More than 1,400 years ago, in a little town called MAKKAH, a child was born into a humble family of the Quraish tribe. The year was 570CE. Makkah was then a trading center where merchants from other parts of the world came to trade their wares.
One day in a gathering of his guests, this child was placed in the folded arms of his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib, who caressed him with gentle love and warm affection. Abdul Mutalib brought the child in front of his guests and in joy said, ‘Here is my grandson. His name is Muhammad.’
‘Muhammad?’ asked one of the guests. ‘Why Muhammad? You could have chosen for him a name commonly used by our people.’
Abdul Mutalib paused for a moment and then replied, ‘I have received inspiration in my dream that the child shall be named Muhammad. I hope he will bring joy to all humankind one day.’
And so it was. The child’s name remained as ‘Muhammad’, which means ‘One who is praised’.
Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, died even as the boy was still in his mother’s womb. Hence, Muhammad was born an orphan. He received all the love and care from his mother, Aminah. As a child, Muhammad used to play in the desert sands and grazed the sheep. When he later became a Prophet, he said, ‘There was no Prophet born into this world who had not grazed the sheep and I too, have done it.’
Muhammad’s mother died when he was only six years old. He was then placed in the care of his grandfather, Abdul Mutalib. However, when Muhammad was eight years old, his grandfather died. The responsibility to look after him now went to his uncle, Abu Talib.When Muhammad was twelve years old, his uncle took him along on a merchant trip to Syria. When they reached a place called Busra, Abu Talib and his other merchant friends decided to stay in a place where a Christian monk lived. His name was Bahira. Bahira had heard about the coming of a new Prophet and he had waited for the moment to arrive.
When Abu Talib and his friends were resting near some trees, Bahira noticed a cloud floating above Muhammad and keeping the scorching heat of the sun away from him. He came near the boy and noticed the tree that he was sitting under bent down in respect to him. Bahira was astounded. He searched the boy carefully and found the seal of Prophethood. It was a mole between his two shoulders. ‘It is the Prophet whom we have been told about,’ Bahira said to himself. Turning to Abu Talib, he asked, ‘Who is this boy?’ ‘He is my son,’ replied Abu Talib. ‘He cannot be,’ said Bahira. Abu Talib paused for a moment. Then he said, ‘He is my nephew. His father died before the child was born.’ Bahira was satisfied with the answer. Then he said to Abu Talib, ‘Take your nephew back to his home quickly and take good care of him. Protect him from all harm. Alas! A great future lies before him, so take him home quickly.’
A new chapter in human history was about to begin, a new world was about to be born, and a new hope for humanity was about to emerge. A Prophet was about to come to lead humankind into a new world civilization. His name is Muhammad and he will be a mercy for all humankind.