by Muhammad Umar, The Review of Religions, May/June 1993
Almighty God has provided for all our physical needs. The Holy Quran says:
He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. (2:30)
And He has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth; all this is from Him. (45:14)
Just as Almighty God has taken care of all our physical needs, He has also provided for our spiritual and moral needs. For this purpose He has been sending His Messengers and Reformers in all parts of the world among all nations from time to time. Thus the Holy Quran says:
And there is no people to whom a Warner has not been sent. (35:25)
And there is a guide for every people. (13:8)
Whenever there is decay of Dharma (i.e., religion) and there is spread of Adharma (i.e. irreligion) then for the protection of the poor and the good and for the destruction of the evil-doers, I shall appear from age to age. (Srimad Bhagrat Gita 4:7,8)
In accordance with these teachings, Almighty God has been sending innumerable messengers for the spiritual progress of mankind. Among these have been Prophets Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Ramchandra, Zoroaster, Confucius (peace be on all of them). Ultimately when the human mind attained its full development and the time approached when mankind was about to become one people, the system of sending different messengers for different nations was terminated and Almighty God sent the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, as an exemplar for all mankind. He appeared in Arabia about 1400 years ago. Addressing him God says in the Holy Quran:
Say, O Mankind! truly I am a Messenger to you all from Allah to Whom belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no god but He. He gives life and He causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet, the Immaculate one, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him that you may be rightly guided. (7:159)
It is a historic fact that the teachings of prophets who preceded the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, were limited to particular people and particular ages. On the other hand the message of Islam is of universal nature. The Holy Prophet(saw) was sent as a mercy for all rnankind. The Holy Quran says:
And We have sent thee not but as a mercy for all peoples. (21:108)
Previous scriptures such as the Vedas of the Hindus contain numerous prophecies pertaining to the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw). The Holy Quran says:
Those who follow the Messenger, the Immaculate one, whom they find mentioned in the Torah and the Gospel which are with them. He enjoins on them good and forbids them evil, and makes lawful for them the good things and forbids them the bad, and removes from them their burdens and the shackles that were upon them. So those who shall believe in him, and honour and support him, and follow the light that has been sent down with him – these shall prosper. (7:158)
This lengthy passage from the Holy Quran not only mentions the purpose of the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw) but also states that earlier scriptures contain prophecies regarding his advent. Not only the Jewish and Christian scriptures but also the Hindu scriptures contain many prophecies about the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw).
Among the four Vedas of the Hindus, Athra Veda occupies a prominent position. It is also known as Brahma Ved (i.e. Divine knowledge). It contains the following prophecy:
O people! listen to these words with reverence. A very praise-worthy person will appear among the people. He will accept him from among 60090 enemies. His means of transport would be 20 camels . His name will soar high and then return. This great Rishi will have 100 gold coins, 10 pearl necklaces, 300 Arab horses and 10,000 cows. (Athra Ved Kantam 20-127, 70-1-3)
Here many characteristics of the Holy Prophet(saw) have been mentioned . The Promised Rishi is called praiseworthy. The word Muhammad itself means worthy of praise. He and his companions used camels as means of transport whereas for the Rishis of India, the use of camel is forbidden (Manu Smrithi 5:8). When the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, appeared in Arabia, the population of the Arabs was stated as a little more than 60,000. The entire population had become his enemies. Almighty God protected him against his enemies. The Holy Quran also says:
And Allah will protect thee from men. (5:68)
Soaring high and returning refers to his experience of Miraj (Spiritual Ascent). The 100 gold coins refer to his companions who migrated twice to Abyssinia. The 10 pearl necklaces signify Ashra-Mubashera, the ten companions of the Holy Prophet(saw), regarding whom God gave the glad tidings of Paradise in this world itself. These are Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman, Ali, Talha, Zubair, Abdur Rahman ibn Auf, Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Sa’ad ibn Zaid and Abu Ubaidah (may Allah be pleased with them). The 300 Arab horses signify the 300 companions of the Holy Prophet who took part in the battle of Badr. They numbered 313. Eight of them could not participate in the battle. One of them died before the battle, and four of them were small children. Thus the actual number of people who fought in the battle of Badr together with the Holy Prophet was 300. 10,000 cows signify the ten thousand holy people who entered Mecca triumphantly with him on his return. It is worthy of note that the number 10,000 is also mentioned in the Bible.
Bhavisyath Puran also contains a prophecy regarding the advent of the Holy Prophet(saw). Maharishi Vyas Muni occupies an emminent position among the Hindus because of his vast knowledge and wisdom, and God-given capabilities. In addition to other religious literature, he has written 18 Puranas such as Brahma Puran, Bhagath Puran. The 18th Puran is named Bhavisyath Puran. It contains prophecies pertaining to the future. According to the beliefs of the Hindus this book contains Divine revelations and prophecies. This Bhavisyath Puran contains the following prophecy regarding the Holy Prophet:
A spiritual reformer will come from a foreign land (outside Bharat) with his disciples (companions). His name will be Mahamad (Muhammad). He will dwell in a desert. (Bhavisyath Purana 3:5-8)
Here the name of the spiritual reformer is clearly given as Muhammad. Generally in the Vedas all countries outside Bharat are referred to as Mlech. The foreign land is said to be in a desert. Here the Holy Prophet’s companions are especially mentioned. Perhaps there is hardly any other prophet who had so many companions who had moulded their lives in the manner of their prophet. Maharishi Vyas Muni has mentioned the following qualities of this Muhammad Rishi and his followers:
His followers will perform circumcision. They will not keep their hair in the form of Choti as the Brahmans do. They will keep beard. They will bring about a revolution. They will call with a loud voice (i.e., instead of using a bell to call the people for prayer, they will call people to prayer in a loud voice by ‘Azan’). They will eat meat of animals other than that of swine. They will attain purity through Jihad (fighting in the cause of Allah). Their civilization will be called Muslay (Muslim). (Bhavishyat Puran Vol. 3 verse:3)
Without any interpretation, all these characteristics agree completely with the characteristics of the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw) and his followers. In short, all the prophecies of the divine books of the Hindu religion have been fulfilled in the person of the Holy Prophet of Islam.
The Holy Prophet(saw) gathered together all the nations and religions on a common platform on the basis of their own teachings which are founded on Divine Unity. He gave the message of equality of mankind and universal brotherhood. The Holy Quran says about itself:
Therein are lasting commandments. (98:4)
That is, it contains the essence of the teachings of all religious books. The teachings of the Holy Quran are simple and universal.
In short, the Holy Prophet, achieved magnificent success in his mission which even non-Muslim orientalists confirm. Thus Reverend Bosworth Smith, M.A. writes:
By a fortune absolutely unique in history Muhammad is a three-fold founder of a nation, of an empire, and of a religion and is revered to this day by a sixth of the whole human race as a miracle of purity, of style, of wisdom and of truth.
The German orientalist Noldeke writes:
Most successful of all prophets and religious personalities. (Encyclopaedia Brittannica:Quran)
O Allah, Shower Thy Mercy and Thy Blessings on the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him, and his progeny). Thou Art the Praiseworthy, the Lord of Honour.