Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib ( ar, أَبُو طَالِب ٱبْن عَبْد ٱلْمُطَّلِب '; ) Abu Talib means; The father of Talib, born ʿImrān () or ʿAbd Manāf (), was the leader of Banu Hashim, a clan of the Quraysh, Qurayshi tribe of Mecca in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula. He was an uncle of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad in Islam, Muhammad, and father of the Rashidun Caliph, Rashid Caliph Ali. After the death of his father Abd al-Muttalib Patronymic#Arabic, ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, he inherited this position, and the offices of ''Siqaya'' and ''Rifada''. He was well-respected in Mecca, despite a declining fortune.

Early life

Abu Talib was born in the city of Mecca in the Hejaz, Hijaz region in 535 Common Era, CE. He was the son of the Hashimite chief, Abd al-Muttalib. He was a brother of Muhammad's father, Abdullah ibn Abdul-Muttalib, Abdullah, who had died before Muhammad's birth. After the death of Muhammad's mother Aminah bint Wahab, Muhammad as a child was taken into the care of his grandfather, Abd al-Muttalib. When Muhammad reached eight years of age, Abd al-Muttalib died. One of Muhammad's uncles was to take him in. The oldest, Al-Harith was not wealthy enough to take him in. Abu Talib, despite his poverty, took in Muhammad because of his generosity. Another tradition states that, Abdul Muttalib,the father of Abu Talib on his death bed, chose Abu Talib amongst his sons to entrust them to take the task of raising Muhammed. Although Abu Talib was responsible for ''Siqaya'' and ''Rifada'' (Food and Beverages) of Hajj pilgrims, he was poor. For this, he had to borrow the amount from his uncle Abbas, which he failed to return and had to give up and let Abbas undertake the duty, as it was pre-conditioned to do so. Although this did not harm his position. Muhammad loved his uncle, and Abu Talib loved him in return. Abu Talib is remembered as a gifted poet, and many poetic verses in support of Muhammad are attributed to him. Once, as Abu Talib was about to leave for a trading expedition, Muhammad wept and could not bear to be separated from him. To this Abu Talib responded, "By God I will take him with me, and we shall never part from each other." Later in life, as an adult, Muhammad saw that Abu Talib was struggling financially after a severe drought. Muhammad decided to take charge of one of Abu Talib's children and he convinced Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Al-'Abbas to do the same. They discussed this matter with Abū Ṭālib, who asked that his favorite child 'Aqīl be left with him. Al-'Abbās chose Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, Ja'far, and Muhammad chose 'Alī.Tārīkh Al-Tabarī (vol 2 p.63), Tārīkh ibn Al-Athīr (vol 2 p.24), Musnad of Aḥmed ibn Ḥanbal (vol 1 p.159), Al-Sīrat al-Nabawīyah by ibn Kathīr (vol 1 p.457-459).Sunan al-Tirmidhī (vol 2 p.301), Al-Ṭabaqāt Al-Kubrā - ibn Sa'd (vol 3 kklkp.12), Usd Al-Ghābah (vol 4 p.17), Kanz al-'Ummāl (vol 6 p.400), Tārīkh Al-Ṭabarī (vol 2 p.55), Tārīkh Baghdād (vol 2 p.18)

Protecting Muhammad

In tribal society, a tribal affiliation is important, otherwise a man can be killed with impunity. As leader of the Banu Hashim, Abu Talib acted as a protector to Muhammad. After Muhammad began preaching the message of Islam, members of the other Qurayshite clans increasingly came to feel threatened by Muḥammad. In attempts to quiet him, they pressured Abū Ṭālib to silence his nephew or control him. Despite these pressures, Abu Talib maintained his support of Muḥammad, defending him from the other leaders of the Quraysh. Leaders of the Quraysh directly confronted Abu Talib several times. Abu Talib brushed them off and continued to support Muhammad even when it put a rift between him and the Quraysh. In one account, the Quraysh even threatened to fight the Banu Hashim over this conflict. In a particular narration of one such confrontation, Abu Talib summoned Muhammad to speak with the Quraysh. Muhammad asked the Quraysh leaders to say the shahada and they were astounded. The Quraysh even tried to bribe Abu Talib. They told Abu Talib that if he let them get hold of Muhammad, then he could adopt 'Umarah ibn al Walid ibn al Mughirah, the most handsome youth in Quraysh. When this also failed, the Quraysh elicited the support of other tribes to boycott trading with or marrying members of the Banu Hashim lineage. This boycott started seven years after Muhammad first received revelation and lasted for three years. The goal was to put pressure on the Hashimites and even starve them into submission. For the sake of security, many members of the Banu Hashim moved near to Abu Talib (Encyclopedia of Islam), and the place became like a ghetto. This didn't cause undue hardship because many had family members in other tribes that would smuggle goods to them. Abu Talib's brother, Abu Lahab, sided with the Quraysh on this issue; he moved to a house in the district of Abd Shams to demonstrate support for the Quraysh. He thought Muhammad was either mad or an impostor. Protecting Muhammad put considerable pressure on Abu Talib and the Banu Hashim. In one instance Abu Talib exclaimed to Muhammad, "Save me and yourself, and do not put a greater burden on me than I cannot bear." Muhammad responded, "Oh uncle! By God Almighty I swear, even if they should put the sun in my right hand and the moon in my left that I abjure this cause, I shall not do so until God has vindicated it or caused me to perish in the process." Seeing his nephew's emotion, Abu Talib responded, "Go, nephew, and say what you like. By God, I will never hand you over for any reason."


Abū Ṭālib died around 619 AD, at more than 80 years of age, about 10 years after the start of Muhammad's mission. This year is known as the Year of Sorrow for Muhammad, because not only did his uncle Abu Talib die, but also his wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, within a month of Abu Talib. Before Abu Talib died, Muhammad asked him to pronounce the Shahadah. In another tradition Abu Talib was dissuaded from saying the Shahadah by the Quraysh. According to the historiographer Fred McGraw Donner, both of these traditions have very old isnads but the first variation has two different isnads which might suggest that the second variation is a modification of the older, first variation. In yet another variation of Abu Talib's death, his brother, Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, Al-'Abbās, who was sitting next to Abu Talib as he died, saw Abu Talib moving his lips. Al-'Abbās claimed that Abu Talib had said the shahada but Muhammad replied that he had not heard it. After Abu Talib's death, Muhammad was left unprotected. Abu Talib's brother and successor as the Chief of the family, that is Abu Lahab, did not protect him, as he was an enemy of Muhammad, so Muhammad and his followers faced incredible persecution. Muhammad is quoted as exclaiming, "By God, Quraysh never harmed me so much as after the death of Abu Talib." The early Muslims relocated to Abyssinia and then to Medina in order to escape persecution by the Quraysh.


The memory of Abu Talib is influenced by political aims of the Sunni and Shia Muslims.


It is reported in Sunni Islam that the Quranic verse 28:56 ("O Prophet! Verily, you guide not whom you like, but Allah guides whom He will") was revealed concerning Abu Talib's rejection of Islam at the hands of his nephew. In one account by the historian Al-Mada'ini, and widely circulated by the Abbasids, one of two men states, "I wish that Abu Talib had embraced Islam, for the Apostle of God would have been delighted at that. But he was an Kafir, unbeliever." Along the same lines, there is a similar account where Ali informs Muhammad of Abu Talib's death by saying, "Your uncle, the erring old man, has died."


Shia also believe that the ancestors of Abu Talib were Muslims. Abu Talib was a descendant of Ishmael in Islam, Isma'il Patronymic#Arabic, ibn Abraham in Islam, Ibrahim In addition, when Muhammad married Khadija, Abu Talib recited the sermon of the marriage. This fact has also been used to prove Abu Talib's monotheism.


Abu Talib was married to Fatimah bint Asad. They had four sons: * Talib ibn Abi Talib, Ṭālib ibn Abī Ṭālib * Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, 'Aqīl ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Muslim), marrie
Fatima bint Al-Walid
and had many children: Abu Sa'id, Muslim ibn Aqeel, Muslim, Musa, Abdullah, Ramla, Ja'far ibn Aqeel, Ja'far, Muhammad ibn Aqil, Muhammad and Abd al-Rahman ibn Aqeel, Abd al-Rahman * Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, Ja'far ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Awn), married Asma bint Umais, Asma bint Umays and had 3 sons: Abdullah ibn Ja'far, Abdullah, Muhammad ibn Ja'far, Muhammad and Awn ibn Ja'far, Awn also had a daughter: Na'mi. * Ali, 'Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (Abu Hasan), married Family tree of Ali, a number of women, including Fatimah bint Muhammad. He had many children like Hassan, Hussain, Abbas, Zainab, Umme Kulsum and three daughters: * Fakhitah bint Abi Talib, Fākhitah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Hani), married Hubayra ibn Abi Wahb and had four sons: Umar, Fulan, Yusuf, Amr and two daughters: Hani and Ja'dah * Jumanah bint Abi Talib, Jumānah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Sufyan), married Abu Sufyan ibn al-Harith and had two sons, Sufyan and Ja'far, Ali * Rayta bint Abi Talib, Rayṭah bint Abī Ṭālib (Umm Talib), married Awn ibn Umays and had a son, Talib. By another wife, Illa, he had a fifth son: * Tulayq ibn Abī ṬālibMuhammad ibn Saad. ''Kitab al-Tabaqat al-Tabir'', vol. 8. Translated by Bewley, A. (1995). ''The Women of Madina'', p. 35. London: Ta-Ha Publishers.

Education to his children

* Muhammad and his wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid, educated Ali * Al-'Abbas ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Lubaba bint al-Harith, educated Talib * Hamza ibn Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Salma bint Umays, educated Ja'far * Az-Zubayr ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Atika bint Abi Wahb, educated Aqil * Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib and his wife, Fatimah bint Asad, educated Fakhitah, Jumanah and Raytah

Family tree

* * indicates that the marriage order is disputed * Note that direct lineage is marked in bold.

See also

* Family tree of Ali * Shi'a view of Ali


{{DEFAULTSORT:Abu Talib Ibn Abdul Muttalib 619 deaths Family of Muhammad Year of birth unknown People from Mecca Banu Hashim 6th-century Arabs 7th-century Arabs