So far I have been making a thematic commentary on seerah and history. But one would not be able to properly understand seerah or history without basic information.
Information on seerah and history are plentiful in the net. Too many actually, and often they are confusing, as some of my readers noted. Bookshops sell many books and magazines, but not many people would have the time to read thick books, or have the patient and passion to do so.
Mindful of that, I have decided to create a section in this blog that provides more information and less commentary. Tentatively, I will just call it INFO SEERAH. To help the readers to digest the information better, I will present it in a summarized form with some perspective thrown into it.
The first entry shall be about the Prophet Muhammad’s lineage
The Prophet used to call himself the son of two sacrifices. By that, he was referring to two of his ancestors. The first is the immediate one, his father, Abdullah bin Abdul Muttalib, and the other, his far distance ancestor, Ismail bin Ibrahim (Ishmael the son of Abraham). He did not meet any of them.
Being a posthumous child, his father died before he was born. His distance ancestor, Prophet Ishmael (Nabi Ismail), died some 2,500 years before he was born.
Both Ishmael and Abdullah were about to be sacrificed when they were still unmarried, but those sacrifices were averted. Needless to say, if those plans were carried out, Muhammad would not be born. In the case of Ishmael, it was replaced by a ram. In the case of Abdullah, it was replaced by 100 camels. Ishmael turned out to be the father of 12 sons. He is considered as the Father of Arabs, or more precisely, the Ishmaelite Arabs. Abdullah, well, Muhammad was his only son.
Between Muhammad and Ishmael, they were separated by 60 generations. Muhammad unequivocally said that he was the descendant of Abraham (Nabi Ibrahim) through Ishmael, but he said the names of his ancestors are only correct up to Adnan, one of his not so distant ancestors. Between Muhammad and Adnan, they were separated by 20 generations. So the names of his ancestors from Adnan up to Ishamel, comprising of 40 generations (assuming the number 40 is correct), may not be accurate.
His great ancestor, Abraham, was the father of many nations, but the most well known and survive to the current days are the Ishmaelites and the Israelites. The Ishmaelites, as we already note, are the descendants of Prophet Ishmael, while the Israelites are the descendants of the Prophet Israel, a name given to Prophet Jacob (Nabi Yaakob). As we have earlier mentioned in the story of Joseph, Jacob was the grandson of Abraham. In our time, they are respectively known as the Arabs and the Jews. The name Jews is derived from the name of one of Jacob’s sons, Judah.
Adnan was the chieftain who lived around 100 BC. Most likely, he was the contemporary of Prophet Zechariah (Nabi Zakaria), the father of John the Baptist (Nabi Yahya). The two probably never met, because one was in the Arabian Peninsula and the other in Judea (Palestine/Israel). Adnan was the father of Adnanite Tribe, which is a branch of Ishmaelite.
Halfway between Prophet Muhammad and Adnan, there was his ancestor called Fihr. Between Muhammad and Fihr, they were separated by ten generations. His ancestor called Fihr was popularly known as Quraysh. It was from him that the tribe of Qurasyh was named. Quraysh is a branch of Adnanite Tribe, and a sub-tribe of Kinanah. Kinanah is Fihr's (Quraysh) great grandfather.
Quraysh and his descendents lived around Makkah, but they were scattered. They were not the leaders of Makkah. The dominant tribe that controlled Makkah during Qurasyh and his descendents was called Khuza’a.
Halfway between Muhammad and Quraysh, there was his ancestor called Qusayy. Muhammad was separated with Qusayy by four generations. Qusayy was the first Qurasyh who had overtaken the control of Makkah. Since then, it was the Quraysh who dominated and controlled Makkah.
Qusayy had an older brother called Zuhrah. Four generations down the road, Zuhrah had a descendant called Amina. This Amina married Abdullah. Through this marriage, Muhammad was born. Thus, Abdullah and Amina were distant cousins. They had a common ancestry in Kilab, the father of both Qusayy and Zuhrah
Qusayy had a son called Abdul Manaf, who in turned had sons called Amr and Umayyah. Amr was popularly known as Hashim. He was the great grandfather of Muhammad. His descendants are called Bani Hashim
Umayyah was the grandfather of Abu Sufyan, the archenemy of the Prophet before Abu Sufyan was defeated and became Muslim. Umayyah was also the great grandfather of Uthman, the third caliph, and the great grandfather of Muawiyah, the son of Abu Sufyan, who established the Umayyah Dynasty.
Bani Hashim and Bani Umayyah were both the sub-clans of Bani Abdul Manaf. They were the leading clans in Makkah. They vied with each other for supremacy. Bani Hashim was superior before the Prophet was born, but when Abdul Muttalib, the Prophet’s grandfather died, the Prophet’s clan had lost its dominant. By then, both of these clans were about equal in dominant, and was being challenged by the clan of Makhzum, the clan of Abu Jahal.
Other than Abdul Manaf, Qusayy also had a son called Abdul Uzza. This Abdul Uzza had a descendant called Khadijah binti Khuwaylid. Muhammad married Khadijah. Thus both had a common ancestry in Qusayy.
Like his father Abdullah who had married his distant cousin Amina, Muhammad too had married his distant cousin, Lady Khadijah. His father and his mother had a common ancestry in Kilab, the father of both Qusayy, the great great grandfather of Abdullah, and Zuhrah, the great great grandfather of Amina. As for the Prophet and his wife Khadijah, they both had a common ancestry in Qusayy.