Halimah was an Arab Bedouin woman and a wet nurse. It is reported that she took care of Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) for the first two years of his life. Wet nurses would come to Mecca to feed and provide care to the infant children. It was the custom at the time in Mecca that families send their children to live for a while with a Bedouin wet nurse who lived in the desert. This would give the children the proper environment to be raised outside of the city.
It is reported that a group of wet nurses had arrived at the city of Mecca, and they picked up most of the children; the last wet nurse to arrive was Halimah. She was with her husband and their baby riding a donkey and an old camel. They had left their home in the desert in search of a child from the city that needed tending as a source of income. Halimah and her husband did not have milk to feed themselves, no milk from the camel or the donkey, and even Halimah had no breast milk for her own small child.
When she arrived into the city, all the children’s parents that could pay money for the service of a wet nurse had already been chosen, but there was one baby left, an orphan boy who had no father to pay her. She was ready to go back home but did not want to return without a baby. So, she decided to go back and pick up the orphan child.
As soon as she lifted the boy, her life changed and became filled with immense good fortune and blessings from Allah. Prophet Mohammed (SAWS) and Halimah’s child were fully fed, even though the previous night and before reaching Mecca, there was no milk for her child. The camel, which had not given a drop of milk, was soon overflowing with milk.
Later, after everyone arrived back to their homes, the other wet nurses questioned Halimah about her good fortune. It was several months later that Halimah realized that she produced more milk, and the camel and the donkey produced more milk after they had taken the orphan child, Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). God blessed them with so much milk from their own animals that they opened a milk store.
In this story of Halimah and Prophet Muhammad (SAWS), milk was food, and they had so much food that they were fortunate enough not only to feed themselves and their children but also their community. Halimah’s Pantry, along with W. D. Mohammed Islamic Center, is blessed with “From a Little there was Much” to provide for families and the community.
Written by Ariyanna Donnell