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Nestor

By Thomas Patrick Hughes, B.D., M.R.A.S.
ref: Dictionary of Islam.
Adapted from: A posting on: ABDG Discussion Group

Nestor: (Arabic: Nastur).

Nestor was a Christian monk, who resided in Syria, who is said to have borne witness to Muhammad. The legend is not accepted by Sunni writers, and Sir William Muir (Life of Mohomet, new ed., p. 21), says it is to be rejected as a puerile fabrication. It is, however believed by the Shi'ah, and following is the story as given in the Shi'ah work entitled the "Hayatu 'l-Qulub", on the supposed authority of Abu Talib, Muhammad's uncle:-

"As we approached Sham (Syria)," continued Abu Talib, "I saw the houses of that country in motion, and light above the brightness of the sun beaming from them. The crowd that collected to see Mohammed, that Yusoof of Misree, perfection, made the Bazaars impassable wherever we went, and so loud were exclamations at his beauty and excellence altogether, that the sound reached the frontiers of Sham.

Every monk and learned man came to see him. The wisest of the wise among the people of the book, who was called Nestor, visited him, and for three days was in his company without speaking a word. At the close of the third day, apparently overwhelmed with emotion, he came near and walked around the Prophet, upon which I said unto him, "O monk what do you want of the child ?" He said, "I wish to know his name." I told him it was Mohammed-bin-Abdullah. At the mention of the name the monk's color changed, and he requested to be allowed to see the shoulders of the Prophet. No sooner did he behold the seal of prophecy [SEAL OF PROPHECY], than he cast himself down, kissed it, and wept, saying, "Carry back this sun of prophecy quickly to the place of his nativity. Verily, if you had known what enemies he has here, you would not have brought him with you." The learned man continued his visit to the Prophet, treated him with the greatest reverence, and when we left the country, gave him a shirt as a memento of his friendship. I carried Mohammed home with the utmost expedition, and when the news of our happy return reached Makkah, great and small came out to welcome the Prophet, except Abu-Jahl, who was intoxicated and ignorant of the event."

Other traditions respecting this journey into Syria informed us that many more miracles attended it. Savage animals and birds of the air rendered the most obsequious homage to the Prophet. And when the party reached the bazaars of Basra, they met a company of monks, who immediately changed color, as if their faces had been rubbed over with saffron, while their bodies shook as in an ague. "They besought us to visit their chief in their great church. We replied, what have you to do with us ? On which they said, "What harm is there in your coming to our place of worship ?" Accordingly we went with them, they supposing that Mohammed was in our company, and entered a very large and lofty church, where we saw their great wise man sitting among his disciples with a book in his hand. After looking at the book and scrutinizing us, he said to his people, "You have accomplished nothing, the object of our inquiry is not here." He then asked who we were, to which we replied that we were Quraysh. "Of what family of that tribe?", he further demanded. We answered that we were of the Bani Abul-Shems. He then demanded if there was no other person belonging to our party besides those present. We told him there was a youth of the Bani Hashim, belonging to our company, who was called the orphan grandson of Abdul Mutalib. On hearing this he shrieked, nearly swooned away, sprang up and cried, "Alas ! Alas ! the Nasaranee religion is ruined !" He then leaned on his crosier and fell into profound thought for a long time, with eight of his patriarchs and disciples standing around him. At last he said, "Can you show me that youth ?" We answered in the affirmative.

"He then accompanied us to the bazaar, where we found the Prophet, with light beaming from the radiant moon of his face, and a great crowd of people around him, who had been attracted by his extraordinary beauty, and were buying his goods at the highest prices, while they sold their own to him at the cheapest rate. With the view of proving the knowledge of the wise man, we pointed out another individual as the object of his inquiry, but presently he recognized the Prophet himself and shouted, "By the truth of the lord Meseeh, I have found him !" and overpowered with emotion, came and kissed his blessed head, saying, "Thou art holy !" He then asked Mohammed many things concerning himself, all of which he satisfactorily answered. The wise man affirmed that if he were to live in the time of Mohammed's prophecy, he would fight for him in the cause of truth, declaring that whoever obeyed him would gain everlasting life, and whoever rejected him would die eternal death.

(Merrick's translation of 'Hayatu'l-Qulub', p. 64.)


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