Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib
Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib
أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب
'Imran (عِمْرَان) or
'Abd Manaf (عَبْد مَنَاف)
c. 535 CE
|Died||c. 619 CE (aged 83–84)|
|Resting place||Jannat al-Mu'alla, Mecca|
|Known for||Being the uncle of Muhammad, father of Ali, and Custodian of the Kaaba|
|Opponent(s)||Pagans of Makkah|
|Spouse(s)||Fatimah bint Asad|
Fatimah bint Amr
Umm Hakim (sister)
|Part of a series on|
Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib (Arabic: أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب Abū Ṭālib ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib; c. 535 – c. 619), born ʿImrān (عِمْرَان) or ʿAbd Manāf (عَبْد مَنَاف), was the leader of Banu Hashim, a clan of the Qurayshi tribe of Mecca in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula. He was an uncle of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and father of the Rashid Caliph Ali. After the death of his father Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, he inherited this position, and the offices of Siqaya and Rifada. He was well-respected in Mecca, despite a declining fortune.
Abu Talib was born in the city of Mecca in the Hijaz region in 535 CE. He was the son of the Hashimite chief, Abd al-Muttalib. He was a brother of Muhammad's father, Abdullah, who had died before Muhammad's birth. After the death of Muhammad's mother Aminah bint Wahab, Muhammad as a child was taken into the care of his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib. When Muhammad reached eight years of age, Abd al-Muttalib died. One of Muhammad's uncles was to take him in. The oldest, Al-Harith was not wealthy enough to take him in. Abu Talib, despite his poverty, took in Muhammad because of his generosity. Although Abu Talib was responsible for Siqaya and Rifada (Food and Beverages) of Hajj pilgrims, he was poor.
Muhammad loved his uncle very much, and Abu Talib loved him in return. Abu Talib is remembered as a gifted poet, and many poetic verses in support of Muhammad are attributed to him. Once, as Abu Talib was about to leave for a trading expedition, Muhammad wept and could not bear to be separated from him. To this Abu Talib responded, "By God I will take him with me, and we shall never part from each other."
Later in life, as an adult, Muhammad saw that Abu Talib was struggling financially after a severe drought. Muhammad decided to take charge of one of Abu Talib's children and he convinced Al-'Abbas to do the same. They discussed this matter with Abū Ṭālib, who asked that his favorite child 'Aqīl be left with him. Al-'Abbās chose Ja'far, and Muhammad chose 'Alī.[excessive citations]
In tribal society, a tribal affiliation is important, otherwise a man can be killed with impunity. As leader of the Banu Hashim, Abu Talib acted as a protector to Muhammad. After Muhammad began preaching the message of Islam, members of the other Qurayshite clans increasingly came to feel threatened by Muḥammad. In attempts to quiet him, they pressured Abū Ṭālib to silence his nephew or control him. Despite these pressures, Abu Talib maintained his support of Muḥammad, defending him from the other leaders of the Quraysh. Leaders of the Quraysh directly confronted Abu Talib several times. Abu Talib brushed them off and continued to support Muhammad even when it put a rift between him and the Quraysh. In one account, the Quraysh even threatened to fight the Banu Hashim over this conflict. In a particular narration of one such confrontation, Abu Talib summoned Muhammad to speak with the Quraysh. Muhammad asked the Quraysh leaders to say the shahada and they were astounded.
The Quraysh even tried to bribe Abu Talib. They told Abu Talib that if he let them get hold of Muhammad, then he could adopt 'Umarah ibn al Walid ibn al Mughirah, the most handsome youth in Quraysh. When this also failed, the Quraysh elicited the support of other tribes to boycott trading with or marrying members of the Banu Hashim lineage. This boycott started seven years after Muhammad first received revelation and lasted for three years. The goal was to put pressure on the Hashimites and even starve them into submission. For the sake of security, many members of the Banu Hashim moved near to Abu Talib (Encyclopedia of Islam), and the place became like a ghetto. This didn't cause undue hardship because many had family members in other tribes that would smuggle goods to them. Abu Talib's brother, Abu Lahab, sided with the Quraysh on this issue; he moved to a house in the district of Abd Shams to demonstrate support for the Quraysh. He thought Muhammad was either mad or an impostor.
Protecting Muhammad put considerable pressure on Abu Talib and the Banu Hashim. In one instance Abu Talib exclaimed to Muhammad, "Save me and yourself, and do not put a greater burden on me than I cannot bear." Muhammad responded, "Oh uncle! By God Almighty I swear, even if they should put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left that I abjure this cause, I shall not do so until God has vindicated it or caused me to perish in the process." Seeing his nephew's emotion, Abu Talib responded, "Go, nephew, and say what you like. By God, I will never hand you over for any reason."
Abū Ṭālib died around 619 AD, at more than 80 years of age, about 10 years after the start of Muhammad's mission. This year is known as the Year of Sorrow for Muhammad, because not only did his uncle Abu Talib die, but also his wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, within a month of Abu Talib.
Before Abu Talib died, Muhammad asked him to pronounce the Shahadah. In another tradition Abu Talib was dissuaded from saying the Shahadah by the Quraysh. According to the historiographer Fred McGraw Donner, both of these traditions have very old isnads but the first variation has two different isnads which might suggest that the second variation is a modification of the older, first variation.
In yet another variation of Abu Talib's death, Al-'Abbās, who was sitting next to Abu Talib as he died, saw Abu Talib moving his lips. Al-'Abbās claimed that Abu Talib had said the shahada but Muhammad replied that he had not heard it.
After Abu Talib's death, Muhammad was left unprotected. Abu Talib's brother and successor as the Chief of the family, that is Abu Lahab, did not protect him, as he was an enemy of Muhammad, so Muhammad and his followers faced incredible persecution. Muhammad is quoted as exclaiming, "By God, Quraysh never harmed me so much as after the death of Abu Talib." The early Muslims relocated to Abyssinia and then to Medina in order to escape persecution by the Quraysh.
The Abbasids, who originally claimed to be Shias, worked with non-Arabs to overthrow the Umayyad dynasty, and both tried to legitimize their claim to power through ancestral relationship to Muhammad. The Abbasids traced their ancestry to Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, while the Alids traced their ancestry to 'Ali, son of Abu Talib. Therefore, in order to assert their credibility, the Abbasids (who embraced Sunni Islam) tried to discredit Abu Talib by emphasizing that he died a pagan.
Shias believe that the father of the first Imam, Ali, must be nearly as great as the Imam himself. Shia Muslims praise Abu Talib and see him as a heroic defender of Muhammad. Many sources from this perspective claim that Abu Talib was indeed Muslim, he just kept his faith a secret so that he could better protect Muhammad.[unreliable source?]
In one account, when Abu Talib was ill, Muhammad fed grapes to him that God forbade unbelievers to eat. This implies that Abu Talib had accepted Islam despite his outward actions.
Shias also believe that the ancestors of Abu Talib were Muslims. Abu Talib was a descendant of Isma'il ibn Ibrahim, and Shias believe that the "divine transmigration of the spirit" is applied to ancestors as well as descendants. However, according to the 6th, 9th, and 19th Surahs of the Quran, Ibrahim's ab (أَب, usually 'father'), that is Azar, was a polytheist and disbeliever. Since the term ab was also used among Arabs for uncles, certain Shias[a] assert that Azar was not Abraham's biological father, but his uncle, thus implying that his biological father was the Biblical figure Terah, who himself was described as a polytheist.
In addition, when Muhammad married Khadija, Abu Talib recited the sermon of the marriage. This fact has also been used to prove Abu Talib's monotheism.
Shias quote several Sunni sources[which?], such as Arjah-ul-Matalib by Maulana Ubaydullah Bismil[non-primary source needed] which reportedly contains 300 Sunni references on Abu Talib being a Muslim.
It is reported in Sunni Islam that the Quranic verse 28:56 ("O Prophet! Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He will") was revealed concerning Abu Talib's rejection of Islam at the hands of his nephew.
In one account by the historian Al-Mada'ini, and widely circulated by the Abbasids, one of two men states, "I wish that Abu Talib had embraced Islam, for the Apostle of God would have been delighted at that. But he was an unbeliever.":218 Along the same lines, there is a similar account where Ali informs Muhammad of Abu Talib's death by saying, "Your uncle, the erring old man, has died.":219
Abu Talib was married to Fatimah bint Asad. They had four sons:
- Ṭālib ibn Abī Ṭālib
- 'Aqīl ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Muslim), married Fatima bint Al-Walid and had many children: Abu Sa'id, Muslim, Musa, Abdullah, Ramla, Ja'far, Muhammad and Abd al-Rahman
- Ja'far ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Awn), married Asma bint Umays and had 3 sons: Abdullah, Muhammad and Awn also had a daughter: Na'mi.
- 'Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Hasan), married a number of women, including Fatimah bint Muhammad. He had many children like Hassan, Hussain, Abbas, Zainab, Umme Kulsum
and three daughters:
- Fākhitah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Hani), married Hubayra ibn Abi Wahb and had four sons: Umar, Fulan, Yusuf, Amr and two daughters: Hani and Ja'dah
- Jumānah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Sufyan), married Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith and had two sons, Sufyan and Ja'far, Ali
- Rayṭah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Talib), married Awn ibn Umays and had a son, Talib.
By another wife, Illa, he had a fifth son:
Education to his children
- Muhammad and his wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, educated Ali
- Al-'Abbas ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Lubaba bint al-Harith, educated Talib
- Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Salma bint Umays, educated Ja'far
- Az-Zubayr ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Atika bint Abi Wahb, educated Aqil
- Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Fatimah bint Asad, educated Fakhitah, Jumanah and Raytah
- "Abu-Talib (a.s.) The Greatest Guardian of Islam". duas.org. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
- Ibn Sa'd, Al-Tabaqat al-Kobra, Vol. 1, P. 93
- Rubin, Uri (2013). Fleet, Kate; Krämer, Gudrun; Matringe, Denis; Nawas, John; Rowson, Everett (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE. Brill Online. ISSN 1873-9830.
- Armstrong, Karen (1992). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper Collins. p. 77.
- Haykal, Muhammad Husayn (1976). The Life of Muhammad. North American Trust Publications. p. 54.
- Rubin, Uri (1995). The Eye of the Beholder. Princeton, New Jersey: Darwin Press, Inc. p. 93.
- Lings, Martin (2006). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions. p. 33.
- The History of al-Tabari. Albany: State University of New York Press. 1988. p. 44.
- Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah, Vol. I, p.162.
- Tārīkh Al-Tabarī (vol 2 p.63), Tārīkh ibn Al-Athīr (vol 2 p.24), Musnad of Aḥmed ibn Ḥanbal (vol 1 p.159), Al-Sīrat al-Nabawīyah by ibn Kathīr (vol 1 p.457-459).
- Sunan al-Tirmidhī (vol 2 p.301), Al-Ṭabaqāt Al-Kubrā - ibn Sa'd (vol 3 kklkp.12), Usd Al-Ghābah (vol 4 p.17), Kanz al-'Ummāl (vol 6 p.400), Tārīkh Al-Ṭabarī (vol 2 p.55), Tārīkh Baghdād (vol 2 p.18)
- Armstrong, Karen (1993). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper Collins. p. 81.
- The History of al-Tabari. Albany: State University Press. 1985. p. 83.
- Armstrong, Karen (2000). Islam: A Short History. New York: Modern Library. p. 13.
- Rubin, Uri (1995). The Eye of the Beholder. Princeton, New Jersey: Darwin Press, Inc. p. 150.
- The History of al-Tabari. New York: State University Press. 1985. p. 95.
- The History of al-Tabari. New York: State University Press. 1985. p. 97.
- Haykal, Muhammad Husayn (1976). The Life of Muhammad. North American Trust Publications. p. 88.
- Armstrong, Karen (1993). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper Collins. p. 129.
- The History of al-Tabari. New York: State University Press. 1985. p. xliv.
- Lings, Martin (2006). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions. p. 90.
- Lings, Martin (2006). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions. p. 52.
- Haykal, Muhammad Husayn (1976). The Life of Muhammad. North American Trust Publications. p. 89.
- The History of al-Tabari. New York: State University Press. 1985. p. 96.
- Donner, Fred McGraw (1987). "The Death of Abu Talib". In John H. Marks; Robert M. Good (eds.). Love and Death in the Ancient Near East. Guilford, Connecticut: Four Quarters. p. 245.
- Lings, Martin (2006). Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources. Rochester, Vermont: Inner Traditions. p. 99.
- Rubin, Uri (1995). The Eye of the Beholder. Princeton, New Jersey: Darwin Press, Inc. p. 152.
- Haykal, Muhammad Husayn (1976). The Life of Muhammad. North American Trust Publications. p. 136.
- Armstrong, Karen (1993). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper Collins. p. 135.
- Rubin, Uri (1995). The Eye of the Beholder. Princeton, New Jersey: Darwin Press, Inc. p. 149.
- Donner, Fred McGraw (1987). "The Death of Abu Talib". In John H. Marks; Robert M. Good (eds.). Love and Death in the Ancient Near East. Guilford, Connecticut: Four Quarters. p. 237.
- (150 Rubin)
- Cite error: The named reference
Donner 239was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
- Donner, Fred McGraw (1987). "The Death of Abu Talib". In John H. Marks; Robert M. Good (eds.). Love and Death in the Ancient Near East. Guilford, Connecticut: Four Quarters. p. 240.
- Armstrong, Karen (1992). Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. San Francisco: Harper Collins. p. 108.
- Quran 6:74–90
- Quran 9:113–114
- Quran 19:41–50
- Mohammad Taqi al-Modarresi (26 March 2016). The Laws of Islam (PDF). Enlight Press. ISBN 978-0994240989. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
- "Was Azar the Father of Prophet Abraham?". Al-Islam.org. Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- Book of Joshua, 24:2
- Stories of the Prophets, Ibn Kathir, Abraham and his father
- Razwy, Sayed Ali Asgher. A Restatement of the History of Islam & Muslims. p. 40.
- Maulana Ubaidullah Bismil. Arjah Ul Matalib Sawaneh Umri Hazrat Ali Ibn Abi Talib. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
- Diane Morgan (2010). Essential Islam: A Comprehensive Guide to Belief and Practice. ABC-CLIO. p. 114. ISBN 9780313360251.
- Muhammad Saed Abdul-Rahman (2009). The Meaning and Explanation of the Glorious Qur'an (Vol 7). MSA Publication Limited. p. 202. ISBN 9781861796615.
- Donner, Fred McGraw (1987). "The Death of Abu Talib". In John H. Marks; Robert M. Good (eds.). Love and Death in the Ancient Near East. Guilford, Connecticut: Four Quarters. pp. 238–239.
- Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Tabir. Translated by Haq, S. M. (1967). Ibn Sa'd's Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Kabir, Vol. I Parts I & II, pp. 135-136. Delhi: Kitab Bhavan.
- Muhammad ibn Saad. Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Tabir, vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). The Women of Madina, p. 35. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.
Zubayr ibn 'Abd al-Muṭṭalib
| Head of Banū Hāshim