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Birth and Ancestry

Muhammad [s] was born at Makkah in the year 570 AC. known in the annals of Arabian history as the 'Year of the Elephant' because of a miraculous event. That year Abraha the Christian governor of the Abyssinian King, who had already subdued Yemen, marched upon Makkah with a huge army of elephants. His intention was to destroy the Ka'aba and shift the centre of pilgrimage to San'aa, where he had built an imposing church. But the very moment Abraha's awesome army was poised for the attack, the Almighty sent a swarm of flying creatures, who blackened the sky pelting the mighty force with pebbles, and within minutes destroyed elephants and warriors alike. Thus Almighty Allah humbled the arrogantly ignorant by means of an obscure creature.

Muhammad [s] was born on the eve of 17th of the lunar month of Rabi-ul-awwal and according to some versions on the 12th of the same month. His father was Abdullah the son of Abdul Muttalib the son of Hashim and his mother, Amina, was the daughter of Wahab. His grandfather Abdul Muttalib had many wives and children, out of whom Abdullah and Abu Talib were from the same mother. Thus Prophet Muhammad [s] was a scion of the noble Bani Hashim clan a sub-division of the large Quraish tribe, descended from Prophet Ishmael [a] the elder son of Prophet Abraham [a].

He was a posthumous child, as his father Abdullah had died three months before his birth, while on a visit to Yathrib (Madina). The birth of the orphan turned the grief of the bereaved family into unbounded joy, and none were more happy than his mother, Amina and grandfather Abdul Muttalib, who were in a state of shock at Abdullah's untimely death. The family burst into happiness, slaughtering sheep and throwing a grand banquet for the Quraish, to celebrate the auspicious occasion. Makkah overflowed with joy as throngs of people flocked to Abdul Muttalib's house to congratulate him on the birth of his grandchild.