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Abdullah, the Father of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.)

By: Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
At the time when Abdul Muttalib purchased the life of his son by sacrificing one hundred camels in the name of Allah, Abdullah was not more than twenty four years old. This event, besides becoming the cause of his (Abdullah's) renown amongst the Quraysh, ensured for him a great position and honour in his own family, especially in the eyes of Abdul Muttalib. The reason for this was that a person loves specially that thing, which proves expensive for him, and for which he takes excessive pains. As such Abdullah enjoyed extraordinary respect amongst his friends and kinsfolk.
It goes without saying that when Abdullah was going with his father to the sacrificial altar he was faced with violent antithetical sentiments. The sentiment of respect for his father and appreciation of the great hardships which he had suffered for his sake controlled his entire self and for this reason he had no alternative but to submit to him. On the other hand, however, as the hand of destiny wished that the spring flowers of his life should wither like autumn leaves, a tide of disturbance and agitation rose in his mind.
Abdul Muttalib also found himself, struggling betwixt two dominant forces of 'faith' and 'attachment' and this situation had definitely created a chain of acute worries in the minds of both of them. However, when the problem was solved in the manner narrated above, he thought of making amends for the bitter emotions by immediately marrying Abdullah with Aminah and thus unite his life, which had reached the stage of exhaustion with the most basic relationship of one's existence.
Hence, while returning from the sacrificial altar, Abdul Muttalib, who was still holding his son's hand in his own, went straight to the house of Wahab son of Abd Manaf son of Zohrah and concluded Abdullah's marriage with Wahab's daughter Aminah, who was well-known for her purity and modesty. In the same assembly he (Abdul Muttalib) himself married Dalalah, a cousin of Aminah, who gave birth to Hamzah, the uncle and coeval of the Holy Prophet.[67]
The contemporary historian Abdul Wahhab (Professor of History in the University of Egypt, who has written very useful notes on the history of Ibn Athir) has treated the above-mentioned development as something unusual and writes thus: "Going of Abdul Muttalib to the house of Wahab on that very day (when the sentiments of the people were at a high pitch and tears of delight were flowing down their cheeks) and that also with the object of asking for the hands of two girls - one for himself and the other for his son Abdullah - does not conform with the usual standards. The only thing suitable and becoming for them was to take rest, so that both ot them could get rid of their mental fatigue, and then attend to some other business."[68]
However, we believe that if the said historian had studied the matter in the manner in which we have viewed it, it would have been much easier for him to confirm their action. Abdul Muttalib had appointed a time for the consummation of the marriage and, according to the custom of Quraysh, when that time approached the wedding ceremonies took place at the house of Aminah.
Abdullah and Aminah remained together for some time and then Abdullah left for Syria for purposes of trade. During his return journey, however, he breathed his last, as mentioned below in detail.

By contracting marriage Abdullah opened a new chapter in his life and his apartment was lighted up by his having had a spouse in the person of Aminah. After some time he left for Syria for trade along with a caravan which was proceeding there from Makkah. The bell for departure was rung and the caravan proceeded on its way, carrying hundreds of hearts along with itself. At that time Aminah was pregnant. After a few months the van of the caravan appeared. A number of people went out of the city to receive their kinsfolk. Abdullah's old father was awaiting him and the curious eyes of his wife were also searching for him amidst the caravan, but unfortunately he was not visible anywhere. Alter making inquiries they learned that, while returning from Syria, Abdullah had been taken ill at Yathrib and had, therefore, stayed there with his relatives to take rest. On hearing this Aminah became very sad and tears trickled from her eyes.
Abdul Muttalib asked his eldest son Harith to go to Yathrib and to bring Abdullah along with him. On reaching there he learned that one month after the departure of the caravan Abdullah had died owing to the same ailment. On his return Harith informed Abdul Muttalib as well as Abdullah's widow of what had happened. The property left behind by Abdullah consisted of five camels, a herd of sheep arid one female slave named Umme Ayman who later nursed the Prophet.
[67] Tarikh-i Tabari, vol. II, page 4 and Seerah-i Halabi, vol. I, page 54.
[68] Tarikh-i Ibn Athir, vol. II, page 4 - a part of the footnote.

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