Is it true that the Prophet was transferred into His mother’s womb on the night of Raghaib?
Submitted by on Thu, 07/03/2019 - 09:01
Dear Brother / Sister,
There is a widespread view among Muslims based on some fadail (virtue) books that the night of Raghaib is the night when the Prophet was transferred into his mother’s womb, which forms the first stage of the birth of the Prophet. However, the time period between that night and the day when the Prophet was born indicates that this view is not right. Nevertheless, it might be reasonable to think that Amina, the Prophet’s mother, found out on that night that she was pregnant with the Prophet (pbuh).1
It is also claimed that the night of Raghaib was the night when Abdullah, the Prophet’s father, married but the date of the birth of the Prophet refutes this claim. In some regions in some Muslim countries, they call the night when Abdullah married the Night of Raghaib. It is not right to regard the night of Raghaib like that. To say so means the Messenger of Allah was born before nine months passed, which is a fault. The Prophet was perfect in all aspects and had no faults; he had no faults when he was in the womb of Amina either. Shortness of the period of pregnancy is regarded as a fault in medicine.2 Since prophets have the attribute of ismah, they are free from such faults.
On the other hand, an approach that aims to compromise and settle the issue makes the following explanation:
“It was haram to make war in the months of Rajab, Dhulqada, Dhulhijja and Muharram before Islam and in the first years of Islam. Before Islam, Arabs used to change the places of the months in order to fight in the month of Rajab or Muharram, moving them forward or backward. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) stated the following in the Farewell Hajj when he made hajj with more than one hundred thousand Muslims:
‘O my Companions! We are performing hajj just in time. Time circulated and reached the point it started. From now on, the order of the months is the same as the time when Allah created them.’
When his father Abdullah married, the places of the months were different. The month of Rajab had been replaced by the month of Jumadal-Akhir, that is, one month earlier. Then, the transfer of the Prophet to the womb of Amina was in Jumadal-Akhir based on today’s calendar, not on the night of Raghaib in the month of Rajab.”3
Therefore, the night when the Prophet was transferred into his mother’s womb seemed to be the first Friday night of the month of Rajab in the year 571 since Arabs moved the months but it was actually on the first Friday night of the month of Jumadal-Akhir. As it is known, the order of the lunar months is as follows: Muharram, Safar, Rabiul-Awwal, Rabiul-Akhir, Jumadal-Awwal, Jumadal-Akhir, Rajab, Shaban, Ramadan, Shawwal, Dhulqada and Dhulhijja. Since the place of haram months and hence the place of Rajab were not changed after the year of Farewell Hajj, there are 280 days, which is the time period for pregnancy in medicine, between the first Friday night of the month of Jumadal-Akhir (the date when he was transferred into his mother’s womb) and the 12th of the month of Rabiul-Awwal (the date of his birth); this information is acceptable since it is incompliance with the historical knowledge mentioned above and medical knowledge. There has been no more appropriate and stronger information so far.
The explanation above is convincing and settles the issue in the possible discussions. However, is such an acceptance strong enough and original in terms of the religious foundations of the night of Raghaib? What is definite about Raghaib is this: The Prophet (pbuh) received some special manifestations, luminous grace and grants, and heavenly gifts from Allah on that night; thus, it is an opportunity for his ummah too for their prayers to be accepted and to receive similar grants. What other stronger incidents and evidences can be found if it is thought that a more important incident took place when the Messenger of Allah was in his mother’s womb related to the holiness of that night? Let us have such a journey of knowledge and thought:
In a place where Badiuzzaman Said Nursi emphasizes the holiness of Raghaib, he states that the Prophet (pbuh) honored the visible realm (the world) to a degree, in an aspect, on the night of Raghaib.4 It is significant that he recorded this honoring with the expression “honored the visible realm to a degree, in an aspect”; this ambiguity is due to being unable to exactly determine the first day the Prophet was transferred into his mother’s womb:
When it is calculated mathematically, the time period between the night of Raghaib, which is the first Friday night of the month of Rajab and which is said to be the first night when the Prophet was transferred into his mother’s womb, and the night when the Prophet was born (the 12th night of the month of Rabiul-Awwal) is about 8 months 10 days or 17 days. Thus, it seems to be a month fewer than normal pregnancy. If we calculate – and we must calculate – the period that the Prophet remained in his mother’s womb as 9 months 10 days like a normal person, the transfer of the Prophet into his mother’s womb must be in the last week of the month of Jumadal-Awwal.
There are preterm deliveries but there is no information in the resources of Islamic history and siyar stating that the Prophet was a premature baby. Besides, if something like that had happened, the Prophet’s blessed mother, midwife, relatives and Companions would have mentioned it. Is it possible that he was a premature baby but that this information was not widespread? Is it possible that the majority of the believers was not informed about this fact due to some reasons and wisdoms that we do not know? It is possible but we do not know whether it is probable or not; however, it is clear that is a very low possibility because those who opposed the prophethood of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) used all of the information they had against him; they would probably have used the claim of premature birth. Besides, prophets have the attribute of ismah and they perfect in terms of creation too. Hz. Muhammad (pbuh), who is the Prophet of all prophets, cannot have been born prematurely.
The night of Raghaib coincides a time when the expected Prophet was in his mother’s womb. It is probably the cornerstone of the first phase of that important process. The night of Raghaib, which is known as the night the Prophet was transferred into his mother’s womb among people though it is contrary to the facts, is the night when Amina noticed that she was pregnant according to some scholars. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states that the night of Raghaib is the name of the beginning of the life of progress of the Prophet. When he emphasizes the holiness of Raghaib, he states that the Prophet (pbuh) honored the visible realm (the world, in the womb) to a degree, in an aspect, on the night of Raghaib.5
Let us examine those two excerpts: 1. The Night of Raghaib is the name of the beginning of the life of progress of the Prophet. 2. The Prophet (pbuh) honored the visible realm to a degree, in an aspect, on the night of Raghaib. Since the Messenger of Allah was in his mother’s womb on the night of Raghaib, something that will transform it into a holy night must have happened. It may be something that took place in his life after the prophethood; there are narrations related to it. However, in my opinion, the biggest incidence that took place in the first phase in the womb that lasted about forty days might be the incident of an angel being sent to his mother by God Almighty. His mother Amina may have noticed it when that angel was sent, or immediately after it. Badiuzzaman Said Nursi states the following related to Raghaib: “It is the name of the beginning of the life of progress of the Prophet.” Progress is something related to man’s spiritual aspect. It can be said that the organs of the body were made suitable for the spirituality and made ready for evolution and progress with that first visit.
Secondly: He says, “the night he honored the visible realm to a degree, in an aspect”. The nucleus of his physical body (DNA code, scientific program, architectural project) had reached that time before in the visible realm through his ancestors after many centuries; and this was a physical material transfer that took place in the visible realm. However, “honoring the visible realm” comes from the invisible realm. This brings to mind that before his transfer to the visible realm from the realm of spirits, his body is brought together as a whole for the first time, and his pure body, which will include his spiritual equipment, is determined and recorded by an angel.
However, the narrations related to the day when his spirit was blown into the fetus also caused different interpretations. According to a hadith narrated in the hadith books collecting sound hadiths like Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (pbuh) stated the following while explaining the creation of man and the determination of his destiny:
"Each one of you is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days; and then it becomes an alaqah (a clot of thick blood or something hanging) for a similar period, and then a mudghah (a piece of flesh) for a similar period. Then an angel is sent; he blows spirit into it and he is ordered to write four things: the livelihood (rizq), date of death (ajal), deeds of this creature and its situation in the hereafter, that is, whether he will be a person of Paradise or Hell." (Bukhari, Bad'ul-Khalq, 6; Muslim, Qadar, 1-5).
Apart from this narration recorded in Bukhari and Muslim, there are significant differences between the narration above and different versions of the same hadith in Muslim:
a) The period of time up to the blowing of the spirit in the hadith above is 120 days but there are three different figures in the other narrations: 40, 45, 42.
b) In one of the narrations, it is stated that the eyes, ears, skin, flesh and bones were created after forty-two days and that the angel asked Allah, "a male or a female?" and then, Allah made a decree and the angel recorded it.
Accordingly, we think it would be better to interpret the narration meaning the spirit is blown in 120 days based on the other narrations differently as “within the same forty days” for each forty days and prefer the other narrations that explain the other 40 or 40 some days.
It would be appropriate to interpret that the Prophet was on the 40th or 42nd night in his mother’s womb on the night of Raghaib and that spirit was blown into the fetus on the 40th and 42nd day of the creation like every human being. Thus, it will be seen that when the Prophet (pbuh) was in his mother’s womb on the 40th or 42nd day, an angel came and determined and wrote the shape, ears, eyes, skin, flesh, bones, etc. of the fetus, and he recorded its gender, time of death and sustenance by asking Allah based on the answers He gave, then he blew the spirit into the fetus6.7 His mother Amina may have noticed with what she was pregnant after this first bringing together and determination and after the spirit was blown.
The calling of an angel on the night when the luminous light of Muhammad was transferred into his mother’s womb:
Sahl b. Abdullah Tustari narrates:
“Allah gave an order on the night when He wished the transfer of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) into his mother’s wound: The angel that was the guard of Paradise opened the Paradise of Firdaws, and a caller called out as follows to the heavens and the earth:
“Know it very well that the luminous light of Muhammed (pbuh) settled in his mother’s womb tonight; his creation will be completed there and he will come to the world as a bashir (bringer of good tidings) and nadhir (warner).”8
1 Bilmen, Ömer Nasuhi, Büyük İslam İlmihali, p.187, Bilmen Yayınevi, Istanbul, 1990; Algül, Hüseyin, Mübarek Gün ve Geceler, p.3, Nil Yayınları, Izmir, 1991.
2 Hüseyin Hilmi Işık, Saadet-i Ebediye from (Tam İlmihal):
3 Mevlânâ Muhammed Rebhâmî, Rıyâdu’n-Nâsıhîn 2. Bâb, 8. Fasıl. (from tafsirs of Zâhidî and Ali Cürcânî).
4 Nursi, Sikke-i Tasdik-i Gaybi, p.206.
5 Nursi, Sikke-i Tasdik-i Gaybi, p.206, 207.
6 From Amr Ibn Wasita: I heard from Abdullah Ibn Mas'ud; he said, “Evil one (Said) is he who is evil in the womb of his mother and the good one (Shaqiy) is he who takes a lesson from others.” The narrator went to a person from amongst the Companions of Allah's Messenger (pbuh) called Hudhayfa and said what Ibn Mas’ud told him. Then, he asked, How can a person be an evil one without a deed? Hudhayfa said, “Are You surprised at this? I heard Allah's Messenger (pbuh) say, ‘ When forty-two nights pass after the semen gets into the womb, Allah sends the angel and gives him shape. Then, he creates his sense of hearing, sense of sight, his skin, his flesh, his bones, and then says, ‘My Lord, would he be male or female?’ And your Lord decides as He desires and the angel then puts down that also and then says: ‘My Lord, what about his age?’ And your Lord decides as He likes it and the angel puts it down. Then he says: ‘My Lord, what about his sustenance?’ And then the Lord decides as He likes and the angel writes it down, and then the angel gets out with his scroll of destiny in his hand and nothing is added to it and nothing is subtracted from it." (Muslim, Qadar 3)
7 In a narration of Muslim, the angel that comes to the nutfa on the 42nd day determines the child’s shape, ears, eyes, skin, flesh and bones. (Muslim, Qadar 3).
8 Ömer Nasuhi Bilmen, Büyük İslam İlmihali, p. 206, Simplified by A. Fikri Yavuz, İpek Yayın-Dağıtım A.Ş., Istanbul, 1992.
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