All praise belongs to God, we praise Him, seek His aid, seek His forgiveness and repent to Him. We seek refuge in God from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever God guides, none other than Him can misguide, and whomsoever God misguides, none other than Him can guide.
I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except God without associating partners with him, and I bear witness that Muḥammad is His servant and final Messenger – May God bestow abundant blessings and salutations upon him.
It gives me great pleasure to present to this noble assembly a lecture entitled, “Signs of the Prophets and Their Effect on Society”.
God the Most High created Ādam with His Hands from clay, fashioned him and blew a soul into him. He also taught him the names of all the creatures and commanded the Angels to prostrate before him. God provided Ādam with a mind and then chose to create a wife for Ādam named Ḥawāʾ. God then created many men and women from their loins, this was the origin of mankind, and they began to roam the Earth. At this point, mankind performed acts of worship in accordance with the revealed commands of God conveyed to Ādam, in a manner suitable for that time and place.
There was for mankind, at that time, no cause for trials or diversion from their father’s method in worshipping God ﷻ and adhering to his example. After much time had passed and his descendants significantly multiplied, with habitats vastly spread and the competing of people in the attainment of worldly riches, differing ensued between the people and they began to deviate from the way of their forefather. Thus, God sent Messengers. The first Messenger sent to the people was Noah (Nūḥ), God stated ﷻ,
كَانَ ٱلنَّاسُ أُمَّةً۬ وَٲحِدَةً۬ فَبَعَثَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ مُبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ وَأَنزَلَ مَعَهُمُ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ لِيَحۡكُمَ بَيۡنَ ٱلنَّاسِ فِيمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِۚ ۞
وَمَا ٱخۡتَلَفَ فِيهِ إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ أُوتُوهُ مِنۢ بَعۡدِ مَا جَآءَتۡهُمُ ٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتُ بَغۡيَۢا بَيۡنَهُمۡۖ فَهَدَى ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لِمَا ٱخۡتَلَفُواْ فِيهِ مِنَ ٱلۡحَقِّ بِإِذۡنِهِۦۗ
۞ وَٱللَّهُ يَهۡدِى مَن يَشَآءُ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ
Mankind were one community and God sent Prophets with glad tidings and warnings, and with them He sent the Scripture in truth to judge between the people in matters wherein they differed [Q 2: 213]
Ibn ʿAbbās –may God be pleased with him- mentioned “Between Nūḥ and Ādam were ten generations, all of them were adherent to the true legislation, then they differed in this, so God sent Prophets as proclaimers of glad tidings and warners from evil.”
The Wisdom in Sending the Messengers
Since the human intellect is unable to independently determine the worship of God in the manner which pleases and is most beloved to Him, and in addition to the fact that a human is incapable of instilling systematic organization and adequate legislation for the creation whilst taking into consideration the vast differences in people – as this is not possible by anyone besides God – it is therefore evident from the perfect Wisdom and Mercy of God to send Messengers and reveal books to reform His creatures and establish the evidences upon them. God says,
۞ رُّسُلاً۬ مُّبَشِّرِينَ وَمُنذِرِينَ لِئَلَّا يَكُونَ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ حُجَّةُۢ بَعۡدَ ٱلرُّسُلِۚ ۞
Messengers as bearers of good news as well as of warning in order that mankind should have no plea against God after the Messengers [Q 4:165]
The wisdom in sending the Messengers can be summarized in the following:
Firstly: Determining the proofs upon the creation for none to be able to have a plea before God, as He has stated that those who will be in search of refuge from the torment will say,
۞ رَبَّنَا لَوۡلَآ أَرۡسَلۡتَ إِلَيۡنَا رَسُولاً۬ فَنَتَّبِعَ ءَايَـٰتِكَ مِن قَبۡلِ أَن نَّذِلَّ وَنَخۡزَىٰ ۞
“Our Lord! If only You had sent us a Messenger, we should certainly have followed your Āyāt [proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelation, etc.] before we were humiliated and disgraced” [Q 20:134].
God indisputably ceased this type of excuse from its core by sending the Messengers and aiding them with the clear signs that indicate their truthfulness, authenticity of Prophethood and soundness in their practices.
Secondly: Guiding the people and directing them to all that is good and righteous for their own benefit as it pertains to the worldly affairs and hereafter, because regardless of how much understanding, intelligence and astuteness of mind an individual may have been given, their minds still remain incapable of independently organizing the common affairs that bring about benefit to the Ummah [Nation] in its entirety as one that is coherent, adequately equipped and fair in delivering the correct rights to their recipients. The Prophet ﷺ said,
“My example can be likened to a man who lit a fire, and when it illuminated its surrounding area, flying insects [moths etc.] began to fall in it, so he would obstruct them from it but they would overwhelm him. I endeavor to obstruct you from the fire but you instead plunge into it.“
The Messengers guard the people against harm and invite them to whatever benefits them.
Thirdly: Uniting the people upon one religion and in agreement with one man. The submission by the people to what they witness of the signs that happen in support of the Prophet ﷺ is the swiftest, strongest and most effective reasons for unity. This is because they unite in this way upon a deeply rooted creed and firmly established faith. Thus, this results in righteousness and reform. Support for the Messengers through the signs, and the fact that they resemble some things that became widespread in that era.
If a man emerged from amongst us and said that he is a Prophet ﷺ upon whom revelation descends, and that obeying him is compulsory and that whomsoever disobeys him is recompensed with the fire, while whomsoever obeys him is recompensed with Paradise, then he proceeds to pass legislation, establish traditions and then says, live by these laws or else you will be recompensed with the fire; no individual would accept this from him regardless of his level of truthfulness and honesty until he presents clear evidence to highlight his truthfulness. Therefore, if anyone were to reject the claim of this claimant who has emerged without any clear evidence to what he says, that individual who rejected the claim would not be blameworthy. The minds of people will comply with the fact that the claimant must present the proof, if that isn’t the case, the claim should not be accepted.
In solidifying the proofs upon the creation through the Messengers, God supported them with clear proofs that indicate their truthfulness, and that they are truly His Messengers. God selected from amongst the people those whom He knew were worthy and best suited to convey the message, and able to handle its challenges and remain patient towards the plots of its enemies. God states,
۞ ٱللَّهُ يَصۡطَفِى مِنَ ٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةِ رُسُلاً۬ وَمِنَ ٱلنَّاسِۚ ۞
God chooses Messengers from angels and from men [Q 22:75]
He also states in another chapter,
۞ ٱللَّهُ أَعۡلَمُ حَيۡثُ يَجۡعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُ ۞
God knows best with whom to place his Message [Q 6:124]
He chose accomplished and resilient men, civil, compassionate and understanding people. God also mentions,
۞ وَمَآ أَرۡسَلۡنَا مِن قَبۡلِكَ إِلَّا رِجَالاً۬ نُّوحِىٓ إِلَيۡہِم مِّنۡ أَهۡلِ ٱلۡقُرَىٰٓۗ ۞
And we sent not before you (as Messengers) any but men, whom we inspired from among the people of the townships [Q 12:109]
i.e: The city folk, as a city can be referred to as a town and this is displayed when God labeled Mecca a town in the following verse,
۞ وَكَأَيِّن مِّن قَرۡيَةٍ هِىَ أَشَدُّ قُوَّةً۬ مِّن قَرۡيَتِكَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَخۡرَجَتۡكَ أَهۡلَكۡنَـٰهُمۡ ۞
And many a town, stronger than your town which has driven you out We have destroyed [Q 47:13]
He likewise called it Umm ul-Qurá [The Mother of Towns]:
۞ وَلِتُنذِرَ أُمَّ ٱلۡقُرَىٰ وَمَنۡ حَوۡلَهَاۚ ۞
So that you may warn the Mother of Towns and all those around it [Q 6:92].
God never sent a Messenger except that He supported him with signs that indicate the authenticity of his message and the genuineness of his call. God stated,
لَقَدۡ أَرۡسَلۡنَا رُسُلَنَا بِٱلۡبَيِّنَـٰتِ
Indeed We have sent out Messengers with clear proofs [Q 57: 25]
i.e: Clear and manifest signs that leave no room to doubt the authenticity of that particular Messenger who had been sent. The Prophet ﷺ said,
There has never been a Prophet amongst the Prophets but was given miracles because of which people had security or had belief)
This is from the perfect Wisdom of God and His Mercy towards His servants that He supports the Messengers in order for their affair to be uncomplicated and so that the people do not suffer in a state of confusion and become doubtful without a sense of assurance.
These signs that the Messengers came with are outside the natural capability of man. If it were within the capability of any man, it would not be correct to call it a miracle due to the fact that anyone could claim to hold the true message and bring about a miracle if it were within his capabilities. However, the miracles of the Messengers cannot appear at the hands of normal men. The scholars have asserted that the major signs that happened at the hands of each Messenger resemble the type of activity that became prevalent amongst the people of that era whom the particular Messenger was sent to. The scholars have been able to evidently prove and cite this through the miracles handed to Prophet Mūsá (Moses), ʿĪsá (Jesus) and Muḥammad.
Signs of the Prophethood of Moses (Mūsá)
In the time of Moses, the practice of magic was at an advanced level, to the extent that the magicians had reached the ultimate level of expertise and skill. Therefore, from the greatest miracles that Moses presented was the act in which he would defeat the magicians with something that resembled magic but in reality differed tremendously, because whatever Moses came with could be seen in reality by all witnesses, contrary to the acts of the magicians who would cast spells over the eyes of the people though trickery and deception rather than presenting a real change and transformation of objects for people to see. From the miracles given to Moses was his staff that he would release and it would become a live snake, however when he took hold of it again it would reform back into a staff. Moses once again used his staff before the tyrant Pharaoh when he invited him to believe in God. Likewise, Moses would place his hand inside his bosom and would remove it without any ailment and white in colour – i.e: without deformity or skin condition – and this was the case when he revealed his hand to the Pharaoh when he was being invited to believe in God.
When the Pharaoh witnessed these two miracles, he paraded his arrogance and said to the surrounding audience,
۞ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَسَـٰحِرٌ عَلِيمٌ۬ يُرِيدُ أَن يُخۡرِجَكُم مِّنۡ أَرۡضِڪُم بِسِحۡرِهِۦ فَمَاذَا تَأۡمُرُونَ ۞
Verily, this is indeed a well versed sorcerer – He wants to drive you out of your land with his sorcery, then what is your counsel, and what do you command. [Q 26: 34-35]
Moses also used his staff when he was called in front of the magicians when they released their ropes and staffs in a huge gathering and display of sorcery that the Pharaoh organized in order to defeat Moses and what he falsely claimed was the magic of Moses.
So when the crowd gathered along with the magicians, they released their ropes and their staffs and took an oath,
۞ وَقَالُواْ بِعِزَّةِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ إِنَّا لَنَحۡنُ ٱلۡغَـٰلِبُونَ ۞
‘By the honour of the pharaoh, we shall indeed be victorious’ [Q 26:44]
So they presented highly advanced magic to the extent of that their ropes and staffs would give the illusion that they are moving to anyone that sees them. Then Moses released his staff by the command of God the All-Mighty and behold it immediately swallowed up all the falsehood that they presented. At that point, the magicians whilst they were the most knowledgeable about their practice realized that the actions of Moses was not magic, rather it was from the matters that humans could not challenge, thus the magicians fell into prostration and said:
۞ قَالُوٓاْ ءَامَنَّا بِرَبِّ ٱلۡعَـٰلَمِينَ رَبِّ مُوسَىٰ وَهَـٰرُونَ ۞
‘We believe in the Lord of all Dominion, The Lord of Moses and Hārūn (Aron)’ [Q 26: 47-48]
This staff was also used for another purpose, it was when Moses was in search of water for his people, he would strike the rock with it and water would gush out from the rock in twelve places in accordance to the number of tribes within the tribe of the children of Israel.
The staff was also used when Moses and his followers reached the sea whilst being followed closely by the Pharaoh and his troops, God revealed to him that he should strike the sea with his staff, he did so and the sea was split into twelve different paths that Moses and his followers walked through to salvation.
Signs of the Prophethood of Jesus (ʿĪsá)
During the time of Jesus (ʿĪsá), the science of medicine had reached a highly advanced level. Therefore the miracles handed to Jesus resembled the practice of medicine that had become cutting-edge. The significant difference was that Jesus presented something that medicine failed to do, Jesus would fashion the shape of a bird from the soil and blow into it and it would then fly by the permission of God whilst the people witnessed this, he would also cure the one that was born blind and heal the leper all by the permission of God. The doctors at that time were unable to cure these two aforementioned illnesses and this remains the case until this day as far as I am aware. Some of the scholars have stated: ‘He was named al-Masīḥ due to the fact that any ill individual he wiped across would be cured’. It is also been mentioned in the Qurʾān that Jesus would give life to the dead by the permission of God, and in another verse it is stated that he would resurrect the dead by the permissions of God. Both are different actions, the first is giving life to the dead before they are buried, and the second is giving life to the dead along with resurrecting them from their graves after they have been buried, and there is no doubt that the miracles that were handed to Jesus are beyond the capabilities of humans. Therefore, being given such miracles as support is evidence and clear proof that he is a Messenger from God Who is the sole Creator and Perfectly Capable.
God could also support His Messengers with other miracles, however the most prominent and paramount ones of those are the ones that resemble the type of practice(s) that were widespread during the era of that particular Messenger.
This is why God supported His Messenger Muḥammad ﷺ with numerous miracles, the greatest and most prominent of them being this Noble Qurʾān that is the speech of the Lord of all Dominion; a book that is never subject to any falsehood and is revealed from God. During the time of the Messenger Muḥammad ﷺ, proficiency and eloquence of speech along with its delivery was widespread. Purity of language and eloquence had become the reason for attaining honour and mastery in society as is well known to those who study history.
Miracles and Signs of the Prophets
The miracles are in fact the signs that thwarted all the efforts of humans when they attempted to replicate them. God names them Āyāt (signs), they are signs that reveal the truthfulness of the Messengers – May the blessings and salutations of God be upon them – in the message they conveyed.
The technical meaning of a miracle as understood by the scholars of Islam is: ‘An abnormal occurrence’, in other words, something that occurs in opposition to the universal course of events that have been set out by God, whilst being undisputable and granted by God to the Messengers for their support.
An example of such an event was the splitting of the Moon and the sprouting of water from the hand of the Messenger Muḥammad and other than that.
Thus, any incident that happens according to the norm cannot be called a miracle. So if an individual were to say ‘I will show you a miracle, it is that one hour will not pass before the sun rises’ whilst he says this, the time shows that there is less than one hour before sunrise. If the sun rises at its scheduled time, its emergence will not count as a miracle for this claimant because its rising at its time is according to the norm and not abnormal. Likewise, even if an abnormal incident were to take place but is susceptible to challenges, it would not be called a miracle. This is seen in the practices of magicians, sorcerers and their like because other magicians and sorcerers can challenge their practices.
If the abnormal incident were to take place at the hands of a noble and pious person (ally of God), it would also not be called a miracle, but rather it would technically be called a Karāma (an act he has been honoured with). However, this incident that has occurred at the hands of this pious individual is in fact a miraculous sign of the Messenger who this pious individual follows, as it is a proof of the correctness of this individuals methodology.
Benefits Derived from the Miracles of the Prophets
1. A clear manifestation of the ability of God ﷻ, as it is inescapable that these occurrences are beyond the scope of any creation and they are also a testimony to the authenticity of the message, and since it is abnormal, it remains a proof for the ability of the Creator and that He is able to change the norm that people have become accustomed to. This is why an individual can become perplexed at these miracles that leave them no option but to believe in the message of the Messengers because he has presented something that only God can do.
2. The clear display of the mercy God has towards his servants, as these miracles that are witnessed by the people are in support of the Messengers and a reason for the increase of faith and reassurance in the message. This will result in an increase in their certitude and reward from God without encountering any confusion, doubt or disarray.
3. A clear manifestation of the perfect Wisdom of God, He did not send any messenger to be left in an idle state without supporting him with the things that prove his truthfulness. If an individual were to send someone with an important mission without providing him with the tools that prove and highlight the genuineness of the message, it will be deemed as foolishness from the sender and irresponsible behavior by the Messenger. What would you expect in the case of the greatest Message ever sent from the One with perfect wisdom? Clear evidences and signs would no doubt support it.
4. The mercy that God has bestowed on the Messenger. He has been sent and God has facilitated the acceptance of the Message through the miracles that take place at the hands of that Messenger in a way that deeply convinces the creation with occurrences that cannot be matched or challenged, nor can they be rejected except by pure denial and stubbornness, God said,
۞ فَإِنَّہُمۡ لَا يُكَذِّبُونَكَ ۞
They do not belie you( i.e. They do not belie you because of these miracles that indicate your truthfulness) [Q 6: 33]
God also said about the Pharaoh and his people,
۞ وَجَحَدُواْ بِہَا وَٱسۡتَيۡقَنَتۡهَآ أَنفُسُہُمۡ ظُلۡمً۬ا وَعُلُوًّ۬اۚ فَٱنظُرۡ كَيۡفَ كَانَ عَـٰقِبَةُ ٱلۡمُفۡسِدِينَ ۞
They belied them wrongfully and arrogantly, [though their own selves were convinced], so see what the end result of the evil doers was [Q 27: 14]
5. Establishing the proof over the creation. If a Messenger were to appear without a miracle that indicated his truthfulness, the people would have a valid excuse in their refusal to accept and believe in him. But if the Messenger comes with convincing signs in aid of his message, the people would not have a case in rejecting his Message.
6. A clarification that the Universe is governed by God and yields to His commands and that if this Universe governed itself or was governed by a force of nature that contains elements that react with one another in order to produce something, things would never change instantly nor would the norm be altered through someone as a support for their declaration. Take a look at the planets and the solar system that do not change merely due to the passing of time unless God wills. They exist as per the decree of God ﷻ. They have existed since their creation by God and will continue to exist until God permits their extinction. On one night, the pagan tribe of Quraish requested to see a miracle from the Prophet Muḥammad, so Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ pointed to the moon and it split in half with each half separated and distant from the other for all to see. Subsequently, out of pure denial and stubbornness, the pagan tribe of Quraish claimed that Muḥammad had cast a magic spell on them. They asked the travellers to Mecca on that night if they had seen the splitting of the moon, so they informed them that they witnessed it that night. Does this not unequivocally prove that this Universe in its entirety is governed by and yields to the Creator, the Perfectly-wise!?
The miracles of Moses (Mūsá) and Jesus (ʿĪsá) – may the blessings and salutations of God be upon them – have been mentioned previously as it relates to his staff that transformed into a snake and the use of it in striking the sea to part it, and the rock that gushed out water. In addition, the revival of the dead and their resurrection from their graves as it pertains to the miracles of Jesus (ʿĪsá).
The Miracles of Muḥammad
Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymīyyah – May God have mercy upon him – mentioned in his authorship of [Al-Jawāb al-Ṣāḥīḥ li-man Baddal Dīn al-Masīḥ]: ‘The signs and clear evidences that stand as proof for the Prophethood of Muḥammad are many. They are more in number than those of the other Prophets. Some scholars have called them ‘miracles’ whilst they have also been called ‘proofs of Prophethood’, ‘signs of Prophethood’ and names similar to these. These terms that have been used to name the signs of the Prophets, more effectively demonstrate the meaning, rather than the term ‘miracle’. This is why the term ‘miracle’ is not found in the Qurʾān or the Prophetic tradition, rather the terms ‘āyah’ (sign), ‘bayyinah’ (proof), and ‘burhān’ (conclusive evidence) are found.’
Ibn Taymīyyah also stated: ‘Signs are of two types, one type is the one that has passed and become well known through proven knowledge, and the other type still remains until this day such as the Qurʾān, along with the faith and knowledge that his followers possess and his legislation that he taught’.
Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned other examples and we shall go through some of them here in further detail inshāAllāh (God willing).
Amongst these signs:
The Noble Qurʾān: It is the greatest sign for the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ because it is the most complete and constant sign. Ever since God revealed this Qurʾān to him, it has been a sign that bears testament to the Prophethood of Muḥammad ﷺ until this day. The Qurʾān is the speech of God in meaning and expression, God spoke this Qurʾān [in a manner that befits His Majesty] and conveyed it to the Angel Jibrīl, then Jibrīl descended with it to the heart of the Prophet where he embraced and memorised it; an act that God guaranteed that He would do, as He stated,
۞إِنَّ عَلَيۡنَا جَمۡعَهُ ۥ وَقُرۡءَانَهُ ۥ ۞ فَإِذَا قَرَأۡنَـٰهُ فَٱتَّبِعۡ قُرۡءَانَهُ ۥ ۞ ثُمَّ إِنَّ عَلَيۡنَا بَيَانَهُ ۥ ۞
Indeed, upon Us is to gather it in your heart and to make possible its recitation – So, when we have recited it [through Jibrīl] then follow its recitation – Then upon us is its clarification. [75: 17-19]}
Since God has guaranteed to clarify it, it would subsequently mean that the Messenger would memorize and comprehend it in order to convey and explain it to the people. The All-Mighty said,
۞ إِنَّا نَحۡنُ نَزَّلۡنَا ٱلذِّكۡرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ ۥ لَحَـٰفِظُونَ ۞
Verily, it is We who have sent down the Qurʾān, and indeed we will guard it [from corruption]. [Q 15: 9]}
The Qurʾān is a sign from amongst the signs of the Prophet ﷺ that prove his truthfulness from numerous perspectives:
Firstly: The collective inability of the entire creation whether it be a joint effort or individual, to produce something similar to this Qurʾān. God said,
۞ قُل لَّٮِٕنِ ٱجۡتَمَعَتِ ٱلۡإِنسُ وَٱلۡجِنُّ عَلَىٰٓ أَن يَأۡتُواْ بِمِثۡلِ هَـٰذَا ٱلۡقُرۡءَانِ لَا يَأۡتُونَ بِمِثۡلِهِۦ وَلَوۡ كَانَ بَعۡضُہُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ۬ ظَهِيرً۬ا ۞
Say, if Mankind and the Jinn were to work together to produce the like of this Qurʾān, they could not produce the like thereof, even if they helped one another. [Q 17: 88]
Meaning: They cannot produce something similar to it even if they were to aid one another in doing so, this is because the Qurʾān is the speech of God and is never resembled by anything from the speech of the creation, not from the aspect of articulation, meaning, its effect on the one who is exposed to it or the fruitful, praiseworthy outcomes.
Secondly: In terms of its power, serenity, composition, elegance of style, structure, clarity, and immeasurable value in meaning; all of which do not diminish the more it is scrutinised and pondered over. To the extent that you may hear a verse that is continuously read and a new meaning may appear to you upon its repetition, evoking the notion that this verse was revealed to address you.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymīyyah stated: The structure and style of the Qurʾān is unique and unprecedented. It is not in the style of speech that people are familiar with and nobody has ever presented a style that resembles it. It does not sit in the categories of poetry, letter writing or speech composition. Its structure is not that of known speech from the Arab or non-Arabs, and the purity of language and eloquence it possesses is unique and differs from any other speech whilst being unparalleled by the speech of any creation.
The scholar Muḥammad Rashīd Riḍā mentioned in his book entitled (Al-Waḥy al-Muḥammadī) under the fourth chapter sub-heading:
‘If the Qurʾān was revealed in the same fashion and order as the books that people are accustomed to, it would have lacked a great distinguishing factor in offering guidance. I also add that if it were revealed in that manner in its composition, it would have lacked one of its finest qualities in being incomparable‘. He also stated, ‘If the Qurʾān contained chaptered headings and sub-headings like the books people are accustomed to, it would have lacked one of its greatest traits in its formation and subject matter. All this can be identified from the light we shall shed on the benefits of the Qurʾān in its composition and style that the Lord of the Universe, the One Who possesses Perfect Knowledge, Wisdom and Mercy revealed it in. The Qurʾān achieves all of these aims and shares them throughout the many short and long chapters in, whilst taking into consideration the many different events that are covered and their repetition and maintaining the soul-stirring eloquence that moves the heart and senses without displeasure or boredom’. He went on to mention further qualities such as ‘the method in which the speech is delivered in enticing interest, presenting a threat, causing a sense of amazement or blame, arousing a love for something, addressing a reprimand, rebuking, presenting rhetorical questions in rebuke, affirming, disparaging and admonition; all of which are qualities of the Qurʾān which remain unparalleled by the speech of humans, whether it be from sermons, poetry or other forms of rhyming. So by this perfect and unprecedented standard of speech and eloquence in delivery, the Qurʾān’s original state does not diminish nor is it subject to renewal through constant repetition’ [End quote]
Thirdly: The miraculous qualities of the Qurʾān in terms of its elevated targets for the creation, perfect mannerisms and reforming laws. It came in order to correct the creed of people as it relates to the belief in God ﷻ and all that is connected to it such as the Names, Attributes and Actions of God as well as the belief in all of His Angels, the Revealed Books and Scriptures, His Messengers, the Day of Judgment, the good and bad of divine decree and anything pertaining to it. It also came to establish sincerity in the worship of God, liberate the minds and consciences from worshiping other than God ﷻ and being attached to them either out of fear, hope, love or glorification. It was also revealed to bring about excellent character that any sound and upright intellect can bear testament to. The Qurʾān commands with righteousness, maintaining the ties of kinship, honesty, justice, mercy and acts of good while it prohibits anything in opposition to that, whether it is oppression, tyranny or offensive behavior. This is in addition to its legislation that offers a perfect solution to the rectification of the people and nations in their affairs of the worldly life and the hereafter as well as correction in all acts of worship. It also solves the matters related to personal, social and economical cohesion between individuals or as a community. All of which, were a joint effort to be made by the creation, they would be unable to construct its like or anything near to it.
Fourthly: From the miracles of the Qurʾān is its power to affect the heart and soul as it penetrates the heart like the arrow penetrates its target, it dominates the mind such as the sun dominates a dark horizon. This has been testified to by ally and foe, to the extent that a man from the common folk – let alone a highly learned individual – will hear the Qurʾān and find a strong attraction to it that will generate a compelling fascination of the Qurʾān by which he will realize that this is not from the speech of man.
Al-Walīd bin Mughīrah, the uncle of Abū Jahl, heard the Qurʾān on one occasion from the Messenger and said to his tribesmen and women of Banī Makhzūm ‘I have just heard some speech from Muḥammad that is not from the speech of humans, nor is it from the speech of jinn (devils). It has sweetness and grace, it carries a deep, rich meaning, it overwhelms anything below it and it is raised and nothing is raised above it’.
On another the occasion, the senior members of the pagan tribe of Quraish gathered and said ‘Search for the most knowledgeable amongst yourselves in poetry, magic and soothsaying. Let him go to this man who has divided us, left us disbanded in our affairs, and denounced our religion in order to speak to him and see what he has to say‘. So the people replied, ‘We do not know anyone [fit for this] other than ʿUtbah bin Rabīʿa‘ they replied. So he approached the Prophet, spoke to him and offered him all that was in his capability to entice him from wealth, status and women. When ʿUtbah finished all he had to say, the Prophet began to recite from the beginning of the chapter of Sūrah Fussilat from the Qurʾān, when he reached,
۞ فَإِنۡ أَعۡرَضُواْ فَقُلۡ أَنذَرۡتُكُمۡ صَـٰعِقَةً۬ مِّثۡلَ صَـٰعِقَةِ عَادٍ۬ وَثَمُودَ ۞
But if they turn away, then say ‘I have warned you of a Ṣāʿiqah [destructive cry] like the Ṣāʿiqah that overtook the people of ʿĀd and Thamūd’ [Q 41: 13]}
ʿUtbah got up and placed his hand on the mouth of the Prophet to silence him and pleaded an oath to cease. When ʿUtbah bin Rabīʿa returned to his people they saw a change in him, so he relayed the story to them and the fear that struck his heart due to the recitation of the Prophet. He said to his people, ‘We have come to know that when Muḥammad says something, it is never a lie, so I feared that a punishment would befall us. He spoke to me with a speech that I have never known its kind and my ears have never heard its like, so I did not know what to say’. [End quote]
It was also the case that some of the senior members of the Quraish tribe would secretly go during the night to listen to the Prophet recite the Qurʾān as was the case with Abū Jahl, Abū Sufyān and other than them.
Such events provide a clear indication of the impact the Qurʾān has on the hearts and souls. However, this impact may not appear to everyone. Rather it would appear to the one who has sensitivity and knowledge of the structure of speech and the eloquence of the tongue.
As the poet said:
Whoever has a bitter taste in their mouth and it is unpleasant
Will taste the pure and filtered water as bitter
Ibn Taymīyyah stated – after mentioning various types of miracles of the Qurʾān – “Whomsoever these affairs have become clear to amongst the people of knowledge will come to realize the miracle of the Qurʾān from this aspect. And whomsoever it does not become clear to can suffice himself with whatever is apparently clear to him such as the inability of the creation to present something like it whilst they are aware of the challenge that has been presented to them by the Prophet. This is an angle that is clear for everyone to comprehend”.
Fifthly: From the miracles of the Qurʾān are the effects that have resulted due to this Muslim nation’s adherence to it and the devotion to its lofty targets and rightly guided teachings. It has raised the people of the Qurʾān to the pinnacle in establishing acts of worship, character, morality and dignity.
The pious predecessors (early righteous generations) of this Muslim nation realized the value of the Noble Qurʾān, and thus would not exceed in memorizing ten verses without learning their meanings and acting upon them. As a result, they gained knowledge and good actions at the same time. This is the reason that allowed them to be leaders in many parts of the world and attain dignity, authority and gain strength and ability. They also introduced beneficial sciences to the people when they themselves were once divided, misguided, illiterate and downcast amongst the various nations. This strength and honor will not return to this Muslim nation until they return to the original source that their pious predecessors (early pious generations) took from and take from it without tarnish. All of this will not return to them until they return to the Book of God and the tradition of the Messenger of God, understand them both and implement them in creed, knowledge, actions and methodology whilst having belief that this is the path of righteousness, rectification and safety.
It is heartbreaking to see many Muslims in this day and age not returning to the Book and the Prophetic tradition, nor seeking to understand them or implementing them. Many of them even fail to read any more than what they read in the prayer, this is a result of a lack of understanding of the Arabic language and its elegance in style and its etiquette. Evidently, they do not have a linguistic or legislation based inclination towards the Book of God and the tradition of His Messenger, and this is the reason they innovate in the basic elements of the religion. The effect and results of which are in accordance to how much they have innovated in the Book of God and the traditions of the Messenger of God. We hope from God that He will constantly guide the Ummah of the Qurʾān and bring forth scholars and political leaders that bring about good. We also ask God to allow us to act in accordance to the guidance of the early pious generations, because this Ummah will not find rectification in anything other than that which the earliest generations found rectification in.
Also amongst the Signs of the Prophet
The signs that God made clearly visible in the heavens and the horizon that were testament to the truthfulness of the Prophet. God said in the Qurʾān,
۞ سَنُرِيهِمۡ ءَايَـٰتِنَا فِى ٱلۡأَفَاقِ وَفِىٓ أَنفُسِہِمۡ حَتَّىٰ يَتَبَيَّنَ لَهُمۡ أَنَّهُ ٱلۡحَقُّۗ أَوَلَمۡ يَكۡفِ بِرَبِّكَ أَنَّهُ ۥ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ شَہِيدٌ ۞
We will show them our Signs in the universe, and in their own selves, until it becomes manifest to them that this [Qurʾān] is the truth. Is it not sufficient in regard to your Lord that He is a witness over all things. [Q 41: 53]
There are some examples of these signs, from them are:
1. The splitting of the moon. The moon was split in two parts and this was witnessed by people, it has also been recorded in the Qurʾān in the statement of God,
۞ ٱقۡتَرَبَتِ ٱلسَّاعَةُ وَٱنشَقَّ ٱلۡقَمَرُ وَإِن يَرَوۡاْ ءَايَةً۬ يُعۡرِضُواْ وَيَقُولُواْ سِحۡرٌ۬ مُّسۡتَمِرٌّ۬ ۞
The hour has drawn near and the moon has been cleft asunder – And if they see a sign, they turn away and say ‘this is continuous magic’ [Q54: 1-2]
The scholars are in consensus that this event happened in the time of the Prophet during the pre-migration period in Mecca and was seen by the people in that region. The Prophet said to the people at the time of its occurrence “Bear witness, bear witness”. In addition, travellers from various directions entered Mecca and declared that they also witnessed it.
Ibn Taymīyyah mentions: “The moon was used in this sign as opposed to the sun or other parts of the solar system because it is closer to the Earth than the sun and the stars. Also, because the moon is the illuminated object wherein a split can be clearly seen by everybody without doubt. The people clearly witnessed this sign, and the Prophet used to recite the chapter in the Qurʾān [that states the verses regarding the splitting of the moon] in the largest of gatherings such as the two ʿEid festival prayers whilst everyone would admit to it and not reject it. If the moon did not split, the opponents of the Messenger would have hastened to rebuke its occurrence [at that time]”. [End quote]
Some people thought that the splitting of the moon was a farfetched idea and began to misinterpret the meaning of the Qurʾān, but they were undoubtedly mistaken in their rejection. Their conclusion cannot be harmonized with the Qurʾān and the authentic proofs for this event are numerous and clear to indicate that the moon was literally split in half. As for the claims made by some that this event has not been recorded in any other line of history apart from Islamic history, the response is that the records of Islamic history are sufficient in this regard and the Qurʾān has also explained this event. It could be the case that those who did not narrate the occurrence did not see it, or they were asleep, or they were experiencing daytime in their region, or there were clouds that prevented them from witnessing it. In any case, even the travellers who were on a journey towards Mecca gave their recollection of the splitting of the moon. It should also be noted that this was not a continuous sign, but rather one that happened once for the people to see and then the moon returned to its original form.
2. The Ascent. It is from the greatest signs, the Prophet was taken on a night journey from his home to Bayt al-Maqdis in Jerusalem in one night, there he was met by the Prophets and led them in prayer. Then Angel Jibrīl took him on an ascent into the heavens until they reached Sidrat al-Muntahā (a tree in the highest part of Paradise) above the seventh heaven. At that high point, God revealed to him and the Prophet witnessed further major signs and then passed by some other Prophets on his descent through the heavens before returning to Mecca. Even with the great distance between Mecca and Jerusalem and the altitude difference between Earth and the heavens that reach Sidrat al-Muntahā (a tree in the highest part of Paradise), all of this happened in one single night. God has mentioned this sign in the Qurʾān. He mentioned the ascent in the chapter of Al-Isrāʾ and the night journey in the chapter of Al-Najm.
3. The rain that fell and stopped immediately as a result of the Prophet’s invocation to God. It has been recorded in Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Muslim on the authority of Anas bin Mālik who said: ‘We were struck with barrenness and drought during the life of the Messenger of God, when the Prophet was delivering a sermon on a Friday, a Bedouin Arab stood up and said: Messenger of God! The crops are ruined and the children are hungry, invoke God for us. So he raised his hands while there was not a cloud that could be seen in the sky. By the One Whose Hand my soul is in, he did not place his hands back down before the clouds began to stir and resembled mountains, then he did not descend from his pulpit except that I saw the raindrops dripping from his beard. Rain fell that day, the day after, and the day after that until the following Friday. So the following Friday, the same Bedouin Arab or another one stood and said: Messenger of God! The buildings have been wrecked and the crops have drowned, invoke God for us. So he raised his hands and said “God, Let it rain around us and not on us”. After that, he did not point to a cloud in the sky except that it would disperse, the rain stopped and we went out to walk under the sun”
There are other Prophetic signs pertaining to the unseen realm that happened during his life and after his death in the exact same way they were prophesized by him. Below are some examples of them:
1. It has been recorded in Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim on the authority of Anas bin Mālik, who narrated on the authority of ʿUmar bin al-Khaṭṭāb who said ‘The Prophet would tell us where the place of death of those who participated in the battle of Badr would be before any combat happened by saying, “This is the place of death of so and so God ﷻ willing, this is the place of death of so and so”. By the One Who sent him with the truth, their position did not fall out of place from where the Prophet foretold.’
2. The Prophecy that was told by the Messenger of God about a fire that would appear in the Arabian Peninsula (region of Hijāz) and would illuminate Aʿnāq al Ibl (the necks of camels) in Baṣra (a place in Shām). Bukhārī has recorded in his book that the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ said, ‘This fire happened in the month of Jumada Al-Awal in the year 654H to the East of al-Madīnah, it was ablaze for one month and filled the valleys in that region.’ The people of Baṣra saw this blaze as prophesized. Ibn Taymīyyah said ‘This fire would burn and melt stone’.
There are other examples of the news that was conveyed by the Prophet about the trials and tribulations that will occur along with the changing state of the people and more.
Likewise, from the signs of Prophethood is the incident that has been recorded by al-Bukhārī and other than him on the authority of Jābir who said: ‘The people became thirsty on the day of Hudaybiyya, and at the hands of the Prophet was a vessel that he would perform wuḍūʾ (ablution) out of. Some people approached him and complained that they did not have any water to perform wuḍūʾ (ablution) or drink from except what is in this vessel of yours. Thereafter, the Prophet placed his hand in the vessel and water began to sprout from his fingers like a fountain’. Jābir went on to say, ‘We all drank and performed wuḍūʾ (ablution)’. Jābir was asked, “How many of you were there”? He replied, ‘Even if we had been one hundred thousand, it would have sufficed, there was one thousand five hundred of us.’
In addition, there was the sign that came in the form of food being multiplied as was the case on the day of Khandaq and in the case of Abū Huraira with the people of Suffa, the signs are in fact many and the scholars have mentioned and noted many of them throughout time. The most expansive piece of work I have come across in this topic is Tarīkh ibn Kathir – God have mercy on him – as he compiled the signs of the Prophet in one large volume, and it is also the case that the Prophet Muḥammad and his nation experienced similar signs and greater ones to the other Prophets.
All of these signs that God allows His Prophets ﷺ and righteous servants to experience bear testament to His Perfect Knowledge, Ability and Mercy. It also proves that everything is under His control and He governs however He wills, He is never to be questioned in what He does but rather the people shall be questioned. To God belongs all praise and perfect grace – He is the Most High, free from any deficiency – we cannot praise Him enough, He is perfectly praised as He has praised himself.
May the blessings and salutations be bestowed upon our Prophet, his household and companions.