The prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was from the direct descendent of the prophet Ismail (peace be upon him). The Arabs used to take great pride in memorising their family lineage, so much so that some would also learn the family lineage of their horses.
In the lineage of the prophet Muhammad), from the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) till the prophet’s parents ( there was no unlawful sexual intercourse, all the offspring were through marriage and legitimate relationships. Allah`s prophets always had the most pure family lineage. Before Hadhrat Abu Sufyaan accepted Islaam, he was asked by the Caesar of Rome; how is the Family Lineage of the Prophet Muhammad? Abu Sufyaan replied:
هو فينا ذو نسب
He is of a Good Lineage. [Bukhari]1
On hearing this Caesar replied:
و كذلك الرسل تبعث في نسب قومها
Prophets are always sent into noble families. [Bukhari]1
The Caesar of Rome had the knowledge from the previous scriptures that when Allah chooses to send a prophet, then the prophets always come from a noble family. The prophets of Allah are chosen to come to this world and portray the message of Allah to the people. This message is so great and lofty that it is only suitable that the chosen prophet be of high and noble ancestry.
The Family lineage of the Beloved Prophet (Peace be upon him)
Father’s side:Muhammad the son of Abdullah, the son of Abdul Mutalib, the son of Haashim, the son of Abde Manaaf, the son of Qusay, the son of Kilaab, the son of Murrah, the son of Ka`ab, the son of Luway, the son of Ghalib, the son of Fahar, the son of Maalik, the son ofNadhar, the son of Kinanah, the son of Khuzaymah, the son of Mudrikah, the son of Ilyaas, the son of Mudhar, the son of Nazaar, the son of Ma`ad, the son of Adnaan. [Bukhari]
It is narrated by Abdullah bin Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) that when the prophet used to say his family linage, he used to stop at Adnaan.
Mother’s side: Muhammad the son of Aminah, the daughter of Wahab, the son of Abd Manaaf, the son of Zuhrah, the son of Kilaab, the son of Murrah (After Kilaab the prophet’s fathers and mother’s side of the lineage become one).
In other narrations the family chain of the prophet goes back to the prophet Ibrahim (Peace be upon him).2
Abdullah Bin Abbas states that when the prophet (peace be upon him) used to talk about his family lineage, he used to stop at Adnaan.3
Allah Mentions in the Quran:
لقد جاءكم رسول من أنفسكم
Now hath come unto you an Apostle from amongst yourselves
(Surah Tawbah, Ayat 128)
Ibn Abbas and Zuhri when reciting the above verse used to read the Faa (ف)with a Fatha and used to say that the meaning behind this verse is that the prophet was chosen from among the best people.
Abdul Mutalib was the grandfather of the beloved prophet (peace be upon him) and was known for his beauty and hospitality. He always used to stay away from evil, and the tribe of Quraish used to look up to him as a leader.Abdul Mutalib was the first person to go to the cave of Hira for meditation in solitude.4 Once while Abdul Mutalib was asleep in the Hateem(crescent shaped area immediately adjacent to the Ka’bah), he dreamt that he was being ordered to dig up the well of Zam Zam. This well had been buried for many years and nobody knew where it had been buried. After great thought Abdul Mutalib and his son Harith started digging where he was instructed in his dream, and eventually the well of Zam Zam was found. From This well many pilgrims used to drink, and till today it fulfils the same purpose.5
Abdul Mutalib`s vow (Nazr) and Abdullah
Abdul Mutalib made a vow to Allah, that if he had ten sons, he would sacrifice one of them to Allah. Allah accepted his prayer and blessed Abdul Mutalib with 12 sons and 6 daughters. Although it was very difficult, he did not want to break his promise to Allah. When lots were drawn, the name of Abdullah, the father of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) came up. Abdullah was the youngest and most beloved son, but Abdul Mutalib did not turn away from his duty. Everyone opposed to this and begged Abdul Mutalib to find another solution and thus the problem was put before a wise man. He suggested that a lot should be cast between Abdullah and 10 camels. In case the lot still fell to Abdullah, a further 10 camels should be added and the lot cast again. This should be repeated till the lot fell to the camels. In those
days the penalty for the accidental killing of a person (blood price) was 10 camels, and the Quraish liked this solution. A lot was cast between Abdullah and 10 camels but the result was Abdullah. The number was increased to 20, but still Abdullah’s name came out. The number was increased by 10 each time until it reached 100. Finally the lot fell to the camels. The people were overjoyed, but Abdul Mutalib was not sure he had fulfilled his duty to Allah. So he drew the lots three more times, and each time it fell to the camels. Now Abdul Mutalib was satisfied that his action was correct. He ordered that 100 camels belonging to him should be slaughtered that same day in front of the Holy Ka’ba and no person or animal should be stopped from eating the meat.
In this way Allah protected Abdullah, who later was to become the father of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
١ صحيح البخاري، باب كيف بدؤ الوحي إلي رسول الله صلي الله عليه وسلم –
٢ فتح الباري: –
-٣ الطبقات الكبري لابن سعد ج ١ ص ٢٢
-٤ زرقاني ،ج ١،ص ١١
٥ خصائص كبري، ج ١، ص ٤٣ و ٤٤ و زرقاني ج ١، ص ٤٤ و البداية والنهاية لابن كثير ج ٢، –