Their certainty • Their classification and purpose • Specific predictions and their fulfillment • How the accounts were transmitted
FIRST SIGN: The universe’s Owner and Master does everything with knowledge, controls every affair with wisdom, directs everything perfectly, regulates everything all-knowingly, and arranges everything in a way to display the purposes and uses He wills for them. As the One who creates knows, the One who knows will speak. Since He will speak, He will speak to those having consciousness, thought, and speech. Since He will speak to such beings, He will speak to humanity, whose nature and awareness are the most comprehensive of all conscious beings. Since He will speak to humanity, He will speak to those most perfect and worthy of address.
Since He will speak to the one most perfect and worthy of address, of the highest morality and who will guide humanity, He will speak to Muhammad, who has the highest disposition and morality and is followed (most sincerely) by one-fifth of humanity. Half of the globe has submitted to his spiritual rule, and his light’s radiance has illumined humanity for more than 13 centuries. Believers, the illumined section of humanity, renew their oath of allegiance five times a day, pray for his happiness, invoke God’s blessings upon him, and admire and love him. Given this, He will speak to Muhammad and make him His Messenger and humanity’s guide. Indeed, He has done so.
SECOND SIGN: The Prophet declared his Prophethood and proved it by presenting the Qur’an and nearly 1,000 miracles. Their occurrence is as certain as his declaration of Prophethood. Another proof is that the Qur’an states that the most obstinate unbelievers charged him with sorcery. Unable to deny the miracles, they called them sorcery to satisfy themselves or to mislead their followers.
Muhammad’s miracles are so certain that the Traditionists confirmed and reported them unanimously. A miracle is the Creator of the universe’s confirmation of his Prophethood and has the effect of: “You have spoken the truth.” For example, if one claims in the ruler’s presence that the ruler has appointed him to a particular position, the ruler’s “Yes” is enough to prove the person’s claim. Furthermore, if the ruler changes his usual practice and attitude at that person’s request, this makes his claim firmer.
The Messenger claimed to be the Creator of the universe’s envoy, and God, in turn, changed His unbroken order at his prayer and request so that the resulting miracles would prove his claim. Some of his hundreds of miracles are water running from his fingers, splitting the moon with a gesture of his finger, having a tree draw close to him to confirm and bear witness to him, and feeding 200 or 300 people with only enough food for 2 or 3 people.
However, the evidence of his truthfulness and his Prophethood’s proofs are not restricted to his miracles. In fact, all of his deeds and acts, words and behavior, moral conduct and manners, as well as character and appearance, prove his truthfulness and seriousness. Indeed, such people as ‘Abdullah ibn al-Salam, a famous Jewish scholar of that time, believed in him at first sight, saying: “No lie can hide in this face, nor can any guile be found in it.”
Profound scholars say that the evidences of his Prophethood and his miracles amount to about 1,000; in reality, however, this is only the beginning. Countless people have affirmed it in their own particular ways, and the Qur’an itself provides thousands of such proofs in addition to its own 40 aspects of miraculousness. Since Prophethood is a fact, and more than 100,000 persons have claimed it and worked miracles, Muhammad’s Prophethood is established more securely than any other Prophet’s Prophethood. All evidence, qualities, and attributes related to the other Messengers’ Prophethood are found in a more perfect and comprehensive manner in the person of Prophet Muhammad. Given this, he must be far more worthy to be chosen as a Prophet.
THIRD SIGN: The Prophet’s miracles are very diverse. Since his Messengership is universal, he is distinguished by miracles connected with nearly all species of creation. When a glorified ruler’s aide-de-camp enters a city bearing diverse gifts, a representative from each section of the population welcomes him cheerfully and in its own language.
Likewise, when the Eternal Sovereign’s supreme Messenger honored the universe as an envoy to humanity and came bearing the Creator’s light of truth and spiritual gifts related to the truths of the universe, he was welcomed as the Prophet by each species—from mineral elements to plants, animals and human beings, and from the moon and sun to stars—each in its own language and bearing one of his miracles. It would require many volumes to mention all of his miracles. Pure-souled meticulous scholars have compiled many volumes concerning his Prophethood’s proofs, so here we point out only briefly the main categories of those miracles unanimously accepted as authentic.
These proofs fall into two main categories. The first (irhasat) includes miraculous events before his birth, at his birth, and before he declared his Prophethood. The second category pertains to all other proofs and has two sub-categories: the wonderful events after his death and those manifested during his Prophethood. This latter group is subdivided into proofs manifested in his own person, moral conduct, and perfect character, and those miracles concerned with the outer world. This second subgroup consists of miracles related to spirituality and the Qur’an, and those related to material reality and creation. The latter category is subdivided further into miraculous events during his mission that either broke the unbelievers’ recalcitrance or reinforced the believers’ belief. This branch has 20 different kinds, each having many instances and having been, at least in meaning, confirmed unanimously (e.g., splitting the moon, water flowing from his fingers, satisfying many people with little food, and being addressed by animals, trees, and rocks). The second branch includes some future events that happened just as he foretold.39
FOURTH SIGN: The future events he foretold, through the All-Knowing of the Unseen’s instruction, are beyond counting. Since his true reports about preceding ages, Prophets, and their nations are mostly found in the Qur’an, here we point out only a few of his correct predictions concerning his Companions, Family, and community. To ensure a complete understanding of the subject, we explain six essentials as a prelude.
FIRST ESSENTIAL: The Prophet’s every act and state bears witness to his Prophethood and faithfulness. But not all of them need to be miraculous, for he was sent by the All-Mighty as a human being to guide and lead human beings in their collective affairs and individual deeds to happiness in both this world and the next, and to disclose the wonders of God’s art and the works of His Power, each of which is a miracle although it appears to us as ordinary and familiar. If he were extraordinary in all of his acts, he could not guide human beings and instruct them through his acts, states, and attitudes.
Being supplied with some extraordinary phenomena to prove his Prophethood to obstinate unbelievers, he worked miracles when necessary. But his miracles were never such that people were forced to believe against their will, as that would annul human free will in this arena of test and trial. If this were not so, there would have been no choice, meaning that Abu Jahl would have believed as did Abu Bakr and that no one could have been held responsible, in this life and the next, for their deeds.
It is surprising that while so many people believed in him through a single sign such as a miracle, a few words, or a glimpse of his face, some people today go astray as if thousands of proofs of his Prophethood were not enough, although they have reached us through authentic lines of transmission and caused countless discerning people to accept Islam.
SECOND ESSENTIAL: The Messenger is a human being and so acts as a human being. He is also a Messenger of God and thus an interpreter and envoy of the All-Mighty.
His message is based on the two kinds of Divine Revelation: explicit and implicit. In the case of explicit Revelation, the Messenger merely interprets and announces—he has no share in its content. The Qur’an and those Sacred Traditions (hadith qudsi) whose meaning and content belong to God exclusively but whose wording belongs to the Prophet, are included here. In the case of implicit Revelation, the essence and origin of which is based on Divine Revelation and inspiration, the Prophet is allowed to explain and describe them. When he does so, he relies either on direct Revelation and inspiration or on his own insight. When giving his own interpretation, he either relies on the perceptive power bestowed upon him due to his Prophetic mission or speaks as a person conforming to his time’s common usages, customs, and kinds of comprehension.
Thus not all details of every Prophetic Tradition are necessarily derived from pure Revelation, nor are the sublime signs of his Messengership to be sought in his human thoughts and transactions. Since some truths are revealed to him in a brief and abstract form, and he describes them through his insight and in accord with normal understanding, the metaphors, allegories, or allusions he uses may need explanation or interpretation. Remember that the human mind can grasp some truths only through analogy. For example, once a loud noise was heard in the Prophet’s presence. He said: “This is the noise of a rock that has been rolling downwards for 70 years and now has reached Hell’s lowest depths.” An hour later, news came that a notorious hypocrite who recently had reached the age of 70 had died and gone to Hell. This report showed the interpretation of the Prophet’s eloquent parable.
THIRD ESSENTIAL: A Tradition related by numerous reliable authorities is indisputable. This form of relation (tawatur) has two kinds: obvious tawatur (a Tradition with numerous chains of transmission by reliable authorities) and tawatur with respect to meaning. This second one also has two kinds: those agreed upon by silence and those unanimously related by different people but with different words. In the first case, a Tradition related in the presence of others without engendering any dispute or is met with silence enjoys an implied acceptance. If those remaining silent are interested in the narration and are known to be very sensitive to errors and lies, their silence implies acceptance with far more certainty. The second kind, tawatur with respect to meaning, occurs when an incident is related unanimously by different people but with different words, as this also implies its actual occurrence. In addition, a report with only one chain of transmission sometimes amounts to the degree of tawatur in certain conditions or through some external signs.
Most of the Prophet’s miracles and his Prophethood’s proofs fall into either category. Although a few are related through only one chain of transmitters, they can be regarded as certain as if related through tawatur, since they have been accepted by confirmed authorities. Among such authorities were those who memorized more than 100,000 Traditions, who were so God conscious that for 50 years they performed the morning prayer with the night prayer’s wudu’ (ablution) (spending night awake in long vigils), and who compiled the six authentic books of Tradition.40
Any Tradition accepted by those authorities after much scrutiny has the certainty of tawatur, even if it had only one chain of transmitters, for such people were so familiar with the Prophet’s Traditions and exalted style that they could instantly spot and reject one false Tradition among 100 reports. Like an expert jeweler recognizes a pure diamond, they could not confuse other words with those of the Prophet. However, such meticulous authorities as Ibn al-Jawziya were so excessive in their criticism that they considered several authentic Traditions to be false. This does not mean that the meaning of every false wording is wrong; rather, it means that the wording does not belong to the Prophet.
QUESTION: What is the benefit of relating every Tradition through a chain of transmitters, so that they say, even for a well-known incident: “It is related from so-and-so and from so-and-so, etc.”?
ANSWER: This has many benefits, such as showing the consensus of the truthful and reliable narrators, meticulous Traditionists, as well as the unanimity of the discerning authorities mentioned. Also, it shows that each scholar in the chain puts his seal on its authenticity.
QUESTION: Why were miracles not transmitted with as great an emphasis as the Sharia’s basic rules?
ANSWER: The Sharia’s rules are used by most people to guide their lives and are applicable to everyone. Miracles, on the other hand, do not need to be known to everyone and only need to be heard once. For example, some religious obligations (such as the funeral prayer) only need to be observed by a few people and not the entire community. In the same way, only some people need to know about the miracles. This is why a miracle, no matter how much firmer its establishment is than a Sharia rule, is transmitted by only one or two narrators, while a Sharia rule is transmitted by ten or twenty people.
FOURTH ESSENTIAL: The Messenger predicted some future events that are recurring, as opposed to isolated events having a particular significance in human history. They also have numerous aspects, each of which is explained through a different Tradition. A reporter combines these aspects as if a single narration, thereby making the Tradition appear to be at variance with reality.
For example, many narrations about the Mahdi have different details and descriptions. But the truth of the matter is that God’s Messenger, relying on Revelation, told of a Mahdi who would appear in every century to preserve believers’ morale, prevent them from falling into despair over social upheavals, and secure their heart-felt devotion to members of the Prophet’s Family (a most-illustrious lineage). He foresaw a Mahdi in every century similar to the Great Mahdi promised for the end of time. The ‘Abbasid caliph al-Mahdi, for example, regarded as belonging to the Prophet’s Family, had many of the Great Mahdi’s characteristics. So, narrations about the Mahdi differ due to confusing the Great Mahdi’s qualities with those great caliphs or saints who came before him.
FIFTH ESSENTIAL: Since only God knows the Unseen, The Prophet did not know it by himself. He told his Companions whatever God, the All-Mighty, related to him about the Unseen.
The All-Mighty is also All-Wise and All-Compassionate. Thus His Wisdom and Compassion require the veiling of most future events, for as people consider many of them unpleasant, any prior knowledge of them would be painful. This is why we do not know when we will die and why the misfortunes we will experience remain behind the veil of the Unseen.
Divine Wisdom and Compassion also require that the Prophet not know the details of what will happen to his household and Companions after his death because of his deep compassion and tender-heartedness.41 Nevertheless the All-Mighty had a Divine purpose for telling him about some of them, albeit not in all their tragic aspects. He communicated pleasant events to the Prophet, either in outline or in detail, which he then related to his Companions.
Finally, his tidings were transmitted accurately to our own era by the great Traditionists who were at the height of piety, justice, and truthfulness, and who trembled with fear at such specific warnings as: “Whoever intentionally lies about me should prepare for a dwelling in the Fire”42 and But who does greater wrong than one who lies against God? (39:32).
SIXTH ESSENTIAL: Many history books and biographies describe the Prophet’s behavior and characteristics. But most discuss his human nature, and thus ignore his spiritual persona and his being’s sacred nature, both of which are very sublime and illustrious. For, according to the rule of “the cause is like the doer,” the rewards of all Muslims’ prayers are added to the accounts of his perfections from the day he declared his Prophethood (until the end of time). Every day he receives countless invocations by Muslims as well as God’s infinite mercy, which he draws in like measure.
Further, since he is creation’s result and most perfect fruit, as well as the beloved and interpreter of the Creator of the universe, his true nature and true perfections cannot be contained in accounts of his recorded human qualities. Certainly the stature of one served by archangels Gabriel and Michael as aides-de-camp during the Battle of Badr cannot be sought in accounts of, for example, his bargaining over the price of a horse.
To avoid falling into error, we must focus on his true nature and illustrious spiritual persona in his rank of Messengership. Otherwise we may risk showing him disrespect or entertain uncertainties about his persona.
Consider the following analogies: Suppose a planted date-stone sprouts and becomes a tall, fruitful tree growing upward and outward; or that a chick from an incubated peacock egg hatches, grows into a beautiful peacock, and, adorned with the Pen of Divine Power, grows bigger and prettier still. The date-stone and egg possess qualities, properties, and precisely balanced elements, but they are not as striking and significant as those of the tree and the peacock that grew from them. Given this, while describing the date-stone’s and the egg’s qualities along with those of the tree and the peacock, each item’s qualities must be distinguished so that anyone following the description may find it reasonable. If this is not done (e.g., claiming that one date-stone [and not the tree] produces thousands of dates, or that the egg is [already] the prince of birds), people will be led to contradiction and denial.
The human nature of God’s Messenger may be likened to that date stone or egg, but his true nature, illumined with the Prophetic mission, is like the Touba tree or the Royal Bird of Paradise. Moreover, His true nature continues to grow more and more perfect. Given this, when one thinks of that exalted person bargaining with a Bedouin in the marketplace, he should gaze upon his illustrious essential nature, the one who rode the Rafraf during the Ascension, left Gabriel behind, and reached the Divine Presence. Otherwise, one risks showing insufficient respect to or failing to convince one’s earth-bound soul of his true nature.
FIFTH SIGN: We will mention several Prophetic Traditions that predict future events, as follows:
•The Prophet announced from the pulpit in the presence of his Companions: “My grandson Hasan is a noble one. Through him, God will reconcile two large hosts.”43 Forty years later, when the two largest Muslim armies faced each other, Hasan made peace with Mu‘awiya and fulfilled this prediction.
•The Prophet told ‘Ali: “You will fight the oath-breakers, the unjust, and the deviators.”44 In this way he predicted the battles of the Camel and Siffin, as well as those fought against the Kharijites.45 Once when conversing with Zubayr in good, affectionate terms, the Prophet told
‘Ali: “Zubayr will fight you, but he will be in the wrong.”46
•He also told his wives: “One of you will lead a serious rebellion. Many around her will be killed, and the dogs of Haw‘ab will bark at her.”47
All these predictions were proved by ‘Ali’s battles against ‘A’isha, Talha, and Zubayr during the Battle of the Camel; against Mu‘awiya at Siffin; and against the Kharijites at Haroura and Nahrawan.
•The Prophet told ‘Ali that ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Muljam al-Khariji, whom he knew, would stain Ali’s beard with the blood of his own head.48
In addition, he also mentioned a bodily mark possessed by the Kharijite Dhul-Thadya. When that man’s corpse was found among the dead Kharijites, ‘Ali showed it to others as a proof of the rightness of his cause, thus making the miracle public.49
•Umm Salama and others related that the Messenger prophesied Husayn’s death at Taff (Karbala’),50 a tragic event that occurred 50 years later. He also repeatedly predicted, with some details, that his Family would be subjected to killing and exile after his death.51 All that he predicted came true.
QUESTION: ‘Ali’s extraordinary courage and profound knowledge, in addition to his kinship with the Messenger, qualified him to be caliph. So why did Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman reign before him? And why did the Muslim community experience so much disorder during his caliphate?
ANSWER: A great saint descended from the Prophet’s Family is reported to have said: “God’s Messenger desired ‘Ali’s caliphate, but was informed through inspiration that God willed otherwise. Upon this, he abandoned his desire and submitted to God’s Will.”
One reason why God’s Will differed must have been this: If ‘Ali had become caliph right after the Prophet’s death, a time when the Companions were more in need of agreement and unity than ever, there probably would have arisen, as happened during his caliphate, a tendency in many persons and tribes to compete because of his pure, uncompromisingly fearless, heroic, and independent behavior and attitude, as well as his widely known courage. Such competition might have divided the believers.
Another reason is that the young Muslim community, which spread rapidly through tribal and ethnic intermingling, gradually caused 73 sects to emerge, just as the Prophet predicted. Thus, in circumstances that foster internal conflict and turbulence, a person of ‘Ali’s courage and sagacity was needed, someone who enjoyed the force and esteem of the Hashimites and the Prophet’s Family. ‘Ali, by fighting every hardship, fulfilled the Prophet’s prediction: “I fought for the Qur’an’s revelation. You will fight for its correct explanation against its forced, false interpretation.”52
In ‘Ali’s absence, the pomp of worldly kingdom probably would have led the Umayyads completely astray. But his presence and that of the Prophet’s Family made the Umayyad leaders restrict themselves, preserve their standing before the Muslim community, and do their best (if not willingly) or at least encourage their subjects and followers to protect and propagate Islam’s truths and principles and the Qur’an’s commandments. As a result, countless meticulous Muslim jurists, distinguished Traditionists, saints and pure people of piety emerged during their reign. If they had not faced the perfect piety, sainthood, and virtue of the Prophet’s Family, they probably would have gone completely astray from the very beginning, as happened toward the end of both their and the ‘Abbasids’ rule.
QUESTION: Why did the caliphate not remain in the Prophet’s Family, although its members were the most deserving?
ANSWER: Worldly kingdom is deceptive, and the Prophet’s Family was appointed to preserve Islam’s truths and the Qur’an’s injunctions. In order not to be deceived by caliphate or kingdom, one should be either infallible like a Prophet or as extraordinarily pure-hearted as the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs, the Umayyad caliph ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, or the ‘Abbasid caliph al-Mahdi. The Fatimids in Egypt, the al-Mohads in North Africa, and the Safawids in Persia all show that worldly kingdom is not suitable for the Prophet’s Family, for it causes them to neglect their essential duty of protecting and serving Islam. When they refrained from worldly kingdom, they served Islam and the Qur’an brilliantly and successfully.
Consider the leading saints descended from Hasan, particularly the four most eminent (Hasan al-Kharaqani, Hayat ibn Qays al-Harrani, Shaykh Hasan al-Shadhezili, and especially ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani) and the Imams descending from Husayn, especially Zayn al-‘Abidin and Ja‘far al-Sadiq. Each became a spiritual guide of the highest rank and, dispelling the dark clouds of wrongdoing, spread the Qur’an’s light and Islam’s truth. They showed themselves to be true heirs of the Prophet.
QUESTION: What was the Divine Wisdom behind the terrible and bloody upheavals, and why did Divine Compassion allow such things to happen to those Muslims who cannot have deserved them?
ANSWER: A strong spring rain activates and develops predispositions inherent in vegetables, seeds, and trees so that each will bloom and flourish in its own fashion and realize its natural function. In the same way, upheavals during the time of the Companions and their successors activated various talents. Many people rose to preserve Islam, fearing that it was in danger. Women and men shouldered a duty to be performed in the Muslim community and strove to fulfill it to the best of their ability. Each group performed a different function, such as striving to preserve the Prophetic Traditions, to protect the Sharia, to maintain the Qur’an and the truths of belief, and so on. This caused many branches of the religious and natural sciences to flourish, as well as many people of learning to appear. The seeds of a brilliant civilization were scattered throughout the vast Muslim world, and half of the ancient world changed into “rose gardens.” Nevertheless, “thorns” (deviant sects) also appeared in these rose gardens.
It was as if Divine Power shook that age through glory, turned it over vigorously, and thus electrified all people of zeal. Activated by that movement’s centrifugal force, large numbers of illustrious jurists, enlightened Traditionists, blessed memorizers of the Qur’an and Traditions, people of purity and chiefs of saints dispersed throughout the Muslim world. Thus Divine Power inspired Muslims with enthusiasm and awakened them to the Qur’an’s treasures.
Now we return to our subject. The Messenger predicted thousands of events, all of which came true. Here we mention only a few. Most are agreed upon by the six most authentic books of Traditions, including the two most famous: Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Muslim. Many have the certainty of tawatur with respect to their meaning, while others, on account of verification by meticulous researchers, may be considered as certain as if narrated through tawatur. All are authentic.
•“You (the Companions) will defeat all your enemies and conquer Mecca, Khyber, Damascus, Jerusalem, Iraq, and Persia. You will share the treasures of the Persian and Byzantine rulers among yourselves.”53 These empires were the superpowers of their time. The Prophet did not say “I think” or “I guess”; rather, he said it as if he had seen it. He predicted this while he was in severest circumstances with a handful of followers due to pervasive hostility in and around Mecca.
•“After my death, you should follow the way of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar.”54
In other words, Abu Bakr and ‘Umar would succeed him as caliphs and act so perfectly as to please God and His Messenger. He also declared that Abu Bakr’s reign would be short, but that ‘Umar would reign for a longer time and make many conquests.
•“Earth was laid out before me, and I was shown its remotest corners in the east and west. My nation will extend over whatever was laid out before me.”55
•Before the Battle of Badr, he indicated the exact places where the polytheistic Qurayshi leaders would be killed, and said: “Abu Jahl will be killed here, ‘Utba here, Umayya here,” etc., and added: “I will kill Umayya ibn al-Khalaf.”56
•He informed his Companions of what was happening during the Battle of Muta (near Damascus), as if watching it, even though it would take someone one month to reach it on foot. He said: “Zayd has taken the flag and been hit; now Ibn Rawaha has taken it and been hit; now Ja‘far has taken it and been hit; now one of God’s swords (i.e., Khalid) has taken it.”57 Two or three weeks later, Ya‘la ibn Munabbih returned from the battlefront. In his presence, the Prophet described the fighting in detail and Ya‘la swore by God that everything had happened exactly as described.
•“The Caliphate after me will last for 30 years and then be replaced by a biting monarchy.58 This affair certainly began with Prophethood and as a mercy. Then it will be mercy and caliphate, after which it will change into a biting monarchy, and finally into iniquity and tyranny.”59 In other words: the caliphates of four Rightly-Guided Caliphs and the 6month caliphate of Hasan, after which the caliphate became a monarchy, which later was transformed into tyranny and the corruption of his nation.
•“‘Uthman will be killed while reading the Qur’an. God probably will dress him in a shirt, but they will want to remove it from him.”60 By this he meant that ‘Uthman would become caliph, his deposition would be sought, and that he would be martyred while reading the Qur’an.
•According to an authentic narration, when the Prophet was cupped, he ordered ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr to bury the blood. Upon learning that Ibn Zubayr had drunk it as a blessing, he said: “Woe unto the people for what will befall them because of you, and woe unto you for what will befall you because of the people.”61 Thus he prophesied that the courageous Ibn Zubayr would lead the Muslims and that they would face awful attacks so that people would suffer great disasters. Ibn Zubayr declared his caliphate in Mecca during the Umayyads’ rule and fought heroic battles against them, until finally Hajjaj the tyrant martyred him after a fierce battle.
•The Messenger foretold the founding of the Umayyad state and that most of its rulers, including Yazid and Walid, would be unjust.62 He also foretold that Mu‘awiya would rule the Muslims and advised him to be just and mild: “When you rule, act gently.”63 The Prophet also predicted the Abbasids’ long rule after the Umayyads, saying: “The descendants of
‘Abbas will appear with black flags and rule for many times longer than them (the Umayyads).”64
•He prophesied the dreadful destruction of Genghis Khan and Hulagu, which caused the ‘Abbasid state to collapse: “Woe to the Arabs for the evil that has approached.”65
•The Prophet said to Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas, when the latter was gravely ill: “Hopefully you will be spared so that some may benefit through you and others be harmed through you,”66 suggesting that Sa‘d would be a great commander and make many conquests. While many would benefit from him by converting to Islam, many others would be harmed through him because he would destroy their states. Later on, Sa‘d commanded the Muslim armies that destroyed Persia’s Sassanid Empire and brought many people within the guidance of Islam.
•When Negus, the Abyssinian ruler who embraced Islam, died 7 years after the Prophet’s emigration to Medina, he told his Companions what had happened and prayed the funeral prayers for him. A week later, news arrived announcing the Negus’ death on the very day it was announced by the Messenger.67
•When the Messenger was on top of either Mount Uhud or Nur with his four closest friends, the mountain trembled. He said: “Steady, for on you are a Prophet, a truthful one (Abu Bakr) and martyrs (‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali).”68
Now O miserable, unfeeling, and wretched one who says that Muhammad was a wise man and then closes your eyes to that sun of the truth! Of his 15 kinds of major miracles, so far you have heard only a tiny part of one kind—that which is related to his predictions having the certainty of tawatur. One who predicts even only one-hundredth of such future events with his own insight would have to be of the highest genius. Even if we merely regarded him as a genius, as you do, could such a person with the insight of a hundred geniuses have perceived anything false or so far abase himself as to give false information? Not to heed the words of such a person concerning happiness in both worlds is pure stupidity.
•The Messenger told his daughter Fatima: “You will be the first Family member to join me (after my death).”69 When she died 6 months later, his words proved true. He also said to Abu Dharr: “You will be expelled from here (Medina), will live alone and die alone.”70 What he said happened 20 years later.
•Once he woke up in Umm Haram’s house (Anas ibn Malik’s aunt) and said with a smile: “I dreamed that my community was fighting in the sea like kings sitting on thrones.” Umm Haram asked: “Pray that I may be with them.” He replied firmly: “You shall be.”71 Forty years later she accompanied her husband ‘Ubada ibn Samit during the conquest of Cyprus. She died there, and her tomb remains a visited place.
•“The Thaqif tribe will produce a liar who claims Prophethood, as well as a bloodthirsty tyrant.”72 In other words, the notorious Mukhtar (who claimed Prophethood) and the criminal Hajjaj (who killed 100,000 people).
• “Constantinople (Istanbul) will be conquered (by my community).
How blessed is the commander who conquers it, and how blessed his army.”73 Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, who thereby attained a high spiritual rank, in 1453.
•“If religion were hung on the Pleiades, descendants of the Persians would reach it and get a hold of it,”74 indicating Persia’s matchless scholars and saints such as Abu Hanifa.
•“A scholar from the Quraysh will fill the parts of Earth with knowledge.”75 This refers to Imam Shafi‘i, who founded one of Islam’s four legal schools.
•“My community will be divided into 73 sects, and only one of them will be saved.” When asked who they were, he replied: “Those who follow me and my Companions,” by which he meant the people of the Sunna and Community (Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama‘a).76
•“The Qadariya are the Magians of this community,”77 thereby predicting the Qadariya sect,78 which would split into several branches and reject Destiny.
•He predicted several groups that would split into many factions, when he told ‘Ali: “On account of you, as with Jesus, two groups will perish: One because of excessive love (for you), and the other because of excessive enmity (for you).”79 Christians, due to their excessive love for Jesus, transgressed the limits and regarded him as God’s “son,” while Jews went so far in their enmity as to deny his Prophethood and perfections. This refers to the Rafidites,80 and the Kharijites, and the Nasiba, extremist partisans of the Umayyads, respectively.
QUESTION: The Qur’an demands that we love the Prophet’s Family, and the Prophet greatly encouraged this. The Shi‘as’ love for them may serve as an excuse, for people of love may be likened to people of intoxication. So why cannot the Shi‘a, especially the Rafidites, benefit from their love? Why did the Prophet condemn them for their excessive love?
ANSWER: There are two kinds of love. The first is loving somebody as a means to attain true love, which is love for the Prophet’s Family in the name of God and his Messenger. Such love increases one’s love of the Prophet and becomes a means to love God Almighty. Therefore it is lawful, its excess is harmless and not considered a transgression, and it does not call for reproach and enmity toward others.
The second takes the means as its real object. Such people “forget” the Prophet and devote their love to ‘Ali (the Rafidites) due to his heroic acts and perfections, and to Hasan and Husayn on account of their extraordinary virtues, regardless of whether they recognize God and His Prophet. This love is not a means to love God and His Messenger. Moreover, its excess leads to reproach and enmity toward others. The Rafidites’ excessive love for ‘Ali caused them to reject the caliphates of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, deny their perfections, and eventually to deviate from the Straight Path. Such excessive and negative love causes spiritual ruin.
•“When Persian and Roman girls serve you, you will be exposed to internal conflicts and civil war, and the wicked will come to power, preying on the good.”81 This came true after 30 years.
•“‘Ali will conquer Khaybar.”82 As a miracle of the Prophet and beyond all expectation, the following day ‘Ali reached the gate of Khyber’s fortress, used it as a shield, and finally conquered Khyber. When he threw the gate aside after the conquest, eight (another version says 40) strong men could not lift it.83
•“The Hour will not come before two parties (of Muslims) fight (each other), although they make the same claims,”84 predicting the Battle of Siffin between ‘Ali and Mu‘awiya.
•“‘Ammar will be killed by a rebellious group.”85 When ‘Ammar was killed at Siffin, ‘Ali mentioned this as evidence that Mu‘awiya and his followers were rebels. However, Mu‘awiya and ‘Amr ibn al-‘As interpreted it as: “The rebels are his murderers, not all of us.”
•“Disorder will not appear (among my community) as long as ‘Umar is alive.”86
•When Sahl ibn ‘Amr was taken prisoner before his conversion to Islam, ‘Umar told the Messenger: “Let me pull out his teeth, for his eloquent speech incites the Qurayshi unbelievers to fight us.” The Messenger replied: “‘Umar, maybe he will assume a position pleasing to you.”87 When the Prophet died, Sahl delivered an eloquent sermon in Mecca to steady and console the grief-stricken Companions. Remarkably, this sermon was almost the same in meaning and wording as that delivered, at the same time and for the same purpose, by Abu Bakr in Medina.
•“I wonder (Suraqa), how it will be with you when you wear the two bracelets of Chosroes (the Persian king).”88 Chosroes was defeated during the reign of ‘Umar, who put the bracelets on Suraqa and said: “Praise be to God, Who took these off Chosroes and put them on Suraqa.”89
The Prophet also declared: “Once (the rule of) Chosroes (meaning the Sassanid dynasty) is gone, there will be no other Chosroes,”90 (thus predicting the end of the Sassanid rule in Iran).
•When the envoy of Chosroes (the Sassanid king during the Prophet’s time) reached Medina, the Prophet told him: “Chosroes has been killed by his son Shirviya Parwiz.”91 After confirming this, the envoy (reported to be Firouz) accepted Islam.
•When God’s Messenger was about to set out for the conquest of Mecca, a secret letter sent by Khatib ibn Abi Balta‘a was already on its way to the Quraysh. He sent ‘Ali and Miqdad, telling them: “The letter-carrier is in such-and-such a place. Go and bring it.” They did as he asked. When the Messenger asked Khatib why he had sent the letter, Khatib gave an excuse and was pardoned.92
•God’s Messenger prayed: “May he (‘Utba ibn Abi Lahab) be devoured by one of the dogs of God.”93 Later on, this man was devoured by a lion while traveling to Yemen.
•After the conquest of Mecca, Bilal al-Habashi stood on the Ka‘ba’s roof and called the people to prayer (adhan). Several Qurayshi leaders, namely, Abu Sufyan, ‘Attab ibn Asid, and Harith ibn Hisham, were sitting together near the Ka‘ba. ‘Attab said: “My father is fortunate not to witness this moment.” Harith asked contemptuously: “Could not Muhammad find someone other than this black crow to be the mu’azzin?”
Abu Sufyan did not comment, saying: “I am afraid that he will come to know whatever I say, and so will say nothing. Even if no one informs him, the rocks of this Batha (i.e., Mecca) will do so.” Shortly thereafter, God’s Messenger came to them and repeated their conversation word for word. At that very moment ‘Attab and Harith embraced Islam.94
Now, those of you who do not recognize the Prophet! Consider that two stubborn Qurayshi leaders believed after witnessing only one miracle. Consider how far you have been ruined so that you are not convinced even after hearing hundreds of his miracles, like this one, that came through tawatur. But let’s return to our subject.
•The Muslims captured ‘Abbas during the Battle of Badr. When asked for ransom, ‘Abbas said he had no money. God’s Messenger said: “You left that amount of money with your wife Umm Fadl in such-and-such a place (he gave the exact amount of money and named the place).”95 ‘Abbas confirmed this: “Only the two of us (i.e., ‘Abbas and his wife) knew this,” and then attained perfect belief.
•Labid, a dangerous Jewish sorcerer, invented a strong and effective spell to harm the Prophet. Winding some hair around a comb, he bewitched it and threw it into a well. God’s Messenger told some of his Companions, including ‘Ali: “Go to such-and-such a well and remove the spell from it.” They did so, and the Messenger’s discomfort lessened as they unwound the hair.96
•In the company of some important Companions, including Abu Hurayra and Hudayfa, the Prophet mentioned the fate one of them would meet because of his later apostasy: “One of you will be in the Fire with a tooth bigger than Mount Uhud.” Abu Hurayra would later relate: “I was so afraid, as only two members of that group remained. One of them was me. Finally, the other man was killed in the Battle of Yamama as an apostate in the company of Musaylima.”97
•Before converting to Islam, ‘Umayr and Safwan decided to kill the Prophet and collect a large reward. When ‘Umayr came to Medina with this intention, God’s Messenger summoned him, related the plot, and placed his hand on ‘Umayr’s chest. ‘Umayr confessed and became a Muslim.98
Many more of his predictions are recorded with chains of transmission in authentic books of Tradition. Most of the ones related here have the certainty of tawatur in meaning, being related in al-Jami‘ al-Sahih by Imam al-Bukhari and al-Jami‘ al-Sahih by Imam al-Muslim (commonly known as Bukhari and Muslim or Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih al-Muslim, respectively), which are accepted by meticulous researchers as the most authentic sources after the Qur’an, and in the Sunan al-Tirmidhi, Sunan al-Nasa’i, Sunan Abu Dawud, Musnad al-Hakim, Musnad al-Ahmad ibn Hanbal, and Dala’il al-Bayhaqi.
Now then, you bewildered person, do not try to explain this away by calling Muhammad a wise man. His predictions, all of which have come (or will come) true, can be explained in only two ways. The first one is that he had such a keen sight and broad genius that he penetrated into all times and places and thereby learned of the past and the future. If someone had this quality, it would be no more than a wonder, a miraculous gift from the Creator of the universe, and one of the greatest miracles.
The second one is that he is an official instructed by a Being Who controls and observes everything, commands all times and places, and records everything in a great ledger. He then relates to His Messenger whatever and whenever He wills. Thus Muhammad instructs others as he is instructed by his Eternal Instructor.
•While appointing Khalid ibn al-Walid to fight against Ukaydir, the chief of Dawmat al-Jandal, the Prophet told him: “You will find him (Ukaydir) on a wild ox hunt,” and that he would be captured without resistance.99
Khalid found and captured Ukaydir in those exact circumstances.
•Sometime after the Quraysh hung the leaf containing the articles of boycott against the Bani Hashim (the Prophet’s clan) on the Ka‘ba’s wall, the Messenger told them: “Worms have eaten the leaf, except the parts bearing the names of God.” They went and found it to be so.100
•“A pestilence will break out during Jerusalem’s conquest.” This city was conquered during ‘Umar’s caliphate, and a widespread pestilence broke out and killed about 70,000 people in 3 days.101
•God’s Messenger predicted the establishment of Basra and Baghdad,102 that treasures would pour into Baghdad from all over the world, and that the Arabs would fight the Turks and the people living around the Caspian Sea,103 most of whom would later convert and rule the Arabs in their own lands. He said: “Non-Arabs will predominate among you, consuming your booty and striking off your heads.”104
•“Young, evil Qurayshis will ruin my community.”105 This foretold such wicked Umayyad leaders as Yazid and Walid. He also predicted that people in certain areas, such as Yamama, would apostasize,106 and declared during the Battle of the Trench: “After this, neither the Quraysh nor the Confederates will fight me, but I will fight them.”107
•The Prophet foretold his death a few months before it happened, saying: “One of God’s servants has been given a choice and has chosen that which is with God.”108
•“One of his (Zayd ibn Sawhan) limbs will precede him to Paradise.”109 This came true when Zayd lost a hand during a battle.
These predictions related to the Unseen constitute only one of his 10 kinds of miracles. We did not mention one of these kinds here, and summarized this and the other 4 kinds related to predictions in the Twenty-fifth Word. Anyone with an uncorrupted mind and heart can consider just this one kind together with the other 4 in order to believe that Muhammad is God’s Messenger and was instructed by the All-Majestic One, the Creator of everything and the All-Knowing of the Unseen.
39 Unfortunately, I could not write as I had intended, and so wrote as my heart dictated. I could not follow the order of this classification.
40 These are the books of Traditions compiled by Bukhari (d. 870), Muslim (d. 875), Abu Dawud (d. 888), Tirmidhi (d. 892), Ibn Maja (d. 886), and al-Nasa’i (d. 915). (Ed.)
41 For example, God’s Messenger once said to his wives: “I wish I knew which of you will take part in that event,” which shows that he did not know that ‘A’isha would participate in the Battle of Camel. If he had known, his love and affection for her would have been hurt. However, later on he was informed of this somehow and told ‘Ali: “There probably will be a matter between you and ‘A’isha. Treat her gently and return her to her abode safely.”
42 Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, Jami‘ al-Saghir; related from 70 Companions.
43 Bukhari, Kitab al-Sulh, 3:244; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 5:37.
44 Hakim, Mustadrak, 3:139; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, 6:414.
45 The Kharijites held that those who commit a grave error or sin and do not repent sincerely are no longer Muslims. Mere profession is not enough, for belief must be accompanied by righteous deeds. They also considered jihad as one of Islam’s pillars, due to their belief that “enjoining good and forbidding evil” meant vindicating truth through the sword. Although wiped out during the first two Islamic centuries for their almost constant rebellion against established authority, they still are found today in small pockets in Oman as well as in northern and eastern Africa. (Ed.)
46 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 6:213; Hakim, ibid., 3:366.
47 Bayhaqi, ibid., 6:405-410; Hakim, ibid., 3:120.
48 Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 1:102; Haythami, Majma‘, 9:138; Hakim, ibid., 3:113.
49 Bukhari, 9:22; Muslim, 7:745; Bayhaqi, Dala’il, 6:426.
50 Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 6:294; Haythami, Majma‘, 9:188; Bayhaqi, ibid., 6:468.
51 Hakim, 4:482; al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, no. 2558.
52 Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 3:83; Haythami, Majma‘, 9:133; Tirmidhi, 5:635.
53 Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 3:83; ‘Ali al-Qari’, Sharh al-Shifa’ (from Bukhari, Muslim and others), 1:678-79.
54 Hakim, 3:75; also related by Tirmidhi, Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Maja, and Bayhaqi.
55 Muslim, 4:2215; Hakim, 4:445; also related by Tirmidhi, Ibn Hanbal, and Ibn Maja.
56 Muslim, no. 1779; Ibn Hanbal, 1:390; Qadi ‘Iyad, Shifa’, 1:343; Hakim, 2:327.
57 Bukhari, 5:182; Hakim, 3:298; Abu Nu‘aym, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, 2:529.
58 Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, no. 3336; Ibn Hanbal, 4:273; Ibn Hibban, Sahih, 8:227; Abu Dawud, Sunna, 8; Tirmidhi, Fitan, 48.
60 Hakim, 3:100; Ibn Hanbal, 6:114; Tirmidhi, no. 2706; Majma‘, 5:188.
61 Hakim, 3:554; al-Matalib al-‘Aliya, 4:21; Qadi ‘Iyad, Shifa’ al-Sharif, 1:339.
62 Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, no. 412, 2579; Shifa’, 1:338; related by Tirmidhi and Hakim.
63 Ibn Hajar, Matalib al-‘Aliya, 4085, related by Ibn Hanbal and Abu Ya‘la.
64 Ibn Hanbal, 3:216; Hakim, al-Mustadrak, 3:326; Bayhaqi, Dala’il, 6:513.
65 Bukhari, Kitab al-Fitan, 9:60; Muslim, no. 2880; Hakim, 1:108.
66 Abu Nu‘aym, Hilyat al-Awliya’, 1:94, also related by Bukhari and Muslim.
67 Bukhari, 2:109; also related by Muslim, Ibn Malik, Abu Dawud, and Nasa’i.
68 Muslim, 4:1880; also related by Bukhari, Tirmidhi, Hakim, and Abu Dawud.
69 Bukhari, 4:248; Muslim, 4:1904; Ibn Hanbal, 6:77, Bayhaqi, 7:164.
70 Shifa’ al-Sharif, 1:343, related by Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban, and Ibn Kathir.
71 Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, 6:24, related by Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmidhi, among others.
72 Hakim, 3:453, also related by Muslim, Ibn Hanbal, and Tirmidhi.
73 Bukhari, Tarikh al-Saghir, 139; Hakim, 4: 422, also Ibn Hanbal and Haythami.
74 Al-Lu’lu’ wa al-Marjan, 3:183, related by Bukhari, Muslim, and Tirmidhi.
75 Kashf al-Khafa’, 2:53, related by Ibn Hanbal, Tayalisi, Ibn Hajar, and Bayhaqi.
76 Ibn Hanbal, 2:332; also related by Abu Dawud, Ibn Maja, and Tirmidhi.
77 Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, 4:l50, related by Abu Dawud, Hakim, and Ibn Maja.
78 This sect, appearing during the second Islamic century, advocated free will, argued that people can create their own conduct (both good and evil), and accepted causality as a necessary part of human conduct, thus rejecting Divine Destiny.
79 Hakim, 3:123; also related by Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban, and Bazzar.
80 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 10:22; Fath al-Rabbani, 24:20; Nasa’i, al-Khasa’is, 3:19.
81 Haythami, 10:237; al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, 813; Shifa’, 1:237; Ibn Hibban, 8:253.
82 Bukhari, 5:171; Muslim, no. 2406; Ibn Hanbal, 5:333; Hakim, 3:109.
83 Suyuti, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, 164; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 4:189, also related by Hakim, Ibn Ishaq, and Bayhaqi.
84 Al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, 6:174; related by Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Dawud.
85 Muslim, 4:2236; Bukhari, 1:122; related from about 30 Companions.
86 Bayhaqi, 6:386; Muslim, 4:2218; also related by Bukhari.
87 Hakim, 4:282; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba fi Tamyiz al-Sahaba, 2:93; Shifa’, 1:344.
88 Ibn Hajar, ibid., no. 3115; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’, 1:703.
89 Shifa’, 1:344; also al-Isaba, no. 3115.
90 Muslim, 4:2236; also related by Bukhari, Tirmidhi, and Tabarani.
91 ‘Ali al-Qari, ibid, 1:700; al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, 875; Abu Nu‘aym, 2:348.
92 Bukhari, 5:184; Muslim, No. 2494; Ibn Hanbal, 1:80.
93 Shifa’, 1:343; related by Hakim, Bayhaqi, and Ibn Ishaq.
94 Ibn Hajar, al-Matalib al-‘Aliya, 4366; Ibn Hisham, Sira, 2:413.
95 Haythami, Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 6:85; related by Ibn Hanbal, Hakim, and Bayhaqi.
96 Bukhari, 4:148; Muslim, 4:1719; Ibn Maja, 3545; Ibn Hanbal, 4:367.
97 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 8:289; related by Tabarani and, with a slight difference, by Muslim; Shifa’, 1:342.
98 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 8:286; Shifa’, 1:342; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 3:313.
99 Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, 2:119; Hakim, 4:519; Shifa’, 1:344; Bayhaqi, 2:66.
100 Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 3:96; Bayhaqi, 2:311; Shifa’, 1:345; Ibn Hisham, 1:371.
101 Bukhari, 7:168; Muslim, no. 2219; Ibn Hanbal, 4:195.
102 Basra: al-Jami‘ al-Saghir, 6:268, related by Abu Dawud; Baghdad: al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 10:102; also related by Abu Nu‘aym and Khatib.
103 Al-Shifa’, 1:337, related by Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and Tirmidhi.
104 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 7:310, related by Hakim, Tayalisi, and Ibn Hanbal.
105 Bukhari, 9:60; Ibn Hanbal, 2:288; Hakim, Mustadrak, 4:479.
106 Bukhari, 4:247; Muslim, 4:1781.
107 Ibn Hanbal, 4:262, also related by Bukhari, Ibn Hibban, and Tabarani.
108 Muslim, no. 2382; also related by Bukhari and Tirmidhi.
109 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 9:398, related by Bayhaqi, Ibn Adiyy, and Abu Ya‘la.