Examples of the news the Quran gives concerning the future
The triumph of the Byzantines over the Persians
The Byzantine and Persian Empires were the super-powers of the time. It was during the years when the few believers were severely persecuted in Makka that the Persians utterly defeated the Byzantines. They had sweeping victories, and conquered Aleppo, Antioch, and the chief Syrian provinces, including Damascus. Jerusalem fell to their arms in 614-615. The Christians were massacred and their churches burnt. The Persian flood of conquest went on to Egypt, and reached as far as Tripoli in North Africa. Another Persian army ravaged Asia Minor and reached right up to the gates of Constantinople. The Makkan pagans rejoiced greatly, and redoubled their taunts and persecution against the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, whose Message was a renewal of the Message of Jesus preached in Palestine. The following Quranic verses, which were 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 make such a prediction. But the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, conveyed these Divine Revelations to his followers. They confirmed him without hesitation and Abu Bakr bet the Makkan polytheists that the Romans would be victorious in nine years. Heraclius, the Roman Emperor attacked the Persians initially by sea in 622 (the year of the Hijra), and after decisive battles and three successive campaigns, put them to rout in a few years. His victories happened at the same time as the believers won the victory of Badr over the Makkan polytheists. Thus the verses above contained two predictions, both of which came true in nine years.
The Quran gave the news of the conquest of Makka two years before
It was only six years after the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, had emigrated to Madina that he left for Makka for a minor pilgrimage. However, the Makkans stopped him at Hudaybiya and a peaceful treaty was concluded after negotiations. Some articles of the Treaty were objected to by the believers but the Quranic verses which were revealed following the conclusion of the Treaty described it as a manifest victory and gave the believers the decisive glad tiding, which is as follows:
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. (al-Fath, 48.27-8)
One year later the Muslims performed the minor pilgrimage and the year after they conquered Makka. Also, Islam has been prevalent over all other religions for centuries and, if God wills, it will have a world-wide superiority in a near future.
The Quran gave the news that the dead body of Pharaoh would one day be discovered
In ancient Egypt, Pharaoh used to torture the Children of Israel. God sent Moses to him with the mission of inviting him to believe in One God and allow the Israelites to leave Egypt with Moses. Pharaoh refused and the struggle between them continued for a long time. However, one night Moses succeeded in marching towards the frontier with his people but Pharaoh, becoming aware of his attempt, set out to follow him. When Moses reached the Red Sea, he touched it with his staff, and a furrow opened across the sea. Pharaoh attempted to follow 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. (Yunus, 10.92)
The dead body of Pharaoh was later found floating on the Western shores of the Sinai peninsula. The native residents can still show you to this land, which is now known as Jabal Firawn (Hill of Pharaoh). A few miles from this hill is a hot spring called Hammam Firawn (the Bath of Pharaoh).
Tidings of the Last Day
A considerable part of the Quran is about the events of the Last Day. The Quran describes how the world will be destroyed and re-built again and how the dead will be raised, assembled in the Place of Mustering, and, after being judged, will go to either Paradise or Hell. The Quran also gives a vivid description of Paradise and Hell and the life in them.
Examples of the Prophet’s predictions which exist in books of Tradition
‘Umar 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.’1
While in Makka under great tortures, the Prophet predicted the future victories of Islam.
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 the 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 Hadramawt fearing nothing but wild beasts. However, you show impatience.”
By God, what God’s Messenger predicted that day, have all come true. I have personally witnessed it all.2
The Messenger predicted ‘Ammar’s martyrdom in a civil war
Bukhari, Muslim and Ahmad ibn Hanbal record:
During the construction of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madina, God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, told ‘Ammar: “What a pity O ‘Ammar, a rebellious group will kill you. 3
Ammar was killed in the Battle of Siffin by the supporters of Mu‘awiya, who rebelled against Caliph ‘Ali.
The Prophet foretold that Fatima would join him first of all after his death
Before his death, the Messenger called his daughter Fatima to his bedside and informed her that she would be the first among his family to join him after his death. Fatima joined her father, the pride of mankind, six months later.4
The Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, predicted the Mongol invasion, saying:
The Hour will not come before you fight against a people with red faces, small, slant eyes and flat noses. They wear hairy leather boots.5
The Messenger predicted the caliphate of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar
As related by Hakim, Tirmidhi, Ibn Hanbal and Ibn Maja, by repeatedly declaring, You should, after my death, follow the way of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar,8 the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, meant that Abu Bakr and ‘Umar would succeed him as caliphs. He also predicted that Abu Bakr’s reign would be short, whereas ‘Umar would remain longer to be able to make many conquests.6
The Prophet predicted the conquest of many important cities.
According to authentic narrations, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, gave his community the glad tidings that they would conquer Damascus, Jerusalem, Iraq, Persia, Istanbul (Constantinople) and Cyprus, and that the religion of Islam would reach as far as the remotest corners of the world in the east and west.7
The Prophet predicted the forms of government after him
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 prophesied: Surely, the Caliphate after me will last thirty years; afterwards it will a cruel monarchy.8
Whatever the noble Prophet predicted came true.
The Prophet predicted the caliphate and martyrdom of ‘Uthman
According to an authentic narration, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, declared:
‘Uthman will be killed while reading the Quran. God will dress him in a shirt but they will desire to remove it from him.9
By this saying, he meant that ‘Uthman would become Caliph but his deposition would be sought, and finally he would be martyred while reading the Quran. This happened exactly as he predicted.
The Prophet foretold the future victories of Sa‘d
As narrated in a authentic Tradition, the noble Prophet of God, upon him be peace and blessings, 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.10
By this, he suggested that Sa‘d would be a great commander and make many conquests, and while many peoples would benefit from him by converting to Islam, many others would be harmed through him as a result of the collapse of their states.
Sa‘d, just as predicted by the holy Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, took the command of the Muslim armies and destroyed the Persian Sassanid Empire, bringing many peoples within the guidance of Islam.
The Prophet predicted the conquest of Cyprus
Once, when the Prophet woke up in the house of Umm Haram, the aunt of Anas ibn Malik, who served the Messenger for ten years in Madina, he smilingly said:
“I dreamt that my community would be waging war in the sea sitting on thrones like kings.” Umm Haram asked: ‘Pray that I too may be with them’. He said firmly: “You shall be.”11
All this came true forty years later when Umm Haram accompanied her husband ‘Ubada ibn Samit, on the conquest of Cyprus. She died there, and her tomb has since been a visited place.
The Prophet predicted the appearance of Mukhtar and Hajjaj
According to an authentic narration, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, declared:
From the tribe of Thaqif will appear a liar who claims Prophethood and a blood-thirsty tyrant.12
By this, he gave tidings of the notorious Mukhtar, who claimed Prophethood, and the criminal Hajjaj, who killed tens of thousands of people.
The Prophet predicted the conquest of Istanbul
Again, according to an authentic narration, the Prophet, upon him be peace and blessings, declared:
Surely, Constantinople (Istanbul) will be conquered (by my community); how blessed the commander who will conquer it, and how blessed his army.13
He thus foretold the conquest of Istanbul by Muslims, and indicated the high spiritual rank of Sultan Mehmed, the Conqueror, and the virtuousness of his army. What he foretold took place centuries later.
- 1. Bukhari, Tib, 1.
- 2. Abu Dawud, Tib, 10; Muslim, Salam, 69.
- 3. Tirmidhi, Tib, 2; Ibn Ma’ja, Tib, 1; I. Hanbal, 4.278.
- 4. Bukhari, Tib, 30; Muslim, Salam, 98.
- 5. Bukhari, Tib, 19; I. Hanbal, 2.443.
- 6. Muslim, Tahara, 91.
- 7. Abu Dawud, Adahi, 21; Ibn Ma’ja, Sayd, 2; I. Hanbal, 4.85.
- 8. Abu Dawud, At‘ıma, 11; Tirmidhi, At‘ıma, 39; I. Hanbal, 5.441.
- 9. Muslim, Tahara, 87; Abu Dawud, Tahara, 49; Tirmidhi, Tahara, 19.
- 10. Bukhari, Jumu‘a, 8; Muslim, Tahara, 42; Abu Dawud, Tahara, 25; Tirmidhi, Tahara, 18; Nasa’i, Tahara, 6; I. Ma’ja, Tahara, 7; I. Hanbal, 1.80.
- 11. Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 47; I. Hanbal, 4.132.
- 12. Kanz al-‘Ummal, 3.460.
- 13. Muslim, Fitan, 110; Tirmidhi, Fitan, 59; I. Hanbal, 4.182.