Divine facilitation is proportionate to human need. God
makes acquisition easier as the need of humans increase. Air, water, and
sunlight are necessary for human survival, and thus God has granted their
acquisition to all without hardship. The greatest human need is to know the
Creator, and thus, God has made it easy to know Him. The evidence for God,
however, differs in its nature. In its own way, everything in creation is
evidence of its Creator. Some evidence is so obvious that any lay person can
immediately ‘see’ the Creator, for instance, the cycle of life and death.
Others ‘see’ the handiwork of the Creator in the elegance of mathematical
theorems, universal constants of physics, and the development of the embryo:
“Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the
earth, and the alternation of night and day,- there are indeed signs for men of
understanding.” (Quran 3:190)
Like the existence of God, human beings need
evidence to establish the truth of prophets who spoke in His name. Muhammad,
like the prophets before him, claimed to be God’s final prophet to humanity.
Naturally, the evidence for his veracity is diverse and numerous. Some are
obvious, while others are apparent only after deep reflection.
God says in the Quran:
“…Is it not enough (for them to know) that your Lord
is witness unto everything?” (Quran 41:53)
Divine witness by itself is sufficient without
any other evidence. God’s witness for Muhammad lies in:
(a) God’s past revelations to earlier prophets which
prophesize Muhammad’s appearance.
(b) God’s Acts: the miracles and
‘signs’ He gave to support Muhammad’s claim.
How did it all begin in the early days of
Islam? How were the first believers convinced he was God’s prophet?
The first person to believe in the prophethood
of Muhammad was his own wife, Khadija. When he returned home trembling out of
fear after receiving divine revelation, she was his solace:
“Never! By God, God will never disgrace
you. You keep good relations with your relatives, help the poor, serve your
guests generously, and assist those hit with calamities.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
She saw in her husband a man God would not
humiliate, because of his virtues of honesty, justice, and helping the poor.
His closest friend, Abu Bakr who had known him
all his life and was almost the same age, believed the moment he heard the
words, ‘I am God’s Messenger’ without any additional confirmation other
than the open book of his friend’s life.
Another person who accepted his call on merely
listening to it, was ‘Amr’ He says:
“I used to think before Islam that people
were in error and they were on nothing. They worshipped idols. In the meantime,
I heard of a man preaching in Mecca; so I went to him…I asked him: ‘Who are
you?’ He said: ‘I am a Prophet.’ I again said: ‘Who is a Prophet?’ He said:
‘God sent me.’ I said: ‘What did He send you with?’ He said: ‘I have been
sent to join ties of relationship, to break the idols, and to proclaim the
unity of God so nothing is associated with Him (in worship).’ I said: ‘Who is
with you in this?’ He said: ‘A free man and a slave (referring to Abu Bakr and
Bilal, a slave, who had embraced Islam by that time).’ I said: ‘I intend to
follow you.’” (Saheeh Muslim)
Dimad was a desert healer who specialized in
mental illnesses. On his visit to Mecca he heard the Meccans say that Muhammad
(may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him) was insane! Confident of his
skills, he said to himself, ‘If I were to come across this man, God might cure
him at my hand.’ Dimad met the Prophet and said: ‘Muhammad, I can protect
(one) who suffers from mental illness or under sorcery, and God cures one whom
He so desires at my hand. Do you desire to be cured?’ The Prophet of God
responded, starting with his usual introduction to his sermons:
“Indeed, praise and gratitude is for God.
We praise Him and ask for His help. He who God guides, none can lead astray,
and he who is led astray cannot be guided. I bear witness no one deserves
worship but God, He is One, has no partners, and Muhammad is His Servant and
Dimad, stuck by the beauty of the words, asked
him to repeat them, and said, ‘I have heard the words of diviners, sorcerers, and
poets, but I have never heard such words, they reach the depth of the oceans.
Give me your hand so I may pledge my allegiance to you on Islam.’
After Gabriel brought the first revelation to
Prophet Muhammad, Khadija, his wife, took him to visit her old cousin, Waraqa
bin Nawfal, a biblical scholar, to discuss the event. Waraqa recognized
Muhammad from the prophecies of the Bible and confirmed:
“This is the Keeper of Secrets (Angel
Gabriel) who came to Moses.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
The face can be a window to the soul. Abdullah
bin Salam, the chief rabbi of Medina at the time, looked at the face of the
Prophet when he arrived in Medina, and exclaimed:
“The moment I looked at his face, I knew it
was not the face of a liar!” (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)
Many of those around the Prophet who did not accept
Islam did not doubt in his veracity, but refused to do so for other reasons.
His uncle, Abu Talib, aided him throughout his life, confessed to the
truthfulness of Muhammad, but refused to break off from the religion of his
ancestors out of shame and social status.