Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib (Arabic: أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب ʾAbū Ṭālib ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib; c. 535 – c. 619) Abu Talib means; The father of Talib, 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 Rashidun 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 ibn Abd al-Muttalib
أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب
|Major Chief Leader of Quraysh|
c. 578 - 619 CE
|Preceded by||Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim|
|Succeeded by||Abu Lahab ibn Abd al-Muttalib|
'Imran (عِمْرَان) or
'Abd Manaf (عَبْد مَنَاف)
c. 535 CE
(present-day Saudi Arabia)
|Died||c. 619 (aged 83–84)|
|Spouse(s)||Fatimah bint Asad|
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. Another tradition states that, Abdul Muttalib, the father of Abu Talib on his death bed, chose Abu Talib amongst his sons to entrust them to take the task of raising Muhammed. Although Abu Talib was responsible for Siqaya and Rifada (Food and Beverages) of Hajj pilgrims, he was poor. For this, he had to borrow the amount from his uncle Abbas, which he failed to return and had to give up and let Abbas undertake the duty, as it was pre-conditioned to do so. Although this did not harm his position.
Muhammad loved his uncle, 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, his brother, 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 memory of Abu Talib is influenced by political aims of the Sunni and Shia Muslims.
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, 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
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. Abu Talib, according to the Shia, was a Muslim and died a Muslim. The shias view the opinion of Abu Talib being kafir as one with no basis and rather weak ahadith. They see it as another attempt to belittle the position of Ali, the son of Abu Talib.
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 childrenEdit
- 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
|Kilab ibn Murrah||Fatimah bint Sa'd|
|Zuhrah ibn Kilab|
(progenitor of Banu Zuhrah)
|Qusai ibn Kilab|
|Hubba bint Hulail|
|`Abd Manaf ibn Zuhrah|
|`Abd Manaf ibn Qusai|
|Atikah bint Murrah|
|Wahb ibn `Abd Manaf|
|Hashim ibn 'Abd Manaf|
(progenitor of Banu Hashim)
|Salma bint `Amr|
|Fatimah bint `Amr|
|Halah bint Wuhayb|
|6 other sons|
and 6 daughters
|`Abd Allah ibn `Abbas|
paternal cousin and son-in-law
family tree, descendants
second cousin and son-in-law
|Ali ibn Zainab|
|Umamah bint Zainab|
|`Abd-Allah ibn Uthman|
|Rayhana bint Zayd|
|Usama ibn Zayd|
|Muhsin ibn Ali|
|Hasan ibn Ali|
|Husayn ibn Ali|
|Umm Kulthum bint Ali|
|Zaynab bint Ali|
|Abu Bakr |
- * indicates that the marriage order is disputed
- Note that direct lineage is marked in bold.
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