The Famous Grandfathers of the Prophet

Undoubtedly, we do not have much knowledge on all the ancestors who carried the Master of the Universe’s light as a Divine trust on their foreheads. The ancestors about whom we have the most knowledge are the ones who are closest in time. Here we will take a short glance at their lives and personalities.


Qusai, the fourth grandfatherof the Holy Prophet and whose real name was Zayd, was a very important figure. He had only one male sibling by the name of Zuhra.

From these two siblings, Qusai was granted the honor of bearing the noor that came down from Hazrat Adam. From childhood, Qusai garnered much attention for his talents and grew up to be one of the leading figures of Mecca. In a short time, he gained much reliability amongst the people of Mecca for his fair decisions as well as his skills in governance and administration. For this reason, the governance of Mecca was given to him.  He divided Mecca into districts for the first time. He situated every tribe into the district that he allocated for them. The most important decisions of Mecca were discussed and decided in his home.  Important tasks such as safeguarding the Ka’aba, providing water for and hosting the pilgrims of Hajj, erecting the flag at times of war, and governing the Meccan assembly, were entrusted in him. The first house that was across from the Ka’aba and whose door faced the Ka’aba was specially constructed for Qusai. This house was a parliament, like a type of governmental building or the state of the Meccan city, where all sorts of works and issues were discussed. Historically, Qusai’s residency was known as “Daru’n-Nadwa” and it found fame with this name. It was conserved until half a century after the Hijra (migration).

Qusai was loved and respected by everyone without exception. The noor belonging to the Master of the Universe that he carried on his forehead, made him beloved to and the bosom friend of the Meccan people.

 In accordance with the custom, Qusay handed over the role of the family chieftain to his oldest son, Abduddar when he got old and said, “My Beloved son, I appoint you as the chief of this tribe”.

 However, Abduddar did not possess the skills to undertake such a great duty. Throughout his life he was unable to fill his father’s place because the noor of the Master of the Universe was not shining on his forehead, but was on his younger brother’s, Abd Manaf who had four sons: Hashim, Abdusshams, Muttalib, and Nawfal. (1)


Hashim is the grandfather of the Holy Prophet from the second generation.

 Hashim was a tradesman; he was one of the notables of Mecca’s gentry. As the birth date of the Holy Prophet was nearing, the noor of the Holy Prophet on his forehead was shining even brighter. In addition, he had eminent virtues.

 He was extremely generous. During a year of drought, no bread could be found. He had snow-white bread made from the pure wheat he brought from Damascus, cut several camels and sheep, and offered a huge feast composed of bread, meat, gravy, and broth to the whole of Meccan people.

Because Hashim was of high moral character, aptitude, was wise, generous, virtuous, was loved and respected by everyone, and had a noble personality, his name became the title for his family and posterity. For this reason, they termed this great lineage that includes our master of the Universe as the “Hashemites”.

Hashim had four sons: Shaiba (Abdulmuttalib), Asad, Abu Sayfi, and Nadla. (2)

Hashim’s progeny continued from his sons Shaiba and Asad. Shaiba is the Holy Prophet’s grandfather from the first generation whereas Asad is the uncle of Hazrati Ali’s mother, Fatimah.

However, when Hunain, who came from Asad’s progeny, did not have any descendants; every Hashemite was descended from Abdulmuttalib’s branch, proliferated, and spread across the Earth. (3)

Shaiba (Abdulmuttalib)

Shaiba is the Holy Prophet’s grandfather from the first generation. Since he was born with white hair, the name “Shaiba” was given to him; he gained fame with his nickname, Abdulmuttalib and was mentioned more by this name.

The story of how he was given this nickname:

Shaiba stayed with his maternal uncles in Medina during his childhood. One day he and his neighborhood friends were throwing arrows with the other children in a public square in Medina. Amongst all the children, he was easily distinguished by the noor belonging to the Master of the Universe that shone on his forehead. There, a crowd of grownups gathered to watch the children compete.

It was Shaiba’s turn to throw an arrow. He placed the arrow in the bow and stretched the bow in a confident manner. For a moment, he stopped breathing and unleashed the bow. The arrow that sprung from the bow hit its exact aim. When everyone looked at him with amazement, he brought the following words to his tongue through the happiness and excitement that he felt with this success:

“I am Hashim’s son. I am Sir Betha’s son. Of course my arrow will find its target”.

The adults that came to watch heard Shaiba’s commendatory words. One of Harith bin Abd-Manaf sons came close to him and learnt that he was Hashim’s sons by cross-examining. On his return to Mecca, this man explained the situation to Muttalib and remarked that it was not right for such a talented and intelligent child to be left in a foreign province.

Upon hearing this news, Muttalib immediately went to Medina and brought Shaiba to Mecca. As Muttalib was arriving to Mecca with Shaiba on the back of his saddle, they asked:

“Who is this child?”

Muttalib was afraid that this child would be affected with the evil eye so the words “my slave” came out of his mouth.

When he arrived home, his wife, Khadija, asked the same question. Once more, the answer was “my slave”.

The next day Shaiba began to roam the streets of Mecca with the new and beautiful clothes that his uncle bought for him. Everyone became curious about his identity and began to ask questions. Those who knew answered, “Abdulmuttalib” (Abdulmuttalib’s slave).

Despite his identity being later revealed, his nickname remained “Abdul-Muttalib” from that day on. (4)


[1] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, v. 1, p. 66, 70, 74; Tabari, Tarikh, v. 2, p. 181-185.

[2] Ibn Sa’d, ibid, v. 1, p. 75, 80.

[3] Ibn Sa’d, ibid, v. 1, p. 79-80.

[4] Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqat, v. 1, p. 82-83.

Salih Suruç
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