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The preparation of people to receive the Prophethood

Tuesday 30/06/2009

The Wisdom of Allah The Almighty entailed preparing people to receive the prophethood of Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in a number of ways, some of which are:

1- Other Prophets giving glad tidings about Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).
 
Ibraaheem (Abraham), may Allah exalt his mention, supplicated to Allah The Almighty to send from the Arabs a messenger to them from amongst themselves. In response to his supplication, Allah The Almighty sent Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as indicated in the verse (what means): {Our Lord, and send among them a Messenger from themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed, You are the Exalted in Might, The Wise.} [Quran 2:129]
 
The Noble Quran mentions that Allah The Almighty revealed glad tidings of the advent of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in the heavenly revealed Books that were sent to the preceding prophets. Allah The Almighty Says (what means): {Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel.} [Quran 7:157]
 
Also, ‘Eesa (Jesus), may Allah exalt his mention, brought glad tidings about Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as in the verse (what means): {And [mention] when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, “O children of Israel, indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.”} [Quran 61:6]
 
Allah The Almighty informed all the prophets that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) would be sent as a Messenger and ordered them to ask their followers to believe in him and follow him if they were to live until they see him; He Says (what means): {And [recall, O People of the Scripture], when Allah took the covenant of the Prophets, [saying], “Whatever I give you of the Scripture and wisdom and then there comes to you a Messenger confirming what is with you, you [must] believe in him and support him.” [Allah] Said, “Have you acknowledged and taken upon that My commitment?” They said, “We have acknowledged it.” He Said, “Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.”} [Quran 3:81]
 
However, copies of the Torah and the Gospel were distorted and the explicit mention of the name of Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) was removed from them. The two exceptions are the Samarian Pentateuch and the Gospel of Barnabas, which existed before Islam and its circulation was forbidden by the church at the end of the fifth century CE. This Gospel was authenticated by manuscripts which were recently discovered in the Dead Sea region. The following sentence occurs in the Gospel of Barnabas, explicitly mentioning the name of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ): “God hid himself [from Adam and Eve], and the angel Michael drove them forth from paradise. Then, Adam, turning around, saw written above the gate: There is only one God, and Muhammad is Messenger of God.” [Barnabas 41:29]
 
Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “The previous heavenly revealed books frequently quote reports indicating that the People of the Book know the attributes of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ).” He added
 
Knowing that the preceding prophets gave glad tidings about his advent can be attained in different ways:
 
First: What is found in the present heavenly books that are currently available with the People of the Book.
 
Second: What was found by the Muslims and non-Muslims who read such books as they found the mention of our Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in these books. This is similar to the frequent reports by the Ansaar [helpers in Madeenah] denoting that their neighbors from the People of the Book would tell them about the emergence of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and that he was a Messenger of Allah as mentioned in their Books. They were anticipating him, and this greatly encouraged the Ansaar to believe in him when he called them to Islam such that all of them believed in him and gave him the pledge of allegiance.
 
A relevant Hadeeth was narrated on the authority of Salamah bin Salaamah bin Waqsh, may Allah be pleased with him, who witnessed the Battle of Badr and said
 
We had a Jewish neighbor who lived among the clan of the Banu ‘Abd Al-Ash’hal. Just prior to the advent of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) this neighbor came out to us, and sat in the gathering of ‘Abd Al-Ash’hal. I was younger than him and was clad in a gown and was lying down in the yard of the house of my family. The man mentioned resurrection, the Day of Judgment, the reckoning, the Scale, Paradise and Hell. He mentioned that among people there were polytheists and idolaters who did not believe in resurrection after death. Hence, they said to him, “Woe unto you, O so-and-so! Do you really think that people will be resurrected after death and exist in the world of Paradise and Hell and be recompensed for their deeds?” The man said, “Yes. By Allah, one would wish then that he had spent his share of Hell in the greatest oven in the worldly life, that the oven would be heated and that one would be placed therein, perfectly locked in, in return for being saved from Hell on the Day of Resurrection.” People said, “Woe unto you! What is the indication of this?” He said, “A prophet will be sent from these lands” – and he pointed to Makkah and Yemen.
 
People asked, “When will we see him?” He looked at me, noting that I was the youngest of the attendees, and said, “When this boy grows up, he will see him.”
Salamah, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “By Allah, it was a short time afterwards until Allah The Almighty sent His Messenger  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) who was living among us. We believed in him and while the same man [who had informed us of his coming] disbelieved in him out of grudge and envy. Hence, we said, ‘Woe unto you, so-and-so! Are not you the one who told us such and such things [about Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )]?’ He said, ‘Yes. But he is not the intended one!’”
 
Ibn Taymiyyah  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said, “I have seen a copy of the Zaboor [Psalms] explicitly referring to the Prophethood of Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) by name. I also saw another copy, which did not include such a reference. Hence, it is likely that some copies include some attributes of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) that were not mentioned in others”.
 
Abdullaah bin ‘Amr, may Allah be pleased with him, mentioned the description of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) as it occurred in the Torah
 
By Allah, he is described in the Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Quran as follows: “O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness [for the true Religion of Allah] and a giver of glad tidings [to the faithful believers], and a warner [to the unbelievers] and guardian of the illiterates. You are My slave and My Messenger. I have named you ‘Al-Mutawakkil’ [he who depends upon Allah]. You are neither discourteous, nor harsh nor a noise-maker in the markets. And you do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness. Allah will not let him [the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )] die until he makes straight the crooked people by making them say, ‘There is none worthy of worship other than Allah,’ and by virtue of him blind eyes, deaf ears and enveloped hearts will be opened. [Al-Bukhari]
 
Ka‘b Al-Ahbaar  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him was reported to have said
 
I find written in the Torah: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. He is neither rude, nor harsh, nor a nuisance in the markets. He does not meet evil with evil, but is rather forgiving. His nation is oft-praising; they praise Allah The Almighty anytime they descend from a place and exalt Him by saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ when they ascend a high place. They wear their clothes down to the middle of their shins and they make ablution on their limbs. Their rows in the [congregational] prayers are like their rows in a fight. Their caller calls out for prayer in the sky. At night, they hum like bees [reciting the Quran]. The Prophet will be born in Makkah, emigrate to Taabah and his kingdom will be in Ash-Shaam [greater Syria].
 
2-  Scholars of the People of the Book giving glad tidings about his Prophethood
 
In his famous story of embracing Islam, Salmaan Al-Faarisi, may Allah be pleased with him, quoted the monk of Amouria, when he was breathing his last, as saying, “It is the time of a prophet who is sent to preach the religion of Ibraaheem, may Allah exalt his mention. He will emerge in the Arab land and will emigrate to a land located between two mountains with palm trees between them. He has clear signs; namely, he accepts gifts, does not consume charity and the seal of prophethood is found between his shoulders. If you can join him in such lands, then do so.”
 
Afterwards, Salmaan, may Allah be pleased with him, recounted the report of his arrival at Madeenah, his being taken as a slave and his meeting with the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) right after the Hijrah (emigration). He also mentioned that he offered food in the form of charity to the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) who did not eat from it. Then, he offered his food in the form of a gift and the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) ate from it. He also saw the seal of prophethood between his shoulders and embraced Islam immediately afterwards.
 
The Jewish rabbis reported the imminent advent of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). A relevant example is the story of Abu At-Tayyihaan who left Ash-Shaam and stayed at the Banu Quraythah and died two years before the commissioning of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ). When he was about to die, he said to the Banu Quraythah, “O company of the Jews, which thing do you believe drove me out of the land of alcohol and bread [Ash-Shaam] to the land of misery and hunger [Al-Hijaaz]?” They said, “You know better.” He said, “I came to this county anticipating the emergence of a prophet whose time is due. I hoped that he would emerge so that I would follow him.
 
This dialogue became well-known among the Jews and others until they came to consider it as decisively correct. Hence, the Jews would say to the people of Madeenah that there was only a short time before the emergence of a prophet, along with whom they would slaughter them like ‘Aad and Iram were slaughtered. This was the reason behind the Islam of many people from the Ansaar and who said, “We embraced Islam with the Mercy and Guidance of Allah when we heard Jewish men speaking about him [Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention )]. We were polytheists and we had idols, while they were people of a Divine Book who had knowledge that we did not have. There had been strained relations with them, so any time we caused them something that they disliked, they would say to us that a prophet was about to come and they would kill us under him like the killing of ‘Aad and Iram.”
 
When Heraclius received the message of Prophet Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) he said, “I certainly knew that he would emerge, but I did not think that he would be from among you.” 

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