Biʿtha (Arabic: بِعثَة) means selection of prophet by God for guidance of people. The Prophet Muhammad (s) in the age of forty in the Hira' cave in Mount Nur (close to Mecca) has been chosen as prophet and the first verses of Qur'an 96 has been revealed to him. The Bi'tha, according to Shiite point of view, was the beginning of Islam and occurred in Rajab 27, 13 lunar years before Hijra (June 25, 610).
Before the mission of the Prophet (s) began, most people of that region were idol-worshiper. Other divine religions had some followers in different places of that region. However, after the beginning of the mission of the Prophet (s), Islam expanded and idol-worshiping was wiped away from Hijaz.
The anniversary of the beginning of the mission of the Prophet (s) is among the celebrations of Shiite and is known as Eid al-Mab'ath.
Etymological and Technical meaning
In the technical meaning, Bi'tha means sending a human by God toward other humans and jinn to guide them to the right path. The word is mainly used for the Prophet (s) when he was chosen as prophet.
The word Bi'tha in Qur'an indicates a special stage of life which has a kind of transformation therefore besides the meaning of becoming prophet; it also refers to resurrection in hereafter. However the dominant meaning is selection and sending someone as prophet.
In all of the Qur'an, Bi'tha is always attributed to God, that is, resurrection in hereafter, special rules of universe, and sending the prophets show the mightiness of God and his program in ruling the world.
One of the considerable points about Bi'tha is that God has graced humanity by sending prophets and this grace could be seen from two aspects:
- Bi'tha is the way of guidance for humanity
- The prophets have been chosen among the people themselves to be the same type.
Even though that choosing prophets from among the people sometimes is followed by ridicule and denial of polytheists and their pride and spite, it has a reason and wisdom that is introducing exemplar to people to follow, as prophets has been described in Qur'an. If prophets have been chosen from other beings than humans, they co