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His Knowledge of the Past

by Fethullah Gülen on . Posted in Essentials of the Islamic Faith

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• History is an important branch of knowledge. Unlike most sciences, it mostly depends on historical documents or artifacts. Although we can acquire some knowledge of the past, it is often very difficult to know the underlying facts, intentions, and motives, for accurate knowledge depends on reliable documents. But reliable documents are rare, for personal inclinations, interests, prejudices, and other motives distort what actually happened. For example, if the Qur'an had not been revealed, we would not have true knowledge of the Israelite Prophets, especially Prophet Jesus, and the original beliefs of Christianity and Judaism. We have only the translations of the Old and New Testaments, in which so many changes have been made that we can derive hardly any historical truth from them.

• Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, related many facts about past peoples and events. Much of this information is in the Qur'an, which informs us of past civilizations (e.g., 'Ad, Thamud, Iram, Sodom and Gomorra, and ancient Egypt) and peoples (e.g., those of Noah, Abraham, and Shu'ayb). It also provides a general historical outline of the Jewish people from the beginning to the time to Jesus, particularly in the times of Prophets Moses, David, and Solomon, upon them be peace. Much of this information was revealed while the Prophet was in Makka and had no contact with either Christians or Jews. When he emigrated to Madina, Jewish and Christian scholars questioned him on many topics and could not refute his answers.

• Some of this historical information is found in Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, and other books of Traditions. The Qur'an and the books have retained their original, uncorrupted texts, and none of their information has ever been contradicted; rather, much of it has been affirmed, and we can expect further affirmations in the future. This is an absolute, undeniable proof of Muhammad's Prophethood.

• Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, analyzed the causes and results of these bygone civilizations and peoples. His historical accounts presented laws of history and broad psychological, social, and economic principles concerning human individual and collective life. In addition, these masterpieces of literary style and eloquence have never been equaled.