Prophet Muhammad’s Predictions
Normally, no one can know exactly what will take place at some future date. Scientists are not even sure about natural events that occur according to so-called deterministic laws, and state that they cannot guarantee that the world will be in the same state even a few seconds later as it is now. Sociologists and historians speak of historical laws supposedly based on historical events or the flow of history. History, however, has contradicted almost all of them, including such historians and supporters of various concepts of continual historical progress as Karl Marx, Max Weber, Johann Fichte, George Hegel, and Johann Herder.
Only God Almighty knows the future. However, He may favor whomever He pleases with some of this knowledge. Those who are convinced about the news they give concerning the future can only be Messengers of God.
Prophet Muhammad predicted many things, all of which either have been confirmed by history or remain to be confirmed. These are also found in the Qur’an and in books of Tradition. Among them are the following:
• The Byzantine and Persian empires were the superpowers of that time. While the Makkans were persecuting the small Muslim community, the Persians utterly defeated the Byzantines and seized Aleppo, Antioch, and the chief Syrian provinces (including Damascus). Jerusalem fell in 614-15; Christians were massacred and their churches burnt. The Persian flood of conquest spread over Egypt, reaching as far as Tripoli in North Africa. Another Persian army ravaged Asia Minor right up to the gates of Constantinople.
As a result, the Makkan pagans rejoiced greatly and redoubled their opposition to the Prophet whose Message was a renewal of the Message of Jesus preached in Palestine. The following Qur’anic verses, revealed just at that time, gave certain tidings of a very near victory of the Romans over the Persians:
Alif Lam Mim. The Romans have been defeated in a land close by, but they, after their defeat, will be victorious, within nine years. God’s is the command in the former case and in the latter, and on that day believers will rejoice, with the help of God. He helps to victory whom He wills. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Compassionate. (30:1-5)
No one at that time could have predicted such a reversal of events. But the Prophet, conveyed these Divine Revelations to his followers. Abu Bakr immediately bet the Makkan polytheists that the Romans would be victorious in 9 years. Heraclius, the Roman Emperor, attacked the Persians by sea in 622 (the year of the Hijra) and, after decisive battles and three successive campaigns, routed them after a few years. His victories happened at the same time as the believers defeated the Makkan polytheists at Badr. And so the predictions in those two verses were proven true.
• Six years after the Prophet emigrated to Madina, he left for Makka to perform the minor pilgrimage. The Makkans met him at Hudaybiya. After reaching a suitable compromise, the Muslims returned to Madina. Some believers were not pleased with this treaty. But the Qur’anic verses revealed after the treaty proclaimed it a manifest victory and gave them a decisive glad tiding:
In truth, God fulfilled the vision of His Messenger: You will surely enter the Sacred Mosque, if God wills, in full security; you will have your heads shaved, your hair shortened, and you will have nothing to fear. He knew what you knew not, and He granted, besides this, a near victory. He it is Who has sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may cause it to prevail over all religion. God is enough for a witness. (48:27-28)
One year later the Muslims performed the minor pilgrimage, and the year after they conquered Makka. Also, Islam prevailed over all other religions for centuries and, if God wills, will have global superiority in the near future.
• Pharaoh enslaved the Children of Israel. God sent Prophet Moses there to call Pharaoh to belief in One God and allow the Israelites to leave Egypt with Moses. Pharaoh’s refusal opened a long struggle. One night when Moses succeeded in marching toward the frontier with his people, Pharaoh learned of his attempt and set out after him. When Moses reached the Red Sea, he touched it with his staff and a path opened. Pharaoh followed him, but was engulfed with his legions.
While narrating this event, the Qur’an makes a very interesting prediction:
Today We shall preserve your body that you may be a sign to those after you: although most men give no heed to Our signs (10:92).
Pharaoh’s corpse was later found floating on the Sinai’s western shore. Residents can still show you this land, now known as Jabal Fir‘awn (Hill of Pharaoh). A few miles away is a hot spring called Hammam Fir‘awn (the Bath of Pharaoh).
• A considerable part of the Qur’an concerns the Last Day. It describes how the world will be destroyed and rebuilt, and how the dead will be raised, assembled in the Place of Mustering, judged and sent to Paradise or Hell. The Qur’an also gives vivid descriptions of life in those two realms. Among his predictions in the books of Tradition are the following:
• ‘Omar reports in a narration recorded in Sahih al-Muslim:
‘Before the Battle of Badr started, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, walked around the battlefield and pointed to some locations, saying: “Abu Jahl will be killed here, ‘Utba here, Shayba here, Walid here, and so on.” By God, we found, after the battle, the dead bodies of all those men in the exact places that God’s Messenger had pointed out.
• 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 of the Makkans. They tortured me severely. Unable to endure those tortures any longer, I asked God’s Messenger to pray to God for help and salvation. But he turned toward me and said: “By God, previous communities had to endure more pitiless tortures. Some 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. God will perfect this religion, but you display undue haste. A day will come when a woman will travel by herself from San‘a to Hadramawt fearing nothing but wild beasts. However, you show impatience.”
Habbab concluded: “By God, what God’s Messenger predicted that day, have all come true. I have personally witnessed it all.”
• Bukhari, Muslim, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal record:
While building the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina, the Messenger told ‘Ammar: “What a pity O ‘Ammar, a rebellious group will kill you.” ‘Ammar was killed in the Battle of Siffin by the supporters of Mu‘awiya, who rebelled against Caliph ‘Ali.
• Before his death, the Messenger called his daughter Fatima to his bedside and informed her that she would be the first family member to join him after his death. She died 6 months later.
• He predicted the Mongol invasion, saying: “The Hour will not come before you fight against a people with red faces, small, slanting eyes, and flat noses. They wear hairy leather boots.”
• As related by Hakim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Hanbal, and Ibn Maja, by repeatedly declaring: “After my death, you should follow the way of Abu Bakr and ‘Omar,” the Prophet meant that Abu Bakr and ‘Omar would succeed him as caliphs. He also predicted that Abu Bakr’s reign would be short, whereas ‘Omar would remain longer and make many conquests.
• According to authentic narrations, the Prophet, told his community that they would conquer Damascus, Jerusalem, Iraq, Persia, Istanbul (Constantinople), and Cyprus, and that Islam would reach as far as the easternmost and western-most parts of the world.
• The Prophet declared: “This affair began with Prophethood and as a mercy; then it will be mercy and Caliphate; afterwards it will change into a cruel monarchy, and finally into an iniquity and tyranny.” He also foretold: “Surely, the Caliphate after me will last 30 years; afterwards it will be a monarchy.” Whatever the noble Prophet predicted came true.
• According to an authentic narration, the Prophet declared: “‘Othman will be killed while reading the Qur’an. God will dress him in a shirt, but they will want to remove it from him.”In other words, ‘Othman would become Caliph, but his deposition would be sought and he would be martyred while reading the Qur’an. This happened exactly as predicted.
• As narrated in an authentic Tradition, the noble Prophet of God said to Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas when the latter was gravely ill: “It is hoped that you will be spared so that some people may benefit through you and some others be harmed through you.” By this, he suggested that Sa‘d would be a great commander and make many conquests, and that while many would benefit from him by converting to Islam, many others would be harmed through him after their states collapsed. As predicted, Sa‘d assumed command of the armies during the Caliphate of ‘Omar and, by destroying the Persian Sassanid Empire, brought many people within the fold of Islam.
• Once the Prophet woke up in the house of Umm Haram, the aunt of Anas ibn Malik (his servant for 10 years in Medina), and said with a smile: “I dreamed that my community would fight in the sea sitting on thrones like kings.” Umm Haram asked: “Pray that I may be with them.” He said firmly: “You shall be.” All this came true 40 years later, when Umm Haram accompanied her husband ‘Ubada ibn Samit on the conquest of Cyprus. She died there, and her tomb remains a visited place.
• According to an authentic narration, the Prophet declared: “A liar who claims Prophethood, as well as a blood-thirsty tyrant, will appear from the Thaqif tribe.” By this, he gave tidings of the notorious Mukhtar, who claimed Prophethood, and the criminal Hajjaj, who killed tens of thousands of people.
• Again, according to an authentic narration, the Prophet declared: “Surely, Constantinople (Istanbul) will be conquered (by my community); how blessed the commander who will conquer it, and how blessed his army.”16 He thus foretold the conquest of Istanbul by the Muslims, indicating the high spiritual rank of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror, and the virtuousness of his army. What he foretold took place centuries later.
• God’s Messenger made about 300 predictions, the great majority of which have already come true. Some of his predictions are, interestingly enough, about advances in science and technology. For example, as recorded in Sahih al-Muslim and Sunan al-Tirmidhi, he foretold that pomegranate would suffice for as many as 20 people, with its rind providing shade for those who ate it, and that the wheat grown in a small house balcony would be enough to feed a family for a year. By these predictions, he must have indicated that humanity would realize great advances in genetic engineering.
Consequently, in his predictions, the Prophet never said “I think,” “I guess,” “It may be,” or “It will probably happen,” all of which express doubt. Instead, he spoke as if he were watching the past and future on a television screen. This means that either he had a very keen and far sight capable of penetrating the past and future at the same time, which is impossible for any mortal, or that he was a Prophet taught by the Knower of All Things, the One for Whom all time and space is but a single point.
By M. Fethullah Gülen