— Little Muhammad lived with his milkmother Halimah & her family for about the first 3-5 years of his life way out in the countryside.
— Muhammad’s age is estimated to be between 2 and 4 at the time when his chest was split open
- Since he remembers this incident so clearly, scholars say he was close to 4 or 4 ½ years.
— 4-year-old Abdullah, Halimah’s biological son, comes running to Halimah & her husband al-Harith, yelling & panting, “Over there! Over there! Akhi al-Qurayshi! My brother! My brother!” He called Prophet Muhammad ‘his Quraishi brother’.
- The parents rush toward the direction Abdullah was pointing
- Previously, Muhammad & Abdullah were running around & playing where the goats & sheep were grazing behind the tents area of their farm. They were playing when Abdullah went running to his parents, very terrified.
— In one narration, while they’re running, Abdullah tells his parents what scared him
- “Two men came down. They were wearing white clothes. They laid Muhammad down and started cutting him open.”
- In 2nd narration, Muhammad himself gave his nursing parents a full account of what happened
- 3rd narration says Muhammad tells his Sahaba years later this story. He pulled his shirt off to show the cut from the “hollow of the neck to his navel”.
— Halimah, al-Hadith, & Abdullah reach over to Muhammad
- They find Muhammad standing there, looking very pale (like someone who had finished operation would be paled too)
- Al-Harith asks Muhammad, “My dear son, what happened to you?”
- Muhammad says, “Two men came to me. They were wearing white clothes. They laid me down on my back and then they split me open. They took something out from me and threw it away. Then they put everything back.”
— As Muhammad recalls this memory years later, he said:
- “The two men came down from the sky, as if they were flying down (they were angels). They took my heart out & split it. They took some sort of black blood clot. They pulled it out from my heart & threw it away.”
- One of the 2 men said, ‘Where’s the dish?’ The dish was brought and it was made of gold.
- There was ice in the Zamzam water in the dish.
- They took my heart out, took out some black element (represents evil/sin), & then washed my heart. They also washed my inside & put the heart back in.
- After the men perform the procedures, they have a conversation:
- Angel: “Weigh him against 10 people of his ummah.”
- Muhammad, recalling years later, said, “I outweighed them.”
- Angel: “Then weigh him against 100 people.”
- Muhammad: “I outweighed them.”
- Angel: “Then weigh him against 1000 people.”
- Muhammad: “I outweighed them.”
- Angel: “Then leave him.” Because if he continues to weigh him, he would outweigh all of mankind.
- It was said what is really meant by that weighing. Scholars opined that the angels were weighing Muhammad’s Imaan, endurance, his emotional fortitude – all of it outweighed everyone else’s.
— On his deathbed, Muhammad was experiencing the pains of death, since the soul is getting ready to transition from the dunya to al-Akhira. He asks Jibril, who’s there to comfort Muhammad, “Is this pain something everyone goes through?”
- Jibril replied, “Yes, this is something everyone experiences. It’s not a punishment. It’s the soul preparing to depart this world.”
- Muhammad makes a dua, “Oh Allah, I will take all of this pain & suffering from my ummah. Please do not put anybody from my ummah through this pain.”
- So we see from these types of narrations that the Prophet could put up with more than the average human
— Halimah & her husband al-Harith carry Muhammad home. They lay him down to rest.
- Halimah & Al Harith are very worried & talk about what to do. They’re worried about the aftereffects. They were afraid what would happen to Muhammad. They already know that something’s special about Muhammad.
- Al-Harith says, “We have no choice but to take Muhammad back to Makkah. We need to give him back to his mother before anything else happens to him. Maybe someone’s after him, maybe it’s some supernatural force. Whatever’s happening, it’s beyond our control. But we shouldn’t tell his mother what happened. What’s already happened, happened. She’s a single mother, & probably worried about raising a child on her own – there’s no benefit in worrying her further. Let’s just take him home, give him to his mother, & come back home.” Therefore, their intention was not to keep secret of what had happened but not to worry her.
— Halimah & al-Hadith rush back to Aminah with Muhammad
- Aminah asks, “Why are you back so early?”
- They reply, “We’ve already fulfilled our contract of 2 years, so here you are.”
- Aminah says, “No, no. Something’s happened. You look frightened. The way you negotiated last time to take him away again, I thought I’d never see my son again. I thought I would have to come get him. Now you’re in a hurry to rid of him. Tell me what happened. This is my child. I want to know exactly what happened.”
- Aminah wouldn’t let them leave until they told her the details
— Halimah & al-Hadith recount the experience
- After hearing it all, Aminah asks, “Are you worried that Shaytan or some other evil force (spirits/demons) has done something to him? Do you want me to tell you something about Muhammad? You don’t need to worry. Whatever’s happened, it’s nothing bad. Shaytan can’t do anything to him. This son of mine – he’s going to be someone very, very special. There’s something momentous in his future. You want me to really tell you about him?”
- Halimah says, “Of course.”
- Aminah says, “When I was pregnant with him, I could never feel any pain. I felt no extra weight, I felt no burden, no difficulty. When I was pregnant with him, I’d see dreams that light was coming out of my womb & it was illuminating the palaces of As-Sham (Syria). When I gave birth to him, he came out unlike any other child. He didn’t cry. The entire house became filled with light. The women who were assisting with the delivery were momentarily blinded because of the bright light.”
- Aminah goes to tell Halimah & al-Harith about the miracles surrounding Muhammad’s birth – of the angels that would come to talk to her, & the name her baby should be given.
- Aminah says, “Don’t worry about anything. Nothing bad has happened to him, & nothing bad can happen to this child.
— With that, Halimah & al-Hadith leave Muhammad to the care of his mother Aminah and go back home.
— A Sahaba named Abu Dhar asked Muhammad, “When did you first realize that you were unique, & there was something different about you? When did you realize you were a prophet?”
- Muhammad replied, “I knew there was something special about me when two angels came to me. When I was in the nearby valleys of Makkah, one of them came & landed on the ground next to me. The other one was still in the sky. The one who landed asked the one still in the sky, “Are you sure it’s him?” The other one said, “Yes, that’s the one we’ve been looking for.’ Then the angels weighed me against a person.”
- Then he talks about his chest being split & then sewed back up
- Muhammad also mentions that the angels observed the birthmark on his back (a cluster of moles), which had begun to get more prominent at that time
- the birthmark is called Khatimun Nubuwwah – a sign that he was the Seal of Prophethood
— The Prophet’s heart has been washed by Zamzam at least twice – as a child & when he went on the Night Journey (Al-Isra wa Al-Mi’raj)
- He was about 50-years-old. He went to the Baytullah (Kab’ah) & he was praying in the hateem (the semi-circular place beside Kaabah) . He was leaned against the Kab’ah, where the angels performed the same procedure on his heart
- Majority of narrations say this incident happened twice, but there is a weaker narration which also mentions a 3rd incident in which his chest was split open
- It happened to him at the age of 12 or 13, when he was about to enter puberty. It was said the reason for the second procedure was to prepare him for puberty.
— There are questions regarding the validity of this incident, by Orientalists, who dismiss such events in the life of the Prophet as preposterous. They said, how can a man’s chest can be split open like that – it would kill a man.
- These events come to us from authentic sources
- Believing something out of the ordinary in regards to the Prophet’s life is a test of our imaan
- However, that’s not to say that you’re going to start performing open heart surgeries to remove the black entity that represents evil. This is not something for us to follow.
— One time, Aisha (ra) was acting out, so the Prophet asked if she was feeling jealous
- Aisha: “Yes, of course, I’m jealous.”
- Prophet: “Your Shaytan had gotten hold of you. Your shaytan got the best of you. That’s why you felt jealous.”
- Aisha: “Does everyone have a shaytan?”
- Prophet: “Yes, everyone has a shaytan that’s attached to them, who tries to take them into the wrong path.”
- Aisha: “Even you, o Rasullallah?”
- Prophet: “Yes, even I a shaytan attached to me, but he became a Muslim. My shaytan has no control over me, I control him. He doesn’t get the best of me.”
— This chest-splitting served as a cleansing of the heart for the Prophet, freeing him from the influences of the nafs, carnal, & other evil influences.
- That washing of the Prophet’s heart in Zamzam water by the angels was strengthening the heart of Prophet to be able to receive divine revelation & to be able to carry the Qur’an
- Allah told the Prophet that the Qur’an is very heavy
- Aisha recalls a time when Prophet was resting his head on her leg, when he began to receive divine revelation. His head became so heavy that Aisha was afraid that his head would crush her leg
- Sometimes, when the Prophet would be riding an animal & get divine revelation, the camel/donkey would sit down & moan from the heavy discomfort
- This heart-cleansing was to prepare the Prophet to receive the Qur’an
— Why would there be a physical procedure like this? Why not make it a metaphorical heart-cleansing?
- This was to make it a publically known thing so that the child himself would realize & the people immediate to the child would realize that he’s on his way to achieve great things
— After being returned to Aminah, Muhammad stayed with his mother for 2-3 more years until her death
- Muhammad lost both of his parents by the age of 6 (his father died before his birth)
- Everything that happened to the Prophet was by divine decree
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