Miracle of the Prophet (ﷺ)

What was the miracle given to the Prophet (ﷺ)?

The Qur’an – A Message to all of humankind, is within the context of Islam being the religion of all humankind. Because the basic premise from which Islam operates is that as there is only one God and one human race, God revealed only one religion so as not to confuse human beings. And He sent one line of prophethood to convey that message and as such the message of all of the prophets was one single message. The last in the line of those prophets was Muhammad (ﷺ). And for him to be the last, it meant that he was not sent to a particular people and place as the earlier prophets had been sent. Prophets were sent to India, to China, to Africa, to Europe, to America. They were sent to their own people in particular areas of the world because of the fact that others will come after them to continue that message. However, when prophethood came to an end with Muhammad ibn Abdillah (ﷺ), that final prophet was a prophet sent not to a particular people in a particular place for a particular period of time but a prophet sent to all of humankind. And this is not an empty claim dreamed up by Muslims later on after his time. Allah describes him as a mercy on to all of humankind in the Qur’an itself. In the book of revelation which he brought, he is described as a prophet sent to all of humankind. And to underscore that fact as it might be debated in our times, 1400 years after the time of the last prophet, a miracle was left. A miracle left that humankind would know through it the final message and know that what was taught by the final messenger was a message for all of humankind. All prophets were given miracles which would convince their people that they were prophets of Allah. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) had said in a well-known hadeeth or statement of his which is recorded authentically,

“All prophets were given something which would cause people to believe in them. What I was given is none other than a revelation, the Qur’an which was revealed to me.” [1]

All prophets were given these miracles. However, because of the fact that they were prophets for a limited period of time, their miracles were limited to those periods of time. Because if we take for example among the lasts of the prophets, the more recent prophets, Moses (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم), prophet to the Jews, his main miracle as recorded and described in the books of the Torah as well as in the Qur’an itself. His miracle was that of being able to turn his staff into a snake. The type of miracle which may be associated with magic because in his time magicians held a special place in society. In ancient Egypt among the special positions in the court of the rulers, the pharaohs, were magicians. People feared them. People admired them. People were amazed by them. So Allah sent with Prophet Moses (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) a miracle similar to the types of miracles which the magicians appeared to do, except for the fact that his was real. Theirs was illusion. People thought that what they threw on the ground became snakes, sliding in front of them. But when Prophet Musa (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) threw his staff, his became a snake which ate up the others indicating that what he had, what he brought was superior to what they had. That the people could see. For the magicians who knew what they were doing, knew that what they were doing was only illusion, fooling people. When they saw the staff of Moses (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) become a snake and eat theirs, they knew this man must be a man of God. And that is why they fell down in prostration immediately. They didn’t have to think twice because all that they did, did not involve changing the nature of sticks and ropes, it was only illusion. Whereas in the case of Prophet Moses (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) his staff became a snake. So Prophet Moses (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) was given a miracle similar to the magic of the magicians but greater.

If we look after him to Prophet Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم), Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) again sent to the Jews, the last of the Prophets sent specifically to the Jews, he was sent to a people who at that time were the masters of medicine. And actually even until this time, Jews remain leaders in the field of medicine. They could produce medicines which would cure eye diseases. They knew how to make splints which would heal broken limbs. People who were sick with fever, appearing about to die, they could cure them through their medicines and they would be healthy again. So Prophet Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) was sent with miracles in those same areas except that what he brought was above, superior to what they had. So he was able to make the blind see, not just those who became blind but those who were born blind. He was able to make the lame walk, people who were born crippled, he was able to make them walk by the power of God. And furthermore, he was able to make the dead come back to life. A miracle from God. For the Jewish doctors, they knew this man must be from God because what he was doing was beyond anything they could imagine in the field of healing.

However if someone were to ask us today to show us the staff of Moses (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) which became a snake, where is it? In a museum somewhere? No. Or the Red Sea, where he hit it and it parted, to demonstrate it to us, to show us where that took place, cannot be shown. Because his miracles were for his own time. Same thing with Prophet Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم). The man who Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) brought back to life, Is he around today so we can say here he is. Lazarus according to the bible, alive, had been dead. No. We don’t have him. Or any of those who were made to see. Or the other miracles of Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم). Were they recorded in the Gospels? Or in the Qur’an? Does the miracles of Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) recorded in the Qur’an not found in the Gospels, or any of the common Gospels known today? It is found in some of the ancient and lost Gospels. Where he gathered clay, molded it into the shape of a bird, blew on it and it flew away a living bird. Do we have that bird? No. So the miracles of Prophet Jesus (عَلَيْهِ السَّلاَم) were limited to his time.

So if Muhammad (ﷺ) was to be a messenger sent to all of humankind till the end of the world, then he had to have a miracle which would not only win over the hearts of the people of his time, but one which would stand as evidence for people until the last day of this world. So if somebody said “where is the miracle of Muhammad (ﷺ)?” We can say "here is his miracle. Here it is."  And that is the Qur’an. Preserved because it is a message to all of humankind. So it had to be preserved. This was a necessity. So Allah on one hand chose an area in which his people, the original people to whom he was sent, who would then carry the message to the rest of the world, he chose an area which these people admired, loved, worshipped. And that was in literary eloquence. The Arabs loved literature. So much so that their most popular odes were written in gold tablets and hung on the Kaaba, the central place of their worship. And they would have contests yearly, gathering in places like Taif where they would compete with each other in prose and poetry. They loved it. They didn’t have medicine. They were not known for magic. They didn’t have structures built, a built civilization. But they did love literature. So Allah gave Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) a miracle in the field of literature. A book. Written with the same letters that they wrote. Spoken with the same vowels and consonants that they spoke. But a book which was inimitable, which they could not imitate. A book whose magic was beyond their abilities. A book which captured their hearts.

[1] [Sahih al-Bukhari 7274]

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