Aminah nursed her son, Muhammad ﷺ, for a short time. Then another woman nursed him. Her name was Halimah. Lady Halimah was the main nursing mother of Prophet Muhammad, ﷺ. In those days in Makkah, women wanted their children nursed by Bedouins who lived outside of the city. They believed that their children would be healthier if they were raised in the desert. Aminah wanted her son to have a good start. Therefore, she too desired to have him nursed outside of Makkah. The nursing mother,
Halimah, tells the following: ”l went with other woman from Banu Sa^d searching for babies to nurse in Makkah. I was riding a female donkey in a year of drought that left us with no food. My husband was with me on an old female camel that would not even give us a drop of milk. In addition, l had my own son with me. We would stay up all night crying of hunger because my breast milk was little.
When we reached Makkah, the Messenger of God was offered to every woman. All of us rejected taking him because he was an orphan. We all were seeking rewards from the father for nursing his child. Every one of my companions had a child to nurse except myself. l hated to return without a baby to nurse, so l told my husband, ‘swear by God, l will return to that orphan and take him’.
When l returned, my husband said, ‘You did the right thing. May God bring goodness through this child.’ l swear by God as soon as l put him in my lap, the milk started flowing out of my breasts plentifully. Muhammad ﷺ and my son nursed until they were satisfied. My husband went to our old female camel and found its udders full of milk. So, we milked as much as we wanted and my husband and l drank until we were satisfied.
That night we all slept with our stomachs full and our thirst quenched. My husband said to me, ‘O Halimah, l swear by God, l see that you have brought a blessed human. Our children have slept!’ We went out of Makkah. l swear by God my female donkey ran ahead of the caravan and my companions said in surprise, ”Isn’t this your female donkey that you rode to Makkah?” l said, “Yes,” l swear by God that it continued to be ahead of them until we reached our camps.
We came to the most barren land. I swear by the One Who controls my soul, my lambs would go out in the morning with other peoples’ lambs, and in the afternoon mine would come back with full stomachs and udders while theirs would return hungry and without milk. Then, we would drink whatever we desired of the milk and no one around would even have a drop of milk from his or her animals. The people would ask their shepherds, ‘why don’t you graze your sheep where Halimah does?’ So they would graze their animals wherever we grazed ours. Despite that, their animals would return hungry without milk and ours would return full of food and milk.
At the age of one, Muhammad ﷺ was already a strong boy. We went to his mother and l told her, ‘We should keep him lest he would be inflicted with disease in Makkah. ‘I did not want to give him up to his mother because of the blessings that we witnessed from him. We convinced his mother to leave him with us.
One day, (when Muhammad ﷺ was four or five years old) my son came and told us, ‘Help my brother from Quraysh! Two men came and laid him down and cut open his chest, ‘We ran fast and found Muhammad ﷺ standing, with a changed colour. We both embraced him. He told us, ‘Two men with white clothes came and laid me down and cut my chest open. I do not know what they did with me.’ My husband said, ‘O Halimah, this child is hurt and we need to return him to his family’.
When we got to his mother, she asked, ‘Why did you bring him back when before you were so insistent on keeping him with you?’ l said, ‘We have taken care of him and have done what we were obligated to do; but we feared for him.’ His mother said, ”l swear by God, this is not the reason. Tell me what happened!”
When we told her what had happened she said, ”You were worried about him? l swear by God, my son will have a great rank. Let me tell you about him. When l carried him, nothing was lighter or more blessed than he was. When l was pregnant with him l saw a dream that a strong light came out of my body. This light was so strong that it lit up the palaces in Busra (a city in ash-Sham). When l delivered him, he did not come out as other babies do. He fell with his hands on the ground, raising his head to the sky. Leave him with me and go back to your business”.