Advanced search
Last Updated: 2018/10/22
Summary of question
Was the Prophet of Islam (S) a prophet at birth?
Is there any authenticated tradition which state that the Prophet (SAW) was a Prophet at birth and not at the age of 40?
Concise answer
The prophethood of the Prophet of Islam (S) can be considered as having two aspects:
1.  The first aspect of prophethood is tantamount to prophetic mission and the beginning of a procedure which involved promulgation and propagation of the religion as well as the establishment of the Islamic society. In this aspect of the prophethood, the Prophet of Islam (S) was appointed as prophet in Makkah and specifically in Hira Cave when he was only forty years old.  He lived for 23 years as prophet and then he departed at the age of 63.[1]
2. The second aspect involves the spiritual status of the Prophet (S) since he was an intermediary between God and His creation. According to some reports, Prophet Muhammad (S) enjoyed the status of prophethood, not just from the time of childhood but before the creation of mankind.  It has been reported that the Prophet (S) said:
«کُنْتُ نَبِیّاً وَ آدَمُ بَیْنَ الْمَاءِ وَ الطِّین‏»
"I was a prophet while Adam was between water and clay."[2]
That is to say the Prophet (S) was a prophet when Adam had not yet been created. This hadith has also been narrated in Sunni sources with little variation:
«کُنْتُ نَبِیًّا وَ آدَمُ بَیْنَ الرُّوحِ وَ الْجَسَدِ»
"I was a prophet when Adam was between the soul and body."[3]
In any case, having the status of prophethood from early childhood is not surprising about the greatest prophet of human history. That is because some of the earlier prophets also enjoyed the like of such a feature. For example, Prophet Jesus (AS) talked to his mother from the time of his birth consoling her and giving her solace.[4] He then talked to people and introduced himself as God”s servant and prophet.[5] It has been said that God, the Almighty, perfected Jesus” intellect in his childhood and appointed him prophet and sent him to people at the same time. It was due, mainly, to his perfect intellect that he became duty-bound (mukallaf) at the time of his childhood.[6]
Imam Ali (AS) also says about the Prophet”s childhood: "From the time of his weaning, Allah had put a mighty angel with him to take him along the path of high character and good behavior through day and night."[7]
This saying of the Imam (AS) indicates that the Holy Prophet (S) was in communion with the spiritual realm from infanthood, just as we also believe that the Prophet (S) was infallible from his birth[8] and he enjoyed the status of imamte and wilayah.[9] It is not far from truth that the Prophet (S) had these positions from the very beginning of creation rather before the creation of light but his role as a prophet amongst the people began at the age of forty.

[1] See: The Duration of the Prophethood of the Arch-prophets 45253.
[2]  Ibn Shahrashub Mazandarani, Manaqib Aal Abi Talib (A.S), vol.1, p.214, Qom, Allamah, first edition, 1379 A.H.
[3] Khawsti Abasi, Abu Bakr bin Abi Shaybah, Al-Kitab al-Musannaf fi al-Ahadith wa al-Athar, vol.7, p.329, Reyadh, Maktabat al-Rosh, first edition, 1409 A.H; Ajori Baghdadi, Muhammad bin al-Husain al-Shari”ah, vol.3, p.1407, Reyadh, Dar al-Watan, second edition, 1420 A.H.
[4] Quran, Maryam: 24.
[5] Quran, Maryam:30
[6] Tabarsi, Fazl bin Hasan, Majma al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Qur”an, vol.6, p.790 – 791, Tehran, Nasir Khosro, 3rd edition, 1372 (Persian calendar).
[7] «وَ لَقَدْ قَرَنَ اللهُ بِهِ مِنْ لَدُنْ أَنْ کَانَ فَطِیماً أَعْظَمَ مَلَکٍ مِنْ مَلَائِکَتِهِ یَسْلُکُ بِهِ طَرِیقَ الْمَکَارِمِ وَ مَحَاسِنَ أَخْلَاقِ الْعَالَمِ لَیْلَهُ وَ نَهَارَه‏» Sayyid Razi, Muhammad bin Hussein, Nahjul Balaghah, researcher, Subhi Saleh, p.300, Qom, Hijrat Publications, first edition, 1414 A.H.
[8] See: Manifestations of the Infallible 1749.
[9] See Imamate at Childhood Age 176.
Question translations in other languages
Number of comments 0
Please enter the value
Example : Yourname@YourDomane.ext
Please enter the value
Please enter the value

Thematic Category

Random questions

  • Why do the Shia pray with open hands while the Sunnis pray with their hands closed? How would the holy prophet of Islam pray? Are there any hadiths on this subject?
    63800 Laws and Jurisprudence 2008/12/21
    Because of the many hadiths they have regarding this matter, the Shia pray with open hands in order to have followed the tradition of the holy prophet (pbuh) and the imams (as). These hadiths express that the prophet (pbuh) and the imams (as) would pray with their hands open ...
  • Can a major sin be forgiven?
    11948 Practical 2010/12/21
    A major sin is one that being punished in hell is promised to its committer in the Quran or ahadith. (There are also other criteria for a sin being a major one). Also minor sins turn into major sins when committed repeatedly (when insisted on ...
  • Is conditional divorce effective?
    6443 Laws and Jurisprudence 2010/06/21
    One of the conditions of the validity and effectiveness of the divorce formula is for it not to be made contingent upon any condition. Consequently, if the husband says “If Zayd comes you are divorced”[1] or “If the sun rises you are ...
  • How was the ultimate underlying substance created by Allah? Was there anything existing alongside Allah?
    3898 Islamic Philosophy 2017/01/21
    This issue has something to do closely with the issue of "the created" (hādith) and "the eternal" (qadim). The key to understanding this topic is to understand the concept of existence, non-existence and tajalli (divine self-manifestation) which is the appearance and disclosure of God as truth in ...
  • Was Ibn Arabi Shia or Sunni?
    18334 تاريخ بزرگان 2009/08/29
    The complicated personality and his attitude towards different great personalities of different sects has made it difficult to determine what sect Ibn Arabi belonged to, thus there are different viewpoints on this issue. Some say he was Sunni, some say he was a twelve imamer Shia, some say ...
  • Did Imam Ali (AS) fight all innovations when he was in power?
    7415 امام علی ع و خلفا 2017/01/24
    It was only 25 years after the demise of the Prophet of Islam (S) that the Muslim caliphate got back on its original track. After coming to power and becoming apparently a caliph, Imam Ali (AS) vowed to do away with all the innovations that had come ...
  • rules and regulations has Islam prescribed for exultations and happiness?
    6120 Practical 2011/12/19
    Real happiness from the perspective of a faithful individual is achieved when he performs an act which draws him one step closer to his Lord. However, human beings can benefit from lawful and diverse worldly pleasures so as to satiate his natural desire. At times, these actions ...
  • What is the meaning of Labbayk?
    16878 Laws and Jurisprudence 2012/05/21
    Labbayk means to answer in the affirmative, to agree with and accept an invitation[1], an acceptance accompanied with honor, respect and praise. This term was originally "Labbayna" plus "Lak", and turned to "Labbayk" through combining the two words into one (Idghaam).[2] ...
  • Is the prayer performed in the Imams' shrine right? Though the grave is in the direction of the prayer?
    10714 Exegesis 2011/12/21
    Considering the verse mentioned at the surface level, we deduce that it is permissible to build mosques over graves. In the exegesis of the Quran, it is mentioned that a mosque has been built over the cemetery of the people in the cave (Al-Kahf).In the related tradition, there is ...
  • If a woman remarries in this world, which husband will be her spouse in heaven?
    13073 Traditional 2009/10/22
    When considering the status of a man and woman in the afterlife that were once spouses in this world, several possibilities can be considered:Both the woman and man will be in heaven.The woman will be in heaven ...