Seerah for Kids: Lesson 4. Life in the desert with Halima

Lesson 4: Life in the desert with Halima

In this lesson we will :

-listen to and retell the story of the Prophet’s time with Halima

-list some of the miracles that happened when the Prophet SAWS was with Halima

Lesson 4:
In the desert with Halima

At the time of the prophet SAWS, the Arabs sent their little children to the desert to grow up there. Growing up in the desert with the Bedouins would help the children become better at Arabic which the Bedouins spoke very well and they would have lots of fresh and pure air to breathe.

When Mohamad SAWS was still a baby, the Bedouin ladies visited Makkah to take the newborn children to the desert and raise them there. Each of these ladies chose a baby but no one wanted to take prophet Mohamad SAWS because he was an orphan. They thought that they would not be paid well because he did not have a father.

It was Halima Saadia, from Banu Saad tribe who decided to take baby Mohamad SAWS. She was a poor wet nurse (who fed babies from her breast milk). She and her husband only had a donkey and old she-camel. After all the other ladies had taken their babies, she felt that she should take home Mohamad SAWS rather then go back home without a child.As soon as Halima took Muhammad SAWS everything started to change for the better. Whereas before the camel did not have a drop of milk, there was now lots of milk coming out of its udders! Halima and her husband were very excited. They felt that baby Mohamad had come as a great blessing to them. Halima was now able to drink the camel milk until she was full. She was now able to breastfeed both her own child and baby Mohamad SAWS. 

On their journey back home, they were also surprised to see that their donkey who was going very slowly was now strong and fast. Halima and husband who were at the back of the group were now in front of everyone else! They arrived home without any trouble and baby Mohamad SAWS was now a part of their family. 

Halima knew that she had a blessed child with all the great things that she saw happening to her and her family. Her herd of goats used to come home full of milk. The rest of the Bedouins' goats used to come home looking thin and tired. They would tell their shepherd to take the sheep and goats to the same place that Halima took hers! But even the shepherds were surprised. Their animals were eating from the same place! Halima knew that these were all signs that Mohamad SAWS was a blessed child. 

Halima looked after Mohamad SAWS and grew to love him a lot. After two years though she had to go back to Makkah to take him to Aamina his mother. Halima did not want to send him back so she begged Aamina to let him stay with her for two more years in the desert. At that time there was an illness in Makah and Aamina was afraid that Mohamad would get that illness so she agreed to let him stay with Halima.

The Great Miracle

A strange thing happened when the prophet was living with Halima. One day when he was playing with Halima’s son in the fields, the angel Jibreel appeared. The Angel opened Mohamad’s chest, took out his heart, and and washed it in ice-cold zamzam water. The angel then returned the heart to Muhammad's body before going away.

 Halima’s son ran to Halima and told her that Muhammad had been murdered. She rushed out and found Muhammad looking a little pale and shaken. She asked him what had happened but he said that he was all right. Halima checked him and found that he was fine.

Halima was worried after what happened and decided that it would be best to return Mohamad to his mother. Halima told Aamina what had happened but she was not worried because she knew Mohamad was a special boy. Halima returned Mohamad and he now lived in Makkah with his mother and Barakah.

Click here for the pdf file of this lesson 

This Seerah lesson today was very exciting for the kids and had a lot of science related learning as well.

The story of the Prophet’s time with Halimah reflects the blessings that the Prophet Sallahu Alaihi Wassalam brought with him to their family, animals and land.

This lesson also lends itself to the study of the desert and its animals and way of life. We explored many of the desert creatures from a book called ‘Desert Habitats’ and the kids were intrigued by creatures such as the ground squirrel whose tail acts as a portable umbrella to give him shade! We looked at desert plants such as the cactus and how it stores huge amounts of water and discussed how Allah subHan Allah has created everything in the most perfect form to enable it to live.
We also looked at the camel and its specific features. This was also tied in with the verse from Surat Alghashiyah verse 17, (Afala yanthoroon ila alibil kaif khuliqat) and the great features Allah has endowed camels with (hump which stores fat, eyelashes which keep out sand, leathery knees etc).

This lesson also tied in with our beginning our nature study.  You can read about this here In the meantime, I found Tarek Ramadan’s book ‘In the Footsteps of the Prophet’ an excellent addition to extracting practical learning points from our lessons. I especially enjoyed this part about the Prophet’s life in the desert, I have summarized the part here:

For four years, Mohammed SAWS the orphan was looked after by Halimah and lived with the Banu Saad Bedouins in the Arabian Desert. He shared the nomads' life in the most barren and difficult natural environment, surrounded, as far as the eye could see, with horizons bringing to mind the fragility of the human being and inspiring contemplation and solitude.

 In the first years of the Prophet's life he developed a specific relationship with nature that remained constant throughout his mission. The universe is full of signs that remind us of the presence of the Creator, and the desert, more than anything else, opens the human mind to observation, meditation, and contemplation.

Thus, Allah decided to expose His Prophet, from his earliest childhood, to the natural lessons of creation as nature is the primary guide and the intimate companion of faith. Cut off from nature in our towns and cities, we nowadays seem to have forgotten the meaning of this message to such an extent that we dangerously believe that learning about the techniques and forms of religion (prayers, pilgrimages, etc.) is sufficient to grasp and understand their meaning and objectives. This drains religious teaching from its spiritual meanings. Contemplation and closeness to nature foster a relationship with the divine that is essential for true religious understanding.

Practical tips:

Try and take a trip to the desert with the intention of contemplating and observing Allah’s creation.

Spend as much time as possible outdoors in natural environments. This is especially important for young children who should be encouraged to play outside surrounded by nature as much as possible.
Let the kid’s go on a camel or donkey ride!


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