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Muhammad was born after his father died, and his mother died when he was six years old. He was then raised by his grandfather until he too died, when Muhammad was eight, after which he was raised by an uncle, a poor man but an influential leader of the Quraish tribe.

He became a respected trader and merchant, but when he was 40 he received the first of the revelations from Allah which comprise the Qur'an and formed the basis of one of the world's major religions, making Muhammad one of the most influential people of all time.

He was also an adoptive father: he freed and adopted a slave given to him named Zaid bin Haritha.


Encyclopedia of Religion. 16 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1987)
Armstrong, Karen. Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet. (London: Victor Gollancz, 1991)
Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97
Encyclopaedia of Islam, new edition. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, in progress)
Glassť, Cyril. Concise Encyclopaedia of Islam. (London: Stacey International, 1989)
Rao, K.S. Ramakrishna. "Muhammad the Prophet," Islam and the Modern Age, 9(1) (1978), 67-85. Part of this is also available as "Mohammad the Prophet," at:
Zahoor, D., and Haq, Z. "Biography of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)." Available at:


Arab, Middle Eastern
Near East
Saudi Arabia
1st to 10th Centuries Ce
Business and Industry
Adoptees/fosterees Who Are/were Also Adopters or Foster Parents
Exile or Persecution (religious, Political or Social)
Pre-school Years
Orphaned (Both Parents)
Uncles and Aunts, Parents' Uncles and Aunts
Wealthy, Famous, Noble or Divine Adoptive or Foster Families
Very Poor (Financially) Adoptive or Foster Families
Divorce or Premature Death of Adoptive Parent(s)
Posthumous Child (i.e., Born After Father's Death)
Parent(s) Died, Disappeared or Became Incapacitated
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