Who took care of Prophet Muhammad (saw) after the death of Abd al-Muttalib – Abu Talib or Zubayr ibn Abd al-Muttalib? [Old Title] | Complete Info

Muhammad (saw) was guarded by his paternal grandpa Abd al-Muttalib for the next two years. Abd al-Muttalib died in Makkah when he was eight years old and was buried in Al-Hajun. Zubayr, Abu Talib, and Abdullah were three of Abd al-10 Muttalib’s sons who were true brothers. Their mother was Fatimah bint Amr Makhzumia. Ibn Qutaybah is regarded as a respectable and authoritative author who is respected by traditionalists. He claims that Abd al-Muttalib had three sons with Fatimah bint Amr ibn A’idh ibn Imran ibn Makhzum: Zubayr, Abu Talib, and Abdullah (Same has been written by Ibn Hazm in Jamharat-ul-Ansab). Documents about Zubayr by Tabaqat ibn Saad:: ’’وَ الزُّبَیْرُ کَانَ شَاعِرًا شَرِیْفًا وَ اِلَیْہِ اَوْصَی عَبْدُ الْمُطَّلِبِ And Zubayr was a poet and a respectful person, and Abd al-Muttalib appointed him guardian. Ibn Abi al-Hadid in his Sharh Nahj al-Balagha wrote فَاَمَّا الزُّبَیْرُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ فَکَانَ اَشْرَافَ قُرَیْشٍ وَ وُجُوْھَھَا, But Zubayr ibn Abd al-Muttalib was among the respected and dignified leaders of Quraysh.

Author of Kitab al-Mahjar, Abu Jafar Muhammad ibn Habib (Died 245 AH) wrote under the title الحکام من قریش ثم من بنی ہاشم that after Abd al-Muttalib, Zubayr and later Abu Talib became the leader of Banu Hashim clan. (Kitab al-Mahjar, p-132)


Before death, Abd al-Muttalib had instructed his elder son Zubayr who was the real uncle of the Prophet (saw) to take care of Muhammad (saw). Zubayr had an unconditional love and affection for his orphan nephew. He used to carry Muhammad (saw) in his arms during his childhood, Zubayr make him sit on his lap, and used to sing lullabies. Therefore, as mentioned in ‘Al-Isabah’, Zubayr ibn Abd al-Muttalib used to sway Muhammad (saw) when he was young and used to say that this Muhammad is a souvenir of my brother Abdullah. He should live with great luxury and should achieve great honor and respect (Al-Isabah, Vol: 2, p-308). The Prophet (saw) spent his childhood and initial period of adolescence with Zubayr that’s why he used to highly respect Zubayr.

Zubayr ibn Abd al-Muttalib used to be highly regarded in the family due to his good qualities and well manners and was loved by all in the family. On the death of Zubayr, his sister Saffiyah binte ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib said a great marsiya (lament), translation of the last stanza says: “If I do not express the grief (lament) with my toung, then tears flowed down would have shattered my ribs.”


Apart from Zubayr, Saffiyah didn’t say marsiya (lament) on the death of other brothers. She was deeply hurt after the martyrdom of Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib, her real brother even though she did not say marsiya (lament) on his death and about Abu Talib, nothing is mentioned. After the death of Abd al-Muttalib, Zubayr was crowned as leader/chief of Banu Hashim clan. Muhammad (saw) was 15 years old at the time of Fijar(Sacrilege) War. Quraysh along with Kinanah tribe fought with Qays tribe and reverence of Kaaba and sacred month were ripped that’s why it is called as Fijar (Sacrilege) War. Harb ibn Umayyah was the commander of Quraysh and Zubayr was the leader of Banu Abd al-Muttalib. Muhammad (saw) had also participated in this war and used to collect and give the arrows shot by the enemies to his uncles.

Credit of renewing Hilf al-Fudul (Alliance of Virtue) goes to Zubayr. Zubayr ibn Abd al-Muttalib has mentioned this agreement in some of his poetic accounts. Muhammad (saw) was also present in the house of Abdullah bin Jada’an at the time of the agreement. After the death of uncle Zubayr, the idea of getting married came. Muhammad (saw) sent proposal for Umm Hāni to his uncle Abu Talib (Abd Manaf) but Abu Talib accepted an alternative proposal from Hubayra ibn Abi Wahb and rejected his nephew’s proposal.


When Muhammad (saw) asked, “Uncle, why have you married her off to Hubayra and ignored me?” Abu Talib replied: “Nephew, they are our in-laws, and the noble is an equal for the noble”. (Tabaqat Ibn Saad, Vol: 2, p-152; Tabari; Al-Isabah; Kitab al Mahjar)

Do not know how our historian and biographers have advocated the Abu Talib’s sponsorship? However, evidence of Abu Talib’s sponsorship lacks historical testimony. He is the one who did not raise his own son and Abu Talib’s son in law (Hubayra ibn Abi Wahb) from a noble family used to be foulmouthed about Muhammad (saw) after he attained the Prophet Hood. Hubayra used to come against Prophet (saw) in every war. Finally, after the conquest of Makkah he fled towards Najran and as an infidel died somewhere.

Sahih Bhukhari: Hiring (Hadith: 463) The Prophet said, “Allah did not send any prophet but shepherded sheep.” His companions asked him, “Did you do the same?” The Prophet replied, ’’نَعَمْ ! کُنْتُ اَرْعَاھَا عَلٰی قَرَارِیْطَ لِاَھْلِ مَکَّۃَ‘‘ “Yes, I used to shepherd the sheep of the people of Makkah for some Qirats.”


People, whose minds are overshadowed by the sponsorship of Abu Talib’s fictitious tradition, tried to answer the Hadith that قراریط (Carats) does not mean coins/currency here but it is the name of one place. But Imam Bukhari has narrated it under the wages (Hiring) subtitle. Second, what is the question of herding the sheep of the people of Makkah, if we accept Uncle Abu Talib’s sponsorship? … Still, if somebody insists that Abu Talib sponsored Muhammad (saw), then with respect my answer would be that Abu Talib by making Muhammad (saw) herding the sheep of people of Makkah used to make living for him and his family. This way, it will be Muhammad’s (saw) favour on Abu Talib and not the vice versa.

It should be noted that few days after the birth of Ali, Muhammad (saw) told his uncle Abbas, uncle! You know that my uncle Abu Talib is economically weak. Why don’t we take the responsibility of each of his son? Uncle Abbas took Jafar and Prophet Muhammad (saw) took Ali into his guardianship and sponsorship. Talib and Aqeel were young at that time and Muhammad (saw) was married to Khadija.

A translated excerpt from the Urdu book “Seerat e Badr-ud-Duja” authored by Maulana Syed Shahabuddin Salfi Firdausi.

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