Biography of Prophet Muhammad by Amr Khaled (عمروخالد), Part 2
I have been learning about the prophet Muhammad from a non-Western and Arabic speaking perspective. In this series I have been listening to Dr. Amr Khaled teach about the biography of prophet Muhammad.
This is the second of 7 videos. Amr Khaled said that the main lesson he is emphasizing as he goes through prophet Muhammad’s biography is dutifulness. In this episode Amr Khaled discusses prophet Muhammad’s wet nurse, Halima Dhu’ayb who was,
“foster-mother of the prophet Muhammad. She and her husband belonged to the tribe of Sa’d b. Bakr, a subdivision of Hawazin. Muhammad was given to her to suckle from soon after his birth until he was two years old. Well-to-do families thought desert-life healthier for infants than that in Mecca. Some modern scholars have doubted the whole episode, but Muhammad probably lived with this tribe for a time. After the battle of Hunayn he honoured his foster-sister al-Shayma, and responded favourably when men of Sa’d b. Bakr, negotiating for the return of their captured women, pleaded their milk-relationship to him. Further stories connected with desert residence are legendary: Halima and her family prospered miraculously while Muhammad was with them; she therefore asked to be allowed to keep him for a further period after weaning, but while he and his foster-brother were herding lambs, two men cut him open, purified his heart with snow and returned it to his body, and Halima, fearing demonic possession, hastily took him back to his mother” (W. Montgomery Watt, “Ḥalīma Bint Abī Ḏh̲u’ayb“, Encyclopaedia of Islam).
Amr Khaled discusses the childhood of prophet Muhammad
Prophet Muhammad’s wet nurse Haleema Al-Sa’diyah
“Let’s tackle today’s third point which is the childhood of the Prophet (PBUH). Let’s start with his wet nurse Haleema Al-Sa’diyah. Why was he suckled by a wet nurse? Quraish cherished a strange habit; their babies were not sucked by their natural mothers in Mecca, but they had to be sent to the desert to be suckled by Bedouin wet nurses there because the Quraishites believed in the following: Mecca was not a suitable environment for raising children who had to be raised in spacious areas! So the Quraishites would raise their children in desert and open fresh air. See how the tribe of Quraish held such a civilized viewpoint? Our children must be pitiful then as they are raised in flats cramped for space and they cannot see the outer world. Plus, our children suffer environmental pollution and smoke clouds! See how the Quraishites held great views?!”
“They sent babies in their first 2 years to desert to be bodily and mentally sound! See the Quraishites’ views?! I am not asking fathers and mothers to move to other houses, but why not take children to an open area weekly? This is one of the lessons learned from the Prophetic Biography helping children be far-sighted. Mind you living in open areas help make one far-sighted and being indoors most of the time makes one short-sighted. We want our children to be far-sighted; the Gulf people are used to making journeys to the desert weekly. They take their kids to the desert so they would see an open area; I hope the Egyptians, Syrians and Moroccans go on trips with their kids so they would see green or even desert areas! This is a nice and significant lesson that we can learn from Quraish.”
“The Quraishites would not send their babies to just any tribe they would send them to a certain desert clan called Banu Sa’d. The women of Banu Sa’d clan used to work as wet nurses who would go to Mecca on certain days of the year so they would take the babies of Quraish according to a related agreement with Banu Sa’d. The wet nurses would suckle the babies for 2 years then return them. The money the wet nurses received for suckling the babies was little, so what did they get in return for suckling the babies? They did not suckle the babies mainly for money in return, but for the rewards they would receive from the babies’ fathers as they would give many rewards to those wet nurses! So the wet nurses cared mainly about such rewards!”
“Once, the wet nurses went to Mecca and looked for rich fathers who would give them many rewards, regardless of the money they would get. So they looked for rich fathers to get many rewards and when they knew an orphan baby was born; namely, Muhammad, they refused to suckle him, saying his father had died and so none would give them rewards and they did not guarantee his grandfather would give them rewards!”
“Imagine that ?! More than one wet nurse refused to suckle Muhammad; all the wet nurses chose babies to suckle, refusing to suckle Muhammad and they were about to leave, each with a baby boy, except for one who found no baby to suckle and so she had to take Muhammad to suckle him!”
“The wet nurses refused to suckle Muhammad, the best of mankind! Many people envy us because we are near his Mosque now! The wet nurses refused to suckle Muhammad, yet now, when anyone asks God to let us accompany him in Paradise, we all say “Amen” loudly and enthusiastically! So, we are to learn that Sovereignty belongs to God and the one people regarded as insignificant may be dear to God! We are to learn it is God who honors and humiliates people and it is He who can elevate people’s ranks or degrade them!”
“Many were born with silver spoons in their mouths though insignificant to God! It occurred to none that Joseph would be a Prophet. God says, “And they sold him for a small price…a few dirhams…they wished to be rid of him…” So Haleema was the wet nurse who suckled Muhammad; let’s see what Haleema said about taking baby Muhammad. She said, “We reached Mecca looking for children to suckle. Not even a single woman amongst us accepted the Messenger of God. As soon as they were told that he was an orphan, they refused him. What were his grandfather and mother likely to offer us? Every woman with me got a suckling and when we were about to depart, I thought to myself: ‘I do not like to god back without any baby.’ So I went to take him…” Her husband said, “…God might bless us through him.” See how her husband was a kind man with insight? He felt that suckling was unique! Haleema said “…when I lifted him in my arms…I put him on my breast and to my great surprise, I found enough milk in it. He drank to his heart’s content, and so did his foster brother…” Lifting her baby whom she gave birth to in her other arm, he started suckling from her other breast! When they returned to Banu Sa’d, Muhammad drank her milk and her baby started drinking it too, as if following him! She said, “The next morning, my husband said, ‘you must understand that you have been able to get a blessed child.’ She said the land of Banu Sa’d was then arid; before taking Muhammad, they would tend their sheep, but they would not milk then! However, after taking Muhammad on tending her sheep, she would find their udders filled with milk; Haleema would have enough milk to breast-feed Muhammad and her son.”
“The rest of Banu Sa’d’s shepherds used to advise each other saying they should let their sheep graze behind Haleema’s that would return from the grazing land full of milk! So, the shepherds of Banu Sa’d used to let their sheep follow Haleema’s! They would tend their sheep behind the sheep of Haleema!”
Prophet Muhammad was precocious in his early years. Amr Khaled then discusses Propeht Muhammad’s dutifulness to Haleema 55 years later.
“The Prophet lived two years with Haleema. She noticed something strange then; she said the Prophet was growing up so quickly! He would grow up on a day like another baby would in a month and would grow up on a month like another would in a whole year! So, he must have walked and talked faster than other babies and said sentences that other little boys could not say, being maturer!”
“Haleema cared for him for 2 years, then he returned to his mother and at that time, he was more than two years old. Now, let’s do some flash-forward; implying what? Let’s see what happened 55 years later!”
“What happened 55 years later? Prophet Muhammad conquered Mecca and so he was much older. Let’s learn another lesson here! After conquering Mecca, many went to greet the victorious Prophet and an old lady came leaning on a stick. She was almost 80 or 90 years old and she looked at the Prophet smiling. Know who that lady was? She was Haleema, Muhammad’s wet nurse! She looked at the Prophet and smiled as she was his wet nurse. A baby’s wet nurse would be so happy on finding him growing into a great man and the Prophet noticed her looks were different and he asked about her as the last time he had seen her was when he was two.”
“Imagine if one told you a woman breast-fed you when a baby given you are 60 years old for example now! You might not be able to remember her and you might just greet her quickly. When Muhammad was told she was his wet nurse, Haleema, his face beamed with pleasure and he said that was his mother i.e., foster-mother! Then, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) took off his cloak, spread it on the ground for her and told people to let him talk to his mother!”
“See?! God’s peace be upon Muhammad! See how dutiful he was to his foster-mother?! Do youths today treat their teachers the same way? They make fun of their teachers who taught them when young!”
“Anyway, the Prophet sat and talked with her and it was said the Prophet kept looking at her while smiling! There is another story that shows his dutifulness to her; the Battle of Hunayn in which Muslims defeated Hawazin tribe took place and this was a big Battle, Muslims captured a lot of booty and captives. Then the Prophet was told that some of the captives whom Muslims had captured in the Battle of Hunayn were members of the Prophet’s foster family. Prophet Muhammad did something that shows his dutifulness; the Prophet gathered the Companions who had taken war spoils and asked them to give back the spoils and captives to their defeated enemies! They asked him why he wanted to do so and he said some of the captives were from his foster-family. Asked why he was doing that, he said it was to show dutifulness to his wet nurse Haleemah!
Prophet Muhammad and Jesus
The Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) are like inspired biographies of Jesus’ life. Some of the most important events of Jesus’ younger years was His Virgin birth in fulfillment of Isaiah the prophet (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). Another important event was His birth in the town of Bethlehem which was prophesied hundreds of years earlier by the prophet Micah (Micah 5:2 with Matthew 2:2-6). Other central events of Jesus’ early years are spoken in terms of His fulfillment of the Law of Moses:
- Jesus’ circumcision (Luke 2:21 with Genesis 17:11-14 and Leviticus 12:3).
- Mary’s purification (Luke 2:22,24).
- Redemption of firstborn (Luke 2:23; Exodus 13:2, 12; Numbers 3:13; 18:15-17).
- Growing up, Jesus and His parents kept the Passover (Luke 2:41-42; Exodus 23:14-17).
- Luke summarizes the years before Jesus’ public ministry in terms of obedience to 5th Commandment (Luke 2:51 with Exodus 20:12).
It is not apparent that Muhammad was raised in a God-fearing home or that his early years were characterized in full subjection to the Law of God. This is one of the reasons why the Quran cannot be the Word of God. Many more reasons are given in my book, Is the Quran the Word of God.
Next Amr Khaled Post about Prophet Muhammad’s biography:
Previous Post about Prophet Muhammad’s biography: