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so they prayed to Allah to send a Prophet from among their
descendants. And when Abraham and Ishmael were raising the foundations
of the House, (Abraham prayed): 'Our Lord! Receive this from us; Thou,
only Thou, art the All-hearing, the All-knowing; Our Lord! And make us
submissive unto Thee and of our seed a nation submissive unto Thee,
and show us our ways of worship, and turn toward us. Lo! Thou, only
Thou, art the Relenting, the Merciful. Our Lord! And raise up in their
midst a messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Thy
revelations, and shall instruct them in the Scripture and in wisdom
and shall make them grow. Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty, Wise.
(Koran ii.127-9) When the Ka'bah was completed, Allah commanded
Abraham to call mankind to pilgrimage to His Holy House. Abraham
wondered how anyone could hear his call. Allah said, 'You call and I
will bring them.' This was how the pilgrimage to the Ka'bah in Mecca
was established and when Muslims make the pilgrimage today they
continue to answer the age-old call of Abraham.
The Children Of Ishmael
Over the years Ishmael's children themselves had children. His
descendants increased and formed tribes which spread out all over
Arabia. One of these tribes was called Quraysh. Its people never moved
away from Mecca and always lived near the Ka'bah. One of the duties of
the leader of Quraysh was to look after those who came on pilgrimage
to the Ka'bah. The pilgrims would come from all over Arabia and it was
a great honor to provide them with food and water.
As time passed, however, the Arabs stopped worshipping Allah directly
and started bringing idols back with them from the different countries
they visited. These idols were placed at the Ka'bah, which was no
longer regarded as the Sanctuary of Allah, as Abraham had intended it.
It was, however, still respected by the Arabs. Around this time the
well of Zamzam disappeared beneath the sand
Also at this time, Qusayy, one of the leaders of Quraysh, became ruler
over Mecca. He held the keys of the temple and had the right to give
water to the pilgrims, to feed them, to take charge of meetings, and
to hand out war banners before battle. It was also in his house that
Quraysh settled their affairs. After Qusayy's death, his son 'Abdu
Manaf, who had become famous during his father's lifetime, took over
the leadership of Quraysh. After him came his son Hashim. It is said
that Hashim was the first to begin the two great caravan journeys of
Quraysh, one in the summer to Syria and the north, and one in the
winter to Yemen and the south. As a result, Mecca grew rich and became
a large and important centre of trade.
One summer Hashim went north to buy goods to sell in Yemen. On his way
he stopped in Yathrib to trade in the market and there he saw a
beautiful woman. She was Salma', the daughter of 'Amr ibn Zeid, who
was from a much respected family.
Hashim proposed marriage to her and was accepted because he was an
honorable and distinguished man.
In time, Salma' gave birth to a beautiful son and as some of his hair
was white they called him Shaybah, which in Arabic means grey-
Mother and son stayed in the cooler, healthier climate of Yathrib,
while Hashim returned to Mecca, but he would visit them each time he
took his caravan to the north. During one of these journeys, however,
Hashim became ill and died. Shaybah, a handsome, intelligent boy, grew
up in his uncle's house in Yathrib. He was proud of being the son of
Hashim ibn 'Abdi Manaf, the head of Quraysh, guardian of the Ka'bah
and protector of the pilgrims, even though he had not known his
father, who had died while Shaybah was very young.
At Hashim's death his brother al-Muttalib took over his duties and
responsibilities. He traveled to Yathrib to see his nephew, Shaybah,
and decided that as the boy would one day inherit his father's place,