15. The Moon and Miracles

The man retorted, “Before you go to kill Muhammad, go settle matters in your own family, Oh Umar. Your sister and her husband have become his followers.”

“What?!” Umar was outraged. He turned towards his sister’s house. Inside, Khabbab bin al Aratt was reading Quran to them. Umar banged the door and his sister quickly hid the page of Quran in her clothes and hid the man who was teaching them in a closet. When Umar’s sister opened the door, he shouted at her, “What is this that I hear about you joining the followers of Muhammad?!” he struck her face and she started to bleed from her nose. 

“Yes, I have,” she said defiantly. Seeing the blood, he felt sorry. “Show me what you were reading,” he said. “No, I will not,” she answered. He promised he would do the page no harm. So she said, “Then you must wash before you touch the Quran.” She showed him how to make wudu, and he did. Then she gave him the page from surah Taha that they had been reading. Umar read it to himself, “How beautiful!” he said. Quickly Khabbab, came out of hiding excitedly, “Oh Umar, I heard Prophet Muhammad (s) say, ‘Oh Allah guide the more beloved Umar to You.” I hope that it is you!”

Again, Umar started walking toward  Dar al-Arqam. This time, his eyes were full of wonder and his heart was beating fast.  The person who opened the door and saw Umar standing there with his sword on his side was frightened. He went back through the passageway to the inner room and told the Muslims and they were all frightened. The Messenger (s) strode past them, he grabbed Umar by the front of his clothes, “Isn’t it time you accepted Islam, Oh Umar?!” “Yes, oh Messenger, Yes. I bear witness there is no God but Allah and that you are his Messenger.” And so, Umar accepted Islam. He was brave and he wanted everyone to know that he had become a follower of Muhammad, so the second day he announced his Islam to Quraish and no one dared harm him.

Now Islam, had gained two powerful and important people. It scared Quraish to see Islam within six years increasing in numbers. But they continued to torture the Muslims, make fun of them, and ask Prophet Muhammad for miracles. 

Quraish went to the Jews and asked them, “What miracle did Musa have?” They answered, “His staff would turn into a snake and his hand would glow white.” Then Quraish went to the Christians and they asked, “What miracles did Isa have?” They answered, “He would cure the blind and the leper and bring back the dead to life with Allah’s permission.” 

So, the idol worshipers went to Muhammad and said, “We want you to turn mount Safa into gold and we will believe you.” Prophet Muhammad, prayed to Allah and Jibreel came to him and said, “Your Lord greets you in peace and says that if you wish, He will turn Safa into gold, but if then they do not believe they will be punished a punishment like no one else ever received. And if you wish, he will open the door of repentance and mercy for them.” Prophet Muhammad said, “I choose the door of repentance and mercy.”

One day they came to the Prophet (s) and said, “Oh Muhammad, if you are truthful, show us a sign and let that sign be the splitting of the moon into two parts: one half over this mountain and the one half over the other.” The moon was full that night and Messenger (s) always hoping they would accept and believe the truth asked, “If I do, will you believe?” “Yes,” they said. So, Prophet Muhammad (s) prayed to Allah and asked for this miracle and the moon split into two parts. The Prophet (s) said, “Oh Allah, be witness.” It remained so until the moon set.

Do you think the people of Quraish believed? No, they didn’t. They believed it was some spell they were under, some magic he was tricking them with. They said to one another, “Let us find travelers coming into Mecca and ask them if they saw what we saw. If they saw the moon split in two, then he is telling the truth.” They searched and quickly found travelers who had come into Mecca that same night. What would they answer? Was it really a spell that the idol worshipers were under? Would they now have proof that it never really happened? That Muhammad was lying to them?