Note that the definition of Sunna according to the hadith scholars (unlike those of fiqh and usul al-fiqh) is: All that is reported from or about the Prophet _both before and after_ he received prophethood. For more details see my recent post " The meaning of Sunna" on SRI.
>When did he started travelling with trade caravans?
The earliest time on record -- and Allah knows best -- seems to be age twelve went he went to Sham with Abu Talib as narrated by Ibn Sa`d in his Tabaqat and Ibn `Asakir in Tarikh Dimashq, also al-Tirmidhi who graded this report fair (hasan). At that time a monk or several Christian monks -- Bahira in some reports, Sergius in others -- told Abu Talib that his nephew would be a prophet. Abu Talib alludes to these incidents in some verses of poetry that we have from him:
The people did not return until they had seen, pertaining to Muhammad, Events that cast light on every heart, Nor until they saw the monks of every town Prostrating to him in groups and individually.
Subsequent hadith masters such as al-Dimyati and Ibn Hajar said that al-Tirmidhi's report incorrectly includes Bilal in that caravan.
"Sham" includes present-day Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Jordan.
A trip to Yemen took place between 11-19 years of age. Ibn al-Jawzi relates in al-Wafa bi Akhbar al-Mustafa that at that time he went to Yemen with his uncle al-Zubayr ibn `Abd al-Muttalib.
A second trip to Sham took place at age fifteen according to Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Sa`d, Ibn al-Sakan, Abu Nu`aym and others. At that time Abu Talib sent him in representative partnership of lady Khadija's interests and remained behind, while Khadija sent her servant Maysara with him, and Ibn Sa`d narrates that Abu Bakr went also. Maysara reported more signs that he saw pertaining to prophethood, including another announcement of his forthcoming prophethood by the monk Nestorius. Khadija later told her cousin Waraqa ibn Nawfal about this. Ibn Ishaq relates the following poetry from Waraqa:
I believe that he shall soon be sent as a truthful herald As were sent the two servants, Hud and Salih.
The age of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- at the time he married Khadija was 15 according to the vast majority of scholars. She was 40.
>What type of products he carried from Mecca, What he brought back?
This is not mentioned in the reports and Allah knows best. The reports only mention Khadija's "property" (mal, amwal) and the Prophet's selling -- Allah bless and greet him -- and buying "commoditiy" (sil`a)
>Which trading routes he actually used: > Did he went as far as Yemen OR Jordan OR Iraq OR Syria?
Yemen and Sham as we said.
>How long it used to take to make a typical trip?
At least two months to Sham. When the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- came told the Quraysh about his Isra' to al-Qudus, al-Mut`im ibn `Adi (he died an unbeliever) said: "We strike the flanks of the she-camels for one month to reach the Hallowed House, then for another month to come back, and you claim that you went there in one night!"
>How many trips he made through out his trading occupation? >How many times he made the trip on behalf of hazrat Khadija?
On record I found only the three mentioned above, the last one on her behalf, but he must have made many more trips between then and age forty, at which time began the tremendous matter of Prophethood, and Allah knows best.
GF Haddad Qasyoun@cyberia.net.lb
Sira Facts - Correction
I made a mistake in my previous post regarding the age of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- at the time he married Khadija -- Allah be well-pleased with her. He was 25 not 15 as I had said. My sincere thanks to Dr. Hesham Bazaraa for pointing it out to me.
Following is what I had mistakenly said, and his comments to which I respond with additional material.
The age of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- at the time he married Khadija was 15 according to the vast majority of scholars. She was 40
I seemed to recall that the age was 25 but unsure, and I found the >following in the Nashbandi guidebook on the net:[note the last line] > > He travelled with his uncle to Sham (Damascus). On their way they passed > by Basra where a monk named Buhaira, living in a monastery nearby, told > his uncle, "Take him back, it will be safer for him." At that time he > was twelve years old. Years later he traveled again to Sham with > Maysara, to trade on behalf of the Lady Khadija . They were very > successful. Maysara told Khadija about his miraculous powers and his > business acumen and she became interested in him. She proposed marriage > and he accepted her offer. He married her when he was 25 years of age and she was forty
Can you clarify which is correct?
The Naqshbandi guidebook is correct and it was a mistake on my part to say that he was 15. None of the extant sources stated he was 15.
The hadith master of Damascus, Imam Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Salihi (d.942) compiled a Sira in which he took into account over 300 siras and collated them into a single 11-volume work which he called Subul al-Huda wa al-Rashad fi Sira Khayr al-`Ibad. Chapter 14 of the second volume is devoted to the Prophet's marriage -- Allah bless and greet him -- with Lady Khadija -- Allah be well-pleased with her. In that chapter al-Salihi says:
"There is disagreement concerning Khadija's age and that of the Prophet -- Allah bless and greet him -- at the time they married. It was said that his age was twenty-five. The author of al-Ghurar said that this was the correct figure upon which agree the vast majority of the scholars. It was also said that his age was 21. This is the figure favored by the author of al-Ishara. It was also said 29 nearing 30. This is al-Barqi's opinion. It was also said 30, or 37 among other figures. The author of al-Ghurar said that these last four positions were weak and untenable. Concerning her age it was said that she was 40. The author of al-Ghurar declared this figure the correct one. It was also said 45, 30, and 28."
Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.
GF Haddad Qasyoun@cyberia.net.lb