The Death of `Abd al Muttalib

the doubled orphanhood of muhammad increased `abd al muttalib's affection for him. nonetheless, his orphanhood cut deeply into muhammad's soul. even the qur'an had to console the prophet reminding him, as it were, "did god not find you an orphan and give you shelter and protection? did he not find you erring and guide you to the truth?" [qur'an, 93:6-7] it would have been somewhat easier on the orphaned boy had `abd al muttalib lived longer than he did, to the ripe age of eighty when muhammad was still only eight years old. the boy must have felt the loss just as strongly as he had felt that of his mother. at the funeral muhammad cried continuously; thereafter, the memory of his grandfather was ever present to his mind despite all the care and protection which his uncle abu talib gave him before and after his commission to prophet hood. the truth is that the passing of `abd al muttalib was a hard blow to the whole clan of banu hashim, for none of his children had ever come to enjoy the respect and position, the power, wisdom, generosity, and influence among all arabs as he had. `abd al muttalib fed the pilgrim gave him to drink, and came to the rescue of any makkan in his hour of need. his children, on the other hand, never achieved that much. the poor among them were unable to give because they had little or nothing and the rich were too stingy to match their father's generosity. consequently, the clan of banu umayyah prepared to take over the leadership of makkah, till then enjoyed by banu hashim, undaunted by any opposition the latter might put forth.

under abu talib's protection

the protection of muhammad now fell to abu talib, his uncle. abu talib was not the eldest of the brothers. a1 harith was the eldest but he was not prosperous enough to expand his household responsibilities. a1 `abbas, on the other hand, was the richest but he was not hospitable: he undertook the siqayah alone and refused to assume responsibility for the rifadah. despite his poverty, abu talib was the noblest and the most hospitable and, therefore, the most respected among the quraysh. no wonder that the protection of muhammad devolved upon him.

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