Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ): His birth and reality
By: Shaykh Gibril Haddad
Source: Alsunnah Foundation of America
On how Allah bestowed honor upon Muhammad (ﷺ), by giving precedence to his Prophethood. Also, on the purity of his lineage, the signs that accompanied his conception, birth, and upbringing.
The Creation of His Blessed Soul
When Allah made the Divine decree to bring Creation into existence, He brought forth the Muhammadan Reality from His Lights. He then pulled away from this Reality all the worlds, upper and lower. Allah then informed Muhammad of his Prophethood, while Adam was nothing but soul and body. Then from him gushed forth the springs of the souls, making him superior to all created things, and the greater father to all things in existence. In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet (ﷺ) said that Allah wrote the Destinies of the Creation fifty thousands years before He created the Heavens and Earth, and His Throne was on the Water, and among the things that have been written in the Dhikr, which is the Mother of the Book, is that Muhammad (ﷺ) is the Seal of Prophets. Al Irbadh ibn Sariya, said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “According to Allah, I am the Seal of the Prophets, while Adam was still in clay.”
Maysara Al Dhabbi (رضي الله عنه) said he asked the Prophet (ﷺ), “Oh, Messenger of Allah, when did you become a prophet?” He (ﷺ) answered, “While Adam was still between the soul and the body.”
Suhail bin Salih Al Hamadani said, “I asked Abu Ja’far Muhammad ibn Ali (رضي الله عنه), ‘How did Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) precede the other prophets when he is the last to be sent?’ Abu Ja`far (رضي الله عنه) answered that when Allah drew forth the children of Adam and made them testify concerning Himself (answering His question, ‘Am I not your Lord?’), Muhammad (ﷺ) was the first to answer ‘Yes!’ Therefore, he preceded all the prophets, even though he is the last to be sent.”
Al Shaykh Taqiy al Deen Al Subki comments on this hadith saying that since Allah created souls before bodies, Muhammad’s (ﷺ) saying, “I was a prophet,” is a reference to his sanctified soul, to his reality; and our minds fall short of understanding these realities. No one can understand them except the One who created them, and those whom Allah has supported with divine light.
So, Allah has bestowed prophethood upon the soul of the Prophet (ﷺ) before even the creation of Adam; for He created it thus, and He blessed immeasurably this creation, writing Muhammad’s (ﷺ) name on the Heavenly Throne, and informing the angels and others of His high esteem for him. Thus, Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) reality has existed ever since, even though his body came later. Al Shi`bi related that a man said: “O, Messenger of Allah, when did you became a prophet?” He said: “when Adam was between the soul and the body, when the covenant was taken from me”. Thus he (ﷺ) is the first of the prophets to be created, and the last to be sent.
It was narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) was the only one to be drawn forth from the loins of Adam before his soul was blown into him, because he (ﷺ), is the cause for the creation of mankind, he (ﷺ) is their master, their substance, their extraction, and the diadem of their necklace.
Ali ibn Abi Talib (رضي الله عنه) and Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) both narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Allah has never sent a prophet, from Adam onward, unless he took from Him the covenant regarding Muhammad (ﷺ): if Muhammad (ﷺ) is sent in that Prophet’s lifetime, he was to believe in him and support him, and that prophet was to take this covenant to his people as well.
It has been narrated that when Allah created the light of our Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), He ordered him to look at the lights of the other prophets. His light covered them, and Allah had them talk and they said, “Oh, our Lord, who is covering us with his light?” Allah replied, “This is the light of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah; if you believe in him I will make you prophets.” They said, “We believe in him and in his prophethood.” Allah’said, “Shall I be your witness?” They said, “Yes.” Allah’said, “Do you agree, and take this My covenant as binding on you?” They said, “We agree.” He said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses” (3-81). This is the meaning of Allah’s saying. “Behold, Allah took the covenant of the prophets, saying, ‘I give you a book and wisdom, then comes to you a Messenger, confirming what is with you; believe in him and render him help.”
Shaykh Takiy Deen Al Subki said, “In this noble verse the tribute to the Prophet (ﷺ) and the veneration of his high prestige is evident. It also indicates that if he had been sent in the other prophets’ lifetimes, that his message would have been for them to follow, too. Therefore, his prophethood and message is general to all creation from the time of Adam until the day of Judgment, and all the prophets and their nations are from among his nation. So, Muhammad’s (ﷺ) saying, “I have been send to all the people,” is not only for people in his time and until the day of Judgment, but also includes those before them. This further explains his saying, “I was a Prophet (ﷺ) when Adam was still between the soul and the body.” Knowing this, Muhammad (ﷺ) is the Prophet of prophets, as was made clear on the night of his Ascension, when all the prophets prayed in congregation behind him. His pre-eminence will be further evident in the Hereafter, when all the Prophets will be under his banner.
The Creation of His Sacred Body
Ka’b al Ahbaar (رضي الله عنه) said, “When Allah wanted to create Muhammad (ﷺ), he ordered the Angel Gabriel to bring him the clay which is the heart of the earth, its splendor and light. Then Gabriel descended, accompanied by the angels from the Highest Part of Paradise. He took a handful for the creation of the Prophet (ﷺ) from the spot where his hallowed grave is; it was shining brightly white. Then he kneaded the clay with the most superior water of creation from the Heavenly Fountain Tasneem, in the clear flowing rivers of Paradise, until it became like a white pearl with a tremendous white radiance. The angels carried it, circling the Heavenly Throne and the mountains and the oceans. In this way the angels and all creation came to know our Master Muhammad (ﷺ) and his prestige, before they knew Adam.”
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said, “The origin of the clay of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is from the navel of the earth, in Mecca, at the spot where the Ka’aba is located. Therefore, Muhammad (ﷺ) became the origin of creation, and all created things are his followers.”
The author of Awarif Al Ma`arif [al-Suhrawardi], said that when the Flood, surged, sending foam in every direction, the essence of the Prophet (ﷺ), ended up near his burial ground in Medina, so he (ﷺ) became someone of both Makkah and Madina.
It has been narrated that when Allah created Adam (ﷺ), He Most High inspired him to say, “Oh, Lord, why did you give me the nickname, Abu Muhammad (the father of Muhammad)?” Allah replied, “Oh, Adam, raise your head.” He raised his head and saw the light of Muhammad (ﷺ) in the canopy of the Throne. Adam then asked, “Oh, Lord, what is this light?” Allah replied, “This is the light of a prophet from your progeny. His name in the heavens is Ahmad, and on Earth it is Muhammad (ﷺ). If it were not for him, I would not have created you, nor heaven, nor the Earth.”
Abd Al Razzaq narrates, from Jabir bin Abdullah (رضي الله عنه), that he said, “Oh, Messenger of Allah, may my father and my mother be sacrificed to you, tell me about the first thing that Allah created, before all other things.” He said, “Oh, Jabir, Allah created, before anything else, the light of your prophet from His Light. That light started to move about by Allah’s Divine Power to wherever Allah wished. At that time there was neither Tablet nor Pen; neither Paradise nor Fire, no angels; neither Heaven, nor Earth; neither Sun nor Moon; neither Jinn nor humankind. When Allah wanted to create His Creation, He divided that light into four parts. From the first part he created the Pen, from the second, the Tablet, and from the third, the Throne. Then He divided the fourth part into four parts: the first part formed the bearers of the Throne, the second part became the Footstool, and from the third He created the rest of the angels. He then divided the fourth part into four parts: He created the heavens from the first part, the earths from the second, the Paradise and Fire from the third. Then he divided the fourth part into four parts: creating the light of the vision of the believers from the first part, the light of their hearts (that is knowing Allah) from the second, and from the third the light of their pleasure and joy (Uns, which is La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadun Rasoolullah).
Another narration from Ali ibn Al Husain (رضي الله عنه), from his father (رضي الله عنه), from his grandfather (رضي الله عنه), from the Prophet (ﷺ) who said, “I was a light in front of my Lord, fourteen thousand years before the creation of Adam.” It has been narrated that when Allah created Adam (ﷺ), He Most High put that light in his back, and it used to glow from his front overwhelming all the rest of his light. Then Allah raised it to the Throne of His Sovereignty, and had it carried on the shoulders of His angels, and ordered them to take Adam around the heavens and show him the wonders of His Kingdom.
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said, “Adam’s (ﷺ) creation was on Friday in the afternoon. Allah then created for him Eve, his wife, from one of his left ribs while he was asleep. When he woke up and saw her, he felt at ease with her, and he stretched his hand out to her. The angels said, ‘Stop, Adam.’ He said, ‘Why, didn’t Allah create her for me?’ They said, ‘Not until you pay her dowry.’ He asked, ‘What is her dowry?’ They answered, ‘To recite praises on Muhammad three times.’” [and in another narration, twenty times].
It has also been narrated that when Adam (ﷺ) left Paradise, he saw written on the leg of the Throne and on every spot in Paradise, the name of Muhammad (ﷺ) beside the name of Allah. He asked, “Oh, Lord, who is Muhammad?” Allah answered, “He is your son, who, were it not for him, I wouldn’t have created you.” Then Adam said, “Oh, Lord, for the sake of this son, have mercy on this father.” Allah called out, “Oh, Adam, if you were to intercede through Muhammad (ﷺ) for the inhabitants of Heaven and Earth, We would grant you intercession.”
Omar Ibn Al Khattab (رضي الله عنه) said that our Master Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “When Adam committed the sin, he said, ‘Oh, Allah, I ask you for the sake of Muhammad to forgive me.’ Allah said to him, ‘How did you know Muhammad when I haven’t created him yet.’ Adam answered, ‘Because, O My Lord, when You created me with Your Hand, and blew into me from Your Spirit, I looked up and saw written on the legs of the Throne, La ilaha illallah, Muhammadun Rasoolullah. I knew that You did not attach any name to Yours except that of the most beloved of Your creation.’ Allah said, ‘Oh, Adam, you have spoken the truth: he is the most beloved of My creation. And since you asked Me for his sake, you are forgiven. Were it not for Muhammad, I would not have created you. He is the seal of the prophets from your progeny.’”
In the Hadith of Salman (رضي الله عنه) it is related that: Gabriel (ﷺ) descended on the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, “Your Lord says, ‘If I have taken Abraham as a beloved, intimate friend, I have taken you for the same. I have never created any creation more precious to Me than you, and I have created this world and its inhabitants for the purpose of letting them know your honor and what you mean to Me; and if it were not for you I would not have created this world.’”
Eve (ﷺ) gave birth to forty sons from Adam (ﷺ), in twenty births; but she gave birth to Seth (ﷺ) separately, out of respect to Our Master Muhammad (ﷺ), whose light moved from Adam to Seth. Before Adam’s death, he gave Seth custody over his children, and he, in turn, entrusted the children with the testament of Adam: to put this light only into pure women. This testament continued, century after century, until Allah gave this light to Abdul Muttalib and his son Abdullah. In this way, Allah kept pure the impeccable lineage of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) from the fornication of the ignorant.
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said, “Muhammad (ﷺ) said, Nothing of the fornication of ignorance has touched my birth. I was born by no other than the marriage of Islam.”
Hisham ibn Muhammad Al Kalbi narrated that his father said, “I counted for Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) five hundred mothers, and I never found in any of them a trace of fornication, or any of the ignorant ones affairs.”
Ali (رضي الله عنه) said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I came forth from marriage, I did not come from fornication; from Adam until I was born to my father and mother, nothing of the fornication of ignorance has touched me.”
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “My parents never committed fornication. Allah kept moving me from the good loins to the pure wombs, purified and refined; whenever there were two ways to go, I was in the best of them.”
Anas (رضي الله عنه) said Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) recited, “La qad ja’akum Rasoolun min Anfasikum, and said, I am the best among you in my lineage, in my relations, and ancestry: there is no fornication in my fathers all the way back to Adam.”
A’isha (رضي الله عنها) related from the Prophet (ﷺ) that Gabriel (ﷺ) said, “I have searched the Earth east to west, and I have never found a man better than Muhammad (ﷺ), and have never seen any father’s sons better than the sons of Hashim.”
In Sahih Al Bukhari, Abu Huraira (رضي الله عنه) relates that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “I have been sent from the best generations of the sons of Adam, one after the other, until I reached the one I am in.”
In Sahih Muslim, Wathila ibn al Aska’ narrated that Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Allah has chosen Kinana from the sons of Isma’il, and Quraish from Kinana, and from Quraish the sons of Hashim, and finally chose me from the sons of Hashim.”
Al Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Allah created the creation, and put me in the best groups, and the best of the two groups; then He chose the tribes, and put me in the best of their families. Therefore, I have the best personality, the best soul and nature, and possess the best origin among them.”
Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنهما) said Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Allah examined His creation and chose the children of Adam from among them; He examined the children of Adam and selected the Arabs from among them; He examined the Arabs and chose me from among them, so I was always the choicest of choices. Behold, people who love the Arabs, it is out of love for me that they love them, and those who hate the Arabs, it is out of hatred for me that they hate them.”
Know that Muhammad (ﷺ) was not directly related to any brothers or sisters from his parents; he was their only child and their lineage stops at him. In this way, he exclusively enjoyed a lineage which Allah Most Highntended as the highest that prophethood can reach, and which holds the ultimate honor.
If you examine the status of his lineage (ﷺ) and know the purity of his birth, you will be certain that his is a progeny of honorable fathers, for he is Al Nabi (ﷺ), Al Arabi (ﷺ), Al Abtahi(ﷺ), Al Harami(ﷺ), Al Hashimi(ﷺ), Al Quraishi(ﷺ), the elite of the Sons of Hashim(ﷺ), the one who had been chosen from the superlative tribes of the Arabs, from the best lineage, the most noble descent, the most flourishing branch, the highest pillar, the best origin, the strongest roots, possessing the most eloquent tongue, the most articulate diction, the most outweighing scale, the most perfect faith, the most powerful company, the most honorable kinfolk from both parents, and from the most honorable of Allah’s land. He (ﷺ) has many names and the foremost of which Muhammad (ﷺ) the son of Abdullah. He is also the son of Abdul Muttalib, whose name is Shaybat-ul Hamd, the son of Hashim, whose name is Amr, the son of Abd Manaaf, whose name is Al Mugheera, the son of Qusai, whose name is Mujammi’, the son of Kilaab, whose name is Hakeem, the son of Murra, the son of Ka`b (of the tribe of Quraish), the son of Lu’ai, the son of Ghalib, the son of Fihr, whose name is Quraish, the son of Maalik, the son of Al Nazhir, whose name is Qais, the son of Kinana, the son of Khuzaima, the son of Mudrika, the son of Ilias, the son of Mudhar, the son of Nizar, the son of Ma’add, the son of Adnan.
Ibn Dihia said, “The scholars agree and the scholarly consensus is proof that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) has mentioned his lineage back to Adnan, and did not go beyond that.”
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) related that whenever Muhammad (ﷺ) mentioned his genealogy, he never went beyond Ma’add, the son of Adnan, and would stop, saying, “The genealogists have lied.” He would repeat that twice or thrice. Ibn Abbas also said, “Between Adnan and Isma’il there are thirty fathers who are not known.”
Ka’b Al Ahbaar (رضي الله عنه) said, “When the light of Muhammad (ﷺ) arrived at Abdul Muttalib, and he had reached the age of maturity, he slept one day in the courtyard of the Ka`ba; when he woke up his eyes were blackened with antimony (kohl), his hair was oiled, and he was adorned with the robe of gorgeousness and beauty. He was amazed, not knowing who had done this to him. His father took him by the hand and hastened to the soothsayers of Quraish; they advised him to get him married, and he did. The smell of the finest musk used to exude from him, with the light of Muhammad (ﷺ) glowing from his forehead. Whenever there was a drought, Quraish used to take him to Mount Thabeer, and call on Allah through him asking for Allah to send rain. Allah would answer their call and send them rain because of the blessings of the light of Muhammad (ﷺ).”
When Abraha, the king of the Yemen came to destroy the sanctified house and news of this came to Quraish, Abd Al Muttalib told them, “He will not get to this House, for it is under the protection of its Lord.” On the way to Mecca Abraha plundered Quraish’s camels and sheep, among them four hundred she-camels that belonged to Abd Al Muttalib. He and many of the Quraish rode to Mount Thabeer. After climbing the mountain the light of Allah’s Prophet (ﷺ) appeared in the form of a circle on his forehead like a crescent, and this beam reflected on the Sanctified House. When Abd Al Muttalib saw that, he said, “Oh, people of Quraish, you may return now, it is safe. By Allah, now that this light has formed a circle on me, there is no doubt that victory belongs to us.”
They returned to Mecca where they met a man sent from Abraha. Upon looking at the face of Abd Al Muttalib the man was overwhelmed; his tongue stuttering. The man fainted, all the while bellowing like an ox being slaughtered. When he regained his senses, he fell in prostration to Abd Al Muttalib, saying, “I bear witness that you are truly the Master of Quraish.”
It has been narrated that when Abd Al Muttalib appeared before Abraha, the huge white elephant in his army looked at Abd Al Muttalib’s face and kneeled down like a camel does, and fell into prostration. Allah caused the elephant to speak, saying, “Peace be upon the light in your loins, Abd Al Muttalib.” When, the army of Abraha approached to destroy the Holy Ka’ba, the elephant kneeled down again. They beat him severely on his head to make him stand up, which he refused to do. But, when they turned him around toward Yemen, he stood. Then Allah’sent against them flights of birds from the ocean, every one of them carrying three stones: one in its beak, and one in each claw. The stones were the size of lentils, and when one hit a soldier, it killed him. They fled in chaos. Abraha was stricken with a disease. His fingertips began to fall off, one by one. His body poured out blood and pus, and eventually his heart split and he died.
It is this event that Allah was referring to when He addressed His Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “Seest thou not how thy Lord dealt with the companions of the elephant…” This event is an indication of the prestige of our Master, Muhammad (ﷺ), and a sign of his prophethood, and its establishment. It also points out the honor given to his people, and how they were protected, which caused the Arabs to submit to them and believe in their nobility and distinction, because of Allah’s protection of them and defending them against the plots of the seemingly invincible Abraha.
The Conception of the Beloved Prophet
Once while sleeping in the courtyard of the Ka`ba after Allah had saved Abd Al Muttalib from Abraha’s wrath, he saw an amazing dream. He woke up frightened, and came to the soothsayers of Quraish, to whom he related his dream. They told him, “If it is a true vision, then from your loins someone will come whom all the inhabitants of Heaven and Earth will believe in, and who will be very well known. At that time he married Fatima (رضي الله عنها), and she conceived Abdullah, Al Zabeeh (رضي الله عنه), whose story is well known.
Years later, when they were returning home after having sacrificed a hundred camels as a ransom to save his life, Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) and his father passed by a Jewish soothsayer named Fatima (رضي الله عنها). When she looked at the face of Abdullah (رضي الله عنه), who was then the most handsome man in Quraish, she said, “I will give you the same number of camels which were sacrificed for you if you have intercourse with me now.” She said this because of the light of prophethood that she saw in his face, and she was hoping that she would conceive this honorable prophet. Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) replied,
“Regarding haram, death is better,
And I don’t see any halal in sight,
And about what you are asking for,
An honorable one must protect his honor and religion.”
The next day, Abd Al Muttalib brought him to meet Wahab ibn Abd Manaaf, who was the chief of Bani Zuhra, their master in lineage and origin. Abd Al Muttalib married Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) to Wahabs daughter, Aamina (رضي الله عنها), who was then the best woman in Quraish, both in lineage and birth. They became husband and wife on Monday, one of the days of Mina, at the mountain pass of Abu Talib, and she conceived the Prophet.
The next day, Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) went out and passed by the woman who proposed to him earlier. He asked her, “Why don’t you offer me what you offered me yesterday?” She replied, “The light that you were carrying yesterday has left you; therefore I have no need for you today. I was hoping to have that light in me, but Allah willed it to be put elsewhere.”
As early as the Prophet’s conception, many wonders began to happen to Aamina. Sahl Ibn Abdullah Al Tustari said, “When Allah created Muhammad (ﷺ) in his mother’s womb, on a Friday night during the month of Rajab, he ordered Ridwan, the Keeper of Paradises, to open the Highest Paradise. A caller announced in the Heavens and Earth that the concealed light which would form the guiding prophet would settle on that very night in his mother’s womb where his creation would be completed. It was also revealed that he would come out as a bearer of glad tidings and as warner.
It is narrated by Ka’b Al Ahbaar (رضي الله عنه), that on the night of the Prophet’s conception it was announced in Heaven and each of its divisions, and on Earth and all its corners, that the concealed light, from which the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) was made, would settle in Aamina’s womb.
Also, on that day all the idols on Earth turned upside down. Quraish was suffering from a severe drought and great distress, but through this blessed event the earth turned green and the trees bore fruit, and blessing came to them from every direction. Because of these blessed signs, the year when Muhammad (ﷺ) was conceived was called the Year of Triumph and Joy.
Ibn Ishaq narrated that Aamina (رضي الله عنها) used to say how she had been visited by angels while she was pregnant with the Prophet, and she was told, “You are pregnant with the master of this nation.” She also said, “I never felt that I was pregnant with him, and I never experienced any difficulties or food cravings like other women do; I only noticed that my menstruation had stopped. Once, an angel came to me while I was in between sleeping and wakefulness, and said, ‘Do you feel that you are pregnant with the Master of people?’, then he left me. When the time of birth approached, he came again and said. ‘Say: I seek refuge for him with The One from the evil of every envious one. and name him Muhammad.”
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said, “One of the miracles of the Prophet’s conception was that on that night, every one of Quraish’s animals spoke and said, By the Lord of the Ka’ba, the Messenger of Allah has been conceived. He is the leader of the world and the light of its inhabitants. There is no throne belonging to any king of this world which hasn’t been turned upside down tonight. The beasts of the east rushed to the beasts of the west carrying the good news, and likewise the inhabitants of the oceans greeted each other. Every day of the month of his conception there was a call in Heaven and a call on Earth: Rejoice, the time is near when Abul Qasim will appear, blessed and fortunate.”
Another narration indicates that on that night, each and every home was illuminated, and the light reached everywhere and each and every beast spoke.
Abu Zakariya Yahia ibn Aa’ith said, “Muhammad (ﷺ) remained in his mothers womb the entire nine months, during which she never had any complaints of pain or anything that pregnant women often experience. She used to say, I have never seen an easier pregnancy than this one, or a more blessed one.”
When Aamina (رضي الله عنها) was in her second month of pregnancy, Abdullah died in Medina amongst his uncles of the Bani Al Najjar, and was buried in Al Abwa’. It has been mentioned that when Abdullah (رضي الله عنه) died, the angels said, “Oh, our Lord and Master, your prophet has become an orphan.” Allah’said, “I am his protector and supporter.”
The Miraculous Birth of Muhammad (ﷺ)
Amr ibn Qutaiba heard his father, who was very knowledgeable, say, “When it was time for Aamina to give birth, Allah’said to the angels, Open all the gates of Heaven, and the gates of Paradise. The sun on that day was dressed with a great light, and in that year Allah allowed all the women on Earth to conceive boys, for the sake of Muhammad (ﷺ).”
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said Aamina (رضي الله عنها) used to relate, “An angel came to me in a dream during my sixth month of pregnancy and said to me, Oh, Aamina, you are pregnant with the best of the worlds. When you give birth to him name him Muhammad, and keep it secret.’ When I started to experience the pains of labor no one knew that I was home alone, including Abd Al Muttalib who was doing his circumambulation of the Ka`ba. I heard a loud bang that scared me. Then I saw what looked like the wing of a white bird, rubbing my heart, causing all fear to subside, and every pain I was feeling disappeared. Before me appeared a white drink which I drank, after which a bright light fell upon me and I was surrounded by some women, tall as palm trees, who looked like the women of Abd Manaaf. I was amazed, thinking, ‘Oh, how did they find out about me?’ They said to me, ‘We are Asia, pharaoh’s wife, and Maryam, the daughter of Imran.’ My condition continued to intensify, and I could hear the banging getting louder and more frightening hour after hour. While I was still going through this I suddenly saw a piece of white silk stretched between Heaven and Earth, and heard someone say, ‘Hide him so people cannot see him.’ I saw men standing in the air with silver jugs in their hands. I saw a group of birds filling my room, each possessing emerald beaks and ruby wings. Then Allah removed the veil from my sight, and I witnessed the whole Earth east and west, and three banners erected; one in the east, one in the west and one on top of the Ka’ba. Then I gave birth to Muhammad. Immediately he was prostrating, raising his two hands to Heaven as if in humble supplication. Then I saw a white cloud coming from Heaven which covered him causing him to disappear from my sight, and I heard a voice calling, ‘Take him around to all the corners of earth, east and west, and into the oceans, so all will know him by his name, his attributes, and his form.’ Then the cloud quickly disappeared.”
Al Khateeb Al Baghdadi narrates that Aamina (رضي الله عنها) said, “When I gave birth to Muhammad I saw a large illumined cloud, wherein I heard horses neighing, wings flapping, and men talking. It covered him and he disappeared from my sight. Then I heard a voice calling, Take Muhammad all over the Earth. Show him to every spiritual being; the Jinn, human beings, angels, birds, and wild beasts. Give to him the shape of Adam, the knowledge of Seth, the courage of Noah, the intimacy of Abraham, the tongue of Ismail, the contentment of Isaac, the eloquence of Salih, the wisdom of Lot, the glad tidings of Jacob, the strength of Moses, the patience of Job, the obedience of Jonah, the strife of Joshua, the protection of David, the love of Daniel, the reverence of Ilias, the impeccability of John the Baptist, and the asceticism of Jesus, and immerse him in the qualities of the prophets.’ Then the cloud cleared and Muhammad was grabbing a piece of green silk, folded tightly, with water gushing forth from it, and someone was saying, ‘Great, great, Muhammad has grasped the whole world; all the creation in it has entered into his grasp, with none left out.’ Then I looked at him and he looked like a moon on the night when it is full. His fragrance spread like the finest musk and suddenly, there were three individuals, one held a silver jug, the second, an emerald washtub, and the third, a piece of white silk, which he unfolded. He then took out a dazzling looking ring and washed it from the jug seven times, then he made a seal between his shoulders with the ring, wrapped him with the silk, and finally carried him under his wings and gave him back to me.”
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) related, “When Muhammad (ﷺ) was born, Ridwan, the keeper of Paradises, spoke in his ear saying, Rejoice, oh, Muhammad, whatever knowledge any other prophet has, you have been given that knowledge. Therefore, you are the most knowledgeable and the most courageous of heart, among them.”
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) also said that Aamina (رضي الله عنها) said, “When I gave birth to the Prophet, with him came out a light that lit the space between the east and west. He then fell on the ground, and leaning on his hands, took a handful of soil, grasped it, then raised his head toward Heaven.”
Al Tabarani narrates that when he fell to the ground, he had his fingers drawn together, with the index finger pointing, testifying to the oneness of Allah.
Uthman ibn Abi il Aas narrated that his mother Fatima (رضي الله عنها) said, “At the time of Muhammad’s (ﷺ) birth I saw the house filled with lights and the stars drew so near that I thought they were going to fall on me.”
Al Irbadh Ibn Sariya related that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “I am the slave of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets, from the time when Adam was thrown from clay. I will explain this to you: I am the answer to the prayer of my father Abraham, the glad tidings of Jesus, and the vision that my mother saw. Mothers of Prophet’s often see visions.” When the Prophet’s mother gave birth to him she saw a light which lit the palaces of Syria. This is what his uncle Al Abbas (رضي الله عنه) was referring to when he said in his poem, “When you were born, the earth shone and the horizon was illuminated with your light. We are traveling in that light and in the paths of righteousness.”
Ibn Sa’d narrated that when Aamina (رضي الله عنها) gave birth to the Prophet (ﷺ) he had no meconium (fetal fecal matter) in him.
Regarding the light which illuminated the palaces of Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan, there is a reference being made here to the benefit that these kingdoms received from the light of Muhammad’s (ﷺ) prophethood, as these are the places of his dominion. It has been he said, “Prophethood is no longer with the Children of Israel, oh, people of Quraish. By Allah, Muhammad will lead you to have such influence that it will be spoken of from east to west.”
Some of the wonders of the Prophet’s birth have been narrated by Ya’qoob ibn Sufian, with a fair chain of narrators, in Fath Al Bari. He said that the Palace of Kisra of the emperor of Persia shook and fourteen of its balconies collapsed; the water of Lake Tiberias abated; the fire of Persia was extinguished (according to numerous narrations this fire had burned non-stop for a thousand years); and in the Heavens security was increased, being filled with more guards and shooting stars which prevented the devils hiding there from their evil eavesdropping.
According to narrations by Ibn Umar (رضي الله عنهما) and others Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was born circumcised and with his umbilical cord already cut off. Anas (رضي الله عنه) related that the Prophet (ﷺ) said, “One of the signs of the honor I have been given by my Lord is that I was born circumcised, and no one saw my private parts.”
There are different opinions regarding the year of Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) birth. The majority agree that he was born in the Year of the Elephant, and that it was fifty days after the incident with Abrahas elephant, and it was at dawn of the twelfth night of the month of Rabi’ Al Awwal. Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said, “Muhammad (ﷺ) was born on a Monday, given the prophecy on a Monday, immigrated from Mecca to Medina on Monday, arrived in Medina on a Monday, and carried the black stone on a Monday; moreover, the opening of Mecca and the revelation of Surat Al Ma’ida were both on a Mondays.”
Abdullah ibn Amr ibn Al Aas (رضي الله عنه) said, “There was a monk in Marr Al Zhahran, of the people of Syria, whose name was Easa. He used to say, It is about time that among the people of Mecca a child will be born whom the Arabs will submit to, and whose dominion the non-Arabs will also be under. This is his time. Whenever there was a newborn boy, he used to inquire about him. On the day of the birth of Muhammad (ﷺ), Abd Al Muttalib went out and visited Easa. He came out and said to him, May you be the father of the blessed newborn I told you about. I said he would be born on a Monday, receive prophethood on a Monday, and die on a Monday. Abd Al Muttalib replied, Tonight, at dawn, I had a newborn. The monk asked, What did you name him.? He answered, Muhammad. Easa said, I was anticipating that this newborn would be from among your kinfolk. I had three signs: his star appeared yesterday, he was born today, and his name is Muhammad. On the solar calendar it was the 20th of April and it is said that he was born at night.
Aisha said, “There was a Jewish merchant in Mecca on the night that the Prophet (ﷺ) was born. He inquired, Oh, people of Quraish, was there any newborn among you? They replied, We don’t know. He said, Tonight, the Prophet of this last nation was born. Between his shoulders there is a mark containing a few hairs on it like a horses mane. They accompanied the Jew and went to the Prophet’s mother, and asked her if they could see her son. She brought him to them and they uncovered his back and saw the birth mark, whereupon the Jew fell unconscious. When he regained consciousness, they asked him, Woe to you. What is the matter with you? He answered, By Allah, prophethood has gone away from the children of Israel.”
Al Hakim narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) was born in Mecca in the house of Muhammad bin Yousif. He was breast fed by Thuwaiba, the freed female slave of Abu Lahab. He freed her upon her bringing him the good news of the Prophet’s birth. After his death, Abu Lahab was seen in a dream, when he was asked, “How are you faring?” He answered, “I am in the fire. However, I get a break every Monday, when I am able to suck water from this spot between my fingers,” and he gestured with two of his fingertips. “This miracle is due to my freeing Thuwaiba when she brought me the good news of the birth of the Prophet.”
Ibn al Jazri said, “If Abu Lahab, the infidel, who was dispraised in a Qur’anic revelation, was nevertheless rewarded because of his rejoicing at the birth of the Prophet, how about Muslims from among his nation who rejoices in his birth and do the best they can out of love for him? By my life, their reward from Allah, the Generous, will be entry into the paradises of bliss with Allah’s abundant bounties.”
The people of Islam always celebrate the month of our holy Prophet’s birth by having feasts, giving all kinds of charity, expressing their joy, increasing their good deeds, and carefully reading the story of Muhammad’s (ﷺ) birth. In return, Allah fills believers with the abundant blessings of this month. It has been proven that one of the qualities of the Prophet’s birthday, which is called the Mawlid, is that it brings safety throughout the year and the good news that all wishes, and desires will be fulfilled. May Allah shower his mercy on everyone who turns the nights of this month of Muhammad’s (ﷺ) blessed birth into festivities.
An Infancy of Wonders
Halima (رضي الله عنها) said, “I came to Mecca with some other wet-nurses from the tribe of the Bani Sa’d ibn Bakr, looking for newborn babies. It was a bad year for prospective nurslings. I and my child arrived riding a she-donkey and my husband led an old she-camel that didn’t have a drop of milk. Throughout the journey the three of us could not sleep at night and I could find nothing in my breast to feed our son.
“When we came to Mecca every woman of our group was offered Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as a nursling, but each turned down the offer after finding that he was a fatherless orphan. Literally, none of my women friends left Mecca without taking an infant, but no one would accept Muhammad (ﷺ). When I could find no other nursling, I told my husband that I hated to be the only one in the group to go back without an infant, and that I wanted to pick up that orphan.
“When I went to get him, he was wearing a wool dress, whiter than milk. The fragrance of musk spread from him. Under him was a piece of green silk, as he lay on his back in a deep sleep. I was careful not to wake him, because of his beauty and grace. I carefully came close to him, and putting my hand on his chest, he smiled and opened his eyes. From his eyes came a light which went all the way to Heaven while I was looking. I kissed him between his eyes and gave him my right breast, which gave him all the milk he wanted. Then I switched him to the left, but he refused. That was the way he always was. After he was satisfied, I gave my son his fill. As soon as I brought him to my camp, both my breasts started pouring milk. By Allah’s grace, Muhammad drank until he was satisfied, as did his brother. My husband went to our old camel for milk for us, and lo, it was full. He milked enough for us both to drink until we were satisfied, and we spent a wonderful night. Later my husband remarked, Oh, Halima, it looks like you have picked a blessed soul. We spent the first night in blessings and bounties, and Allah continues to give us more and more ever since we chose him.
“I bid farewell to the Prophet’s mother, and mounted my she-donkey, holding Muhammad in my hands. My donkey outstripped all the animals of the others who were with me, who were watching it in amazement. When we arrived at the dwellings of Bani Sa’d, which is one of the most barren parts of the land, we found that our sheep were full of milk. We milked and drank plentifully in a time where no one else could find a drop of milk in an udder. Others began to tell each other, Go to pasture wherever the shepherd of the daughter of Abu Thu’aib goes. Still their sheep used to return hungry, with no milk to be found in them, while mine would return full of milk.”
The Prophet’s uncle, Al Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said, “Oh, Messenger of Allah, what made me enter into your religion was my witnessing a sign of your prophethood. I saw you in your cradle talking tenderly to the Moon and pointing at it with your finger. It moved across the sky to wherever you pointed.” Muhammad said, “I was talking to it, and it talked to me, which distracted me from crying. I could hear the sound of its prostration under the throne.”
In Fath Al Bari it is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) spoke when he first was born.
Ibn Sab’ mentioned that Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) cradle was rocked by the angels.
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said that Halima (رضي الله عنها) used to narrate that when she first weaned Muhammad (ﷺ) he spoke, saying, “Allah Most Highs most Great in His Greatness, and much praise be to Allah, and glory be to Allah Most Highn the beginning and end.” (Allahu Akbar kabira, wal hamdu Lillahi katheera, wa subhana allahi bukratan wa aseela.) When he grew older he used to go out, and when he saw other children playing, he would avoid them.
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) said that al Shayma’a (رضي الله عنه), the Prophet’s foster sister, witnessed that as a boy a cloud shaded the Prophet. It stopped when he stopped, and moved when he moved. He grew up like no other boy. Halima said, “When I weaned him, we brought him to his mother, even though we longed for him to stay with us for all the blessings that we saw in him. We asked his mother to let him stay with us until he grew stronger, for we were worried about him being in the unhealthy environment of Mecca. We continued asking until she agreed to send him back with us.
Early Childhood Marvels
“By Allah, two or three months after our return, while we were taking care of some of our animals behind our home, the Prophet’s foster-brother came running, shouting, It is my Qurashi brother. Two men came to him wearing white clothes. They laid him down and cut his abdomen open. His father and I ran to him. He was standing and his color was changed. His father hugged him and asked, Oh, son, what happened to you? Muhammad (ﷺ) answered, Two men wearing white clothes came to me. They made me lay down and cut my abdomen open. They took something out and threw it, then put my abdomen back together the way it was. We took him home and his father said, Oh, Halima, I am afraid that something might have happened to this son of mine. Lets return him to his family before it get worse.
“We took him back to his mother in Mecca. She said, What made you bring him back after you were so anxious to keep him? We told her that we were worried that something bad might happen to him. She said, It is not that, so, tell me the truth. She insisted until we told her his story. She asked, Were you afraid that the Devil might do something to him? No. By Allah, there is no way that the Devil can get to him. This son of mine will be of great standing. You may leave him now.”
In the hadith of Shaddad ibn Aws (رضي الله عنه) it is related that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “I was a suckling at Bani Sa’d ibn Bakr. One day while I was in the valley with young boys my age, when suddenly three individuals appeared. They possessed a golden washtub filled with ice and took me from my friends, who ran back to the quarter. One of the three made me lay down gently on the ground and cut open my abdomen from my chest to my pubic bone. I was able to watch and felt no pain. He took out my intestines and washed them thoroughly with the ice, then returned them to my body. The second one rose and told his partner to move aside. He put his hand inside me, removing my heart while I watched him. He cut it, took out a black clot and threw it away, and moved his hands right and left, as if receiving something. Suddenly, there was a ring made of dazzling light in his hand. He stamped my heart with the ring, whereupon it was filled with light. It was the light of prophethood and wisdom. He then returned the organ to my chest and I felt the coolness of that ring in my heart for a long time. The third one told his partner to move aside. He passed his hand over the area which had been cut and it was instantly healed with the permission of Allah. He then took my hand and gently helped me up and said to the first one, Weigh him against ten of his nation. I outweighed them. Then he said, Weigh him against a hundred of his nation. I outweighed them. Then he said, Weigh him against a thousand of his nation. I outweighed them. Then he said, If you weigh him against his entire nation, he would outweigh them. They all hugged me, kissed my forehead and between the eyes and said, Oh, beloved, if you only knew what goodness is waiting for you, you would be delighted.” The weighing means a moral weighing. The Prophet, therefore, outweighs all in merit.
The cleansing of his holy chest happened another time when Gabriel brought him the revelation in the cave of Hira’ and one more time on the night of his Ascension. Abu Nu’aim narrated in Al Dala’il, the cutting of his chest also when he was twenty years old. The wisdom of cutting his holy chest open in his childhood and removing the black clot, was to cleanse him from childish traits so he would have manly attributes. His upbringing was therefore perfectly immaculate. He was sealed with the seal of prophethood between his shoulders which smelled of musk and looked like a partridge egg.
Ibn Abbas (رضي الله عنهما) and others narrated that when Muhammad (ﷺ) was six years old his mother and Um Aiman (رضي الله عنها) took him on a month long visit to his maternal uncles of the Bani Adiy ibn al Najjar in dar al tabia in Yathrib. Later, he recalled events that happened when he stayed there. Looking at a certain house, he said, “This is where my mother and I stayed. I learned how to swim in the well belonging to Bani Adiy ibn Al Najjar. A group of Jews used to frequent this place to look at me.” Um Aiman (رضي الله عنها) said, “I heard one of the Jews saying that Muhammad was the Prophet of this nation, and this is the abode of his immigration. I understood everything they said.”
He and his mother set out to return to Mecca, but when they arrived at Al Abua’, not far from Yathrib, she fell gravely ill. Al Zuhri narrated from Asma’ bint Rahm, from her mother, “I was present with Aamina, the Prophet’s mother, during the ailment that led to her death. At this time Muhammad (ﷺ) was a five-year-old boy. As he sat by his mothers head she was reciting some poems, and looked into his face and said, Every living thing must eventually die, everything new must eventually get old, and every abundance must eventually get less. I am dying, but my memory shall remain, I have left behind abundant goodness, and gave birth to purity, then she died. We were able to hear the Jinn crying over her.”
It has been narrated that Aamina testified to Muhammad’s (ﷺ) prophethood after her death. Al Tabarani narrated in a chain of narration from A’isha that when the Prophet (ﷺ) arrived at al Hajoon he was sad and grieved. He stayed there for as long as Allah willed him to stay. Upon his return, he was happy and said, “I asked my Lord, Mighty and Sublime, to bring my mother back to life. Allah did that and then took her back.” Also it has been narrated by both Al Suhaili and Al Khateen that A’isha (رضي الله عنها), said that Allah revived both of Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) parents and they both testified to Muhammad’s (ﷺ) prophethood.
Al Qurtubi, in Al Tadhkira, said, “Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) merits and attributes never ceased to occur all his life. Bringing his parents to life so that they could believe in him is not impossible. There is nothing in the Islamic religious laws or logic against it.” It is mentioned in the Holy Quran that the one who was murdered in Bani Isra’el was brought back to life to have his murderer revealed to him. Moreover, our Master Jesus used to bring the dead back to life. Likewise, Allah brought a number of dead people back to life at the hands of our Prophet. Why is it not possible that his parents testified to his prophethood after they were brought back to life, since this occurrence only enhances his merit and virtue?
Al Imam Fakhruddin Al Razi said that all the fathers of Muhammad (ﷺ) are Muslims, which is proven by Muhammad’s (ﷺ) saying, “I was transferred from the loins of pure men to the wombs of pure women.” And since Allah has said “Truly, the pagans are unclean,” we see that none of his ancestors were infidels.
Al Hafiz Shams Al Din Al Dimashqi addressed this subject so well when he wrote:
“Allah bestowed upon the Prophet more bounties
And more yet, and unto him He was most kind
He brought his mother back to life, and also his father
So that they could believe in him.
That was a subtle bounty
So believe these miracles, for He is capable of doing that
Even if the creature is weak.”
Um Aiman (رضي الله عنها) was Muhammad’s (ﷺ) nurse and nanny after his mother’s death. He used to say about her, “Um Aiman is my mother after my mother.” When Muhammad (ﷺ) was eight years old, his grandfather and custodian, Abdul Muttalib died. He was one hundred and ten years old (in another narration, he was one hundred and forty). At that time Muhammad’s (ﷺ) uncle Abu Talib became responsible for him at the request of Abd Al Muttalib, because he was the full brother of Muhammad’s (ﷺ) father, Abdullah.
Ibn Asakir narrated from Jalhama ibn Urfuta that Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “I came to Mecca during a drought. Some men of Quraish came to Abu Talib and said, Oh, Abu Talib, the valley is barren and the families are suffering. Let us go and pray for rain. Abu Talib came out, and with him was a young boy who looked like the Sun after the clouds have cleared. He was surrounded by other young children. Abu Talib led him to the Ka`ba and had him stand with his back against it. There wasn’t even a tiny cloud in the sky, but as soon as the young boy rose his hands, clouds started to arrive from every direction and it started raining, then pouring. The valley blossomed and both in Mecca and out in the desert became fertile. About this miracle, Abu Talib wrote the following verses:
To the one of bright complexion,
rain is sent for the sake of his countenance,
He is a refuge for the orphans,
and support for the widows.”
Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ): His birth and reality
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