Now that we know about what battles preceded the Prophet’s time let’s delve into the years leading up to the emergence of Islam. A little recap; Muhammad was born and quickly orphaned and passed to his uncle. His grandfather had prophesied a Prophet to emerge from his grandchildren but they were all still young.
Muhammad was cared for by his uncle Abu Talib and his wife Fatima bint Assad. The couple had many children including the successor to Muhammed, Ali ibn Abi Talib. Before Muhammad was orphaned, it is important to note, that he was sent away from Mecca to be fostered by a Bedouin woman named Halima. Some claim that this was the common custom of Arabs in the area, other say that his mother sent him away because she didn’t want him to grow up in a polytheist atmosphere which was the case in Mecca.
When Muhammad was passed on to Abu Talib he was around 12 years old and clung passionately to his uncle. But Abu Talib had other concerns and his work demanded he travel to Syria with his family’s trade caravans. Ultimately, Abu Talib conceded to allow his nephew to accompany him on his trip.
This is the most famous story that was always told to me at bedtime:
At Bosra, near one of the halts where the Meccan caravan always stopped, there was a cell which had been lived in by a Christian monk for generation after generation. When one died, another took his place and inherited all that was in the cell including some old manuscripts. Amongst these was one which contained the prediction of the coming of a Prophet to the Arabs; and Buhaira, the monk who now lived in the cell, was well versed in the contents of this book, which interested him greatly.
He had often seen the Meccan caravan approach and halt not far from his cell, but as this one came in sight his attention was struck by something the like of which he had never seen before: a small low-hanging cloud moved slowly above their heads so that it was always between the sun and one or two of the travellers. With intense interest he watched them draw near.
But suddenly his interest changed to amazement, for as soon as they halted the cloud ceased to move, remaining stationary over the tree beneath which they took shelter, while the tree itself lowered its branches over them, so that they were doubly in the shade. Buhaira knew that such a portent, though unobtrusive, was of high significance. Only some great spiritual presence could explain it, and immediately he thought of the expected Prophet. Could it be that he had at last come, and was amongst these travellers?
The cell had recently been stocked with provisions, and putting together all he had, he sent word to the caravan: “Men of Quraysh, I have prepared food for you, and I would that ye should come to me, everyone of you, young and old, bondman and freeman.” So they came to his cell, but despite what he had said they left Muhammad to look after their camels and their baggage. As they approached, Buhaira scanned their faces one by one.
But he could see nothing which corresponded to the description in his book, nor did there seem to be any man amongst them who was adequate to the greatness of the two miracles. Perhaps they had not all come. “Men of Quraysh,” he said, “let none of you stay behind.” “There is not one that hath been left behind,” they answered, “save only a boy, the youngest of us all.” “Treat him not so” said Buhaira, “but call him to come, and let him be present with us at this meal.” Abu-Talib and the others reproached themselves for their thoughtlessness. “We are indeed to blame,” said one of them, “that the son of Abdullah should have been left behind and not brought to share this feast with us,” whereupon he went to him and embraced him and brought him to sit with the people.
One glance at the boy’s face was enough to explain the miracles to Bahira; and looking at him attentively throughout the meal he noticed many features of both face and body which corresponded to what was in his book. So when they had finished eating, the monk went to his youngest guest and asked him questions about his way of life and about his sleep, and about his affairs in general.
Muhammad readily informed him of these things for the man was venerable and the questions were courteous and benevolent; nor did he hesitate to draw off his cloak when finally the monk asked if he might see his back. Buhaira had already felt certain, but now he was doubly so, for there, between his shoulders, was the very mark he expected to see, the seal of prophethood even as it was described in his book, in the selfsame place. He turned to Abu-Talib:
“Of what relation is this boy to you?” he said.
“He is my brother’s son,” said Abu-Talib.
“Then what of his father?” said the monk. “He died,” said the other.
Buhaira then replied, “Take your brother’s son back to his country, and guard him against the Jews, for by God, if they see him and know of him that which I know, they will contrive evil against him. Great things are in store for this brother’s son of yours.”
A bit revised by me but mainly taken from HERE!
Prophet Muhammad – A Brief Biography by Al-Balagh Foundation
The Life of Muhammad The Prophet by Allamah Sayyid Sa’eed Akhtar Rizvi
The Study Quran by Seyyed Hossein Nasr