Books · Knowing the Prophet · Seerah · Tajjaliyat e Nabuwat

The Incident of Splitting of the Prophet’s Chest


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One day little Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was playing with his foster brothers when Angel Jibreel [Gabriel] ‘alayhi salaam descended, laid him on the ground, and split his chest. He then took out his heart and threw away a clot of blood. Angel Jibreel said, “This was the Satan’s share of you.” He then washed it in a vessel of gold that was filled with Zamzam. He then put the heart back to its place and stitched his chest.

The brothers ran to their mother and screamed, “Muhammad has been killed.” Haleema and Harith ran to check on Muhammad and saw his face drained of color. Scared the couple decided to return the boy to his family.

[How did Allah Open the Chest of Prophet Muhammad?]


Remember that Shaytan only attacks man’s sadr – the outer part of the heart, as we read in Surah an-Nas ayah 5, “…whispers [evil] into the chests of mankind.” When one remembers Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, Shaytan runs away and cannot put his evil thoughts in our hearts.

[The Heart: Fuaad, Qalb, and Sadr]

However, he who gets overtaken by Shaytan is destructed. He no more finds interest in the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or in religious gatherings. Rather, he  is inclined toward music, movies, entertainment, and other forms of evil acts. His eyes, ears, mouth, and limbs are used by Shaytan to please him. This is a dangerous stage. To save oneself from reaching this level, one should be regular with his prayers, remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and in attending religious circles.

[Remembering Allah at All Times]

One of the best remedies of getting out of this state is listening abundantly to the recitation of the Qur’an. Play Surah Al-Baqarah in your homes every three days, it chases Shaytan away. Recite the last passage of the same Surah every night before going to bed. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala calls the Qur’an shifa [cure]; when one listens to the Qur’an the knots are opened, and the heart is cleansed of its filth. Gradually, one begins to take interest in the message of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and realizes his errors.

[Four Types of Hearts in the Qur’an]

He is conscious of what he watches, listens to, and his speech. Instead of music, Qur’an recitation pleases his heart. Gossips, sarcasm, and backbiting do not amuse him anymore. He is no more engaged in futile things and rather becomes productive. He gets concerned about the Hereafter and worries standing before Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

If you know someone who has fallen in this state then deal with them with wisdom. Do not rush and please do not be harsh with them. Treat them like a drug addict. You have to start the rehabilitation no matter how much it displeases them. Don’t forget to make du’a both for help and guidance. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us, our families, and our loved ones from this trial, ameen.

From this incident, we also learn that Zamzam water is shifa. If the Prophet’s heart was cleansed with this water, then there is a message for us to treat our sick and depressed with Zamzam. However, remember that shifa [cure] is in Allah’s Hands. Seek treatment but also remember the Main Source of all good.

We also learn that little Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was allowed to play outside in the plains at the age of four. He was not as sheltered as today’s children are. At age four or less, he was herding sheep. Therefore, we see he was a man of strength and independent thinking. We keep running after our children attending to the chores even after they have reached puberty. We don’t give them responsibilities that would make them independent and mature. If God forbid, someone’s parents die while they are young, the children do not know how to continue their lives.

[Don’t Shelter Your Children]

We have replaced outdoor games with mobiles and tablets, and turned our children into vegetables staying locked in their rooms all day. Many children today lack social and communication skills. It is becoming a growing concern and complaint that today’s youth does not look above their screens. The race to reach to the top and be updated with the latest technology has affected tarbiyah [upbringing]. Therefore, we see relationship issues and sadly drug and substance abuse that is creeping into Muslim households.

We see in the lives of the prophets ‘alayhim salaam and the Companions radhiAllahu ‘anhum that from an early age they made their children strong. They did not plan their children’s weekends or holidays to cook them fancy meals, take them to playland, and entertainment, rather from a young age they would take them to the Masjid and assign them responsibilities. The hardship of the childhood made them strong human beings both in physical strength and character. Boys and girls raised in sheltered environments grow up to be weak individuals. They have no sense of responsibility and are unable to make the right decisions for themselves. This is not love but enmity!

[Who was Imam Bukhari?]

Child psychologist, David Elkind says, “We learn through experience and we learn through bad experiences. Through failure we learn how to cope.” He further also says, “Parents and schools are no longer geared toward child development, they’re geared to academic achievement.” [Psychology Today]

[The Abuse of Overparenting]

Lady Hajar ran in the heat of Makkah on Safa and Marwah without complaints; we repeat her Sunnah on marbled floor in an air-conditioned environment, yet come back from Hajj with complaints. How can we become strong and patient when we cannot bare slight trials? Trials come to make us strong, but we lose the opportunity by complaining and through negativity.

[The Positives of Pain]

Become brave and strong so that your children can become courageous and independent. Do not scare them with tales of Jinns and monsters. Supervise their activities silently, but let them take risks. Dr. Farhat Hashmi shared when her children would fall, she would turn her face in the opposite direction. She would neither scream nor rush to pick them up. She taught them how to stand up on their feet with confidence. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala enable the parents to learn parenting before they become parents, ameen.

[Adapted from the talks of Dr. Farhat Hashmi on the book: Tajjaliyat e Nabuwat by Maulana Safi ur Rahman Mubarakpuri. Some material has also been taken from Imam Ibn Katheer’s book: Al-Seerah Al-Nabawiya]

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