Will you give information about the blowing of the spirit into the fetus?

The Answer

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5.1.3-The Blowing of Spirit into the Fetus

Islamic scholars had two different views about the time when spirit is blown into the fetus:

The majority of the scholars that includes Hanafi, Shafii, Hanbali and Zahiri fiqhscholars states that spirit is blown into the fetus at the end of four months or on the one hundred and twenty-first day. Ibn Hajar states that fiqh scholars agree unanimously on it.1

The scholars who hold this view base their views on the following evidence:

-As it is mentioned in the previous part, the Prophet (pbuh) states the following in the hadith reported by Ibn Mas’ud:

“The creation of each one of you is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days; then, he becomes a clot of thick blood (alaqah), and then he becomes a piece of flesh (mudghah). Then, Allah sends an angel and he is ordered to write four things: the livelihood (rizq), date of death (ajal), deeds of this creature and whether he will be a person of Paradise or Hell. Then, spirit is blown into him.2 Abu Hatim states that what is meant with the verse “then we developed out of it another creature”3 is that when four months pass after the occurrence of nutfah, the angel is sent to it to blow spirit.4

The majority of the scholars that includes Hanafi, Shafii, Hanbali and Zahiri fiqhscholars states that spirit is blown into the fetus at the end of four months.

According to some scholars including Qurtubi, the blowing of the spirit takes place after four months and ten days pass, that is, at the end of one hundred and thirty days.5

The scholars who adopt this view base their view on the following evidence:

Ibn Abbas states that spirit will be blown into the fetus after four months and ten days pass, which is the iddah period of a woman whose husband dies.6

Furthermore, Qurtubi states that the spirit is blown at the end of the fourth month and the beginning of the fifth month and that the fact that the fetus moves after thatindicates it.7

However, Muhammad b. Humaydar-Razi, who is in the chain of narrators of this hadith reported by IbnAbbas, was rejected by many hadith scholars, especially Bukhari and Nasai.8Therefore, the narration in question is weak. In addition, various medical instruments today indicate that the movements of the fetus begin in earlier periods.

It is also possible to combine those narratives by regarding the first one as the basis as follows:

If the spirit is blown after one hundred and twenty days, it reaches one hundred and thirty days if it is calculated from the time of insemination. In addition, it can be assumed that the blowing of the spirit starts on the one hundred and twentieth day and continues until one hundred and thirtieth day; that is, it can be accepted that the first narration states the beginning of the incident and the other the end of it.

Acting upon the verse, hadiths and current medical data, the following can be said about the fetus:

1. The creation of the fetus begins early in the first forty days and is completed at the beginning of the second forty days. With the formation of the brain and nervous system, the fetus assumes a full human appearance at the end of the third forty days and the beginning of the fourth. This process up tothe birth is the stage where the fetus develops normally.*

2. According to the majority of fiqh scholars, the human life of the fetus begins with the blowing of the spirit because the legal identity of the fetus as a human being is not realized with the brain, but with the spirit.

3. As it is understood from the hadith above, the blowing of the spirit takes place after one hundred and twentieth day. As a matter of fact, many scholars, especially Nawawi, Qurtubi, Ibn Hajar, Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali and Ibn Abidinhold this view.9

*This combination eliminates the confusion of HayreddinKaraman, who regards the hadiths problematic due to the numbers 40, 45 and 42. Different numbers show the lower limit and the upper limit. (It is not an appropriate approach for HayreddinKaraman to say that there is a problem in the hadiths related to the blowing of the spirit, that they have no connection with the issue of "killing the fetus and doing something to the fetus" and hence that they are mentioned within the context of the explanations related to the creation of man and determination of his qadar (destiny). Since Karaman regards blowing the spirit as the beginning of creation, he regards hadiths to be contrary to the data modern medicine has reached. In fact, creation and blowing the spirit are different events. See: http://www.hayrettinkaraman.net/yazi/hayat/0077.htm

1.Ibn Hajar, al-Asqalani, Fathul-Bari Bi SharhiSahihil-Bukhari, thq: M. FuadAbdulbaqi, Darul-Maarif, Beirut, nd, XI, 490; Ghunaymi, ibid, 273.
2.Bukhari, Qadar, 1; Badul-Khalq, 6; Anbiya, 2; Tawhid, 28;Muslim, Qadar, 1; Abu Dawud, Sunnah, 17; Tirmidhi, Qadar, 4, 8.
3.al-Mu’minun, 14.
4.Ibn Hajar, Fathul-Bari, XI, 490.
5.al-Qurtubi, Abu Abdullah Muhammad b. Ahmad, al-Jami’u li Ahkamil-Qur’an, Daru Ihyait-Turathil-Arabi, Beirut, 2002, XII, 75., VIII, 12.
6.Qurtubi, ibid, VIII, 12; Ibn Hajar, Fathul-Bari, XI, 494.
7.Qurtubi, ibid, VIII, 12.
8.Ibn Hajar, Tahdhibut-Tahdhib fiRijalil-Hadith, Darul-Kutubil-Ilmiyya, Beirut, 2004, V, 548-50.
9.al-Qahtani, ibid, 171-2.

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