Miracles

Note1: The word Ayat in the Qur’an may mean either one or more of the following: miracle, proof, evidence, verse, lesson, sign, revelation etc 

Note2: Muslims often refer to God as Allah. This is a universal name for God and does not refer to an exclusively ‘Islamic’ God.

A miracle is a divine act which defies and transcends universal norms and laws, which Allah grants to His messengers and apostles in order to convince people of the truth of their message. With this heavenly support mundane laws and natural phenomena are caused to yield in such an overwhelming way that all attempts at rational explanation are defeated.

Knowing that His Messengers would inevitably be challenged to perform such miracles, Allah bestowed upon them this power. Thus was Ibrahim {Abraham} able to withstand burning by the fire; Isa {Jesus} restored sight to the blind and raised the dead; and Musa {Moses} parted the red sea. The miracle of Muhammad {S.A.W} was the Qur’an itself.

A true miracle defies all natural laws established by Allah, which could not be violated or suspended, except by His Will. The exact object of each Messenger’s miracle was a challenge to the particular traits of each of the groups of people to whom they were sent.

A miracle would be futile if it did not achieve its desired effect on its witnesses. For it to have full impact, it should relate to an area of knowledge in which its intended audience are well versed. For example, if the people for whom a Messenger has been sent excel in sorcery, medicine, philology or science, the miracle should also concern these fields. Only in this way can a miracle fulfill its purpose. This rule has been observed in all the divine miracles performed by the Messengers and Prophets of Allah.

Divine miracles are not limited to challenges they present to the people before whom they occur, but are also designed to provide them with the capacity to perceive them as signs of His Power over all things in the universe. This was illustrated by the miracles in which Allah protected Ibrahim from the burning fire, and caused Musa the infant to be rescued from drowning in the Nile. In both these miracles, the laws of nature were suspended through the will of Allah and their physical properties neutralized.

Each Messenger brought to his people (a) miracle(s) commensurate with the kind of knowledge they most excelled in.

  • Musa was given miracles that excelled magic and dazzled the magicians in ancient Egypt.
  • Similarly, the challenging miracles of Isa focused on medical phenomena because his people were well advanced in medicine.
  • At the age of revealing the Holy Qur’an, Arabs were excelled in poetry, philology and prose so Prophet Muhammad’s {S.A.W} main miracle {Qur’an} challenged them by its eloquence.

Because Prophet Muhammad {S.A.W} was the final prophet; his main miracle had to be continuous and immortal. So that just as it offered convincing proof to people of the past, it may do the same to people of the future. The miraculous features of the Qur’an are not confined to its linguistic inimitability. Indeed, it is filled with miraculous signs that will remain a challenge to mankind and any other creatures for eternity.

One of the miraculous features of the Qur’an lies in the ever-expanding nature of the meanings contained in its verses and their inexhaustible capacity to accommodate even the most recent scientific discoveries. Some of these discoveries have also helped today’s interpreters to bring forth the CLEAR SCIENTIFIC MEANINGS of some Qur’an verses that once seemed mysterious and thus confused the previous interpreters.

We will show them Our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this (the Qur’an) is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a Witness over all things? (Qur’an 41:53)

Verily, they are in doubt concerning the Meeting with their Lord? {i.e. Resurrection after death and their return to their Lord}. Verily, He it is Who is surrounding all things! (Qur’an 41:54)

The Qur’an is Allah’s speech revealed to His chosen Prophet Muhammad {S.A.W} as a challenge to man and jinn. This challenge was not extended to the angels as Allah did not grant them free will. They (Angels) are committed to obey His commands willingly and submissively. The Qur’an is therefore, a challenge to those who have freedom of choice, as well as the mental capacity to distinguish between right and wrong.

We have to accept that there are still a lot of miracles that we have yet to witness in the Qur’an. We might not even have the chance to witness all the miracles in the Qur’an in our lifetime and Allah knows best; some will be witnessed by our children, grandchildren and so on.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

We shouldn’t think that Allah is limited in showing us His existence. Allah mentions in various places in the Qur’an that He is able to guide everyone if He chooses to do so.

If We will, We could send down to them from the heaven a sign, to which they would bend their necks in humility. (Qur’an 26:4)

Say: “With Allah is the perfect proof and argument, (i.e. the Oneness of Allah, the sending of His Messengers and His Holy Books, etc. to mankind), had He so willed, He would indeed have guided you all.” (Qur’an 6:149)

If Allah presents us with a great high class miracle we should be very careful to ensure that we don’t become disbelievers due to the threat issued in [Qur’an 5:115].

(Remember) when Al-Hawariun (the disciples) said: “O ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Can your Lord send down to us a table spread (with food) from heaven?” ‘Iesa (Jesus) said: “Fear Allah, if you are indeed believers.” (Qur’an 5:112)

They said: “We wish to eat thereof and to be stronger in Faith, and to know that you have indeed told us the truth and that we ourselves be its witnesses.” (Qur’an 5:113)

‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: “O Allah, our Lord! Send us from heaven a table spread (with food) that there may be for us – for the first and the last of us – a festival and a sign from You; and provide us sustenance, for You are the Best of sustainers.” (Qur’an 5:114)

Allah said: “I am going to send it down unto you, but if any of you after that disbelieves, then I will punish him with a torment such as I have not inflicted on anyone among (all) the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinns and all that exists).” (Qur’an 5:115)

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Introduction to the concept of Miracle (‘Ijaz): The word ‘Ijaz or Mu’jizah is neither mentioned in the Qur’an nor has either of them been used by the early authors. Instead they used the words Ayah or Karamah until Al-Wasiti chose ‘Ijazul-Qur’an as the title for his famous work.

 

The word Mu’jizah gave new meanings that were defined by speculative theologians to be “something that is extra-natural, challenging and that could not be opposed”.

NB: Magic is not a miracle even if it seems supernatural because it is performed with the assistance of the devils. A miracle cames about through the direct assistance from Allah.

E.g.(1) For a magician a table may float due to devil assistance with the permission of Allah. Seeking assistance from the devils?! Verily this is magic and shirk.

E.g (2) For a prophet a table may float due to the assistance of Allah Alone and because Allah Alone was asked for the table to float this is not magic but a miracle; the table may be carried by one small bird by Allah’s permission. This is also a miracle because Allah was asked directly and used the small bird to carry a heavy table which seems impossible.