Soon after the Year of the Elephant, Abdul Muttalib lost his young son Abdullah. His grief was great. Abdullah’s widow saw in a dream that a light had come out of her body and spread all over the world. She gave birth to a son six months after her husband’s death. Abdul Muttalib was beside himself with joy. They named the boy Muhammad. First nurse Sawaiba suckled him. Later, he was turned over to nurse Halima. The child lived among Banu Hawazin, the tribe of Halima, until he was four years old. Halima was a poor woman. When she took the baby Muhammad to her home, the family’s luck suddenly changed. Halima loved Muhammad and Muhammad loved her. In later life he never forgot what he owed to his foster-mother. When Muhammad was six years old, his mother also died. Then his grandfather took him in his care. But Muhammad was hardly eight years of age when old Abdul Muttalib also passed away. Now Muhammad was looked after by Abu Talib, an elderly uncle. Muhammad was a quiet and well-behaved boy. His uncle loved him dearly. Muhammad was equally fond of the uncle. When Muhammad was twelve years old, Abu Talib made ready to go to Syria for trade. Muhammad wept so bitterly that Abu Talib was moved to take him along.
Muhammad was a young man now and in trade. This took him to many places, to Syria, Yemen and Bahrin [Bahrain]. He was honest and straight-forward in his dealings. The people of Mecca called him the “truthful” and “the trusty”. Muhammad worked for a good lady name Khadija. She was a widow. Muhammad worked hard, was upright and intelligent. There was much profit every time he went out to sell her merchandise. The lady Khadija later offered her hand in marriage to Muhammad. She gave birth to seven children, three boys and four girls. All died early except the renowned daughter Fatima.
When Muhammad was over thirty, a dispute arose among the Quresh. The House of God (the Kaaba) was being re-built. First the work went on smoothly. But when time came for the sacred Black stone to be put in its place, everyone wanted to have the honour for himself and his family. They were ready to fight and kill. They work had to be stopped. But it could not be stopped indefinitely. One day they assembled at the site and agreed to make their judge the man who should be the first to come to the Holy House next morning. They waited. Then they saw Muhammad coming. They cried with one voice,
“Here comes the Truthful, the Trusted.”
They made him the judge. Muhammad spread out his sheet. He placed the Black Stone in it. He then asked the heads of the assembled tribes to hold the corners of the sheet and raise it. They did as told. Then taking the stone in his hands, he put it in position. The matter ended happily.
Muhammad was well-to-do now, but Abu Talib was poor. Muhammad wanted to help his good uncle. He took his young cousin Ali home. Another uncle Abbas took Jafar the younger brother of Ali under his care. Muhammad had very gentle ways with the people of his town though he did not mix much with them. He had a few intimate friends. One was Abu Bakr, the other was Hakim bin Hizam. Both were men of good habits and respected for their integrity. Muhammad was given very much to prayer and meditation. He would very often retire to a cave in a hill outside the town, staying there for days.