On the authority of Abu Abdurrahman Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiallahu anhu who said: “The Messenger of Allah narrated to us, and he the trustworthy one, the truly-inspired said: “verily the creation of one of you is gathered in the womb of his mother for forty days as a nutfah, then as a clot for an equal time period, then as a piece of flesh for an equal time period, then an Angel is sent and he blows into it the soul and is ordered with four things: writing his provision, his life span, his actions, whether miserable or happy. By the one whom there is no God worthy of worship except him! Verily one of you performs the acts of the people of Paradise, until there is not between you and it except a cubit, then that which was written overtakes him and he performs the action of the people of the fire, then he enters it.
Verily one of you performs the actions of the people of the fire until between him and it is but a cubit, so then that which is written overtakes him, so he performs the acts of the people of the Paradise, then he enters it”.
[Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The Narrator of the Hadith:
Abdullah ibn Ma’sud ibn Ghaafil ibn Habib al-Hadhli, Abu Abdurrahman, Haleef for Bani Zahrah, one of first to accept Islaam. He made two migration, prayed towards two Qiblahs, witnessed Badr and all events. He remained with the Prophet sallahu alayhi wa salam and he was the Companion of the Prophet’s shoes, siwaak, and pillow.
He was from the first to accept Islaam and one of leaders of the Companions, one of their seniors, and scholars. He took seventy suwar from the mouth of Messenger of Allah sallahu alayhi wa salam and he was from those who memorized the Quran. His virtues are many that cannot be counted and his outstanding traits are abundant not challenged. His established stances upon the truth are not restricted and his reports delight/please. He died in the Prophet’s Madinah in the year Thirty-two (Hijri).
يُجْمَعُ : decreed and remains
خَلْقُهُ: the material of his creation or what he is created from
بَطْنِ : womb
نطفةً : It is a sperm animal which from it Humankind develops. It is called nutfah because it is from water which flows.
يكون : becomes
علقة: Solid blood because if it is like that it attaches to the womb
مضغةً: piece of meat in the size of what is chewed
رزقه : What he benefits by in his life
أجله: The duration of his life
عمله: what comes from him from righteous action and its opposite
شقي أم سعيد: Is he from the people of success and happiness or from the people of misery
الكتاب: What was written for him from what he (Allah) knows will be his condition
Subject of the Hadith:
The stages of creation of the Humankind in the wombs
In this Hadith is clarification of the evolution of the creation of person in the womb of his mother and the writing of his lifespan, provision, and his ending.
The one who informed that was the Messenger of Allah sallahu alayhi wa salam, truthful in his statements, with that truthful in what was revealed to him.
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiallahu alayhi wa salam described the Messenger of Allah sallahu alayhi wa salam because these affairs mentioned in this Hadith are from the affairs of the unseen which are not known except by revelation of the trustworthy one.
Fiqh (understanding of the Hadith):
- Imaan in Qadaa and Qadr its good and its evil are from Allah.
- The encouragement for Hastening of righteous actions and being continous in it and persistence upon it.
- The lesson is in the ending, so a person should not be deceived by the actions he advanced, then rely upon them and not be energetic for other than them. So the decrees are overpowering and success absent.
- That it is necessary for whoever establishes a righteous action that he preserves its purity and not nullify it.
- Seeking aid of Allah and asking him for a good ending and fear from an evil ending and seeking refugee with Allah.
- The permissibility of swearing upon the truthful report confirmation for the soul of the listener. Like that, the Messenger of Allah sallahu alayhi wa salam said: “by the one who in his hand is my soul…”
- In it is the notification (of the) truthfulness of the resurrection and recompense. So the one who created Humankind from worthless sperm is capable of returning the soul after it has become dust.
- In it is the prompting for satisfaction and severe, emphasized warning from eagerness [for provision] because provision is preceded by its decree. So it would not benefit, that is, searching after it and only earning is legislated because it is from collective means which involves a Divine wisdom in the worldly abode.
- Notification of the completion of the knowledge of Allah and that he knows the partial matters as he knows the complete matters. He knows what is and what will be due to the clear report that he ordered the recording of the detailed conditions of the servants.
- In it is that wombs have Angels responsible for them due to his statement sallahu alayhi wa salam: “so a Angel is sent to it” that is: an Angel responsible for the wombs.
- It is obligatory for the person to be between the station of the fear and hope because the Messenger of Allah sallahu alayhi wa salam informed: “Verily one of you performs the acts of the people of Paradise, until there is not between you and it except a cubit, then that which was written overtakes him and he performs the action of the people of the fire, then he enters it. Verily one of you performs the actions of the people of the fire until between him and it except a cubit, so then that which is written overtakes him, so he performs the acts of the people of the Paradise, then he enters it.”
So if it is said: what is the wisdom in Allah humiliating the one who performs the actions of the People of Jannah until what is between him and it is only arm-span, then what was written for him overcomes him. So he performs the actions of the People of the fire and so enter it.
The Answer: that this actor performs this action in front of the people, as for the reality of himself, then he is filthy and his intention is corrupt. So his corrupt intention overcomes him so he ends with an evil ending and we seek refuge with Allah from a evil ending. We ask him for affirmation upon Tawheed and sunnah until we die and to make good our ending and to provide for us martyrdom upon his path supporting his religion and making public his words so it is high and the words of those who disbelieve are low. Verily he is custodian of that and All-capable over it.
[Moist Twigs: the explanation of the Forty Hadith of an-Nawawi
Written by the pen of virtuous Shaikh, the Muhaddith Abu Usaamah Saleem ibn ‘Eid al-Hilaali as-Salafi]
Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan