Chapter 1: Muhammad's Roots And His First Marriage
Muhammad was born in Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula in the year 570 A.D. to a pagan family who worshipped idols and had no faith in God. It is of great interest to note that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, does not mention Muhammad's birth, his father or his mother, or any of his ancestors. The only ones who are mentioned in the Quran are Abu Lahab, Muhammad's uncle, and his wife. In Surat Al-Lahab both were destined to hell fire because Abu Lahab refused to support Muhammad and ridiculed him. (Surat Al-Lahab 111:1-5).
But we read in the Bible about Moses' father and mother and all the details of his birth (Exodus 2:1-10). Moses was born into a family of strong faith in God as we read in the letter to the Hebrews:
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child: and they were not afraid of the king's commandment (Hebrews 11:23 NKJ).
The New Testament also gives the details of Jesus' birth and how it fulfilled the prophecies concerning him (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-13). Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary to whom the angel Gabriel was sent from God to announce his birth:
And the angel came in unto her, and said, "Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women... behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:28-33).
The only source of information concerning Muhammad's roots is found in the Arabic book Alsera Alnabawia (The Biography of Muhammad) written in 758 A.D. by Ibn Ishaq, edited in 833 A.D. by Ibn Hesham, and also by other Arab biographers.
The full name of Muhammad is Muhammad Ibn (Ibn means son) Abdullah, Ibn Abdul-Muttalib, Ibn Hashim, Ibn Admanaf, Ibn Qussai. Ibn Hesham mentioned in his book tha Qussai, the great grandfather of Muhammad, was the governor of Mecca and the Guardian of the Kaaba where three hundred and sixty idols were worshipped by the different Arab tribes. The Kaaba was the holy shrine of the Arabs.
Muhammad's father's name was Abdullah, which means the "slave of Allah." We can see from that name that Allah was a deity known to the Arabs before Islam. He is the moon god and not the God of the Bible. The God of the Bible, whom the Jews and Christians worshipped, was not called Allah but Jehovah (Psalm 83:18).
Abdullah died before Muhammad's birth. When he was born, his mother Aminah, daughter of Wahab, could not breast feed him, so she gave him to a woman by the name of "Halima" to nurse him with her son.
Muhammad's mother Aminah died when he was six years old and his grandfather, Abdul Muttalib, assumed responsibility for him. After the death of his grandfather, his uncle Abu-Talib cared for him.
The only verse we read in the Quran concerning Muhammad's childhood is recorded in Surat Al-Duha 93:6:
Did He not find thee and orphan and give thee shelter?
Muhammad's childhood was difficult. Loneliness left its toll on his life.
Arabian Society in Muhammad's Time [TOP]
Muhammad's uncle Abu-Talib was a merchant and he used to take Muhammad with him on trading caravans across Arabia.
Muhammad was introduced to the surrounding world and many different kinds of people during these journeys with his uncle.
H.A.R. Gibb, professor of Arabic at Oxford University, wrote in his book, MUHAMMADANISM:
Mecca at this time was no sleepy hollow, remote from the noise and bustle of the world. A busy and wealthy commercial town, almost monopolizing the entrepot trade between the Indian Ocean and the mediterranean, it recalls Palmyra without the flasy Greek veneer. Its citizens, while preserving a certain native Arab simplictiy in their manners and institutions, had acquired a wide knowledge of men and cities in their intercourse, commercial and diplomatic, with Arab tribesmen and Roman officials. Amongst their leaders these experiences had stimulated intellectual faculties and moral qualities of prudence and self-restraint rare in Arabia (MUHAMMADANISM, pages 24, 25).
Arabia was largely paganistic, but we have to remember that Judaism and Christianity were both present. Jewish tribes had lived in Arabia for hundreds of years by the time Muhammad was born. They were established, prosperous, and were well respected.
There were also many Christian cults in Arabia: the Ebionites who denied the deity of Christ: the Docetic Gnostic who emphasized His diety but denied His humanity; the Arians who attributed to Him a subordinate deity; and the Nestorians, who denied the proper union of His two natures.
In one of these caravans Muhammad met Buhaira, a Nestorian monk. Ibn Hesham recored that Buhaira looked at Muhammd's back and saw a mole on it, which was supposed to be a sign of prophethood, and warned his uncle Abu-Talib to protect him from the Jews.
In addition to these cults there were also true Christians in Arabia. We will read Muhammad's response to all of them in the Quran.
Muhammad's First Marriage [TOP]
A wealthy Meccan widow, Khadija, hired Muhammad to manage her business. After a short time she fell in love with him and sent her maid, Nafisa, to propose marriage to him on her behalf, He was twenty-five years old, she was forty. Muhammad accepted her proposal of marriage as her wealth was more important to him than her age. Muhammad's marriage to Khadija assured him of prestige among his tribe, the tribe of Quraysh (THE MIND CRISIS IN ISLAM, page 89, written by Mustafa Geha).
Her cousin, Bishop Waraka Ibn Nofal, who was the Ebionite Christian Bishop of Mecca, officiated at the marriage ceremony. So Muhammad's marriage was in a way a Christian marriage, which explains why Muhammad did not marry any other woman as long os Khadija lived (KASSON WANABI - A Bishop and a Prophet, page 37).