One of the repeated misconceptions about the Prophet of Islam (ﷺ) is that he claimed to be a Prophet without doing miracles! The skeptics claim that, although his people challenged him many times to present a physical miracle for them other than the Quran, he could not. In this article, we will refute such a claim and prove how irrational it is.
The phenomenon of prophethood
To start with, the prophecy of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is not something new; all over the long history of humanity, Allah chose Messengers from among the peoples and provided them with miracles and shreds of evidence to prove their truthfulness.
And We have already sent messengers before you to their peoples, and they came to them with clear evidences; then We took retribution from those who committed crimes, and incumbent upon Us was support of the believers.” [Qur’an 30:47] (1)
It is inappropriate for God, the All-Wise and the All-Merciful, to send a Prophet and leave him unsupported with clear evidence because this would open the door for the unbelievers to challenge his prophethood.
[We sent] messengers as bringers of good tidings and warners so that mankind will have no argument against Allah after the messengers. And ever is Allah Exalted in Might and Wise.” [Qur’an 4:165] (2)
Examples of Prophet Muhammad’s physical miracles
The one question that should be addressed to the skeptic is: “Have you read the Quran or the biography of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)?” Simply, by going through the events of his life, one can find thousands of miracles that Allah made at the hands of His Prophet.
No other Prophet’s miracles are well documented and preserved for the coming generations like those of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ).
On top of these miracles is the Quran, the final revelation to humanity. Allah asks the skeptics:
And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Book [i.e., the Qur’ān] which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe.” [Qur’an 29:51] (3)
In addition to the Quran, one can find many examples of Prophet Muhammad’s (ﷺ) authentically transmitted physical miracles. Here are a few of them:
The splitting of the moon
Allah says in Chapter 5 verses 1 and 2:
The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two]. And if they see a sign [i.e., miracle], they turn away and say, “Passing magic.” [Qur’an 54:1-2] (4)
The great companion Ibn Masood narrated:
During the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) the moon was split into two parts; one part remained over the mountain, and the other part went beyond the mountain. On that, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Witness this miracle.” [Hadith] (5)
The tree weeping out of longing to the Prophet
Anas bin Malik narrated that he heard Jabir bin Abdullah saying,
That he heard Jabir bin `Abdullah saying, “The roof of the Mosque was built over trunks of datepalms working as pillars. When the Prophet (ﷺ) delivered a sermon, he used to stand by one of those trunks till the pulpit was made for him, and he used it instead. Then we heard the trunk sending a sound like of a pregnant she-camel till the Prophet (ﷺ) came to it, and put his hand over it, then it became quiet.“ [Hadith] (6)
Prophet Muhammad was sent as a mercy not only for humanity but for all creatures.
Increasing water supply
Abdullah bin Masood narrated:
We used to consider miracles as Allah’s Blessings, but you people consider them to be a warning. Once we were with Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) on a journey, and we ran short of water. He said, “Bring the water remaining with you.” The people brought a utensil containing a little water. He placed his hand in it and said, “Come to the blessed water, and the Blessing is from Allah.” I saw the water flowing from among the fingers of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) , and no doubt, we heard the meal glorifying Allah, when it was being eaten (by him).“ [Hadith] (7)
Anas Ibn Malik, one of the Prophet’s (ﷺ) companions narrated that
A person entered the Mosque on a Friday through the gate facing the Daril- Qada’ and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was standing delivering the Khutba (sermon). The man stood in front of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), livestock are dying and the roads are cut off; please pray to Allah for rain.’ So Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) (p.b.u.h) raised both his hands and said, ‘O Allah! Bless us with rain. O Allah! Bless us with rain. O Allah! Bless us with rain!” Anas added, “By Allah, there were no clouds in the sky and there was no house or building between us and the mountain of Sila’. Then a big cloud like a shield appeared from behind it (i.e. Silas Mountain) and when it came in the middle of the sky, it spread and then rained. By Allah! We could not see the sun for a week.
The next Friday, a person entered through the same gate and Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) was delivering the Friday Khutba and the man stood in front of him and said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! The livestock are dying and the roads are cut off; Please pray to Allah to withhold rain.’ ” Anas added, “Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) raised both his hands and said, ‘O Allah! Round about us and not on us. O Allah!’ On the plateaus, on the mountains, on the hills, in the valleys and on the places where trees grow.’ ” Anas added, “The rain stopped and we came out, walking in the sun.” Sharik asked Anas whether it was the same person who had asked for rain the previous Friday. Anas replied that he did not know.“ [Hadith] (8)
The Wisdom behind not sending the requested signs
Although Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) performed such powerful miracles in front of the disbelievers, they still rejected to submit and arrogantly asked for specific physical miracles. The Quran talks about this:
And they say, “What is this messenger that eats food and walks in the markets? Why was there not sent down to him an angel so he would be with him a warner? Or [why is not] a treasure presented to him [from heaven], or does he [not] have a garden from which he eats?” And the wrongdoers say, “You follow not but a man affected by magic.”[Qur’an 25:7-8] (9)
The question is why Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) did not ask Allah the All-Powerful to perform such miracles and end the debate with them. We can find the answer for this in chapter Al-Anaam:
And even if We had sent down to you, [O Muḥammad], a written scripture on a page and they touched it with their hands, the disbelievers would say, “This is not but obvious magic. And they say, “Why was there not sent down to him an angel?” But if We had sent down an angel, the matter would have been decided; then they would not be reprieved.”[Qur’an 6:7-8] (10)
Here, God tells us that if He sent down an angel to support the Prophet (ﷺ) and they still did not submit then He will destroy them immediately. Out of his great love and mercy, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) begged Allah not to give them such sign but to grant them another opportunity so that they may reflect upon the evidence of his prophethood.
Moreover, physical miracles did not convince many disbelievers all over history. For instance, Moses converted his stick into a snake and split the sea into two. Jesus made the dead alive and cured the born-blind and the leper by the permission of Allah.
However, the disbelievers simply denied them saying “This is nothing but clear magic” and made fun of the Prophets. These great signs only increased their inordinate transgression.
The problem with those disbelievers was not the lack of signs but their arrogance and unwillingness to submit to God. They were very shortsighted and understood nothing behind their materialistic world. Allah explains such phenomenon in the Quran:
And nothing has prevented Us from sending signs [i.e., miracles] except that the former peoples denied them. And We gave Thamūd the she-camel as a visible sign, but they wronged her. And We send not the signs except as a warning.”[Qur’an 17:59] (11)
In the same chapter, we find the suggestions of the arrogant disbelievers regarding the necessary prophetic miracles in their opinion:
And they say, “We will not believe you until you break open for us from the ground a spring. Or [until] you have a garden of palm trees and grapes and make rivers gush forth within them in force [and abundance]. Or you make the heaven fall upon us in fragments as you have claimed or you bring Allah and the angels before [us]. Or you have a house of ornament [i.e., gold] or you ascend into the sky. And [even then], we will not believe in your ascension until you bring down to us a book we may read.” Say, “Exalted is my Lord! Was I ever but a human messenger?”.
And what prevented the people from believing when guidance came to them except that they said, “Has Allah sent a human messenger?”. Say, “If there were upon the earth angels walking securely, We would have sent down to them from the heaven an angel [as a] messenger. Say, “Sufficient is Allah as Witness between me and you. Indeed He is ever, concerning His servants, Aware and Seeing.” [Qur’an 17: 90-96] (12)
The Quranic answer is simple yet powerful: Muhammad is a human messenger, who received a revelation from God. He had no control over the universe except for the miracles that Allah gave him the power to perform. So there is no meaning in asking him for special miracles. He had already brought miracles, which are sufficient for you to believe if you are faithful and humble.
In conclusion, Allah sent Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) as guidance to humanity and supported him with various types of evidence and proofs. The Quran emphasizes the fact that:
O mankind, the Messenger has come to you with the truth from your Lord, so believe; it is better for you. But if you disbelieve – then indeed, to Allah belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth. And ever is Allah Knowing and Wise.” [Qur’an 4:170] (13)
Every Prophet before him (ﷺ) was sent to a certain nation at a certain time, that’s why their miracles were only limited physical miracles that were sufficient for the people of that time.
On the other hand, the message of Prophet Muhammad is universal. Every generation in every place has the right to experience such a miracle and attest to its truthfulness.
That’s why Prophet Muhammad’s greatest miracle is of a different type. It is a book, which has been preserved over centuries, as a powerful unchallenged miracle, a book that we all can read and think about its origins.
Abu Huraira narrated:
Every Prophet was given miracles because of which people believed, but what I have been given, is Divine Inspiration which Allah has revealed to me. So I hope that my followers will outnumber the followers of the other Prophets on the Day of Resurrection.“ [Hadith] (14)
Isn’t it time to know more about Prophet Muhammad?