Ishmael’s second wife was Lady Ra^lah(1), daughter of Mudad from the tribe of Jurhum. She delivered twelve (12) male children for him. From them came Nabit and Qaydar, and from these two in particular, God made a group of Arabs multiply.
The Arabs are of two branches, the first is the original Arabs (al-^Aribah) of Yemen. The second is the branch of the Arabs who are offspring of Prophet Ishmael, peace be upon him. They are known as al-Musta^ribah (literally this means those who became Arabs). They are called such because Abraham and his son Ishmael were not Arabs.
Even so, Ishmael was raised in Makkah. He learned the Arabic language and was the first among his people to speak Arabic at its best. He married an Arab woman. lshmael’s children married Arabs and their children married Arabs. Consequently, the descendants of Ishmael, peace be upon him are from the Musta^ribah Arabs.
Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is from the Musta^ribah branch of the Arabs because his lineage goes back to Prophet lshmael, peace be upon him, through ^Adnan(2). God made lshmael, peace be upon him, a messenger to the many Arab tribes in that region. It is said that he died in Makkah, and was buried there in al-Hijr, where his noble mother was buried.
Prophet Muhammad’s parents were both from the tribe of Quraysh, in Makkah, in what is nowadays called Saudi Arabia. Quraysh is the tribe with the highest rank among the Arab tribes. Prophet Muhammad’s mother was Aminah the daughter of Wahb, from the family of Zuhrah, from the tribe of Quraysh. Prophet Muhammad’s father was ^Abdullah, the son of ^abdul-muttalib. ^Abdul-muttalib was highly respected in the Makkan community by the time Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was born. He was in charge of providing water and food to the pilgrims who came to Makkah, which was a very prestigious position to hold, yet years before Muhammad’s birth, ^Abdul-Muttalib did not feel himself to be in such a high position.
Remember the well in Makkah that was dug for Lady Hagar and Prophet lshmael! That well of Zamzam had since been covered. Before having his son ^Abdullah (the father of Muhammad ﷺ), ^Abdul-muttalib had a dream that he was digging that blessed well. However, the people of Quraysh tried to prevent him from digging that well. ^abdul-muttalib felt weak in the tribe, because he only had one son. He felt that if he had many sons, people would not treat him badly. He made a vow that if God gave him ten sons, he would sacrifice the last of these ten at the Ka^bah(3).
God did give ^Abdul-Muttalib ten sons. The tenth son was ^Abdullah, who would become the father of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ . ^Abdul-Muttalib especially loved this tenth son. However, ^Abdul-Muttalib wanted to keep his vow. He prepared to slaughter ^Abdullah. At that, the people of Quraysh told ^Abdul-Muttalib, ”lf you slaughter your son, then other people will imitate you in this and start to slaughter their sons for the same reason. We see this as a bad thing!”
Hence, ^Abdul-Muttalib went to a person for advice. This person said, ”Put up ten camels to slaughter versus your son. Draw, and see if the arrows say to slaughter the camels or your son. If they say your son, add another ten camels and draw. Keep on adding ten camels and drawing until the arrows say to slaughter his son. This is what they did not say the camels until 100 camels were put up. As a result, ^Abdul-Muttalib slaughtered 100 camels instead of his son ^Abdullah, the future father of our Prophet ﷺ.
^Abdul-Muttalib kept his ten sons, and did re-excavate the well of Zamzam, as he had dreamt. Instead of being slaughtered as a baby, ^Abdullah grew to be one of the most handsome of men. One day, ^Abdullah was walking with his father and passed by a woman from a tribe called Asad. The woman called out to ^Abdullah, ”Where are you going O ^Abdullah?” He said, ”To a place with my father. ”She said, ”I would give you as many camels as were slaughtered in your place if you would have sexual intercourse with me right now.”
^Abdullah told her, ”I am busy.” Then he said a verse of poetry meaning, ”l prefer to die than to do such an abhorrent thing. You did not mention our getting married. So how would l do what you asked?” Later that same day, ^Abdullah married Aminah, who moved into ^Abdullah’s house that night. The next day, after consummating the marriage, ^Abdullah again passed by the same woman of Asad. On this day, the woman did not say anything to him. He was curious as to her change and inquired as to why she was not talking as she was the previous day. She replied to him, ”Yesterday l saw a light in your face. I don’t see it today.”
^Abdullah travelled to trade in Madinah where his maternal uncles resided. He became sick in Madinah and died therein at the young age of twenty-five, leaving behind a pregnant wife.
1 Scholars of genealogy differ about her name. Some say it was as-Sayyidah (Lady) and others say Ra^lah.
2 Our master Muhammad ﷺ, is the son of ^Abdullah, the son of ^Abdul-Muttalib, the son of Hashim, the son of ^Abdu Manaf, the son of Qusayy, the son of Kilab, the son of Murrah, the son of Ka^b, the son of Lu’ayy, the son of Ghalib, the son of Fihr, the son of Malik, the son of an-Nadr, the son of Kinanah, the son of Khuzaymah, the son of Mudrikah, the son of Ilyas, the son of Mudar, the son of Nizar, the son of Ma^add, the son of ^Adnan. This is the confirmed lineage of Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ^alayhi wa sallam.
3 Islamically, such a vow is sinful and invalid one is prohibited to fulfill it.