Respected Muslims, people are naturally intrigued with strange and superhuman happenings. Usually when something happens which seems beyond normal human capabilities and limits, they are classified as miracles. If someone is saved from a disaster that could have led to his death or destruction, it is referred to as a miracle. If a person performs a heroic act, it is again referred to as a miracle. With this understanding, and the semantics of the word according to the norms of society, miracles are happening each and every day by every ordinary man and woman. This however, is not the Islamic connotation of a Miracle.
A miracle is called Mu’jizah from the Arabic word ‘ajz’ which means ‘to be unable’, ‘to lack in strength’. The Quraan often refers to a miracle as an ‘Aayah – a sign’. According to the scholars of Islam, a miracle must fulfil five conditions. They are:
1) That no one else apart from Allah, the Master of the world, is able to do it.
2) That it breaks the usual norms and differs from the laws of nature (not the laws of Allah, but the way nature normally is).
3) That it serves as a proof for the truth, and a claim of the messenger.
4) That it happens in accordance with the messenger’s claim.
5) That the event happens through the messenger and no one else.
Therefore, if we considered these conditions for an event to be called a miracle, then all the above claims of miracles that are referred to by people would not be classified as a miracle. Certainly, many occurrences would amaze us and we would consider them as being strange or heroic, but could it be called a miracle? Likewise, many happenings may appear to us as above the ability of normal human beings, but could these be called miracles? We see breakthroughs in medicine, science and technology, but could these be called miracles? Keeping in mind that a miracle only occurs through a messenger and no one else, then we cannot consider these as miracles. They can be attributed to achievements of human beings through the will and power of Allah. When supernatural acts are done by other than prophets, then they are known by different names with the following distinctions. Al karaamah – This is a supernatural act performed by a very pious Muslim. Ma’uunah – This is a supernatural act performed by an ordinary Muslim. Istidraaj – This is a supernatural act performed by unbelievers and transgressors. The supernatural acts which will be performed by the Dajjaal also fall in this category.
Therefore, the real claim of miracles would have been only from the previous prophets and messengers of Allah (AS). From Prophet Adam to Prophet Muhammad (SA), each one came with miracles to prove the authenticity of their message from Allah, so that the people to whom they came would be convinced and believe.
Great miracles were done in the past by many Prophets of Allah. Abraham (AS) was thrown into the fire and came out unharmed. Nuh (AS) built an ark on a mountain when there was no apparent sign of a flood and warned the people of the same. He and his followers were saved. Moosa (AS) struck the sea with his staff and it parted. He dropped his staff on the ground and it turned into a snake which devoured the fake snakes of the magicians of the Pharoah. A she camel came out of the rocks for the people of Salih (AS). Esa (AS) was given the miracle of healing the blind, the lame, the deaf, the dumb and the leper. He would feed multitudes with a little. Many more miracles were done at the hands of these mentioned prophets (AS) as well as others.
The Prophet (SA) has mentioned in a narration reported by Abu Hurairah: “Every prophet was given miracles because of which people believed …” (Bukhari)
While some of the people believed in these messengers, many still disbelieved. The Prophet (SA) came and met a people engrossed in idol worship and all types of ignorant acts. He preached the Oneness of Allah and proclaimed prophethood amongst them, but following the norms of the previous nations, (initially) only a few accepted his message of Islam. They questioned him and demanded proofs of his claim. The Quraan mentioned: “Do you intend to question your messenger (Muhammad [SA]) just as Moosa (AS) was questioned/demanded (for miracles) from before?” (2:108) Bani Israel had demanded from Moosa (AS) many signs and miracles, but even when Allah fulfilled their request, many still disbelieved.
The disbelievers of Makka asked and demanded the Prophet (SA) to turn the mountains of Makka into gold for them. They asked that Allah and his angels come down from the sky in front of them. They asked him to split the moon. They asked that he inform them of unseen matters and about past events. Allah informs us in the Quraan, “But they say…. So let him bring us a sign just as the previous [messengers] were sent [with miracles].”
Allah Almighty also recalls in the Quraan some of their demands, “And they say, ‘We will not believe you until you break open for us from the ground a spring. Or [until] you have a garden of palm trees and grapes and make rivers gush forth within them in force [and abundance]. Or make the heavens fall upon us in fragments as you have claimed or you bring Allah and the angels before [us]. Or you have a house of gold or you ascend into the sky. And [even then], we will not believe in your ascension until you bring down to us a book we may read [at one time].’ Say, “Exalted is my Lord! Was I ever but a human messenger?” (17:90-93)
Many of these requests to the Prophet (SA) were fulfilled by Allah whilst many were absurd, and were not done as these are performed with the power and wisdom of Allah, and not out of the action of the Prophet (SA) himself.
When compared to the amount of miracles performed by the previous prophets, the scholars have mentioned that the Prophet (SA) was indeed granted the most miracles. In the book, Ash Shifaa by Qadi Iyadh, he mentions: “He (Prophet Muhammad [SA]) is the messenger with the most miracles, the one with the clearest signs and most manifest proof as we will make clear. Due to their great quantity, his miracles cannot be numbered.” (Ash shifaa – Qadhi Iyadh – pg 138)
Respected readers, we hear about the miracles of the previous Prophets of Allah, but do we know of the many marvellous miracles of the blessed Prophet, Muhammad (SA)? As Muslims we should endeavour to know them for establishing deep-rooted faith in his message which would bring about peacefulness and more sincere actions for the sake of Allah. Since there are numerous miracles of the Prophet (SA), we will mention here a brief account of a few. We should endeavour to continue our reading and studies fully into his seerah (life history).
Miracle of the Mi’raaj/Israa (ascension): The Prophet (SA) was taken on a night journey, physically, accompanied by Jibrael (AS) via an animal like a horse with wings (Buraq), from Makka to Masjidul Aqsa in Jerusalem. He was then taken up to the heavens where he met several prophets in the different heavens, and thereafter had an audience with Allah Almighty. He returned from the heavens and then back to Makka, all happening in the period of a part of a night. There are also miracles found within this event itself, such as the splitting of the chest of the Prophet (SA) and the washing of his heart; the journey to Masjidul Aqsa in a very short time; the performance of Salaah in Masjidul Aqsaa – leading the other prophets (AS); the various visions along the way shown to the Prophet (SA) which posses great lessons from them; the informing of the caravans on his way back to Makka; etc. The Quraan recalls the event: “Praise be to Him Who carried his servant by night from the Sacred Mosque (Haram in Makkah) to the Farthest Mosque (Masjidul Aqsa in Jerusalem) whose precincts We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs for He is the Hearer and the Seer.” (17:1)
We accept that astronauts have travelled to the moon and have walked on its surface. Likewise, we accept in our times that jets are built and travel at a very fast speed, therefore this should give us a better understanding that if humans can achieve this, then to a greater extent it is easy for Allah to give this miracle to the Prophet (SA) since He is the Greatest and most Powerful.
Splitting of the moon: Some of the disbelievers of Mecca including Abu Jahl and Umayya bin Khalaf, asked the Prophet (SA) that he should show them a sign of his prophethood. They requested that the full moon be split into two for them. They agreed that they would believe in him if it was shown to them. The Prophet (SA), with inspiration from Allah, pointed his finger towards the moon, and in full view of them and the entire world, the moon separated into two halves. After both sides came together again they still refused to believe and turned away muttering absurdities. The Quraan informs us of such miracle: “The Hour of the Judgement is close, and the moon is split asunder. But if they see a sign, they turn away, and say ‘this is (but) transient magic.” (54:1-2)
Brothers ad Sisters, how much would our Imaan in Allah increase if we would have witnessed such a miracle. Recently, NASA have discovered and recorded that the moon apparently had been split previously. It was discovered that cracks and marks were found showing this, as well as, material from the surface of the moon has been found in the inside.
The Opening of the Chest: This took place several times with the Prophet (SA). When he was in his childhood as well as when he was a prophet of Allah, like before the Miraaj to the heavens. His chest was opened and his heart was washed with Zam Zam water, and knowledge and wisdom was placed inside. Some may dispute this, but again we see that in our times there is open heart surgery and heart transplant taking place continuously. These human achievements are all slight and insignificant as compared to the greatness of Allah.
Curing of injuries, sickness and broken bones: There were numerous occasions where the Prophet (SA) used his saliva as a means of curing. Kulthum ibn al Husayn was shot in the throat in the battle of Uhud. The Messenger of Allah placed saliva on his wound and it was healed. (At Tabrani) He placed saliva on the eyes of Ali (RA) in the Battle of Khaybar when he had a pain in them and they were healed. (Bukhari and Muslim) Ibn Wahb related that in the Battle of Badr, Abu Jahl cut off the hand of Mu’awwidh bin Afra. He came carrying his hand and the Messenger of Allah spat on it and replaced it and it remained. He also related that Khubayb ibn Yasaf was injured in the battle of Badr by a blow to his neck so that half of it was hanging loose. The Messenger of Allah put it back and spat on it and it healed up. (Al Bayhaqi from Ibn Ishaq)
He (SA) blew three breaths on the thigh wound of Salama ibn al Akwa which he got during the Battle of Khaybar and it was healed. (Bukhari)
Abdullah bin Ateeq was sent on a mission to eliminate Abu Raafi’. After completing the task and whilst leaving he stumbled, fell and broke his leg. He bandaged it with his turban and went to the Prophet (SA). The Prophet (SA) told him to spread his leg and he passed his hand over it. It was cured as though Abdullah had never complained before. (Bukhari)
There are many more incidents which have been transmitted of the healings of the Prophet (SA). He even cured the blind, deaf and dumb and those with other infirmities.
The increase of water and food from a little amount: Anas ibn Malik said, ‘I saw the Messenger of Allah at the time of the Asr prayer. People looked for water for wudu (ablution) and could not find any, so the Messenger of Allah was brought some water for wudu. He then placed his hand in the vessel and commanded the people to do wudu from it. He added, ‘I saw the water flowing from his fingers, and everyone, down to the last man, did wuzu from it.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Abu Qatada mentioned that people were complaining to the Messenger of Allah about thirst on a certain journey. He called for a container (used for wuzu) and put it under his arm and then covered its mouth. Allah knows best whether he spat in it or not. People drank until they had enough, and they even filled every water skin they had with them. There were seventy-two men. (Al Bayhaqi)
In a narration from Jabir (RA) the Prophet (SA) fed thousands of men on the Day of the Ditch (Khandaq) with a sa’a of barley (approximately 9 lbs) and a lamb. All ate to their fill and the amount in the pot was not affected. (Bukhari)
Miracles of animals and inanimate objects: Ibn Abass (RA) reported that a Bedouin Arab came to the Messenger of Allah (SA) and asked, ‘How shall I know that you are a Prophet.?’ He (the Prophet (SA) said, “In case I call this date out of this date tree bearing witness that I am the Messenger of Allah.” The Prophet (SA) called it and it began to come from the date tree till it fell down near the Prophet (SA). Then he (SA) said, “Return.” The tree then returned (to its place), whereupon the Arab accepted Islam. (Tirmidhi)
Ali ibn Abi Talib (RA) reported, ‘I was with the Prophet (SA) at Mecca and we came out by one of its sides. No mountain or tree met him but it was saying, ‘As salaamu ‘alaika yaa Rasuulullah (Peace be on you, O Messenger of Allah).’ (Tirmidhi)
Jabir ibn Abdullah said, ‘The mosque was constructed of the trunks of palm trees with a roof laid on top of them. When the Prophet addressed the people, he would lean against one of the trunks. When the minbar (pulpit) was built for him, we heard that trunk make a sound like a camel.’ (Bukhari) Anas (RA) said, ‘Until the mosque was shaken by its moaning.’ In another narration the Prophet (SA) said, “The trunk is weeping at the remembrance of what it had lost.”
Besides these, there are numerous incidents of animals talking like the wolves, camels, sheep, etc, as well as, of miracles involving plants and trees.
The Quraan- the greatest miracle: The Prophet (SA) did a lot of miracles during his life time. Most of them passed as time passed and only reports of them remain. Likewise, miracles done by the previous prophets also passed as time passed. The Quraan is however, the living and perpetual miracle of the Prophet (SA). About this, he mentioned in a narration reported by Abu Hurairah (RA), “Every prophet was given miracles because of which people believed, but what I have been given is Wahy (divine inspiration/revelation) which Allah has revealed to me, so I hope that my followers will outnumber the followers of the other prophets on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari)
In comparison to the many great miracles which the Prophet (SA) did, like the Mi’raaj or the splitting of the moon, these were not mentioned in the above mentioned Hadith, however, he specifically mentioned the miracle of the Quraan as the miracle which he was sent with.
This miracle of the Quraan will indeed continue, as Allah himself assures of its safety and protection until Qiyaamah. Allah declares in the Quraan, “Certainly We sent down the Remembrance (dhikr – Quraan) and We will preserve it.” (15:9) Again, Allah says, “Falsehood does not come to it from the front of it nor from behind it.” (41:42)
The Prophet (SA) being an unlettered prophet, (ummi – unable to read and write), yet reciting and proclaiming a profound message which captivated the hearts of those who sincerely yearned for truth was indeed a significant sign of the truth of the Quraan. With such recitation, he challenged the literate and well versed Arabs in the language of their mother tongue, Arabic, to produce a surah or chapter like the quality of the Quraan. To this day, no such claim has actually fulfilled this specification. Allah Himself challenges through the Quraan the doubtful ones, “If you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to Our servant (Muhammad [SA]), then produce a sura like thereunto and call your witnesses or helpers besides Allah if you are truthful (in your doubts). But if you cannot, and of surety you cannot, then fear the fire whose fuel is men and stones which is prepared for those who reject faith.” (2:23-24)
This year marks more than fourteen hundred and thirty one years after the challenge has been made with no real opposition. It is another proof of the miracle of the Quraan.
The Quraan has remained intact over the passage of time and has baffled the researchers of every era by the mentioning of current events and phenomenon to their time, which were only recently discovered. It is ahead of scientific discoveries. To mention a few, it speaks of the conception of the child in the womb of the mother and the stages of its growth. Likewise, it mentions the layers of the atmosphere of the earth and their functions. It also mentions the curing properties of the honey bees. These discoveries were not found out until the 20th century.
Imam Qurtubi has mentioned ten factors for the miraculous nature of the Quraan.
– Its language excels all other Arabic language
– Its style excels all other Arabic style
– Its comprehensiveness cannot be matched
– Its legislation cannot be surpassed
– Its narrations about the unknown can only result from revelation
– Its lack of contradiction with the sound natural sciences
– Its fulfilment of all that it promises, both good tidings and threat
– The knowledge it comprises (both legal and concerning the creation)
– Its fulfilment of human needs
– Its effect on the hearts of men.
Respected readers, the Quraan is a significant miracle of the prophet (SA). The Hadith informs us that the purpose of the miracle is that people will consider and believe in Allah and his Messenger. Today, the Quraan is still a miracle and will continue to be a miracle even after us. But are we benefitting from this or not? Are we making this living miracle a part of our life or not? People spend tremendous money and time studying other subjects and sciences, and likewise spend a lot of time reading novels, newspapers, etc. – Are we spending time reading and studying the Quraan as it ought to be read? Let’s make this miracle of the Prophet (SA) a distinctive part of our life by reading, studying, teaching and applying it in all facets of our lives.
Brothers and Sisters, we are indeed amazed at the many miracles of the Prophet (SA). All these miracles prove the truthfulness of his message – Islam. Let us not lag behind in adopting his complete message into our life.
May Allah send his choicest blessings and salutations on the Prophet (SA) and may he bless us and our family with love for Him and His messenger. (Aameen)