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PREDICTIONS OF GOD’S MESSENGER RELATED TO EVENTS THAT WOULD FOLLOW HIS DEPARTURE FROM THE WORLD

Recorded in the reliable books of Tradition, there are as many as, or even more than, three hundred predictions of this kind. Out of them, I will cite a few examples.

¨ Bukhari and Muslim report from Usama, who was much loved by God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings. Usama says:

One day I was with God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, on the roof of a tall building in Madina. Looking around, God’s Messenger said: Now I see seditious events and internal conflicts pouring down like drops of rain, among your houses.1

‘Umar was very afraid of the appearance of disorder and sedition in the Muslim community. One day during his caliphate, he asked Hudhayfa about them. Hudhayfa responded: ‘They have nothing to do with you, O ‘Umar. There is a gate between you and them’. ‘Umar asked again: ‘Will this gate be opened or broken down?’ Hudhayfa answered: ‘It will be broken down’. This answer shook ‘Umar, who reacted: ‘Then, this gate will never be closed again!’ ‘Umar was the gate between the Muslim community and sedition.2

After he was stabbed by a treacherous Persian slave, Muslim unity received a fatal blow, and the following centuries, till today, have unfortunately witnessed discord and sedition in Muslim lands.

¨ Bukhari and Abu Dawud quote Habbab ibn Arat, who said:

Once, during the days of trouble and torture in Makka, I went to God’s Messenger, who was sitting in the shade of the Ka’ba. I was still a slave in the hands of Makkans then. They inflicted on me severe tortures. Unable to endure those tortures any more, I requested God’s Messenger to pray to God for help and salvation. But he turned towards me and said:

By God, previous communities had to endure more pitiless tortures. Some of them were made to lie in ditches and cut in two with saws but this did not make them forsake their faith. They were skinned alive but they never became weak against the enemy. Surely God will perfect this religion, but you display undue haste. A day will come when a woman will travel alone by herself from San’a to Hadramut fearing nothing but wild beasts. However, you show impatience.3

Habbab concluded: ‘By God, what God’s Messenger predicted that day, has all come true. I have personally witnessed it all.’

¨ During his last illness, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, called his beloved daughter, Fatima, to his bedside. He whispered something to her, which caused Fatima to burst into tears. Afterwards, he called her again and this time too, he whispered something to her. This made Fatima display great joy.

‘A’isha, Mother of Believers, saw this and asked Fatima what he had said. ‘This is a secret belonging to God’s Messenger,’ she replied. However, when ‘A’isha asked again after the death of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, Fatima answered: ‘The first time he called me, he said that he would die of that illness, which made me weep bitterly. When, however, he called me the second time, he gave me the glad tiding that I would be the first among his family to join him after his death, and this made me very joyful.’4

Everything happened just as God’s Messenger predicted. He died of that illness and, six months later, Fatima, his beloved daughter and the mother of his blessed progeny, was reunited with him.5

¨ As related in most of the six authentic books of Tradition, one day on the pulpit, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, took Hasan, his grandson, into his arms and declared:

This son of mine is a noble one; it is hoped that God will reconcile through him two large hosts of Muslims.6

Hasan was, indeed, a noble person, the grandson of the noblest of humanity. About thirty-five years after this prediction, he renounced the caliphate in favour of Mu‘awiya, thus demonstrating the truthfulness of his noble grandfather.

¨ One day, he put his blessed hand on the head of ‘Adbullah ibn Busr, declaring: This boy will live a hundred years, and those warts on his face will disappear.7

‘Adbullah lived, as predicted by God’s Messenger, a hundred years, and when he died, there were no warts on his face.

Just as God’s Messenger developed spiritually moment by moment and begged God’s forgiveness seventy times a day for his former states, so too, his community have since taken a new step every day in recognition and understanding of him through witnessing his predictions being proven true one after another.

¨ As recorded in almost all books of Tradition and the Prophet’s biography, a ditch was dug around Madina during the battle of Khandaq (the Ditch). The Prophet actually took part in the work of digging and, in order to reinforce the morale of his Companions, occasionally prayed for them, saying, O God, the true life is the life of the Hereafter, so forgive the Helpers and the Emigrants.8 To this, his Companions responded in utmost zeal and joy, saying.

O God, had it not been for Your help and grace, we could not have found the Straight Path, we had not paid alms, nor had we performed the prayer. And so, send down upon us serenity, and make our steps firm if we encounter the enemy!9

During the digging of the ditch, a huge rock appeared. The Companions, unable to remove it, referred the matter to God’s Messenger. He came with a lever and pickaxe, and set out to break the rock. At each blow, a spark was produced and, through God’s inspiration, he gave glad tidings of a future conquest, saying, I have been given the keys of Byzantium; I have been given the keys of Persia; I have been given the keys of the Yemen,10 and so on.

Less than two decades later, all those predictions came true. The whole of Persia and many parts of Byzantium were conquered by Muslim armies under the command of invincible generals such as Khalid ibn Walid and Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas. The conquest of Byzantium, also predicted by God’s Messenger, was achieved by the Ottoman ruler, Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror.

¨ ‘Adiy ibn Khatam reports:

One day people complained, in the presence of God’s Messenger, about poverty, deprivation and the insecurity of desert roads. To such complaints, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, responded with glad tidings of a happy future, saying:

A day will come when a woman will travel alone on her camel from Hira to the Ka’ba with fear of nothing but God alone. Again, a day will come and the treasures of Chosroes (the Persian ruler) will be distributed amongst you. And again, another day will come and people will travel around to find someone to pay the prescribed alms to but in vain.

When God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, made these predictions, the robbers from the tribe of Tayy used to attack travellers and the Persian Empire was living its most splendid days. But I have personally witnessed the first two predictions come true, and I am expecting the third will also prove to be true.11

‘Adiy ibn Khatam did not live long enough to see the third prediction come true. However, soon after his death, during the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, people became so rich that no one could be found to give the prescribed alms to in the vast lands of the Muslim state. Living standards were very high and there was not any discernible imbalance in the distribution of wealth.

¨ While the Prophet’s Mosque was being built in Madina, everybody, including God’s Messenger, tried their hardest to complete it as quickly as possible. Some cast sun-dried bricks, and the others carried them to the place of construction. Meanwhile, ‘Ammar ibn Yasir, who was among the first to embrace Islam, approached God’s Messenger and, probably in order to attract his love and affection, said: ‘O God’s Messenger, they loaded on me two sun-dried bricks.’

God’s Messenger smiled and, while rubbing off the dust on ‘Ammar’s face with his blessed hand, gave him the tiding of his martyrdom, saying, What a pity (Glad tidings for you, according to another version), O ‘Ammar, a rebellious group will kill you!12

‘Ammar was martyred about forty years later by the followers of Mu‘awiya in the Battle of Siffin to confirm the Messenger‘s prediction. This event, like the others, demonstrates that the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, did not speak on his own, but that he was taught by God.

¨ God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, was distributing the spoils of a war, when a man with Mongolian features voiced an objection, saying, ‘Be just in distribution!’ To this impertinence, God’s Messenger gave the response, Who else will show justice if I am not just? If I do not show justice, then I have been lost and brought to nought. According to another version, he said: If I am not just, then, (by following me) you - the people - have been lost and brought to nought.13

‘Umar became furious with the impertinence of the man and told God’s Messenger, ‘Let me cut off the head of this hypocrite!’ But the Messenger did not allow him to do so, and said:

In the future there will appear a group of people with chubby faces, slanting eyes and flat noses [of the same type as that impertinent man]. They will recite so much of the Qur’an that, when compared to their recitation, you will regard yours to be too little. Nevertheless, what they recite will not have the slightest affect on them. They will leave the religion in the manner of an arrow being shot from the bow. There will, moreover, be a large fatty growth on the arm of one of them.14

Years passed, and the group, called the Kharijites, that bore the characteristics described by God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, were put to the sword by the Caliph ‘Ali in Nahrawan. Having based themselves on the misinterpretation of the Qur’an, they had rebelled against him. The dead body of a man just as described by God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, and who had a fatty growth on his arm was taken to ‘Ali. This event, besides proving the truthfulness and Messengership of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, demonstrated the truth of another prediction of God’s Messenger, namely,

O ‘Ali, I have fought for the sending down of the Qur’an; you will fight against its misinterpretation.15

¨ One day God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, slept in the house of Umm Haram, his foster aunt. He woke up with a smile on his lips. When asked by Umm Haram about the reason for his smile, he answered: I have dreamt about a group from my nation, who, like kings seated on thrones, boarded ships and were going to war. Umm Haram requested him to pray for her to be included among them. You will be among them, he declared.16

Years passed. During the caliphate of Mu‘awiya, Muslims waged war upon Cyprus. Umm Haram was in the army accompanying her husband, ‘Ubada ibn Samit. She died there and her tomb has been visited ever since.

As with all the other predictions of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, this one too, leads us to confirm his Prophethood and say: ‘O God’s Messenger, surely you told the truth!’

1. Bukhari, Fada’il al-Madina, 8; Muslim, Fitan, 9.
2. Bukhari, Sawm, 3; Muslim, Fitan, 27.
3. Bukhari, Manaqib, 22; Abu Dawud, Jihad, 97.
4. I. Ma’ja, Jana’iz, 65; Muslim, Fadail al-Sahaba, 15; I. Hanbal, 3.197.
5. The death of God’s Messenger touched Fatima so deeply that she gave voice to her grief in the following verses:

What else does the one who has smelt the soil of Muhammad’s tomb need?

Does one really need the smell of anything else?

I have been struck by such misfortunes that if they had fallen upon days,

They would have changed into nights!

6. Bukhari, Sulh, 9; I. Hanbal, 5.49.
7. al-Majma’ al-Zawa’id, 9. 404-5.
8. Bukhari, Manaqib al-Ansar, 39; Muslim, Jihad, 127.
9. Bukhari, Maghazi, 29; Muslim, Jihad, 123, 124, 125.
10. I. Kathir, al-Bidaya, 4.116; I. Hanbal, 4.303; I. Hisham, Sira, 3.230.
11. Bukhari, Manaqib, 22.
12. Bukhari, Salat, 63; Muslim, Fitan, 70, 72, 73; I. Hanbal, 12. 161, 164.
13. Bukhari, Adab, 95; Muslim, Zakat, 142; I. Hanbal, 3.56.
14. Bukhari, Adab, 95; Muslim, Zakat, 142; I. Hanbal, 1, 356.
15. I. Hanbal, 3.82.
16. Bukhari, Jihad, 3.8; Muslim, ‘Imara, 160-161.


Recommended Reading:
Predictions related to the distant future

Last Updated on November 25, 2000

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