One of the miracles of Prophet Muhammad was splitting the moon at the request of the polytheists of Mecca. Almost all Muslim historians and traditionists have agreed upon this event. In addition, there is a verse of the Quran that mentions the splitting of the moon. In this article on Islam4u, we will look at this particular event and the discussions about it.
When Did Prophet Muhammad Split the Moon?
Historians have related that the Prophet split the moon in the first few years after God sent him to his people as a prophet. To be precise, according to some historians, this event happened five years before the Prophet’s migration to Medina, known as Hijra.1
Why Did Prophet Muhammad Split the Moon?
Every prophet has a miracle that they use to prove that they are indeed prophets that Allah has sent to their people. The polytheists of Mecca requested the splitting of the moon from the Noble Prophet (s) because they believed that magic or sorcery could only affect worldly phenomena and not celestial bodies. Therefore, they asked Prophet Muhammad to split the moon as a miracle to prove his prophethood. The Prophet then split the moon by pointing his finger at it and then brought it back together. God revealed the first three verses of Surah Qamar recounting this incident:
اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ ﴿١﴾ وَإِن يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُّسْتَمِرٌّ ﴿٢﴾ وَكَذَّبُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءَهُمْ ۚ وَكُلُّ أَمْرٍ مُّسْتَقِرٌّ ﴿٣﴾
The Hour has drawn near and the moon is split. (1) If they see a sign, they turn away, and say, ‘An incessant magic!’ (2) They denied and followed their own desires, and every matter has a setting [appropriate to it]. (3)2
Who Has Related This Event?
Six of the Prophet’s companions have related this event. They are:
- Anas ibn Mālik
- Jubayr ibn Muṭ‘im
- Hudhayfah ibn Yamān
- Ibn ‘Abbas
- ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar
- ‘Abdullah ibn Mas‘ūd
Therefore, almost all Muslims believe that this event has happened, and there is no doubt about it.
Those Who Did Not Attribute the Splitting of the Moon to the Prophet
Few scholars have said that the splitting of the moon has to do with the events shortly before the Day of Judgment. However, even by looking at the verses that God has revealed concerning this event, we can easily refute such a claim. First of all, the verse uses the past tense to describe this event. If it were to happen in the future, the verb must have been in the present or future tense. Second, the second verse of Surah Qamar says that when they (i.e., the polytheists living at the time of the Prophet) see a miracle, they turn away and say it is magic.
This proves that such a miracle happened, and a group of people dismissed it as magic and did not accept Islam. Therefore, the Prophet was the one who split the moon by God’s leave, and it is not one of the signs before the Day of Judgment. However, the splitting of the moon by the Prophet caused the Day of Judgment to become nearer based on the first verse of Surah Qamar.
The greatest miracle of the Noble Prophet of Islam (s) is the Noble Quran. However, this does not mean that it was his only miracle, as he had other miracles. One of the most well-known miracles of the Prophet (s) other than the Quran was the splitting of the moon. As per the request of the people of his time, he split the moon by pointing his finger at it, and then brought it back together with a gesture. Consequently, Allah revealed the first few verses of Surah Qamar relating this event. We as Muslims must accept Prophet Muhammad and follow his commands, especially when his prophethood is proven through his miracles, one of the greatest of them being the splitting of the moon.
- Al-Mīzān, 1391 AH, vol. 19, p. 65.
- Quran 54:1-3 (Qara’i).