Amina bt. Wahb

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Amina bt. Wahb
Mother of the Prophet (s)
Full Name Amina bt. Wahb
Religious Affiliation Monotheist
Lineage Banu Zuhra, Quraysh
Well-known Relatives the Prophet (s), 'Abd Allah b. 'Abd al-Muttalib
Place of Birth Mecca
Death/Martyrdom 40 years before Hijra/516
Burial Place al-Abwa'
Era Before Islam
Known for Mother of the Prophet (s)

Amina bt. Wahb (Arabic: آمنة بنت وهب) (d. 46 years before Hijra/576), the prophet (s)'s mother and one of the most respectful ladies of Quraysh. Amina got married with 'Abd Allah b. 'Abd al-Muttalib in 54 or 53 years before Hijra. Despite the short period of their marriage, she got pregnant with 'Abd Allah and gave birth to Muhammad in 52 years before Hijra. When Muhammad was 6 or 4, Amina passed away in an area called al-Abwa' while coming back from Medina.

Birth and Lineage

Amina was born in Mecca. His father, Wahb, was a great member of Banu Zuhra tribe, and his ancestor, Abd Manaf b. Zuhrah was his cousin's peer, Abd Manaf b. Qusay. They are called Manafayn for respect. The female ancestor of his father, 'Atika, Awaqas b. Murrat b. Hilal al-Salimah's daughter, one of the third 'Atika whom the prophet was proud of being her offspring and said: "I'm the offspring of 'Awatik from Banu Salim."

Her mother was Barrah. Her mother's ancestor was 'Umm Habib, daughter of 'Asad b. al-'izz b. Qusay and the mother of her was Barrah bt. 'Awaf.

The prophet (s) was proud of his lineage and said: "God moved me from pure waists to pure uteruses and divided into branches which I was put in the best ones of them."

Getting Married with 'Abd Allah

She was the best girl in Quraysh in terms of lineage and character when getting married with 'Abd Allah b. 'Abd al-Muttalib. Before 'Abd Allah proposed to Amina, some women such as Nufil b. Asad's daughter, Fatima bt. Marr, and Liyli 'Udwiyyah had proposed to him. According to Bandarli, when Amina got married with 'Abd Allah, many Mecca women became heartbroken. Their ceremony lasted for three days and nights. During this period, 'Abd Allah was in bride's house on the basis of the tribe tradition.

The house where they lived had stone stairs which were connected to the door opening to the North. From that area, they could enter a place 12 meters length and 6 meters width. In the right side of right wall was a door opening to a dome. In the middle, inclining to the west wall,s was a room made of wood, for the bride's rest and sleep.

'Abd Allah's Early Death

Their shared life did not continue that much. After a few days of living together, 'Abd Allah set off for a commercial trip, catching an illness in Yathrib and passing away while returning. When the news of her death reached to Amina, she uttered some verses to mourn for him:

"He gave up the ghost to death angel, away from uproar, deep inside the tomb.

Batha land drew Bani Hashim’s honor in the mouth of death.

Yet death did not select a person in place of him.

Death called him to itself and he accepted its invitation.

And a great number of friends carried him on their shoulders by turn.

They drew dead him upon their shoulders.

He was in possession of an open-handed nature, a heart overfilled with graciousness.

Life disasters drew someone in the mouth of death."

According to some historical reports, 'Abd Allah passed away a little time after prophet's birth. Some people think 'Abd Allah's early death after his survival from being sacrificed represents that it was doomed for 'Abd Allah to marry Amina, therefore the prophet would be born.

Muhammad's Birth

Sawda, daughter of Zuhrah Kalabiyya, who was the fortune teller of Quraysh said to Bani Zuhrah: "There is a woman among you who warns from bad things or she will give birth to a prophet; show me your girls." They did so. Afterwards, she talked to each of them, and said about Amina:"She either is a prophet or will give birth to one."

Amina told Muhammad about her pregnancy: I didn't notice my pregnancy and did not feel like being heavy like other pregnant women. Someone, in dream or reality, came to me and asked: Do you think you are pregnant? I replied I didn't know. That person said: You are pregnant of a baby superior to all people in this 'ummat.

Another narration is: Amina said when pregnancy, someone told me you have the baby superior to all people of this 'ummat; when you give birth to him say:"Aya'izuhu Bi al-Wahid Min Sharr Kull Hasid.", and name him Muhammad.

She gave birth to him in Rabi' I 17, 'Am al-Fil. Sunnis believe it was in Rabi' I 12. The news of his birth made Banu Hashim very happy so that Abu Lahab set free his slave Thabiyyah Aslamiyah who brought his cousin's birth news. 'Abd al-Muttalib named him Muhammad. When Quraysh asked about his grandson's name, he replied:"I want him to be praised in heaven and earth."

Nurse

Amina was seeking for a nurse to accept Muhammad after giving birth to him. He was an orphan and was not wealthy. Initially, no one accepted him. At last, Halima al-Sa'diyya, who no one had given her baby to milk until the sunset of that day, and had not accepted the nursery of Muhammad (s), accepted him.

After two years of milking to Muhammad, she brought the baby to Amina, but asked her to let her take Muhammad to the desert and keep him; since he had some blesses for them and protected her from cholera which was spread in Mecca. Amina consented to her request. Finally, Halima al-Sa'diyya brought back Muhammad to his mother in 6th year of 'Am al-Fil.

A Trip to Medina and Death

Amina took her offspring to visit 'Abd Allah's uncles to Medina in 7th year of 'Am al-Fil. Muhammad's father uncles were from Banu Najjar. She got sick when returning from Medina and passed away in al-Abwa'. 'Umm Ayman brought Muhammad back to Mecca and five days later they arrived to Mecca.

Prophet's Request for Forgiveness

Some people say the Prophet (s) decided to do hajj 'umra while coming back from ghazwa Tabuk. Therefore, he set off for Mecca: When he arrived in his mother's shrine, he asked God for the permission to pray for her forgiveness, but his request was rejected and this verse was sent to him:"And the request of forgiveness of Ibrahim for his father was only because of a promise he had made to him. But when it became apparent to Ibrahim that his father was an enemy to Allah, he disassociated himself from him. Indeed was Ibrahim compassionate and patient."

Also, it is narrated from Ibn Mas'ud that once the prophet (s) visited Muslim's tombs and we followed him. He sat before a tomb and shaded tears there and prayed. We cried along with him and prayed with his supplication. He asked the reason of our cry. We replied that we are inspired by your cry. He said: This tomb belongs to my mother Amina. God let me visit it, yet I'm not allowed to pray for her forgiveness, and this verse was sent to me:" It is not for the Prophet (s) and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire." This is the reason of my cry.

In Shi'a view, these hadiths are not authentic, because imami shi'a unanimously believes in faith of Abu Talib, Amina bt. Wahb, 'Abd Allah b. 'Abd al-Muttalib and the entire prophet's ancestor to Adam. This was pointed out in hadiths: "Jibra'il came to the prophet (s) and said: Muhammad! Your God sends his regards to you and states: I've made hell's fire forbidden for the waist (sulb) which descended you, the uterus which was pregnant of you, and the one who brought you up. That waist belongs to 'Abd Allah b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, that uterus is Amina bt. Wahb's, and the one who brought the prophet up was Abu Talib, according to Ibn Faddal's hadith, and Fatima bt. Asad.", Imam al-Sadiq (a) stated.

In addition to this, Shi'a has raised some problems to the mentioned hadiths. For instance, al-'Allama al-Amini says: Didn't the prophet know he and his followers could not pray for idolaters' forgiveness and mediate for them, even after sending many verses in Tabuk day? So, how he asked for the permission to pray for his mother's forgiveness and to mediate for her? Did he think his mother is not counted as human? Has this hadith been made to contaminate the holy prophet's reputation or view his mother an idolater? He writes in the following: Some have interpreted requesting for forgiveness praying for the corpse. In this case, it would be in harmony with the mentioned hadiths.

References