Divine signs indicating the great birth started to become manifest well before the delivery of the Blessed Prophet. Every inch of the universe was yearning for the embodiment of very cause behind their creation. The pledges taken by the Almighty from previous Prophets that they will recognize Muhammad (s.a.s) as a Prophet and help him should he appear in their lifetimes could be considered as the greatest sign attesting to his advent. The following verse confirms that:
“Behold! Allah took the covenant of the Prophets, saying: ‘I give you a Book and Wisdom; then comes to you a messenger, confirming what is with you; do ye believe in him and render him help.’ Allah said: ‘Do you agree, and take this My Covenant as binding on you?’ They said: ‘We agree.’ He said: ‘Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.’” (Âl İmrân, 81)
Raising their hands to the heavens, Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail (a.s) also prayed for the arrival of the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) after completing the building of the Kaabah.
“Our Lord! Raise up a Messenger from among them who shall recite to them Your communications and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and purify them. Surely You are the Mighty, the Wise!” (al-Baqara, 129)
Similarly, while informing the Israelites of his Prophethood, Prophet Isa (a.s) also gives the glad tidings of the coming of the final Prophet.
“And remember, Isa, the son of Maryam, said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allah (sent) to you, confirming the Law (which came) before me, and giving Glad Tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad…” (es-Saff, 6)
Wile still pregnant, Aminah saw a dream in which she heard:
“You are pregnant, Aminah, with the master of the Ummah. When you give birth to him pray to Allah and say, ‘I seek refuge with Allah, the One, from the evil of the envious when he envies’ and give him the name ‘Muhammad’.
In memory of these, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.s) has stated:
“I am the answer to the prayer of my grandfather Ibrahim, the good news given by Jesus and the dream of my mother.” (Hâkim, II, 453; Ahmad, IV, 127-128)
The Prophet’s name and attributes were also explicitly written in both the Torah and the Gospel, with which the scholars of both texts were fully informed at the time. Those among them who had it in their hearts to acknowledge this were praised in the Quran:
“Those who follow the messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, whom they will find described in the Torah and the Gospel (which are) with them …” (al-Arâf, 7:157)
Because they knew the characteristics of the Blessed Prophet r, they recognized him with the ease a father would recognize his son, as confirmed by the following verse:
“Those whom We have given the Book recognize him as they recognize their sons, and a party of them most surely conceal the truth while they know (it).” (al-Baqara, 2:146)
Upon becoming a Muslim, Abdullah ibn Selâm (r.a) who was a great scholar of the Torah, said:
“I recognize the Messenger of Allah (s.a.s) better than I would my own son.”
Inquiring further was Omar (r.a):
“How is that so?”
“I can without any doubt bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, purely because his characteristics are clearly written in the Torah”, he answered.
Hearing this, Omar remarked, “The Almighty has indeed given you the truth.” (Vâhidî, s. 47; Râzî, Tefsîr, IV, 116) The Holy Quran testifies that both the Torah and the Gospel describe the characteristics of the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s), as well as his companions:
“Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers, compassionate among themselves; you will see them bowing down, prostrating themselves, seeking grace from Allah and pleasure; their marks are in their faces because of the effect of prostration; that is their description in the Torah and their description in the Gospel; like as seed-produce that puts forth its sprout, then strengthens it, so it becomes stout and stands firmly on its stem, delighting the sowers that He may enrage the unbelievers on account of them; Allah has promised those among them who believe and do good, forgiveness and a great reward” (al-Fath, 48:29)
Abdullah ibn Abbâs (r.a) one day asked Kâb al-Ahbâr to tell him of the characteristics of the Prophet (s.a.s) mentioned in the Torah.
“Mentioned therein are the following characteristics: Muhammad ibn Abdullah will be born in Mecca and will migrate to Medina. He will eventually seize Damascus. Never will he speak foul words, nor will he raise his voice in public. He will not retaliate against evil with evil and will forgive the culprits. His people will offer their thanks to Allah and glorify Him in good times and bad. They will wash their arms (make wudu, ablution) and stand in lines in prayer like in battles. Constantly heard from their places of worship will be a buzz (the recital of the Quran and chanting the names of Allah). Their call to prayer will fill the sky.” (Dârimî, Muqaddima, 2)
Atâ ibn Yasâr -rahimahullâh- narrates:
“I came across Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-As and asked him to tell me about the description of Allah’s Messenger in the Torah.
‘By Allah, he is indeed described in the Torah with some of the qualities attributed to him in the Quran. It is said in the Torah that:
‘O Prophet ! We have sent you as a witness for Allah’s True religion, a giver of glad tidings to faithful believers, a warner to unbelievers and as a guardian of the illiterate. You are My slave and My Messenger. I have named you al-Mutawakkil (who depends upon Allah). You are neither discourteous, harsh nor a noise-maker in public. You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them forgivingly and kindly. Allah will not let you die until, through you, He straightens the crooked by making them admit that none has the right to be worshipped besides Allah; and through this which will blind eyes, deaf ears and hearts of stone be opened to the truth.” (Bukhârî, Buyû, 50; Tafsîr, 48/ 3)
Aware of all the characteristics of the Prophet (s.a.s), the Jews were in anxious anticipation of his advent. So much so that whenever the Jews had a quarrel with the Madinan tribes Aws and Khazraj, they would threaten them, telling that their days were numbered, since the with the expected Prophet, whose arrival was now looming and whom the Jews would follow, would signal the end of the two tribes who would be eradicated just like the tribes of Ad and Iram. (Ibn Asîr, el-Kâmil, II, 95-96)
But as the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) was not of Jewish blood, the Jews never came around to accepting him in their entirety. Striking is the following story narrated by Safiya bint Huyay, the wife of the Prophet (s.a.s) and a Jew before Islam.
“When the Messenger of Allah (s.a.s) reached the village of Quba during the migration to Madinah, my father and my uncle rushed to see him. They returned only around sunset, sad and dejected, however. I heard them say the following to one another.
‘So you think he is the expected Prophet?’ asked Huyayy, my father.
‘By God he is!’ said my uncle, Abu Yâsir.
‘But are you sure? Did you confirm it with other proofs?’ asked my father once more.
‘Yes!’ was the reply.
‘So how do feel towards him now?’ asked Abu Yasir in turn after a momentary pause.
‘By Allah as long as I am alive I will foster only enmity towards him in my heart,’ replied my father.” (Abû Nuaym, Delâil, I, 77-78)
The Jews were envious of the Arabs because the last Prophet had emerged from among them, and not from Jewish stock. All along, they had anxiously expected him to be raised from among them. On these grounds they rejected his prophethood.
Ibn Abbâs (r.a) is another who recounts the Jews’ hostile attitude:
“Warring continuously with the tribe of Ghatafan, the Jews of Khaybar almost always used to wind up defeated. So they prayed to the Almighty: ‘Our Lord! We ask victory from you for the sake of the Prophet you promised to send towards the end of time.’
By asking for Divine assistance in the name of the Prophet (tawassul), the Jews were at last able to gain victory over the tribe of Ghatafan. Yet even though they had received help using his name, they did not accept the Final Prophet when sent by the Almighty. So to chastise them the following verse was revealed:
“…although from of old they had prayed for victory (fort he sake of the Prophet that would come soon) against those without Faith,- when there comes to them that which they (should) have recognized (the Prophet Muhammad), they refuse to believe in him; but the curse49 of Allah is on those without Faith. ” (al-Baqara, 89) (Qurtubî, II, 27; Wâhidî, p. 31)
The following incident is also noteworthy in indicating the arrival of the Blessed Prophet into the world: Sayf ibn Zî-Yazan was appointed the king of Yemen by the Persian Khosrau. The representatives of the entire Arab tribes came to congratulate him. The mission sent by the Meccans consisted of ten people and was headed by Abdulmuttalib, the grandfather of the Prophet (s.a.s). In the presence of the King, Abdulmuttalib said:
“We are the people and the servants of the protected House of Allah. We have come to congratulate you for your accession to the throne.”
They were warmly welcomed by the King of Yemen and were lodged for some time as his guests. One day the King summoned Abdulmuttalib and said:
“I am going to tell you a secret, Abdulmuttalib. Had it been anybody else other than you, I would not have said it, but it is only because there is something about you I sense. Keep this between us until the Almighty wills it to be exposed. Only His Will is realized. We have a book, the contents of which only we know and in it there are important news closely concerning you and your friends.”
“Even if it means these nomads are to die in your path, please tell me…What is this important news?” insisted Abdulmuttalib.
“A boy will be born in the area of Tihâma. He will be the leader of mankind until the Final Hour and your people will reap the honor. As a sign there will be mole between his shoulder blades.”
King Sayf ibn Zi-Yazan continued:
“The time of his birth has come. Who knows? He may have already been born. His name is Muhammad. His parents are to die and his grandfather and uncle will see to his care. The Almighty has sent him as a clear caller onto His path and will make some of us his helpers. Through them, the Almighty will debase the enemies of this Prophet and dignify his friends. He will capture the best parts of the world. The Magian fire will be extinguished with his birth. People will in his time worship al-Rahman, the One True God. Disbelief and extremities will be banned, idols will be destroyed and the Satan will be stoned. His words will differentiate true and false. His judgments will always be just. He will always command the good and will practice it first himself. Evil will be prohibited and falsehood will be destroyed.”
“May Allah extend your life and honor! May your rule be everlasting! What you describe is my lineage. Can the King make this man happier by giving more detail about this child?”
“By the enshrouded House of Allah, by all the miracles and heavenly Scriptures, it is no lie that you are the forefather of this baby”, Sayf replied. Abdulmuttalib fell to the ground in jubilation.
“Raise your head. May your heart be at peace, your life long and your name exalted! Tell me…Is there anything that you are aware of from the signs that I have told you?” asked the King.
“Yes…I had a son who I used to dearly love and treasure. I had him married to Aminah, daughter of one of the most honorable of my people. She gave birth to a child. I named him Muhammad. He has a mole between his shoulder blades. He furthermore carries all the signs you say. Both his parents are deceased. His uncle and I have taken his care upon ourselves”, explained Abdulmuttalib.
“Protect the child very well”, advised the King.
“Be wary of the Jews as they have enmity towards him. But the Almighty will not give them the opportunity. Do not mention what I have said to your friends, for I fear they might get jealous of the superiority granted to you and inflict trouble upon your grandchild. If only I knew I would survive to see the day he becomes a Prophet, I would march on with my cavalry and infantry to seize Yathrib (Medinah) and make it the capital of my realm and prepare it for his migration. If only I could be the one protecting him from troubles and adversaries! Bring me back news of him in a year’s time!”
Sayf ibn Zi-Yazan was unfortunately killed within a year. (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, III, 26-28; Diyarbakri, I, 239-241)
Another piece of good news Abdulmuttalib received regarding the future of his grandchild runs as follows:
While playing with fellow children, the young Muhammad (s.a.s) had one day gone as far as the Radm quarters. There, a group from the clan of Mudlij called him and inspected the child’s feet and footprints. Thereupon Abdulmuttalib arrived. They hugged him and asked:
“Is this child yours?”
“He is my son”, answered he.
“Protect him closely, for we have never before seen footprints that resemble those of Ibrahim near the Kaabah more than his”, they advised.
Abdulmuttalib urged his son Abu Talib nearby to give ear to their words. It was owing to such concerns that Abu Talib was so protective of his nephew. Before the Noble Messenger (s.a.s) honored the world with his presence, the entire globe was plunged in spiritual darkness. People were drowning in swamps of crass ignorance. Humanity had all but lost its dignity. Even beasts had had enough of human atrocities. Life had become unbearable. The universe was dark, human beings were in misery and hearts were aching. The weak had long forgotten how to smile. Only the strong exercised the right to live. In the words of Mehmed Akif:
Mankind had surpassed hyenas in ferocity,
Weak, devoured by his brothers one would be.
The Quran echoes this in the following:
“Corruption has appeared in the land and the sea on account of what the hands of men have wrought, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, so that they may return.” (ar-Rum, 41)
As the sublime birth approached, everything, living and nonliving, grew in excitement and longing in their wait for the coming of that Great Light to save them from darkness, thirsting for him to offer them the elixir of life. Entire mankind was waiting, having already received the providential signs of his advent. By giving poetic expression to Amina’s state at the time of the sublime arrival, Suleyman Chelebi, in his Mawlid articulates that even the sun revolves around the Blessed Prophet (s.a.s) from love, like a moth around a flame:
‘I saw’, the Beloved’s mother said, ‘A light so unique, the sun its moth,
Angels descended from the skies in line,
And like the Kaabah, orbited my home
‘No other like your son’, they said,
Has come since the world was formed
The King of knowledge divine he is,
With secrets of wisdom and unity adorned…’