The Victory of Byzantium
astonishing piece of revelation that the Qur'an gives about the
future is to be found in the first verses of Sura Rum, which refers
to the Byzantine Empire, the eastern part of the later Roman Empire.
In these verses, it is stated that the Byzantine Empire had met
with a great defeat, but that it would soon gain victory.
"Elif, Lam, Mim. The Romans have been defeated
in the lowest land, but after their defeat they will themselves
be victorious in a few years' time. The affair is God's from beginning
(The Qur'an, 30:1-4)
These verses were revealed around
620 AD, almost seven years after the severe defeat of Christian
Byzantium at the hands of the idolater Persians. Yet it was related
in the verses that Byzantium would shortly be victorious. In fact,
Byzantium had then suffered such heavy losses that it seemed impossible
for it even to survive, let alone be victorious again. Not only
the Persians, but also Avars, Slavs and Lombards posed serious
threats to the Byzantine Empire. The Avars had reached as far
as the walls of Constantinople. The Byzantine Emperor Heraclius
had ordered the gold and silver in churches to be melted and turned
into money in order to meet the expenses of the army. When these
proved insufficient, even bronze statues were melted down to be
turned into money. Many governors had revolted against Emperor
Heraclius, and the empire was on the point of collapse. Mesopotamia,
Cilicia, Syria, Palestine, Egypt and Armenia, which had earlier
belonged to Byzantium, were invaded by the idolater Persians.(20)
|The Dead Sea basin where Byzantium was defeated
by Persians. Above is a satellite photograph of the region.
The Lake of Lut region, which is the lowest region of the
world, is 395 meter below the sea level.
short, everyone was expecting the Byzantine Empire to be destroyed.
But right at that moment, the first verses of Sura Rum were revealed,
announcing that Byzantium would triumph in a few years' time.
This victory seemed so impossible that Arab polytheists had gone
so far as to make fun of these verses. They thought that the victory
announced in the Qur'an would never come true.
|Above is a satellite photograph of the Dead
Sea basin. The altitude of the Dead Sea could only be determined
with modern measurement techniques. These measurements led
to the discovery that this is the "lowest region on the
Around seven years after the revelation
of the first verses of Sura Rum, in December 627 AD, a decisive
battle between Byzantium and the Persian Empire was fought at
Nineveh. And this time the Byzantine army unexpectedly defeated
the Persians. A few months later, the Persians had to make an
agreement with Byzantium, which obliged them to return the territories
they had taken from it.(21)
At the end, "the victory of the Romans,"
proclaimed by God in the Qur'an, miraculously came true.
Another miracle revealed in these verses is the announcement
of a geographical fact that could not have been known by anyone
at that time.
In the third verse of Sura Rum, we are informed that
the Romans had been defeated in the lowest region of the Earth.
This expression, "Adna al Ard" in Arabic, is interpreted
as "a nearby place" in many translations. Yet this is
not the literal meaning of the original statement, but rather
a figurative interpretation of it. The word "Adna" in
Arabic is derived from the word "deni", which means
"low" and "ard", which means "world".
Therefore the expression "Adna al Ard" means "the
lowest place on the Earth".
Most interestingly, the crucial stages of the war fought
between the Byzantine Empire and the Persians, when the Byzantines
were defeated and lost Jerusalem, had really taken place at the
lowest point on earth. This specified region is the Dead Sea basin,
which is situated at the intersection point of the lands belonging
to Syria, Palestine, and Jordan. The "Dead Sea", lying
395 meters below sea level, really is the lowest region on Earth.
This means that the Byzantines were defeated at the
lowest part of the world, just as stated in the verse.
The most interesting point lies in the fact that the
altitude of the Dead Sea could only be measured with modern measurement
techniques. Before that, it was impossible for anyone to know
that it was the lowest region on the surface of the Earth. Yet,
this region was stated to be the lowest point on the Earth in
the Qur'an. Hence, this provides further evidence that the Qur'an
is divine revelation.