The climate of Makkah was not good for newborn babies. It prevented them from growing up healthily and robustly. Therefore, some families who wanted their babies to grow up healthily gave them to wet-nurses who lived in the desert for a certain period. For, the desert had nice air and fresh water. Besides, the children who grew up there spoke Arabic better.
The wet-nurses came to Makkah twice a year and took the babies to their homeland. Immediately after the birth of the Prophet, the women of the tribe of Banu Sa’d came to Makkah with their husbands. One of them was Hz. Halima. Halima lagged behind because the animal she was riding was weak and lame. When she arrived in Makkah, each woman had found a baby to nurse and started to return.
Abdulmuttalib also wanted to give his grandson to a wet-nurse but no woman accepted him because he was a fatherless boy. Nobody could imagine the abundance they would get for the sake of this boy. While the grandfather of the Messenger of Allah was wandering hopelessly, he met Halima, who was sad because she had not been able to find a baby to nurse.
He asked Halima,
“What tribe are you from?”
Hz. Halima said,
“From Banu Sa’d.”
Abdulmuttalib asked her what her name was.
When he found out that it was Halima, he smiled and said,
“Very Good! Sa’d and hilm are two characteristics on which the goodness of the world and the honor of the hereafter depend. O Halima! I have a fatherless child with me. The other women did not want to accept him saying,
‘We want to benefit from the fathers of the children we accept; what shall we do with a fatherless child?’
I hope you will accept him. You may attain happiness thanks to him.”
Halima asked permission from him to consult her husband who was standing over there.
Her husband said,
“You may accept him. We may attain abundance thanks to him.”
Halima went over to the grandfather of the Prophet feeling happy that she was able to find a baby. She said she wanted to take the child. Abdulmuttalib became very happy. He took her to Hz. Amina. Amina welcomed Halima. They went to the room where the Messenger of Allah was sleeping.
The Prophet was enwrapped in white swaddling clothes. There was a piece of green fabric under him. He was sleeping soundly on his back, emitting a nice scent.
She became glad that she had accepted to take him. She held him in her arms. The Messenger of Allah smiled at his wet-nurse. Halima kissed him. She was happy but Hz. Amina was sad. She was with her baby only for a few days. How was she going to put up with his absence? However, she consoled herself thinking that she had to do it for the sake of her baby.
Hz. Halima went over to her husband holding the Prophet in her arms. Then, she gave her right tit to the Prophet and her left tit to her own son. They sucked milk and slept. From then on, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) sucked from the right tit; he never sucked from the left tit.
Before he accepted the Prophet, it was not enough even for her own son; her son used cry because of hunger. When they saw that both of them were full, they became happy. When they also saw that the udders of their she-camel, which had very little milk, were full of milk, their happiness doubled. Halima’s husband said,
“O Halima! Know that you got a very blessed and lucky baby.”
Indeed, this family and the tribe of Banu Sa’d got rid of drought and attained abundance after that.
They noticed that there was a big change in their animals. The donkey that had lagged behind on the way to Makkah overtook all of the animals of the caravan one the way back home. The other women were surprised to see it. They expressed their surprise by saying,
“O Halima! May mercy come upon you! Is this not the same donkey you rode on our trip here? Wait for us!”
After a tiring journey, the caravan reached their homeland.
There was no land where the animals could graze. Therefore, the sheep that were sent to graze returned home hungry in the evening. The animals became very weak. However, Hz. Halima attained abundance. Unlike the others, her sheep came back satiated and with their udders full of milk. This situation drew the attention of the people of her tribe. They reprimanded their shepherds saying,
“Woe on you! Why do you not graze our sheep where Halima’s shepherd grazes them?”
Halima and her husband knew that they attained this abundance and wellbeing thanks to this child, whom nobody wanted to accept because he was fatherless; they thanked Allah for it. Days passed like that.
His childhood did not resemble that of the other children. He started to talk and listen to talks when he was eight months old. He started to speak properly when he was nine months old. When he was 10 months old, he started to shoot arrows. He became a robust boy when he was two years old. He gave up sucking then. When he gave up sucking, Hz. Halima and her husband became very sad. They wanted him to stay with them longer since they attained wellbeing and abundance thanks to him. However, it was not appropriate for them to keep him any longer; they had to return him to his mother. They took him to Makkah to his mother. When Hz. Amina saw her beloved child, she got very excited. He had matured so fast. She became very happy since he was going to stay with her after that. However, Hz. Halima said to her,
“You had better leave your son with us until he grows up. I fear that he will catch Makkan plague.”
She agreed to be away from him lest he should become ill. Therefore, she accepted Hz. Halima’s offer. Thus, the Prophet left Makkah again in order to stay in the land of Banu Sa’d for some more time.
Once, he was with him at the back of the house where newborn lambs were. Two people came. They made him lie on the ground. They split open Muhammad’s chest, took out his heart, removed a blood clot and said,
“This was something in you that belonged to Satan.”
When Abdullah, the foster brother of the Messenger of Allah, saw what these two strangers did to his brother, he was scared. He rushed to the house and said to his parents,
“Come quickly! My Qurayshi brother was killed!”
Upon his call, they rushed out and ran to the place where the Messenger of Allah was. The Prophet was standing. His face was pale but he was smiling. They asked,
“What happened to you?”
The Prophet said,
“Two men in white clothing came to me, laid me down, and looked for something I do not know in my abdomen.”
Hz. Halima and her husband were frightened. They were worried that the Messenger of Allah would be harmed. Harith said to his wife Halima,
“Halima! I fear that something bad will happen to this child. Take him back to his family before anything happens to him.”
However, she lost him in Makkah. She became very sad. She could not find him no matter how long she looked for him. She went to Abdulmuttalib and told him that the Prophet was lost. He went out to look for him with a few people. Finally, they found the Prophet.
Hz. Amina became very happy when she saw her son but she could not understand why they brought him back so soon. She asked Halima,
“Why did you bring the child back? You had insisted so much keeping it with you.”
“Allah raised this child. I have fulfilled my duty. I fear that something bad will happen to him. I wanted to bring him to you and deliver him to you safe and sound.”
The Prophet grew up and got married. He saw Hz. Halima from time to time. Whenever he saw her, he showed her respect saying,
He would take off the extra garment on him and lay it on the ground so that she would sit on it. He would meet her needs if she had any. Once, Halima came to visit him. She said there was drought in the land of Banu Sa’d and that the animals started to die due to illness. The Prophet did not have much to give her but Hz. Khadija did not want the wet-nurse of her husband to leave empty-handed. She gave Halima 40 sheep and one camel. Hz. Halima expressed her gratitude to Hz. Khadija and returned home happily.
May Allah be pleased with her!
(Tabaqat, 1: 110; Usdu’l-Ghaba, 5: 427)
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