Aminah related that just before her confinement her whole body trembled for a very short time, and after that she saw the house excessively illuminated, so that fright and terror overcame her, and she felt a white bird rubbing its wings against her. When her apprehensions vanished she felt very thirsty; then an extremely white beverage was given her, which she imagined was milk, but drinking thereof she found it more sweet than honey. After that she beheld a number of women of tall stature, whom she considered to be maidens of the Beni A’bd Munâf. She took confidence in them and wondered whence they had come, but they calmed her mind. Hereon she saw a piece of long white brocade, and heard the allocution: ‘Keep her concealed from the eyes of the people.’ She perceived a company of men, standing in the air with vases of silver in their hands. Then perspiration was dripping from her, which had the odour of musk, and she exclaimed: ‘I wish A’bd-ul-Muttalleb were here!’ She beheld, as it were, the whole world in a blaze of light; a legion of birds with emerald beaks and ruby wings had entered the house, and the Lord Most High having raised the veils, she bodily saw the eastern and western regions of the world. On the roof of the Ka’bah and in other places banners had been erected, and many shocks were felt in the house without seeing the movers. The moment Muhammad—u. w. b. p— was born he prostrated himself in adoration, and raised his head towards the sky, as if in the act of supplication and prayer. All of a sudden a hand appeared from above, which covered and snatched him up into a cloud out of sight, and the words were heard: ‘Receive him in the series of prophets, invest him with the robe of honour of the orthodox religion, show him to his ancestor Ebrâhim, and take him to the ocean that the inhabitants of the sea may know that in his time unbelief and idolatry will be abolished.’ After that, upon a folded woollen cloth, a piece of silk was spread under him for a couch. He had keys in his hands, and a voice was heard saying: ‘This is Muhammad, who holds in his hands the keys of prophecy, victory, and confirmation.’ After a short time another cloud descended, which was more luminous than the first, from which the neighing of horses and the flapping of the wings of birds was heard, and when Muhammad had for a long time remained concealed from the sight of his mother, she heard a voice saying: ‘Take him round the earth! Present him to the saints among genii and men,’ and exclaiming: ‘Endow him with the purity of Adam, with the strength of Nûh, with the friendship of Ebrâhim, with the nature of Esahâq, with the eloquence of Esma’il, with the glad tidings of Ya’qûb, with the beauty of Yusuf, with the voice of Dâud, with the abstinence of Yahia, and with the kindness of I’sa. Immerse him into the sea of the morals of the prophets and inspired messengers.’ A considerable time afterwards she again beheld him with a piece of white silk in his hand, and the water of [Divine?] succour distilling from him, and heard a voice saying: ‘Muhammad having the whole world in his grasp, every creature will obey and revere him.’
It is also related of Aminah that after the presence and disappearance of Muhammad she saw three men, whose countenances were shining like the sun. One of these three individuals had in one hand a silver pitcher, exhaling the odour of musk; in the other a dish of emerald, with two handles of mother-of-pearl, and at the same time the following expressions were heard from the other world: ‘As he has selected the Ka’bah, we have there made the Qiblah and his habitation.’ The third man held a piece of white silk in his hand, which contained his [Muhammad’s] seal. Then the holder of the dish placed Muhammad into it, poured water on him, and washed him seven times. These three men then kissed his feet. He who held the piece of silk was the gardener of paradise; he wrapped him into the piece of silk, perfumed him with very fragrant musk, and took him under his wings. When he again took him out from beneath his wings, he spoke many words to Muhammad, which his mother could not understand. He also pronounced an incantation over him, rubbing his hand over the back and the head of the infant, saying: ‘O Muhammad! glad tidings to thee, for the sciences of the prophets have been deposited in thy heart. Thou hast become the most learned and valiant among them. The keys of paradise are in thy hands, and awe of thee has so taken hold of the hearts of men that, hearing only thy voice, they will be subject to fear and trembling.’ Suddenly a man appeared, who placed his mouth on the infant, in the same way as a bird feeds its little one, and Muhammad asked with his finger for more. Then this man said: ‘O Muhammad! glad tidings to thee, for every good quality has been bestowed upon thee.’ Then he rubbed oil on his head and face, combed his hair, inserted collyrium into his eyes, and, taking him up in his arms, removed him out of sight. At that time Aminah became much distressed, amazed, and said: ‘Where are my people? It seems that they have become annihilated in this emergency, because I have been several nights in this place, suffering from the labour of parturition, and no one comes near me!’ At that time the same man [whose countenance shone like the moon, and who smelt like musk] brought back Muhammad, and said: ‘I have carried him about the earth, and have presented him also to Adam, who took him on his breast, pronounced a blessing upon him, and said: “Good news to thee, Muhammad! for thou wilt be the prince of my children of former and of latter times.”’ After these words that man disappeared from her sight, but first surrendered Muhammad to his mother, and said: ‘O Lord and Prince of the East and of the West of the World, glad tidings to thee! Whoever firmly adheres to thy religion and obeys thee will be resuscitated in thy company on the day of judgment!’ At that time A’bd-ul-Muttalleb entered, and Aminah informed him of everything that had taken place. He, in his turn, said: ‘This night I was engaged in prayer in the house of the Ka’bah, and I suddenly perceived that it inclined itself towards the place of Ebrâhim, again recovered its former position, and exclaimed: “Allah is greatest! O Lord Muhammad, purify me from the idolaters!” I also beheld Habal, the chief idol, prostrate on its face, and heard the announcement: “Aminah has given birth to a son, over whom a Divine cloud has alighted, and a plate has been brought from the Sanctum in which to wash him. Muhammad will lead out the people from darkness into the light of guidance. He will obtain a mission, and will be as a shining light. He will be an apostle, inviting and addressing all mankind. O ye angels! witness that we have presented to him the keys of the treasuries of prophecy. Rejoice ye, therefore, at his nativity!”’ A’bd-ul-Muttalleb further said to Aminah that, on hearing these words, his tongue became benumbed in his palate, and that he thought he had been dreaming. But on rubbing his hands over his eyes he found himself awake, and proceeded from the gate of the Beni Shaibah towards Battha. He beheld Safa exalted and Merva abased, and heard a voice exclaiming: ‘O Prince of the Qoraish! why do I see thee in fear and trembling?’ Then he went to the house of Aminah to see Muhammad, but when he reached the door he saw thereon a white bird with spread wings, the light whereof illuminated the mountains around Mekkah. Over the house there was a white cloud, which hindered him from entering. He therefore sat down awhile, and said to himself: “I wonder whether I was awake or asleep when I saw all these things?’ The odour of musk issuing from the house was so strong that he could not enter it; at last, however, he mustered courage, went in, and found her in the condition above described.
It is related that when A’bd-ul-Muttalleb entered the house and shook the ring of the door, Aminah replied in a feeble voice, and said: ‘Open quickly, for my heart is well-nigh breaking!’ When she let him in he could not see the holy light of prophecy on her countenance, and, ready to tear his garments, exclaimed: ‘Woe to me! Where has that light from thy face departed to? For I cannot see it!’ She replied that she had been delivered of a child, and informed him of everything in detail that had happened on the occasion. But he retorted that he disbelieved her allegation, as he perceived no traces of child-birth upon her. Aminah continued: ‘By Allah! I speak the truth, and the white bird which thou hast seen is quarrelling with me when I give milk to Muhammad, and desires to suckle him alone.’ A’bd-ul-Muttalleb exclaimed: ‘Then show me the new-born infant.’ But she rejoined: ‘Alas! how couldst thou see him, since a man had brought a dish of emerald and washed him therein, and told me not to show my babe to anyone during three days?’ He continued: ‘Show him to me, or else one of us two must die at my hands.’ When she perceived how incensed A’bd-ul-Muttalleb was, she directed him to a certain house, and told him that he would there find the child, swaddled in woollen cloth. But when he entered and wished to behold the world-adoring beauty of the lord of creatures, he perceived a man of terrible aspect approaching him with a sabre, and exclaiming: ‘Return! for no one can see him until all the angels have finished their visits!’ Hereon A’bd-ul-Muttalleb began to tremble, and wished to leave the house. When, however, he departed, he became mute, and it is said that he was unable to utter a single word during seven days.
It is related that the excellent Fattimah said: ‘I was present with Aminah on the night of her confinement, and beheld stars moving towards us as if about to fall on the ground. After the birth had taken place, a light detached itself from Aminah which illuminated the apartment in such a manner that I could see nothing except brightness.
It is related of Shafâi, the mother of A’bd-ur-rahman, who was the midwife of Aminah, that when Muhammad the elect—u. w. b. p—was born, the exclamation ‘May the Lord have mercy on thee!’ was heard, and the horizon was so lit up from east to west that she was able to perceive several castles of Syria. But all the strange things witnessed by Shafâi on that night are recorded in chronicles.
There is also a tradition that on the day after the birth of his prophetic lordship, the Jewish priests asked A’bd-ul-Muttalleb whether an infant had been born in his tribe during the past night, and that he replied: ‘There is a case of pregnancy among us, but I cannot tell whether the birth has taken place or not.’ They continued: ‘We have found in the Torathah that last night was the nativity of the prince of former and of latter times in the sacred valley, which will become the place of pilgrimage to Arabs and to foreigners; and verily that high banner and shining light has entered existence last night.’ Hereon A’bd-ul-Muttalleb despatched someone to Aminah to make inquiries, and she replied: ‘Last night I gave birth to an infant, circumcised, with his umbilical string cut, looking as if he had been washed of the impurities adhering to infants. A light shone from him which illuminated the world, as I had seen in my sleep. He came to the ground without my feeling any pain or distress, and pointed with his finger to heaven; whereon I received the injunction from above to keep him concealed for three days.’ When this news was brought to A’bd-ul-Muttalleb, the Jewish U’lâma exclaimed: ‘God is great! the prediction of the Torathah has been fulfilled!’ Hereon A’bd-ul-Muttalleb entered the house, renewed his inquiries, obtained the same information, sat down in a room to receive the congratulations of his friends, and slaughtered several camels for the purpose of feasting his guests. Being asked what name his grandson was to receive, he said: ‘Muhammad.’ And being told that none of his ancestors bore that name, he replied: ‘I wanted him to be praised in heaven and on earth.’ After three days he went to the house of Aminah, took possession of the lord of prophecy, carried him to the Ka’bah, and, prostrating him in front of it, on the palms of his hands, said:
Praise be to Allah, who gave me
This nice and handsome boy;
I take refuge in the house with buttresses
Against the followers of Satan,
Against the evils of sorcerers,
Against envious disturbers and rebels.
After reciting these verses A’bd-ul-Muttalleb took the lord of prophecy back to Aminah’s house, recommended him to her care, and said: ‘A high destiny is in store for this child.’
A’li, son of Ebrâhim, son of Hâshem, relates that there was a Jewish priest in Mekkah called Yusuf, who entered the assembly of the Qoraish on the day after the prophet’s birth, and asked whether a child had been born last night to anyone among them, and was told that such had been the case with A’bd-ul-Muttalleb. Hereon Yusuf wanted to see the infant, was taken to the house of Aminah, and his lordship was shown to him, wrapped in swaddling clothes. The Jew looked at his blessed eyes and between his shoulders, fell suddenly to the ground, and was entirely changed in appearance. The Qoraish present laughed at him, but Yusuf replied: ‘You rail at me, O men of the Qoraish! But I swear by God that this is the prophet, endued with the scimitar, who will destroy you; and the fame of his having vanquished you will spread to the eastern and western regions of the world; now also the privilege of having prophets will be removed from the children of Esrâil.’ And this news spread in Mekkah.
Hasân, the son of Thâbet, said: ‘I was seven or eight years old, when one morning a Jew shouted in Madinah: “Assemble, O ye Jews!” Whereon all congregated, and said: “Woe to thee, what is the matter?” He exclaimed: “The star of Ahmed, who was born last night, has risen!”’ Hasân further reported that this Jew lived to enjoy the honour of seeing the prophet, but never professed the faith on account of his [predestined] misery:
Who can acquire luck by force?
Who can cure blindness with collyrium?
A mirror can be cleansed of rust,
But who will make a mirror of a stone?
Hasân also narrates that one morning he stood on a hillock and heard a voice, louder than any which had ever struck his ears; and that, looking more attentively, he perceived a Jew with a fire-brand in his hand and shouting. The people gathered around him and inquired for the cause of his doing this, whereon he exclaimed: ‘The luminary of Ahmed has arisen, which is a star, the reason for the appearance whereof is no other than the birth of a prophet, none of whom is to come hereafter except Ahmed!’ Hasân, however, also narrates that at these words the people burst our laughing. When this news reached Abu Qais, son of A’da, who had abandoned idolatry, he said: ‘He has spoken the truth, because the time of the promulgation of Ahmed’s religion is at hand, on account of which I am wearing these garments.’ This he said because, after he had left off worshipping images, he always wore a black dress. He further said: ‘I hope I shall live to become acquainted with his lordship, and believe in him.’ Accordingly, when his lordship the apostle—u. w. b. p— commenced to propagate his religion in Mekkah, Abu Qais heard of it in Madinah, and became a believer; but when that prince came there, Abu Qais had become very decrepit.
It is related that a Jew said to A’bd-ul-Muttalleb: ‘O prince of Battha, has the infant about whom I spoke formerly been born last night?’ Receiving an affirmative reply, he asked what name had been given to the child, and was told that it was Muhammad. Then the Jew said: ‘There are three signs of his prophecy: first, the rising of the Muhammadan star; second, that his name is Muhammad; and third, that he is a member of the most noble family—i.e., your own.’