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FaithHistory

How Much Do You Know About The Ancestry of Prophet Muhammad?

Our Prophet comes from a family rich in good virtues, which helped progress Arab society. Learn more about his ancestry!

Our Prophet comes from a family rich in good virtues, which helped progress Arab society. Learn more about his ancestry!

It’s been almost eight years since I reverted to Islam.

I remember one of the first things I was asked was: “If the Prophet is the one who brought Islam, what religion did his parents follow?”

“That’s an excellent question!” I thought to myself.

We know very little about the ancestors of the Prophet. I’m not exclusively talking about his parents, but the generations that came before. Who were they, and what religion did they follow? I did some digging, and here’s what I found.

The Tribe of the Prophet

We already know the Prophet belonged to the Quraysh tribe. He specifically belonged to the Hashim clan – which still exists today. Hashim, who the clan is named after, is the great-grandfather of the Holy Prophet.

More on him soon as I chronologically look at the key members of the Prophet’s ancestry (as far as history lets me) and their qualities.

Qusay

Qusay was the grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad by three extensions. He was born in 5 A.D. This man did a lot to serve his community. During his lifetime, the Holy Kaaba suffered damage and general wear and tear. Qusay personally took responsibility to rebuild the Kaaba and encouraged the locals to build their houses around it – probably because he knew the significance of it and the benefits of being close to the holy structure.

Additionally, Qusay built a government and established laws of sorts. He would host meetings with the locals of his community to discuss and solve various social, cultural and economic issues – much like the governments of today. Qusay was also passionate about serving Hall pilgrims. He ensured pilgrims, who would travel to Mecca in the burning heat, had food and water supply and encouraged the locals to pay a tax to fund this hospitality.

Abd Manaf

Abd Manaf was the son of Qusay. Unfortunately, there isn’t a great deal of information available on him. The little we do know is that he possessed good qualities such as generosity and good judgement.

Hashim

Hashim, son of Abd Manaf was the individual who put the direct ancestry of Prophet Muhammad’s family on the map, prior to the Prophet’s birth. That’s why the clan ended up being named after him.

Anyone who has studied the childhood of the Prophet will know that he would accompany his uncle Abu Talib on trade journeys to Syria and Yemen in the winter and summer. Hashim was the personality who formalised these two journeys for the Qurayshi Arabs. It can be argued Hashim is largely responsible for turning Arabs from shepherds into businessmen, which brought a lot of prosperity to the region.

Abdul Muttalib

Abdul Muttalib is probably one of the more familiar names as we now draw closer to the Prophet’s birth. Muttalib was, of course, the grandfather of the Prophet and had a hand in raising him after the death of his parents.

Abdul Muttalib made great efforts to continue the legacy of his forefathers and bring ideas such as social justice and the protection of the vulnerable – concepts that are part and parcel of Islam. The Hashim clan sought to formalise their vision and mission as much as possible by forming a group known as the League of the Virtuous. Their overall goal was to maintain peace and harmony in the community. The League also introduced a system of trade with nearby countries. The Arabs would supply commodities such as fruit, blankets, herbs and perfumes in return for coffee, grain and textiles.

Abdullah and Aminah

Abdullah and Aminah are the parents of the Prophet. We don’t know much about their lives as they both died of illness. Abdullah is of course a direct descendant of Qusay and Aminah can also be traced back to Qusay, through Kilab (the father of Qusay).

Although history sheds very little light on these two personalities what is fair to assume, given the good qualities of their forefathers, is that they were likely to be raised with good qualities. Also, God wouldn’t have sent us the Prophet via their bloodline if they were bad people!

The Religion of Prophet Muhammad’s Forefathers

There is a debate amongst Muslim scholars on the religion of the Prophet’s ancestors – particularly his parents – and there are books dedicated to dealing with this subject matter.

From my own research, I have not seen any evidence of any of the Prophet’s forefathers directly involved in idol worship. Their desire to protect the Kaaba and the role they played as its custodians can only point to an affinity towards Prophet Ibrahim – the last Prophet to build/renovate the Kaaba.

And Allah (SWT) knows best.

The contents of his article were derived from the following sources:

  1. A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims, Sayyid Ali Asghar Razwy
  2. The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon

 

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