Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS succeeded his father Moulana Hashim AS. He is Rasulullah’s SA paternal grandfather (jadd), and his preeminence is attributed to his consanguinity with RasulullahSA and the short time period between his lifetime and the birth of RasulullahSA. He was of noble blood and blessed with honor and glory that soon allowed him to lead Quraysh, take over the various responsibilities of the city of Makkah, and gain prominence throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
His mother was Salmaa bint `Amr bin Zaid. When visiting Madinah, Maulana Hashim, Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib’s father stayed at ´Amr bin Zaid’s residence. He saw Salmaa and proposed to his father that his daughter be married to him. Her father accepted his proposal and they were wed upon the condition that should Salmaa conceive she would be allowed to travel back to Madinah so that she may give birth in her native city. As the birth of her noble child drew near, Moulana Hashim AS brought her to Madinah and continued onto Shaam for trade, during this journey he passed away in present-day Giza.
Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib was born in Madinah and named ‘Shayba’ for the white streaks he possessed in his hair. His mother raised him in Madinah until one day a man from Banu Haarith bin ´Abd Manāf visited Madinah and passed upon a group of children practicing archery of whom Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib was the most talented and skilled. While playing with the group of children he was chanting, “I am the son of Hashim, and I am the son of the noble leaders.” Upon witnessing this scene, the man asked Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib his name to which he responded, “I am Shaybah son of Hashim who is son of ´Abd Manāf, I am the son of the Leader of Makkah.” The man replied, ‘May Allah grant you barakat, and may he bestow us with many more such as you’. In turn, Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib asked him you he was, he replied ‘one of your people’. Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib answered, ‘May Allah grant you a long life, welcome!’ He then proceeded to ask about him and whether there was anything he could do for him, all of which made a lasting impression on the man from Makkah.
After returning to Makkah, the man immediately approached Muttalib son of Maulana ´Abd Manāf AS , who was sitting on a rock, and discreetly informed him of his meeting with Maulana Abdulmuttalib. Muttalib exclaimed, “Indeed, I had forgotten him.” He then swore to not return to his family and possessions until he visited him. Thus, Muttalib immediately left for the quarter of Bani Najjar in Madīnah where he found Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS. He approached him and told him that he has come to take him. Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS accepted to accompany him to Makkah. When they reached Makkah, people questioned Muttalib about the identity of the child accompanying him. He replied that this is a young slave-boy that he has bought to be in his service. Mutallib took Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS home in order to change his clothes. Once ready, he brought him before a meeting of Banu ´Abd Manaf and announced that this is the son of your brother Maulana Hashim AS. They responded, “yesterday you told us that he was your servant (´abd).” Following this, he became known as ´Abdulmuttalib, the servant of Muttalib.
Muttallib attended to his upbringing which was founded upon good character, noble traits, leadership and honour, with Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS becoming known as ‘Shaybat al-Hamd’. Many panegyric odes were composed by contemporary poets in his praise and in praise of Banu ´Abd Manāf to whom he was the rightful heir. In one such poem written in praise of Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib and Banu ´Abd Manāf by Huzefa bin Ghaanim who was freed by him after being taken as a slave. He says in three of its verses:
“In praise of Shaybat al-Hamd whose countenance illuminates the night like the bright moon.
Their men are the greatest of all men and their lineage is like the lineage of kings, it will never end.
Whenever you come across their youth you will find that that they are following the footsteps of their father.”
One of the most distinct deeds of Maulana Abdulmuttalib was his efforts in protecting the Ka´abah when it was marched upon by Abrahat, the then ruler of Yemen. This incident is mentioned explicitly in Surat al-Fil. As the rest of Quraysh fled Makkah upon hearing of the incoming army lead by Abrahat, Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS remained resolute and exclaimed that, “By Allah, I will not leave Allah’s sacred area seeking honor elsewhere”.
When Abrahat first reached Makkah his soldiers seized camels that belonged to Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS. News of Maulana Abdulmuttalib’s AS resolve to remain in the haram had also reached Abrahat. When he first beheld Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib, he was awed by his beauty and great stature. He sat him beside him and asked him if he needed anything. Maulana ´Abdul-Muttalib AS replied, “Yes, your people have taken some camels of mine, command that they be returned to me.” Abrahat was taken aback upon hearing this reply, “Your esteemed persona has fallen in my eyes. I thought you would ask me not to destroy the Ka´abah, but instead you ask me of worthless camels”. Maulana Abdulmuttalib responded, “Indeed, I have asked you of what I am master of, while the Ka´abah too has a master who will surely prevent you from destroying it if he so wishes”. These words resonated with Abrahat and greatly enhanced his respect for him and he returned to him his camels. The story of the fate of Abrahat and his army, and how Allah Ta´ala protected his Ka´aba is well cited and known.
May Allah Ta´ala grant al-Dai al-Ajal Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin, whose radiant countenance illuminates our lives a long and prosperous life till the Day of Qiyaamat. And may He continue to protect the Ka´abah from all those who attempt to bring destruction to it.