In this post I am going to share some of the most outlandish and bizarre fairytales about Muhammad’s conception, birth and early childhood. These Muslim fables will show just how irrational and unbelievable Islam truly, and highlight the extent that Muhammad’s followers went to fabricate lies and myths about their so-called prophet.
These Islamic myths will also demonstrate the desperation of Muslims to model Muhammad’s life after the births and lives of God’s true prophets, particularly the miraculous origins and ministry of the Lord Jesus.
It will become obvious from reading these myths that the reason why the Muslims felt the need to fabricate such lies and fairytales about Muhammad was because they wanted Allah’s “messenger” to resemble God’s inspired emissaries and beloved Son in order to make him more comparable to the biblical prophets and apostles of the true God.
We begin by highlighting some of the fantastical and far-fetched stores surrounding the conception and birth of Muhammad. All emphasis will be mine.
و كونه رافعاً رأسه عندما وضعته شاخصاً ببصره إلى السماء ، و ما رأته من النور الذي خرج معه ولادته ، و ما رأته إذ ذاك أم عثمان بن أبي العاص من تدلي النجوم ، و ظهور النور عند ولادته ، حتى ما تنظر إلا النور
As our beloved Prophet was born a radiant light accompanied him and he lifted his head towards the heavens and the mother of Uthman ibn Abu al-As’s son witnessed stars lowering themselves and a light so bright appeared that she could see nothing other than light. (Dalail an-Nabuwwah lil Bayhaqi, Volume 1, p. 113; Musnad Imam Ahmad, Volume 4, p. 127)
Abu Nu’aym reports from Abdullah ibn Abbas, who narrated that the mother of the Messenger, Amina used to state,
لما خرج من بطني فنظرت اليه فاذا انابه ساجد ثم رايت سحابة بيضاء قد اقبلت من السماء حتى غشيته فغيب عن وجھي ، ثم تجلت فاذا انابه مدرج في ثوب صوف ابيض وتحته حريرة خضراء وقد قبض على ثلٰثة مفاتيح من اللؤلوء الرطب واذا قائل يقول قبض محمد على مفاتيح النصرة ومفاتيح الربح ومفاتيح النبوة ثم اقبلت سحابة اخرٰى حتى غشيته فغيب عن عيني ثم تجلت فاذا انابه قد قبض على حريرة خضراء مطوية واذ قائل يقول بخٍ بخٍ قبض محمد على الدنيا کلھا لم يبق خلق من اھلھا الادخل في قبضته
“When the Messenger of Allah was born, he fell straight into prostration. Then I saw a white cloud from the sky appearing and covering the Messenger of Allah such that he disappeared from me. When the cloud appeared, I saw that the Prophet was covered in a white woolly shawl and there was a green mat spread on the floor. Within the hands of the Messenger there were three keys made of diamonds and there was an unseen voice heard saying, ‘The Messenger of Allah has grasped the key of giving victory, the key of giving benefit and the key of Prophethood.’ Then I saw another cloud which enclosed the Messenger of Allah such that he disappeared from my view and it became illuminated. I saw that the Messenger of Allah is holding a folded piece of green silk in his blessed hands and an unseen voice was heard was saying, ‘How great! How great! The Messenger of Allah has grasped the whole world; all the creation has entered into his grasp, with none left out.’”
Narrated from Ibn Mas’ud. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal [Al-Maktab al-Islami, Beirut], Volume 1, p. 386; Sunan al-Darimi, the chapter on Ma U’tiya al-Nabiyyu Min al-Fadl, [Dar al-Mahasin li al-Taba’ah, Cairo], Volume 1, p. 30, Al-Khasais al-Kubra, the chapter on Ma Zahara fi Lailat Mawlidi, [Markaz Ahl Sunnat, Gujarat], Volume 1, p. 48)
Ash Shifa, the mother of Abdur Rahman Ibn Awf attended his birth and tells us,
لما سقط صلى الله عليه و سلم على يدي و استهل سمعت قائلاً يقول : رحمك الله ، و أضاء لي ما بين المشرق و المغرب حتى نظرت إلى قصور الروم
“When he dropped into my hands he sneezed and I heard a voice saying, ‘May Allah have mercy upon you!’ The entire horizon became illuminated for me whereby I was able to see the castle of the Greeks.” (Dalail an-Nabuwwah lil Bayhaqi, Volume 1, p. 12; Dalail an-Nabuwwah li Abi Nu’aym, Volume 1, p. 136)
On the authority of Abdullah ibn Abbas who narrates:
كان من دلالات حمل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أن كل دابة كانت لقريش نطقت تلك الليلة وقالت : حمل برسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ورب الكعبة ، وهو أمان الدنيا وسراج أهلها
“One of the signs of the birth of the Prophet was that all the animals of the Quraish talked that night and said, ‘We swear by the Lord of the Kaba! That Prophet is coming who is the guardian/protector of the entire world and is the sun of its people’ (shedding the light of guidance).” (Al-Khasais al-Kubra with reference to Abi Nu’aym from Ibn ‘Abbas, the chapter on Ma Dhahara fi Layla Mawlidihi, [Markaz Ahl Sunnat, Gujarat], Volume 1, p. 47)
In the hadith literature occur the words, “and the visions of my mother who saw, as she bore me, a light came forth from her that lit up the castles of Syria.”
Muhammad b. Ishaq stated that Amina, daughter of Wahb and mother of the Messenger of God, used to say that when she became pregnant with the Messenger of God, a voice told her: “You are pregnant with the lord of this nation; when he drops to the ground (in birth) say the words, ‘I invoke for him the protection of the One God, from the evil of all who envy, from everyone committed to his oath and every prowling slave; may a champion protect me, for he is with the All-praised and All-glorious One, until I see him come into view.
“‘And the proof of that is a light accompanying him that will fill the castles of Busra in Syria. And at his birth, then call him Muhammad, for in the Torah his name is “Ahmad” and the hosts of earth and heaven give him hamd, praise. In the Gospels his name is “Ahmad”, the hosts of heaven and earth giving him hamd, praise. And his name in the Qur’an is “Muhammad”, “the praised one.”’”
But these traditions require that she had a vision when she became pregnant with him, that a light was emanating from her by which the castles of Syria were illuminated. And then, when she gave birth to him, she actually saw by her eyes a realization of that, just as she had seen beforehand, as told here. But God knows best.
Muhammad b. Sa’d stated that Muhammad b. ‘Umar, he being al-Waqidi, informed him that Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah b. Muslim related to him, from al-Zuhri, what follows. Al-Waqidi also stated that Musa b. ‘Abda related to him the following, from his brother and Muhammad b. Ka’b al-Qurazi; as did ‘Abd Allah b. Ja’far al-Zuhri, from his aunt Umm Bakr, daughter of al-Miswar, from her father; as did ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ibrahim al-Mazani and Ziyad b. Hashraj, from Abu Wajza; as did Ma’mar from Abu Nujayh, from Mujahid; as did Talha b. ‘Amr from ‘Ata from Ibn ‘Abbas. The accounts of some of these correlate with those of others. These accounts state that Amina daughter of Wahb said, “I became pregnant with him (meaning the Messenger of God) and he caused me no difficulties up to when I gave birth to him. When he was separated from me a light emerged along with him that lit all between east and west. Then he dropped to the ground, resting upon his hands, and took up a handful of earth which he gripped tight, raising his head towards heaven.”
Some sources word this tradition, “he dropped down resting upon his knees and there emerged with him a light by which were illuminated the castles and market-places of Syria, even so that the necks of the camels at Busra could be seen, while he raised his head towards heaven.”
The hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi said that Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allah, the hafiz, informed him, quoting Muhammad b. Isma’il, quoting Muhammad b. Ishaq, and Yunus b. Mubashshir b. al-Hasan, quoting Ya’qub b. Muhammad al-Zuhri, quoting ‘Abd al-‘Aziz b. ‘Imran, quoting ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Uthman b. Abu Sulayman b. Jubayr b. Mut’im, from his father, from Ibn Abu Suwayd al-Thaqafi, from ‘Uthman b. Abu al-‘As as follows: “My mother told me that she witnessed the giving of the birth by Amina daughter of Wahb to the Messenger of God the night the birth occurred.” She said, “All I could see in the house was light. As I looked I saw the stars coming so close that I said that they were going to fall on me!”
The qadi (judge) ‘Iyad recounted, from al-Shaffa’, mother of ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Awf, that she was his midwife and that she said that when he dropped into her hands and first made a sound, she heard a voice say, “May God have mercy on you!” And (she said) that a light shone from him by which the castles of Byzantium could be seen.
Muhammad b. Ishaq said that when she gave birth to him she sent her slave girl to ‘Abd al-Muttalib, his father having died while she was pregnant (it is also said that ‘Abd Allah died when the Prophet was 28 months old, and God knows best which account is true) to say to him, “A boy has been born to you, so look to him.”
When ‘Abd al-Muttalib came to her she related to him what she had seen when she bore him, what she had been told about him and what she had been ordered to name him.
So ‘Abd al-Muttalib took him in TO HUBAL; inside the ka’ba, and stood and prayed, thanking God the Almighty and Glorious, and speaking the verses,
“Praise be to God who gave me this fine, wonderful boy,
Who already in the cradle leads all boys; I entrust his safety to the pillared House (ka’ba),
Until he becomes the epitome of young men, until I see him fully grown.
I seek his protection from all who hate, and from the envious and the unstable,
From those with ambition but eyeless, until I see him highly eloquent;
You are he who was named in the Qur’an, in books whose meanings are well established,
(Your name being) ‘Ahmad, written upon the tongue.” (The Life of the Prophet Muhammad (Al-Sira al-Nabawiyya), translated by professor Trevor Le Gassick, reviewed by Dr. Ahmed Fareed [Garnet Publishing Limited, 8 Southern Court, south Street Reading RG1 4QS, UK; The Center for Muslim Contribution to Civilization, 1998], Volume I, 147-149; bold and capital emphasis mine)
The hafiz Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi said that Abu ‘Abd Allah the hafiz informed him that Abu al-‘Abbas Muhammad b. Ya’qub related to him, quoting Ahmad b. Shayba al-Ramali, quoting Ahmad b. Ibrahim al-Hubali, quoting al-Haythami b. Jamil, quoting Zuhayr, from Muharib b. Dithar, from ‘Amr b. Yathribi, from al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib, as follows: “I said: ‘O Messenger of God, it was a sign of your prophethood that encouraged me to join your religion. I saw you in the cradle whispering to the moon and gesturing to it with your finger. And it would move in the direction you indicated.’ He replied, ‘I would talk to it and it to me and it would distract me from crying. And I would hear its palpitations when it would prostrate beneath God’s throne.”‘
He (Abu Bakr al-Bayhaqi) then said, “He (Ahmad b. Ibrahim Hubali) transmitted only this one tradition, and he is not known.”
Section: On the signs that occurred on the night of the birth of the Prophet. In the section on Hawatif al-Jan (The Cries of the Spirits), we told of the downcast faces of many of the idols and how they fell from their places on that night, and of what the Negus, the king of Abyssinia, saw. Similarly we have reported the appearance of the light that came with him that even lit up the castles of Syria when he was born, and how he dropped into a kneeling position and raised his head to heaven. We told also how the vessel split asunder from above his honoured face, what was seen by the tight in the house where he was horn and how the stars came down close to them, and other such events. (Ibn Kathir, p. 151; bold emphasis mine)
MUHAMMAD’S FAIRYTALE BIRTH EXPOSED
To show why the foregoing accounts are nothing more than fables which were fabricated to make Muhammad and his pagan mother resemble Christ and his holy mother, all one has to do is to note the traditions which indicate that Muhammad’s mother is in hell because she died as an unbelieving pagan.
For example, the Islamic sources plainly state that Allah refused to accept Muhammad’s intercession for his mother who died as an idolatress, causing the latter to weep bitterly since he had to accept the fact that both his parents are in hellfire experiencing Allah’s torture:
(36) Chapter: The prophet asked his Lord for permission to visit the grave of his mother
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying: I sought permission to beg forgiveness for my mother, but He did not grant it to me. I sought permission from Him to visit her grave, and He granted it (permission) to me. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, Number 2129 https://sunnah.com/muslim/11/134)
Abu Huraira reported: The Apostle of Allah visited the grave of his mother and he wept, and moved others around him to tears, and said: I sought permission from my Lord to beg forgiveness for her but it was not granted to me, and I sought permission to visit her grave and it was granted to me. So visit the graves, for that makes you mindful of death. (Sahih Muslim, Book 004, 2130 https://sunnah.com/muslim/11/135)
And so they prayed for the forgiveness of the idolaters until the verse (It is not for the Prophet, and those who believe, to pray for the forgiveness of idolaters)”. Abu’l-Qasim ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ahmad al-Harrani informed us> Muhammad ibn ‘Abd Allah ibn Nu’aym> Muhammad ibn Ya’qub al-Umawi> Bahr ibn Nasr> Ibn Wahb> Ibn Jurayj> Ayyub ibn Hani’> Masruq ibn al-Ajda’> ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud> who said: “The Messenger of Allah went out one day to look at the graveyards and we went out with him. He ordered us to sit and then proceeded across until he stopped at one particular grave. He spoke to it for a long time and then the Messenger of Allah wept loudly and we wept for his weeping. After a while, he came toward us and was met by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab who asked him: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what has made you cry, for we also cried and we were also scared?’ He came toward us, sat with us and then said: ‘My weeping made you scared?’ We said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah!’ He said: ‘The grave you saw me talking to is the grave of Aminah bint Wahb. I sought permission from my Lord to visit her and He allowed me to do so. Then, I asked His permission to pray for her forgiveness and He did not grant it. The words of Allah, exalted is He (It is not for the Prophet, and those who believe, to pray for the forgiveness of idolaters even though they may be near of kin (to them) after it hath become clear that they are people of hell-fire. The prayer of Abraham for the forgiveness of his father was only because of a promise he had promised him…) were revealed and I was seized by the tenderness which a son has toward his mother. This is the reason why I wept”. (‘Alī ibn Ahmad al-Wahidi, Asbab al-Nuzul https://www.altafsir.com/Tafasir.asp?tMadhNo=0&tTafsirNo=86&tSoraNo=9&tAyahNo=113&tDisplay=yes&Page=3&Size=1&LanguageId=2; bold emphasis mine)
Another report claims:
He (Ibn Sa‘d) said: Then they said: O Apostle of Allah, our mother Mulaykah Bint al-Hulw used to secure the freedom of prisoners, feed the mendicant and show compassion to the poor. She had died. She had interred alive a daughter of very tender age, so what would be her condition. He said: She who interred her (daughter) alive and she who was interred alive are both in hell fire. Thereupon they got infuriated. He said: Come to me. They came back and he said: MY MOTHER IS WITH YOURS. They rejected it, and went away saying: By Allah! This man who made us eat the heart and thinks that our mother is in hell-fire, is not worthy of being followed. They set out and on the way they confronted one of the Companions of the Apostle of Allah who was bringing camels of sadaqah. They tied him and carried away the camels. This news reached the Prophet. He cursed them along with those whom he was cursing in these words: May Allah curse Ri‘l, Dhakwan, ‘Usayyah, Lihyan, and two sons of Mulaykah–Ibn Harim and Murran. (Ibn Sa’ad’s Kitab Al-Tabaqat Al-Kabir, English translation by S. Moinul Haq, M.A., PH.D, assisted by H.K. Ghazanfar M.A. [Kitab Bhavan Exporters & Importers, 1784 Kalan Mahal, Daryaganj, New Delhi – 110 002 India], Volume I, Parts I & II, pp. 383-384; bold and capital emphasis mine)
And here is an allegedly sound narration which unashamedly admits that Muhammad’s father is in hellfire:
Chapter 86: HE WHO DIED WITH UNBELIEF WOULD BE (THROWN) INTO THE FIRE, INTERCESSION WOULD BE OF NO AVAIL TO HIM AND THE RELATIONSHIP OF HIS FAVOURITES WOULD NOT BENEFIT HIM
Anas reported: Verily, a person said: Messenger of Allah, where is my father? He said: (He) is in the Fire. When he turned away, he (the Holy Prophet) called him and said: Verily my father and your father are in the Fire. (Sahih Muslim, Book 001, Number 0398 https://www.searchtruth.com/book_display.php?book=001&translator=2&start=0&number=0398)
The question to ask a Muslim is, how could Aminah have died as an idolatress pagan and who went to hell to be tortured if the reports of her seeing light come out of her private parts are true? How could she have not become a believer if she had seen and heard all those miraculous signs that accompanied the conception and birth of Muhammad?
The answer is obvious. These are nothing more than fairytales which Muslims forged to make their prophet look better and to dupe his followers into believing that his conception and birth rivaled that of the true prophets, and specifically that of the Lord Jesus’.
As if it couldn’t get any weirder, we are told that Muhammad was born already circumcised with other traditions claiming that it was Gabriel who came down to personally circumcise him!
Al-Bayhaqi stated, “Abu ‘Abd Allah the hafiz informed us, quoting Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Hatim al-Darabardi, of Merv, Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Bushanji related to us, quoting Abu Ayyub Sulayman b. Salama al-Khaba’iri, quoting Yunus b. ‘Ata’ b. ‘Uthman b. Rabi’a b. Ziyad b. al-Harith al-Sadda’i, of Egypt, quoting al-Hakam b. Aban, from ‘Ikrima, from Ibn ‘Abbas, from his father al-‘Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib, God bless him, as follows. “The Messenger of God was born circumcised and with his umbilical cord severed. His grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib was amazed at this and found favour in him, saying, ‘This son of mine is sure to be important.’ And so he was.”
There is dispute over the veracity of this.
The hafiz Ibn ‘Asakir told it, from an account of Sufyan b. Muhammad al-Massisi, from Hushaym, from Yunus b. Ubayd, from al-Hasan, from Anas, as follows: The Messenger of God said, “One way God honoured me was in my being born already circumcised, so that no one saw my private parts.”
He (Ibn ‘Asakir) then related it on a line of transmission from al-Hasan b. ‘Arafa, on the authority of Hushaym.
He thereafter related it from Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Sulayman, he being al-Baghandi, who said that ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Ayyub al-Himsi related to him, quoting Musa b. Abu Musa al-Maqdisi, that Khalid b. Salama related to him, from Nafi’, from Ibn Umar, that the latter said, “The Messenger of God was born circumcised and with his umbilical cord detached.”
Abu Nu’aym stated that Abu Ahmad Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Ghitrifi related to him, quoting al-Husayn b. Ahmad b. ‘Abd Allah al-Maliki, quoting Sulayman b. Salama al-Khaba’iri, quoting Yunus b. ‘Ata’, quoting al-Hakam b. Ata, quoting ‘Ikrima, from Ibn ‘Abbas, from his father al-‘Abbas, as follows, “The Messenger of God was born circumcised and with his umbilical cord detached. This amazed his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib and he found favour in him, saying, ‘This son of mine is sure to be important.’ And so he was.”
Some authorities claim authenticity for this tradition for the lines of transmission it has; some even claim for it the status of mutawatir.60 However, this is debatable.
The word makhtun given in these traditions means “having the foreskin cut off’; the word masrur means “having had the umbilical cord from his mother severed”.
The Ibn ‘Asakir related from ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Uyayna al-Basri as follows, “‘Ali b. Muhammad al-Mada’ini al-Salmi related to us, quoting Salama b. Muharib b. Muslim b. Ziyad, from his father, from Abu Bakra, that Gabriel circumcised the Prophet when he cleansed his heart.”
This is extremely strange.
It is also said that it was his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib who circumcised him and held a celebration for him to which he gathered all Quraysh. But God knows best. (Ibn Kathir, 149-150; bold emphasis mine)
60. The term connotes a tradition related by consecutive testimonies and therefore one of evident authenticity. (Ibid., 149)
A DEMON-POSSESSED EPILEPTIC?
This next set of traditions depict Muhammad as a troubled youth who would experience seizures and strokes which resulted in his having hallucinations of beings coming to tear his chest wide open, and which those around him took as a sign of his being demon possessed, or of being under the control of the devil:
Some months after our return he and his brother were with our lambs behind the tents when his brother came running and said to us, “Two men clothed in white have seized that Qurayshi brother of mine and thrown him down and opened up his belly, and are stirring it up.” We ran towards him and found him standing up with a livid face. We took hold of him and I asked him what was the matter. He said, “Two men in white raiment came I and threw me down and opened up my belly and searched therein for I know not what.”1 So we took him back to our tent.
His father said to me, “I am afraid that this child has had a stroke, so take him back to his family before the result appears.” So we picked him up and took him to his mother who asked why we had brought him when I had been anxious for his welfare and desirous of keeping him with me. I said to her, “God has let my son live so far and I have done my duty. I am afraid that ill will befall him, so I have brought him back to you as you wished.” She asked me what happened and gave me no peace until I told her. When she asked if I feared a demon possessed him, I replied that I did. She answered that no demon had any power over her son who had a great future before him, and then she told how when she was pregnant with him a light went out from her which illumined the castles of Busra in Syria, and that she had borne him with the least difficulty imaginable. When she bore him he put his hands on the ground lifting his head towards the heavens. “Leave him then and go in peace,” she said.’
Thaur b. Yazid from a learned person who I think was Khalid b. Ma’dan al Kala’i told me that some of the apostle’s companions asked him to tell them about himself. He said: ‘I am what Abraham my father prayed for and the good news of (T. my brother) Jesus. When my mother was carrying me she saw a light proceeding from her which showed her the castles of Syria. I was suckled among the B. Sa’d b. Bakr, and while I was with a brother of mine behind our tents shepherding the lambs, two men in white raiment came to me with a gold basin full of snow. Then they seized me and opened up my belly, extracted my heart and split it; then they extracted a black drop from it and threw it away; then they washed my heart and my belly with that snow until they had thoroughly cleaned them. Then one said to the other, weigh him against ten of his people; they did so and I outweighed them. Then they weighed me against a hundred and then a thousand, and I outweighed them. He said, “Leave him alone, for by God, if you weighed him against all his people he would outweigh them.'” (Alfred Guillaume, The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, With Introduction and Notes [Oxford University Press, Fifteenth impression 2001], pp. 71-72; bold emphasis mine)
“Then one time he was out behind our dwellings with one of his foster-brothers with our animals. Suddenly that foster-brother came in greatly agitated and said, ‘That Quraysh brother of mine! Two men dressed in white came to him, laid him down, and split open his abdomen!‘
“At this his father and I rushed outside towards him. We found him standing there, his colour pale. His foster-father hugged him and asked, ‘What’s wrong, son?’ He replied, ‘Two men dressed in white came to me. They laid me down and opened my abdomen. Then they drew something from inside it and threw away. After that they put my abdomen back as before.’ So we took the boy back with us and his foster father said, ‘Halima, I’m afraid my foster son has become afflicted; let’s hurry and give him back to his family before what we fear does develop.’ So we did take him back. His mother was very surprised to see him and when we gave him over to her she said, ‘So why did you bring him back, nurse? You both wanted to have him so much.’ ‘No, it’s nothing,’ we replied, ‘it’s just that God has relieved us of our task. We did our duty. We’re afraid some harm or accident may befall him, so we are returning him to his own people.’ His mother insisted, ‘What’s going on with you both! Tell me truthfully what’s worrying you! ‘ She would not leave us alone till we told her what had happened. She asked, ‘Are you afraid for him from Satan? Absolutely not; Satan won’t get to him. By God, this son of mine has a great future before him. Should I tell you what happened with him?’ ‘Please do,’ we asked. ‘Well,’ she explained, ‘when I was pregnant with him, he was the lightest child I ever bore. And when carrying him I saw in my sleep a light emanating so bright it lit up the castles of Syria! And then, when he was born, he came out in a manner that babies never do, drew himself up on his arms and lifted his head up to heaven. So leave him, and don’t worry.”‘
This account has been related through various other lines as well, and it is one of the best known, and most frequently told by the biographers and early historians.
Al-Waqidi said that Ma’adh b. Muhammad related to him, from ‘Ata’ b. Abu Rabbah, from Ibn ‘Abbas, as follows, “Halima once went out to seek the Prophet and she found their animals to be sleeping in the sun. Him she found with his sister. She asked, ‘Why outside in this heat?’ His sister replied, ‘My brother doesn’t get hot; I saw a cloud shading him that stopped when he did and moved when he did, till he came to this spot.”‘
Ibn Ishaq said that Thawr b. Yazid related to him, from Khalid b. Ma’dan, from the Companions of the Messenger of God that the Companions once asked him to tell them about himself. He responded, ‘I am the one called for by my father Abraham, the glad tidings foreseen by Jesus, peace be upon them both. When she bore me my mother saw that a light came from inside her that illuminated the castles of Syria. I was suckled by the tribe of Sa’d b. Bakr and while I was among some of our animals two men dressed in white came, carrying a golden basin filled with ice. They laid me down, cut open my abdomen and took out my heart. This they split and extracted from it a black clot that they threw away. They then washed my heart and insides with that ice until clean. Having put it back as before, one of them said to his companion, ‘Weigh him against ten of his nation.’ He did so, but I outweighed them. He then said, ‘Weigh him against a hundred of his nation.’ This he did but I outweighed them. He said, ‘Weigh him against a thousand.’ The other man did, but I outweighed them too. The first man then said, ‘Leave him now, for even if you weighed him against his entire nation, he would outweigh them!'”
This has a fine, strong chain of authorities.
Ibn Ishaq also narrated that Abu Nu’aym, the hafiz, related this story in his work al-Dala’il (The Signs) by way of Umar b. al-Subh, known as Abu Nu’aym, from Thawr b. Yazid, from Makhul, from Shaddad b. Aws, in a much lengthened version. But this Umar b. Subh should be ignored, for he was a liar who was accused of invention. For this reason we will not mention the text of the tradition, for it gives no pleasure.
Ibn Ishaq then said that Abu ‘Amr b. Hamdan related to him, quoting al-Hasan b. Nafir, quoting ‘Amr b. Uthman, quoting Baqiyya b. al-Walid, from Buhayr b. Sa’id, from Khalid b. Ma’dan, from ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Amr ‘Salami, from Utba b. ‘Abd Allah, as follows. A man asked the Prophet, “What was it happened to you first, O Messenger of God?” He replied, “My wet-nurse was from the Bana Sa’d b. Bakr. One time a son of hers and I went off with our flock without taking any food with us. So I said, ‘Hey brother, go back and get us some food from our mother’s home.’ So my brother hurried away while I stayed with the animals. Then two white birds like eagles came along and one said to the other, ‘Is that he?’ ‘Yes,’ the other replied. Then they both swooped down, took hold of me and laid me out on my back. They then split my abdomen, extracted my heart, cut it open, and took out from it two black clots. One bird said to his companion, ‘Bring me some ice water.’ And with it they cleaned my insides. The first bird then said, ‘Now get some cold water.’ With that they washed my heart. Then the bird said, ‘Bring me al-sakina (quietude).’ This they sprinkled into my heart. The one said to the other, ‘Sew it up.’ So he did that and then placed on my heart the seal of prophethood. After that one bird said to the other, ‘Place him in one balance scale and a thousand of his people in the other.’ And when I looked up, there were the thousand above me, and I was concerned that some of them might tumble down on to me. Then the bird said, ‘If his whole nation were balanced against him, he would still outweigh them.’ Then both birds went away, leaving me there. I was tremendously afraid and raced off to my foster-mother and told her what had happened. She was afraid I’d lost my mind and exclaimed, ‘God protect you!’ Then she got an ass of hers ready for travel and put me on it. She rode behind me and we travelled till we reached my mother. She then said, ‘Well, I’ve fulfilled my pact and agreement.’ She then told my mother what had happened, but it didn’t shock her. She said, ‘What I saw was that a light came from inside me that lit up the castles of Syria.'”
Ahmad related it from a tradition told by Baqiyya b. al-Walid. ‘Abd Allah b. al-Mubarak and others similarly told this from Baqiyya b. al-Walid.
Ibn ‘Asakir related it through Abu Dawud al-Tayalisi. Ja’far b. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Uthman al-Qurashi related to him that Umayr b. Umar b. ‘Urwa b. al-Zubayr informed him as follows, “I heard Urwa b. al-Zubayr relate from Abu Dharr al-Ghifari who said that he asked, ‘O Messenger of God, how were you informed that you were a prophet and when did you become convinced that you were one?’ He replied, ‘O Abu Dharr, two angels came to me when I was in one of the valleys of Mecca. One of them dropped down to the ground, while the other remained suspended between heaven and earth. One said to the other, “Is that he?” “Yes, it’s he.” The one said, “Weigh him against another man.” He did so, and I outweighed him.’”
He then told it till the end, recounting how his chest was opened and sewn up and the seal was placed between his shoulders. He then said, “Then finally they turned away from me, as if their work was fully done.”
Moreover Ibn ‘Asakir gave it from Ubayy b. Kab in similar words, and from Shaddad b. Aws in a more simple form than that.
And it is established in the sahih collection of Muslim through Hammad b. Salama, from Thabit, from Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of God was visited by Gabriel, on whom be peace, while he was playing with the other boys. Gabriel took him, laid him down, split his heart open, took it out and withdrew a black clot from inside it, saying, “That’s the devil’s lot!” Then he washed it in a golden basin with water from (the well called) zamzam. He then mended it and put it back in its place. The other boys raced off to his mother – meaning his nurse – and told her, “Muhammad has been killed!” When they met him he was very pale. Anas stated, “And I used to see the mark of the sewing on his chest.”
Ibn ‘Asakir related this through Ibn Wahb, from ‘Amr b. al-Harith, from ‘Abd Rabbihi Ibn Sa’id, from Thabit al-Banani, from Anas, to the effect that prayer was prescribed in Medina and that two angels came to the Messenger of God, took him to zamzam, split open his abdomen, took out his insides and put them in a basin of gold, washed them in zamzam water then filled his insides with wisdom and knowledge.
And the tradition also comes through Ibn Wahb, from Ya’qub b. ‘Abd Rahman al-Zuhri, from his father, from ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Amir b. Utba b. Ibn Waqqas, from Anas, who said, “The Messenger of God was visited three nights. (A voice) said: ‘Take him who is the best of them and their leader.’ So they took the Messenger of God, conducted him to zamzam, opened his abdomen, brought a gold bowl, washed out his insides then filled them with wisdom and faith.”
This is substantiated by the account of Sulayman b. al-Mughira, from Thabit, from Anas.
In the two sahih collections it is given through Sharik b. Abu Nimr, from Anas, and also from al-Zuhri from Anas, from Abu Dharr and Qatada from Anas, and from Malik b. Sa’sa’sa from the Prophet in the recounting of al-Isra’ (the ascension to heaven), as the story of the laying open of his chest (as occurring) on that night, and its being washed with zamzam water.
There is no denying the probability of that occurring twice, once when he was young and once on the night of the ascension in preparation for his going to join the heavenly assemblage of angels, and of conferring with and appearing before the Lord, the Almighty, Glorious, Blessed, and Exalted one…
He reported also that when Halima was returning him fearing some harm had come to him, as she approached Mecca she lost him and could not find him. So she went to his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib, and he and a group of men went off to search for him. It was Waraqa b. Nawfal and another man of Quraysh who found him and brought him to his grandfather. He put him on his shoulders and circumambulated (the ka’ba), praying to God for the boy’s protection, and then returned him to his mother Amina.
Al-Umawi related through Uthman b. ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Waqqasi, a weak authority, from al-Zuhri, from Sa’id b. al-Musayyab, the story of the birth of the Prophet, and of his being suckled by Halima with a course different from that of Muhammad b. Ishaq. He stated that ‘Abd al-Muttalib ordered his son ‘Abd Allah to take the baby and go around the quarters of the bedouin to find a foster-mother for him. He did so and eventually hired Halima to suckle him. He recounted that the boy stayed with her for six years, being brought each year to visit his grandfather. When the opening of his chest occurred while he was with them, she took him back and he lived with his mother until he was eight, when she died. Thereupon his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib took charge of him, but he too died when the Prophet was ten. Then his two uncles, his father’s two brothers al-Zubayr and Abu Talib, took responsibility for him. In his early teens his uncle al-Zubayr took him to Yemen. His account states that on that journey they saw signs (of his prophethood). One of these was that a stallion camel had made its way some distance along a valley through which the party was passing. When the stallion saw the Messenger of God, it knelt down and rubbed its chest on the ground and so he mounted it. Another sign was that they came to a stream in violent flood but God Almighty dried it up so that they could cross it. Thereafter his uncle al-Zubayr died; at that time he was fourteen and Abn Talib alone took charge of him. (Ibn Kathir, pp. 162-166; bold emphasis mine)
Muhammad’s Silly and Ridiculous Teachings [Part 1], [Part 2]