These signs fall into two categories: those which occurred before his apostleship and those which occurred after. Among those which took place prior to his prophetic mission, and which are reported in great detail in the hadith, is that when his mother gave birth to him she saw a great light which illuminated the palaces of Syria. She also reported that she was told when she conceived the Messenger of Allah: “You have conceived the master of this community! When he shall fall on the ground, say: `I seek refuge for him in the One God from the evil of every envious person'.
The sign of this is that a great light shall come out with him, which will fill the palaces of Basra in Syria. When he is born call him Muhammad. His name in the Torah is Ahmad (most praised), for all the inhabitants of the heavens and earth shall praise him. In the Gospel his name is Hamid (greatly praised); all the inhabitants of the heavens and earth shall praise him. His name in the Furqan (the Qur'an) is Muhammad.” She said: “Thus I called him Muhammad.”
Abu Umamah related that the Prophet was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what is your status?” He answered: “I am the answer to the prayer of my father Abraham, and the fulfilment of the prophecy of Jesus (see Qur'an. 2:129 and 61:6) . My mother also dreamt that a light would proceed from her which would illuminate the palaces of Syria.”
The great scholar Abu Said `Abdu'l-Malik al‑Kharkushi1 related that on the night in which the Messenger of Allah was born, the palace (Iwan) of Kisra (Khusraw) was so shaken that twenty‑four of its terraces fell. The sacred fires of Persia, which had not been extinguished for a thousand years before, died. Lake Sawah disappeared into the ground. The Mu'badhan (chief Zoroastrian priest) dreamt that strong camels were leading Arab horses. They crossed the River Tigris and spread about in its lands. When Khusraw awoke next morning, he was frightened and despondent.
Nevertheless he decided not to hide the matter from his ministers and notables. He gathered them and recounted what had happened. As they were all assembled, a letter came announcing the extinguishing of the sacred fire. The priest also related his dream of the night before. The King asked him: “What is the meaning of all this?” He answered: “A great event shall take place in the land of the Arabs.”
The King wrote to his vassal an‑Nu'man ibn al‑Mundhir, King of the Arabs, saying: “Send me herewith a man of great learning whom I can question (concerning some important matters).” an‑Nu'man sent `Abdu'l‑Mash ibn `Amr (ibn Hayyan) ibn Buqaylah al Ghassani. The King related what he had seen, and the man answered: “Knowledge of the meaning of this is with my maternal uncle who lives in eastern Syria. His name is Satih.” The King thus ordered him to go and come back with the interpretation of these portents.
When `Abdu 'l‑Masih arrived, he found Satih on his death‑bed. He greeted him, but received no answer. `Abdu l‑Masih told him what he had seen, in verse. Satih then opened his eyes and exclaimed in rhymed prose ‑ ” `Abdu'l Masi`h comes wandering on a camel to Satih. Yet Sati`h is near the grave. The Sasanid King has sent you because of the shaking of his palace, the extinguishing of the fires and the dream of the priest. He saw strong camels leading Arab horses which crossed the River Tigris and spread all around in its lands.
O `Abdu'l-Masih, when recitation (of the Qur'an) shall increase, and the man of the staff appears; when the Samawah Valley (near Kufah) shall be flooded; when Lake Sawah shall disappear and the sacred fire be extinguished; then Syria, shall no longer be Syria for Sati`h. Among them (Muslims), kings and queens shall rule, who are as numerous as the terraces (of Khusraw's palace). For all that is to be shall indeed come to pass.” Sati`h then breathed his last. `Abdu'l-Masih returned to Khusraw and related to him what Sati'h had said. The King said: “But this shall be only after the reign of fourteen of our kings! ” Events followed one another, and ten kings ruled in four years; the reign of the rest lasted only till the time of `Uthman.
'Ali ibn lbrahim ( al‑Qummi) (a well‑known Shi`i traditionist) related from his father that there was in Mecca a Jew called Yusuf. One night he saw stars moving and meteors falling. On that night the Prophet was born. Yusuf exclaimed: “A prophet was born this night! For we find written in our books that when the last of the prophets shall be born, devils will be stoned (with meteors) and prevented from approaching heaven.” In the morning, he went to the assembly of Quraysh and asked: “Was there a child born among you last night?”
They answered: “A child was born to '`Abdullah ibn `Abdi 'l‑Muttaiib last night.” “Show him to me”, he said. Thus, they all went to the door of Aminah's house and demanded that she bring her son out to them, and he was brought out in his swaddling clothes. Yusuf looked into his eyes and uncovered his back. He saw a black mole between his shoulders, covered with a few soft hairs. When the Jew saw him, he fell down unconscious. The people of Quraysh laughed at him. But he said: “Do you laugh, O people of Quraysh? Shall he not soon come to destroy you? Prophethood shall, moreover, now depart from the Children of Israel to the end of time.” Everyone went his way still discussing what the Jew had told them.
The Prophet Moses referred to Muhammad in the Torah. A man whom I trust told me that Muhammad's appearance from the progeny of Ishmael and his character are depicted in the Torah in these words: “I have heard the prayers of Ishmael and have blessed him. I shall increase him and multiply his numbers through a descendant of his called Muhammad. The numerical value of the letters of his name is ninety‑two. I shall bring forth from his progeny Twelve Imams, who shall be rulers. I shall grant him great multitudes of followers.”2
Another of his signs is what the Trusted One (perhaps the sixth Imam) said that he read in the Gospel: “I am God the Everlasting who shall never cease to be. Believe in the unlettered prophet, the man of the camel, woollen garment and of the crown (which is the turban) and the two sandals and the staff (which is the rod). He is a man of large eyes and broad forehead, bright complexioned with narrow nose and parted teeth. His neck is like a silver pitcher, and it is as though gold runs down the two sides of his neck. A thin and fine line of hair runs from his chest to his navel, but he has no hairs on his stomach and chest. He is of a dark colour. He shall have large hands and feet. When he turns to look, he turns altogether.
When he walks, it is as though he is pulled out of a rock, or comes out of a hard stone (i.e., he walks with confidence). When he walks with people, he overtakes them. The sweat on his face is like pearls, and the fragrance of musk shall emanate from him. No one like him was ever seen before, or will ever be seen after him. His breath is fragrant. He shall marry many women, yet he shall have few children. His descendants shall come from a blessed woman (that is, his daughter Fatimah), who has a mansion prepared for her in Paradise. In him there shall be neither clamor nor vanity. He shall be her guardian in the last days as Zechariah was the guardian of your (Jesus's) mother.3 She shall have two young ones (that is Hasan and Husayn) who shall be martyred. His speech shall be the Qur'an, and his religion shall be Islam; for I am (the Lord of) Peace. Blessed (tuba) is he who shall see his time, witness his days and hear his words.”4
Jesus asked: “My Lord, what is tuba?” He answered: “It is a tree in Paradise which I planted with my own hand. Its shade covers the gardens (of Paradise). Its roots are of ridwan (this term is generally used as the name of the guardian angel of Paradise, but here it is used to mean Divine Pleasure). Its water is of tasnim (a river running down from a mountain in Paradise nearest the Throne). Its coolness is like that of kafur and its taste is like that of zanjabil (paradisial aromatics frequently mentioned in the Qur'an). Anyone who drinks once of that spring shall never be thirsty.” Jesus said: “O God, give me to drink of it.”
He answered: “It is forbidden the prophets to drink of it until that Prophet first drinks of it; it is forbidden the nations to drink until the community (ummah) of that Prophet first drinks of it. I shall take you up to me,5 and send you down at the end of time to see wonders from the community of that Prophet, and that you might assist them against the accursed Dajjal. (the Antichrist). I shall send you down at prayer time that you may pray with them, for they are indeed a community favored with mercy.”6
Another tradition is the account of Salman al‑Farisi, who continued to rove from one savant to another and from one jurist to another seeking ancient texts and reports. Thus, he waited for four hundred years for the appearance of Muhammad, the master of those who lived in former times and those who are yet to come. When at last he was told of his birth, and was filled with certainty that relief (faraj) was near at hand, he sat out for the Tihamah (Mecca), but was captured.
Still another tradition is that of King Tubba` (a semi legendary Jewish King of ancient Yemen), who said: “A prophet shall appear in Mecca, whose place of migration shall be Yathrib.” King Tubba` then moved sortie people from Yemen to Yathrib and made them settle with the Jews in order that they might support Muhammad. These were the two tribes of Aws and Khazraj. The King then declared:
I bear witness concerning Ahmad that he is a messenger from Allah, the Creator of souls.
Were my life to last until it joined with his, I would be a minister to him and a cousin.
I would be a scourge against the Associators, giving them the cup of fear and sorrow.
In yet another tradition, it is related that Ibn `Abbas said: “A special cushion used to be placed for `Abdu 'lMuttalib in the shade of the Ka'bah, whereupon, in reverence for him, no one dared sit. His sons used to sit around that cushion until `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib came out. The Messenger of Allah, however, while still a child, used to come and sit on the cushion. His uncles would hasten to remove him, but `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib would say: `Leave my son alone, for by Allah, he shall have a great future. I see that a day shall come upon you when he will be your master. I see his forelock as one that will exercise authority over men.'
Then he would take Muhammad up and place him beside him, fondly pat his back and kiss him. As he did so, he would explain, `I have never seen anyone before him so sweet and pure as he.' He then would turn to Abu Talib, who had the same mother as `Abdullah, the Prophet's father, and say: `O Abu Talib, this child will have great significance. Guard him well, therefore, and care for him, for he shall be unique. Be to him like a father who would never let anything that may disturb him come near.' `Abdu'l‑Muttalib would then carry Muhammad on his neck and circumambulate the Ka'bah seven times. Because `Abdu'l-Muttalib knew that Muhammad hated al‑‑Lat and al‑`Uzza (the two goddesses of Mecca), he never brought him near them.”
At the end of his sixth year, his mother Aminah died in al-Abwa', a place between Mecca 'and Medina. She had brought him there to visit his maternal uncles of the tribe of `Adiyy. Thus the Messenger of Allah became an orphan, having neither father nor mother. This increased the love and care of `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib for him, and he continued in this manner until he was on his death‑bed. He then sent for Abu Talib, who came and saw him embracing Muhammad close to his breast. As he lay in the grip of death, he wept and said: “O Abu Talib, take care that you be a protector for this child who is left alone, neither smelling the odour of his father, nor tasting the love of his mother. Be sure, O Abu Talib, that he be as precious as your heart to your body. I have bypassed all my sons and put him in your trust because you are the son of his father's mother. O Abu Talib, if you live to see his days (that is, the time of his call to Prophethood), know that I was the most informed concerning him, and the most caring of men towards him. If you are able to follow him, do so. Support him with your tongue, hand and wealth. Soon he shall exercise authority and dominion, the like of which no one of his forefathers attained.
O Abu Talib, I know no one among the Arabs whose father died in the state in which he was when his father died, or one whose mother died in the state in which he was when his mother died. Protect him, therefore, as he has no one. Do you accept my trust? ” “Yes”, Abu Talib answered: “I accept, and Allah shall be my witness.” `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib then said: “Give me your hand!” He put out his hand, and `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib struck it with his own (as a sign of binding agreement), saying: “Now death has become easy for me.” Finally, he embraced Muhammad and exclaimed: “I bear witness that I have never kissed anyone of my children who is of sweeter fragrance than you, or of more beautiful countenance.” He then fervently wished that he could live to witness his time.
Thus, `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib died when the Prophet was eight years old. Afterwards Abu Talib took him into his home. He never left him, even for an hour, day and night. He went so far as to have him sleep in the same room with him until he reached adulthood, not trusting anyone with him.
The account of Sayf ibn Dhi Yazan concerning Muhammad's Prophethood, reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas, is another well‑known tradition. It was two years after the birth of the Prophet that a group of the Quraysh, among whom were: `Abdu 'l‑Muttalib ibn Hashim, Umayyah ibn `Abd Shams, `Abdullah ibn Jud'an, Asad ibn Khuwaylid and Wahb ibn `Abd Manaf, went to Ibn Dhi Yazan. When they arrived, he was in a palace called Ghumdan, concerning which Umayyah ibn Abi 's‑Salt recited:
• Drink in good health, reclining with a crown upon your head;
• while you sit at the top of Ghumdan in good fortune and prosperity.
They asked permission to enter, and went in. After talking at length, the King sent for `Abdu 'l-Muttalib and said to him: “O `Abdu 'l-Muttalib, I am about to disclose a secret to you which I know and would not disclose to anyone but you. This is because I see that you are one who is worthy of keeping it; so I shall relate it to you. Let it remain a secret until Allah permits that it come to pass. I find it in the hidden book and treasured knowledge which we have kept only for ourselves. For it is a great and momentous secret which others would not be able to bear. There is in it for all men ‑ but especially for your kinfolk and you personally ‑ honor in this life and virtue in the hereafter.”
`Abdu'l-Muttalib enquired: “Only a man like you, O King, can impart glad news and words of amity ‑ what is it that you wish to say? May all the people of the desert be a ransom for you, one group after another!” The King continued: “When a child shall be born in Tihamah (Mecca) between whose shoulders there is a mole (that is, the seal of Prophethood), then to him shall belong the imamate, and through him you (the clan of Hashim) shall enjoy leadership till the Day of Resurrection.” `Abdul-Muttalib answered: “May you never be cursed! I shall return with news, the like of which no traveler has ever received. Had it not been for the great awe, majesty and high honor of the King, I would have asked him to tell me more of his secrets, that my happiness might increase.”
Ibn Dhi Yazan then said: “This is the time in which he is to be born, or perhaps he has already been born. His name shall be Muhammad. Both his father and mother shall die, and his grandfather and uncle shall care for him. His birth shall be a secret, but Allah shall send him (with the apostleship) openly. He shall grant him helpers from our people. Through him Allah shall honor his friends and dishonour his enemies. With him and his people Allah shall smite many men, and with them He shall pillage the best portions of the earth. He shall break the idols, and extinguish the fires (that is, of Persia). Then will the All‑merciful be truly worshipped, and Satan be expelled.
His word shall be decisive, and his judgement just. He shall command the good and himself perform it, and shall forbid indecency and destroy it.” `Abdu 'l-Muttalib exclaimed: “O King, may your status be forever honoured, may your power prosper, and may your reign last forever! Has the King any advice to give me? For he has stated the matter with some clarity.”
Ibn Dhi Yazan said: “By the House with curtains (i.e., the Ka'bah), and the signs on stone idols, you `Abdu 'l-Muttalib are his grandfather without a lie!” `Abdu 'l-Muttalib then fell prostrate. But the King said to him: “Lift up your head! May your breast be cooled (that is, be happy and without weariness); may your status be uplifted. Do you see anything in what I say?”
He answered: “I had a son with whom I was pleased, and towards whom I was compassionate. I therefore had him married to a noble woman from among the best of my people, whose name was Aminah daughter of Wahb. She gave birth to a male child whom I called Muhammad. His father and mother died and his uncle took charge of him.” Ibn Dhi Yazan answered: “This is what I have told you. Guard well your son. Beware of the Jews, for they are his enemies ‑ but Allah will not permit them to do him any harm. Keep what I have told you hidden from the men who are with you. This is because I am afraid that they may be filled with envy if he is to have leadership.
They would then seek to conspire against him and set up obstacles in his way. They, or their sons, shall do that without any doubt. Did I not know that death would strike me before his call, I would gather my men and horses and go to Yathrib (Medina), the city of his dominion, for I find in the `speaking book' and ancient knowledge that Yathrib shall be the house of his dominion. In it shall his affair be confirmed; in it shall be his supporters, and the spot of his tomb.
Had I feared that hardships would befall him, or that infirmities would afflict him, I would have even as a youth announced all concerning him. I would have made all the leaders of the Arabs follow him. But I shall leave that to you, for I shall not be inhospitable toward any guests who are with you.” Then the King ordered that each of the men be given ten slaves and ten slave girls, two silk garments, a hundred camels, five weights of gold and ten of silver, and a skinful of amber. He ordered that `Abdu'l-Muttalib be given ten times what was given to his companions. He then said to him: “When a year will have passed, come. back to me” ‑ but Ibn Dhi Yazan died before the year had elapsed.
`Abdu'l-Muttalib used to repeat often: “O people of Quraysh, no man among you should envy me, no matter how much wealth you might bestow upon me, for it shall be exhausted. Rather envy me for what remains for me and my descendants after me of its fame, pride and honor.” When it was said to him: “What shall this thing be?”, he would answer: “You will know the truth of what I say, even if it be after a time.”
Another proof of Muhammad's Prophethood is the account of the monk Bahira'. Thus Ibn Ishaq reported that Abu Talib went with a caravan to Syria. As he was about to set out, the Messenger of Allah stood up and, holding on to the halter of his she‑camel, said: “O uncle, in whose care would you leave me, since I have neither father nor mother!”
Abu Talib felt compassion towards him and said: “By Allah, I shall take him with me and we shall never be separated from one another.” He thus took him along with him. The caravan arrived at Basra in Syria, where a monk lived called Bahira'. He was the most learned of the Christians. Often did they pass by his cell, but he had never spoken to them. This time, however, when they came to rest near his cell, he prepared food for them. It is claimed that this was because of something which he saw from his cell in that caravan. It was a white cloud shading the Prophet alone of all the people. The caravan alighted beneath a tree near the monk, where he again saw the white cloud moving until it shaded the tree, whose branches bent over the Messenger of Allah so that he sat in its shade.
When Bahira' saw this, he came out of his cell and ordered that food be prepared. He then sent word to them, saying “I have prepared food for you, O people of Quraysh. I invite you all, young and old, slaves and freemen.” A man said to him: “O Bahirah', it is something strange you do today! You never did' that in the past. Often did we pass by you; why is it that you do this today?” Bahira' answered: “You tell the truth, it is as you say. Yet you are guests; I wish, therefore, to treat you with due hospitality. I have prepared food for you, and I ask that you all eat of it.”
Thus they all gathered around him, but the Messenger of Allah because of his youth stayed behind with the caravan under the tree. As Bahira' looked around, he did not find the characteristics he sought in anyone. He thus said: “Let no one of you stay away from my banquet.” They answered: “No one who should have come is absent, except a youth, the youngest of us. He remained to guard the caravan.” But Bahira' declared: “You ought not to have done that, call for him.” A man of Quraysh exclaimed: “By al‑Lat and al-`Uzza, it is shameful for us that the son of `Abdu 'I‑Muttalib be absent from our banquet.” He then went and brought Muhammad over and seated him among the people.
When Bahira' saw him, he examined him intently, looking for signs which he knew to be on his body. After they had all eaten and dispersed, Bahira' approached the Prophet and said: “O youth, I adjure you by al‑Lat and al‑`Uzza that you inform me concerning the things I wish to ask you.” Bahira' swore by these two gods because he had heard the people of the caravan do so. The Messenger of Allah answered: “Do not adjure me by al‑Lat and al‑`Uzza, for I despise nothing more than I despise them.”
Bahira' then said: “I adjure you by Allah that you inform me concerning the things I wish to ask you.” The Prophet answered: “Ask whatever you wish.” The monk began to ask him some things about himself, his sleep, his appearance, and other matters. The Messenger of Allah answered his questions, all of which agreed with the description which Bahira' had read concerning him in his ancient books. He then looked at his back and saw the seal of Prophethood between his shoulders, exactly in the spot where he knew it to be.
When at last Bahira' was done with him, he came to his uncle Abu Talib and asked: “Who is this youth?” “He is my son”, he answered. “No”, the monk said, “he is not your son. The father of this youth must not be living.” Abu Talib then said: “He is my brother's son.” “What happened to his father?” asked Bahira'. Abu Talib answered, “He died while his mother was pregnant with him.”
The monk then counselled him, saying: “Return with your nephew to his home, and beware of the Jews, for by Allah if they see him and discover in him what I know, they would surely seek to do him harm. Your nephew will be a man of high status. Hasten, therefore, with him back to his country.” His uncle thus quickly finished his trade in Syria and hastened back with the Prophet to Mecca.
It is said that a few men of the People of the Book noticed some signs in the Messenger of Allah when they saw him with his uncle on that journey. They wished to seize him, but Bahira' restrained them. He adjured them by Allah not to do so, reminding them of what they had found in their scriptures concerning him and his characteristics. He also told them that even if they were to attempt all together to do whatever they had intended to do to him, they would not be able to do him any harm. He thus continued to admonish them until they were convinced; they finally believed him and went away. Concerning this event Abu Talib said in his poem which rhymes with the letter dal (`d ') : ‑
Surely the Prophet Muhammad, son of Aminah,
Is for me like my own child.
When he held on to the halter of my camel, I felt compassion for him,
Even as the white camels were being loaded,
Copious tears flowed from my eyes ‑Copious tears flowed from my eyes ‑
Tears like scattered pearls.
I treated him kindly as befits a close relative,
And guarded well the trust of his forefathers concerning him.
I ordered him to ride among paternal uncles,
With white faces, brave swordsmen.
They travelled to the furthest known station ‑They travelled to the furthest known station ‑
Far indeed was the station where their camels lay down!
When at last the people of Busra saw him,
They met a learned monk who was keeping close watch.
He related to them a true account concerning him,
And thus turned back the people of envy.
A group of Jews also saw what he saw:
The shade of a white cloud and the glory of a close relative (Muhammad).
They went seeking to kill Muhammad, and he restrained them,
And thus engaged in the best of struggle.
There are in fact many more examples of what we have narrated here. Had we attempted to recount all of them, however, we would have deviated from the intended purpose of this book.
As for the signs and wonders which were wrought by Muhammad's hands (peace be upon him and his progeny) after his call to Prophethood, they were of two kinds. The first is the Qur'an which Allah sent down to him, and with which He strengthened him, and the second consists of his other miracles.
As for the proof from the Qur'an: any rational man who heard the hadith reports and was acquainted with their transmitters would have undoubtedly recognized the manifestation of the Prophethood of our Prophet, and the truth of his claim to be a messenger sent by Allah. Moreover, he challenged the Arabs with the Qur'an, and in spite of the lapse of a long period of time, they did not oppose him ‑ for opposition was impossible for them. This impossibility is in itself a miracle, violating the norms of general custom. That he challenged people with the Qur'an can be proven by the fact that he claimed that Gabriel used to bring the Qur'an down to him, and that Allah had distinguished him by it. Knowledge of all this is certain, and it is the strongest sort of challenge, properly understood. Furthermore, some verses of the Qur'an present clear instances of challenge, such as Allah's saying: Bring therefore ten fabricated Surahs like it, and again:
Bring forth even one Surah like it (Qur.11:13 and 10:38).
As for the argument that people were unable to present any opposition, it can be argued that if opposition had occurred, it would have been necessary for it to be known and reported. The fact that it was never reported must imply that it never occurred. We say this because all the things necessitating the transmission of the Qur'an, such as the strong reasons and need for it as well as the close familiarity of the people with it, all strengthen the possibility of opposition. This possibility would be further strengthened because opposition would itself be the argument, and the Qur'an would then be the specious argument. Reporting a true argument is more worthy than reporting a specious one. How could opposition not have been reported if it had occurred, while men reported the words of Musaylimah (the false prophet), meaningless and unworthy though they were.
If it is claimed that it was fear of the Muslims, who became so numerous as to be greatly feared, that prevented men from reporting such opposition, the answer is that fear alone does not necessitate the disruption of report in every way. It only prevents men from doing so openly. Do you not see that the excellences of the Commander of the Faithful (`Ali) were widely transmitted, in spite of the great fear of those who disclosed them of the Umayyads?
It would rather have been natural for the enemies of Islam to report such opposition, or at least do so in secret among themselves. Furthermore, the great increase of Muslims happened after the Migration (hijrah). It would, therefore, have been possible to report it before that time, and during the Prophet's stay in Mecca. Had opposition then been widely reported, no Muslim power would have been capable of concealing it. It may be argued that opposition did not occur during that time.
This, however, would itself be an argument in support of the miraculous nature of the Qur'an. For even though Islam grew in power in Medina, the people of `rejection of faith' (kufr) had their own strong and vast domains. The Persian Empire was strong still, and Byzantine and other domains were just as vast. Naturally then, opposition should have arisen.
As for the argument for the lack of opposition due to impossibility: we know that any action not executed by its doer, when all conditions for its execution are present, must by necessity be because of his inability to do so. If this be true ‑ and we know that the Arabs talked much about the Qur'an, yet did not oppose it in spite of their great need to do so ‑ we can conclude that they were unable to oppose it.
If we add to all this the fact that the Arabs were in the habit of undertaking many hardships, such as war, in order to achieve their aims ‑ yet that they did not oppose the Qur'an, although there was no (apparent) reason for them not to do so ‑ then it becomes certain that (the real reason they did not oppose it was because) they were incapable of such opposition. They were a people of proud and arrogant nature, yet the Prophet called upon them to abandon their religions: to relinquish their high status, dissociate themselves from their own forefathers, fathers and sons, and even to fight against anyone who opposed the new faith, even if he were to be one of their closest relations. They would have known that through successful opposition to the Qur'an all this would vanish, and be nullified. What greater reason would there have been, then, to attempt such opposition?
Instead, they resorted to war, wasting their wealth and composing polemical poetry, when all this availed them nothing. Thus, had opposition been possible for them they would have surely hastened to it, if for no other reason but that it would have been far easier than the other hardships which they undertook. It would have, moreover, been far less costly than any of the other things they did.
As for the argument which states that the abandonment of opposition was because of the miraculous nature of the Qur'an, it may be objected that the Prophet was more eloquent than all the men of his time, and that only through this was he able to achieve what they could not. It may be further objected that he was active for too short a time for them to present any opposition.
If, however, both of these objections could be refuted, then it would have to be concluded that this inability was unnatural, and hence was itself a miraculous phenomenon. It may be argued in refutation of the first objection that for any opposition to be effective, the two opposing parties must have similar abilities of eloquence.
Since the Arabs did not even come close to the eloquence of the Qur'an, then the accepted norms were indeed miraculously suspended. It is not possible for the less eloquent to imitate or closely approximate him who is more eloquent in all his speech. R is, however, possible for the less eloquent to approximate him who is more eloquent in some of his speech. This is usually the case. It is for this reason that later poets have equalled those of ancient times, and may have excelled them in some respects.
If the Qur'an challenged the Arabs to produce the like of one of its shorter Surahs, although it is more eloquent than they, that does not mean that they could not have equalled it in so small a portion. Moreover, it was not the case that the Prophet himself was of greater eloquence in his speech than others of his people. Had he been of greater eloquence, while this special quality belonged only to the Qur'an, and had the Qur'an been his speech, then all his words should have been of eloquence equal to the Qur'an.
The invalidity of the second objection, namely that the Prophet was active for only a short time and that therefore if they too were able to labor for an equal period of time they would have been able to imitate the Qur'an, can be easily demonstrated. If, however, it can be proven that inability is itself a miraculous phenomenon, then one of two possibilities must follow ‑ either that the Qur'an itself was a miracle in its eloquence which they could not match, or that Allah, the Exalted, Himself turned them away from imitating the Qur'an, and had He not turned them away, they would have done so. Either of these two possibilities would not invalidate Muhammad's claim to Prophethood. This is because Allah would not vouchsafe a liar, or miraculously suspend natural custom for a man of falsehood.
Were we to reproduce all that has been written on this subject ‑ the arguments and counter arguments ‑ this book would have become too long. What we have here presented should be sufficient to convince those who are possessed of understanding.
As for the clear miracles other than the Qur'an which prove without a doubt the Prophethood of Muhammad, these are many. We have here given the texts dealing with them and eliminated chains of transmission because these miracles are well‑known to both the (Sunni) majority and (Shi`i) minority, and because the Muslim community has generally accepted them without question.
It is related on the authority of the Commander of the Faithful ('Ali) that he said: “I was with the Prophet when the notables of Quraysh came to him and said: `O Muhammad, you have surely made grave claims which were never made by your forefathers or anyone else of your clan. We shall, therefore, test you with a request, and if you can fulfill it, we shall know that you are a prophet and messenger. But if you cannot, then we shall know that you are a magician and a liar.'
He answered: `What do you wish to ask of me?' They said: `We ask that you call that tree so that it uproots itself and comes and stands before you.' He said: `Allah has power over all things. If He does this for you, would you have faith, and witness to the truth?' `Yes', they answered. `I shall then show you what you ask for', he replied, `even though I know that you shall not turn to the good. Some of you will be thrown in the well (qalib) and others will gather parties (ahzab)7 against us'.
Then he exclaimed: `O tree, if you truly have faith in Allah and the Last Day and know that I am the Messenger of Allah, then uproot yourself and come and stand before me, by Allah's permission.' By Him who sent Muhammad with the truth (continued `Ali), it did uproot itself and came to him with a soft buzzing sound and a thunderous noise like the sound of the flapping of the wings of many birds.
Thus it came, and stood before the Messenger of Allah with its branches spread out. It placed its highest branch lightly upon his head, placing others on my shoulders, as I stood at his right hand. When the people saw this, they said with haughty arrogance, `Order now that only half of it come to you and the other half remain in its place.' He commanded the tree, and only half of it came to him, with haste and great noise, so that it nearly wrapped itself around the Messenger of Allah.
Still remaining in their rejection of faith and stubbornness, they exclaimed: `Command this half, that it return to the other half.' He commanded it and it returned. Then I exclaimed: `There is no god but Allah, and I am the first of those who accept faith in you, O Messenger of Allah, and the first to testify that the tree did what it did by Allah's command, and in proof of your Prophethood and in reverence of your word.' But the people said: `No, but you are a liar and a skillful magician! Would any other believe in you except this man?' By this, they meant me.”
Still another miracle was the water gushing out from between the Prophet's fingers. One day the people accompanying him on a journey ran out of water. They complained that they were near death from thirst. He said: “My Lord is with me; in Him do I trust.” He then called for a jug into which he poured a little water, not enough to satisfy even a weakling. He then placed his hand in the jug and the water gushed out from between his fingers. A crier went out and called the people, who then gathered in the thousands. They drank, watered their flocks and filled their water‑skins. All the while the Prophet was exclaiming: “I bear witness that I in truth am the Messenger of Allah.”
Another one of his miracles was the longing of a dry palm branch for him. At the beginning, the Prophet used to stand leaning on a thick palm branch when he spoke to the people in the Mosque of Medina. As the number of his followers began to increase, they built a pulpit for him. When he stood on it to speak, however, the branch cried out in longing as would a she‑camel cry when she loses her young. The Prophet descended and embraced it, and the branch moaned contentedly as would a child when it quiets down.
The story of the ewe of Umm Ma'bad is yet another miracle in testimony to Muhammad's Prophethood. When the Prophet migrated from Mecca to Medina, accompanied by Abu Bakr and `Amir ibn Fuhayrah, with `Abdullah ibn Urayqit al‑Laythi as their guide, they passed by Umm Ma'bad, a woman of the Khuza'ah tribe. She sat by her tent wrapped in a long garment. They asked if they could buy from her some dates and meat. She had nothing to offer them; the people were hungry.
She insisted, however: “Had we anything to offer you, you would not have been deprived of our hospitality.” The Prophet saw a ewe standing beside her tent. He asked: “What is this ewe, O Umm Ma'bad?” She answered: “It is a sick ewe, unable to go out with the sheep to graze.” He asked: “Does she have milk?” “No”, she answered, “she is too weak for that.” He then asked: “Would you permit me to milk her?” “Yes”, she replied, “may my father and mother be a ransom for you! If you see that she has any milk, then go ahead and milk her.”
The Messenger of Allah had the ewe brought to him. He passed his hand over its udders, praying, “O Allah, bless the ewe of this woman.” The ewe spread its legs, and its milk flowed copiously. The Messenger of Allah called for a vessel, big enough only to quench the thirst of the group. The milk came pouring until a thick foam brimmed over. He then gave the woman to drink, and she drank her fill. Then he gave his Companions to drink, and they drank their fill as well. Finally he himself drank, and said: “The one who gives others to drink, must himself be the last to drink!” He repeated the process once more, and they all drank again their fill. They remained with the woman till the morning, then they departed.
Soon after, her husband Abu Ma'bad returned, driving before him a few emaciated goats, with little marrow in their bones. When he saw the milk he asked “Where did this come from, while the ewe is dry, and there is no other animal to give milk in the house?” She answered: “By Allah it was so, except that a blessed man passed here who did thus and thus . . . ”, and she related the story.
Another miracle concerned Suraqah ibn Malik ibn Ju'shum. Suraqah was famous among the Arabs; they composed poems about him and he was the talk of their assemblies. He pursued the Prophet ‑ who was on his way to Medina ‑ seeking to capture him and receive a reward from the Quraysh. Yet, when he thought that he was about to attain his object, the legs of his horse sank into the ground so that they could not be seen, even though he was in a smooth and firm spot. He knew that what had happened to him was a heavenly punishment.
He thus cried out: “O Muhammad, pray to your Lord that He release my horse, and I give you Allah's covenant (dhimmah) that I tell no one of your whereabouts.” The Prophet prayed, and Suraqah's horse jumped up as though he had freed himself from a tightly knotted rope. Suraqah was a cunning man, and he saw that the Prophet would soon be a man of note. He therefore asked that the Prophet write him a 'pledge of security' (aman), which he took and went away.8
Ibn Ishaq related that Abu Jahl recited some verses in disapprobation of Suraqah. The latter answered him also in verse:
O Abu'l‑Hakam, if you had seen what happened,
To my horse when his legs sank into the ground;
You would have known through a clear sign thatYou would have known through a clear sign that
Muhammad is a prophet;
This fact no one can hide. .
Hold your men, then, from him,
For I see that his affair will soon be manifest. 9
It is related that the Prophet said to Abu Bakr on that journey, “Keep men away from me, for it is not fit for a prophet to lie.” Thus, when Abu Bakr was asked, “What are you?”, he would answer only, “A traveller”, and if he was asked, “Who is with you?”, he would answer, “A guide to guide me.”
Still another of the Prophet's miracles concerns the account of the cave (al‑ghar). This was the time when he took shelter in a cave near Mecca which was frequented by many travellers, and in which many shepherds sought shelter. It was the time of his migration to Medina. The people of Mecca went out seeking to capture him, but Allah concealed all traces of him from their sight, even though he was right before their eyes ‑ Allah prevented them from reaching him and veiled their eyes, so that they could not see him. Yet, they were the most scheming of men among the Arabs. Allah sent a spider which wove its web at the entrance of the cave, which concealed him. The spider's web convinced them that he was not there.
Finally, they despaired of finding him. as‑Sayyid al‑Himyari (a well‑known Shi`i poet of the second century) composed the following verses concerning this incident in his famous ode known as `The Gilded' (al‑Mudhahhabah ):
When at last they came to the entrance of his cave,
Allah placed over him a woven spider's web.
Allah concealed him, so that the advance party declared,
`There is no one in the cave to be sought'.
The Great King prevented them from harming him,
For anyone whom the King wishes to protect is never harmed.
Allah also sent two wild doves which sat at the entrance of the cave. The young men of Quraysh came, one from every clan with their sticks and swords, until they were the distance of forty cubits from the Prophet. A man ran ahead to see who was in the cave, but he turned back. His companions asked: “Why do you not look in the cave? ” He answered: “I saw wild doves at the mouth of the cave, so I knew that there was no one inside.” The Prophet heard what he said, and prayed for the two doves, requesting a special reward for them. They were thus directed by Allah to the 'sacred precincts' (haram) of Mecca, where they lived in safety ever after.
Another miraculous proof was the testimony of a wolf to the truth of Muhammad's claim to apostleship. A man was grazing his sheep one day when he neglected his flocks for a brief hour. A wolf attacked the flocks and snatched a sheep. The man ran after the wolf until finally the wolf threw the sheep on the ground and spoke to the man, saying: “Why do you deprive me of the sustenance which Allah has sent me?” The man exclaimed: “A great wonder, the wolf speaks!” The wolf answered: “Rather you people are more strange, and in your behaviour is a lesson for those who wish to be admonished! Here is Muhammad calling men to the truth in the valley of Mecca, yet you are oblivious to his call!”
The man was guided by this admonition and hastened to the Prophet to declare his Islam. He left a great honor for his progeny after him among both Arabs and non-Arabs. His descendants used to say: “We are the posterity of him with whom the wolf spoke.”
The warning of the lamb shoulder is yet another miracle. A Jewish woman of Khaybar (an oasis near Medina) offered the Prophet a lamb shoulder, which she had poisoned. She enquired: “Which part of the lamb would the Messenger of Allah prefer?” “The shoulder”, she was told.
She thus poisoned the shoulder, which she offered to him and his Companions. As they all sat to eat, the Prophet stopped them, saying: “Do not touch it, for it tells me that it is poisoned! Had it not been that I did not wish the Jewish woman to be in doubt (that is, concerning his Prophethood), I would not have accepted it in the first place.” Nor would he have gathered his Companions to eat of it.
He himself ate a tiny morsel before the shoulder spoke to him. The effect of this poison used to recur every year, until finally Allah made it the cause of the Prophet's martyrdom. This was a trial from Allah, so that it may be known that Muhammad was a mortal.
During the Siege of the Trench (al‑Khandaq, see below) the Prophet's companions had no food to eat and to feed their families. They came close to death from hunger and thirst. One of them invited the Prophet one day to a meager meal. All his Companions came along with him, yet there was food only for one or two people. The Messenger of Allah said: “Fill your vessels”, addressing all the people present. He prayed and blessed the food, then distributed it among the people, who were thousands. They all ate their fill as though they had never been hungry or thirsty before. The food, however, remained as it was, as though untouched.
On yet another occasion, during the Battle of Tabuk (see below), the Prophet's Companions and the poor among the people came to him complaining of hunger. He called for any food in their possession to be brought, but they had no more than a few dates. He placed his hand on the dates and said: “Eat in the name of Allah! ” All the people ate until they were full and the dates remained as they were, while they all looked on.
Another time, during one of his battles, the Prophet passed by a well which had so little water that it would not wet the throat of one person. The people with him complained of thirst. He took an arrow from his quiver and gave it to one of his Companions, saying: “Go down and stick it in the well.” No sooner had he done so than the water gushed out with great force until it flowed over the mouth of the well. Thus the crowds, numbering thirty thousand, all drank and filled their vessels as provision for the journey. There were among them as well men of the Hypocrites, who were present in body, but not in mind.
One day the Prophet came upon a she‑gazelle that had fallen into a trap which a man had set up for hunting. The gazelle said: “O Messenger of Allah, I have a young kid that needs milk. I have fallen into this trap; set me free that I might go and feed my kid. The Messenger of Allah said: “How can I let you go, when the owner of the trap is absent?” She answered: “I shall return.” He thus let her go and sat waiting until she returned. When the owner of the trap also returned, the Messenger of Allah interceded for the gazelle, and the man set her free. In commemoration of this event, people built a mosque on that spot.
A small community complained to the Prophet about the brackish water of their well. They were suffering great thirst because they could not drink the salty water. The Prophet came with a group of his Companions to the well, and expectorated in it. The well was not only brackish, it was also nearly dry. Soon, however, it burst out with cool and pure water. To this day it has come down as a highly prized source of pride from one generation to the next. Their testimony is surely valid. It was one of the miracles by which Allah attested to the veracity of His Prophet. This is because the followers of Musaylimah, when they heard of this miracle, asked him to perform one like it. He came to a well and expectorated in it, but its water turned so salty and foul, that it was like the urine of donkeys. Both its location and the people who own it are to this day known to all.
On another occasion, a woman came to him with her young son requesting that the Prophet touch him and bless him, for the child had a deformity. The Prophet had mercy upon her ‑ for mercy is one of his attributes, Allah's blessings and peace be upon him and the people of his household. He passed his hand over the boy's head, and immediately his hair became straight and his illness was cured.
News of this reached the people of Yamamah (Musaylimah's district). A woman came with a sick boy to Musaylimah. He passed his hand over his head, but immediately his hair fell off. His descendants are to this day bald.
One day some men of the tribes of `Abdu 'l-Qays brought the Prophet some of their sheep. They asked him to give the animals some mark by which they could be distinguished. He placed his fingers at the base of their ears, which immediately turned white. The miracle of these sheep stands as a testimony to this day through their descendants.
Still another miracle concerns the account of the prayer for rain. It rained one day so hard over Medina that the people were afraid that their houses might be destroyed. The Messenger of Allah prayed: “Let it rain around us, O Allah, not over us!” Immediately the clouds moved away from Medina and gathered around it like a wreath, and thus the sun was shining in Medina while the rain was coming down in torrents all around it. This was seen by all: the rejecters of faith as well as the people of faith. The Messenger of Allah smiled until his teeth could be seen and said: “Would that Abu Talib were alive to see, so that his eyes would be consoled!. Who can recite for us his verses?” The Commander of the Faithful (`Ali) said: “Perhaps, O Messenger of Allah, you wish to hear the verses:
Of radiant countenance is he,
Through his face rain clouds may be prayed for.
A help for orphans is he,
And a protector of widows.
The poor and errant of the clan of Hashim circle around him,
For with him they find favor and generosity.
His miracle on the day of the Battle of Badr is also well known. He took a handful of sand and threw it in the faces of the enemy, exclaiming: “May these faces be dishonored!” Allah immediately made these grains of sand so effective that no man of the Associators (mushrikun) was spared. Their eyes were filled with sand. The Muslim warriors and the angels (with whom Allah aided them)10 began to slay and capture the rejecters of faith. They found every man they captured face down and unable to see.
One day the Prophet's she‑camel was lost. The Hypocrites (of Medina) were filled with doubt. They said: “He informs us of the affairs of heaven, yet he knows not where his she‑camel is! ” Fearing that the people of faith might fall prey to the whisperings of Satan, the Prophet told them where she was, describing in detail her circumstances and the tree by which she was entangled. When they went to see, they found her exactly as he had described.
Another well‑known miracle was the splitting of the moon in two for the Prophet. This happened towards the beginning of his prophetic career. This miracle is alluded to in the Qur'an11 . It is related in a sound tradition on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Mas'ud that: “The moon was split into two parts. The rejecters of faith of Mecca said: “This is magic with which the son of Abu Kabshah (The Associators used to identify the Prophet as Abu Kabshah's son because Abu Kabshah, a man of the tribe of Khuza'ah, opposed the people of Quraysh by refusing to worship idols. Thus, when the Prophet also refused idol‑worship, they identified him with Abu Kabshah.
It is also said that Abu Kabshah referred to the Prophet's maternal grandfather, whom he resembled. (ed.)) has charmed you. Enquire of travellers if they have seen what you saw; then he would be truthful. But if they did not see it, then it is simply magic with which he has charmed you.' Travellers coming from many different directions were asked; they all confirmed that they had seen the moon split into two.”12
It is also related that one of the Prophet's Companions was hit in the eye in a battle. His eye was gouged out so that it fell upon his cheek. He ran to the Prophet for help. The Prophet took the eye and placed it back in its socket, and it became the better of the man's two eyes: more healthy and more sharp‑sighted than the other.
In yet another tradition, it is related that a man called Abu Bard', known as Muld'ibu'l-Asinnah (`the skilful wielder of spears'), suffered from dropsy. He sent to the Prophet a man called Labid ibn Rabi `ah with a gift of two thoroughbreds and a number of dromedaries. But the Prophet refused the gift, saying: “I will not accept the gift of an Associator.” Labid said: “I would not have thought that any Arab of the Mudar lineage would refuse the gift of Abu Bard'!”
The Prophet insisted, however, saying: “If I to accept a gift from any Associator at all, I would have accepted the gift of Abu Bard'.” Labid said: “He seeks healing from you for a serious ailment which has afflicted his stomach.” The Prophet took a handful of earth, spat on it and said: “Soak this in water and give him to drink.” The man took it, thinking that the Prophet was mocking him. But when the sick man drank the water, he was immediately cured. It was as though he was released from a fetter.
Another of the Prophet's miracles was the complaint of an old camel to him after returning to Medina from the battle of Banu Tha'labah. The Prophet asked: “Do you know what this camel is saying?” Jabir (the transmitter of this tradition) answered: “Allah and His Messenger know best.” The Prophet said: “He tells me that his owner had worked him hard, but now that he has become old and sores have appeared on his back and he is no longer able to work, his owner has decided to slaughter him and sell his meat. O Jabir, go with him to his owner and bring him to me.”
Jabir answered: “By Allah, I do not know his owner.” The Prophet said: “The camel shall lead you to him.” Jabir went with the camel until they came to the quarter of Banu Hanzalah, or Banu Waqif. There he asked: “Who among you is the owner of this camel?” One of the men answered: “I am.” Jabir said: “The Messenger of Allah has sent for you.” Jabir then brought him and the camel to the Messenger of Allah. The Prophet said to the man: “Your camel tells me so‑an‑so.”
The man answered: “It is as he says, O Messenger of Allah.” “Sell him to me”, the Prophet demanded. “He is yours”, answered the man. The Prophet, however, insisted on buying the camel. Having done so, he marked him on the side and left him grazing in the environs of Medina and when one of us needed a ride for a short distance the Prophet used to loan it to us. Jabir later reported that: “I saw the camel when his wounds had healed and his strength had returned.”
One day Abu Jahl swore by Allah that he would break the Prophet's head with a stone when he fell prostrate in prayer. When the Messenger of Allah stood at prayer, praying and prostrating between the two rukns (corners) ‑ the Black Stone and the Yemenite ‑ and facing the Ka'bah, Abu Jahl carried a stone and came toward him. But as he approached, he suddenly turned away, pale with fear, his hands gripping the stone tightly until at last he threw it away from him. Some men of the Quraysh came to him, enquiring: “What has happened to you O Abu 'l-Hakam?” He answered: “A powerful camel stood between me and him, the like of its head, thick neck and sharp teeth as I had never seen. It was about to devour me.”
Among the Prophet's miracles was that Abu Jahl bought camels from a man in Mecca, paying him less than the agreed price. The man went to the assembly of Quraysh seeking their help and reminding them of the sanctity of the Ka'bah. They mockingly referred him to the Prophet. The man went to him calling for help. The Prophet went with him and knocked at the door of Abu Jahl, who recognized him and came out to meet them. He met them as though deranged. Abu Jahl recognized the man, and turning to the Prophet said: “Welcome to you, O Abu 'l-Qasim!” The Prophet said: “Give this man his due.” “I will”, he said, and immediately gave the man what he owed him. When he was asked concerning this, he said: “I saw what you did not see! I saw over his head a dragon with open mouth; by Allah, had I refused, it would have swallowed me up! ”
It is also reported that Asma' daughter of Abu Bakr said: “When the Qur'anic verses: Perish the hands of Abu Lahab . . . (Qur'an. 111 ) were sent down, the one‑eyed Umm Jamil daughter of Harb (and wife of Abu Lahab), came to the Prophet, screaming and saying: “We have refused to listen to mudhammam (`the disgraced one' which Abu Lahab and his wife used as an epithet of derogation of the Prophet Muhammad). His religion we have abandoned, and his command have we disobeyed.” All the while, the Prophet was sitting in the mosque with Abu Bakr. Abu Bakr warned him: “O Messenger of Allah, here she is coming; I am afraid that she may see you!” The Messenger of Allah answered: “She will not see me.” He then recited a portion of the Qur'an with which he protected himself. It is related that he recited:
When you recite the Qur'an, we place a thick veil between you and those who do not believe in the hereafter (Qur'an. 17:45).
Thus, she stood by Abu Bakr's side, but did not see the Messenger of Allah. She said: “O Abu Bakr, I was told that your companion has composed satirical verses against me.” He answered: “No, by the Lord of this House (the Ka'bah), he did not satirize you!” She turned away exclaiming: “The people of Quraysh know well that I am the daughter of the best man among them!”
It is related on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that a group of men of the Makhzum tribe conspired to kill the Prophet. Among them were Abu Jahl, al‑Walid ibn al‑Mughirah, and some men of the Makhzum tribe. As the Prophet was praying one day, they sent al‑Walid to kill him. He came to the spot where the Prophet was praying; he could only hear his voice, but could not see him. He thus returned to them and told them what had happened. They sent Abu Jahl with al‑Walid and others for the same purpose. When they carne to the spot where the Prophet was praying, again they could only hear his voice in prayer. As they approached, they heard the voice behind them. When they turned towards it, it again was heard behind them. Finally they departed, without being able to touch him. This is in accordance with Allah's saying:
Before them have We placed a barrier, and behind them a barrier, so that they cannot see (Qur'an 36:9).
It is also related that the Prophet set out by night on his she‑camel for the Battle of at‑Ta'if (a town near Mecca). He travelled through a valley called Najib, with thick and dense trees. He ran into a sidr tree as he dozed upon his mount. The tree, however, was split into two halves in order that he might pass through it. It has remained standing thus, on two halves of a trunk, to our own time. It is well‑known, and is called the `sidr tree of the Prophet.'
Were we to recount all the miracles and signs of the Prophet (Allah's blessings and peace be upon him and the people of his household) related by traditionists, this book would have become far too long, for our Prophet possessed many more signs than any other prophet. Some authors have even asserted that his signs exceed a thousand. It is best, therefore, that we limit ourselves, for the sake of brevity, to a few accounts. In the following traditions shall briefly recount, if Allah wills, some of his signs and miracles which deal with his call to Prophethood, the people of his household, his battles, the coming of delegations to him, and so on till the time of his death.
His signs‑in foretelling unknown and future events are beyond number. Allah says in the Qur'an:
He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance, and the religion of truth, in order that He make it prevail over all religion even though the Associators may detest it (Qur'an. 9:33).
It is related on the authority of Ubayy ibn Ka'b (a well‑known Companion, one of the scribes of revelation and an important authority on Qur'an exegesis) in reference to this verse, that the Messenger of Allah said: “Convey to this community glad tidings of glory, exaltation, Divine support and a firm standing in the earth. Anyone of them who performs the work of the life to come only for the sake of this life, shall have no portion in the hereafter.”
It is also reported on the authority of Buraydah al‑Aslami (one of the Companions) that the Prophet said: “Armies will be dispatched to war. Be among those who go to Khurasan, and dwell in the city of Maru. This is because it was built by the man of the two horns,13 who blessed it and said: `No evil shall befall its inhabitants.”'
Abu Hurayrah reported that the Messenger of Allah said: “The Day of Resurrection will not come until Khuzistan and Kirman (two provinces in Iran) are vanquished by a group of non‑Arabs, with red faces, snub noses and small eyes. Their faces are like shields.”
Anas ibn Malik (a well‑known Companion and traditionist) reported that the Messenger of Allah related that one night he dreamt that he was in the house of `Uqbah ibn Rafi` (one of the Companions) and that dates of high quality were brought before them. The dream was interpreted by the Prophet to me: “Exaltation shall belong to us in this world and good health in the world to come, and our religion has prospered.”
Accounts of other miracles are those which deal with the Prophet predicting what was to happen to his community (ummah) after him. Thus, he is reported to have said: “Do not turn to be rejecters of faith (kuffar) after me, beheading one another.” It is also related on the authority of Sahl ibn Hunayf that the Prophet said: “I shall be the first to get to the hawd;14 whoever comes shall be given to drink, and whoever. drinks shall never thirst. Then groups of people shall come to me; I know them and they know me. But they shall be prevented from coming to me.”
Abu Hazim (the transmitter of this tradition) said: “an‑Nu'man ibn Abi `Ayyash heard me relating this tradition to the people. He asked: `Did you hear Sahl say that?' `Yes', I answered.” He continued: “I bear witness that Abu Said al‑Khudri (a very well‑known Companion and traditionist) heard the Prophet say further: `These are my community, but it will be said to me, “You do not know what they did after you!” Then will I say: “Perish those who deviated after me.” ' ” Qays ibn Abi Hazim also reported that when `A'ishah (the Prophet's wife) arrived at al‑Haw'ab, 15 she heard the barking of dogs. She said: “I am sure that I will return. For I heard the Prophet say to us, `At whom among you shall the dogs of al‑Haw'ab bark?”' az‑Zubayr said to her, “Perhaps Allah will make peace through you among the people.”
It is reported that one day az‑Zubayr met 'Ali at the Saqifah of Banu Sa'idah,16 where the Prophet was present. The Prophet asked az‑Zubayr, “Do you love him?” az-Zubayr answered: “What prevents me from so doing?” The Prophet then said: “How would it be then if you were to fight against him, and you are the wrongdoer?” Abu Jarw al‑Mazini reported that he heard 'Ali say to az‑Zubayr (on the day of the Battle of Camel): “I adjure you by Allah that you tell me, did you not hear the Messenger of Allah say to you that you shall fight with me and that you shall be doing me wrong?” “Yes, but I forgot”, said az‑Zubayr.
It is also related by Muslim in his as‑Sahih17 that the Prophet said to `Ammar ibn Yasir: “You shall be killed by a transgressing group of people.” Abu ' l-Bakhtari has reported that `Ammar was brought a drink of milk. He smiled; when asked why, he answered: “The Messenger of Allah told me that it shall be the last drink I have before I die.”
Still another of Muhammad's prophecies was what he said concerning al‑Khawarij (`the seceders', a group of zealous men who left `Ali's camp during the Battle of Sniffing) “There shall be a group in my community who speak good words, but act wickedly. They shall call others to the Book of Allah, but they themselves have nothing to do with it. They shall recite the Qur'an, but their recitation will not penetrate further than their throats. They shall slip out of the faith as would an arrow slip out of its bow. They shall no more return to the faith than would an arrow, after being shot, return to its bow. They are the most evil of character among men. Blessed is he whom they shall slay, and blessed is he who shall slay them. Anyone slaying them would be more worthy (of obedience) to Allah than they.” People asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what are their distinguishing marks?” He answered: “Shaved heads.”
Another of the Prophet's signs is his saying to the Commander .of the Faithful ('Ali): “This community shall betray you after me.” He also said to him: “You shall fight after me against those who shall violate their covenant (nakithin), those who shall deviate from the truth (qasitin) and those who shall abandon their faith altogether (mariqin).
Among his prophecies is his foretelling of the slaying of Hujr ibn `Adiyy and his companions by Mu'awiyah. It is related that Mu'awiyah went to see `A'ishah, who asked: “What made you slay the people of `Adhra',18 Hujr and his companions?” He answered: “O mother of the faithful, I considered their death to be for the good of the community, while their remaining alive would have been evil for the community.” She said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah say: `Some people shall be killed in `Adhra' for whom Allah and the inhabitants of heaven will be filled with wrath.' ” It is also related that 'Ali said: “O people of Iraq, seven men of `Adhra' shall be slain. They shall be like the people of the Trench.”19 This was a reference to the slaying of Hujr ibn `Adiyy and his companions.
Still another prophecy was the Prophet's‑ foretelling of the martyrdom of al‑Husayn ibn 'Ali, peace be upon them both.
It is related on the authority of Umm Salamah (one of the Prophet's wives) , that the Prophet one day lay down to sleep and woke up disturbed. He lay down again and woke up less disturbed than the time before. A third time he lay down to sleep, but when he awoke this time, he held some red soil which he began to turn over in his hand. “I asked”, Umm Salamah said: ” `What is this soil, O Messenger of Allah?' He replied: 'Gabriel has informed me that this one (and he pointed to al‑Husayn) shall be killed in the land of Iraq. I said: “O Gabriel, show me the soil of the spot on which he shall be slain,” and this is its soil.' ”
Anas ibn Malik reported that the angel of rain one day asked permission to visit the Messenger of Allah, and it was granted him. The Prophet said to Umm Salamah: “Keep the door closed, so that no one comes in to disturb us.” al‑Husayn ibn 'Ali, however, came and forced his way in. He began to throw himself on the Prophet's back. The angel asked: “Do you love him?” “Yes”, replied the Prophet. The angel continued: “Your community shall kill him. I will, if you wish, show you the spot on which he shall be slain.” The angel then showed him some red soil, which Umm Salamah carefully wrapped up in the end of her garment. She concluded: “Thus we always knew that al‑Husayn would be slain in Karbala'.”
Another of the Prophet's signs was that he foretold the martyrdom of the people of his household. al‑Hakim Abu `Abdillah al‑Hafiz reported on the authority of the `Master of all worshippers', 'Ali ibn al‑Husayn (the fourth lmam), who related from his father on the authority of his grandfather (`Ali), who said: “The Messenger of Allah visited us one day, and we made for him a meat dish. Likewise, Umm Ayman brought him another meat dish and a bowlful of dates. The Messenger of Allah ate, and we ate with him. Then he performed the prayer ablutions, rubbing his head and face with his hand. He then turned towards the qiblah (direction of prayer) and invoked Allah as he willed. He then fell on his face, with copious tears running down his cheeks like rain.
We stood in too great awe before the Messenger of Allah to ask him the reason for his weeping. But al‑Husayn jumped up, and, throwing himself over the Messenger of Allah, said: `O father, I see you act as you never did before.' He answered: `My son, I was never as happy before as I was today with you. But my beloved Gabriel came to me and told me that you shall be slain, and that your deaths shall be in diverse places; this caused me great sorrow. Thus, I prayed Allah that He be gracious toward you.' al‑Husayn asked: `But who shall make pilgrimage (ziyarah) to us, scattered and far apart as our tombs shall be?' The Messenger of Allah replied: `A group of my community, wishing by this only to show kindness and love to me. When the Day of Resurrection shall come, I will myself visit them and take them all by the shoulders to save them from its fears and calamities.' ”20
His prediction of the massacre of the people of al-Harrah (a district of Medina strewn with volcanic rocks, known as al‑harrah) was yet another sign of Muhammad's Prophethood. It is related on the authority of Ayyub ibn Bashir who said: “The Messenger of Allah went one day with his Companions on a journey. As he passed by Harrah of Zuhrah, he stopped and exclaimed: `To Allah do we belong, and to Him we shall return!' (Qur'an. 2 :156) . Those who were with him were troubled, thinking that this was concerning their journey. `Umar ibn al‑Khattab asked: `O Messenger of Allah, what was it that you saw?' He answered: `This does not concern your journey.' `What is it then, O Messenger of Allah?' they asked. He answered: `In this Harrah the best of my community after my Companions will be slain.'”
Anas ibn Malik said: “On the day of the Battle of al-Harrah seven hundred men, all Qur'an reciters, were slain. Among them were three of the Prophet's Companions.” al‑Hasan (son of `Ali and grandson of the Prophet) used to say: “In the Battle of al‑Harrah, the people of Medina were slain; hardly anyone escaped. Among those who were slain were the two sons of Zaynab, a foster‑daughter of the Messenger of Allah. They were her sons by Zam'ah ibn al‑Aswad. The Battle of al‑Harrah took place on Wednesday, three days before the end of Dhi'l‑Hijjah, 63 A.H. (August, 683).”
The Prophet also foretold that Ibn `Abbas would lose his sight in old age, and that he would be granted great knowledge. Likewise, he said to Zayd ibn Arqam (a well‑known Companion), after the latter had suffered a serious illness: “No harm shall befall you in your illness. But what would you say if you were to grow old after me and become blind? ” Zayd answered: “I shall take Allah as my sufficient trust, and endure it patiently.” “Then you will enter Paradise without reckoning”, the Prophet assured him.
The Prophet also foretold that al‑Walid ibn Yazid was to be an evil man, as he indeed turned out to be. It is reported that Said ibn al‑Musayyab (an important traditionist) said: “A male child was born to a half‑brother of Umm Salamah, whom they named al‑Walid. The Prophet reproached them saying: `So you give the names of your Pharaohs (that is, oppressive rulers) to your children! Change his name and name him `Abdullah. This is because a man shall be born in my community called al‑Walid, who shall be more wicked towards my community than Pharaoh was towards his people.' Thus people thought that he meant al‑Walid ibn `Abdi 'l-Malik, but then we found out that it was al‑Walid ibn Yazid (an Umayyad ruler).”
Another prophecy was the Prophet's saying concerning Banu Abi 'l-`As and Banu Umayyah, as related on the authority of Abu Said al‑Khudri : “When the number of the children of Abu 'l-`As shall reach thirty men, they shall use the religion of Allah as means of corruption, the servants of Allah as slaves and Allah's wealth as a commodity among themselves.” In another tradition, related on the authority of Abu Hurayrah, it is forty men.
Ibn Murhib reported: “I was with Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan when Marwan (ibn al‑Hakam, the first of the Marwanid rulers) came in to talk to Mu'awiyah about a matter that concerned him. He pleaded: `Grant me my need, for by Allah, my burden is heavy ‑ I am the father of ten, the uncle of ten and the brother of ten.' When Marwan turned to go, Mu'awiyah turned to Ibn `Abbas, who was sitting with him on his couch, and said: `I bear witness before Allah, O Ibn `Abbas ‑ do you not know that the Messenger of Allah said that when the sons of al‑Hakam (that is, Marwan's father) shall reach the number of thirty men, they will use Allah's wealth among them as a commodity; that they will oppress His servants as their own slaves, and will use Allah's religion as cause of corruption? When, however, their number will reach four hundred and ninety‑nine, their destruction will come more quickly than it takes to chew a date.'
Ibn `Abbas replied: `By Allah, yes.' Marwan left without having his need granted. His son `Abdu'l-Malik came to Mu'awiyah to discuss the matter further. When he left, Mu'awiyah again turned to Ibn `Abbas and said: `I ask you in the name of Allah, O Ibn `Abbas, do you not know that the Apostle mentioned this man and said that he shall be the father of four tyrants?' Ibn `Abbas again answered: `By Allah, yes.' ”
A man called Yusuf ibn Mazin ar‑Rasibi related that a man reproached al‑Hasan ibn `Ali (a. s.) saying: “You have indeed brought dishonour upon the people of faith.” al‑Hasan said: “Do not reproach me, may Allah have mercy upon you! The Messenger of Allah foresaw the sons of Umayyah delivering speeches upon his pulpit one man after another, and that displeased him. Thus, Allah revealed to him:
We have surely given you al‑kawthar (abundance) (Qur'an. 108: 1) ,
which is a river in Paradise. He also sent down:
We have surely sent it (the Qur'an) on the night of determination (laylatu'l-qadr). Would that you knew what the night of determination is! The night of determination is more excellent than a thousand months (Qur.97:1‑3) .
This means the thousand months reign of the sons of Umayyah. We counted the months of their reign, and it was neither more no less.”
The signs belonging to this category are too many for this book to contain. What we have here reported must thus be sufficient for people of understanding.
- 1. That is, al‑Kharkushi, Abu Said (or Sa'd) 'Abdu 'l‑Malik Muhammad ibn Ibrahim an‑Naysaburi, a well‑known mystic who died in Nishapur in 406/1015 ‑16, or in 407/1016. The reference is certainly taken from his book, Sharafu 'n‑Nabiyy (alternate titles of the work are: Sharafu 'l-Mustafa, Dala'ilu 'n‑Nubuwwah and Sharafu 'n Nubuwwah ). The work was apparently quite popular, and was also translated into Persian, probably in the late twelfth century. Both the Arabic and the Persian, however, remain unpublished. See C. A. Storey, Persian Literature, A Biobibliographical Survey (London: Luzac and Co., 1927), vol.l, pp.175‑6; and Sezgin, Fuat, Geschichte des Arabischen Scrifttums, Band I (Brill: Leiden, 1976), pp. 670 ‑ 1.
- 2. The author quotes quite accurately in Hebrew Gen. 17:20. The Arabic rendering of this verse is, however, purposely modified to support Shiite prophetology.
- 3. See Qur'an 3:37.
- 4. See Qur'an 59:23. See also as‑Saduq, Abu Ja'far, Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn al‑Husayn Ibn Babawayh al‑Qummi, Ikmalu 'd‑Din wa Itmamu 'n‑Ni'mah fi' Ithbati 'r‑Rajah, ed. Muhammad Mahdi Hasan al‑Musawi al‑Khirsan (Najaf: al‑Matba'ah al‑Haydariyyah, 1389/1970), pp. 157 ‑ 8.
- 5. See Qur'an 3:55.
- 6. The descent of Jesus to earth is alluded to in the Qur'an (43:61 and 4:157‑9), and figures prominently in the hadith. See Muslim, vol.18, pp. 68ff. This tradition is quoted in Ibn Shu'bah, Abu Muhammad ibn Hasan ibn `Ali ibn Shu'bah al‑Harrani, Tuhafu '1`Uqul' an Ali 'r‑Rasul, ed. Muhammad al‑Husayn al‑A'lami (Beirut: Mu'asassatu'l‑A'lami, 1394/1974), pp.368‑72.
- 7. See Qur'an 33 : 22. See also al‑Bukhari, vol. 5, pp. 44 ‑ 49.
- 8. See al‑Kulayni, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Ya'qub ibn Ishaq, al‑Kafi, ed. 'Ali Akbar al‑Ghifari, 3rd ed., 8 vols. (Tehran: Daru'l-Kutub al‑Islamiyyah, 1388), vol. 8: ar‑Rawdah mina'l-Kafi, p. 263.
- 9. See Ibn Hisham, Abu Muhammad `Abdu'l-Malik, as‑Sirah an-Nabawiyyah, ed. Muhammad Muhyi'd‑Din `Abdi'l‑Hamid, 4 vols. (Beirut: Daru'l-Fikr, n. d.), vol. 2, pp. 102 ‑ 4. Ibn Hisham reports that Suraqah's horse tripped three times, and not that its legs sank into the ground. In English see Guillaume, A., The Life of Muhammad (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 1970), pp. 225 ‑ 6.
- 10. See Qur'an 3 :123 ‑ 4.
- 11. See Surah 54.
- 12. See Qur'an 54:1. See also al‑Qummi, vol. 2, pp. 340 ‑ 1.
- 13. See for the account of Dhu'l‑Qarnayn, Qur'an 18 : 83 ‑ 98.
- 14. See al‑Bukhari, vol. 8, pp. 86 ‑ 87.
- 15. al‑Haw'ab is a place between Mecca and Basrah in Iraq. Shi'i tradition has made much of this incident. See ash‑Shaykh al‑Mufid, Abu `Abdillah Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn an‑Nu'man al`Ukbari al‑Baghdadi, Kitabu'l-Ikhtisas (Qumm: Maktabat Basirati, n. d.), pp. 113‑5.
- 16. The Saqifah of Banu Sa'idah was a roofed area where the Immigrants and Ansar met immediately after the Prophet's death to elect a successor. 'Ali was absent, as were most of the men of the Banu Hashim. Thus Abu Bakr was elected, in spite of the sharp disagreement between the two groups. See below in this book.
- 17. See Muslim, vol. 18, p.41.
- 18. `Adhra' is a town near Damascus. See al‑Mas'udi, Muruju'dh Dhahab wa Ma`aaini 'l-Jawhar, ed. Charles Pellat, 7 vols. (Beirut: Librarie Orientale, 1970), vol. 3, pp. 188 ‑ 9.
- 19. See Qur'an 85 : 4 ‑ 9. See also at‑Tabrisi, Abu `Ali al‑Fadl ibn alHasan ibn al‑Fadl, Majma'u 'l-Bayan fi Tafsiri 'l-Quran, 6 vols. (Beirut: Dar Maktabatu'l-Hayat, 1380/1961), vo1.6, part 30, pp. 88 ‑ 91.
- 20. See Naysaburi, vol. 3, pp. 176 ‑7. Shi'i sources have related this tradition in a number of versions. See for example: Ibn Qulawayh, Abu 'l-Qasim Ja'far ibn Muhammad ibn Ja'far ibn Musa al‑Qummi, Kamilu 'z‑Ziyarat, ed. Mirza `Abdu 'l-Husayn al‑Amini at‑Tabrizi (Najaf: Murtadawiyyah, 1356/1937), pp. 255ff.