Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Bahirah (r.a.), the Nestorian

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

This ruin used to be the monastery of the Nestorian monk, Bahirah (r.a.), who spotted the signs of prophethood on the young Muhammad (s.a.w.) while the Prophet (s.a.w.) was on a trade caravan on the way to Syria.

Monastery of Bahirah (r.a.)
When Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) was about 12 years old, he accompanied his uncle Abu Thalib (r.a.) on a trade journey to Syria.  In a place called Busra, an incident took place, which caused Abu Thalib (r.a.) to return Muhammad (s.a.w.) to Makkah.

On their trade journey, they met a monk by the name of Bahirah (r.a.), who lived a simple life in a monastery.  He had simple provisions and lived a harsh life, surviving on the bare essentials.  His was an ascetic and the clothes he wore were coarse and well worn.  His residence was on the main caravan route and he regularly saw caravans passing by, carrying goods destined to be sold in the great markets of Syria.

When the caravan with the future prophet approached, Bahirah (r.a.) noticed that this caravan was different; there was something special about it.  He noticed that there was a cloud over the caravan and it was shading one person.  He also noticed that when that person sat beneath the tree, the branch lowered to shield him from the sun.  Bahirah (r.a.) decided to invite the people of the caravan to a meal and find out more.  Bahirah (r.a.) sent a message to the caravan that his hospitality was extended to all the members of the caravan.  The caravan traders accepted the invitation and arrived at the monk’s place.

When they arrived, Bahirah (r.a.) searched their faces looking for something.  He said that he offered my hospitality to everyone.  Was there anyone left behind?  They said that they had left a young boy called ‘Muhammad’ to look after the camels.  Bahirah (r.a.) insisted that they send someone to fetch Muhammad (s.a.w.).  When Bahirah (r.a.) saw the face of Muhammad (s.a.w.), he knew at once that this was the fulfillment of the scriptures.  The time of the final messenger had arrived.

After the meal, Bahirah (r.a.) approached Abu Thalib saying that Muhammad (s.a.w.) would be a great prophet one day.  He said that when he had seen the caravan in the distance there was a cloud hanging over them, which was shading them from the great heat of the desert.  When the caravan had stopped under a tree the cloud had also stopped above them.  Bahirah (r.a.) said that he had seen the stones and the trees prostrating to Muhammad (s.a.w.) as he walked by.  They only do this for a prophet of Allah (s.w.t.).  He had examined Muhammad's (s.a.w.) back and noticed the Seal of the Prophets, which was an oval shape protruding just below the shoulder blades.  He said that this was one of the signs of a great prophet to come that was taught to them in their books.

Bahirah (r.a.) said, "This is the master of all humans.  Allah will Send him with a message which would be a mercy to all humanity."  Bahirah (r.a.) advised that Muhammad (s.a.w.) should be taken back to Makkah at once.  If the Jews found out about him, they would try to kill him since he was not one of them.  Abu Thalib took the advice of this wise old monk and sent Muhammad (s.a.w.) back with some of the guides.


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