In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, Most Merciful,
“The Romans have been defeated in the adna1 land and they after their defeat will be victorious, within bed‘a2 years. The decision of matters before and after [these events] is only for Allah, and on this day the believers will rejoice with Allah’s help, He helps whom he wills, and He is the Almighty, the most merciful. A promise from Allah and Allah fails not his promise but most people do not know.” [The Qur’an (30:2-6)]
1 ‘adna,’ an Arabic word (أدنى) that could mean lowest or nearest in this context. The two meanings are clearly stated in all Arabic dictionaries. The first is mentioned in the Qur’an verse (7:169) where the exact same word is used in this sense.
2 ‘bed‘a,’ an Arabic word (بضع) that means few, used to indicate that the number ranges from 3 to 9.
The events of these revelations took place in the year 614. The Romans were defeated by the Persian Empire at Sham. The Persians battled with, and chased after the Romans all the way from Damascus in Syria towards Jerusalem. They expelled them from the vicinity of the Dead Sea. They destroyed the Monastery of Martyrius on the way to Jerusalem. The monasteries of Jericho were all abandoned in the process. Palaestina Prima and Palaestina Secunda were both conquered by a joint persian-Jewish army that destroyed their churches, and confiscated the true cross. The Persian army continued to triumph until it reached Jerusalem where it camped outside the city walls and besieged the remnants of the Roman army inside and around Jerusalem for 21 days under warfare after which the city was captured by the Persians. Muslims were still in Makkah at that time. The Arabian merchants returning from Sham, brought the news of the Roman-Persian war back with them. The pagan idolaters wanted the Persian army to win the war for they were pagans like themselves, but Muslims wanted the Romans to win for they were people of the book who believed in Allah. When the news of the Romans’ defeat reached them, Abu-Bakr the companion reported the bad news to Prophet Muhammad, so the prophet P.B.U.H. said: “But they (the Romans) will triumph shortly,” and he recited the above verses that were revealed to him. Abu-Bakr excitedly went back to the idolaters and told them that the Romans shall defeat the Persians within a few years. The idolaters challenged him to tell them when exactly, and if it happened as he says, then so and so shall be his, and if what he says turns out to be wrong, then so and so shall be there’s. Consequently, a bet was raised against the truthfulness of the previous Qur’anic verses. Abu-Bakr unknowingly, suggested a period of 6 years, he chose an average number between 3 and 9; thereafter, he returned to the prophet and told him about his bet with the Makkan pagans. The prophet told him: “You should have been more cautious, you should have said within less than 10 years.”
Six years later, early in the year 620, the Romans were still defeated and had lost more lands to the Persians, so the idolaters won the bet. Losing that bet was a kind of disciplining from Allah for Muslims. They learned that betting is a kind of gambling which was totally forbidden by the Qur’anic verses. Anyway, two years later, in April of the year 622 Heraclius left Constantinople. He led his army in a desperate trial to strike back and retrieve the lands taken by the Persians. In autumn of the year 622, he won his battle against the Persians in the Cappadocian highlands of Issus retrieving Asia Minor, and fulfilling exactly what Allah foretold in the Qur’an. The Muslims rejoiced when the news reached them later on at Madinah.
Regarding this incident the famous historian Edward Gibbon says in his epic work “The decline and fall of the Roman empire,” volume No.8, p.94:
“At the time when this prediction is said to have been delivered, no prophecy could be more distant from its accomplishment, since the first twelve years of Heraclius announced the approaching dissolution of the empire.”
Another amazing thing is that in the same year 622, the idolaters planned to kill Prophet Muhammad. They plotted that a man from every tribe will contribute in his assassination so that his followers wouldn’t think of avenging him. Allah revealed their plan to his prophet and ordered him to emigrate to Madinah. The idolaters went out chasing after him, they set a huge reward for the one who would help in capturing him. Muslims at Madinah were awaiting the prophet’s arrival, they were afraid that the idolaters would succeed in killing him. The distance between Makkah and Madinah is about 400 kilometers, the prophet and his companion Abu-Bakr were traveling this distance on 2 Camels which Abu-Bakr had prepared for the journey. Of course the pagans’ horsemen were much faster and lighter, but Allah is powerful above all, He delivered his prophet in a miraculous way. The prophet and Abu-Bakr reached Madinah’s southern vicinity on Friday the 12th of “Rabi’ Al-Awal” (month No.3 on the Hijrah calendar) also in the autumn of that year. Calculations found it to be approximately the 23rd or 24th of September (i.e. the exact day couldn’t be known 100% accurately). Muslims celebrated that day and they described it as the day in which the streets of Madinah were illuminated by Prophet Muhammad’s arrival. That day is considered the real dawn of Islam and the beginning of the Islamic reign. This was the second prophecy in the above verses stating that the believers will rejoice with Allah’s help on the same day in which the Romans defeat the Persians.
Finally, the nearest inhabited lands to Makkah were in Sham and Yemen. The above verses described the Romans defeat stating that they were defeated at the “Adna” lands; so when the verses were revealed, Muslims understood that the word “Adna” was referring to the cities in Sham as the nearest Northern land to Arabia. They never indulged into the issue or ask why did Allah add this description (in the adna land) amidst the verse. Actually if you remove it, the verse will be understood just fine without any need for this added description. The translations throughout the last two centuries have also translated the word as nearest following the early generations’ interpretation. Amazingly, a stunning scientific fact was stated in these verses more than 1350 years before its discovery. It wasn’t understood except after the development of satellites. The Dead Sea shores Marked in red in the picture below have been recognized with the aid of satellite photographing to be the earth’s lowest dry lands. This precisely fulfilled the meaning of the word “Adna,” and made it manifest that the “one word Qur’anic description” of the place was the most accurate that could ever be given.
Now, assuming that the Qur’an was not from the Creator who is All-Knowing, and Prophet Muhammad was making it up, how did the above prophecy and scientific fact turn out to be correct and accurate? I leave the answer for the reader’s judgment.
N.B.: I had to add more information to the original post because I received a message from one of the readers saying that Jerusalem’s altitude is over 700 meters; hence, it’s not the lowest dry land. I added information about the Persian-Roman war to clarify that the war included many battles starting from the Eastern borders of Syria, passing by Damascus, then the dead sea vicinity which extends for over 150 km in the way towards Jerusalem. All cities in the way between the dead sea and Jerusalem were invaded by the Persians, some of which are mentioned clearly above along with their wiki-links. The Qur’anic verses didn’t name Jerusalem, but it named the war, all of it. Please understand that this is just a short quick post, you have to dig into matters more in order to have true understanding, this is why I added many links for clarification and proofs; they are all marked in red and underlined. Thank you.
Written By: Ehab Shawky