Prophecy of Prophet Muhammad’s migration from and victorious return to Mecca

Examining Quranic prophecies as evidence of Holy Quran’s divine origin

Jalees Ahmad, Al Hakam

Often, allegations are made claiming that the Holy Quran was not revealed by God, or people question how one can be sure that the Quran is, in fact, a divine revelation.

A simple method to answer such notions is to diligently examine the prophecies contained within the Holy Quran. By reading, studying and analysing the Quran and the prophecies and themes mentioned within, one can gain a deeper understanding of the Quran’s divine origin. Prophecies, mentioned in the Quran foretell future events and occurrences with such accuracy, demonstrating a level of knowledge and foresight that trumps human capabilities. Such prophecies and details within the Quran serve as ample evidence of its divine origin and lend credence to its status as a revelation from the Almighty and All-Knowing God.

Prophecy of Surah al-Qasas

اِنَّ الَّذِيۡ فَرَضَ عَلَيۡکَ الۡقُرۡاٰنَ لَرَآدُّکَ اِلٰي مَعَادٍ ؕ قُلۡ رَّبِّيۡۤ اَعۡلَمُ مَنۡ جَآءَ بِالۡہُدٰي وَمَنۡ ہُوَ فِيۡ ضَلٰلٍ مُّبِيۡنٍ

“Most surely He Who had made [the teaching of] Quran binding on thee will bring these back to [thy] place of return. Say, ‘My Lord knows best who brings the guidance, and who is in manifest error.’” (Surah al-Qasas, Ch.28: V.86)

Meaning of the verse and fulfilment

In the Five Volume Commentary, we read: “This verse is considered by some scholars to have been revealed while the Holy Prophetsa was on his way from Mecca to Medina. It embodied a great prophecy, viz. that the Holy Prophetsa one day will have to leave Mecca and then eventually he will come back to it as a victor and conqueror, and the fulfilment of this mighty prophecy under extraordinary circumstances will show ‘who has brought the guidance, and who is in manifest error.’” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 4, p. 2463)

Imam Qurtabi, in his tafsir, states that the place of return is alluding to Mecca. Further, it is said that this was revealed on the way from Mecca to Medina in a place called Juhfah. (Tafsir Imam Qurtubi, Surah Al-Qasas, Ch.28: V.85) The Arabic word for “place of return” – mentioned in the verse under discussion –  used is معاد. This word, when examined in the context of the Arabic language, is derived from the word عاد, which means “he returned.” Therefore, the word used in the verse alludes to a place, a location of arrival, or a destination, situation, or status.

To fully appreciate the significance of this verse, we must consider the context in which it was revealed. As previously mentioned, this Surah and, more specifically, this verse, was revealed in Mecca, due to its coming down prior to the Holy Prophet’ssa migration to Medina. When we examine the history of Islam, especially the period when the Holy Prophetsa resided in Mecca, we observe that he and the Muslims endured severe persecution. From enduring abuse near the Holy Ka’bah during their prayers to surviving attempts on the Prophet’ssa life, the Holy Prophetsa and his Companionsra faced relentless persecution.

In the midst of these unrelenting and tough times, how could anyone have dared to dream that (1) they would somehow find a way to escape this persecution, and, even more miraculously, (2) that they would one day return to the very place they were forced to flee from?

Under this verse, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira writes, in his commentary, that this prophecy foretells the day when Prophet Muhammadsa was to enter that very Mecca, where he was forced to leave. It anticipates a moment when no plan or tactic would be effective against him, and he would eventually enter Mecca as a victorious conqueror. (Haqaiq-ul-Furqan, Vol. 3, p. 367) And indeed, as we see in history, that day came to pass.

Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra writes that Allah the Almighty, in this verse, demonstrates that those who oppose the Prophets of God, regardless of how powerful they may be, eventually face destruction. In the end, only believers achieve success and victory. This verse narrates one of the most pivotal events in the life of Allah’s Messengersa as a prophecy. “He Who had made [the teaching of] Quran binding on thee will bring these back to [thy] place of return,” meaning that the One who has revealed the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammadsa swears by Himself and declares that the Holy Prophetsa will inevitably return to this place, i.e., Mecca. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 10, pp. 303-305)

It must be remembered that Ibn Abbas, in light of the Quranic verse 28:86 where it states: “…will bring these back to [thy] place of return,” is referring to bringing him back to Mecca. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab at-tafsir, Hadith 4773)

I have alluded to the above-mentioned point to link it with the following statement of the Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. Huzoorra said that it’s important to clarify that this verse doesn’t allude to reincarnation, nor does “معاد” refer to the world, as some have mistakenly understood. Instead, it foretells the Holy Prophet’ssa migration from Mecca to another city. He will return to the place where people gather for Hajj and Umrah, the centre of worship. God, who revealed the Quran, swears that when circumstances drive him out, He will bring him back to his homeland. Think about how subtly this verse hints at the Prophet’ssa migration from Mecca. Even in the midst of the Holy Prophet’ssa distress, it provides the good news of his return. (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol.10, pp. 303-305)

Thus, this verse serves as an offering of solace and hope for the Prophet Muhammadsa and the early Muslims, assuring them that despite the challenges in Mecca, they would eventually return to Mecca with God’s help and support.

This verse of discussion was undoubtedly fulfilled during the victory of Mecca, where the Holy Prophetsa marched into Mecca with 10,000 followers. It was the 8th year of Hijra in December.

On the day of the conquest, the Prophetsa found 360 idols around the Kaba. He used a stick to destroy them while proclaiming:

جَاءَ الْحَقُّ وَزَهَقَ الْبَاطِلُ، جَاءَ الْحَقُّ

“‘Truth has come and falsehood has vanished away. Falsehood does indeed vanish away [fast].’” (Surah Bani Isra’il, Ch.17: V.82)

وَمَا يُبْدِئُ الْبَاطِلُ وَمَا يُعِيدُ

“…and falsehood could neither originate [any good] nor reproduce [it].” (Surah Sabah, Ch.34: V.50)

This incident can be found in Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-maghazi, Hadith 4287.

Such a prophecy cannot be a mere coincidence. When one studies the life and sirah of the Holy Prophetsa and the early Muslims, the prophecy of such nature being made well before its fulfilment is something that cannot be ignored.

Another point worth mentioning here is that this verse remarkably demonstrates the safeguarding of the Holy Prophet’ssa precious and dear life. This verse clearly states that the Prophetsa shall one day return to Mecca, which would imply that his life will also be safeguarded until he victoriously enters Mecca. It cannot be that the Holy Quran prophesied a matter and the Holy Prophetsa passes away before it is fulfilled, as the words  لَرَآدُّکَ  have been used, which means that Allah shall bring thee back to Mecca, referring to the Holy Prophetsa.

With this, another point that comes to light is that when the Prophetsa was migrating, Hazrat Abu Bakrra, who accompanied him, took all measures to ensure the Prophet’ssa safety. He would walk around him – at times on his left, then on his right, and then before and behind him. Even when Suraqa bin Malik came later and attempted to assassinate the Prophetsa – God forbid – the Prophetsa remained calm with his full trust in God.

Suraqa bin Malik states that the Holy Prophetsa remained calm and composed at such a time. He mentions that when he heard the recitation of the Quran by Allah’s Messengersa, who did not look around while Abu Bakrra did so often, suddenly the legs of his horse sank into the sand up to the knees, halting him from getting close to the Messengersa. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab minaqibi l-ansar, Hadith 3906)

Furthermore, when we read the words and prophecies in this verse, it sheds another light on the famous words of the Holy Prophetsa mentioned in the Holy Quran:

لَا تَحۡزَنۡ اِنَّ اللّٰہَ مَعَنَا

“‘Grieve not, for Allah is with us.’” (Surah at-Taubah, Ch.9, V.40)

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