Aminah bint Wahab
|Died||577 CE / 46 BH|
|Resting place||Al-Abwa, Saudi Arabia|
|Spouse(s)||Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib (m. 569-570)|
|Parent(s)||Wahb ibn Abd Manaf (father)|
Barrah bint Abdul Uzza (mother)
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Early life and marriage
Aminah was born to Wahb ibn Abd Manaf and Barrah bint ‘Abd al ‘Uzzā ibn ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Abd al-Dār in Mecca. She was a member of the Banu Zuhrah clan in the tribe of Quraysh who claimed descent from Abraham through his son Ishmael. Her ancestor Zuhrah was the elder brother of Qusayy ibn Kilab, who was also an ancestor of Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib. Qusayy ibn Kilab became the first Quraysh custodian of the Kaaba.
Abdul Mutallib proposed the marriage of Abdullah, his youngest son, and Aminah. Some sources state that Aminah's father accepted the match, while others say that it was Aminah's uncle Wuhaib, who was serving as her guardian. The two were married soon after.
Islamic tradition holds that a light shone out of Abdullah's forehead, and that this light attracted women who proposed to him. Ibn Ishaq interpreted this light as a prophetic symbol, as it disappeared from him once he consummated his marriage with Aminah and conceived Muhammad. His conception is presented as miraculous in early Islamic sources, with various traditions stating that animals could talk, idols throughout the world were turned upside down, and Satan was thrown off his chair in that moment. According to Ibn Ishaq, early Islamic tradition held that the pregnant Aminah heard a voice informing her that she carried "the lord of this people" and had visions of castles in Syria, a harbinger of the Islamic conquests.
Birth of Muhammad
Six months after Abdullah's death, in 570 AD, Muhammad was born. As was tradition among all the great families at the time, Aminah sent Muhammad into the desert as a baby. The belief was that in the desert, one would learn self-discipline, nobility, and freedom. During this time, Muhammad was nursed by Halimah bint Abi Dhuayb, a poor Bedouin woman from the tribe of Banu Sa'ad, a branch of the Hawāzin.
When Muhammad was five years old, he was reunited with Aminah, who took him to visit her relatives in Yathrib (later Medina). Upon their return to Mecca a month later, accompanied by her slave Umm Ayman, Aminah fell ill. She died around the year 577 AD and was buried in the village of Abwa'. The young Muhammad was taken in first by his paternal grandfather Abd al-Muttalib and later by his paternal uncle Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib.
Fate in the afterlife
Islamic scholars have long been divided over the religious beliefs of Muhammad's parents and their fate in the afterlife. A hadith in the authoritative Sahih Muslim collection states that his father Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib was sentenced to hell, while one transmitted by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah states that God refused to forgive Aminah for her disbelief. While this caused scholars like Ali al-Qari to state that Muhammad's parents were denied salvation, this thought proved discomforting for many Muslims. Some Ashʿari and Shafi‘i scholars argued that neither would be punished in the afterlife, as they were ahl al-fatrah, or "people of the interval" between the prophetic messages of Jesus and Muhammad. The concept of ahl al-fatrah is not universally accepted among Islamic scholars, and there is debate concerning the extent of salvation available for active practitioners of polytheism, though the majority of scholars have come to agree with it and disregard the ahadith stating that Muhammad's parents were condemned to hell.
While a work attributed to Abu Hanifa, an early Sunni scholar, stated that both Aminah and Abdullah died as disbelievers, some later authors of mawlid texts related a tradition in which Aminah and Abdullah were temporarily revived and embraced Islam. Scholars like Ibn Taymiyya stated that this was a lie, though al-Qurtubi disagreed and stated that the concept did not disagree with Islamic theology. Shia Muslims believe that all of Muhammad's ancestors, Aminah included, were monotheists and therefore entitled to paradise. A Shia tradition states that God forbade the fires of hell from touching either of Muhammad's parents.
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