. He was custodian of the Siqayah and the Rifadah. In one of his trips to Yathrib (Madina), he met one woman called Salma bint Amr. Hashim fell in love with her and they finally got married. She lived with him for a while in Makkah and she later returned to Yathrib where she gave birth to son called Shaybah. Several years after Hashim passed away, his brother Al Mutallib who succeeded his post decided to for his brother’s son, Shaybah in Madina. On his return to Makkah, he allowed the young man to precede him on his camel. The people of Makkah thought that he was the servant of Al Mutallib and named him Abd al Mutallib (the servant of Al-Mutallib). The name became so popular that his actual name was forgotten. Abd al Mutallib married and gave birth to a son called Abdullah who eventually became the father of the prophet. So the actual name of the prophet’s grandfather is not Abd-al-Mutallib but Shaybah ibn Hashim.
6. The ‘betweener’ of the prophet and Khadijah
Abu Talib was virtually living from hand to mouth and had so many mouths to feed. Upon hearing that Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, a tradeswoman of honor, dignity and great wealth was hiring men to work for her in a trade. Abu Talib recommended his nephew (Prophet Muhammad pbuh) to her.
On his first trip together with her servant Maysarah, the prophet came back to her with an unprecedented and historical trade record. Maysarah recounted the immaculate and impeccable qualities of the Prophet to his mistress.
She was moved and touched by his entrepreneurial skill and overwhelmingly virtuous nature. Shortly, despite the difference in age between her and the prophet coupled with her status as one of noblest women in Makkah, her satisfaction with the prophet turned in love. She couldn’t directly disclose this to the prophet but intimated her desire to her friend Nufaysah bint Munyah. Nufaysah disclosed to the prophet that Khadijah wants him to be her husband. The prophet accepted her proposal and they got married. The person who stood for Khadijah as father was her uncle, Umar ibn Asad since her father had passed away before the marriage.
7. The woman that hosted him the night of Israi wal Miraj
The prophet has demonstrated not once, but times without number, miraculous evidence pointing to the fact that indeed he is a messenger from Allah. The greatest miracle of the Prophet is the Qur’an. The Qur’an outshone the eloquence of Arab which had been their trademark. One important miracle that entrenched the faith of the believers and ironically made the disbelievers very intransigent in their state of disbelief was al Israi and Miraj. This spiritual phenomenon did not only baffle the minds of the disbelievers but also historians and knowledge seekers. Al Israi means the night journey the prophet was reported to have taken from Makkah to Masjid-al Aqsa (Jerusalem) and Miraj on the other hand means the Prophet’s ascension to heaven and his visit to paradise and hell. It was during this time that the five obligatory prayers were prescribed to the prophet. In the middle of a solemn, quiet night when even the night birds and the rambling beat were quiet and the prophet was asleep in the house of his cousin, Hind bint Abu Talib also known as Umm Hani, Prophet Muhammad was awakened by a voice and before him was Angel Gabriel. He led the fantastical steed, Buraq and made the prophet to mount and took the prophet away. The Prophet is reported to have said “Oh Umm Hani I prayed with you the night prayer in this place then went to Jerusalem and I prayed there …”
8. Only four people knew their hiding place
The enmity and hostility of the disbelievers grew as the number of Muslims in Makkah kept increasing as the days unfolded. The Muslims were persecuted and punished perniciously. Slaves who accepted Islam faced the wrath of their masters. Umayya ibn Khalaf severely punished Bilal ibn Raba to denounce Islam but he resisted the throes and pains of the punishment until he was bought by Abu Bakr. Sumaiyyah, her husband, Yassir, and her son Ammaar were brutalized by hard-hearted Abu Jahl. It was in his filthy hands that the first martyrdom in Islam was recorded. That was Sumaiyyah bint Khayyat, may Allah be pleased with her. Muslims could no more contain and resist the wrath of the disbelievers and therefore Allah ordered the prophet to allow the Muslims to migrate to Madina. The migration of the ordinary Muslims was not what mattered to them but that of the prophet peace be upon him. The Prophet was ordained by Allah chose Abu Bakr to be his companion for the migration to Madina. The Prophet cognizant of the fact that the disbelievers were on the verge of killing him decided with his friend to leave unnoticed out of Makkah. The Prophet and Abu Bakr on their way to Madina decided to hide in the Cave Thawr. Nobody knew of their hiding place in the cave except the son of Abu Bakr, Abdullah, his two sisters Aisha and Asma and his servant Amir ibn Fuhayrah.
9. The man he lived with when he arrived in Madina
The people of Madina became so much expectant as they heard the prophet was on his way to their town. They were yearning and anxious to see the greatest light ever to befall on human race. The Prophet finally reached Madina on a Friday and he performed his prayer at the mosque situated in the Valley of Ranuqna. This became the first place the prophet prayed in Madina. On that day, every Tom, Dick and Harry was out of his shells to see the greatest man ever to have set foot on the face of the earth. They loved the prophet with their minds and hearts, and they firmly believed in his message, the reason why he named them Al Ansaar (the Helpers). The Prophet loved them as well. His love for the Al Ansaar is reminiscent of his pronunciation “had it been not for the sake of Hijra, I would have loved to be part of the Al Ansaar”. Should people splits into groups, I would have joined the Al Ansaar my group.” The Prophet rode his camel continuously as the people were watching. The camel stopped at a yard belonging to orphans of Banu al Najaar. Upon enquiry, he learned that it belonged to Sahl and Suhayl, guardian-sons of Suhail ibn Amr. The Prophet was asked to build the mosque there and he promised to satisfy the two boys. The Prophet built the mosque as well his living quarters. While the mosque was been erected, he lived with an indigene of Madina called Abu Ayub Khalid ibn Zayd Al Ansari.
10. The miracle in cave Thawr that occurs every day in our lives
When the Prophet was migrating from Makkah to Madina, a reward of 100 red camels was placed on his head. Anyone to bring him dead or alive was going to be profoundly opulent for the rest of his life. The Prophet and his companion had to hide themselves in Cave Thawr in order to escape the vigilante groups that were in search of him. The people of Makkah searched thoroughly for them until they appeared at the foot of the cave. Abu Bakr stated that the only thing left for them to be seen was the head of the one standing at the foot of the cave to come down. Abu Bakr became so jittery that the Prophet had to console him.
What made the Makkans lose interest in the cave were three things that happened. The entrance was covered with cobwebs, and there was a pair of wild pigeons on the threshold. Obviously, no one could have gone in without disturbing the pigeons and destroying the cobwebs. The entrance also was blocked with branches growing from a tree nearby. The Orientalist Demenghem states that "These three things are the only miracles recorded in authentic Mussulman history: the web of a spider, the love of a dove, the sprouting of a flower three miracles accomplished daily on God's earth."
Credit: The writer is a youth-activist and a student of knowledge.
The co-writer is the former president of GMSA, University of Ghana, Legon Branch.