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Truthfulness

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in The Messenger of God: Muhammad

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Truthfulness is the cornerstone of Prophethood. No lies or deceit, whether explicit or implicit, were ever heard from them. The Qur'an declares: Mention Abraham in the Book: Surely he was a most truthful Prophet (19:41); Mention Ishmael in the Book; surely, he was a man of his word, and he was a Messenger, a Prophet (19:54); and Mention Idris (Enoch) in the Book; surely he was a most truthful Prophet. We elevated him to an exalted place (19:56-57). We also read in the Qur'an that a fellow prisoner addressed Prophet Joseph: Joseph, O most truthful one (12:46).

The Prophets had to be endowed with truthfulness, for God wants everybody to be truthful and extols the truthful: O you who believe, fear God and be with the company of the truthful! (9:119), and: The believers are those who believed in God and His Messenger without ever feeling doubt thereafter, and strove with their souls and possessions in the way of God; those are the ones who are the truthful (49:15).

The Qur'an praises believers who, without faltering, carry out their promises: Among the believers are the valiants who have kept their promise which they gave to God: Some of them carried out their word [and were martyred] and the others are expecting (their turn); they have never thought of going back on their word (33:23).

This verse extols the heroes of Uhud, a decisive turning point in Islamic history. After the Qurayshi unbelievers were defeated at Badr, they had spent a whole year preparing for a deadly retaliatory blow at the Muslims. Meeting at the foot of Mount Uhud, a few miles from Madina, the Muslims at first were victorious and the Quraysh began to flee. At this crucial point, the archers whom God's Messenger had positioned at 'Aynayn pass left their positions, against the Prophet's command, and pursued the enemy. Khalid ibn Walid, commander of the enemy's cavalry, took this opportunity to surround the Muslims from behind. As a result, the Muslims experienced a reverse. Such leading figures as Hamza, Mus'ab ibn 'Umayr, 'Abd Allah ibn Jahsh, and Anas ibn Nadr were martyred. Even the Prophet was wounded.

Let us note here that during the battle, God's Messenger, the Prophet of forgiveness and mercy who was sent as a mercy for creation, raised his hands toward God and, while bleeding profusely, asked for the enemy to be forgiven: "O God, forgive my people, for they do not know." [1]

Anas ibn Nadr was the uncle of Anas ibn Malik, the servant of God's Messenger. Although he had sworn allegiance with God's Messenger in 'Aqabah before he emigrated to Madina, for some reason he did not fight at Badr. He so regretted this that he told God's Messenger: "O Messenger of God, if God allows us to confront them once more, they will see what sufferings I will inflict on them!" He fought fearlessly at Uhud, especially when the Muslims suffered a reverse. Just before being martyred, he told Mu'adh ibn Jabal with a smile: "By God, I sense the scent of Paradise behind Uhud."

The Qur'an exalts in the above verse (33:23) those martyrs who fulfilled their promise to God through His Messenger, as well as others expecting martyrdom, to show that they were true to their words. They are not the only ones extolled here; rather, all who fulfill their words and keep their promises are mentioned here.

God's Messenger was known as a truthful person even before Islam. The Makkans, even the unbelievers, called him al-Amin, the Trustworthy One, the Truthful. Even his enemies did not accuse him of lying after he proclaimed his Prophethood. After the Treaty of Hudaybiya (6 AH), God's Messenger sent letters to the rulers of neighboring countries. The Emperor of Byzantium received it in Syria at a time when a Makkan trade caravan headed by Abu Sufyan was in the area of Damascus. The Emperor summoned him, and the following conversation took place:

- Do the elite or the weak mostly follow him?
- The elite.
- Has anyone apostatized after converting?
- Not yet.
- Do his followers increase or decrease?
- They increase daily.
- Have you ever heard him tell a lie?
- No, never.

Struck by Abu Sufyan's answers, at that time the bitterest enemy of Islam, the Emperor acknowledged Muhammad's position: "It is inconceivable for one who has never told a lie during his whole life to invent lies against God." [2] The Emperor was right. Why would a believer who had never told a lie, even in jest, suddenly begin to lie, especially against God, when he is 40 years old and getting closer to the grave?

The Makkans agreed unanimously that God's Messenger was a truthful person. Once before his conversion, Yasir asked his son 'Ammar where he was going. 'Ammar said that he was going to Muhammad. Being fully satisfied of his son's safety while with Muhammd, he replied: "Muhammad is a trustworthy person. The Makkans recognize him so. If he claims Prophethood he must be telling the truth, for no one has ever heard him tell a lie."

God's Messenger always encouraged truthfulness, as can be seen in his words as recorded in the following Traditions:

• Promise me six things and I will promise you Paradise: Speak the truth, keep your promises, fulfill your trusts, remain (sexually) chaste, don't look at what is unlawful, and avoid what is forbidden. [3]

• Abandon what arouses your suspicions and follow what is certain. Truthfulness gives satisfaction; lying causes suspicion. [4]

• Seek truthfulness even if it might bring you to ruin. [5]

• Always be truthful, for truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. If you are always truthful and seek truthfulness, God records you as such. Never lie, for lying leads to shamefulness and shamefulness leads to Hell. If you insist on lying and seek deceit, God records you as such. [6]

Due to his truthfulness, God's Messenger rose to such a high rank that his nearness to God is expressed metaphorically in the Qur'an as follows: Then he approached and came nearer, till he was [distant] two bowlengths, or even nearer (53:8-9).

Truthfulness always brings salvation, even if it causes one's death. We die through truthfulness only once, whereas each lie is a different kind of death. One of the most striking examples of this is the case of Ka'b ibn Malik, a famous Ansari poet who swore allegiance to God's Messenger at 'Aqabah. Although he took part in almost all the battles, he missed the campaign of Tabuk without a justifiable excuse.

The Tabuk campaign was very difficult. It took place in mid summer and, what is more, against the Roman Empire. Although God's Messenger always kept the destination of such campaigns secret, this time he disclosed it and wanted every believer to participate. Ka'b completed his preparations but, at the last minute, uncharacteristic negligence kept him from joining the army.

When God's Messenger returned from the campaign, he asked those who had not fought why they had stayed at home. The Hypocrites lied and made excuses, but Ka'b, being unable to lie, told the truth. God's Messenger told him to leave. Thereafter, Ka'b and two other believers who had done the same thing were boycotted. On the order of God's Messenger, no Muslim met with them or spoke to them. They repented publicly, begging God for forgiveness, for 50 days. After this, it was revealed that:

As for those three, the acceptance of their repentance was delayed until, for them, the Earth, vast as it is, was straitened and their own souls were straitened to them, and they perceived that there is no fleeing from God and no refuge but with Him. Then He accepted their repentance so that they could recover their former state. Verily, God is the One who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (9:118)

After this revelation, Ka'b ibn Malik told God's Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings: "I promise to speak the truth as long as I live." [7]

Truthfulness is the pivot of Prophethood. It could not be otherwise, for if a Prophet were to lie, everything connected with the Divine religion would be upset. All it takes is one lie to call a mission into question. Thus God declares: If he [Muhammad] had invented false sayings concerning Us, We would surely have grasped him firmly, and then cut off the artery of his heart, and none of you could have withheld Us from doing this (69:44-47).

The Prophet never lied or broke his promise, either prior to or during his Prophethood. A Companion remembered: "Before his Prophethood, we made an appointment to meet somewhere. It was, however, 3 days after the appointed time when I remembered it. When I hastened to the appointed place, I found the future Prophet waiting for me. He was neither angry nor offended. His only reaction was to say: 'O young man, you have given me some trouble. I have been waiting here for you for 3 days.'" [8]

Some of His Predictions

Ordinary people can establish their truthfulness by their detracator's inability to provide any proof to the contrary. In the case of a Prophet who has brought a universal Divine system, people expect more. They want explanations and rules for everything: theology, law, sociology, human psychology, economics, history, and so on. Moreover, a Prophet must be proven truthful in all of them.

The explanations of God's Messenger concerning theology-Divine Essence, Attributes, and Names-are such that philosophers, religious scholars, and saints cannot compete with him. Instead, they study his explanations and try to perceive the truths behind them. In addition to these, he dealt with the most subtle matters of Destiny and human free will so ably and convincingly that if his knowledge is ignored, we cannot obtain a true understanding of such matters.

What he said about past nations and previous Prophets has been confirmed by historical research and followers of previous Scriptures. Although unlettered, never enjoying the benefit of being able to read or being taught by another person, he established the most rational, practical, and just system known to history. Islamic civilization, which based itself on this system, enabled a large portion of humanity to experience true happiness for centuries. Indeed, the universal system of life revealed to him continues to offer a unique alternative for our future in general. The happy world of the future will be built upon its principles.

Out of hundreds of his predictions, the vast majority of which already have come true, I would like to present a selection to show his truthfulness in this matter.

'Umar reports that one day the Prophet, upon whom be peace, ascended the pulpit after the dawn prayer and spoke about almost everything from the creation of the world to the Last Day. He mentioned certain past events and what will befall humanity until that Day. These predictions demonstrate that his teacher was God, the All-Knowing, and that he related only what was revealed to him. Before giving specific examples, we must clarify a few points concerning knowledge of the Unseen.

Knowledge of the Unseen. The concept of the Unseen pertains to what is suprasensory and metaphysical, or even metacosmic. In this sense, the past, the future, and everything beyond ordinary human senses are included in the concept of the Unseen, provided that certain concrete indications have not been manifested. In a narrower sense, the Unseen pertains only to the future. It is this second sense that is used in the following section, as I intend to concentrate on his predictions.

The knowledge of the Unseen is, first of all, with God. As we read in the Qur'an:

With Him are the keys of the Unseen, none knows them but He. He knows whatever is in the ground and the sea. Not a leaf falls but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the ground nor anything wet, fresh, or dry but is in a Manifest Record. (6:59)

Say, [O Muhammad]: "I do not tell you that with me are the treasures of God, nor that I know the Unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to me." Say: "Are the blind and the one who sees equal? Will you not then reflect?" (6:50)

Say: "I have no power over any benefit or harm to myself except as God wills. If I had the knowledge of the Unseen, I should increase good for myself and no evil should have touched me. I am only a warner and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe." (7:188)

Does this mean that no one can obtain even a small part of this knowledge? To answer this question, we should consider the following points:

• Whatever we have (e.g., health, knowledge, and power) essentially belongs to God and is, accordingly, from God. We have no power except that which He has given us, and no knowledge except that which He has taught us or enabled us to learn. We see and hear because He makes this possible. This being so, the verses do not exclude people absolutely from acquiring some of this knowledge-but only if He allows this.

• The concept of the Unseen relates to the future and the past. The Qur'an presents the stories of past nations as stories of the Unseen. Historical research informs us of the past.

• Many people can, by God's Will, glimpse part of the future in dreams or other ways that are beyond the scope of this book.

• The Qur'an, like the universe and humanity, is an organic entity, for each verse is interrelated with the others. Thus the first and foremost interpreter of the Qur'an is the Qur'an itself. This means that a complete and true understanding of a verse depends on understanding all other relevant verses. It is a creedal principle and explicitly declared that knowledge of the Unseen, like power, seeing, and hearing, belongs to God. However, He reveals some of this knowledge to a Messenger whom He has chosen: [God alone is] the knower of the Unseen and He does not disclose His Unseen to anyone, except a Messenger whom He has chosen (72:26-27).

God revealed many secrets to His Messenger, who then related to his people those that they needed to know. The number his predictions reported in authentic books of Tradition exceed 300, and fall into three categories: his own time, events after his death, and miraculous explanations that can be understood only in conjunction with scientific developments.

His Own Time

• As reported by authentic books of Tradition, including Sahih al-Bukhari, one day God's Messenger mounted the pulpit, preached, and then told the congregation to ask him whatever they wished to. They did so. Finally, a young man named 'Abd Allah stood up and asked who his father was. Since illicit intercourse was widespread in pre-Islamic times, this young man was attributed to someone other than Hudafa al-Sahmi, whom he called father. God's Messenger told him his father was Hudafa al-Sahmi. Freed from groundless accusations, 'Abd Allah was relieved and thereafter was called 'Abd Allah ibn Hudafa al-Sahmi.

People continued to ask questions until, eventually, 'Umar, noticing the anger of God's Messenger, stood up and said: "We are pleased with God as our Lord, with Islam as our religion, and with Muhammad as our Messenger." This eased the Prophet and he came down from the pulpit. [9] This event took place before all the Companions, and no one was reported to contradict what he said.

• 'Umar reports in a narration recorded in Sahih al-Muslim: Before the Battle of Badr started, God's Messenger 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, after the battle we found their corpses in those exact places. [11]

• Ahmad ibn Hanbal reports: One day, God's Messenger was sitting in the mosque with his Companions. He told them: "In a few minutes, a man with a shining face will come. He is one of the best people of Yemen, and has on his forehead an angel's handprint." After a short while the man came and, kneeling before God's Messenger proclaimed his conversion. He was Jarir ibn 'Abd Allah al-Bajali. [12]

• In his Dala'il al-Nubuwwah, Bayhaqi narrates: Abu Sufyan accepted Islam during the conquest of Makka, but belief had not yet been established firmly in his heart. While God's Messenger was circumambulating the Ka'ba, it occurred to him: "I wonder what would happen if I formed a new army to confront this man once more." No sooner had he thought this than God's Messenger approached him and said: "If you do, God will defeat you again." [13] This strengthened Abu Sufyan's belief, and he begged God's forgiveness. He finally understood that the Messenger was taught by God, the All-Knowing.

• As related in the reliable books of Tradition, 'Umayr ibn Wahb, known as a "diabolic man" before his conversion, conspired with Safwan ibn Umayya to assassinate God's Messenger. He went to Madina for this purpose and pretended to be a Muslim. He was taken to the mosque. However, since the Companions had no trust in him, they formed a protective circle around God's Messenger. The Messenger asked 'Umayr why he had come to Madina. All of 'Umayr's lies could not convince God's Messenger, who finally told him: "As you are not telling the truth, I will tell it. You conspired with Safwan to kill me in return for 100 camels." Shocked by the truth of this answer, 'Umayr held the Prophet's hands tightly in awe and amazement and became a Muslim. He became so deeply committed to Islam that he came to be called "a most ascetic devotee of Islam." [14]

The Future

The reliable books of Tradition contain approximately 300 such predictions, among them the following:

• Bukhari and Muslim report from Usama that: One day I was with God's Messenger on the roof of a tall building in Madina. Looking around, he said: "I see seditious events and internal conflicts pouring down like raindrops among your houses." [15]

'Umar was very afraid that disorder and sedition might appear in the Muslim community. One day during his caliphate, he asked Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman, to whom God's Messenger had disclosed many secret things, including future events and who the Hypocrites were, about them. Hudhayfa responded: "They have nothing to do with you, 'Umar. There is a gate between you and them." 'Umar asked if the gate would be opened or broken down. When Hudhayfa replied it would be broken down, a shocked 'Umar exclaimed: "Then this gate will never be closed again!" 'Umar was the gate between the Muslim community and sedition. [16] After he was stabbed by a treacherous Persian slave, Muslim unity received a fatal blow. Since that day, the Muslim world has suffered discord and sedition.

• Bukhari and Abu Dawud quote Habbab ibn Arat, who said: "During the days of trouble and torture in Makka, I went to God's Messenger while he was sitting in the shade of the Ka'ba. I was still a slave then, and the Makkans tortured me severely. Unable to endure it any longer, I asked him to pray to God for help and salvation. But he faced me and said: "By God, previous communities endured much more than this. Some people were forced to lie in ditches and then sawed in half. This did not make them forsake their faith. They were skinned alive, but never became weak against the enemy. God will perfect this religion, but you are impatient. 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." Habbab concluded: "By God, what God's Messenger predicted that day has all come true. I have personally witnessed it all." [17]

• During his last illness, God's Messenger called his daughter Fatima to his bedside. He whispered something to her, and she burst into tears. He called her again and whispered something else to her. This time she displayed great joy. 'A'isha saw this and asked Fatima about it. At first, Fatima said: "This is a secret belonging to God's Messenger." But after the Prophet's death, Fatima told her: "The first time he said he would die of that illness, which made me weep bitterly. Then he told that I would be his first family member to join him after his death, and this made me very happy." [18] The Prophet died of that illness, and Fatima joined him in death 6 months later.

• As related in most of the six authentic books of Tradition, one day on the pulpit God's Messenger took his grandson Hasan 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." [19] Hasan was indeed a noble person. About 35 years after this prediction, he renounced the caliphate in favor of Mu'awiya, thus demonstrating the truthfulness of his noble grandfather.

• One day the Messenger put his hand on 'Abd Allah ibn Busr's head and said: "This boy will live 100 years, and those warts on his face will disappear." [20] 'Abd Allah lived, as predicted by God's Messenger, for 100 years and died without any warts on his face.

• As recorded in almost all books of Tradition and the Prophet's biography, the Muslims dug a ditch around Madina during the Battle of Khandaq (the Ditch). The Prophet shared in this work and, to reinforce his Companions morale, occasionally prayed for them: "O God, the true life is the life of the Hereafter, so forgive the Helpers and the Emigrants." [21] His Companions would reply enthusiastically: "O God, had it not been for Your help and grace, we could not have found the Straight Path, paid alms, or prayed. And so, send down upon us serenity, and make our steps firm if we encounter the enemy!" [22]

While digging, a huge rock was uncovered. The Companions could not remove it, and so called God's Messenger. He came with a lever and pickaxe, and set out to smash it. Each blow produced a spark and, through God's inspiration, he predicted 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 Yemen," [23] and so on. Within 20 years, Persia and many parts of Byzantium belonged to the Muslims, thanks to the brilliant military leadership of Khalid ibn Walid and Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas. Byzantium was conquered later 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 unsafe desert roads. He replied: "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. A day will come and the treasures of Chosroes (the Persian ruler) will be distributed among you. A day will come when people will travel around to find someone to pay the prescribed alms to, but in vain." When God's Messenger made these predictions, members of the Tayy tribe used to attack travelers, and the Persian Empire was enjoying its most splendid days. But I personally witnessed the first two predictions come true, and I am expecting the third also will prove to be true. [24]

'Adiy 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 no discernible imbalance in the distribution of wealth.

• While the Prophet's Mosque was being built in Madina, everybody, including God's Messenger, worked to complete it as quickly as possible. Some cast sun-dried bricks, and others carried them to construction site. Meanwhile, 'Ammar ibn Yasir, one of the first Muslims, approached God's Messenger and, probably 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 the dust off 'Ammar's face, said he would be martyred: "What a pity (Glad tidings for you, according to another version), O 'Ammar, a rebellious group will kill you." [25] 'Ammar was martyred about 40 years later at the Battle of Siffin by Mu'awiya's followers.

• God's Messenger was distributing the spoils of a war when a man with Mongol features told him to be just in distribution. To this impertinence, God's Messenger asked: "Who else will show justice if I am not just? If I do not show justice, then I have been lost and brought to naught." According to another version, he said: "If I am not just, then, (by following me) you (the people) have been lost and brought to naught." [26]

'Umar was furious with this man, and demanded that God's Messenger allow him to "cut off this hypocrite's head." But the Messenger only said: "In the future, a group of people with chubby faces, slanting eyes, and flat noses [like this man] will appear. They will recite so much of the Qur'an that, when compared to their recitation, yours will seem small to you. Nevertheless, what they recite will not have the slightest effect on them. They will leave the religion like an arrow shot from a bow. There will, moreover, be a large fatty growth on the arm of one of them." [27]

Years passed, and a group called the Kharijites appeared. Bearing these very characteristics, and basing themselves on a mistaken interpretation of the Qur'an, they rebelled. Caliph 'Ali met and defeated them at Nahrawan. A corpse with a fatty growth on its arm was taken to 'Ali. This event, besides proving the truthfulness and Messengership of Prophet Muhammad, fulfilled another prediction: "O 'Ali, I have fought for the descent of the Qur'an; you will fight against its misinterpretation." [28]

• One day God's Messenger slept in the house of Umm Haram, his foster aunt. He woke up smiling. Umm Haram asked why he was happy, and he answered: "I dreamed that like kings seated on thrones, a group of Muslims boarded ships and went off to war." Umm Haram asked him to pray that she would be included in this group. He did so, and said: "You will be among them." [29] Years passed. During Mu'awiya's caliphate, 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.

The Distant Future

• Once God's Messenger declared: "When the end of time [the Last Day] approaches, the children of Kantura will appear. They will be slant-eyed, chubby-faced, and flat-nosed." [30] This description fits the Mongols, as it does some of the Kharijites, to whom it is traditionally thought to refer. God's Messenger predicted both the Mongol invasion and the destruction of the Muslim world, and the Western massacre of Andalusia's Muslims-two of the most tragic calamities to afflict the Muslim nation. Always concerned with his people's fate, he used such predictions to warn Muslims that any deviation from the Straight Path will bring calamity upon them. God uses wrongdoers and oppressors to chasten and correct His believing servants, and afterward turns against the oppressors and eradicates them.

• God's Messenger foresaw the conquest of Constantinople (present-day Istanbul): "Certainly, Constantinople will be conquered. How good is the commander who will conquer it, and how good his army!" [31] Hoping to be the object of the Prophet's praise, Muslim rulers and commanders from the time of Mu'awiya sought to conquer this city. During one campaign, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the noble Companion, was martyred and buried near the city walls.

Constantinople finally was conquered by the Ottoman ruler Mehmed the Conqueror. Besides this great commander and statesman, his two school friends Hasan of Ulubat and Qadi Khidr Calabi, as well as his tutor Ak Shamsaddin, were also symbols of this conquest. One was in the army, and the others were in the departments of religious and scientific education. The prayer and praise of God's Messenger encompasses all of them.

• God's Messenger predicted and explained the principle reasons for the Ottoman State's destruction and condition of the Muslim world after the First World War: "Nations will call each other, as people make invitations to a meal, to make a concerted attack on you." Someone asked: "Will this happen because there are only a few of us?" God's Messenger answered: "No, your numbers will be vast, but you will be as powerless as woodchips or straw carried in a flood. God will remove your enemies' fear of you and implant within you a fear of death and a love of the world." [32]

The prediction, which became reality during the First World War, also describes our current situation. We are divided into many factions, while our enemies seek closer unity based on mutual interests. In the past, they were afraid of us because we saw the grave as a bridal chamber, something to look forward to. But now, we are so attached to this world that we do all we can to escape death, even though we know this is impossible. We also have been the object of many betrayals. 'Uthman and 'Ali were victims of treachery, and the magnificent Ottoman State was made sacrificial food for the carnivorous peoples of the world. It experienced uncountable betrayals by nations who had been so prosperous and peaceful under Ottoman rule.

• God's Messenger predicted the rise of communism in a hadith reported by Ibn 'Umar. Facing toward the east, he said: "Take care! Anarchy and subversion will appear from that direction, from where the Age of Satan will begin." [33] The Age of Satan, built upon atheism and hedonism, is the opposite of the Age of the Prophet, based on belief in and devotion to God. Communism, the unlawful outcome of capitalism, champions hostility to religion, piety, and all moral and traditional values. In another hadith, God's Messenger foretold that communism would arise as "a red wind."

• God's Messenger once declared: "The Euphrates will probably go dry, uncovering a treasure (a mountain, according to another version) of gold beneath it. Whoever of you witnesses it, should refrain from taking any of it." [34] This hadith alludes to the great war expected to take place along the Euphrates. Although this river has seen many wars, among them the Iran-Iraq war, this hadith points to a much greater spasm of violence in the future. While we can take the hadith literally, we also can take it figuratively. For example, oil is known as "black gold." Or, maybe the water itself will become as valuable as gold and cause regional or even international wars. Maybe the income obtained from the dams on this river will attract international attention and cause great wars. In whichever case, God's Messenger warned that the Euphrates region is like dynamite at the heart of the Muslim world.

• God's Messenger averred that Christianity would be purified of its borrowed, pagan elements and join Islam, thus strengthening the Divine religion. [35] This will be a universal turning point in human history, and the believers, at a time when they are gripped by their enemies, will defeat and destroy the global representatives of unbelief.

• God's Messenger predicted that agricultural reform and developments in science and technology would enable farmers to produce a pomegranate that, on an individual bases, will be enough for twenty people, and that its rind will provide shade for people. He also prophesied that wheat produced in area the size of a house balcony will be enough to feed a family for a year. [36] With the advent of biotechnology and genetic manipulation, such wonders are probably not too far in the future.

• In another Tradition, God's Messenger describes the end of time: "Prior to Doomsday, people will discriminate when greeting others (preferring to greet only some), trade will be given so much currency and preference that a wife will help her husband in it, parents and relatives will no longer be visited, false evidence and false testimony will replace the truth, and writing will gain prominence." [37]

All of this has come true. Today, trade is the most preferred way of making a livelihood, and women are exploited to advertise various products and services, and to attract customers. The rights of parents and relatives are no longer considered and, once they become old and most need attention and affection, they are often placed in old people's homes or nursing homes. The power of the modern press is unquestionable, and lying is now so widespread that few people can resist it. This is true at all levels, from business lies to false testimony in law suits.

• In a hadith qudsi, the Prophet relates from God: "At the end of time I will cause knowledge to be obtained by everyone, men and women, slave and free, and old and young." [38] Education is now open to almost everyone through schools, universities, and the media. Many intellectuals and scientists say that the next age will be the Age of Information.

• In another authentic Tradition, God's Messenger declares: "The Last Day will not come until the Qur'an is a means of shame and Islam is left without a powerful group to support it." [39] We have seen the truth of this prediction. For nearly a century, Muslims have been persecuted even in their own lands. While atheists and unbelievers have openly declared their unbelief everywhere, Islam has been the target of verbal, written, and even physical assault. Muslims have felt compelled to conceal their belief, and have become too ashamed to openly declare their belief.

• The Messenger predicted the developments in telecommunication and transportation. The above hadith continues: "The Hour will not come until the distances of time and space diminish." [40] I have translated the word taqarub as "diminish." It means "to approach each other" and implies that before the Day of Judgment, things which previously took a long time will be possible in a very short time.

This hadith, in addition to predicting modern methods of transportation and telecommunication, implies that time is relative. The Earth is gradually taking an elliptical shape. This may cause some changes in the division and calculation of time. As for the relativity of time alluded to in the hadith, we know that time differs in some aspects (e.g., division, length, calculation, and the speed of its passage in or around every sphere or planet). If humanity manages to leave this solar system, the present conception of time will completely change. Thus, in a single word, God's Messenger makes several predictions, some of which have already come true, and also alludes to several scientific facts.

• God's Messenger also predicted: "A time will come upon people when almost everyone will eat from usury, to the extent that those who refrain from it will be exposed to its 'dust'." [41] God's Messenger points to two important facts:

- A time will come when all formal transactions will involve interest. No one will be able to avoid it completely. However, those who do not enter into interest-based transactions will not be held accountable for the interest they eat unintentionally, as long as they do their best to refrain from usury.

- God's Messenger may have meant by being exposed to its dust that a capitalist class would emerge and increase its wealth through interest. This would gradually lead the working class into deeper and deeper poverty, which would result in direct and bitter class warfare.

It goes without saying that all these predictions have come true. How tragic it is that Muslim countries are in such a despised, degenerate state because, among other things, they are drowning in a swamp of interest despite the Qur'anic warning that anyone involved in interest-based transactions is at war with God and His Messenger (2:279). If only Muslims had been conscious of such Qur'anic statements, they would not be in such a miserable position.

• In the following authentic Tradition, God's Messenger points to another aspect of the present sad state of the Muslim world: "A time will come upon people when believers conceal themselves as hypocrites do among you today." [42] At the time of the Prophet, hypocrites used to conceal themselves by going through the outward motions of the religious rituals. According to this hadith, Muslims will try to conceal themselves, even to the point of performing their religious obligations in secret. The same state was described in another hadith: "Sedition and deviation will occur, and a Muslim will be disgraced for performing the prescribed prayers, just as a woman is disgraced today because of fornication."

• In another narration, God's Messenger predicted that oil would be discovered in Taleqan (Iran): "Good tidings to Taleqan, for God's treasuries are there, but not of gold and silver." [43] In the past, treasury meant gold and silver. For this reason, God's Messenger emphasized that Taleqan's treasuries would be something else. What comes to mind first today when told of such a treasury is oil. However, God's Messenger also might have implied resources of uranium or diamonds. If this is the case, the prediction has come true, for such resources have been discovered in and around Taleqan.

• "You will walk in the footsteps of those who preceded you so closely that if, for example, they put their heads in a lizard's hole, you would do the same." The Companions asked him if those who preceded you meant the Jews and Christians, and he answered: "Who else could it be?" Muslims have been suffering from an identity crisis for two centuries. They are blind imitators of the West and have been caught up in vices that destroyed all previous civilizations.

Scientific Developments

God's Messenger also made many predictions concerning various scientific developments, some of which have already come true. Out of the many examples, I will cite only a few to illustrate his accuracy in this regard.

• As related by Bukhari, God's Messenger declared: "God did not send down an illness for which He did not send a cure." [44] This hadith, in addition to declaring that every illness is curable, is the most comprehensive statement encouraging medical research. In another Tradition, the Messenger states that "there is a cure for every illness." [45]

Another version tells us: "Do not neglect to treat your diseases, for God does not send a disease for which He does not also send a cure. The only exception is old age." [46] Humanity may discover a cure for every illness, but will never be able to stop our journey from the world of spirits to the material world and then on to either Paradise or Hell through the stations of embryo, infancy, childhood, youth, old age, the grave, and the Resurrection. The Prophet encourages us to learn how to cure illnesses, but also warns us not to neglect preparing for the next world.

God encourages us to pursue scientific knowledge by relating the miracles of earlier Prophets. This brings such matters to the scientists' attention and thereby shows the limits to their aspirations. By allowing Jesus the inimitable miracle of bringing the dead back to life, He points out that we can cure everything but death. The story of Moses' staff shows us that we can use inanimate things for various purposes, such as obtaining water from deep underground by using such simple things as a staff like a centrifuge. However, we will never cause a rock to bring forth abundant water by striking it with a staff, or to change a staff into a snake, both of which Moses did.

The Qur'an is Prophet Muhammad's greatest miracle, and marks the farthest limit in literary style and eloquence that humanity can attain. It also implies that writing and eloquence will have the greatest importance toward the end of time. The Prophets set examples and showed us the limits to which we may go in material as well as spiritual progress.

• The Messenger advised quarantine to contain outbreaks of contagious diseases: "If you hear that there is pestilence in a place, don't enter it; if pestilence breaks out where you are, don't leave it to escape the pestilence." [47] According to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, he also declared: "Keep away from the leper as you do from a lion." [48] In this hadith, God's Messenger advises us to protect ourselves against leprosy. Quarantine is again suggested here as a way to prevent the spread of leprosy.

• Imam Muslim narrates in his Sahih that God's Messenger declared: "If a dog licks your bowl, clean it seven times, first time with soil, and the other six with water." [49] This hadith contains the following medical principles related to bacteria:

- Dogs may carry microbes of certain diseases that can be passed to people. This fact was discovered recently by scientists.

- A dog's saliva and excrement may contain substances that can damage a person's health.

- At the time of the Prophet, disinfection and sterilization were unknown. Nevertheless, God's Messenger recommends that a bowl licked by a dog be cleaned with soil. Today we know that soil is a good antiseptic that contains such substances as tetracycline.

In another hadith concerning dogs, God's Messenger expresses a fundamental principle of ecology: "If dogs were not a separate community, I would order their killing." [50] This implies that every species is an indispensable element of ecological balance.

• As recorded by Sahih al-Tirmidhi and Sunan Abu Dawud, God's Messenger declares: "The blessings of food lie in washing hands before and after eating." [51] This hadith emphasizes the importance of cleanliness. As we use our hands, germs accumulate and can be removed only by washing them. In another hadith, he advises us to wash our hands after we wake up since "You do not know where your hands have moved while you sleep." [52] At that time, no one knew about microbes.

• As recorded in all six of the most authentic books of Tradition from as many as 40 Companions, God's Messenger established the principle of dental care: "If it didn't burden upon community excessively, I would command them to clean their teeth with miswak [a tooth stick] before each of the five daily prayers." [53] Dental hygiene is of great significance not just for our teeth, but for our entire body. God's Messenger followed this practice, and so we should do likewise.

• In relation to health and digestion, God's Messenger recommended: "In eating, apportion a third of your stomach to food, another third to water, and leave the last third empty. The bowl most distasteful to God is a full stomach." [54] In another similar hadith, he said: "What I fear concerning my community is a large stomach, oversleep, idleness, and the lack of certainty." [55]

All of the points mentioned here are either antecedent to or a result of the other. Those who are idle and heedless, who ignore self-control and self-criticism, are apt to become fat. This causes them to eat more food. A full stomach encourages more sleep, and the person begins to sleep for longer periods of time. Such people, now addicted to overeating and excessive sleeping, will never be able to acquire certainty and deep conviction in Islam. This is the case with most people today.

• Another Tradition concerning health is as follows: "Treat your eyes with kohl, for it nourishes the eyes and eyelashes." [56] Many medical authorities state that kohl does exactly that. Another substance, recommended by the Prophet and useful for health as an antibiotic and for its dermatological effect, is henna. [57] Henna is better and more effective as an antiseptic and sterilization agent than such substances as a tincture of iodine.

• Bukhari relates from Abu Hurayra that once God's Messenger said: "A black cumin seed contains a cure for every illness but death." [58] This hadith contains many truths related to therapy. A patient needs, particularly during convalescence, foods that are rich in proteins, calories, and vitamins, and that are easily digestible. Scientific investigations have recently shown that all these properties are found in black cumin.

• Bukhari relates from God's Messenger: "When a fly falls into your bowl, dip it completely in the food before taking it out. There is disease in one of the fly's wings, and cure in the other." [59] No one at that time knew that flies carry microbes. Moreover, when a fly drops into a bowl, it tries to hold one of its wings off the food so that it can take off again. Thus, it leaves bacteria on the food. But when it is submerged with a slight touch, the tiny bag on the other wing bursts and scatters the anti-bacteria to kill the germs already left. This is a very recent medical discovery.

• 'A'isha related that once a woman named Fatima bint Abu Khubash asked God's Messenger: "O God's Messenger, my blood does not stop. Should I abandon the prescribed prayers?" He replied: "No, you must not, for it is not menstrual blood but rather a haemorrhage." [60] Except by Prophethood, how could he have distinguished between a normal haemorrhage and menstrual blood? How could he have known that menstrual bleeding is a kind of haemorrhage?

• Tariq ibn Suwayd narrates: I used to suffer from an illness, and took alcohol as a remedy. When alcohol was banned, I asked God's Messenger whether I could continue using this remedy. He told me: "No, for it is not a remedy; rather, it is the disease itself." [61] Scientists now agree that even a single drop of alcohol is harmful to one's physical and spiritual health.

• God's Messenger proclaimed that ten things are intrinsically necessary for men and therefore ordered by Prophets. Circumcision is one of them. [62] Today, scientists admit that a man's foreskin is exposed and susceptible to infections, even cancer. Therefore, millions of people are circumcised in Europe and America.

We are convinced that the West will one day acknowledge the truth of Islam, and that the prediction made at the beginning of the twentieth century by Said Nursi will come true: "The Ottoman State is pregnant with a Western one, as the West is with an Islamic one. Both will give birth to what they are pregnant with." [60]

We have so far explained the truthfulness of Prophets, emphasizing the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad. As mentioned several times, all predictions made by a Prophet eventually come true, for they never lie. They came to guide us to the Straight Path and to lead us to Paradise. Had they lied even once, they would have guided no one to the truth. However, their truthfulness, especially that of Prophet Muhammad, will be manifested as brightly as the sun in the Hereafter, where people will see everything clearly. In that place, all the tidings they gave about the next life, the Resurrection, the Place of Gathering, the Final Reckoning, the Bridge, Paradise, and Hell will be realized.


[1] Muslim, Jihad, 101; Bukhari, Anbiya', 54.
[2] Bukhari, Bad'u al-Wahy, 6.
[3] Ibn Hanbal, 5:323.
[4] Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 60; Ibn Hanbal, 1:200.
[5] Hindi, Kanz al-'Ummal, 3:344.
[6] Bukhari, Adab, 69; Muslim, Birr, 105; Abu Dawud, Adab, 80.
[7] Bukhari, Maghazi, 79; Muslim, Tawba, 53.
[8] Abu Dawud, Adab, 82.
[9] Bukhari, Fitan, 15.
[10] Bukhari, Fitan, 15.
[11] Muslim, Janna, 76, 77.
[12] Ibn Hanbal, 4:360-64.
[13] Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya, 4:348; Bayhaqi, Dala'il al-Nubuwwa, 5:102.
[14] Ibn Hajar, Al-Isaba fi Tamyiz al-Sahaba, 3:36.
[15] Bukhari, Fada'il al-Madina, 8; Muslim, Fitan, 9.
[16] Bukhari, Sawm, 3; Muslim, Fitan, 27.
[17] Bukhari, Manaqib, 22; Abu Dawud, Jihad, 97.
[18] Ibn Maja, Jana'iz, 65; Muslim, Fadail al-Sahaba, 15; Ibn Hanbal, 3:197.
[19] Bukhari, Sulh, 9; Ibn Hanbal, 5:49.
[20] Haythami, Al-Majma' al-Zawa'id, 9:404-5.
[21] Bukhari, Manaqib al-Ansar, 39; Muslim, Jihad, 127.
[22] Bukhari, Maghazi, 29; Muslim, Jihad, 123, 124, 125.
[23] Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidaya, 4:116; Ibn Hanbal, 4:303; Ibn Hisham, Sira, 3:230.
[24] Bukhari, Manaqib, 22.
[25] Bukhari, Salat, 63; Muslim, Fitan, 70, 72, 73; Ibn Hanbal, 12: 161, 164.
[26] Bukhari, Adab, 95; Muslim, Zakat, 142; Ibn Hanbal, 3:56.
[27] Bukhari, Adab, 95; Muslim, Zakat, 142; Ibn Hanbal, 1:356.
[28] Ibn Hanbal, 3:82.
[29] Bukhari, Jihad, 3:8; Muslim, 'Imara, 160-61.
[30] Bukhari, Jihad, 95, 96; Abu Dawud, Malahim, 10; Ibn Maja, Fitan, 36; Ibn Hanbal, 5:40, 45.
[31] Hakim, Mustadrak, 4:422; Ibn Hanbal, 4:335.
[32] Abu Dawud, Malahim, 5; Ibn Hanbal, 5:278.
[33] Bukhari, Fitan, 16; Muslim, Fitan, 45; Ibn Hanbal, 2:50, 72.
[34] Bukhari, Fitan, 24; Muslim, Fitan, 30; Abu Dawud, Malahim, 12:13.
[35] Muslim, Iman, 244-47.
[36] Muslim, Fitan, 110; Tirmidhi, Fitan, 59; Ibn Hanbal, 4:182.
[37] Ibn Hanbal, 1:407, 408; Hakim, Mustadrak, 4:98, 448.
[38] Darimi, Muqaddima, 27.
[39] Kanz al-'Ummal, 14:244.
[40] Kanz al-'Ummal, 14:244.
[41] Ibn Ma'ja, Tijara, 58; Ibn Hanbal, 2:494; Nasa'i, Buyu', 2.
[42] Hindi, Kanz al-'Ummal, 11:176.
[43] Ibid., 14:591
[44] Bukhari, Tib, 1.
[45] Abu Dawud, Tib, 10; Muslim, Salam, 69.
[46] Tirmidhi, Tib, 2; Ibn Ma'ja, Tib, 1; Ibn Hanbal, 4:278.
[47] Bukhari, Tib, 30; Muslim, Salam, 98.
[48] Bukhari, Tib, 19; Ibn Hanbal, 2:443.
[49] Muslim, Tahara, 91.
[50] Abu Dawud, Adahi, 21; Ibn Maja, Sayd, 2; Ibn Hanbal, 4:85.
[51] Abu Dawud, At'ima, 11; Tirmidhi, At'ýma, 39; Ibn Hanbal, 5:441.
[52] Muslim, Tahara, 87; Abu Dawud, Tahara, 49; Tirmidhi, Tahara, 19.
[53] Bukhari, Jumu'a, 8; Muslim, Tahara, 42; Abu Dawud, Tahara, 25; Tirmidhi, Tahara, 18; Nasa'i, Tahara, 6; Ibn Ma'ja, Tahara, 7; Ibn Hanbal, 1:80.
[54] Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 47; Ibn Hanbal, 4:132.
[55] Kanz al-'Ummal, 3:460.
[56] Abu Dawud, Tib, 14; Tirmidhi, Tib, 9.
[57] Ibn Ma'ja, Tib, 29; Tirmidhi, Tib, 13.
[58] Bukhari, Tib, 7; Muslim, Salam, 88.
[59] Bukhari, Bad'u al-khalq, 17; Tib, 58; Abu Dawud, At'ima, 48.
[60] Bukhari, Wudu', 63; Muslim, Hayd, 62; Abu Dawud, Tahara, 109.
[61] Muslim, Ashriba, 12; Ibn Ma'ja, Tib, 27.
[62] Muslim, Tahara, 49; Abu Dawud, Tahara, 27.
[63] Said Nursi, Tarikhca Hayat (Biography), 56.