Prophecies from the Quran

1. The Victory of the Romans over the Persians
An example of a prophecy mentioned in the Quran is the triumph of the Romans (also known as the Byzantines) over the Persians. Interestingly, the prophesy was predicted to occur within 3 to 9 years of the date when these verses were revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w. - may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him).

The Byzantine and Persian Empires were the two super-powers at that time, and had long been warring with each other to expand their territories. The Persians were particularly successful under the greatest of their emperors, Chosroes II, who had begun his campaign against the Romans early in the 7th century CE. They swept across the Byzantium Empire, and within 30 years reduced the Roman defenses to shambles, having conquered the best part of Syria, Palestine, Egypt and all of the area below the empire’s capital, Constantinople (now called Istanbul). The latter campaigns were conducted during the reign of the Roman emperor, Heraclius, who being more of a man of the pleasantries of the palace than the battlefields helplessly watched the destruction of his empire. The greatest blow occurred when the Persians seized Jerusalem in 614-615 CE, carrying away the relics of the holy city. It was during the years when the few Muslims were severely persecuted in Makkah that this occurred. The Makkan pagans rejoiced greatly, and redoubled their taunts and persecution against the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) whose Message was a renewal of the Message of Jesus (Isa, peace be upon him). It was at this juncture that Muhammad (s.a.w.), during his fourth or fifth year of prophethood, received the following astonishing prophetic revelation:

"The Romans have been defeated in the lowest (or nearest) land, but they, after their defeat, will be victorious, within bedd’ (3 to 9) years. God’s is the command in the former case and in the latter, and on that day believers will rejoice, with the help of God. He helps to victory whom He wills. He is the All-Mighty, the All-Compassionate." [Quran, al-Rum, 30:1-5]

No one at that time could have made such a prediction. However, when the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) conveyed these Divine verses to his followers, they did not hesitate in accepting such an improbable prophesy. In reference to this prediction, the famous English historian, Edward Gibbon (1737-1794) wrote in his historical 18th century work, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, “At the time when the prediction is said to have been delivered, no prophecy could have been more distant from its accomplishment, since the first 12 years of Heraclius announced the approaching dissolution of the empire” [Vol 5, page 75, London, 1911]. But then something happened—Heraclius changed. Taking on the role of a heroic leader and borrowing all the gold that the churches could lend him, he set sail quietly into the Mediterranean Sea with a small band of soldiers. Landing at the shores of Syria, he defeated the Persian forces sent to intercept him. His troops marched on with victory after victory as far as the royal cities of Casbin and Ispahan, which had never been approached by a Roman emperor before. There, he faced the largest Persian army ever. Although he knew nothing of the prophecy foretold by Muhammad (s.a.w.), Heraclius addressed his commanders in prophetic terms: “Do not be terrified by the multitude of your enemies. With the aid of Heaven, one Roman may triumph over a thousand barbarians”. In 622 CE, the Romans were victorious with the decisive battle of Ninevah.

In 7 years, Heraclius liberated all of the provinces that had been lost in 30 years, and the prophesy came true. Strangely, Heraclius returned to his life of pleasure forcing Gibbon to state: “Of the characters conspicuous in history, that of Heraclius is one of the most extraordinary and inconsistent. In the first and last years of a long reign, the emperor appears to be the slave of sloth, pleasure, and superstition, the careless and impotent spectator of public calamities”. Indeed, it was as if Heraclius had woken up from the life of laziness just to fulfill the prophecy of the Quran!

This happened at the same time as the believers won the victory of Badr over the Makkan polytheists. The Muslims rejoiced not only at their victory in Badr but also at the victory of the Christian believers in God over the disbelieving Persians. Thus the Quranic verses above contained two predictions, both of which came true within 9 years.

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