Chapter 4: Transcendental Events
The previous paragraphs spoke of Lady Khadija's excellent and noble characteristics, which should be a fantastic example for mankind to follow. She is the lady who gave birth to Fatima az-Zahra, and brought her up with talents and virtues.
Fatima az-Zahra was a descendant of two great people; we have briefly spoken about her parents, lives and virtues, and have drawn a picture through which we can look at Fatima's genius, and a corner of her life in light of genetic inheritance becomes clear to us.
Furthermore, there are undisputed facts that have been declared by the Sacred Messenger, and Ahlul-Bayt (as) that neither science, nor, contemporary discoveries have been able to discern the deep meanings, despite the scientific achievments. Because these facts are beyond the reach of machines and telescopes, photographers' advanced lenses cannot capture their rays, nor, can natural or, logical senses realize them.
Actually, the truth goes beyond material and logical realisation, for the five senses is unable to define it. So, you may if you wish, call these facts "The Transcendental Facts."
Before elaborating on these facts, it is incumbent upon us to make a brief introduction, as we say:
The sperm (male reproductive cell), which is formed in the gonads, eventually fuses with the ovum (female reproductive cell) to become an embryo (later foetus and a baby), developed from the blood which is produced from digesting the food by various organs of the body. Hence, there is no doubt that sperm which is a product of eating pork, or, drinking liquor differs from that which is produced from lamb (halal) meat; because of the difference in composition between various types of foods. In addition, food has peculiar effects on the human psyche and spirit; there are some foods that bring happiness to the heart and calm the nerves, while others do exactly the opposite.
Permissible and pure food(s) have beneficial effects on man; contrary to this, impure (haraam) food such as liquor, or, impermissible food like stolen, or, usurped meat harm the men. The influence of the food we eat becomes apparent in the sperm. Elaboration on this subject by procuring proof, and evidence takes special effort, which would lead us away from our original subject.
In conclusion, the food, which is eaten by the parents, has an enormous effect on the future development of the child, because it is from this food that the sperm is formed, and carried on to the womb to grow, and become a human being.
Furthermore, the psychological state of the parents during sexual intercourse has a great effect on the child's state of mind, and his psychological behaviour in the future. Besides, the persistent want and earnest desire to have sexual intercourse are influential on the appearance, and intelligence of the child.
In light of these two points (the nutritional and psychological effects upon children), we move on to elaborate on the subject by verifying it through a selection of narrations mentioned in Volume 6 of Bihar al-Anwar.
Gabriel descended to the Messenger of Allah (S), and told him: "O Muhammad! The Most Exalted sends His peace upon you, and commands you to refrain from (coming close to) Khadija for forty days."
The Prophet, who loved, and adored Khadija (in obedience to Allah's command), spent forty days fasting, and praying nights. When it was close to the end of the forty days, he summoned Ammar Ibn Yasser and asked him to go to Khadija and tell her:
"O Khadija! do not assume that my separation from you means abandoning, or, forsaking you, rather my Lord commanded me to do so, so expect nothing save benevolence, for surely Allah (exalted is His Name) praises you to His most honorable angels several times a day. Therefore, with nightfall, close the door and lay down to sleep; for I will be staying at Fatima Bint Asad's house."
This brought sad tidings to Lady Khadija (as) who missed having the Prophet by her side.
At the end of the forty days, Gabriel once again descended to Allah's Messenger, and said:
"O Muhammad! The Most Exalted sends His peace upon you, and commands you to be prepared for His salutation, and a gift."
The Prophet said:
"Gabriel! What is the Lord of the world’s gift and what is His salutation?"
Gabriel said: "I have no knowledge of it."
At that moment, Angel Michael (Mikaeel) descended with a plate covered with a handkerchief made of brocade or sarcenet, and presented it to the Prophet! Gabriel said to him (S):
"O Muhammad, your Lord commands you to break your fasting with this food tonight."
Imam ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (as) said in this regard:
"The Prophet (S) used to order me to open the door to whoever wanted to join him when he came to break his fast, but that night he ordered me to guard the door of the house, and said to me: `O son of Abu Talib! this food is forbidden to everyone save me. "
Then he (‘Ali) (as) said:
"I sat at the door, and the Prophet (S) uncovered the plate, in privacy, to find a cluster of dates and a bunch of grapes; he ate until satisfied, and drank his need of water. He then extended his hands to be washed, so Gabriel poured the water, Michael washed his hands, and Israfil dried them. Thereafter, the remaining food with the plate ascended to heaven. Then he (as) started to prepare himself for prayers when Gabriel said to him:
"Prayer is forbidden to you until you go to Khadija's house, and perform coition with her; for Allah (Glory be to Him) ordained upon Himself to create noble progeny from you tonight.' So, he rushed to Khadija's house."
"I had gotten used to seclusion by that time, so when night arrived I covered my head, put down the curtains, locked the doors, performed my prayers, put out the lantern, and retired to my bed. That night while I was between the states of sleeping, and being awake, the Prophet knocked on the door; so I exclaimed: Who is knocking on the door that only Muhammad knocks on?"
The Prophet gently and politely replied:
"Open the door Khadija, I am Muhammad"
"I cheerfully got up, and opened the door for the Prophet to come in. He (as) usually requested the water jug to perform ablution, and two short prayer prostrations before he retired. On the contrary, that night he (as) did not request the jug, nor, did he perform prayers... instead, what occurs between a woman and her husband occurred between us; and by Allah, who created the heavens, and caused water to come out of springs, before the Prophet left me, I felt Fatima's weight in my womb..."
It can be concluded from the above mentioned narration that:
1. Allah Almighty commanded His Messenger to abandon Khadija a period of time so that his longing, and wanting her increased.
2. The Prophet (S) performed more worship so as to achieve a higher level of spirituality, and sacredness, as a result of being in constant contact with the heavenly world.
3. He (as) broke his fast on the pure heavenly gift, which was quickly transformed into sperm because of its delicateness.
4. The sperm was produced from eating a delicate heavenly food that differs from material nutrition.
5. The Prophet (S) immediately proceeded to Khadija's house in order to transfer the sperm to her womb after the previously mentioned preparations.
This narration was mentioned by the following Sunni scholars with minor variations between some of their accounts of it:
1. Khawarazmi in his book Maqtal al- Husayn p. 63, 68.
2. Dhahabi in al-Etedal v.2, p. 26.
3. Talkhees al-Mustadrak v. 3, p. 156.
4. Asqalani in Lisan al-Mizan v. 4, p. 36.
In addition, there are various traditions with minor verbal differences, and the same fundamental meaning that Fatima az-Zahra (sa) was created from a sperm produced from heavenly food. We mention herein some of these narrations, and restrict ourselves to the part which are related to our subject in observance of briefness, and omit the rest:
Imam Ar-Ridha’ (as) said: "The Prophet (S) said:
"On the night of my ascension to Heaven, Gabriel took my hand and led me into Paradise, then he handed me dates from which 1 ate; those dates were formed into sperm. When I descended to Earth, I came unto Khadija who became pregnant with Fatima; thus, Fatima is a human huri, whom whenever I long for Paradise I smell." 1
Imam Baqir (as) on the account of Jabir Ibn Abdullah, said:
"It was said to the Messenger of Allah: Surely you kiss, embrace and bring Fatima close to you... and treat her better than your other daughters!"
Imam Baqir (as) commented:
"Indeed, for Gabriel brought me an apple from heaven, which I ate and it was transformed into sperm that I placed in Khadija who later bore Fatima. Hence, I smell paradise's fragrance in her." 2
Ibn Abbas said:
"Aisha entered the house while the Messenger of Allah was kissing Fatima, so she said: Do you love her, O Messenger of Allah?'
He replied: 'Indeed, by Allah if you knew the extent of my love for her, your love would increase for her. When I was in the forth heaven... (until he said) that I found these dates softer than butter, more pleasant than musk, and sweeter than honey. So when I descended to earth, I came unto Khadija, and she bore Fatima. Thus, Fatima is a human huri, whenever I long for paradise I smell her. "' 3
This last narration was also mentioned with variations by:
1. Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi in Tarikh Baghdad v. 5, p. 87.
2. Khawarazmi in Maqtal al-Husayn p. 63.
3. Muhammad Ibn Ahmad al-Demashqi in Mizan al-Etedal v.1, p. 38.
4. Az Zarandi in Nazm Durar As Simtain.
5. Asqalani in Lisan al Mizan v.5, p. 160.
6. Qanduzi in Yanabi' al-Mawaddah.
7. Muhib-Ad-Din At-Tabari in Dhakhaer al-Uqbi p. 43.
These narrations are mentioned on the accounts of Aisha, Ibn Abbas, Saed Ibn Malik, and Umar Ibn al-Khattab.
8. Sheikh Shua'b al-Misri in Ar-Rawd al-Faeq p. 214 writes:
"Some noble narrators mentioned that one day Lady Khadija (as) (may Allah be pleased with her) asked the Master of creatures (the Prophet (S)) to show her a fruit from the Dwell of Peace (Paradise). Thus, Gabriel brought him who was chosen above all two apples from Paradise and said:
'O Muhammad, He who appointed a due proportion for all things says to you:
"Eat one apple, and give the other to Lady Khadija, then come unto her, for I will create from you (both) Fatima az-Zahra. "The Chosen One did what The Guardian (Gabriel) told him to do, and.. (Until he said): 'Thus, whenever the Chosen One longed for Paradise, and its greatness, he would kiss Fatima and smell her beautiful fragrance and say: 'Fatima is a human huri.'"
There are successive narrations in this regard, but we satisfy ourselves with what has been mentioned.
There remains a point here on which elaboration is rather important; it is noticeable that the narrations clearly state that Khadija bore Fatima immediately after the Prophet's Ascension to heaven, which took place in the second or third year after revelation.
Nevertheless, there is a collection of narrations from the Holy Imams of Ahlul-Bayt (as), which state that Fatima was born five years after the first revelation to the Prophet This indicates that she stayed in her mother's womb for more than two years, which is definitely incorrect. How can the contradictions between the narrations be explained?!
There are several probabilities, which can be given as answers to this question; they are:
1. The Messenger of Allah ascended to heaven more than once, as was stated in the Book of Kafi. This, in my opinion, is the most accurate account of this affair.
2. Taking into account some narrations which state that Fatima (sa) was born in the second, or, third year after the first revelation (as will be mentioned together with the historians' opinions who claim that Ascension took place in the third year of revelation); this contradiction can be explained especially in light of the various sayings regarding the month during which Ascension occurred.
Among the unique merits of Fatima Zahra was that she spoke to her mother while she was still in her mother's womb. Shiite scholars are not alone in reporting this merit of Fatima; several Sunni scholars and narrators also support this fact. For instance, Abdur Rahman Shafe'i narrated in his book Nuzhat al-Majalis v. 2, p. 227, that Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her) said:
"When I was pregnant with Fatima az-Zahra, which was an easy pregnancy, she would speak to me from inside my womb."
Also, Dahlawi in Tajhiz al-Jaish quoted the author of Madh al-Khulafa Ar-Rashidin as saying:
"When Khadija (as)was pregnant with Fatima, she (Fatima) used to speak to her from her womb, but Khadija (as) kept this from the Prophet.
One day, the Prophet entered the house, and found Khadija (as) speaking to someone while no one was in the room with her. He inquired as to whom she was speaking; she replied:
'That which in my womb, surely it speaks to me.'
Then the Prophet said:
'Rejoice Khadija, for this is the girl whom Allah has made to be the mother of eleven of my successors who will come after me and after their father. "'
Shuab Ibn Saad al-Misri mentioned the following in Ar-Rawd al-Faeq, p. 214:
"At the time when Lady Khadija's (as) pregnancy had become apparent, the infidels asked the Prophet to show them the splitting of the moon; upon hearing this Khadija declared:
"O what a disappointment it would be! Had Muhammad lied while he is the best Messenger of my Lord?"
It was then that Fatima called Khadija from her womb, and said:
"O Mother, do not be grieved, nor, sorrowful, surely Allah is with my father."
When Fatima was born, the skies became illuminated from the brightness of her face.
Likewise, the narration, which states that Khadija spoke of Fatima az-Zahra's talking while still in her womb, has already been mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.