Who Was Abdul Muttalib? 6 Facts About Abdul Muttalib

Who was Abdul Muttalib? Abdul Muttalib was the paternal grandfather of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) father Abdullah passed away before the Prophet’s birth. Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) mother died when he was six years old. Therefore, Abdul Muttalib became his guardian. Abdul Muttalib is fondly remembered as rendering valuable services with a dedication to the House of Allah. Due to that, he was held in high esteem by the people around him. When Abdul Muttalib passed away in Makkah al-Mukarramah. Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) uncle Abu Talib became the guardian.

Who Was Abdul Muttalib? 6 Facts About Abdul Muttalib  

Abdul Muttalib’s Life

6 – Abdul Muttalib’s Name & Its Meaning

The real name of Abdul Muttalib was Shaybah ibn Hashim. He was given the name “Shaybah“, which means ‘the ancient one’ or ‘ the white-haired’ one. Abdul Muttalib had a white streak of hair amid the black hair, so he got the name Shaybah ibn Hashim. 

Abdul Muttalib was under the guardianship of his paternal uncle Al-Muttalib at the age of eight. That’s why later he was named Abdul Muttalib, the literal meaning of which is ‘slave of Muttalib’. However, it’s interesting to note that the Arabs used the name ‘Abd ‘when addressing any young boy. It did not always mean servant. It was just an expression. 

Who Was Abdul Muttalib? 6 Facts About Abdul Muttalib  

5 – Abu Muttalib’s Family Tree

Abu Muttalib’s father was Hashim ibn Abd Manaf. He was the ancestor of the renowned clan of the Quraysh tribe, i.e. Banu Hashim. His mother’s name was Salma bint Amr who was from the Bani al-Najjar tribe in Yathrib. Abdul Muttalib’s father’s name was Hashim who was from  Makkah.

Abdul Muttalib married Sumra bint Jandab, Lubna bint Hajira, Fatimah bint Amr, Halah bint Wahab-Zuhriya, and Natila bint Khabab – Khizriji. From Fatimah bint Amr he had three sons: Abu Talib, Al-Zubayr and Abdullah. (Abdullah was the Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) father.) Daughters from Fatimah bint Amr were: Umm Hakim al-Badya, Barra, Arwa, Atika and Umama.  Amongst many other children he had, Abu Lahab was also his son from the wife, Lubna bint Hajira. By marrying his wife Halah bint Wuhab he had Hamza, Saffiyah, Abdulkaaba and  Al-Mughaira. From Nataliah bint Khubah he had Al-Abbas, Dirar and Quthum. From his wife Mumanna’a bint Amr, he had Musab.

4 – Abdul Muttalib’s Responsibility of Ka’aba

Abdul Muttalib was a follower of Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ismae’sl religion. After his uncle Al-Muttalib’s death, Abdul Muttalib took over the responsibility to maintain the sacred house Ka’aba. 

Abdul Muttalib actively provided food and water to the pilgrims maintaining the family’s legacy. He dedicatedly fulfilled his responsibilities as the custodian of Ka’aba.

According to Ibn Katheer, Abdul Muttalib rose to a prominent leadership position amongst the Quraysh. He was the most honoured chief. Abdul Muttalib was assigned the responsibilities of al-siqaya and al-rifada (that is, providing food and water to the pilgrims to the sacred Ka’aba).

3 – Leadership in Battles

Abdul Muttalib’s valour was proved when he saved Ka’aba from Abraha in the battle that took the year in the year of the elephant. 

The viceroy Abraha with sixty thousand men left from Yemen to demolish Ka’aba. The army also included Elephants. Abraha had a dialogue with Abdul Muttalib, and these words by Abdul Muttalib hold great value: “The Owner of this House is its Defender, and I am sure He will save it from the attack of the adversaries and will not dishonour the servants of His House.”

Allah saved Ka’aba miraculously. Birds were set loose in large quantity with stones of baked clay that they threw from their beak and claws. These stones injured Abraha’s army men and they fled away. Thus Ka’aba was saved.

This incident is quoted in Quran in Surah Fil as:


Who Was Abdul Muttalib? 6 Facts About Abdul Muttalib  

2 – Abdul Muttalib Role in digging Zam Zam Well

Abdul Muttalib has to his honour digging of Zam Zam well. He had a dream to dig the well and did accordingly and provided water to the pilgrims. Abdul Muttalib repeatedly had dreams until he was led to the precise location. The treasures from the well were recovered. He also built the door for Ka’aba.

Abdul Muttalib had ten sons and six daughters. According to the traditions, he vowed to sacrifice one of his ten sons. As the Quraysh wanted to stop him digging the well of Zamzam, Abdul Muttalib vowed that if he will have ten sons, he would then sacrifice one of them to Allah at the Kaaba.

Abdullah, who was the future father of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was the candidate. But later, the dice fell on the ten camels instead, and camels were sacrificed instead of Abdullah. You can learn more about this well from our post on Zam Zam water benefits & importance.

1 – Abdul Muttalib’s Role in The Upbringing of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

Abdul Muttalib raised his grandson Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who was an orphan until the age of eight in utmost love and dedication. Unfortunately, Abdullah Abdul Muttalib died four months before the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) birth. Abdullah died on his way back from the trading trip. Abdul Muttalib immediately took the responsibility of Aminah, his daughter in law. Unfortunately, Aminah, who was Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) mother, also died when Prophet PBUH was just six years old. After that, Abdul Muttalib took the guardianship of the Prophet till the age of eight. After that, Abu Talib took the responsibility of taking care of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with the same love and dedication as Abdul Muttalib.

The following Hadith shows how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) related himself to his grandfather Abdul Muttalib:

Who Was Abdul Muttalib? 6 Facts About Abdul Muttalib  

Abdul Muttalib’s grave can be found in the cemetery in Mecca, Saudia Arabia, by the name of  Jannat al-Mu’allā. It’s significant to note here that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ancestors and guardians, including Abdul Muttalib and Abu Talib, held the custodianship of the Ka’aba. Therefore, they have significant contributions in taking care of the pilgrims to the house of Allah too. The house of Allah SWT, the Ka’aba is a sacred place for every Muslim. We have shared facts about Ka’aba here.

No wonder this rich legacy of the Prophet (PBUH) and the upbringing by his guardians contributes to the virtues of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Abdul Muttalib was not only a great leader but also a caring and doting grandfather who shaped Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) personality since childhood. Prophet Muhammad’s character traits are given in detail in another one of our articles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the real name of Abdul Muttalib?

The real name of Abdul Muttalib is Shaybah ibn Hashim.

Where did Abdul Muttalib die?

Abdul Muttalib died in Makkah al-Mukarramah, Saudi Arabia.

How old was Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) when his grandfather died?

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was around eight years old when Abu Muttalib died.

Who was Abdul Muttalib to Prophet Muhammad PBUH?

Abdul Muttalib was the paternal grandfather of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).