When the Prophet (s.a.w.) Met Sayyidina Bahirah the Nestorian (r.a.)

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following was extracted from “The Prophet Muhammad Musthafa the Elect (s.a.w.)”, by Shaykh Osman Nuri Topbas.

During his trip to Syria, with his uncle, Sayyidina Abu Thalib (r.a.), the caravan camped near the monastery of Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.), a Christian monk.  Astounded at having noticed a cloud hovering around the caravan and shading a certain person, as well as the branches of trees leaning forth to shelter someone from the Sun near where the caravan had camped, the curious Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) decided to look in to the intriguing matter and invite the Makkans inside the monastery for some food: “I have prepared food for you all.  I insist each and every member of the caravan to join, young and old, free and slave.”

The Makkans were taken aback by the invitation of Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.), since he had never seemed to take much interest in them before, during their numerous other trips to Syria.  Nevertheless, everyone heeded the invitation.  Inquisitively staring at all the faces of his guests upon their entrance, Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) felt he did not find what he had been looking for, a certain sign he wished to see.  “Did you leave someone behind?” he asked.

“No one”, they said, “except for a child left to keep an eye on the caravan and their belongings, chosen for the job since he was the youngest.”

But Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) insisted he come for the meal as well.  Once brought by the table, Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) recognised Muhammad (s.a.w.) immediately.  Taking him by the hand, he murmured, “This is the Master of the Both Worlds, The Almighty’s Messenger, the Mercy of the Worlds!”  The Makkan elders asked him where he had gotten such an idea, to which Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) answered, “I read his signs from our Holy Scriptures.  As you approached, I noticed all trees and rocks bowing to him in respect.  I am aware that it is only to prophets that these inanimate things bow in respect.  I then became all the more convinced, once I looked further and noticed the his seal of prophethood between his shoulder blades.”

Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) then continued to pose more questions to Sayyidina Abu Thalib (r.a.) about his young nephew and each answer he received set his heart at greater ease regarding his premonition.  Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) was now certain about the child’s prophethood.  “Take your nephew back to your homeland!” he then urged Sayyidina Abu Thalib (r.a.).  “Beware of the harm that may come from the Jews, for God forbid if they recognise your nephew, they will most certainly try to kill him.  The Jews desire the next prophet to be raised from among them, from the children of Israel, yet this child is an Arab.  Take him back.. Awaiting him is a great future.”  Sayyidina Abu Thalib (r.a.) listened to the advice of Sayyidina Bahirah (r.a.) and immediately turned back to Makkah, at the expense of cutting his business venture short.  This was recorded by Shaykh ibn Ishaq (r.a.), Shaykh ibn Sa’ad (r.a.), and Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.).


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