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Bahira's Interview with the Prophet


On the day the Quraysh caravan was nearing Basra, 21 Bahira, a devout monk, caught sight of it through his monastry's window. He observed the caravan shaded by a little cloud that kept pace with it. Bahira came out of his monastry, stood in a corner and instructed his servant, 'Go and tell them that today they are all my guests'. All came to him but the Prophet, who was standing beside the property and equipment of the caravan. Seeing that the cloud had ceased to move, Bahira asked his guests, 'Are all the members of the caravan present here?' They answered, 'All but a youth who is the youngest'. Bahira said, 'Tell him to come as well'. So he was asked to come to the monk's room. The keen eyes of Bahira noticed that the cloud over his head moved with him. Taken by surprise, Bahira kept staring at the young boy. When the meal was over, the pious monk told him, 'I have a question to ask you and you must swear by Lat and 'Uzza 22 to answer my question'. Muhammad said, 'These two you have asked me to swear by are the most detestable things to me'. Bahira said, 'Swear by Allah to answer my question'. He said, 'Ask your question'. After a short interview with him, Bahira knelt down before him and started kissing his hands and feet, saying, 'If I live till you start your divine mission, I will most faithfully aid you and fight your enemies. You are superior to all of Adam's offspring ...'. Then he asked, 'Whose son is this youth?' The caravan members pointed to Abu Talib, saying, 'His son'. Bahira said, 'No. His father must be dead!'

Abu Talib said, 'You are right. He is my nephew'. Bahira then said, 'This youth will have a brilliant, extraordinary future. If the Jews find out what I have realized about him, they will destroy him. Take great care lest the Jews should hurt him'. Abu Talib said, 'What is he destined to do? What have the Jews to do with him?' Bahira said, 'He is predestined to become a Prophet, and the angel of inspiration will come down and make divine revelations to him'. Abu Talib said, 'God will not leave him alone and will Himself protect him against the Jews and his malevolent enemies'.

21. Basra was a small town near Damascus.

22. Lat and Uzza were two of the famous idols that the Arabs worshipped and swore by on various occasions.

Adapted from: "A Glance at the Life of the Holy Prophet of Islam" by : "Dar Rah Haqq's Board of Writers"

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