The Companion of the Holy Prophet - Abu-Talib
by: Kamal al-Syyed | Translated by: Jasim al-Alyawy

The Year of the Elephant

In 570 A.D, the Abyssinian Armies under the leadership of Abraha attacked the Holy Makkah to demolish the Kaaba.

Abdul-Muttalib, our Master Muhammad's grandfather, the Master of Makkah, went round the Kaaba praying for Allah, the Almighty, to prevent the invaders from demolishing the House which Ibraheem al-khalil and his son Ishmael built for people to worship Allah only.

Allah, the Almighty, accepted Abdul-Muttalib's prayer. So, when the elephants and the soldiers advanced to demolish the Kaaba, Ababil birds carrying stones in their beaks appeared in the horizon. They began dropping the stones. So, the invaders around the Kaaba were defeated.

Consequently, Allah's power and Abdul-Muttalib's importance appeared! That year was named the Year of the Elephant.

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was born in that year. Abu-Talib was thirty years of age.

Allah, the Almighty, has mentioned this event in the Holy Koran:

"In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Have you not considered how your Lord dealt with the possessors of the elephant?
Did He not cause their war to end in confusion?
And send down (to prey) upon them birds in docks,
Casting them against stones of backed clay
So, he rendered them like straw eaten up?"


Abdul-Muttalib, who dug Zamzam well, had ten sons. Abdullah, the Prophets father, was one of them. Abu-Talib, the Prophet's uncle, was one of them, too.

Our Master Muhammad (PB.U.H.), was an orphan. His father Abdullah died while he was a baby. When his mother died, he was six years of age.

So, his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib took care of him. He liked him very much. He thought that Muhammad would be a Prophet.

Abdul-Muttalib was righteous. He followed Ibraheem and Ishmael's religion. He advised his sons to follow good manners.

In the bed of death, Abdul-Muttalib said to his sons:

"A grandson of mine will be a Prophet. So, he who will be present at his time must believe in him."

Then he turned to his son, Abu-Talib, and whispered in his ear:

"Abu-Talib, Mohammed will be of great importance. So, support him with your hand and tongue."

The Guardian

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was 8 years of age when his grandfather Abdul-Muttalib died. So, his uncle, Abu-Talib took care of him.

Abu-Talib's name was Abdu-Munaf. His mother's name was Fatima binte Amru. She belonged to bani-Makhzum. Abu-Talib was named Sheikh al-Bat-ha.

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) lived with his uncle. His uncle treated him kindly. Fatima binte Asad, his uncle's wife, treated him kindly, too. She preferred him to all of her sons. So, our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) grew with a good family.

Abu-Talib's love for his nephew increased day by day because of his good manners and great politeness.

For example, when the food was ready, the Orphan Boy reached it politely. He said: "In the Name of Allah!"

When he finished, he said: "Thank Allah!"

One day, Abu-Talib missed his nephew Muhammad. So, he raised his hand from the food and said: "Till my son comes!"

When Muhammad came, Abu-Talib gave him a cup of yoghurt. Mohammed drank out of the cup. Abu-Talib's sons drank out of it one by one, too. They were all full. The uncle admired that. So, he said to his nephew: "Muhammad you are blessed!"

The Good News

Abu-Talib had heard good news from the people of the Book (the Jews and the Christians). The good news was that a Prophet would appear very soon. So, he took care of his nephew very much. He thought that he would be a Prophet. So, he didn't leave him alone.

When Abu-Talib wanted to go on a trade journey to Sham (Syria), he took our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) with him. Muhammad was nine years of age then.

In Basra, a city situated on the road of the trade caravans, there was an abbey. A monk lived in the abbey. The monk's name was Buhaira. He was always looking forward to the appearance of a new Prophet whose time approached.

When the monk looked at Muhammad, he realised that he would be the promised Prophet because he had the personality and expression of a Prophet.

The monk began looking at the Makkahn Boy's face very carefully. Meanwhile, the good news about Jesus Christ sounded in his mind. The monk asked Abu-Talib about the Boy's name. So, Abu-Talib said: "His name's Muhammad."

The monk became very humble at his holy name. So, he said to Abu-Talib:

"Go back to Makkah. Protect your nephew from the Jews because he will be of great importance!"

Abu-Talib came back to Makkah. He adored Muhammad. He was very careful of his safety.

The Blessed Boy

The years passed. Makkah and its villages dried up because there was no rain.

The people came to Sheikh al-Bat-ha. They asked him to pray to Allah for rain. They said:

"Abu-Talib, the valley's become rainless. Our families are without food So come on and pray to Allah for rain."

Abu-Talib went out. He had great confidence in Allah. He took his nephew, Muhammad with him.

Abu-Talib and Muhammad stood beside the Kaaba. The boy's heart took a pity on the people. Abu-Talib asked Ibraheem's and Ishmael's Lord to send down heavy rain.

Muhammad looked at the sky.

Only a little time passed. The sky was full of clouds. Lighting flashed. Thunder sounded. The rain came down heavily.

The rainwater flowed in the villages. The people came back pleased thanking Allah for the blessing of the rain. Abu-Talib also came back. His love for his nephew increased very much.

The years passed. Muhammad became a young man. He was extremely polite. So, people called him the Truthful, the Trusty One.

The Supporter of the Persecuted

Abu-Talib disliked persecution very much. In the meantime, he liked the persecuted a lot. So, our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) liked Abu-Talib very much.

One day, a battle took place between the tribe of Kinana and the tribe of Qais. The tribe of Qais was the aggressor.

A man from the tribe of Kinana came to Abu-Talib and said: "Son of the bird feeder and pilgrim water-giver, don't be absent from us. We get victory in your presence."

Abu-Talib answered: "I don't be absent from you when you avoid persecution, enmity, rudeness, and falsehood."

So, they promised him to do that.

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) stood by his uncle against Kinana.

The Alliance of Fodhool

Some people from Makkah attacked the pilgrims of Allah's House.

A man and his daughter belonging to the tribe of Khathaam came to visit Allah's House. A young man from Makkah took the young girl by force.

The Khathaamian man shouted: "Help! Help! Help!"

A passer-by said to him: "Go to the Alliance of Fodhool

The man went to Abu-Talib.

Abu-Talib founded the Alliance of Fodhool. It was an agreement signed by the Makkahn leaders. According to the agreement they decided to help the persecuted and to punish the unjust.

When the Khathaamian man got there and asked them for help, some men took their swords and went to the young man's house. They threatened him and brought back the girl to her father.

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was a member of the Alliance of Fodhool.

The Happy Marriage

Abu-Talib had a big family. He spent a lot of money on the poor. So, he became poor, too. Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) felt that he had to help his uncle. So, he decided to take Khadijah's goods to Sham (Syria).

The task was successful. Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) gave the trusts to their owners. This made Khadijah think of him. So, she asked him to marry her.

Abu-Talib was very pleased with that suggestion. So, he, a group of banu-Hashim, and Hamza bin Abdul-Muttalib, our Master Muhammad's uncle, went to ask Khadijah's hands from her family. Abu-Talib said:

"Praise be to Allah who has made us of Ibraheem's and Ishmael's sons, made a protected house and a safe sanctuary for us, and made our country blessed."

Then he added:

"My nephew Muhammad bin Abdullah is the best and greatest man of all the Quraysh. Besides, he's better than money because money's perishable. He likes Khadijah and she likes him. By Allah, he will be of great importance. Khadijah's dowry is of my money."

Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and Khadijah got married.

The years passed. Allah gave Abu-Talib a new baby. The baby's name was Ali.

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) wanted to relieve his uncle's worries. So, he went to his uncle's house to take Ali to his house.


The years passed. Abu-Talib became seventy years of age. Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was forty years of age. Muhammad went to Hira Cave every day. In that year, Jibreel came down from the sky. Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) heard him saying:

"Read in the name of your Lord who created.
He created man from a clot.
Read and your Lord is most Honourable,
Who taught (to write) with the pen,
Taught man what he knew not."
Then Jibreel said:

"Muhammad, you are Allah's Messenger and I am Jibreel."

Muhammad came back from Hira Cave holding the Mission of the Sky.

His wife, Khadijah, believed in him. His cousin Ali bin Abu-Talib believed in him, too.

One day, while our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was praying and Ali was behind him, Abu-Talib came and said kindly:

"My nephew, what are you doing?"

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said:

"We're praying for Allah according to the religion of Islam."

Abu-Talib said happily:

"There's no harm in what you are doing."

Then he said to his son Ali:

"Ali support your cousin. He does nothing but good."

In the Prophet's House

After a while, Jibreel came down holding Allah's Order:

"And warn your nearest relations, and be kind to him who follows you of the believers."

Allah's Messenger ordered Ali aged ten to invite his tribe, namely banu-Hashim. Abu-Talib, Abu-Lahab, and others came to the Prophet's house.

When they all had the food, our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said:

"No Arab young man had brought his people like what I've brought you. I've brought you the good of here and of the hereafter."

Then, he asked them to believe in Islam. Abu-Lahab stood up and said with spite:

"Muhammad's put a spell on you."

Abu-Talib said angrily:

"Shut up! It's none of your business!"

Abu-Talib turned to our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and said:

"Get up and say whatever you like. Spread Your Lord's Mission, for you're the Truthful, the Trusty one."

So, our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) got up and said:

"My Lord's ordered me to ask you to believe in Him. So, who will support me in this matter? Who wants to be my brother, my regent, and my successor after me?"

They kept silent.

So, Ali said eagerly:

"Allah's Apostle, I."

The Prophet rejoiced and embraced his young cousin while he was weeping.

Banu-Hashim stood up. Abu-Lahab was laughing and saying sarcastically to Abu-Talib:

"Mohammed's ordered you to hear and obey your son."

But Abu-Talib did not pay attention to him. Rather, he looked angrily at him.

Abu-Talib kindly said to his nephew:

"Go on what Allah's ordered you. By Allah, I will support and protect you."

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) looked at his uncle respectfully. He felt strong as long as the Master of Makkah was with him.

The Supporter

Although Abu-Talib was an old man, he strongly stood by Muhammad's Mission. He was always protecting him from the Quraysh's polytheists.

A big number of the Makkans believed in Allah's religion paying no attention to the worship of the idols and to the threats of the Quraysh's tyrants.

One day, the Quraysh leaders came to Abu-Talib though he was confined to bed. They said angrily:

"Abu-Talib! Prevent your nephew from us because he's weakened our thoughts and insulted our gods."

Abu-Talib became sad because his people did not want to listen to the sound of truth.

So, he said to them:

"Give me time to speak to him."

Abu-Talib told our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) the words of the Quraysh leaders.

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said respectfully:

"Uncle! I can't disobey, my Lord's Order."

Abu-Jahal, the most spiteful man, said:

"We'll give him whatever he wants of our money. Rather, well make him king over us if he wants."

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) said:

"I want nothing but one word."

Abu-Jahal said:

"What's the word? We will give you as ten times as it!"

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) said:

"Say there's no god but Allah."

So, Abu-Jahal was filled with anger:

"Ask another word instead!"

Allah's Apostle (P.B.U.H.) said:

"If you brought me the sun and put it in my hand I'd not ask a word instead."

Tension happened. The polytheists stood up. They were threatening our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).

Abu-Talib said to our Master Muhammad:

"Save your soul and don't overburden me."

The Prophets' eyes shed tears when he answered:

"Uncle, by Allah, if they put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left hand to leave this matter, I will not leave it till Allah supports it or I perish for it."

The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) stood up rubbing his tears. So, Abu-Talib called him kindly and said:

"Nephew, draw near."

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) drew near. His uncle kissed him and said:

"Nephew, go and say whatever you like. By Allah, I'll never leave you alone."

Then he began singing to confront the Quraysh might:

"By Allah, they all won't reach you.
Till a pillow of dust will be put under my head.
And till I will be buried."

The Light of Islam

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) went on preaching the new religion to bring out people from darkness into fight.

Again the Quraysh tyrants came to Abu-Talib. They used another style:

"Abu-Talib, this is Amarah bin al- Waleed (Khalid bin Waleed's brother). He's the strongest and the most handsome young man of all the Quraysh. So, take him and give us Muhammad to kill."

Abu-Talib was sorry to hear that idea. He answered them angrily:

"Do you give me your son to feed him for you, while I give you my son to kill him? Have you ever seen a she-camel take a pity on other than its young?"

The polytheists harm became intense. They began torturing them. Abu-Talib thought that their harm would include our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). So, he sent for banu-Hashim. He asked them to protect and save the Prophet (P.B.U.H.). They accepted but Abu-Lahab.

Abu-Talib heard that Abu-Jahal and other polytheists tried to kill our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.),

So, he and his son Ja'far went to the hills of Makkah to look for him. They looked for him here and there.

Finally, they found him praying to Allah. In the meantime, Ali was praying on his right hand. They were sad to see that there was no one with our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) but Ali. Thus Abu-Talib wanted to encourage his nephew. He turned to his son Ja'far and said:

"Complete your cousin's wing."

Namely, pray on his left hand to feel determination, strength, and confidence. Ja'far stood with our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and his brother Ali to pray to Allah, the Creator of the skies and the earth, the Lord of the Worlds.

Again, Abu-Talib missed our Master Muharnmad (P.B.U.H.). He waited for his return. But he did not come back. So, he went to look for him. He went to the place where our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) went frequently. But he did not find him.

So, Abu-Talib came back, gathered banu-Hashim together and said to them:

"Each one of you must take a strong iron bar. Now follow me. When I enter the mosque, each one of you must sit beside a Quraysh leader. He must kill him if we knew that Muhammad had been killed."

The young men of Banu Hashim obeyed Abu-Talib. Each one of them sat beside a polytheist.

Abu-Talib sat waiting for our Master Muhammad (PB.U.H.). Meanwhile Zaid bin Harith came and told him that the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was safe.

Then, Abu-Talib announced his plan to punish those who tried to hurt the Prophet (P.B.U.H.).

The polytheists were abase. Abu-Jahal kept silent. His face became yellow with fear.

Some of the polytheists urged their boys and slaves to hurt our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.).

One day, the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) was praying. A young man came and threw the wastes at him. The polytheists began laughing loudly. Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) was very unhappy. So, he went to his uncle and told him about the young man's bad behaviour.

Abu-Talib became very angry. He took out his sword and came to the polytheists. He ordered his boy to throw the wastes at their faces.

They said: "Abu-Talib, that's enough!"

The Ban

When the polytheists knew that Abu-Talib would not leave our Master Muharnmad (P.B.U.H.) alone and that he was ready to die for him, they decide to announce an economic and social ban on banu Hashim. At the same time, they cut off all relations with them.

In the month of Muharram, the seventh year after the Prophetic Mission, 40 Quraysh leaders signed the ban and fixed it to the wall in the Kaaba.

The Quraysh expected Abu-Talib to surrender. But Sheikh al-Bat-ha had another attitude.

Abu-Talib took his tribe to a valley between two mountains, to protect our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) from assassination. He was always visiting the valley to close the openings where the enemies might pass through to kill our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) at night.

Abu-Talib, though old man, his brother Hamza, and some men of banu-Hashim were always guarding the Prophet (P.B.U.H.) one by one at night. Abu-Talib was always moving the Prophet's bed from one place to another to keep it a secret.

Days and months passed. The besieged were in perfect isolation. They suffered from the pains of hunger and deprivation. When the time of pilgrimage came, they got out to buy some food and clothes.

The richest Quraysh tyrants in Makkah were always buying all kinds of food to prevent the besieged from buying it.

During that bitter period of time, Abu-Talib was as solid as the mountain. He was always standing by our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). He was fearless, resolute believer.

Abu-Talib loved our Master Muharnmad (P.B.U.H.) more than his sons. He was sometimes looking at him, weeping and saying:

"When I look at him, I remember my brother Abdullah."

One night, Abu-Talib came and woke our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). He said to his son Ali aged eighteen:

"My son, sleep in his bed."

To know his father's loyalty to Muhammad, Ali said:

"But, Ill be killed."

His father said:

"Be patient!"

Eagerly Ali said:

"I'm not afraid of death. But I want you to know my support."

Abu-Talib patted Ali's back. He took our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) to a safe place to sleep in.

When our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) went to bed, Abu-Talib went to bed, too.

Months after months passed. The patience and hunger of the besieged increased. They ate the leaves of the trees. The Prophet (P.B.U.H.) took a pity on the hungry children.

The Good News

One day, our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) came to his uncle. He was filled with happiness. He said to him:

"Uncle, My Lord ordered the white ant to eat the Ban Page. So, it's eaten it all but Allah's Name."

Abu-Talib said happily:

"Has your Lord told you about that"?"

Muhammed (P.B.U.H.) answered:

"Yes, Uncle."

Abu-Talib's heart was filled with belief. So, Abu-Talib stood up and went to Darul-Nadwa, at the Kaaba, where the Quraysh leaders sat.

Abu-Talib addressed the sitting persons: "Quraysh!"

They got up for the respectful, old man. They listened to his words. They expected his surrender and defeat because of the ban.

But Sheikh al-Bat-ha said:

"Quraysh, my nephew Mohammed's told me that Allah ordered the white ant to eat your Ban Page. So, it's eaten it all but His Name. If he's right, then end the ban."

Abu-Jahal said:

"And, if he was a Liar?"

Abu-Talib answered with confidence and belief.

"I'll hand you my nephew."

The Quraysh leaders said: "Okay."

They opened the door of the Kaaba. They found that the white ant had eaten every thing but Allah's Name.

The besieged got out of Abu-Talib's valley. Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and his companions began preaching Islam to the pilgrims of Allah's Holy House.

The Demise

Abu-Talib was over eighty years of age. He became very invalid. So, he was confined to bed. He thought about nothing but our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). He knew that if he died, the Quraysh would fear no one and they would kill his nephew.

The Quraysh leaders came to visit Sheikh al-Bat-ha. They said:

"Abu- Talib, you are our Sheikh and Master. You're about to die. So, put an end to the enmity between your nephew and us. Tell him to stop hurting us. We will stop hurting him. Tell him to leave us with our religion and we will leave him with his religion."

Abu-Talib looked at Abu-Jahal, Abu-Sufyan, and other Quraysh leaders. He said to them faintly:

"If you hear Muhammad's words and obey his orders, you'll be happy. So, obey him and get happiness in here and hereafter."

The atheists stood up. Abu-Jahal said with spite:

"Do you want us to make the gods one god?"

Abu-Talib was sad at the Quraysh stand. He was very anxious about our Master Muhammad's safety. So, he invited banu-Hashim and asked them to support our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) at any cost. They all obeyed him. Then Abu-Talib closed his eyes to die soundly. Sheikh al-Bat-ha kept silent. He became a motionless body.

His son Ali wept bitter tears. Sad cries spread all over Makkah. The atheists rejoiced at his death.

Abu-Jahal angrily said: "It's time to get my revenge on Muhammad."

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) came to say farewell. He kissed Abu-Talib's bright forehead and murmured sadly:

"Uncle, May Allah have mercy, on you. You educated me when I was small, looked after me when I became an orphan, and supported me when I became a grown-up. So may Allah reward you a lot."

Then he burst into tears. He began recalling the days of his childhood with his kind uncle. He embraced his cousin Ali. They began weeping together.

The Year of Sadness

Only a few weeks passed. Khadijah, Muharnmad's wife, died, too. So, our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) named that year the Year of Sadness.

The Quraysh increased their harm against Muhammad and those who believed in him.

One day, a foolish person threw some dust at him. His head was covered with dust. So, he went home.

While Fatima, Muhammad's daughter, was washing his head, she began weeping. So, he patted her head and said:

"Daughter, don't weep. Allah will save your father. He'll protect your father from the enemies of His religion and Mission."

Jibreel came down from the sky holding Allah's Order. He said:

"Muhammad, go out of Makkah. Your supporter has died."

When the Quraysh plotted to kill our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.), Ali, Abu-Talib's young son, came to sleep in his bed. He was ready to die for him.

Our Master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) went towards Yathrib (al-Madina al-Monawwara). From there the light of Islam started to illuminate the world.

When the Muslims go to visit Allah's Holy House every year, they remember the attitudes of Sheikh al-Bat-ha when he was always defending Allah's religion.

"Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate, among each other."