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Evidence of Muhammad’s Prophethood (sws)
Dr. Shehzad Saleem


Muslims all over the world regard Muhammad (sws) to be a Prophet of Allah. Is this an emotional claim on their part, or merely a historical tradition they are clinging to? It is the verdict of the Qur’ān that neither is the case: his Prophethood is, in fact, a convincing reality in the world of reason and rationality. In this article, we shall examine some of the important arguments which validate the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws). 


 An analysis of mankind's history reveals that all outstanding people have a common pattern as far as their intellectual lives are concerned: all of them pass through various phases of maturity and development before they actually reach their peak. At the start of their scholarly lives, they adopt the ideas and concepts that prevail in the society they live. The environment around them influences their thoughts; great people around them become their ideals and they embark upon their intellectual journey by standing upon the shoulders of their illustrious predecessors. Consequently, Socrates and Aristotle, Farahi and Abu Hanifa, Iqbal and Ghalib, Einstein and Newton all reached their zenith after passing through this evolutionary process. Those who were initially influenced by the world, later influenced it -- only after passing through a series of acceptance and rejection of thoughts and ideas. It was only after this cerebral exercise that they mentally progressed to leave indelible expressions on the sands of time.

History bears witness that among the breed of exceptional people, there remained another category through which the Almighty chose to provide divine guidance to mankind. They were known as the Prophets of Allah. Muhammad (sws) was the last of these and with him the institution of Prophethood was terminated. Without fear of contradiction, it can be safely said that his personality -- as indeed the personalities of all other Prophets -- is an exception to this rule of gradual development. He presented the Qur’ān -- a book without parallel. It was at the age of forty that for the first time some verses of this Book were heard from him. For the next twenty three years he continued to present various portions of this Book in the different phases of his mission. During all this period, he lived in the thick of things in Mecca and Medina among his family, relatives and tribesmen. His message influenced the people around him in Mecca especially the young. The leaders of the Quraysh, however, opposed him vehemently. In Medina, his message received acclaim and the first Islamic State was founded there. After a series of battles, Mecca was finally subdued in the eighth year of the Prophet's migration and subsequently the whole of the Arabian peninsula came under the sway of the Islamic state. It is an undeniable fact that all his lifetime, he received no formal education. Moreover, he never ever presented any thought or idea before his society. Nothing of the sort we now read in the Qur’ān was ever heard from him before his Prophethood. In a life of fluctuating fortunes and diverse circumstances, the Book presented by him was, contrary to the general rule, free from any sort of gradual development as far as thoughts and concepts are concerned. What was presented on the first day was as lofty in standard and style as that which was presented at the very end. During all this period, no revision or rejection, acceptance or repudiation of the sort so evident in the thought and ideas of great people was seen. If the Book condemned polytheism, adultery and killing in the very initial period, no revision was made in this regard at the end. Similarly, if it regarded speaking the truth, fulfilling promises and administering justice as good deeds, no change was made in this stance. 

Besides thought and concepts, the style and elegance of the Qur’ānic verses are also free from any sort of evolutionary development. The whole of the Qur’ān is a piece of literature, unprecedented in every aspect. The highly literary style of the early Meccan sūrahs is nowhere less than that of the Medinan sūrahs.

Not only is the Qur’ān free of any contradictions and contains no gradual development as far as style and thought are concerned, the various historical and scientific facts it alludes to have never been challenged also. The Qur’ān has stood the test of fourteen centuries, and no one has been able to answer the challenge it gave to emulate it. Consequently, the Qur’ān itself is the greatest proof of the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws):

"This is sūrah Yaseen. The Wise Qur’ān [itself] bears witness that you [O Prophet!] are among the Prophets sent upon a straight path." (36:1-3)

No men or jinn has ever been able to produce a Book like it which is free from any contradiction and discrepancy:

"Will they not reflect on the Qur’ān? If it had not come from Allah, they would surely have found in it many contradictions." (4:82)


When in the fortieth year of his life, the Prophet (sws) declared his Prophethood, he could muster very little support from his tribe in favour of his message. Most people of Mecca rejected his call and only a few youth of the city accepted it. The hostility shown by the chiefs of Mecca was so severe that most people reckoned that it would only be a matter of days before this newly founded faith would reach a disastrous end. The Prophet (sws) and his companions were put through severe physical torture and mental affliction. Inspite of these trying circumstances, with little or no hope of success, the Prophet (sws) in these initial stages made a prediction of his success over his rivals. He proclaimed that he had not come merely to sermonize, but to decide the fate of his nation. He said that for a considerable period of time he would try to revive the true religion of Allah by cleansing it from all alien influences and would answer all the questions raised by the people in this regard. But once the truth -- the acceptance of which is the real test for which man has been created -- is revealed to them in its ultimate form, they would lose their right to live after failing in the very purpose for which they were created. He said that the nations of Noah (sws) and those of Shoaib (sws) and Lot (sws) and the peoples of Ād and Thamud and the Pharaoh, all were destroyed because they denied the respective Prophets sent to them, and if they persist in their arrogance, they too would meet a fate no different. He said that his dominance was an unalterable law of the Almighty:

"Return to your fold said the unbelievers to the Prophets or we will banish you from our land. The Almighty then revealed to the Prophets that We shall destroy the wrongdoers and let you dwell in the land after them." (14:13-14)

In the most critical of moments for the Islamists, just before migrating to Medina, when the Quraysh planned to kill him, the Prophet (sws) predicted the destruction of his most fiery foe Abu Lahab in the following words:

"The hands of Abu Lahab have perished and he also shall perish. Of no use shall his wealth and gains be to him. He shall soon be burnt in a Flaming Fire and his wife, laden with faggots. She shall have a rope of fibre around her neck." (111:1-5)

It was not long before this prediction started to materialize. In the battle of Badr, unlike most battles, it was the leaders who were killed and most of the common soldiers were able to save their lives. It was only Abu Lahab who was able to escape death only because he himself did not take part in it and had sent someone in his place. However, soon he was to face the worst of fates when a he died of a severe disease; such was the nature of this contagious disease that for three days even his sons did not come near his dead body.

After the battle of Badr, many battles were fought and the power of the Quraysh and its allies was finally crushed six years later when Mecca surrendered itself to the Muslim army. With this conquest fulfilled the prediction made by the Prophet (sws) almost twenty years ago when very few people believed that the Prophet (sws) and his followers would even survive.

Another very significant prediction was made by the Book presented by Muhammad (sws): In Sūrah Rum, the rise of the Roman Empire is predicted which at that time seemed very very unlikely. The Persians had humbled the mighty Roman Empire in the early part of the seventh century A.D. in a great tide of conquest which subdued Jerusalem and later on the whole of Egypt. Ultimately, the Persian occupation reached as far as Tripoli in North Africa and in Asia minor it went right up to the gates of Constantinople. Famine and pestilence added to the horrors of the vanquished Romans. In these circumstances, the Qur’ān gave glad tidings to the Muslims who were pro-Romans in this battle of titans that the Romans shall soon win over their lost territory and defeat the formidable Persian empire. Bizarre as it seemed, the prediction was made a subject of mockery by the Pro-Persian Quraysh. But the events which ensued proved this prediction true word for word. The Qur’ān had forecasted:

"This is Sūrah Alif Lām Meem. The Roman Empire has been defeated in a land close by. But they, after this defeat of theirs, shall soon be victorious within a few years. Whatever happened, happened at the Almighty's bidding and whatever will happen shall happen at His bidding; at that time, the believers will rejoice with the help of God." (30:1-5)

Only a Book which has been divinely revealed and only a person who is speaking on behalf of the Almighty can speak with such authority about matters hidden under the veils of tomorrow. 


A study of the Qur’ān and the Taurāt shows that the Almighty Himself gives a letter of authority to each of his Messengers as on their rejection or acceptance depends the fate of their people: Each departing Messenger (Nabi as well as Rasūl) gives glad tidings of the one to follow. In case of Prophets, (Rasūl) this prearrangement is even more pronounced as a whole group of messengers proclaims their arrival much before they come. They give news of the birthplace and the circumstances which will befall the Rasūl to come. When they depart from this world, they take a pledge from their followers to remain the custodians of this news. The following quotations from the Bible which predict the arrival of Jesus (sws) -- the last of the Israelite Prophets --  will perhaps make the point clear:

"See I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant whom you desire will come. Says the Almighty: But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderers soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the  Lord will have men who will bring offerings of righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in the days gone by, as in the former years." (Malachi, 3:1-4)


"O Joseph son of David! do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through this Prophet: The virgin will be with the child and will give birth to a son  and they will call him Immanuel." (Matthew, 1:20-23)

In the case of the Prophet (sws), his arrival had become a two thousand year old tradition. The prophecy of his arrival was carried from Abraham (sws) to Jesus (sws) by all the illustrious Prophets of Allah. Abraham (sws) had settled his progeny in the desolate deserts of Arabia and had prayed that among his descendents a Prophet be raised who should be given a special mission. The Qur’ān mentions this Abrahamic prayer in the following words:

"Our Lord send amongst them a Rasūl of their own who rehearses your signs and instruct them in the Law and Wisdom and [thereby] purifies them; you are exalted in Might, the Wise." (2:129)

Moses (sws) one of the most distinguished Prophets of the Israelites declared the arrival of Prophet Muhammad among the Ismaelites in the following words:

"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to him... The Lord said to me: What they say is good. I will raise up from them a Prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell everything I will command him. If anyone does not listen to my words that the Prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account." (Deuteronomy, 18:15-19)

The Prophet Jesus (sws) declared the arrival of Muhammad in the most clearest of words. In fact, the word Injeel, the Book revealed to him, means `glad tidings' for it gives glad tidings of the establishment of the Kingdom of Allah. The following passages from the Bible show how emphatic and vehement are the words of Jesus (sws) in this regard:

"Jesus said to them: Have you never read in the scriptures that the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this and it is marvellous in our eyes. Therefore, I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces but on whom it falls will be crushed." (Matthew, 21:42-44)

"And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever -- the Spirit of Truth." (John, 14:16-17)

"But the Counsellor, the Holy spirit the Father will send in my name will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John, 14:26)

"I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this  world is coming. He has no hold on me." (John, 14:30)

"But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go away, I will send him to you. when he comes, he will convict the world with regard to sin and righteousness and judgement; in regard to sin because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgement because the prince of this world now stands condemned. I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of Truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (John, 14:7-13)

The Qur’ān refers to these predictions in the following words:

"Those who will follow the Rasūl the unlettered Nabi whom they find mentioned in the Taurāt and the Injeel." (7:157)

The Prophet Jesus (sws), according to the Qur’ān proclaimed the advent of Muhammad by actually taking his name:

"And [remember] when Jesus son of Mary said to the Israelites: I am sent forth to you as the Rasūl of Allah according to the predictions mentioned in the Taurāt before me and have come to you to give glad tidings of a Rasūl to come after me. His name will be Ahmad." (61:6)

In this atmosphere of divine pre-announcements, everyone was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the `prince of the world' after the departure of Jesus (sws). Consequently, six centuries later, when the arrival actually took place, the Jews and Christians had no grounds to deny him except jealousy. The Qur’ān unveils their recognition of the Prophet (sws) in the following words:

"Those whom We gave the Book recognize this [Prophet] as they recognize their own sons; but a group among them knowingly conceals the truth." (61:6)

"Is not this an enough Sign to them that the scholars of the Israelites know him [-- the Prophet --]." (26:197)


In the light of these details, it is evident that the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws) is a convincing reality in the world of reason and rationality. He was the last of the Prophets of Allah sent to revive and redirect the religion of Islam in the desolate deserts of Arabia.

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