When the pagans despaired of tempting the Prophet (S) to turn away from his preaching or to leave them and their gods alone and to cease _denouncing them, they gathered together and consulted one another regarding their situation. Then they tried another approach, which was to try to prove the weakness of the Prophet (S) ; by asking him to produce Miracles, so they went to him, saying to him in a quarrelsome and argumentative manner: "Oh, Muhammad! If you are truthful, then show us a Sign from you." Then they defined the Sign, saying: "Split the moon for us into two parts." Allah, the Most High said:
"The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft asunder."
This took place before the emigration (Hijrah) of the Prophet (S) to Al-Madinah, on a moonlit night in the middle of the month. The world had become accustomed to not paying any attention to the moon, which proceeded calmly across the heaven, to take its place in the center of the sky, after it had risen and completed its course and it appeared in the sky in full, illuminating the land.
"Blessed is He (Allah) Who has placed in the heaven big stars, and has placed therein a great lamp (sun) and a moon giving light. "
In Mina, near the blessed Mount Hira', which loomed in the light of the moon, a large number of people had gathered in expectation wait, fear and silence, craning their necks towards the far horizon, their eyes fixed upon the moon. The Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad (S) stopped and with him were few people who believed in his Message and were convinced of the truth of it. They stood between a large number who had belied him and were determined not to believe him, even if the moon fell over their heads.
And from the Owner of all things, Who is Able to do all things, issued the command to the moon (to split) and the moon obeyed willingly and began to split, whispering: "I respond to Your Call, my Lord! I respond to Your Call, oh, Owner of the command!" And slowly, it began to split, little by little, its two sides parted.
'Abdullah bin Mas'ud (R) said: "I saw the mountain from the opening in the moon when it split." The moon split in order to show the falseness of the claims of those who accused Muhammad (S) regarding it: 'Look oh, you who refused to allow him to convey the Message of his Lord look at the moon and look carefully at it!'
Allah favored Muhammad (S) with this Miracle to testify the truth of his Message, and to confirm as an evidence for the hearts polluted with polytheism, that happly, they might become purified and return to the natural and proper state in which they were created, ringing and shouting out the message: "He is the Prophet! It is no lie; he is the son of 'Abdul Muttalib." And it brought conviction to the doubting hearts, confirming for them the truth of his Message. It also increased the believing hearts in steadfastness, in order to increase their faith. And it confirmed the truth of the preaching of Muhammad (S) . And it confirmed the Words of Allah, the All-Mighty, the All-Powerful:
"We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manif est to them that this (the Qur'an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things?"
As the Honest One (S) raised his hand towards the moon, before they could say anything, he exclaimed with a firm tongue and a pure heart: "Witness (oh, people), witness Witness, oh Abu Bakr!"
The eyes of the believers were firmly fixed on the two halves of the moon, seeking from them peace and steadfastness, their eyes bathed in tears, as if they were being washed in order to sharpen their sight and to enjoy the picture of the moon.
The eyes of the other group (i.e., the disbelievers) showed their bewilderment, completely overwhelmed by the Miracle they had witnessed.
Their gaze was quickly lowered to the ground and then even more quickly raised to the moon, desiring to deny it. Then they would rub their eyes and return their gaze and saw that the moon was in two halves. They wished that they could find a way to challenge what they saw, or a refuge or an escape, but they could not.
Then while they were still reeling under the shock of what they had seen, they began to have doubts while in their state of wakefulness and to imagine that what they were seeing was no more than a confused dream.
Yes it is an established fact.
It was to be expected that this Miracle would wake them from their permanent slumber and stop their injustice and stubbornness and convince them that it was through the Will and Power of Allah.
But how could they do so, when they were in fear of the result of this conclusion; and they would have to reconsider their actions. If they accepted Allah's Will in the matter, they would have to believe in the preaching of Muhammad and this was something they did not wish to do.
What would happen if the echoes of this Miracle were to spread throughout Makkah and the neighboring towns?
The reins of power would slip from their hands and this they did not desire.
So, they turned away from the truth and persisted in their injustice and misguidance; cunning came to their aid and they left, shouting, in order that the effects of this Miracle and its reverberations might be concealed. They shouted: "Muhammad has bewitched us! Muhammad has bewitched us!"
Glorified is Allah!! Why all this stubbornness?
It was as if they created this resistance and opposition in order to confirm their defeat and their persistence in falsehood, for if they had been logical and fair, their consciences would have been disturbed a great and definitive change would have occurred in their lives.
There was no doubt that Allah would confirm the matter and it is strange that
they should consider a rational thing, in order to disprove that the moon had
been split. They said: "See what news the travelers bring, for Muhammad cannot
bewitch all of the people." And they spoke the truth, for magic is deluding
people into believing something which is not true, and the work of a magician is
to delude the eyes and to deceive them so that the one who is bewitched sees
things which are unreal. But the magician cannot bewitch all of the people,
especially when they are in different places.
Therefore, the true verdict on the incident would be brought by the travelers.
The travelers came to them from every direction, and they hastened to them, as if they were hoping to hear from them a denial and rejection of what they had seen.
The travelers then confirmed to them that the incident had indeed taken place, for they had seen the moon split into two.
And just as the Miracle had jolted their eyes, so the reply of the travelers jolted their ears.
But would they embrace their evidence and show their acceptance of it? No, by Allah!
And Allah, the Most High has spoken Words which are neither too short nor too long in description of the response of those people; He, the Most High said:
"Say : 'Behold all that is in the heavens and the earth,' but neither Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) nor warners benefit those who believe not."
History has recorded this dazzling Miracle and it has recorded along with it the everlasting ignominy and shame of the pagans.
Allah, Exalted is His mention has sent down Words in the Revelation which are clear and conclusive:
"The Hour has drawn near and the moon has been cleft asunder. And if they see a sign, they turn away and say: 'This is continuous magic.' They belied (the Signs of Allah) and followed their own lusts and every matter will be settled. And indeed there has come to them news to check (them). (It is) Perfect Wisdom, but the warners benefit them not."
And in order to complete the benefit derived from this incident, come, let us explore well the physical characteristics of the moon (discussed in the next section not online):
- Its surface and the distance between it and the earth.
- The landing of man on its surface and life on it. - Why does a person who ascends feel that he is suffocating?
- What is the benefit of the atmosphere and what is the atmosphere like on the moon?
- The continuous night and day thereon.
- How does the moon give off light and why does its shape change? And how does the earth appear from the surface of the moon?
- Why does the lunar eclipse occur?
- How is the moon a measure of time?