the prophet pbuh was born on monday in the month of rabee` al-awwal. it was said to have been on the second, on the eighth, on the tenth or on the twelfth. ibn katheer said, "what is correct is that he was born in the "year of the elephant", which was stated by ibraheem ibn al-mundhir, the shaykh of al-bukhari, by khalifah ibn khayyat and agreed on by others.
the scholars of biography have said, "when aminah became pregnant with him she said, "i did not find him heavy, and when he emerged a light emerged with him that lit up everything between the east and the west."
ibn `asakirand abu na`eem related from ibn abbas (may allah be pleased with them all): when the prophet pbuh was born, `abdul-muttalib made the `aqeeqah for him with a ram and named him muhammad (i.e., praised). people said to him, "o abul-harith, what made you name him muhammad, and not a name of his forefathers?" he replied, "i wanted that allah should praise him in the heaven and that people should praise him on the earth."
his father's death
his father died while he pbuh was yet in his mother's womb. it has also been said that it was some months after his birth, but the first statement is more widely accepted.
he was breastfed a few days by thuwaybah, a freed slave of abu lahab, who had freed her out of joy at the birth of this boy. then a wet nurse was sought for him among bani sa`d, so halimah as-sa`diyyah breastfed him. he stayed with her among bani sa`d for about five years. there, his chest was opened and the angels removed his heart, washed it and extracted from it the share of the ego and of satan. allah the almighty then filled it with light, wisdom, kindness and mercy and they returned it to its place. halimah feared for him after that occurrence so she returned him to his mother, telling her what had happened, but it did not alarm her.
as-suhaylicommented, "this purification occurred twice:
first, during his childhood to purify his heart from the prompting of satan and second, when allah the almighty willed to raise him up to the divine presence to pray with the angels of the heavens, so he was purified internally and externally and his heart was filled with wisdom and faith.
his mother's death
when the messenger of allah pbuh reached the age of six, his mother, accompanied by umm ayman, took him to madinah on a visit to his maternal uncles of bani udayy ibn an-najjar. she stayed with them for a month but then died at al-abwaa' while returning to makkah.
when allah's messenger pbuh passed through al-abwaa' on his way to makkah in the year of the conquest, he asked permission of his lord to visit his mother's grave and it was granted. he wept and those with him wept. then he pbuh said, "visit the graves, for they remind (you) of death." (muslim)
after his mother died, umm ayman took care of him. she was his slave that he had inherited from his father. his grandfather, `abdul-muttalib, became his guardian, but when he was eight years old his grandfather died. he had instructed that his uncle, abu talib, take custody of him, so he became his guardian and gave him the best of care. when allah the almighty appointed him as a prophet abu talib aided and supported him completely, even though he remained a polytheist until his death. because of his support allah the almighty has lightened his punishment, as was mentioned in a hadith.
allah's protection of him from the contamination of pre-islamic practices
allah the almighty protected his prophet pbuh from childhood and purified him of the evil customs of the days of ignorance before the advent of islam. he pbuh made idols detestable to him so that he never worshipped an idol or revered a statue. he never drank intoxicants or joined the youths of quraysh in their immoralities. on the contrary, he was far removed from everything shameful and had noble morals and actions. he was known among his people only as "the trustworthy" due to what they observed of his pure character and truthful speech. they used to accept his judgment and comply with his opinion as is evident from the account of how he rset the black stone in its place. they accepted his plan when he requested a cloak, put the stone in the middle of it and told each tribal chief to lift it up while holding a corner of the cloth. then he pbuh pushed the stone into place himself, so the people became calm and the impending war between the tribes was averted.