THE SPLAYING OF THE CHEST
Once Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم was out grazing goats with his milk- brothers when one of his milk-brothers came dashing home. Shocked into terror, he told his parents:”Two white-clothed men laid our Quraishi brother onto the ground and ripped open his chest. Now they are busy stitching him up.”
On hearing this Halima رضي الله عنها and her husband were left bewildered in shock. Both of them darted across to the grazing field where they saw the young boy standing one side looking ashen-faced. Halima says,” I clutched him to my bosom to comfort him and his foster-father also held him onto his chest and asked him what had happened. He then gave an account of what transpired.” Halima رضي الله عنهاthen returned home with him
The splitting of the Mubarak chest of Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم occurred four times in his life:
- The first time was when he was merely a boy at the age of four in the care of Halima Sā’diyyah رضي الله عنها. He was out on the grazing-field when two angels, Jibraeel عليه السلام and Mika’eel عليه السلام appeared as men in white garments bearing a golden tray laden with ice. They cut open his chest and removed his heart. They then split open his heart and fished out a few pieces of congealed blood and said,” This is Shaitaan’s lot.” They then washed the heart with ice water in the tray and returned it to its original location after which they stitched him up. They also cast a seal (of prophethood) between his shoulder blades.
- The second time the splaying of the chest occurred when he صلى الله عليه و سلم was ten years old.
- The third time the splaying of the chest occurred was Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم was bestowed with Nubuwwah (prophethood).
- The fourth time the incident occurred during Mi’rāj. (All four occasions are established from authentic Ahadith)
THE RATIONALE BEHIND SHAQQUS-SADR (SPLITTING OF THE CHEST):
The very first time Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم was subjected to the splitting of the chest, a black clot was removed from his blessed heart. This in reality was some constituent of sin that was removed from his heart. After this extraction, his heart was washed to ensure that no impression of sin remains behind. Additionally, his heart was washed with ice because the intrinsic nature of sin is heat. So, in order to douse the substance of sin, ice is used to eradicate all hints of sin and transgression.
The phenomenon of the splitting of the chest left Halima رضي الله عنها alarmed. She was anxious over Rasulullah’s صلى الله عليه و سلم well-being. She returned to Makkah Mukarramah and described to his mother what happened. Upon hearing what transpired, Hadhrat Aminā رضي الله عنها was in no way left panic-stricken. She then recalled the divine blessing, Nūr and goodness she experienced during her pregnancy right up to birth. She then affirmed:” This son of mine is destined to be a great person. Shaitaan will not be able to approach this child. Calm down. There’s nothing to be afraid about. Nothing will harm him.”
Halima رضي الله عنها then returned home and Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم started living with his mother once again. When Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم was six, his mother decided to journey to Madinah Munawwarah. She took him along with her. Ummi Ayman رضي الله عنها also accompanied them on this trip. Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم respected mother stayed at her ancestral home for a month and on the way back to Makkah Mukarramah, she passed away at a place called known as Abwah and was laid to rest there itself.
Ummi Ayman رضي الله عنها returned to Makkah Mukarramah with Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم and consigned him to the care of his grandfather Abdul-Mutallib. Abdul-Mutallib always kept Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم with him. Whenever Abdul-Mutallib appeared in the Masjid-Haram, a special mat would be placed in the shadow of the Baitullah (Ka’bah) for his exclusive use.
Not a soul would dare to even place a foot on this mat. Even his own children would sit on the fringes of this mat, but Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم would seat himself comfortably right in the middle of the mat. His uncles would plan to steer him away from this seat but Abdul-Mutallib, with total affection would say:
“Leave this son of mine alone, by Allah! This child is destined to an altogether different rank of eminence.”
Whenever Abdul-Mutallib would lay his eyes upon Rasulullahصلى الله عليه و سلم , he was unable to contain his joy.
Kindir bin Sa’eed رضي الله عنه narrates that his father said:” During the time of ignorance before the advent of Islam, I once came to Makkah Mukarramah to perform Hajj. I saw a person busy making Tawāf of the Ka’bah Shareef whilst uttering the following couplet: “O Allah! Return Muhammad to me and do me a great favour, O” Allah! Return my conveyance to me.”
I asked the people who is this and they replied that this is Abdul-Mutallib. He had just sent his grandson in search of some lost camels. Whenever he sends his grandson on an errand, the child returns successful. On this latest errand, the young boy was taking longer than usual. This is why Abdul-Mutallib was repeatedly reciting the above poem.
A little while later Rasulullah صلى الله عليه و سلم returned with the lost camels. The moment Abdul-Mutallib caught sight of him, he embraced him saying:”Son! I was dreadfully worried over your well-being. Now I will never allow you to part from me.”