The Prophet’s lineage is called Hashmi after his great grandfather, Hashim. Hashim assumed the position of host to the pilgrims, a privilege which, after him, was transferred to his brother, Muttalib. After Muttalib’s death, the progeny of Hashim reclaimed this privilege and retained it until the advent of Islam.
Hashim was well-respected and He was called Hashim (one who mashes something) because he used to mash pieces of bread in meat and soup and distribute it for others to eat.
The Quraysh were merchants by profession, and Hashim arranged trade journeys for them to Yemen each winter and to Syria each summer. He obtained security for them from the authorities in both these countries. In Surah Quraysh (a “Chapter” of the Qur’an is called a “Surah”), Allah reminds the Quraysh of their debt to Him for these important trade expeditions.
Hashim once passed by Yathrib (later known as Madinah) en route to Syria, and there he married Salma bint Amr, a lady from the tribe of Banu Adiy bin Najjar. He halted there for a few days and then left for Syria. He passed away in Gaza, a famous city in Palestine. At the time of his departure, Salma was pregnant. She gave birth to a son whose hair had white streaks. She therefore named him Shayba, which means “one with grey hair.” None of Hashim’s relatives in Makkah knew about the birth of Shayba. Eight years later however, Muttalib found out about his dead brother’s son and decided to bring Shayba to Makkah. When he entered Makkah with Shayba, the people thought the young boy was Muttalib’s slave and referred to Shayba as Abdul Muttalib, which means ‘Muttalib’s slave’. Thus, Shayba became known as Abdul Muttalib.