The Marriage of `Abdullah and Aminah

`abd al muttalib was seventy years old or more when abraha arrived in makkah to destroy the ancient house. his son `abdullah was twenty-four years of age and was hence ready for marriage. his father chose for him aminah, daughter of wahb ibn `abd manaf ibn zuhrah, the chief of the tribe of zuhrah as well as its eldest and noblest member. `abd al muttalib took his son and went with him to the quarter of the tribe of zuhrah. there, he sought the residence of wahb and went in to ask for the hand of wahb's daughter for his son. some historians claim that `abd al muttalib went to the residence of uhayb, uncle of aminah, assuming that her father had passed away and that she was under the protection of her uncle. on the same day that `abdullah married aminah, his father `abd al muttalib married a cousin of hers named halah. it was thus that the prophet could have an uncle on his father's side, namely hamzah, of the same age as he.

as was the custom in those days, `abdullah lived with aminah among her relatives the first three days of the marriage. afterwards, they moved together to the quarter of `abd al muttalib, and soon he was to be called on a trading trip to al sham. when he left, aminah was pregnant. a number of stories circulated telling of `abdullah's marriage with other women besides aminah and of many women's seeking to marry `abdullah. it is not possible to ascertain the truth of such tales. what is certainly true is that `abdullah was a very handsome and strong young man; and it is not at all surprising that other women besides aminah had wished to marry him. such women would have at least temporarily given up hope once `abdullah's marriage to aminah was announced. but who knows! it is not impossible that they may have waited for his return from al sham hoping that they might still become his wives along with aminah. `abdullah was absent for several months in gaza. on his way back he stopped for a longer rest at madinah, where his uncles on his mother's side lived, and was preparing to join a caravan to makkah when he fell ill. when the caravan reached. makkah his father was alerted to `abdullah's absence and disease. `abd al muttalib immediately sent his eldest son al harith to madinah in order to accompany 'abdullah on the trip back to makkah after his recovery. upon arriving at madinah, however, al harith learned that `abdullah had died and that he had been buried in madinah a month after the start of that same caravan to makkah. al harith returned to makkah to announce the death of `abdullah to his aged father and his bereaved wife aminah. the shock was tremendous, for `abd al muttalib loved his son so much as to have ransomed him with a hundred camels, a ransom never equaled before.

`abdullah left five camels, a herd of sheep, and a slave nurse, called umm ayman, who was to take care of the prophet. this patrimony does not prove that `abdullah was wealthy, but at the same time it does not prove that he was poor. furthermore, `abdullah was still a young man capable of working and of amassing a fortune. his father was still alive and none of his wealth had as yet been transferred to his sons.

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