The Qur’aan as a Miracle of the Prophet Muĥammad (صل الله عليه وسلم)

August 31, 2010

The miracles of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) are many, but the most obvious is the Qur’aan itself. This book has been preserved to the last letter, without any perversions or alterations for some 1400 years. This is extraordinary, because no other book has been maintained in this way in human history. It is also a miracle, however, because the Prophet Muhammad’s (صل الله عليه وسلم) message stated that this was to be so:

إِنَّا نَحْنُ نَزَّلْنَا الذِّكْرَ وَإِنَّا لَهُ لَحَافِظُونَ

Meaning: “Aļļaah has revealed this remembrance that is the Qur’aan, and He protects it.” (Al-Ĥijr, 9). This statement shows extraordinary knowledge of the future, and it is joined with the challenge and claim of prophethood, thus meeting the criteria for a miracle. It is a challenge, because the enemies of the religion would attempt to prove this statement wrong. The fact that they have not been able to do so strengthens the miracle further, because it shows that the Creator really is protecting the book.

The Qur’aan is narrated collaboratively from masses to masses from the time of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم). It is an oral tradition from day one, and written copies are used as an aid only. When the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) passed away he had several thousand followers, and many of them had memorized the entire Quran, and as a group of individuals they had memorized the Qur’aan hundreds of times over. This mass narration is the one we have today, and it is what protects the Qur’aan from alteration by the will of Aļļaah. Anything that does not reach this level of solid narration is simply rejected. Why? Because the Qur’aan was well known and taught in public everywhere already in the time of the Prophet himself, who encouraged his thousands of enthusiastic followers to spread, publicize and memorize every letter of it. They firmly believed this to be the revealed book of the Creator Himself, and to be negligent in its careful preservation, memorization and distribution was unthinkable. Then this spread and enthusiasm only spread and continued from generation to generation, and even today there are millions of people who have memorized it cover to cover. Accordingly, the idea that an individual or a handful of individuals should know something of it that no one else did is rejected by default. In addition, the eloquence of the Qur’aan is greater than other things written or said in Arabic, which makes it recognizable and distinct. This adds to the preservation attained by the mass narration.

Another miracle is the challenge to those who disbelieve in Prophet Muhammad  (صل الله عليه وسلم), to compose a Suurah like any of its 114 Suurahs[1]:

وَإِنْ كُنْتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِنْ مِثْلِهِ

Meaning: “If you are in doubt about what Aļļaah has revealed to the Prophet  (صل الله عليه وسلم), then bring a Suurah like any of its Suurahs in eloquence, if you can, but you will not be able.” (Al-Baqarah, 23)

To understand the significance of this challenge, one must keep in mind that eloquence was a central part of Arab culture at the time. The Arabs prided themselves in their excellence as poets and public speakers, and rivalry in eloquence was an integral part of their culture. One-upmanship in poetic brilliance between rivaling tribes and individuals was a daily affair. As in any human endeavor, however, no record performance lasted forever; eventually someone would at least reach an equivalent level. The challenge of the Qur’aan then, was not unfamiliar to the Arabs. The only thing new was their realization that no one could meet it; to the extent that they were left speechless and unable to even make a serious try.

The Qur’aan first challenged these people to come up with anything like it in eloquence, but they failed, then anything like 10 of its suurahs, but again they failed, then like any 1 of its suurahs, some of which are just a few words, and once again they failed. The Prophet’s opponents saw these challenges as their opportunity to make him lose support, and they were the rich, the powerful and the eloquent. They were all of the Arabs facing a tiny minority of Muslims at that time. Despite their enormous number, however, their reputation for being the champions of eloquence, their extreme enmity to Islam, and their absolute refusal to swear allegiance to anything but their tribe out of extreme bigotry, they could not do it. This is very apparent historical fact, because they resorted to meeting the challenge of words with the blades of their swords, and putting their lives at stake. If they could have met the challenge with words, they certainly would have preferred that, and if they had met the challenge, then this would have been a known historical fact, because the motives to spread such news were and are still in abundance among non-Muslims. Accordingly, the lack of anyone ever meeting this challenge could not have been because they did not care about it, or that the news of it did not reach us. It has now been more than 1400 years, and the challenge still stands.

This miracle is further strengthened by the fact that Prophet Muĥammad  (صل الله عليه وسلم)  was unlettered and never took part in composing any poetry. Moreover, he told his opponents that no one would ever be able to match the eloquence of the Qur’aan, not now and not in the future. Being of great intelligence, he would never have made such a challenge had he not known this by revelation. Had he not had such a revelation it would have been foolish to make such a challenge.

The Qur’aan also contains many statements about things the Prophet  (صل الله عليه وسلم) could not have known through ordinary means. An example is the description of what would happen to the breathing of a person if lifted up into the atmosphere:

فَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَهدِيَهُ يَشْرَحْ صَدْرَهُ لِلإِسْلامِ وَمَنْ يُرِدْ أَنْ يُضِلَّهُ يَجْعَلْ صَدْرَهُ ضَيِّقًا حَرَجًا كَأَنَّمَا يَصَّعَّدُ فِي السَّمَاءِ

Meaning: “Whoever Allah has willed to guide, He will open his heart to accept Islaam, and whoever He has willed misguidance for, He will make his chest tight and narrow, as if he is ascending up in the sky.” (Al-Anˆaam, 125)

In addition to the above, consider also that the Prophet r did not read and had not travelled except two short trips, and never went to anything like a school or been present in circles of knowledge and science. He remained like that for the first forty years of his life; in the town of Makkah, a place without scholars or science, or even educational books. Then suddenly, at the age of forty, he brings the Qur’aan, a book that contains an abundance of wisdom and knowledge, and is of great eloquence by anyone’s standard. This is something completely extraordinary, because a book like that does not appear from the hands of a person that is without background in research, reading or studies of any kind. Accordingly, it must have been by revelation and guidance from Aļļaah that he brought it.

 


[1] The Qur’aan is divided into what is known as Suurahs, not chapters. They vary in length between a few words to several pages.

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Miracles of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) other than the Qur’aan

August 31, 2010

The Prophet had many miracles other than the Qur’aan. Most of these are narrated in narrational chains that do not reach the status of collaborative mass narrations from the witnesses to the following generations. However, the sheer amount of such narrated incidents together as a whole is vast. Moreover, the people who were witnesses are people who hated lying from the depth of their being, and would neither permit themselves to lie, nor others to engage in lies in front of them, and related what they saw to specific places and times known to all. This makes us sure that at least some of them are true. The reason for this is that it would normally be impossible for all of them to be incorrect or lies in light of their number and circumstances. A few of these are mentioned below.

Miracles other than the Qur’aan

The splitting of the Moon

This miracle is actually mentioned in the Qur’aan:

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ (1) وَإِنْ يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُسْتَمِرٌّ

Interpretation: The Last Hour has come near, and the Moon has split. If Arab idolaters of Quraysħ see a miracle, they turn their backs on it and say, "This is just powerful magic!" (Al-Qamar, 1-2)

This miracle came when the tribe of Quraysħ demanded a proof from the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) for his truthfulness. It was narrated by Al-Bukħaariyy that Ibn Masˆuud[1] said:

انْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ شِقَّتَيْنِ فَقَالَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ اشْهَدُوا

"During the time of the Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) the Moon split into two halves, and the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) said, ‘Bear witness!’"[2]

The result of this great miracle, however, was just more obstinacy from the leaders of Quraysħ, as indicated in the Aayah above.

Food praising Aļļaah while being eaten

Al-Bukħaariyy narrated that Ibn Masˆuud said:

كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فِي سَفَرٍ فَقَلَّ الْمَاءُ فَقَالَ اطْلُبُوا فَضْلَةً مِنْ مَاءٍ فَجَاءُوا بِإِنَاءٍ فِيهِ مَاءٌ قَلِيلٌ فَأَدْخَلَ يَدَهُ فِي الْإِنَاءِ ثُمَّ قَالَ حَيَّ عَلَى الطَّهُورِ الْمُبَارَكِ وَالْبَرَكَةُ مِنْ اللَّهِ فَلَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ الْمَاءَ يَنْبُعُ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَصَابِعِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَلَقَدْ كُنَّا نَسْمَعُ تَسْبِيحَ الطَّعَامِ وَهُوَ يُؤْكَلُ

We were traveling with the Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) when our water supply became little, so he said, "get some remaining water." When they brought him a vessel with a little water, he put his hands into it and said, "Come on to the purifying and blessed – and the blessing is created by Aļļaah!" Then I saw water gush forth from between the fingers of the Messenger of Aļļaah r , and we also used to hear food praising Aļļaah while being eaten.[3]

Pure water gushing from between the Prophet’s (صل الله عليه وسلم) fingers

Note that it happened in several different occasions that water gushed from between the fingers of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) , sometimes enough for hundreds of people to drink and wash. Al-Bukħaariyy narrated from Jaabir ibn ˆAbdillaah[4]:

عَطِشَ النَّاسُ يَوْمَ الْحُدَيْبِيَةِ وَرَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ رَكْوَةٌ فَتَوَضَّأَ مِنْهَا ثُمَّ أَقْبَلَ النَّاسُ نَحْوَهُ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَا لَكُمْ قَالُوا يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَيْسَ عِنْدَنَا مَاءٌ نَتَوَضَّأُ بِهِ وَلَا نَشْرَبُ إِلَّا مَا فِي رَكْوَتِكَ قَالَ فَوَضَعَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَدَهُ فِي الرَّكْوَةِ فَجَعَلَ الْمَاءُ يَفُورُ مِنْ بَيْنِ أَصَابِعِهِ كَأَمْثَالِ الْعُيُونِ قَالَ فَشَرِبْنَا وَتَوَضَّأْنَا فَقُلْتُ لِجَابِرٍ كَمْ كُنْتُمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ قَالَ لَوْ كُنَّا مِائَةَ أَلْفٍ لَكَفَانَا كُنَّا خَمْسَ عَشْرَةَ مِائَةً

The people became thirsty on the day of the Al-Ĥudaybiyyah incident[5]. The Prophet had a vessel in front of him that he took water for (Wuđuu’) ablusion from. The people approached him, so he said, "what is the matter?" They replied, "O Messenger of Aļļaah, we do not have any water to make ablution, or to drink, other than what you have in your vessel. Upon hearing that, the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) put his hand in the vessel, and water gushed out from between his fingers like a spring. So we drank (Jaabir said) and performed ablution. I (the narrator from Jaabir, a man by the name of Saalim ibn Abii Al-Jaˆd) said to Jaabir: "How many were you on that day?" He answered: "If we had been a hundred thousand it would have been enough. We were fifteen hundred (individuals)."[6]

Rocks greeting the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم)

It was narrated and authenticated by Al-Ĥaakim[7] and others Aliyy ibn Abii Ţaalib[8] said,

كنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بمكة ، فخرج في بعض نواحيها فما استقبله شجر ، ولا جبل إلا قال : السلام عليك يا رسول الله

"I walked with the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) in Makkah, and we went to some of its areas. He was not faced by a rock or a tree that did not say to him: Peace upon you O Messenger of Aļļaah!"[9]

Tree bearing witness to the prophethood of Muĥammad (صل الله عليه وسلم)

It was narrated by NuurudDiin Al-Haytħamiyy in his book Majmaˆ Az-Zawaa’id[10] through the companion Ibn ˆUmar:

عن ابن عمر قال : كنا مع رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم في سفر فأقبل أعرابي فلما دنا قال له النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم : " أين تريد؟ " قال : "إلى أهلي." قال : " هل لك في خير؟ " قال : "وما هو؟" قال : " تشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأن محمدا عبده ورسوله." قال : "من شاهد على ما تقول؟" قال : " هذه الشجرة." فدعاها رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وهي بشاطئ الوادي فأقبلت تخد الأرض خدا حتى جاءت بين يديه فاستشهدها ثلاثا فشهدت أنه كما قال ثم رجعت إلى منبتها ورجع الأعرابي إلى قومه وقال : "إن يتبعوني آتيك بهم وإلا رجعت إليك فكنت معك."

We were traveling with the Messenger of Aļļaah r when a desert Arab approached. When he came near them. The Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) said, "where are your heading?" He answered, "to my people." Then the Prophet asked (صل الله عليه وسلم) him, "are you interested in something that is good for you?" The Arab asked, "what is it?" He answered, "testify that there is no god but Aļļaah alone, He has no partner, and that Muĥammad is His created slave and His messenger." The man asked, "Who testifies to what you say?" The Prophet said, "this tree," and called the tree that was at the edge of the valley. The tree came, leaving a groove in the ground as a track, until it stood in front of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم). He asked it to testify three times, and it bore witness to that he is what he said he is. Then the tree returned to its place. The Arab also headed back to his people. He said, "if they follow me I will bring them to you, and if not, then I will come back to you myself in order to be with you."[11]

In another incident that narrated by Al-Bukħaariyy from Jaabir ibn ˆAbdillaah[12]:

كَانَ الْمَسْجِدُ مَسْقُوفًا عَلَى جُذُوعٍ مِنْ نَخْلٍ فَكَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا خَطَبَ يَقُومُ إِلَى جِذْعٍ مِنْهَا فَلَمَّا صُنِعَ لَهُ الْمِنْبَرُ وَكَانَ عَلَيْهِ فَسَمِعْنَا لِذَلِكَ الْجِذْعِ صَوْتًا كَصَوْتِ الْعِشَارِ حَتَّى جَاءَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَوَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَيْهَا فَسَكَنَتْ

The Masjid of the Prophet’s roof was supported by palm trunks, and when the Prophet spoke, he used to lean on one of these palm trunks. When a pulpit was made for him, and he stood on it, we heard a sound from that palm trunk, like the sound of a camel in her tenth month of pregnancy. It continued until the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) came and put his hand on it. Only then did it become calm. [13]

A camel prostrating to the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم)

It was narrated through a chain of reliable narrators by NuurudDiin Al-Haythmiyy, through Anas ibn Maalik[14], that a family in Al-Madiinah had a camel that used to fetch water for them had become obstinate and dangerous to go near. The Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) went to see the camel inside its fence, despite his companion’s fear that the animal might attack him. When the camel saw him it approached him, faced him, and prostrated. He grabbed it by its forehead, and put it back to work.

فقال له أصحابه : يا رسول الله هذا بهيمة لا يعقل يسجد لك ونحن نعقل فنحن أحق أن نسجد لك قال : " لا يصلح لبشر أن يسجد لبشر ولو صلح لبشر أن يسجد لبشر لأمرت المرأة أن تسجد لزوجها لعظم حقه عليها…."

His companions said: "O Messenger of Aļļaah, this animal that does not have a mind prostrates to you, and we do have minds, so we are even more befit to prostrate to you!" He responded (in part), "it is not sound for a human to prostrate to another human. If it was sound for a human to prostrate to another human, then I would have ordered the wife to prostrate to her husband, because of the enormous rights he has over her…."[15]

Defeating an army with a handful of soil

In the battle of Ĥunayn, after the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet had with him an army of 12,000 men facing the tribe Hawaazin, who were under the leadership of a man by the name of Maalik ibn ˆAwf. Maalik had made the men of his tribe bring their property and families, to make them fight for all they hold precious. They were thousands of men and fought very hard and with strong unity. In the beginning, most of the Muslim army retreated, but the Prophet along with a few men remained. Muslim narrated:

نَزَلَ عَنْ الْبَغْلَةِ ثُمَّ قَبَضَ قَبْضَةً مِنْ تُرَابٍ مِنْ الْأَرْضِ ثُمَّ اسْتَقْبَلَ بِهِ وُجُوهَهُمْ فَقَالَ شَاهَتْ الْوُجُوهُ فَمَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِنْهُمْ إِنْسَانًا إِلَّا مَلَأَ عَيْنَيْهِ تُرَابًا بِتِلْكَ الْقَبْضَةِ فَوَلَّوْا مُدْبِرِينَ فَهَزَمَهُمْ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

The Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) came down from his mule and grabbed a handful of soil from the ground. Then he threw it towards their faces (the army of Hawaazin) and said, "The faces became ugly." There was not a human created by Aļļaah among them that did not get soil in his eyes (and they were thousands ) from that handful, so they turned around and Aļļaah (عز وجل) defeated them.[16]

A poisoned sheep leg speaks

After victory in the battle of Kħaybar, an oases north of Al-Madiinah controlled by jews, a jewish woman gave the Prophet a broiled sheep. Al-Haytħamiyy narrates[17]:

فأكل وأكل أصحابه ثم قال لهم: " أمسكوا." ثم قال للمرأة: " هل سممت هذه الشاة؟" فقالت: من أخبرك؟ قال: "هذا العظم لساقها." وهو في يده قالت: نعم. قال: "لم ؟" قالت: "قلت : إن كنت كاذبا أن يستريح الناس منك وإن كنت نبيا لم يضرك."

He (the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم)) ate from it and so did some of his companions, then he said, "hold back!" Then he said to the woman, "have you poisoned this sheep?" She answered, "who told you?" He answered, "this bone of its foreleg," and it was in his hand. She answered, "yes." He asked her, "why?" She said, "I said to myself, ‘if he is a liar, then people will be rid of him, and if he is truthful it will not harm him."[18]

This idea of hers, that a prophet would not get harmed by poison, is pure ignorance, because prophets are human beings, and get harmed like others.

A wolf speaks

Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal[19] narrated in a chain declared authentic[20] that a wolf captured a sheep and the shepherd pursued it until he took it back. The wolf sat down with its tale between its legs in the manner that dogs do. It spoke and said, "do you not fear Aļļaah? You take a provision from me that was led to me by Aļļaah?" The shepherd said, "How strange! A wolf sitting on its tale and speaking to me in human speech." The wolf said, "How about I tell you something stranger than that? Muĥammad (صل الله عليه وسلم) in Yatħrib (the city of Al-Madiinah) telling people about what happened in the past!"[21]

The shepherd then went to Al-Madiinah and told the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم), who had him announce it in the Masjid. The Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) then swore it was true and said:

لاَ تَقُومُ السَّاعَةُ حَتَّى يُكَلِّمَ السِّبَاعُ الإِنْسَ، وَيُكَلِّمَ الرَّجُلَ عَذَبَةُ سَوْطِهِ ، وَشِرَاكُ نَعْلِهِ، وَيُخْبِرَهُ فَخِذُهُ بِمَا (3) أَحْدَثَ (4) أَهْلُهُ بَعْدَهُ

"The last hour will not occur until predators speak to humans, and the man is spoken to by the lash of his whip, and the leather strip (the one across the instep) of his sandals, and by his thigh, about what his family was doing while he was away."[22]

His knowledge of the unseen of the past and the future

Muslim narrated that Ĥudħayfah[23] said:

قام فينا رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم مقاما ما ترك شيئا يكون في مقامه ذلك إلى قيام الساعة إلا حدث به حفظه من حفظه ونسيه من نسيه قد علمه أصحابي هؤلاء وإنه ليكون منه الشيء قد نسيته فأراه فأذكره كما يذكر الرجل وجه الرجل إذا غاب عنه ثم إذا رآه عرفه

The Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) stood and delivered a great speech to us in which he did not leave anything untold that would be from that time until the Last Hour. Some of us memorized it while others forgot. These companions of mine know (about) it. Verily some of what I have forgotten of it happens, and then I remember it when I see it. Just like when a man remembers the face of another man that was away from him, (and he forgot what he looks like[24]) and then when he sees him again, he remembers him.

In another narration, by Abuu Daawuud[25], Ĥudħayfah said:

وَاَللَّهِ مَا تَرَكَ رَسُول اللَّه صَلَّى اللَّه عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ قَائِد فِتْنَةٍ إِلَى أَنْ تَنْقَضِيَ الدُّنْيَا يَبْلُغُ مَنْ مَعَهُ ثَلاثمِائَةٍ إِلاَّ قَدْ سَمَّاهُ لَنَا

By Aļļaah, the Messenger of Aļļaah r did not leave out naming (i.e. specifically by full name) any leader of deviation[26] to be before the end of this world, that has followers reaching 300 men (or more).[27]

In another narration, as quoted by Al-Haytħamiyy, Abuu Dħarr[28] said:

لَقَدْ تَرَكَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَمَا يُحَرِّكُ طَائِرٌ جَنَاحَيْهِ فِي السَّمَاءِ إِلاَّ ذَكَّرَنَا مِنْهُ عِلْمًا

The Messenger of Aļļaah (صل الله عليه وسلم) left us, and no bird moves its wings in the Sky without him having mentioned something about it.

In other words, the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) knew about all events of significance to his nation, and told his companions about these. It must not be understood from this that the Prophet knows everything, because it is impossible for a creation to have infinite knowledge. Infinite knowledge is only for Aļļaah, because His knowledge is eternal and not created.

Moreover, it cannot be that the Prophet knows all that is written to be in this world. This is because such a claim would contradict with what Aļļaah told us in the Qur’aan.


[1] See footnote 23 on page 10.

[2] Muĥammad ibn ‘Ismaaˆiil Al-Bukħaariyy (194 – 256 AH), Şaĥiiĥu-l-Bukħaariyy, 4/206.

[3] Ibid., 4/194.

[4] Jaabir ibn ˆAbdillaah Al-Kħazrajiyy Al-Anşaariyy (78 AH/ 697 AD) (رضي الله عنه) was a companion of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم), as was his father, and is an important narrator who narrated more than 1500 ĥadiitħs, and he also participated in 19 military campaigns. Towards the end of his life, he used to give lessons in the Prophet’s Masjid in Al-Madiinah. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 2/104.

[5] The Ĥudaybiyyah incident happened when the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) and his companions were stopped at an area at the outskirts of Makkah, called Al-Ĥudaybiyyah. The men of Quraysħ prevented from proceeding further to perform the short type of pilgrimage called ˆUmrah – it is different from the long type, called Ĥajj.

[6] Muĥammad ibn ‘Ismaaˆiil Al-Bukħaariyy (194 – 256 AH), Şaĥiiĥu-l-Bukħaariyy, 5/122.

[7] See footnote 24 on page 11. See footnote 34 on page 13.

[8] See footnote 34 on page 13.

[9] Al-Naysaabuuriyy, Al-Mustadrak, 2/677.

[10] NuurudDiin Al-Haytħamiyy 807 AH/1305 AD was a great ĥadiitħ master who authored many books, among these is the book Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, which is a respected ĥadiitħ collection. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 4/266.

[11] Nuuru-d-Diiin Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id (Beirut: Daar Al-Fikr, 1412), 8/517.

[12] See footnote 147 page 81.

[13] Muĥammad ibn ‘Ismaaˆiil Al-Bukħaariyy (194 – 256 AH), Şaĥiiĥu-l-Bukħaariyy, 4/195-196.

[14] Anas ibn Maalik Al-Kħazrajiyy Al-Anşaariyy (93 AH/ 712 AD) (رضي الله عنه) was a companion and used to be the servant of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) in Al-Madiinah, his hometown. After the Prophet’s (صل الله عليه وسلم) death he emigrated to Damascus and finally to Başrah, where he died as the last companion to die in that city. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 2/24-25.

[15] Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, 8/556.

[16] Muslim ibn Al-Ĥajjaaj Al-Naysaabuuriy, Şaĥiiĥ Muslim (Beirut, Lebanon: Daar Ihyaa’ Al-Turaath Al-Arabi), 3/1402.

[17] In a chain with sound narrators, except that one of them has been declared weak by some ĥadiitħ experts, and declared acceptable by others. However, this ĥadiitħ is narrated in many different chains as well.

[18] Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, 8/523.

[19] See footnote 9 on page 6.

[20] Al-Haytħamiyy declared the men of the chain as sound. Al-Haytħamiy, Majmaˆu-z-Zawaa’id, 8/516.

[21] Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal (241 AH/ 856 AD), Musnad Aĥmad ibn Ĥanbal (241 AH) (Beirut, Lebanon: Mu’assasah Ar-Risaalah, 1421), 18/316.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Ĥudħayfah ibn Al-Yamaan was a great companion of the Prophet (صل الله عليه وسلم) whom the Prophet told the names of all the hypocrites, and no one else. If someone died, ˆUmar used to see if Ĥudħayfah went to the funeral or not; if he did not go, then ˆUmar would not perform the funeral prayer. ˆUmar also put him in charge of several military campaigns and made him a governor of several cities. When he sent new governors he used to send the message, "I have sent so and so to you, and ordered him so and so," but when he sent Ĥudħayfah, he would say, "listen to him, obey him, and give him whatever he asks." Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 2/171.

[24] Explanation in brackets as stated by Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy. Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy, Fatĥu-l-Baarii, 11/496.

[25] Abuu Daawuud (202 AH/ 817 AD – 275 AH/ 889 AD), Sulaymaan ibn Al-‘Asħˆatħ ibn Isĥaaq ibn Basħiir Al-‘Azdiyy As-Sijistaaniyy was the leader of ĥadiitħ scholars in his time. He is originally from Sijistaan (a region in today’s Iran and Afghanistan) and died in Başrah, Iraq, where he was buried. He is the author of the famous ĥadiitħ collection Sunan Abii Dawuud. Az-Zirikliyy, Al-‘Aˆlaam (2002), 3/ 122.

[26] Leader of deviation, i.e. a leader of a deviation of some kind, or unjust warfare. Al-Qaariy, Mirqaatu-l-Mafaatiiĥ, 10/ 21.

[27] As quoted by Al-ˆAsqalaaniyy, and he did not mention anything negative about this narration, which means he considered it acceptable according to his methodology. Ibn Ĥajar Al-ˆAsqalaaniy, Fatĥu-l-Baariy (Beirut, Lebanon: Dar El-Marefah Publishing & Distributing), 11 / 496.

[28] Abuu Dħarr, Jundab ibn Junaadah, Al-Għifaariyy (32 AH/ 652 AD), was one of the earliest converts to Islam and greatest of the companions of the Prophet.


Important note on the evidences of the prophethood of Muĥammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم)

August 25, 2010

In addition to his miracles, we get supporting evidences from the human perfection of the person of the Prophet himself; from both the perspective of insight and that of action. The greatest kind of insight is that of knowing Aļļaah, while the greatest kind of action is that of obeying Aļļaah. The greater one’s knowledge of Aļļaah and one’s obedience to Him, the more perfect one will be as a human being. We can also consider the level of strength of these two perspectives of human perfection. The first level would be to apply them to oneself. The higher level would be the strength to help others achieve high levels of insight and action.

Now, consider that at the time of the Prophet’s appearance, the world was full of blasphemy and vice of great varieties. As for the Jews, they had drowned in anthropomorphic beliefs, perverting the books brought by prophets, and even showing enmity towards some of them, like Jesus. The Christians, on the other hand, were fumbling in the fog of self contradictory superstitions, such as their beliefs in the trinity, the father and the son, along with the belief that creator and created are united. Others, like the Magians, were allowing men to marry their mothers, while the Arabs were busy with robbery, kidnapping and worshipping idols.

After the Prophet’s appearance (صلى الله عليه وسلم) these blasphemies and vices were replaced by the belief in the Oneneness of Aļļaah and obedience to Him at an unprecedented scale. This reversal from blasphemy and vice is the greatest achieved by any prophet in history, much greater than that of previous prophets, such as Moses or Jesus.

Look for example at his own people, the Arabs. Before his call they were split into tribes, clans and families with ongoing conflicts and enmity. After their embracement of Islam they became united to defend the Prophet and his teachings, emigrated from their lands, left their families and sacrificed their blood in his cause, making themselves targets for the blows of swords and the strikes of arrows. All this to strengthen the Prophet’s call, and nothing else. For he offered them no ease in this world, no riches as compensation, and no immediate benefits as incentive, no kingdom, no rule, no worldly titles. On the contrary, many spent their riches to support him and embraced poverty and a life of obeying orders.

This tells us, in addition to miracles, that the Prophet Muĥammad is not only a prophet, but the greatest prophet of all. He was supremely successful as a political leader and in his influence on the personalities of his followers. This influence and its intensity is still very evident today for anyone comparing Muslims and non-Muslims in terms of whom they are influenced by and to what extent.


The difference between the Wahabi creed and Islam

August 16, 2010

I am often asked to make a list of things that are different between the wahabi creed (i.e. that of their leaders) and Islam.

The core difference is that when wahabis say that Aļļaah does not resemble His creation, they mean that He is different in the same way as created things differ from one another, like in the case of fingerprints. Everybody has different fingerprints. So when they say Aļļaah has a hand, but “not like ours,” they mean that it has different physical characteristics, such as color, number of fingers, or print, or something like that. This is true, because they believe Aļļaah is something that can be pointed at in a direction and has a limit, i.e. a shape and size. For simplicity, let us call it a body, because a body is anything with a size and shape, even if many wahabis do not like this word.

All creations as observed by our eyes, have a shape, and differ only in the form of the shape, and in size. Since the wahabis believe that their god is a body, their belief is that he is only different in bodily characteristics, such as the exact form and size. This means that he would be part identical to creation, and part different; the way created things differ.

On the other hand, Sunnis say that the reality of Aļļaah’s existence absolutely does not resemble that of His creation. They do not believe that Aļļaah is different from His creation merely in the way created things differ from one another. For this reason, Sunnis say that the reality of Aļļaah’s existence is not bodily. That is, He must be without size or shape.

Another way to express the Sunni belief in Aļļaah’s non-resemblance to creation is to say that Aļļaah is clear of resemblance to whatever needs specification. The reality of Aļļaah’s existence cannot require specification. This is because requiring specification means being dependent on something else to be specified by. In other words, it means being dependent upon a creator to provide specification and existence according to the specification.

Bodily existence, which entails size and shape, is in need of specification of its size and its shape, because no shape or size has a higher priority for existence intrinsically. No size is more likely to exists than any other without influence from other than it. Likewise, no shape is more likely to exist than any other without influence from other than it. It needs therefore to have specification from other than it. Anything that has bodily existence must therefore be a creation, and cannot be the Creator. That is why the Salaf, though they did not explain in detail, always stated that Aļļaah’s attributes are without a how, that is, without specification, that is, without shape or change. Due to the closeness to the time of prophethood, they had great minds, and a profound understanding of the religion, They understood that Aļļaah is not limited or having boundaries, or less than perfect in any sense, and that He is therefore not in a direction or changing. They expressed all this with the simple phrase: “without a how,” They took this phrase from the quranic: “He absolutely does not resemble anything.” That is, the reality of His existence does not resemble that of creation.

In conclusion, the wahabi belief is that Aļļaah differs from creation the way creation differ from one another. They believe that His existence is bodily, like that of creatures. This is the most fundamental difference between Sunnis and wahabis.

The other core difference, their unique concept of shirk, is really a consequence of this. Let me explain…

When human beings worship a 3 dimensional shape, they feel a need to somehow make it different than other objects. The reason is that the essential reality of the existence of what they worship, is the same as all other things around them. After all, a 3 dimensional shape is just a 3 dimensional shape with respect to its kind of existence, i.e. bodily existence. Thus, this difference that they seek can only be in terms of:

-what is seen, i.e in appearance, i.e. in shape, size or color, or location

-some unseen characteristic claimed, or

-how one behaves towards this object.

That is why you will find a buddhist or anemist (those who worship trees and other objects found) makes sure to decorate his idol, gives it a weird shape, such as several heads, and if he is rich he’ll buy one made from gold. You will also find him putting it in a special location in his house. This takes care of appearance. He will claim that the idol has godly power, or knowledge, or the like, to attempt to rationalize its worship. Then he will behave with special ceremonial rites in its physical presence. A lot of attention is paid then to the idol’s location, ceremonial behavior related to this location, and ornamentation to distinguish it from other object. This is to contribute to the illusion that it is essentially different from other objects, and make it seem plausible that it is a god.

The wahabis are the same, because just like ordinary idol worshipers, they worship what is essentially a 3 dimensional thing. However, their object of worship is not present, so they will simply say regarding its appearance, “not like other objects, and we do not know how.” This way they leave it open, and can tell a buddhist, “our object is so much better than yours,” and when asked “how?” They will say, “we do not know, but it the best that can be.”

In the appearance aspect of location, their special location is “above the world in direction.” Here they have exceeded all other idol worshipers by choosing a really, really special location that cannot be reached by the senses.

But they are at a conceptual loss for what on earth Aļļaah’s oneness would mean, as it is not an absolute to them. After all, any single physical object is “one” in count, but not in kind, and since they believe He is an object, the meaning of “one” that would be worth being zealous about becomes quite foggy, and they have quite a dilemma. All they can do is say that only the body they call Aļļaah (but is actually not Him) deserves worship, while the other objects/bodies do not. But what would be their bases for this claim?

They cannot claim this based on the reality of the existence of their object of worship, because it is a body, and there are very many bodies around with the same mode of existence.

They cannot claim distinction based on unseen characteristics, because if omnipotence, omniscience and eternal existence could be attributes of a 3 dimensional being, then there is no way to rationally prove that one such thing could have them, while another not. That is, basing it on the claim that this object has all sorts of unseen characteristics, such as power, would not satisfy them in their search for the meaning of oneness that would make them different from other idol worshipers. After all, all idol worshipers claim their idols have all sorts of powers, so this wouldn’t make them special, or different in an essential way. This is especially when compared to religions with an identical belief regarding the reality of the creator’s existence, namely bodily existence, such as the christians, and especially the jews.

In practice, however, wahabi’s have achieved an advantage over other object worshipers, because they could break physically present idols, and claim that their (o so conveniently absent) object is unbreakable, and no competing idol worshipers would be able to prove them wrong, even if they themselves cannot prove that they are right.

In these ways, the wahabis can make themselves feel superior in the distinguishing game of idol worship (like when Hindus claim their idols are better than those of Bhuddists and vice versa). However, this is all very weak by itself, because it is based on the physical absence of their idol, and the existence of such a fantastic idol is impossible to prove. This is because physical objects cannot be proven to exist except by observation. The proofs for the existence of a creator that Muslims use do not help them, because they are all based on the idea that what has a size and shape and changes needs a creator, which means that their idol would need one also.

This is where their concept of shirk comes to play; they needed something to make them really different in their claim to be uniquely monotheist. They felt a need to make their worshiped object different than other objects in a more tangible way. After all, they are a people that do not think much of non-tangibles. They, or rather Ibn Taymiyyah, invented the concept of Aļļaah’s oneness being a matter of our behavior, a matter of who can be called for help and who cannot. This is their equivalent to the Buddhists ceremonious behavior around where the idol is placed, to their own physically absent idol, in order to distinguish it from other bodies. They made it the only body that can be called for help, regardless of whether one believes the called upon to have actual and real independent power or not.

All the other differences they argue for, such as their saying that all scripture texts must be understood literally, are inconsistent ideas that they use only when it suits their purpose. After all, if it suits their purpose they will go against all Arabic dictionaries in their understanding of a word, as is the case with (خلق) kħalaqa – to create, and (أحدث) aĥdatħa – to bring into existence. This is when they say that Aļļaah’s attribute of Speech is muĥdatħ but not makħluuq. An interpretation does not get more far-fetched than that, and yet they will cry “deviance!” if someone chooses a meaning from the dictionary, if it does not agree with their belief that Aļļaah is a body.