What do we actually know about the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) when it comes to his family? Who were the Prophets’ grandparents, parents, children and wives? How can we follow or even relate to someone if we don’t know much about their life?
Now let’s talk about the family of the Prophet (pbuh)…
The parents of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) were noble and pious people. They were free from all the evils of their society and never worshipped idols.
Abdullah, the Prophet’s (pbuh) father, belonged to a very famous tribe in Makkah called Quraysh. Shortly before the Prophet's (pbuh) birth while Abdullah was on a trade journey he fell ill and passed away.
Aminah, the Prophet’s (pbuh) mother, came from the Banu Zuhra tribe in Yathrib (Madinah). Whilst on a journey to take her young son to visit his father’s grave Aminah fell ill and passed away also. The Prophet (pbuh) faced both deaths at just six years old.
Abdul Muttalib the grandfather of the Prophet (pbuh) took care of him after the death of his mother Aminah. He surrounded the young child with love and affection and looked after him as if he was his own son. When the Prophet (pbuh) reached eight years of age his grandfather whom he loved dearly passed away.
Fatimah bint Amr was the Prophet’s grandmother. She was married to Abdul Muttalib ibn Hashim. Her full name was Fatimah daughter of `Amr ibn `A'idh ibn `Imran ibn Makhzum. Her mother's name was Sahre and Sahre's mother was Tahmur. Tahmur was the daughter of Ubeyd, the son of Qusai.
In total the Prophet (pbuh) had nine uncles. They were Abu Talib, Hamza, Abbas, Abu Lahab, Haaris, Zubair, Gaidaq, Almaqoon and Zarrar. However not all of them accepted Islam. Out of the nine only two accepted Islam - Hamza and Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them).
Abu Talib took over the care of the Prophet (pbuh) after the death of his grandfather Abdul Mutalib. Even though Abu Talib wasn’t a Muslim he was a loving guardian to the Prophet (pbuh) and treated him as his very own son, raising the young Muhammad (pbuh) with overwhelming love. Whilst he was alive he provided his nephew with full protection from the Quraysh and declared war on anyone who tried to hurt him.
Hamza (ra) and Muhammad (pbuh) were raised together as they were almost the same age. Even before Hamza (ra) became a Muslim he still loved and protected the Prophet (pbuh) from the enemies of Islam. The day he became a Muslim was considered a great victory for Islam as he was a very brave and strong man. Due to his great physical strength he was given the name Asadullah (The Lion of Allah).
Abu Lahab was a bitter enemy of Islam and the Prophet (pbuh). Even though the Prophet (pbuh) was his nephew it didn’t stop him from hurting and scolding him. Along with his wife Umm Jameel they subjected the Prophet (pbuh) to severe cruelty and abuse.
Abbas (ra) was a paternal uncle and companion of the Prophet (pbuh), just a few years older than his nephew. Abbas was one of the youngest brothers of the Prophet's father. A wealthy merchant, during the early years of Islam he protected Muhammad while he was in Mecca, but only became a convert after the Battle of Badr
In total the Prophet’s (pbuh) paternal aunties were Affiyah, Umm-ul Hakim, Barrah, Atikah, Saffiyah, Arwa and Umaimah. Among the blessed Prophet's paternal aunts, only Afiyya embraced Islam although some say that Arwa and Atika also converted.
Afiyya daughter of ‘Abdul-Mutallib
She was the wife of ‘Awwam ibn al-Khuwailid, brother of Khadija, Mother of the Believers. Az-Zubair ibn al-’Awwam is son of the above-mentioned Afiyya, a disciple of the Messenger of Allah(pbuh). She also gave birth to al-Sa'ib who was martyred at Yamama.
Wives - Ummahat ul Mumineen (Mothers of the Faithful)
The wives of the Prophet (pbuh) were given the title ‘Ummahat-ul Mumineen’ by Allah (swt) through the Prophet (pbuh). Each of them were exceptional women in their own way, making them exemplary role models for all Muslimahs to learn about and follow.
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (ra) was a wealthy businesswoman and it was her prosperous trading business that the Prophet (pbuh) worked for. After the death of her husband she refused offers of marriage from many noble Qurayshi men and instead sent a proposal of marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) which he accepted. The year in which Khadijah (ra) died is known in Islamic history as ‘The Year of Sorrow’. During this year not only did the Prophet (pbuh) lose his first, beloved wife but also his uncle Abu Talib.
Sawdah bint Zam'a Sawdah (ra) was the first woman to emigrate to Abyssinia in the way of Allah (swt). She married the Prophet (pbuh) after the death of her first husband. After the marriage she immediately took over the care of the Prophet (pbuh), his household and became a mother figure to his young daughters.
Aisha bint Abu Bakr (ra) was the daugher of the Prophet’s (pbuh) closest companion Abu Bakr (ra). Aisha (ra) was a beautiful, generous and an extremely intelligent young woman who was quick to learn and had a very accurate memory. Aisha (ra) is one of four people who have transmitted more than 2,000 Hadith. It was in Aisha’s (ra) arms that the Prophet (pbuh) passed away.
Hafsa bint 'Umar (ra) was the daughter of Umar (ra) – a close companion of the Prophet (pbuh) and the second Caliph. Her first husband died leaving her a widow while she was still very young. Her marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) strengthened the ties between two of the Prophet’s (pbuh) closest companions, who would later become the first two rightly guided Caliphs of Islam, as he was married to both their daughters.
Zaynab bint Khuzayma (ra) offered her hand in marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) after her husband was martyred in the battle of Badr. She was only with the Prophet (pbuh) for a few months after marriage as she passed away. Due to her generosity to orphans she was known as Umm-ul Maskeen (Mother of the Poor).
Umm Salma bint Abi Umayya (ra) and her husband were among the first people to embrace Islam. Her first husband though passed away and seeing her struggle to support her beloved children the Prophet (pbuh) proposed to her. By marrying Umm Salma (ra) the Prophet (pbuh) could be a father to her children and help them without it seeming like he was giving them charity.
Zaynab bint Jahsh (ra) was the Prophet’s (pbuh) cousin sister – the daughter of his paternal aunt. Zaynab (ra) married the Prophet (pbuh) after the divorce of her first marriage which had been to the adopted son of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). This marriage confirmed that it is permissible for cousins to marry and also that in Islam an adopted son is not regarded the same as a natural son – as a father is not allowed to marry a woman who was previously married to his natural son, but this marriage to his adopted sons ex-wife was permissible and ordered by Allah (swt).
Juwayriya bint al-Harith (ra) was a very beautiful young lady. Her father and first husband were enemies of Islam. The marriage between the Prophet (pbuh) and Juwayriya (ra) united the two sides and helped break down enmity to Islam and extinguish the intense hatred towards Muslims, as the tradition was to honour your in-laws.
Umm Habiba bint Abi Sufyan (ra) was the daughter of Abu Sufyan who later accepted Islam but who for part of his life was one of the most resolute enemies of the Prophet (pbuh) leading many armies in the battles against Muslims. Her marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) clearly demonstrated to Muslims that the sins of a parent should not be taken out on their children.
Safiyya bint Huyayy’s (ra) father, like Umm Habiba’s (ra), planned to assassinate the Prophet (pbuh) yet the Prophet (pbuh) still invited her to join Islam which she did. The Prophet (pbuh) then proposed to her and she accepted. Safiyya (ra) was a wise, loyal and caring woman who maintained close ties with her Jewish relatives.
Maymuna bint al-Harith (ra) was a relative of the Prophet (pbuh) and also the half-sister of Zaynab bint Khuzayma (ra). Maymuna (ra) sent forward an offer of marriage to the Prophet (pbuh) which he accepted. Maymuna (ra) was good-natured and got on well with everyone including all the other wives of the Prophet (pbuh).
Maria al-Qibtiyya (ra) father was a Copt (Egyptian Christian) and her mother was a Christian Greek. Maria (ra) gave birth to a son who the Prophet (pbuh) named Ibrahim after the great Prophet (as). However the child while still very young became seriously ill and died. This relationship, along with the marriage to Safiyya (ra), taught all Muslims to be respectful of other religions and helped wipe out bigotry from the Muslim community.
The Prophet (pbuh) and Khadijah (ra) had six children – four daughters and two sons . The Prophet (pbuh) also had a son with Maria (ra). Sadly all the sons of the Prophet (pbuh), Abdullah, Qasim and Ibrahim died in infancy.
Zainab (ra) was the eldest of the Prophet’s (pbuh) four daughters. She married her first cousin Abul 'Aas (ra) who was the son of her maternal aunt Hala (ra). He hadn’t accepted Islam at the time of the marriage but was always a loving and devoted husband to Zainab (ra) and good son-in-law to the Prophet (pbuh). Zainab (ra) experienced many hardships in her life, including being severely wounded for her love and support of Islam.
Ruqaiyyah (ra) was the second eldest daughter of the Prophet (pbuh). Her first marriage to Utba ended in divorce after his father, the Prophet’s (pbuh) uncle Abu Lahab, forced him to divorce her. Her second marriage was to Uthman(ra) who himself experienced cruel torture from the non-believers. Ruqaiyyah (ra) was a very virtuous lady who endured many hardships courageously. She was only in her early twenties when she passed away.
Umm-e Kulthum (ra) was the second youngest daughter of the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Like Ruqaiyyah (ra) she too was first married to Abu Lahab’s son, the youngest Utaiba, but like his brother he divorced his young wife at the order of his parents. After the death of Ruqaiyyah (ra), the Prophet (pbuh) gave Umm-e Kulthum’s (ra) hand in marriage to Uthman (ra). They both shared an exemplary marriage but were only together for a few years when Umm-e Kulthum (ra) became ill and passed away.
Fatima (ra) was the Prophet’s (pbuh) youngest daughter and shared a very close relationship with her father. She was a very hard-working and noble woman and despite being very poor herself she was very generous to others. The Prophet (pbuh) gave her hand in marriage to his cousin Ali (ra), the son of his uncle Abu Talib. Fatima (ra) was the Prophet’s (pbuh) only living child at the time of his death, but she passed away shortly after in the month of Ramadan. The Prophet (pbuh) stated Fatima (ra) was one of the four most perfect, spritual and exalted ladies in the world.
Zainab (ra) had two sons and a daughter. One of her sons died in infancy but her other son Ali shared a close relationship with his grandfather, the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Her daughter Umama (ra) was also close to her grandfather who often spoilt her with gifts.
Ruqaiyyah (ra) with her husband Uthman(ra) had a son Abdullah but he died at a young age.
Fatima (ra) and Ali (ra), who later became the fourth Caliph of Islam, had six children: Hassan, Hussain, Mohsin, Ruqaiyyah, Umm-e Kulthum and Zainab. Sadly Mohsin and Ruqaiyyah died in childhood. Hassan and Hussain were particularly close to the Prophet (pbuh) who dearly loved them. Through both his appearance and character Hassan (ra) often reminded others of the Prophet (pbuh).