ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib (Shaiba) ibn Hāshim (Imaam Hashim), r.a. (c.497 - c.578) MP

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

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Nicknames: "عبد المطلب ﺑﻦ ﻫﺎﺷﻢ", "شيبة ابن هاشم", "Syaibah", "Syaibatul Hamd"
Place of Burial: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Birthplace: Yathrib, Arabia
Death: Died in Mecca, Arabia
Managed by: Rehan Allahwala
Last Updated:

About ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib (Shaiba) ibn Hāshim (Imaam Hashim), r.a.

ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hāshim b. ʿAbd Manāf, Abū al-Ḥārith (d. 45 before hijra/578), was the paternal grandfather of the Prophet Muḥammad. Some sources indicate that his original name, Shayba, was embellished with the laqab or title Aḥmad (‘most praised’) (Ibn Hishām, 1/89, 209; Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, 1/28), while others report that his name was ʿĀmir, or that ʿĀmir was a second name in addition to Shayba (see Ibn Bābawayh, al-Amālī, 700; idem, al-Khiṣāl, 453). While passing through Yathrib (Medina) on one of his trading journeys to Syria, Shayba's father, Hāshim b. ʿAbd Manāf, married Salmā bint ʿAmr from the clan of Banū Najjār of the Khazraj tribe, and she bore him a son, Shayba. As a result of various geographical circumstances, Shayba grew up without much contact with his father (Ibn Saʿd, 1/79; al-Māwardī, 254).

Hāshim had two full brothers, ʿAbd Shams and al-Muṭṭalib, and after his death they appear to have become rivals. Al-Muṭṭalib was probably less involved in long-distance trade, and consequently took over the two main institutions associated with the rituals of the pilgrimage, namely the providing of water and food for pilgrims (siqāya wa rifāda); he was also probably responsible for overseeing the affairs of the city (al-Māwardī, 254; al-Ṭabarī, 2/254). On the other hand, ʿAbd Shams also supervised the terms of the īlāf, which was a protection agreement between his ancestors, the Byzantines in the north and the Yemeni rulers of the south, granting safe passage for the seasonal trading caravans of the Quraysh. He was thus occupied with commercial journeys, but later decided to increase his influence in Mecca. At the same time, al-Muṭṭalib, who had heard about Shayba in Yathrib and about his potential talent for leadership, asked Salmā to entrust his nephew to his care and so brought Shayba to Mecca (Ibn Saʿd, 1/82–83; al-Māwardī, 254). A number of sources suggest that when they rode into Mecca al-Muṭṭalib introduced Shayba as his ‘ʿabd’ (slave) or, according to other accounts, he was mistaken for the slave of al-Muṭṭalib, and so from that day Shayba was affectionately called ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib (Ibn Hishām, 1/269; al-Māwardī, 254; Ibn ʿInaba, 24). Watt (‘ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib’, 80), ¶ however, does not accept this widely-held explanation, and believes the name probably has a religious significance.

After al-Muṭṭalib's death, or during his absence if he died later (cf. Ibn Hishām, 1/271; al-Ṭabarī, 2/254), Nawfal, another uncle of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, seized a part of Hāshim's properties, which were in fact ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib's inheritance (al-Māwardī, 254). However, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, being a energetic young man, managed to regain possession of them, with the help of his mother's relatives from the Banū Najjār (al-Māwardī, 254). Following this, the heightened tension between Nawfal and ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib led to alliances between Nawfal and ʿAbd Shams's children (al-Māwardī, 254), and between ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, al-Muṭṭalib's progeny and the Banū Khuzāʿa, the most important rival to the Quraysh in Mecca (see Ibn Saʿd, 1/79; al-Ṭabarī, 2/251; see also Ibn al-Nadīm, 108; cf. Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, 6–7, 31–33, who essentially concentrates on the opposition between the Aḥlāf, the ‘confederates’, and the Muṭayyabūn, the ‘perfumed ones’). It is known that after al-Muṭṭalib's death, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib was in charge of the rifāda and siqāya (Ibn Saʿd, 1/83). He also travelled occasionally to Ṭāʾif, where he dug a well which was of great use to the people there (see Ibn Saʿd, 1/87).

ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib already enjoyed a good reputation among the Quraysh due to his noble lineage and, having proved his abilities, he was able to consolidate his influence in Mecca. Following family tradition, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib was occupied in trading expeditions to Syria and Yemen (see Ibn al-Nadīm, 8 for a commercial document preserved in al-Maʾmūn's treasury). He also successfully developed the seasonal trade of the Quraysh through establishing commercial treaties with those in power in Syria and Yemen (al-Māwardī, 1/255). According to a number of reports, he had a vision in a dream in which he was told to ¶ excavate and restore the well of Zamzam (in which the sources also state he found the golden deer given by a ruler of the Persian Empire in ancient times as an endowment-offering to the Kaʿba), at a time when he had only one son, al-Ḥārith, to support him (Ibn Saʿd, 1/84–85, 87; al-Kulaynī, 4/219–221; al-Azraqī, 2/42; al-Fākihī, 2/16).

According to one well-known report, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib prayed to God to give him more sons, vowing that if God blessed him with ten sons, he would sacrifice one of them at the Kaʿba (Ibn Saʿd, 1/88–89; Ibn Bābawayh, ʿUyūn, 2/189; al-Māwardī, 1/255). This lot fell to ʿAbd Allāh, the Prophet's father. However, the Quraysh strongly objected and ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib sacrificed 100 camels instead (for more details see Ibn Hishām, al-Sīra, 1/289, 290; al-Yaʿqūbī, 1/251; al-Ṭabarī, 2/241–243; for an alternative motive for this vow, see al-Ṭabarī, 1/264). The sources give the names of the sons of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib as ʿAbd Allāh (q.v.), Abū Ṭālib (q.v.), Zubayr, Ḥamza, al-Ḥārith, Ghaydāq (al-Ḥajl), Muqawwim, ʿAbd al-ʿUzzā, Ḍirār and ʿAbbās (q.v.) (Ibn Hishām, 1/236; Ibn Qutayba, 118; Muṣʿab, 17 ff.; for ʿAbbās, see Ibn Bābawayh, al-Khiṣāl, 452; for ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib's daughters, see Ibn Saʿd, 8/41–45). According to some reports, the sacrifice took place about five years before the birth of the Prophet, namely 58 before hijra (Ḥākim, 3/549). ʿAbd Allāh died soon afterwards and ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib took care of his only child, Muḥammad (Ibn Hishām, 1/305; al-Ṭabarī, 2/166).

Various sources clearly state that, in addition to religious offices such as that of the siqāya, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib was an arbitrator for the Quraysh in financial disputes (e.g. see al-Yaʿqūbī, 1/258, 2/10; al-Shahrastānī, 2/248), a position which in his last will and testament was passed to his son, al-Zubayr (see al-Shahrastānī, 2/13). Given the Banū ʿAbd Shams's rivalry with ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, it can be as-¶ sumed that the latter probably had some important enemies among the Quraysh, but this did not prevent him from playing a central role, as the most outstanding and influential personality of Mecca, in historical events such as the attack on Mecca by Abraha (q.v.) and the aṣḥāb al-fīl (‘people of the elephant’, so called because of the elephant brought to the battle by Abraha) which probably occurred in ca. CE 570. This event is referred to in the Qurʾān in the Sūrat al-Fīl (al-Ṭabarī, 2/133–138; al-Azraqī, 1/144 ff.; al-Kulaynī, 1/447–448; al-Suyūṭī, al-Durr, 6/394–395; for a noteworthy analysis of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib's role in this event, see Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, 14). According to various reports, about 51 before hijra/573 ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib went to Yemen at the head of a Meccan delegation to congratulate Sayf b. Dhī Yazan on his victories (Ibn Hishām, al-Tījān, 306–310; Ibn Bābawayh, Kamāl, 176–179; al-Māwardī, 1/234–235; cf. al-Masʿūdī, 2/58, who mentions Maʿdī Karab b. Yūsuf instead of Sayf b. Dhī Yazan).

ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib died when Muḥammad was eight years old (see Ibn Hishām, 1/307; al-Ṭabarī, 2/166; al-Kulaynī, 1/439), namely in 45 before hijra/577. Some sources give the precise date of his death as 10 Rabīʿ I (al-Mufīd, 29; al-Ṭūsī, Miṣbāḥ, 791) at the age of 80, or according to other reports, at the age of 120 (e.g. see al-Yaʿqūbī, 2/13).

Certain major Sunni sources suggest that ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib adhered to the polytheistic beliefs of the Quraysh (e.g. see al-Bukhārī, 2/98 ff.; al-Muslim, 1/40), but according to the Shiʿis and to other Sunni reports, he was an Arab monotheist, a ḥanīf, that is to say a follower of Abraham's monotheistic tradition (see Ibn Bābawayh, al-Khiṣāl, 312; al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā, 3/224; al-Shahrastānī, 2/248). There has always been disagreement amongst the diverse Muslim denominations about the ‘faith’ of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib, this being part of a more comprehensive debate regarding the ‘faith ¶ of the Prophet's ancestors’ (Ibn Bābawayh, al-Iʿtiqādāt, 110; al-Kulaynī, 1/447; see also al-Masʿūdī, 2/108–109; Ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd, 14/67–68). A number of reports state that five of his precepts (sunan) are also accepted in Islamic law: firstly, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib declared that one cannot marry one's father's wife; secondly, he once found a treasure and paid khums on it (a levy of one fifth of the value); thirdly, he designated the well of Zamzam as siqāyat al-ḥājj (water for the pilgrims); fourthly, he assessed the blood compensation for taking a life at 100 camels; fifthly, he established the tradition of ‘seven circumambulations’ (ṭawāf) around the Kaʿba (Ibn Bābawayh, Man lā yaḥḍar, 4/365–366, al-Khiṣāl, 312). The traditions state that ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib told his children to be just and to act according to the makārim al-akhlāq (the noble virtues) (al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā, 3/224; al-Shahrastānī, 2/248). Shiʿi sources regard him as the first person to believe in the doctrine of ‘badāʾ’ (broadly speaking, the alteration of destiny) (al-Kulaynī, 1/447).

According to various Islamic sources, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib received prior knowledge of Muḥammad's Prophetic mission, either from Sayf b. Dhī Yazan (al-Yaʿqūbī, 2/12; Ibn Bābawayh, Kamāl, 179; al-Māwardī, 1/235), or one of the Jewish aḥbār (learned men) of Yemen (Ibn Saʿd, 1/86; al-Suyūṭī, Kifāya, 1/68), or an Arab kāḥin (diviner) (Ibn Bābawayh, al-Amālī, 334) or through a vision in a dream (al-Kulaynī, 4/221). And thus, following from this last, he came to be the guardian and bearer of the Prophetic ‘Muḥammadan light’ (al-nūr al-Muḥammadī) and of the ahl al-bayt (the Prophet's Household), and, as a result, ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib is widely revered, especially amongst Shiʿi Muslims (e.g. see Ibn Bābawayh, ʿIlal, 1/134; al-Masʿūdī, 1/48; al-Shahrastānī, 2/248). It was because of this that scholars such as Saʿd b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Ashʿarī and Ibn Bābawayh al-Qummī compiled works on the excellence of ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib and his sons (al-Ṭūsī, al-Fihrist, 76, 157; al-¶ Najāshī, 177–178, 390). For contemporary works on ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib's personality, see ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib jadd al-Rasūl by ʿAlī Ḥusnī Kharbutlī (Cairo, 1966), and Ḥaḍrat ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib by Sayyid Jāwīd Ḥasan Raḍawī (in Urdu) (Lahore, 1996).

Ahmad Pakatchi Tr. Shahram Khodaverdian

Bibliography

al-Azraqī, Muḥammad, Akhbār Makka, ed. Rushdī Malḥas (Beirut, 1403/1983)

al-Bukhārī, Muḥammad, Ṣaḥīḥ (Istanbul, 1315/1897)

al-Fākihī, Muḥammad, Akhbār Makka, ed. ʿAbd al-Malik b. Duhaysh (Beirut, 1414/1993)

Ibn ʿAbd al-Barr, Yūsuf, al-Istīʿāb, ed. ʿAlī Muḥammad al-Bajāwī (Beirut, 1412/1991)

Ibn Abī al-Ḥadīd, ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd, Sharḥ Nahj al-balāgha, ed. Muḥammad Abū al-Faḍl Ibrāhīm (Cairo, 1379/1959)

Ibn Bābawayh, Muḥammad, al-Amālī (Qumm, 1417/1996)

idem, ʿIlal al-sharāʾiʿ (Najaf, 1976)

idem, al-Iʿtiqādāt, ed. ʿIṣām ʿAbd al-Sayyid (Qumm, 1413/1992)

idem, Kamāl al-Dīn, ed. ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī (Qumm, 1405/1985)

idem, al-Khiṣāl, ed. ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī (Qumm, 1362 Sh./1983)

idem, Man lā yaḥḍuruh al-faqīh, ed. ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī (Qumm, 1404/1984)

idem, ʿUyūn akhbār al-Riḍā (Beirut, 1404)

Ibn Hishām, ʿAbd al-Malik, al-Sīra al-Nabawiyya, ed. Ṭāhā ʿAbd al-Raʾūf Saʿd (Beirut, 1411/1991)

idem, al-Tījān fī mulūk Ḥimyar (Hyderabad, 1347/1928)

Ibn ʿInaba, Aḥmad, ʿUmdat al-ṭālib (Najaf, 1380/1961)

Ibn al-Nadīm, al-Fihrist

Ibn Qutayba, ʿAbd Allāh, al-Maʿārif, ed. Tharwat ʿUkāsha (Cairo, 1960)

Ibn Saʿd, Muḥammad, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā (Beirut, n.d.)

al-Kulaynī, Muḥammad, al-Kāfī, ed. ʿAlī Akbar Ghaffārī (Tehran, 1391/1971)

al-Masʿūdī, ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn, Murūj al-dhahab, ed. Yūsuf Asʿad Dāghir (Beirut, 1385/1966)

al-Māwardī, ʿAlī, Aʿlām al-nubuwwa (Beirut, 1987)

al-Mufīd, Muḥammad, ‘Masārr al-Shīʿa’, in Majmūʿa nafīsa (Qumm, 1396/1976)

al-Muslim b. al-Ḥajjāj, Ṣaḥīḥ, ed. Muḥammad Fuʾād ʿAbd al-Bāqī (Cairo, 1955)

al-Najāshī, Aḥmad, al-Rijāl, ed. Mūsā Shubayrī Zanjānī (Qumm, 1407/1987)

al-Shahrastānī, Muḥammad, al-Milal wa al-niḥal, ed. Muḥammad Badrān (Cairo, 1375/1956)

al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā, ʿAlī, Rasāʾil al-Sharīf al-Murtaḍā, ed. Aḥmad Ḥusaynī (Qumm, 1405/1985)

al-Suyūṭī, al-Durr al-manthūr (Beirut, 1993)

idem, Kifāyat al-ṭālib al-labīb (al-Khaṣāʾiṣ al-kubrā), ed. Shawqī Ḍayf (Beirut, 1985)

al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh

al-Ṭūsī, Muḥammad, al-Fihrist, ed. Muḥammad Ṣādiq Āl Baḥr al-ʿUlūm (Najaf, 1356/1937)

idem, Miṣbāḥ al-mutahajjid (Tehran, 1339/1921)

Watt, W. M., ‘ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib’, EI2, vol. 1, p. 80

¶ idem, Muhammad at Mecca (Oxford, 1953)

al-Yaʿqūbī, Aḥmad, Taʾrīkh (Beirut, 1397/1960).

Citation Pakatchi, Ahmad; Khodaverdian, Shahram. " ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib b. Hāshim." Encyclopaedia Islamica. Editors-in-Chief: Wilferd Madelung and, Farhad Daftary. Brill Online , 2013. Reference. Jim Harlow. 15 January 2013 <http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/entries/encyclopaedia-islamica/abd-al-muttalib-b-hashim-SIM_0062>

  • ****************** Wikipedia Entry Below ****************************************************************

Shaiba ibn Hashim, better known as Abd al-Muttalib, since he was raised by his uncle Muttalib, was the grandfather of Prophet Muhammad.

After the death of Hashim, the charge of pilgrims’ food and water went to his brother Muttalib ibn Abd Manaf. When Abd al-Muttalib reached the age of boyhood, his uncle heard of him and went to Medina (then known as Yathrib) to fetch him. When the man saw his nephew, tears filled his eyes and rolled down his cheeks. He embraced him and took him on his camel. The boy however abstained from going with him to Mecca without his mother’s consent. Muttalib asked her to send the boy with him to Mecca, but she refused. He managed to convince her saying: “Your son is going to Mecca to restore his father’s authority, and to live in the vicinity of the Sacred House.” There in Mecca, people wondered at seeing Abd al-Muttalib, and they considered him the slave of Muttalib. Muttalib said: “He is my nephew, the son of my brother Hashim.” The boy was brought up in his uncle's house, but after Muttalib's death in Bardman, Yemen Abd al-Muttalib was left to take over and managed to maintain the prestige of the Banu Hashim, even outdoing his grandfathers in his honourable behaviour which gained him Mecca’s deep love and high esteem.

Hundreds of years earlier, the well of Zamzam in Mecca was filled up and nobody knew its location. One day, Abd al-Muttalib had a series of four dreams directing him to Zamzam's location. Abd al-Muttalib, with his eldest son Harithb, dug the location where Zamzam is today, finding water after four days of effort. At this success, the Quraish argued that since the well was the property of Ismail, it belonged to the whole tribe. Abd al-Muttalib rejected their claim, saying that it was given to him by God.

Abd al-Mutallib was present at the siege of Mecca during in 570 AD, known as the Year of the Elephant. An Ethiopian governor of Yemen, Abraha al-Ashram, marched upon Mecca with an army including several elephants. When news of the advance of Abraha's army came, the Arab tribes of Quraish, Banu Kinanah, Banu Khuza'a and Banu Hudhayl united in defense of the holy shrine known as the Kaaba. A man from the Yemenite army was sent to advise the Meccans that Abraha only wished to demolish the Kaaba and if they resisted, they would be crushed. Abd al-Muttalib told the Meccans to seek refuge in the nearest high hills while he with some leading members of Quraish remained within the precincts of the Kaaba. Abraha sent a dispatch inviting Abd al-Muttalib to meet with Abraha and discuss matters. When Abd al-Muttalib left the meeting he was heard saying, "The Owner of this House is its Defender, and I am sure He will save it from the attack of the adversaries and will not dishonor the servants of His House." Abd al-Mutallib's proclamation proved right, and the Meccans were successful in defending the Kaaba and defeating the attacking army — according to the Qur'an and Muslim tradition, with divine help in the forms of birds raining down pebbles from their beaks.

During the same year of the conflict, Abd al-Muttalib's grandson Muhammad — the man who would become Islam's final prophet — was born. His father having died four months before his birth, Muhammad was raised by his grandfather. Following Abd al-Muttalib's death in 578, Muhammad was taken into the care of his uncle Abu Talib (the father of Ali), himself a prominent Qurayshi chief and custodian of the Kaaba. -------------------- Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abd_al-Muttalib_ibn_Hashim

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ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim's Timeline

497
497
Yathrib, Arabia
545
545
Age 48
Mecca, Arabia
547
547
Age 50
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
549
549
Age 52
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
551
551
Age 54
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
566
566
Age 69
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
567
567
Age 70
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
568
568
Age 71
Mecca, Saudi Arabia
578
578
Age 81
Mecca, Arabia
578
Age 81
Mecca, Saudi Arabia