Hadith #4: Creation in the Womb

Oi. So much to do, so little time. With two toddlers, it’s very difficult to get on the computer without someone yelling “youtube!” or “simba!” 😦 I’ll just continue to add on to my hadith of An-Nawawi series inshaAllah and see if I can get to adding on the other stuff later….

I’ve been doing notes and gems on Jamal Az-Zarabozo’s commentary of An-Nawawi’s 40 hadith. Man, I love this shaykh. MashaAllah the commentary is so comprehensive, and written in language I can actually understand 😀

I’ve done the notes on the first three hadith, alhamdulillah. Well, online…and till the 14th not online 🙂 I just need to get around to putting them up…So here is the fourth hadith, talking about the Creation in the Mother’s Womb.

On the authority of Abu Abdul Rahmaan Abdullah ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and he is the truthful,the believed, narrated to us: Verily, each of you is brought together in his mother’s abdomen for forty days in the form of a drop of fluid. Then it is a clinging object for a similar [period]. Thereafter, it is a lump looking like it has been chewed for a similar [period]. The angel is then sent to him and he breathes into him the spirit. He is commanded to issue four decrees: to record his sustenance, his life span, his deeds, and [whether he will be] unhappy [by entering Hell] or happy [by entering Paradise]. I swear by Allah, other than Whom there is no God, certainly, one of you will definitely perform the deeds of the people of Paradise until there is not between him and Paradise except an arm’s length and then what has been recorded will overtake him and he shall perform the deeds of the people of Hell and enter it. And, certainly, one of you will definitely perform the acts of the people of Hell until there is not between him and Hell except an arm’s length and then what has been recorded will overtake him and he shall perform the deeds of the people of Paradise and enter it.”

Recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim

A Mistake in the Text

The above text says, “Surely, each of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for 40 days in the form of a drop of fluid (nutfah).” This last word, nutfah, is a mistake and not part of the hadith. According to the wrong narration, the stages take place in the first four months. The author checked references in Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad and other works, and there is no mention of the word nutfah. This may seem like a slight oversight to some, but it is important because it changes the meaning of the hadith.

The big question here would be: when is the soul breathed in? According to the vast majority of scholars, these stages take place over a period of 120 days, which leads them to believe that the soul is breathed into the womb after that period. This majority opinion is not followed in the book.

inshaAllah we will discuss this in more detail later, when referring to fiqh issues (such as abortion, etc).

Takhreej

This hadith from ‘Abdullah ibn Masod was recorded, some with only slightly different wordings but all without the word nutfah, by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, al-Tirmidhi, ibn Maajah and numerous others. The author’s commentary is based on the wording found in Sahih Bukhari.

He is the Truthful, the Believed

As-saadiq is the one who is truthful in everything he says. As we know, Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) had this characteristic even before he received revelation and became a Prophet.

Al-masdooq means that he is the person to be believed in.

So the question is this: why did ibn Masood begin the hadith with such a description? One of the reasons given is that because the hadith contains knowledge of which they didn’t know much of. Since the time of Aristotle, it was thought that the baby began fully formed and just slowly grew to a bigger size in the womb. The idea of stages was an entirely new concept.

Ibn Masood’s attitude is an attitude we should all have – there is no room for doubt when it comes to the Prophet’s word. Period. Regardless of the topic. Insulting and questioning him is an insult to Allah [God] Himself.

next inshaAllah: a short biography of the narrator, ibn Masood.

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One Response to Hadith #4: Creation in the Womb

  1. Salimon Abdul Baki says:

    Al hamdulillah

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