The prophecy of Muhammad
Together with the Revelation of St. John, the other major prophecy quoted regarding the "advent" of Sai Baba, is the "prophecy of Muhammad". It doesn't exist, in reality, any original writing of the Prophet which could be defined as such; there is instead a number of "signs" given by the Prophet about the advent of the one who is called "Al-Mahdi" or also "Imam Mahdi". The name "Mahdi" means "The One who is guided, the well guided one", and he's considered the last Imam before the end of times; the Imams are muslim spiritual guides and autorities, and traditionally they are in succession line from the Prophet Muhammad himself. Well, according to Sai literature, these signs given by the Prophet would indicate with awesome precision Sai Baba, who then would be the Mahdi, the commander expected by the muslims worldwide; these prophetical signs would be contained in the "Biharul-Anwar".
These work is an immense 16-books collection of writings, belonging to one of the two greatislamic traditions, the Shi'ah school (the other one is the Sunni school). During my searching I have been not able to find any western transcription of this work; during e-mail exchanges with Shi'ah Muslimsd about this argument, I learned that the "Biharul-Anwar" substantially does exist only in Arabian language and maybe even in Farsi (Persian, thus Iranian) language, since the Shi'ah is very diffused in Iran.
Now let's read how it is quoted regarding Sai Baba; the first contribution comes from the page"Matters of Spirit - prophecies regarding Sai Baba", which contains also indications of others prophecies:
"Bihar al Anwar
The first [prophecy] is from the Bihar Al Anwar (Ocean of Light) a compilation of discourses by the Prophet Mohammed and some of the Shia Islam Imam's. It was compiled in the 17th century by Mohammed Baqir Majlisi, a famous early Shia scholar. One of the many volumes is concerned with sayings concerning the coming "Hazrat Mahdi," which is the Muslim messiah. One of these was from the Prophet, and it had the following information:
Mohammed refers to him as "Master of the World," "Master of Time," "God's President," and "God speaking and advising."
He says that he can be recognized by these signs: "His hair will be profuse. His forehead will be large and concave. His nose will be small, with a slight bump at the bridge. His front teeth will be spaced apart. He will have a mole on his cheek. He will not have a beard but will be clean shaven. His clothing will be like a flame. He will wear two robes, one an under robe. The color of his face will be sometimes yellow like gold, sometimes very dark and sometimes shining like the moon. His body will be small. His legs will be like those of a young girl.
All the teachings of all the religions of the world will be in his heart from birth. All the science and knowledge of the world from the beginning of time will be in his heart. All things which you ask from God, the Master of the World will give you.
All the treasures are under his feet. He will give gifts that are light in weight. He will go around among his devotees and touch their heads with his hand. Every eye that sees him will be happy, not only humans but disembodied spirits.
He will live 95 years. In the last 20 years of his life, he will be the King of the Whole World but at that time only two-thirds of the people of the world will believe in him. Muslims will recognize him only nine years before his passing from the world. He will make the world light and full of peace.
So as not to be deceived, you should know that the Master of the World will bring things out of his body through his mouth."
The above physical description is highly accurate. Sai Baba used to produce lingams (elliptoidal objects symbolizing creation) in his body and bring them out of his mouth during the Mahashivaratri festival. He has said he will live to be 95 years of age (the year 2020)."
Here also we can read something fromGiancarlo Rosati from his book "L'uomo venuto dal cielo (1991, Giancarlo Rosati Editore)"; the same arguments are to be found in the book "Il Cristo e' tornato" by the same author:
"In the "Ocean of Light", at volume XIII, the Prophet delivers to the world 300 signs which will allow the spritual researcher to individuate the new incarnation of God.
The work, written about seven centuries after Muhammad's death, had the purpose to summarize everything the prophet had declared in life, so that His words would not be lost. The Ocean of Light is composed of 25 volumes. The 13th one, carrying the title "El Mahadi Maoud", which means "The awaited commander", refers to the appearance of the Great Master of the World at the of our millenium. The work, written in arabian language, is findable, not without difficulties, in Persia. Some passages are reported by Lowenberg in the book "The heart of Sai" (Sathya Sai pub, Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparti, India).
Volume XIII speaks exclusively about the Spiritual Commander who will subvert the order of things, awaken spirituality and love in the man. His appearence will be, says the Work, in the moment when the humanity will have touched the ground.[...] The signs given by Muhammad are so precise that is even possible to trace an identikit of the Commander. Let's listen to the Prophet in his description:
"His hairs will be like a crown, the forehead will be wide, the root of the nose will be large, central teeth will be separate. His face will always be clean sheaven. The Master of the World will never carry the beard. He will have a mole on his cheek and will wear two robes with the colour of the flame. His body will be small, but the stomach wiil be wide in mature age. His legs will be like those of an adolescent. He will carry within himself the wisdom and the knowledge of all religions of the world. Every science and culture of the world will take place in His mind from the birth. Anything you will ask He will give it to you. All the treaserus of world will be under His feet. He will make small gifts to everybody an he will materialize items even from the mouth. He will bless the devotees by touching them with the hand. Those who will see him will be happy and even disincarnated souls will enjoy His vision. Devotees will crane their neck to see Him. The Master of the World will live until the age of 95-96. In the last twenty years of his life He will be recognized as King of the Kings, even if at that time only two-thirds of the humanity will believe in Him. Muslims will recognize him only nine years before his passing . You could have clasped his hands, but you have lost this great chance. The Master will live on a hill and his devotees will meet under a big tree. At those times you will spend much money to adorne yor mosques, but none of you will go praying there. You will publish beautiful Quran books, but none of you will understand what there is written inside. True teachings of Moses are hidden in a cave of Antiochia, but the King of the world, the incarnation of God, will be the only one who will give to the humanity a teaching of truth."
Muhammad's description is photographic. All the given signs perfectly fit on the personage Sai Baba. He himself announced that he will die at the age of 95."
(translation from the italian personally made by this site's author)
A remark: the Quran, intended as an organic work with named with this title, would have been compiled around 650 AD, thus 18 years after Prophet's passing, which happened in 632 AD. Thence how Muhammad could have been said, like Rosati reports: "You will publish beautiful Quran books, but none of you will understand what there is written inside.", since the Quran still was not existing? Why Muhammad would have talked about the "incarnation of God", a concept that is absent in Islamic religious philsophy while it is basic in Hindu and Sai Baba's religious philosophies?
Anyway, wow! All pieces match like in puzzle... When I was a Sai Baba's follower, due to lack of inquiry and critical attitudes, I myself have been surprised by these and many others "prophecies". I never questioned myself: "where can I read the Revelation of St. John and the Biharul-Anwar? How can I verify these affirmations?" Like many others, I took them as good "as a pig an a poke". But really, Biharul-Anwar here cannot be found; if not maybe, like says Rosati in the passage above, for those passages published in "The heart of Sai (Sathya Sai pub, Prashanti Nilayam, Puttaparti, India)". But how could be objective and worthy of faith, those passages published by the publishing house of Sai Baba, who is the object himself of that prophecies?!?!? Would you make any investigation basing on elements furnished by the investigated one... ?!?!!? What sort of investigation is this?
Instead, during my searchings on the Internet, I found the so-calledhadith. The traditional and canonical hadiths are nothing more than accounts of words and acts of Prophet Muhammad, according to a succession of authoritative and irrefutable testimonies, universally accepted by all muslims, both Shi'ah and Sunni ones. Their structure is of this kind: FIRST, the one who first heard the Prophet saying the thing in question, and THEN, the succession of persons in the trasmission chain of the account; for every person are specified name, reputation and authority.
Pratically, an hadith assumes this structure: "This story has been told to me from AAAA, who has heard it in that place at that moment from BBBB, who received it from CCCC, who...", and so on until "...who has told that ZZZZ heard the Prophet saying:..." then there is the account itself. ZZZZ, the last of the series, is really the first, and he must be someone who surely, without any doubt met the Prophet. In the same way all the other persons on the succession line must be of undisputed faith and authority; honest scholars of undisputed reputation. This is certainly an imperfect method, which yet permitted to maintain a line of reliable testimonies, and prevented the circulation of stories of doubtful origin. It is necessary to note that, for what I have been able to find, accounts which don't agree with this rule, or which don't agree with the Sacred Quran, are simply considered false and wrong by Muslims.
And since the attempt is to validate Sai Baba's divinity through prophecies coming from ancient and canonical religions, it's necessary that those prophecies have the chrism of authenticity, like it has the Revelation of John; so we'll have to draw from what is considered true by everybody, and not from parallel traditions and accounts.
These hadiths are largely more well-known and spread between Muslims than any passage of Biharul-Anwar; remaining always available to more informations and possible denials, here is what I was able to find:
In the Muqaddima, Ibn Khaldun, a 14th century famous historian, wrote:
"It has been (accepted) by all the Muslims in every epoch, that at the end of time a man from the family (of the Prophet) will, without fail, make his appearance, one who will strengthen Islam and make justice triumph. Muslims will follow him, and he will gain domination over the Muslim realm. He will be called the Mahdi".
To identify the person who will be the Mahdi, the only source is the Prophet of Islam. According to his sayings, the basic characteristics of Mahdi are as follows:
In the Quran, GOd haas chosen Abraham and his descendants. Abraham had two sons, Isaac and Ishmael: from the line of Isacco are descended the great Israelites prophets right to Jesus, from the line of Ishmael has descended the Prophet of Islam and the Imams his descendants, the last being the Imam Muhammad Al-Mahdi.
Other hadiths give these informations about the Imam Mahdi:
Rasulullah (Muhammad) said: "He will be from my progeny and will be forty years of age. His face will shine like a star and he will have a black spot on his left cheek. He will don two "Qutwaani" cloaks and will appear exactly as a person from the Bani Israeel..." (Tabrani)
According to hadith narrated by Abu Saeed Khudri, Rasulullah said: "[..] the skies will rain down in abundance and the earth will yield forth its crop in abundance, and those alive will desire that those who have already passed away should have been alive to enjoy this prosperity..."
Some hadiths on the Mahdi are told by 33 successive companions coming directly from the Prophet; from these hadiths one can extrapolate thse signs:
His name - Abu `Abdullah Muhammad ibn `Abdullah al-Hasani (from the descendants of Fatima and `Ali.) tall, tanned skin, face like shining star, clear forehead, curved nose, wide black-eyes; long, thin. separate eyebrows, black mole on right cheek, thick beard, on one of his shoulders is a black lump of flesh with hair gathered around it. will wear a white robe with short fringes.
These hadiths are taken from the book "Al Mahdi, Jesus, & the Anti-Christ", by Gran Muhaddith Abdullah ibn As-Siddiq, Ph.D.):
"Al-Mahdi is a man from my children, his colour is like that of an Arab, and his body is like that of Israel. On his right cheek there is a mole like a glittering star."
"He is a man from my children, he looks like the men from the children of Israel... His face is like a colourful, glittering star, upon his right cheek is a black mole, and he is forty years old..." (The "40 years old" part relates to the time he will appear in Mecca to take command of a Muslim army to save them from tyrants in Syria and in other locations in Arabia that are specified)
"Surely Allaah will send from my pure children a man with evenly-spaced teeth, his forehead is high, and he will fill the earth with justice and wealth will overflow."
"The birth-place of Al-Mahdi is in Medina, He is from the Family of the House of the Prophet, and his migration is to the House of Jerusalem. He has a thick, black beard, naturally dark-lined eyes, radiant are his teeth, upon his face is a mole..."
"He will be tall and dark, his face will be like a glittering star in beauty and radiance. His forehead will be clear and his nose prominent; his eyes will be dark-lined naturally; his teeth will be radiant; his eyebrows shaped and long but not joined. Upon his right cheek will be a mole, he will have a thick black beard. On one of his shoulders there will be a black piece of flesh surrounded with hair like a seal. His thighs will be widely spaced and he will wear a white cloak with a short fringes."
"Al-Mahdi will receive the Khilafaat (leadership of Islaam) at the age of forty and will remain so for either 7, 8, or 9, years. He will die before he reaches the age of 65, however there is no information concerning the appointment for his time of death..."
These elements are substantially recognized as valid and true by all Muslims, except for two details: for the Sunni tradition the Mahdi still has to be born; for the Shi'ah school instead he is already born and lives in the so-called "seclusion" by Allah's will, waiting to manifest himself; here are some elements:
The twelfth Imam: Al Hujjat Muhammad ibn al-Hasan
Mother: Ummul Walad Narjis alias Saiqal
Patronymic: Abu 'Abdullah, Abu al-Qasim
Titles: Al-Qaim, Al-Muntazar, Al-Khalaf, Al-Mahdi, Sahib al-zamaan.
Birth: he is born at Samarrah in the year 255 of the Islamic Age (the year 868 or 869 of our chronology); he is the last of the Imam and he's alive and in seclusion.
Thus for the Shi'ah, when Al-Mahdi will emerge he will be much more aged than 40, since he's being born around 870 b.C.; and when he will die he will be older than 65, or 95 (the age at which Sai Baba would have to die, according to his own words). The other aspect is that for Sunni school the Mahdi will be born in Mecca (Medina), while for the Shi'ah he's already born at Samarrah. For the rest, the outlining picture of the Imam Mahdi is as follows:
As one can see, certainly what we have in front of us is not the portrait of Sai Baba, and many elements don't match at all... surely I have no pretence tu put the final word on the question, but at least it's clear that the prophecies quoted in the first two passages, are often in clear constrast with the material I've found; somewhere they contain unexisting elements, while others seem to be interpreted "ad hoc". In particular there's the aspect of the 9 years kingdom, while Sai literature states that Islam will recognize Sai Baba as master only 9 years before his passing; since it's undoubtful that, between Muslims, SB has an enormously smaller following than between other's religions followers, this interpretation seem to be perfect to justify this fact... to say nothing of all the others aspects: do yourself the comparison, and drwa your conclusions.
To conclude, I would like to propose you an abstract from a mail correspondence I had with an american Muslim devotee, from the Shi'ah school, about these arguments:
[Al-Mahdi is not a prophet, he will not bring any new teching, he will strengthen and hupold the Quran and the Islam]. There were many prophets sent to many nations and tribes all over the world before Muhammad, but the Quraan is the final revelation that contains the essentials necessary for the remainder of history.[...]
"[...] There are very well-documented sayings of Muhammad, as well as the text of the Quraan itself-- which explicitly say that no prophets will be sent by Allaah to humanity after Muhammad.
So the idea that there is some hidden prophecy in some Islamic book that everybody should know about, is simply false. We use the Quraan _only_ as the book of essential knowledge. All other books are only aids to explaining details of daily life and worship, and points of law when disputes arise between Muslims, and rules for governing property, family inheritance, and so forth
We have a strict rule: that any book that contains a story claiming to be something Muhammad said which contradicts what is in the Quraan --that story is simply mistaken. It is not true or accurate. It is not infallible. Only the Quraan is the divinely-protected word of Allaah
You may have heard about Muslim expectations of the appearance of "Al-Mahdi" [...] all Muslims agree on this: the Mahdi is a direct descendant of Muhammad, peace be upon them, and that he will bring no new teachings. He will uphold the Quraan and unite Muslims and eliminate injustice in the world for a time, before the final judgement.
There is no Islamic book or prophecy that leads anyone to expect the coming of a man who preaches anything different from the message that all of Allaah's Messengers (peace be upon them all) have taught from Adam to Abraham to Jesus to Muhammad: There is nothing (and no-one) worthy of worship but the ONE Supreme Being, that no humans are able to even understand the greatness of The Supreme, Unique Being --so no humans are "divine" nor "incarnations of divinity," and that all men die and will be judged for what they did in life.
It may be a disappointing message to people who want spiritual thrills and miracles, but Islaam only teaches us to be humble and attend to the duties of our daily lives with honesty, sincerity, and above all --with the awareness of Allaah in everything we do.
[...] none of the accepted descriptions of Al-Mahdi fit Sai Baba, who was neither a descendant of Muhammad nor born in Mecca (Sunni tradition) nor in Samarrah 11 centuries ago (Shi'i tradition). Nor has the prominent nose nor black beard. (Many westernized Muslim men now shave, but it is traditionally considered to be a perverted thing to do --like dressing in women's clothing would be. No Muslim leader would _ever_ be clean-shaven).
Many of the other things "quoted" [...] such as "producing things out of his mouth" are more typical of Hindu magicians such as Sai Baba than they are of any of the Imams [...]. The deeds of the Imams are deeds of humble men who teach, correct and advise Muslims, and all the prophecies about the work of Imam al-Mahdi are of a man who, in addition to these duties, also will defend Islaam against enemies as a military leader."
A lasting aspect that stands clear is that the awaited Al-Mahdi IS NOT ABSOLUTELY A DIVINE INCARNATION, he is not God, like instead Sai Baba claims to be. Therefore, is it finally really possible, HONESTLY and CERTAINLY, to say that Sai Baba is the one announced by Prophet Muhammad, and bring this prophecy as a proof of his divinity?
And now, as an integration to the above material, here is an intersting article from the "Call to Islam" website. This article shows well how Sai Baba's cult is totally incompatible with Islamic doctrine, for clear reeasons which are inherent to the most basic and elementary rules of Muslim religion. Sai Baba hismelf knows this well: infact he never ventures in commenting or distorting the Quran or Prophet Muhammad's life (that he instead does elsewhere, mostly with Christian Scriptures), knowing well that with Islamic religion he has no ground to do so.
I post this article with no intention of questioning any doctrine, neither Sai Baba's nor the Islamic one; and the expressed opinions are not necessarily as mine. The only purpose is to point out how Islam and SB are totally incompatible, and thus how the attempts to associate SB with Prophet Muhammad, through his alleged "prophecy", are nothing but forcings with propaganda purposes. But ere is the article (the sections in different colour are to emphasize some concepts which are particularly pertaining with our discussion):
Shirk: the ultimate crime
from the 'Invitation to Islam' Newsletter, Issue 2, July 1997.
Murder, rape, child molesting and genocide. These are all some of the appalling crimes which occur in our world today. Many would think that these are the worst possible offences which could be committed. But there is something which outweighs all of these crimes put together: It is the crime of shirk. Some people may question this notion. But when viewed in a proper context, the fact that there is no crime worse then shirk, will become evident to every sincere person.
There is no doubt that the above crimes are indeed terrible, but their comparison with shirk shows that they do not hold much significance in relation to this travesty. When a man murders, rapes or steals, the injustice which is done is directed primarily at other humans. But when a man commits shirk, the injustice is directed towards the Creator of the heavens and the earth; Allah. When a person is murdered, all sorts of reasons and explanations are given. But one thing that the murderer cannot claim, is that the murdered was someone who provided him with food, shelter, clothing and all the other things which keep humans aloft in this life.
But when a person commits shirk, they attempt to, willingly or unwillingly, direct an injustice towards the one who has provided them with all these necessary things - and often a whole lot more. This Being who provides us with all our needs and wants is of course Allah, the Lord of this universe. So is it right for us to commit this offence against the one who has provided us with all that we could possibly need? This is the ultimate form of ingratitude which humans display, and will eventually cause many people eternal pain. The severity of this crime has been established inshallah, but until now you may have been wondering 'what exactly is shirk?'
The Reality of Shirk
In the previous issue we talked about Tawheed (the Oneness of Allah). Shirk is its exact opposite. Linguistically, shirk means a partnership or to share or associate. However, Islamically it is to give to other than Allah, that which belongs solely to Allah. This means that parts of Allah's creation are given powers and attributes which belong to Allah, thus, ultimately sending worship to other then Allah alone. These parts of the creation therefore become partners with Allah.
The purpose of our creation is outlined in the Qu'raan when Allah says:
"I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me"
(Surah Ad-Dhariyat 51:56)
Our very existence on this earth is to worship Allah alone. By committing shirk, a person ends up denying this very purpose of our creation. To Allah, this is the gravest of sins and thus unforgivable. [...] In order to understand how shirk manifests itself in our world, we need to look at how it relates to the categories of Tawheed (mentioned in the last issue).
Shirk in Allah's Lordship (Ruboobeeya)
(i)- Shirk by Association - As Muslims we believe that it is Allah alone who Controls and Sustains the universe. Those who commit shirk by association believe that Allah is the Creator, but other parts of the creation also play a role in the running of the world. A classic example of this is the Christian concept of Trinity. Christians believe that God (Allah) alone does not regulate the affairs of mankind. They believe that the other two parts of the Trinity, Jesus (as) and the Holy spirit, also play a part in worldly affairs e.g Jesus pronounces judgement on the world and the holy spirit helps Christians through their daily lives. Qualities such as these should only belong to Allah. The Hindus also commit this kind of shirk, with them having hundreds of different Gods for different aspects of their lives.
Unfortunately some Muslims have also fallen prey to this shirk. There are many from the Indian subcontinent who often call out for help upon saints and holy men who have passed away. One of the main saints whom they invoke is 'Abdul-Qadir al-Jeelanee' whom they call 'AI-Ghawth-e-Azam' (the greatest source of help).
Shirk in Allah's Names and Attributes (Asma wa Sifaat)
This category of shirk has two aspects:
(i) -Shirk by Humanisation - The Tawheed of Allah's names and attributes demands that we believe Allah to be free from any human likeness. Those who commit shirk by humanisation give attributes to God which are more appropriate for human beings than an all-powerful Creator. Christianity is again guilty of this shirk. In the Bible we find countless examples of God being given human attributes. In the book of Genesis, God is said to have created the world in six days and then rested on the seventh!! In other places God is said to have repented for his bad thoughts and felt sorry because of his actions!
This form of shirk has even taken some people beyond the limits of sanity. In India there are many Hindus who worship the Shiva Lingam Deity. This is an idol which is shaped and sized to represent the male genitals. For the Hindus it represents the reproductive powers of God, and they display their affection by massaging the deity with milk, water and butter!
(ii) - Shirk by Deification - This form of shirk occurs when created beings are given the names or attributes of Allah and thus become deities. This form of shirk is especially popular with humans, with many people being given a God-like status by ignorant followers. Jesus, Buddha, Rama, Zoroaster and many other famous religious figures of the past have been held to be incarnations of the all mighty. The twentieth Century has also seen many cults emerge, from which many leaders have claimed divinity. Sai Baba , David Koresh , Guru Rajnishi  and many more have all claimed this attribute which only belongs to Allah.
Shirk in the Worship of Allah (Eebaadah)
This category of shirk has two aspects:
(i) - Major Shirk (Shirk-al-Akbar)- As Muslims we believe that alI forms of worship should be for Allah alone. Those people who physically direct their worship at other then Allah, commit this major shirk. By doing this action, mankind commits the greatest act of rebellion and places himself at the doors of eternal hellfire. All this contradicts the statement of Allah when he commands us to:
"Say; Truly my prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, Lord of the worlds"
(Surah Al-An'aam 6:162)
(ii)- Minor Shirk (Shirk-e-Asghar) - "Mahmood bin Lubayd reported that Allah's Messenger (saws) said: 'The thing that I fear for you the most is minor shirk'. The companions asked: 'O' Messenger of Allah, what is minor shirk?' He replied: 'Showing off (ar-riya), for verily Allah will say on the day of resurrection when people are receiving their rewards, 'Go to those whom you were showing off too in the world and see if you can find any reward from them'" .
When doing righteous deeds our intentions should be to please the one who sustains and keeps us alive. It should not be to please those who have done nothing in comparison to what the Creator has done. [...]
1 Jinn's are another part of Allah's creation. They were created from smokeless fire and are (like man) required to worship Allah.
2 The Jewish people were granted many favours by Allah. But this favouritism resulted in them becoming arrogant, and the favours of Allah were taken away from them.
3 Abdul-Qadir AI-Jeelanee was born in Jeelan (Iran) in the year 1077 CE. He was a jurist of the Hanbalite school of Islamic law. Many miracles have been falsely attributed to him, elevating him up to a God-like status. He himself was very harsh against those who opposed Tawheed. The Qaadiree sufl order is named after him. He died in the year 1166 CE.
4 Sai Baba is an Indian Holy man who claims the loyalty of millions worldwide through his multi-faith cult. He is deified to such an extent that his followers wake up at dawn every day to pray to him.
5 David Koresh was the leader of a branch davidian sect based in Waco, Texas, U.S.A. Koresh reinterpreted the teachings of the Bible to proclaim himself as the son of God. The cult was ended in 1993, when a fire killed most of Koresh's followers after a shootout with FBI officers.
6 Guru Rajnishi was the leader of a major American commune during the eighties. The cult lost momentum after it was accused of the attempted murder of an American politician.
7 Authentic-Narrated by Ahmed, Baihaqee and Tabaranee
(from "Call to Islam")
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