Seal of Prophethood
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The Seal of Prophethood (خاتم النبوة, khaatam an-nubuwa) according to traditional Islamic sources was a specific mark on Muhammad's back which supposedly proved his prophethood.
Not to be consfused with:
- "Seal of prophets" (خاتم النبيين, khaatim an-nabeen or خاتم الأنبياء, khaarim ul-anbiya) which is Muhammad's title meaning that he is the last of prophets.
- Seal of Muhammad (ختم الرسول, khatam ar-rasul, literally "seal of the messenger") which is a seal that Muhammad used on letters
The following Hadith are considered sahih or "correct" according to the Sunni reckoning.
Narrated As-Sa'ib bin Yazid:
My aunt took me to the Prophet (ﷺ) and said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! This son of my sister has got a disease in his legs." So he passed his hands on my head and prayed for Allah's blessings for me; then he performed ablution and I drank from the remaining water. I stood behind him and saw the seal of Prophethood between his shoulders, and it was like the "Zir-al-Hijla" (means the button of a small tent, but some said 'egg of a partridge.' etc.)
My aunt took me to Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) and said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! My nephew is- ill." The Prophet (ﷺ) touched my head with his hand and invoked Allah to bless me. He then performed ablution and I drank of the remaining water of his ablution and then stood behind his back and saw "Khatam An- Nubuwwa" (The Seal of Prophethood) between his shoulders like a button of a tent.
Abdullah b. Sarjis reported:
I saw Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) and ate with him bread and meat, or he said Tharid (bread soaked in soup). I said to him: Did Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) seek forgiveness for you? He said: Yes, and for you, and he then recited this verse:" Ask forgiveness for thy sin and for the believing men and believing women" (xlvii. 19). I then went after him and saw the Seal of Prophethood between his shoulders on the left side of his shoulder having spots on it like moles.
Saa-ib bin Yazid (Radiallahu anhu) said: "My (maternal) aunt took to me to the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) and said to him, this nephew of mine is ill. Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) wiped his holy hand over my head and made for barakah for me. (According to some Ulama, Rasulullah (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) wiped his hand over his head, meant that he Sayyidina Saa-ib bin Yazid (Radiallahu anhu) had a pain in the head. The opinion of this weak and humble servant is that it is better if this is taken to mean that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) wiped his hands in kindness on the head of Sayyidina Saa-ib bin Yazid (Radiallahu anhu). Sayyidina Saa-ib bin Yazid (Radiallahu anhu) was born in the second year Hijri, and at the time of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam)'s death, his age was not more than 8 or 9 years. That is why the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) wiped his Holy hand in kindness, as is the customs of the great personalities. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) also gave him the water of wudu to drink as a cure, as will be stated further, or he may have prescribed another remedy, especially when we learn also in a narration in Bukhari thay he Sayyidina Saa-ib bin Yazid (Radiallahu anhu)was suffering from pain in his leg). When the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) performed Wudu, I drank the water of that wudu. (The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) may have performed wudu for some reason, but here it is clear that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihe wasallam) performed wudu so that the water could be used as a remedy and medicine). I saw the seal of Prophethood, which was like the knot on a mosquito net or bedstead." (Which is the size of a pigeon's egg in roundness). The Ulama differ in the translation of this word. Some have translated it in another manner. Imam Nawawi, the famous commentator of Sahih Muslim, preferred the translation I have chosen).
`Ilbaa bin Ahmar Al-yashkari says that the Sahaabi, Abu Zayd `Amr bin Akhtab Al-Ansaari Radhiallahu Anhu said to me: "Rasullullah (Sallallahu alaihi wasallam) once asked me to massage his waist. When I began massaging the back, accidentally (by chance) my fingers touched the Seal of Prophethood. `Ilbaa (Radhiallahu anhu) says: `I asked Amr (Radhiallahu anhu), what is the Seal of Prophethood?' He replied: `It was a collection of few hair'".
Buraydah bin Radiyallahu 'Anhu reports: "when Rasulalullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam came to Medinah, Salmaan Faarisi Radiyallahu 'Anhu brought a tray which had fresh dates on it, and presented it to Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam, who asked:
"O Salmaan, what dates are these?"
"This is sadaqah for you and your companions"
Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam replied:
"We do not eat Sadaqah. Remove it from me."
(The 'ulama differ in their opinions as to the meaning of the word "we". Some say it is Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam himself, and the plural is used as a mark of respect. Others explain that it is the ambiyaa (prophets). According to some it is Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam and his relatives, for whom it is not permissible to accept zakaah. According to this humble servant the third ihtimaal (supposition) is superior and more acceptable. Allaamah Munaawi's criticism of the third explanation is not forceful and weighty). On the next day this happened again. Salmaan Radiyallahu 'Anhu brought a tray of fresh dates, and in reply to the question of Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam, he replied: "O messenger of Allah, it is a present for you".
Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam said to the Sahaabah Radiyallahu 'Anhum "Help yourselves". (Sayyidina Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam himself ate from it. Bayjuri explains this thus: Sayyidina Salmaan Radiyallahu 'Anhu bringing the dates on both days in this manner was to investigate, and to make Sayyidina Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam his master. Sayyidina Salmaan Radiyallahu 'Anhu was an 'Aalim (learned) of the old days. He lived for a hundred and fifty years and according to some, he lived three hundred years. He had seen the signs of Sayyidina Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam in the kitaabs of previous prophets, that he will not accept sadaqah, but shall accept presents and gifts, and the seal of Prophethood will be between his two shoulders after witnessing the first two signs).
He then saw the seal of Prophethood on the back of Sayyidina Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam and embraced Islam. (At that time Sayyidina Salmaan Radiyallahu 'Anhu was a slave of a Jew from the tribe of Banu Qurayzah.
Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam purchased him(this is figuratively speaking. The fact is that Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam made him a Mukaatab - One who buys One's freedom for any agreed sum.) and paid Dirhams for him to become a Mukaatab, and also agreed that he(Sayyidina Salmaan Radiyallahu 'Anhu should plant for the Jew date palms,(the amount of three hundred palms) and until these bore fruit to tend them. Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam planted the palms with his mubaarak hands and it was his mu'jizah(miracle) that all the palms bore fruit in the same year. One tree among these did not bear fruit. Upon investigating it was found that Umar Radiyallahu 'Anhu had planted this tree, and that it was not planted by Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam. Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam removed this palm and replanted it. Another mu'jizah Rasullullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam is that he planted the palms out of season and they bore fruit the same year.
Abi Nadrah AI-'Awfee RA. reports: "I asked Abu Sa'eed Khudari Radiyallahu 'Anhu about the Seal of Prophethood of Rasulullah sallailahu 'Alayhi Wasallam. He said: 'It was a piece of raised flesh that was on Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam's back".
Abdullah bin Sarjas Radiyallahu 'Anhu says: "I came to Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam while there were people sitting in his company. I went around to the back of Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam (The narrator may have done this physically). Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam understood what I was trying to do. He removed the sheet (body wrap) from his back. I saw the place of the Seal of Prophethood between his two shoulders. It was like a cluster surrounded by til (moles) which appeared to be like a wart. I came before Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam and said to him. May Allah forgive you (or Allah has forgiven you, as is mentioned in Surah Fath, 'That Allah may forgive you, your former and your latter sins'). Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam replied: 'May Allah forgive you too'. The people said to me that Rasulullah Sallallahu'Alayhi Wasallam has made du'aa for your maghfirah (forgiveness). I replied: 'Yes, and for you too, because Allah Ta'aala has said: 'O Muhammad, seek forgiveness for yourself and the Mu'min males and females also"'. (That is why Sayyidina Rasulullah Sallallahu 'Alayhi Wasallam asked for the forgiveness of Muslims).