Chapter 2 :Concerning His Resplendant Signs And Miracles

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-Kharkushi [12] 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." [13]

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. [14] 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." [15]

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 [16], 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." [17]

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 -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 -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.