Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
Life in Makkah
Nadine Abdel Rahim
A great tribe named Quraish lived in Makkah. Located in the middle of the Arabian
Peninsula, Makkah is the home of the house of Allah, Al-Kaabah, which was built by Prophet
Ibrahim (AS). The tribe of Quraish was honored by maintaining the Kaabah and was full of great
people like Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) grandfather Abdul-Muttalib. He was chief of the
Quraish and was soon to be the grandfather of an amazing man, Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be
upon Him). Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was an honest man who was well respected by the
members of the Quraish. When he was forty years old, Angel Jibril descended with a divine
revelation from Allah (SWT). Although Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) faced many hardships, he
succeeded in spreading the message of Islam, the religion embraced by more than 1.5 billion
people living in more than 200 countries throughout the world.
Abdul Muttalib had a son named Abdullah. Abdullah was the youngest of ten sons. He
was also Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) father. Abdullah soon married a kind woman named
Amena Bent Wahab, who was going to be Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) mother. Soon after
Abdullah married Amena, he went on a business trip to Bilad-Ashaam (Syria and Lebanon). On
the way back he became very sick and could not continue his journey, so he was left with his
relatives in Medina. However, Abdullah’s health became worse, so he died, leaving his wife
pregnant in Makkah.
Days after Abdullah died, Amena had a beautiful dream. She dreamt that a great light
was shining out of her stomach, all the way to the palaces in Bilad-Ashaam. When Amena felt
that she was going to have the baby, she remembered her dream. Amena was crying and smiling:
She was crying because her husband was not with her to see their child born and she was smiling
because of the unforgettable dream she had (Al-Alami). When Abdul Muttalib saw our Prophet,
he immediately took him to the Kaaba and named him Muhammad. Thus, our Prophet was born.
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was about a year old, his mother, following a local
custom, sent him to live with a wet nurse in Badia in the outskirts of Makkah. Halima Assadia,
the Prophet’s wet nurse, was asked to take care of the young child. As a little boy, strangers
would come up to him and say, “this child has a great future,” and walk away. Halima was
worried something would happen to Muhammad, so she sent him to live with his mother when
he was three years old. Not long after Muhammad returned to Makkah, his mother died and two
years later, his grandfather died. The young orphan, still about seven or eight years old, was
taken in by his uncle, Abu Talib. Abu Talib, who was now head of the Quraish, treated the
Prophet (PBUH) kindly.
When Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) attained the age of twelve, his uncle wanted to go on
a journey with some goods to trade at Bilad-Ashaam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) held fast to
him and insisted on accompanying him on the journey. His uncle relented, but decided to take
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with him. The journey was the first journey Muhammad took to
Bilad-Ashaam. When the caravan arrived, it stopped at one of the monasteries at the outskirts of
Bilad-Ashaam, which was owned by a monk named Priest Bahira. When Priest Bahira first saw
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), he observed that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had all the signs of
the upcoming Prophet that he had read about in the holy books. Priest Bahira told Abu Talib to
return to Makkah with the caravan and keep Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) away for his safety.
Abu Talib followed this advice and took Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) back to Makkah.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) continued working as a merchant and soon made a
reputation for himself. Among the wealthy of Makkah was a woman named Khadija. She was
impressed by what she heard of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who was now commonly known
as al-Amin, or the trustworthy. She employed him to take her merchandise to Bilad-Ashaam.
Even more thrilled by his honesty, charm, and self-confidence, she asked for his hand in
In his late thirties, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) would visit a cave called Hira on the
outskirts of Makkah. He went there to seek solitude and contemplation. In the year 610 C.E.,
about 1400 years ago, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) returned from the cave, telling his wife that
he either had been hallucinating or had been visited by an angel. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
recounted what the angel had said, “Read!” “What shall I read?” said Muhammad (PBUH).
“Read in the name of your Lord who created man from a clot of blood! Read: Your Lord is the
Most Generous, Who teaches by the pen; teaches man what he knew not. (Qur'an 96:1-3)”
The Prophet (PBUH) continued visiting Hira and staying there in great longing and
yearning for the return of Angel Jibril. Angel Jibril came to him once again and gave him the
glad tidings that he had been granted Prophethood and the mission to spread the truth. The
Prophet (PBUH) started calling people to Islam secretly. The first group of Muslims bore
different forms of painful tortures, which were nearly beyond human abilities to withstand. For
three years the Prophet called people to Islam in secrecy. Then Allah ordered him to call to
Islam publicly. Islam then started its new stage of development.
For the first three years of his mission, the Prophet preached to his family and his closest
friends, while the people of Makkah as a whole regarded him as one who had become a little
mad. The first of all his converts was his wife Khadijah, his cousin Ali, whom he had adopted,
and his servant Zayd, a former slave. His old friend Abu Bakr was also among those early
After several similar experiences, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) finally began to reveal
the messages he was receiving to his tribe. These were gathered verse by verse and later would
become the Qur'an, Islam's sacred scripture. In the next decade, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
and his followers were belittled and ridiculed, then persecuted and physically attacked for
departing from Makkah's traditional tribal ways. Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) message was
monotheistic. For several years, the Quraish levied a ban on trade with Prophet Muhammad’s
(PBUH) people, subjecting them to near-famine conditions.
In 619 C.E, the "year of sorrows," both Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) wife Khadijah and
his uncle Abu Talib died. With the death of Abu Talib, the leadership of the Banu Hashim, a clan
in the Quraish tribe, was passed to Abu Lahab, an enemy of the Prophet (PBUH). In 622 C.E,
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his few hundred followers left Makkah and travelled north to
Yathrib, the oasis town where his father was buried. The leaders there were suffering through a
vicious civil war and had invited this man well known for his wisdom to act as their mediator.
After a long journey from Makkah, the Prophet (PBUH) and his companion, Abu Bakr, arrived
outside Yathrib. Yathrib soon became known as Medina, the City of the Prophet. Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) remained there for the next eight years, building the first Muslim
community and gradually gathering more people to his side. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), with
more than 10,000 of his companions, returned to Makkah victorious. Prophet Muhammad
(PBUH) lived in Makkah until he died the evening of the twelfth of Rabi’ al-Awwal (June 8, 632
C.E.) at the age of sixty-three.
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4. "Muhammed in Mecca." Wikipedia. N.p., 13 June 2011. Web. 25 Jul 2011.