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One day, when Muhammad was around four years old, he went to play in the desert with two other boys. They raced beyond the pair of date palms decorating the edge of the oasis. As they were playing, something strange and incredible happened. Out of nowhere, two tall figures dressed from head to toe in brilliant white robes approached the boys. They appeared to be almost gliding. Suddenly and without warning, they grabbed Muhammad. He yelled, not knowing who they were. Terrified, the two boys turned on their heels, kicking up clouds of sand as they raced to Halima’s tent.
Muhammad tried to break free but to no avail. Within a few seconds, the mysterious figures did something to make him fall into a deep sleep. While Muhammad was unconscious, his eyes fully closed, the tall figures, who were in fact angels, quickly cut open the young boy’s chest. They took out his heart and carefully placed it in a golden bowl where they washed it with special water from a well called Zam Zam. Then, they removed a little black piece attached to his heart. As they threw it away, explaining, “This was the piece of your heart that Satan, the devil, wanted for himself.”
During this whole procedure, Muhammad did not feel a thing; it was completely painless. After removing the black speck, the angels carefully placed his heart back inside his chest. By some miracle, his chest closed up, leaving behind only a faint line that looked like an old scar. The mark was similar to someone who had stitches after hurting themselves, a tell-tale sign of the incident. The real miracle, however, was the long-lasting effect this procedure would have on Muhammad. It would strengthen his heart to bear the weight of God’s Revelation, protect him from the evil whispers of the devil, and enable him to travel through the Heavens and beyond with an angel by his side.
Meanwhile, back at Halima’s home, the goats bleated in agitation, startled by all the commotion. Their ears twitched as they heard Halima urging the boys to speak. “What is the matter?” she asked once again.
The two boys were almost tripping over their words out of fear as they tried to explain what happened. The older one cleared his throat nervously before spluttering out, “It’s Muhammad. He’s been t-t-taken away!”
Without a moment to waste, Halima and the family all ran out to try and find Muhammad. When they reached him, they found him alone with no one else in sight. He was awake but was not screaming or crying as Halima had expected. Instead, he sat silently, his usually vibrant face pale as if drained of all its colour. Halima rushed to pull him into a hug, resting her chin on his head. She stroked his forehead, which was cold and clammy to the touch. Then she pulled back, holding his shoulders as she took a good look at the visibly shaken boy. Sensing that something strange had indeed taken place, she felt her fears rise.
What would Amina say if something terrible had happened to her son while I was supposed to be looking after him? She worried.
Halima wanted to return him safely, feeling that being with his family might be what was best for him. Immediately, she prepared to take Muhammad back to his mother. After many hours of travel, they arrived in Makkah. When she reached the home of Amina, she told the startled mother that she could no longer take care of Muhammad. Amina was taken aback by the sudden, unexpected return of her child and wanted to know why.
When Halima told Amina the truth about what happened back in the desert, she was amazed to find that Amina was not frightened nor angry. Instead, Muhammad’s mother was calm and unflustered by this astonishing news. With a cool gaze, Amina reassured her.
“Don’t worry, don’t be afraid. My son is protected by Allah.” She placed her hand on her tummy. “When he was born, there was a light shining from here that reached all the way to Syria.”
Halima found that she could believe this story, knowing all too well that extraordinary, unexplainable happenings and Muhammad’s presence seemed to go hand in hand. She looked at the young boy who had been patiently waiting, gently holding onto his mother’s cloak while the women conversed. Halima smiled faintly. She and her family would miss him. She was certain that even the animals that he played with in the village and its surroundings would miss him too. With a heartfelt goodbye, they parted ways, and Muhammad was back in the care of his mother. At least, for a little while.