3. Unveiling the Plan

 “Go to a priestess in Hijaz who can help you” they said. She will show you a different way to keep your promise. So, Abdul-Muttalib went to the woman they called a priestess. She told him to prepare two arrow shafts, which is an arrow with no sharp point. Label one shaft with his son’s name and the second as ten camels. Then close his eyes and choose one arrow shaft. She told him to add ten more camels each try, until the camel shaft was chosen. So, AbdulMuttalib did; on the first try his son Abdullah’s name was chosen. He added another ten camels to the first and again, Abdullah was chosen. He wrote thirty camels on one shaft and his son’s name was on the other, and still, his son’s shaft was chosen. He kept on adding, forty camels, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety! And each time Abdullah’s shaft was chosen! Was he going to have to sacrifice his son Abdullah after all?! Finally, when the number was one hundred camels, the camel shaft was chosen. One hundred camels! That’s how many camels he had to sacrifice instead of his son!

One hundred camels! Abdullah was famous throughout the land for being the son for whom one hundred camels were sacrificed to save. One camel can feed several families; imagine what a hundred would do! The camels were sacrificed and no person, bird, or beast, was kept away from the feast. 

Abdullah was a handsome young man. He was friendly and well-mannered and his face glowed with an unusual light. When his father chose Amyna bint Wahab as his wife, all the young women of Quraish fell ill. They got sick from sadness. They were hoping to marry him, and they felt Amyna was so lucky. 

Abdullah and Amyna lived happily for a few months; then it was time for Abdullah to travel north to Gazza on business. On his way back he stopped in Yathrib to visit his relatives (remember how his father Abdul-Muttalib, was born there? Remember how’s Abdul-Muttalib’s mother was from Yathrib?). But Abdullah got sick in Yathrib. The caravan continued to Mecca and he stayed in Yathrib for a month, then his illness grew worse, and he died.

When word reached Amyna, she became very sad.  She had only lived with Abdullah a short time, but he was very special, and she missed him dearly. What made her less sad was that soon after her husband’s death, she realized she was going to have a baby. The baby would help her feel less lonely after Abdullah’s death.

When the news of Abdullah’s death reached Abdul-Muttalib, he was filled with sorrow. But soon after, something happened that turned his attention to the safety of his people. A man called Abraha had built a beautiful cathedral in Yemen so that people would stop visiting the Kaba and come to that amazing building each year, instead. A Bedouin got upset, and he dirtied the cathedral and scattered dead animals in it. Abraha became so angry that he decided to tear down the Kaba in revenge! 

Abraha led an army with heavily armed riders and elephants toward Mecca. He sent a small group of soldiers to take the animals that were grazing around the city. Two hundred camels of Abdul-Muttalib were taken; so he decided to meet this army to ask for them back. When Abraha saw how dignified Abdul-Muttalib looked, he was filled with admiration for him. But when Abdul-Muttalib asked for his camels, Abraha was shocked that Abdul-Muttalib didn’t beg for the Kaba instead. Abdul-Muttalib answered, “The Kaba has its Master and He will protect it; I am the master of the camels and I need to protect them.” After receiving his camels, Abdul-Muttalib promised them to Allah and asked his people to go up the mountains so they would not get hurt.

The elephant that led the army was turned toward the Kaba. Everything was now ready to attack and destroy the Kaba!