بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِِ

Al Islam

The Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Muslims who believe in the Messiah,
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as)Muslims who believe in the Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (as), Love for All, Hatred for None.

Early Years

Abdul Muttalib, the son of Hashim, grandson of Abd Manaf, father of Abdullah and grandfather of Muhammad, was, in his time, the foremost chief of Mecca. In the year 570, occurred the memorable invasion of Mecca by Abraha, the Abyssinian viceroy of the Yemen. He had built a magnificent cathedral at Sana’a whither he sought to attract the worship of Arabia; and, thwarted in the attempt, vented his displeasure in organizing an attack on Mecca with the purpose of destroying the Ka’aba. Upon this enterprise he set out with a considerable army. In its train was an elephant; a circumstance so singular for Arabia that the commander, his host, the invasion and the year, are still called by the epithet of the elephant. Arriving in the vicinity of Mecca, Abraha sent forward a body of troops to scour the valley and carry off what cattle they could find. They were successful in the raid, and, among the plunder, secured 200 camels belonging to Abdul Muttalib.

Abraha sent an embassy to Mecca carrying the message that he had no desire to do them injury. His only object was to demolish the Ka’aba; that done, he would retire without shedding the blood of any man. The citizens of Mecca had already resolved that it would be vain to oppose the invaders by force of arms; but they refused to allow the destruction of the Ka’aba on any terms. The embassy, however, prevailed on Abdul Muttalib to repair to the viceroy’s camp, and there plead the cause of the Meccans. Abdul Muttalib was treated with great honour by Abraha, who, to win him over, restored his plundered camels, but could obtain no satisfactory answer from him regarding the Ka’aba. Abdul Muttalib returned to Mecca and Abraha made preparations to advance upon the city. Abdul Muttalib advised the Meccans to retire in a body to the hills and defiles about the city on the day before the expected attack. He himself repaired to the Ka’aba and, leaning upon the ring of the door of the Ka’aba, prayed aloud: ‘Defend, O Lord, Thine own House, and suffer not the cross to triumph over the Ka’aba.’ He then betook himself with the rest to the neighbouring heights and watched what the end might be. Meanwhile, a pestilential distemper broke out in the camp of the viceroy, with deadly pustules and blains. In confusion and dismay, the army commenced their retreat. Abandoned by their guides, the men perished among the valleys and a flood swept multitudes into the sea. Scarcely any recovered who was smitten by the pestilence; and Abraha himself, a mass of malignant and putrid sores, died miserably on his return to Sana’a. This event is mentioned in the Holy Quran, where it is said (105:2-6):

Dost thou not recall how thy Lord dealt with the People of the Elephant? Did He not destroy them and thus cause their design to miscarry? Then He sent upon their corpses swarms of birds, which beat them against hard lumps of clay, and thus made them like broken straw, left over.

The significance of this event is that the birth of the infant whom God intended to bring up under His care so that in due time he might become the recipient of the comprehensive and universal divine guidance for man, was approaching. Through him, the Ka’aba would be restored to the worship of the One True God, for which it had been originally built. God Almighty would, therefore, not suffer any harm to be done to the Ka’aba or to Mecca, which was about to be honoured as just mentioned.

Some months previous to the invasion of Abraha, Abdul Muttalib had affianced his then youngest son, Abdullah, who was twenty-four years of age, to Amina, the niece of Wahb of Bani Zuhra, under whose guardianship she lived. The marriage took place, and not long after Abdullah left his wife, who was with child, and set out on a mercantile expedition to Syria. On his way back, he fell ill at Medina, and was left behind by the caravan with his father’s maternal relatives. When Abdul Muttalib learnt of Abdullah’s illness he dispatched his eldest son, Harith, to take care of his brother. Arriving in Medina, Harith found that Abdullah had died about a month after the departure of the caravan. Amina was thus widowed only after a few months of her marriage before giving birth to her child. The child was born on 20 April 570. As soon as Abdul Muttalib was informed of the blessed event, he visited Amina, took the baby in his arms, went to the Ka’aba and, standing beside the Holy House, gave thanks to God. The child was called Muhammad, according to a dream of Amina. The word means ‘one greatly praised’.

It was not the custom for the better class of women at Mecca to suckle their children. They procured nurses for them, or gave them out to nurse among the neighbouring desert tribes. The child thus developed a robust frame, and acquired the pure speech and free manners of the desert. The infant Muhammad, shortly after his birth, was made over to Thuweiba, the slave of his uncle Abu Lahab, who had lately suckled his baby uncle Hamzah. He was nursed by her for only a few days, but he retained in later life a lively recollection of her.

He periodically sent her clothes and other presents until the seventh year of the Hijra, when he received intimation of her death. He inquired after her son, his foster-brother, but he too was dead, and she had left no relatives.

When Thuweiba had nursed the child for some days, a party of Bani Sa’d, a clan of Hawazin, arrived at Mecca with ten women who offered themselves as nurses. They were soon provided with children, excepting Halima, who, somewhat reluctantly, took the infant orphan Muhammad, whose charge had been declined by the other women. Incidentally, Sa’d means ‘fortunate’, and indeed it was fortunate for Bani Sa’d that the child whom God had intended to be the greatest of His messengers, should be reared among them. Sixty years later, after the battle of Hunain, the prisoners taken from Bani Sa’d were released by the Holy Prophet as a matter of grace in memory of the days that he had spent among Bani Sa’d in his childhood.

Halima means ‘the gentle one’, and she proved a very gentle and affectionate foster-mother for her charge. At two years of age he was weaned and Halima took him to his home. His mother was delighted with his healthy and robust appearance and she asked Halima to take him back with her again to the desert, for she feared the unhealthy air of Mecca. Thus Halima returned with him to her tribe. He already looked like a child double his age. After another two years Halima again took the boy to his mother, who again persuaded her to take him back once more to the encampment of her tribe. She loved her foster-child and was happy that she had been able to keep him for so long. After one more year, she returned him to his mother and grandfather.

There can be no doubt that the constitution of Muhammad was rendered robust, and his character free and independent, by his five years among Bani Sa’d. Also his speech was formed upon one of the purest models of the language of Arabia.

Muhammad always retained a grateful impression of the kindness he had experienced as a child among Bani Sa’d. On one occasion, Halima visited him at Mecca after his marriage with Khadija. It was a year of drought in which many cattle had perished. Muhammad spoke to Khadija and she gave Halima a camel used to carrying a litter, and forty sheep with which she returned to her people.

Muhammad spent the sixth year of his life at Mecca with his mother, under the care of his grandfather. His mother then planned a visit to Medina and took him along with her to show him to the maternal relatives of his father. She was accompanied by her slave-girl, Um Aiman, who tended the child. They rode upon two camels. Arrived in Medina, she alighted at the house where her husband had died. The visit was of sufficient duration to imprint the scene and the society upon the memory of Muhammad, notwithstanding his tender age. In later days he used to recall things that happened on this occasion. Forty-seven years afterwards, when he entered Medina as a refugee, he recognized the place, and said: ‘In this house I sported with Uneisa, a little girl of Medina; and with my cousins, I used to put to flight the birds that alighted upon the roof.’ As he gazed upon the scene, he added: ‘Here it was my mother lodged with me; in this place is the tomb of my father; and it was there, in that pond, that I learned to swim.’

After staying at Medina for about a month, Amina decided to return to Mecca, and set out in the same manner as she had come. When they reached a spot called Abwa, about halfway to Mecca, Amina fell ill and died; and was buried there. The little orphan was carried back to Mecca by Um Aiman, who, although only a girl was a faithful nurse to the child, and continued to be his constant attendant.

It has been opined that the early loss of his mother imparted to the youthful Muhammad something of that pensive and meditative character by which he was afterwards distinguished. In his seventh year, he could appreciate the bereavement and feel the desolation of his orphan state. Many years later, during his journey from Medina to Hudaibiyya, he visited his mother’s tomb by the way, and lifted up his voice and wept, and his companions also wept. When they asked him about it, he said: ‘This is the grave of my mother; the Lord hath permitted me to visit it. So I called my mother to remembrance, and the tender memory of her overcame me and I wept.’

The charge of the orphan was now undertaken by Abdul Muttalib who had by this time reached the age of eighty. The child was treated by him with singular fondness. A rug used to be spread under the Ka’aba and on it the aged chief reclined in shelter from the heat of the sun. Around the carpet, but at a respectful distance, sat his sons. Little Muhammad would run up close to his grandfather and take possession of his rug. His sons would seek to drive him off, but Abdul Muttalib would interpose, saying: ‘Let my little son alone.’ He would stroke him on the back and would be delighted to listen to his childish prattle. The boy was still under the care of his nurse, but he would often quit her and run into the apartment of his grandfather, even when he was alone or asleep.

The guardianship of Abdul Muttalib lasted but two years, for he died at the age of eighty-two. The orphan child felt the loss of his indulgent grandfather bitterly; as he followed the bier he was seen to weep, and when he grew up he retained a distinct remembrance of his death. The heart of Muhammad, in his tender years, was thus again sorely wounded, and the fresh bereavement was rendered more poignant by the dependent position in which it left him. The nobility of his grandfather’s descent, the deference paid to him by everyone in Mecca, and his splendid hospitality towards the pilgrims, in furnishing them with food and drink, must have been witnessed with satisfaction by the thoughtful child.

The events that Muhammad’s father had died before his birth, that his mother died in his seventh year, and that his grandfather died a couple of years later, were not a series of coincidences of little significance. They were part of the divine design, so that he might develop early the qualities of self-reliance, reflection and steadfastness. Though repeatedly bereaved at a tender age, he had been well looked after, as he was under God’s special care. We read in the Holy Quran about Moses: ‘I surrounded thee with My love, so that thou mightest be reared under My care…. We delivered thee from sorrow and proved thee in diverse ways…. Then thou camest up to the standard, Moses, and I chose thee for Myself’ (20:40-2). As with Moses, so with Muhammad. He was under the direct care of God even from before his birth and was being prepared, step-by-step, for the great responsibility that God intended to place upon his shoulders. He would be screened and sheltered from all harm, whether physical or moral, but would have to undergo all that was needed for the coordinated and balanced development of his personality.

The death of Abdul Muttalib left the children of Hashim without any powerful head, which enabled the other branch of Quraish, descended from Umayya, to gain ascendancy. Their chief at this time was Harb, who held the leadership in war and was followed by a numerous and powerful body of relations.

Of Abdul Muttalib’s sons, Harith, the eldest, had died; and the chief of those who survived were Zubair and Abu Talib, both by the same mother as Abdullah, and Abu Lahab, Abbas and Hamzah. The last two were still very young. Zubair was the oldest, and to him Abdul Muttalib bequeathed his dignity and offices. Zubair left them to Abu Talib who, finding himself too poor to discharge the expensive and onerous obligations of providing for the pilgrims, waived the honour in favour of Abbas. But the family of Hashim had fallen from its high state and Abbas was able to retain only the giving of drink, while the furnishing of food passed into the hands of another branch. Abbas was rich, and his influential post, involving charge of the well Zam Zam, was retained by him till it was confirmed to his family by the Holy Prophet on the fall of Mecca; but he never attained to a commanding position at Mecca. Abu Talib, on the other hand, possessed many noble qualities and won greater respect, but he too remained in the background. Thus, the prestige of the house of Hashim began to wane and the rival Umayyad branch rose to importance.

The dying Abdul Muttalib had consigned the guardianship of his orphan grandchild to Abu Talib, who discharged the trust kindly and faithfully. His fondness for his charge equalled that of Abdul Muttalib. He made him sleep by his bed, eat by his side, and go with him wherever he walked abroad. This tender treatment was continued until his nephew emerged from childhood.

It was during this period that Abu Talib undertook a mercantile journey to Syria. He intended to leave the boy behind, for he was now twelve years of age and was able to take care of himself. But when the caravan was ready to depart and Abu Talib was about to mount, the boy, overcome by the prospect of so long a separation, clung to his uncle. Abu Talib was moved, and carried him along with the party. The expedition extended to Basra, perhaps farther. It lasted for several months and afforded to young Muhammad opportunities of observation, which, it is supposed, he did not neglect.

Between the years 580 and 590 the valley of Mecca and its surrounding country were disturbed by one of those bloody feuds so frequently excited by the fiery pride and prolonged by the revengeful temper of Arab tribes. It was known as the Sacrilegious War as it began in one of the four sacred months in which fighting was prohibited. Several battles were fought between the rival tribes with varied success, and hostilities were prolonged for four years, when a truce was called. The dead were numbered up, and as twenty more had been killed of Hawazin than of Quraish, the latter agreed to pay the price of their blood, and for this purpose delivered hostages. One of these was Abu Sufyan, the famous antagonist of Muhammad in later days. In some of these conflicts the whole of Quraish and their allies were engaged. The descendants of Abd Shams were headed by Harb, son of Umayya, and took a distinguished part in the warfare. The children of Hashim were present also, under the command of Zubair, the eldest surviving son of Abdul Muttalib. In one of the battles Muhammad attended upon his uncles, but, though now near twenty years of age, he had not acquired love of arms. His efforts were confined to gathering up the arrows of the enemy as they fell and handing them to his uncles.

A confederacy for the suppression of violence and injustice, formed at Mecca shortly after the restoration of peace, aroused an enthusiasm in the mind of Muhammad, which the martial exploits of the Sacrilegious War had failed to kindle. The honour of originating the movement is ascribed to Zubair, son of Abdul Muttalib. The descendants of Hashim and kindred families assembled together and took an oath that they would take the part of one oppressed and see his claim fulfilled so long as a drop of water remained in the ocean, or would satisfy it from their own resources. The league was useful, both as a restraint upon injustice, and, on some occasions, as a means of enforcing restitution. Muhammad used to say in later years: ‘I would not exchange for the choicest camel in all Arabia the remembrance of being present at the oath which we took that we would stand by the oppressed.’

At one period of his youth Muhammad was employed, like other young men of his age, in tending the sheep and goats of Mecca upon the neighbouring hills and valleys. The hire received for this duty would, no doubt, have contributed to the support of his uncle, Abu Talib, and the occupation itself was congenial to his thoughtful and meditative character.

All the authorities agree in ascribing to the youth of Muhammad a modesty of deportment and purity of manners rare among the people of Mecca. He appears to have been specially safeguarded by divine grace. On one occasion, when he was engaged in his duty of tending sheep in company with a lad of Quraish, he asked him to look after his flock also, so that he could go into Mecca and divert himself there as other youths were wont to divert themselves by night. But no sooner had he reached the precincts of the city than a marriage feast engaged his attention, and he soon fell asleep. On another similar occasion he again fell asleep till morning on his way to the city. Thus he escaped temptation and sought no more after such diversions. It was quite in keeping with the character of Muhammad that he should have shrunk from the coarse and licentious practices of his youthful compatriots. Endowed with a refined mind and delicate taste, reserved and meditative, he lived much within himself, and the ponderings of his heart supplied occupation for leisure hours spent by others of a lower stamp in rude sports and profligacy. The fair character and honourable bearing of the unobtrusive youth won the approbation of his fellow citizens and by common consent he received the title Al-Amin, the Faithful.

Thus respected and honoured, Muhammad lived a quiet and retired life in the family of Abu Talib, who was prevented by limited means from occupying any prominent position in the society of Mecca. At last, finding his family increase faster than his ability to provide for them, Abu Talib bethought himself of setting his nephew, now of mature age, to earn a livelihood for himself. He approached Khadija, daughter of Khuweilid, who was a woman of means and was interested in mercantile enterprises. She agreed to employ his nephew to look after her merchandise in a caravan that was about to set out for the north. Muhammad prepared for the journey and, when the caravan was about to set out, his uncle commended him to the men of the company. Meisara, servant of Khadija, also travelled along with Muhammad in charge of her property. The caravan took the usual route to Syria, which Muhammad had traversed with his uncle thirteen years before. In due time it reached Basra, on the road to Damascus, about 60 miles to the east of the Jordan. The transactions of that busy mart, where the practised merchants of Syria sought to overreach the simple Arabs, were ill suited to the taste and habits of Muhammad; yet his natural sagacity and shrewdness carried him prosperously through the undertaking. He returned from the barter with a balance more than usually in his favour.

When he had disposed of the merchandise and purchased for his mistress such things as she had need of, he retraced his steps in company with the caravan to his native valley. The mildness of his manners and his kind attention had won the heart of Meisara and, as they drew near to Mecca, he persuaded Muhammad to go in advance of the rest, and bear to his mistress first tidings of the successful traffic. Khadija was impressed by the mercantile success of Muhammad and also by his deportment and personality. She was of Quraish, distinguished by fortune as well as by birth. Her father, Khuweilid, was the grandson of Asad, and Asad was the grandson of Kosai. He had commanded a considerable section of Quraish in the Sacrilegious War. Khadija’s substance, inherited and acquired from her former marriages, was considerable; and by means of hired agents she had increased it largely in mercantile speculations. To the blessing of affluence, she added the more important endowments of discretion, virtue and an affectionate heart; and, though now mellowed by a more than middle age, she retained a fair and attractive countenance. Several of the chief men of Quraish had sought her in marriage; but choosing to live on in dignified and independent widowhood, she had rejected all their offers. Her own impression of Muhammad was deepened by the praises of his fellow traveller, Meisara, and she resolved to make known her preference to Muhammad in a discreet and cautious way. The upshot was that with the approval of Abu Talib a marriage was arranged between Muhammad and Khadija.

Despite the disparity of age between them (Khadija was forty years of age and Muhammad was twenty-five) the union proved one of unusual tranquillity and happiness. It conferred upon Muhammad a faithful and affectionate companion and, in spite of her age, Khadija bore him several children. She, on her part, fully appreciated the noble genius and commanding mind of Muhammad, which his reserved and contemplative habit veiled from others but could not conceal from her. She continued to conduct the duties of her establishment and left him free to enjoy his leisure hours, undisturbed by care. Her house became his own and her bosom the safe receptacle of those longings after spiritual light which now began to agitate his soul.

Within the next ten or twelve years Khadija bore to Muhammad two sons and four daughters. The first-born was named Qasim, and after him, according to Arabian custom, Muhammad became known as Abul Qasim. This son died at the age of two years. Meanwhile Zainab, the eldest daughter, was born; and after her, at intervals of one or two years, three other daughters, Ruqayya, Um Kulthum and Fatima. Last of all was born his second son, who died in infancy. Selma, maid of Safiya, Muhammad’s aunt, officiated as midwife on these occasions, but Khadija nursed her children herself. Many years after Muhammad used to look back to this period of his life with fond remembrance. Indeed, so much did he dwell upon the mutual love of Khadija and himself that his wife Aisha declared herself more jealous of Khadija, whom she had never seen, than of all the other wives of the Holy Prophet.

At the time of his marriage with Khadija Muhammad was in the prime of manhood. Slightly above the middle size, his figure, though spare, was handsome and commanding; the chest broad and open; the bones and framework large, and the joints well knit together. His neck was long and finely moulded. His head, unusually large, gave space for a broad and noble brow. The hair, thick, jet-black and slightly curling, fell down over his ears. The eyebrows were arched and joined. His countenance was thin but ruddy. His large eyes, intensely black and piercing, received additional lustre from long, dark eyelashes. The nose was high and slightly aquiline, but fine, and at the end attenuated. The teeth were set apart. A long, black, thick beard reaching to the breast, added manliness and presence. His expression was pensive and contemplative. His face beamed with intelligence. The skin was clear and soft; the only hair that met the eye was a fine thin line, which ran down from his neck towards the navel. His broad back leaned slightly forward as he walked; and his step was hasty, yet short and decided, like that of one rapidly descending a declivity.

There was something unsettled in his eye, which refused to rest upon its object. When he turned towards anyone it was never partially, but with his whole body. Silent and reserved, he was in company distinguished by a graceful urbanity. His words were pregnant and laconic, but when it pleased him to unbend his speech was often humorous. At such seasons he entered with zest into the diversion of the moment, and now and then laughed heartily. But in general he listened to the conversation rather than joined in it.

Muhammad was a man of strong emotions, but they were so controlled by reason and discretion that they rarely appeared on the surface. When much excited, the vein between his eyebrows would mantle and violently swell across his ample forehead; yet he was cautious and circumspect. Generous and considerate towards his friends, he knew, by well-timed favour and attention, how to gain over even the disaffected and rivet them to his service. He did not pursue a foe after he had tendered submission. His commanding mien inspired the stranger with an undefined and indescribable awe; but on closer intimacy, apprehension and fear gave place to confidence and love.

Behind his quiet retiring exterior lay hid a high resolve, a singleness of purpose, a strength and fixedness of will, a sublime determination, destined to achieve the marvellous work of bowing towards himself the heart of the whole of Arabia as the heart of one man. Khadija was the first to perceive the noble and commanding qualities of her husband, and, with a child-like confidence, surrendered to him her soul, her will and faith.

It will be appreciated from the above, upon whom all authorities are agreed, that Muhammad had been endowed by divine grace with all the qualities that would be needed for the discharge of the heavy responsibilities that God intended to lay upon him. This was not his own doing or that of anyone else. To a discerning eye, he would have been marked out as a person who was destined for a position of leadership from which to carry out a sublime purpose.

Muhammad was about thirty-five years of age when Quraish decided to rebuild the Ka’aba. A violent flood had shattered the Holy House; its walls showed ominous rents and it was feared lest it should fall. It was resolved that the walls of the Ka’aba should be raised and the roof should be covered. While it was being considered how this might best be done, a Greek ship was driven by bad weather upon the Red Sea shore not far off. When the news of this reached Mecca, the Quraish chieftain, Waleed, accompanied by a body of Quraish, proceeded to the wreck, purchased the timber of the broken ship, and engaged her captain, who was skilled in architecture, to assist in the rebuilding of the Ka’aba. The whole body of Quraish assisted in the operation, until the structure rose four or five feet above the foundations. At that stage, it became necessary to replace the Black Stone in position. Each of the four principal families of Quraish claimed the exclusive right of placing it in its proper place. The contention became hot, and bloodshed was apprehended. The building operation was suspended for four or five days and Quraish assembled again on the spot resolved to decide the difference amicably. It was agreed that the man who might chance to enter the court of the Ka’aba first by a particular gate should be chosen to decide the difference, or to place the stone in position himself. Muhammad happened to be that person. Seeing him, they all exclaimed: ‘Here comes Al-Amin, we are content to abide by his decision.’ Calm and self-possessed, Muhammad received the commission and at once resolved upon an expedient, which should conciliate every one. Spreading his mantle upon the ground, he placed the stone on it, and said: ‘Let one from each of your four divisions come forward, and raise a corner of this mantle.’ Four chiefs stepped forward and, each holding a corner of the mantle thus lifted the stone. When it had reached the proper height, Muhammad, with his own hands, guided it to its place. Everyone was satisfied and happy.

The walls of the Ka’aba were raised to a considerable height and were roofed over with fifteen rafters, which rested upon six central pillars. The structure was surrounded by a small enclosure, of about fifty yards in diameter. The door for entering the Ka’aba was placed near the Black Stone on the eastern side, several feet above the ground. The building occupied somewhat less space than its dilapidated and roofless predecessor. The excluded area lay to the northwest, without the sacred walls, and is known as the Place of Ishmael.

In the meantime, Muhammad’s family had grown. A sister of Khadija was married to Rabi’, a descendant of Abd Shams, and had borne him a son who was named Abul Aas, who was now grown up and was respected for his uprightness and mercantile success. Khadija was fond of him, and looked upon him as her own son. Muhammad and she agreed to marry their eldest daughter, Zainab, who had just reached the age of womanhood, to Abul Aas. The union proved to be one of real affection. Somewhat later the two younger daughters, Ruqayya and Um Kulthum, were given in marriage to Utba and Utaiba, sons of Abu Lahab, uncle of Muhammad. Fatima, the youngest, was yet a child.

Shortly after the rebuilding of the Ka’aba, Muhammad comforted himself for the loss of his infant son, Qasim, by taking over the care and upbringing of Ali, son of his uncle, Abu Talib. A season of severe scarcity had been experienced, and Abu Talib was put to shifts for the support of his numerous families. Perceiving his difficulties, Muhammad repaired to his uncle, Abbas, and proposed to him that they should each take care of one of the sons of Abu Talib. Abbas agreed, and they went to Abu Talib who, on hearing them, gave them the choice of any two of his sons, excepting Akil and Talib. So Muhammad took Ali and Abbas took Jafar. Ali was then five or six years of age and remained ever after with Muhammad.

About that time, Muhammad admitted into his family another person unconnected with him by family ties, but of more equal age. This was Zaid, son of Haritha. His home had been among a tribe in the south of Syria. He was still a child when, journeying with his mother, the company was waylaid by a band of Arab marauders who carried him away captive and sold him into slavery. While yet a youth, he came into the ownership of Hakim bin Hizam, a nephew of Khadija, who presented him to his aunt shortly after her marriage to Muhammad. He was then about twenty years of age, small of stature, dark in complexion, with a short and depressed nose. He was an active and useful servant, and Muhammad conceived a strong affection for him. Khadija, perceiving this, made a present of him to Muhammad. His father searched long in vain for Zaid, and at last received tidings that Zaid was in Mecca. The father set out immediately to fetch him home. Arrived at Mecca, he offered a large payment for his ransom.

Muhammad summoned Zaid and left it in his option to go home or stay with him. He chose to stay. Delighted by his faithfulness, Muhammad took him to the Ka’aba, where he announced that Zaid was his son, and that they would inherit from each other. Zaid’s father was contented with the situation and returned home glad at heart. Zaid, now a freedman, became known as Zaid bin Muhammad. By Muhammad’s desire, he married his old attendant, Um Aiman. Though nearly double his age, she bore him a son called Usama.