Life of Muhammad 2

This is an excerpt from Ibn Ishaq’s Sira, the first written biography of prophet Muhammad. This piece tells about the prophet’s parents. Please also notice that in pre-Islamic era Arab women were free to propose to men.

OF THE WOMAN WHO OFFERED HERSELF IN MARRIAGE TO ‘ABDULLAH B. ‘ABDU’L-MUTTALIB

Taking ‘Abdullah by the hand Abdu’l-Muttalib went away and they passed – so it is alleged – a woman of B. Asad b. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the sister of Waraqa b. Naufal b. Asad b. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza, who was at the Ka’ba. When she looked at him she asked, ‘Where are you going Abdullah?’ He replied, ‘With my father.’ She said, ‘If you will take me you can have as many camels as were sacrificed in your stead.’ ‘I am with my father and I cannot act against his wishes and leave him’, he replied.

‘Abdu’l-Muttalib brought him to Wahb b. ‘Abdu Manaf b. Zuhra b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr who was the leading man of B. Zuhra in birth and honour, and he married him to his daughter Amina, she being the most excellent woman among the Quraysh in birth and position at that time. Her mother was Barra d. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza b. ‘Uthman b. ‘Abdu’1-Dar b. Qusayy b. Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Barra’s mother was Umm Habib d. Asad b. ‘Abdu’l-‘Uzza b. Qusayy by Kilab b. Murra b. Ka’b b. Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr. Umm Hablb’s mother was Barra d. ‘Auf b. ‘Ubayd b. ‘Uwayj b. ‘Adly b. Ka’b b.” Lu’ayy b. Ghalib b. Fihr.

It is alleged that Abdullah consummated his marriage immediately and his wife conceived the apostle of God.1 Then he left her presence and met the woman who had proposed to him. He asked her why she did not make the proposal that she made to him the day before; to which she replied that the light that was with him the day before had left him, and she no longer had need of him. She had heard from her brother Waraqa b. Naufal, who had been a Christian and studied the scriptures, which a prophet would arise among this people.

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