Miracles in the Quran

Miracles in the Quran

Table of Contents

A miracle (معجزة) is a wondrous event or phenomenon and indicates the power of God. In Islam, miracles are given by God to the prophets in order to prove their prophet hood to the people and many of these have been indicated in the Quran.

In this article, we will discuss some of these miracles. The article covers the following topics:

What are Miracles in Islam?

The Arabic word for a miracle is ‘muʿjiza’ (معجزة). In Islamic theological discussions, the scholars describe miracles as: to prove an extraordinary matter or negate an ordinary matter with supernatural (-ness) and it must be in accordance with (one’s) claim.

The supernatural aspect is a condition of miracles because performing or negating a normal matter does not prove the truth of a person’s word in the claim to prophet hood.

And the miracle must be in accordance with the claim because a person who claims prophet hood and bases his claim on, for example, curing a blind person and gives the command to see to the blind but he becomes deaf instead and is not cured of his blindness, his claim would not be true even though he may have performed a supernatural act. 1

What are the Conditions for Miracles in Islam?

There are certain conditions that must be adhered to in miracles according to Islam. They are as follows:

  • The nation for whom the prophet has been appointed must be unable to perform an act that is exactly or similar to, the miracle.
  • The miracle must be performed by God or on His command
  • This act must be performed during a time of responsibility (i.e. the time when people have a responsibility to execute God’s commands). This is because at the time of the emergence of the signs of Qiyamah the natural order of things would be upset. Therefore, during that time a miracle would not be a sign of the truth of a claim.
  • This act should follow the claim of someone who claims to be a prophet or, should be tantamount to following the claim of prophet hood, i.e. it takes place in the time of the prophet and follows another miracle which itself follows the claim to prophet hood. In this case, the second miracle would be like the first miracle which followed the claim to prophet hood.
  • The act should be a supernatural one. 2

Prophet Saleh and Miracles in the Quran

Prophet Saleh is one of the prophets mentioned in the Quran and his miracle, mentioned in this book is that of the she-camel.

The She-Camel

وَإِلَىٰ ثَمُودَ أَخَاهُمْ صَالِحًا ۗ قَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ مَا لَكُم مِّنْ إِلَـٰهٍ غَيْرُهُ ۖ قَدْ جَاءَتْكُم بَيِّنَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ ۖ هَـٰذِهِ نَاقَةُ اللَّـهِ لَكُمْ آيَةً ۖ فَذَرُوهَا تَأْكُلْ فِي أَرْضِ اللَّـهِ ۖ وَلَا تَمَسُّوهَا بِسُوءٍ فَيَأْخُذَكُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ ﴿73﴾

And to [the people of] Thamud [We sent] Salih, their brother. He said, ‘O my people, worship Allah! You have no other god besides Him. There has certainly come to you a manifest proof from your Lord. This she-camel of Allah is a sign for you. Let her alone to graze [freely] in Allah’s land, and do not cause her any harm, for then you shall be seized by a painful punishment. 3

The Thamud (ثمود) are one of the ancient Arab tribes to whom the Prophet Saleh (صالح) was sent.

The she-camel was a miracle that God brought forth from inside a mountain as a miracle to prove the prophet hood of this prophet. It is for this reason that she is referred to as ‘naqatullah’ (ناقة الله), i.e. the she-camel of Allah/God. 4

Prophet Ibrahim and Miracles in the Quran

Some of the miracles regarding Prophet Ibrahim (peace be on him) will be discussed here.

Miracles in the Quran: The Cooling of the Fire

قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ ﴿69﴾

We said, ‘O fire! Be cool and safe for Abraham!’ 5

When Prophet Abraham (peace be on him) broke the idols his people were worshipping, he was ordered to be thrown into a huge fire and it was so hot that people could not get close to it due the scorching heat. He was thrown into using a catapult.

The abovementioned verse is God’s address to the fire and it is through this that the characteristic of burning and destroying that fire has was taken from it and through a miracle, it became cool and safe for the prophet. 6

The Bringing to Life of the Birds

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيْفَ تُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ ۖ قَالَ أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِن ۖ قَالَ بَلَىٰ وَلَـٰكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِي ۖ قَالَ فَخُذْ أَرْبَعَةً مِّنَ الطَّيْرِ فَصُرْهُنَّ إِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ اجْعَلْ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ جَبَلٍ مِّنْهُنَّ جُزْءًا ثُمَّ ادْعُهُنَّ يَأْتِينَكَ سَعْيًا ۚ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّـهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ ﴿260﴾

And when Abraham said, ‘My Lord! Show me how You revive the dead,’ He said, ‘Do you not believe?’ He said, ‘Yes indeed, but in order that my heart may be at rest.’ He said, ‘Catch four of the birds. Then cut them into pieces, and place a part of them on every mountain, then call them; they will come to you hastening. And know that Allah is all-mighty and all-wise.’ 7

The Quality of Bringing back to Life

In this verse, Prophet Ibrahim is not asking God to show him the actual bringing back to life itself, i.e. he is not asking how the parts of a dead person come together and return to their former state and life. Rather, he is asking Him to show him the quality of, and how, this happens, i.e. what does God do that makes that dead person or thing come back to life?

He is also not asking because he doesn’t believe in Qiyamah through rational proofs. As a prophet, he definitely does have proofs for Qiyamah as one cannot imitate in regards to the principles of faith and must believe through rational arguments.

What he is asking for is for the reality to become clear through practical explanation, i.e. to be shown rather than through arguments and proofs. 8

God’s Response to Abraham’s Request

The following points can be understood from God’s response to Prophet Abraham:

  • The dead that must be brought back to life be a bird
  • It should be a particular bird and of a specific number
  • The birds should be alive and the prophet himself should kill them
  • He should mix them together in a way that the body parts of the birds are mixed together
  • These mixed parts should be divided into 4 parts and placed in four different locations far from one another, for example, on the peaks of 4 mountains
  • The act of reviving them must be performed by Prophet Ibrahim himself; the one who made this request
  • With the prayers and summons of the prophet the birds come to life
  • All 4 birds must come to him

God’s Grace

The requisite of Prophet Ibrahim’s request was that God execute the act of revival through the prophet which is why he commands him to take 4 birds and the rest of the commands on what to do with them.

As the verse indicates, the revival of the birds is connected to the prophet calling to them. Therefore, it is clear that this is the cause for their coming back to life even though we know that there is no resurrection without God’s command.

Thus it is clear that Abraham’s summons, on God’s command, is somehow connected to God’s command. And it is as if the coming to life of the birds is through God’s command as well as the prophet’s summons. This is where Prophet Ibrahim sees how the birds are brought back to life, i.e. the giving of life to the birds by God.

If the prophet’s summons were not connected to God’s command, then his words would be like ours – ineffective. 9

Prophet Dawood (David) and Miracles in the Quran

Another one of the prophets whose miracles have been mentioned in the Quran is Prophet David (peace be on him). Some have been indicated below.

Miracles in the Quran: Glorification of Birds and Mountains

فَفَهَّمْنَاهَا سُلَيْمَانَ ۚ وَكُلًّا آتَيْنَا حُكْمًا وَعِلْمًا ۚ وَسَخَّرْنَا مَعَ دَاوُودَ الْجِبَالَ يُسَبِّحْنَ وَالطَّيْرَ ۚ وَكُنَّا فَاعِلِينَ ﴿79﴾

We gave its understanding to Solomon, and to each We gave judgement and knowledge. We disposed the mountains and the birds to glorify [Us] with David, and We have been the doer [of these things]. 10

The verb ‘sakh-khara’ (سخر) in the verse comes from the root word ‘taskheer’ (تسخیر) which means to dominate over something in such a way that it is in accordance to the wants and requirements of the thing being dominated over.

For example, fire and firewood are under human beings’ control and dominion. However, one cannot say that a person forces the wood to burn.

It is therefore clear that the meaning of the taskheer of the mountains and birds that glorify God with Prophet David is that their glorification is in harmony with that of the prophet; otherwise, they do glorify God per se anyway. 11

Softening the Iron

وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا دَاوُودَ مِنَّا فَضْلًا ۖ يَا جِبَالُ أَوِّبِي مَعَهُ وَالطَّيْرَ ۖ وَأَلَنَّا لَهُ الْحَدِيدَ ﴿10﴾

Certainly We gave David our grace: ‘O mountains and birds, chime in with him!’ And We made iron soft for him. 12

One of the other miracles that God blessed Prophet Dawood with was the softening of iron in his hands without having to heat the metal or using tools like hammers, etc. Rather, he could shape it however he wished without this process as the metal was soft as wax for him. 13

 Understanding the Language of Birds

وَوَرِثَ سُلَيْمَانُ دَاوُودَ ۖ وَقَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ عُلِّمْنَا مَنطِقَ الطَّيْرِ وَأُوتِينَا مِن كُلِّ شَيْءٍ ۖ إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَهُوَ الْفَضْلُ الْمُبِينُ ﴿16﴾

Solomon inherited from David, and he said, ‘O people! We have been taught the speech of the birds, and we have been given out of everything. Indeed this is a manifest advantage.’ 14

The language of the birds that Prophet David and his son, Prophet Solomon, understood was a blessing that was given to them by God and not something that others can understand.

This is not simply the sounds that birds make when they see each other in different situations as that is something that any other person by studying the life of birds can make out.

A Level of Intellect

There are a few reasons that indicate that the verse is not talking about this apparent level of language (i.e. the sounds animals make to each other); rather it is a wider and more precise language:

  • The verse indicates that this is a blessing particular to him and Prophet Dawood and is not something that is in the ability of other people to understand. The reason they can understand it is through God’s particular grace.
  • In the verses that come after this verse, the Quran narrates Prophet Solomon (Sulaiman)’s conversation with the hoopoe. The conversation includes elevated teachings which the apparent sounds of the hoopoe cannot convey. The bird speaks of God, His Unity, knowledge, power, etc. and relays the situation of the People of Sheba and their queen.

The Prophet also gives it some instructions on taking a letter to the queen and to wait and see what she and the people say.

  • Another point is that we cannot hear the sounds of all animals. For example, the verse after this one speaks of the Prophet Solomon understanding the language of ants. Whereas ants do not make a sound that a human being has the capacity to hear as we can only hear sounds of a certain frequency range. 15

Prophet Sulaiman (Solomon) and Miracles in the Quran

Apart from understanding the language of birds which was discussed above as a miracle that his father too shared, Prophet Solomon (Sulaiman), peace be on him, also had control over the wind.

Controlling the Winds: One of the Miracles in the Quran for Prophet Suleiman

وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ عَاصِفَةً تَجْرِي بِأَمْرِهِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ الَّتِي بَارَكْنَا فِيهَا ۚ وَكُنَّا بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَالِمِينَ ﴿81﴾

And [We disposed] for Solomon the tempestuous wind which blew by his command toward the land which We have blessed, and We have knowledge of all things. 16

Although this verse speaks of strong winds, other verses indicate that Prophet Solomon (peace be on him) also had the power over calm winds 17 in all areas and he would travel with the wind too.

The Quran also speaks of the distance that he would travel with the winds in another verse where it says:

And for Solomon [We subjected] the wind: its morning course was a month’s journey and its evening course was a month’s journey. 18

As the verse indicates he would travel a month’s distance with the winds. 19

Prophet Sulaiman’s Successor

قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ ﴿38﴾

قَالَ يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ أَيُّكُمْ يَأْتِينِي بِعَرْشِهَا قَبْلَ أَن يَأْتُونِي مُسْلِمِينَ ﴿39﴾

قَالَ الَّذِي عِندَهُ عِلْمٌ مِّنَ الْكِتَابِ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ ۚ فَلَمَّا رَآهُ مُسْتَقِرًّا عِندَهُ قَالَ هَـٰذَا مِن فَضْلِ رَبِّي…

He said: O chiefs! Which of you can bring to me her throne before they come to me in submission? One audacious among the jinn said: I will bring it to you before you rise up from your place; and most surely I am strong (and) trusty for it. One who had the knowledge of the Book said: I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye. Then when he saw it settled beside him, he said: This is of the grace of my Lord that He may try me whether I am grateful or ungrateful…

When the Queen of Sheba decided to come visit the Prophet, he turned to those who were present and asked which of them could bring her throne from Sheba to him so that when she reaches she would see the miracle of her throne having traversed such a distance and witness the power that God has given to the Prophet and through this miracle, recognize his prophet hood. As a result, she would submit to God, as she does and the next verses are witness to this.

Asif bin Barkhiya was the successor and vizier of Prophet Solomon. The knowledge that he speaks of having in the verse is not of the category of learned or acquired knowledge. Rather it is knowledge of the kind that is in Divine books and not knowledge that can be defined in words. The miraculous power of bringing the throne before the blinking of an eye was a part of that book. 20

Prophet Moses and Miracles in the Quran

Prophet Moses (peace be on him) has been discussed extensively in the Quran. One of the aspects that have been discussed regarding him, are his miracles. We will discuss a few here.

Walking Stick turns into a Snake

قَالَ هِىَ عَصَاىَ أَتَوَكَّؤُاْ عَلَيهْا وَ أَهُشُّ بهِا عَلىَ‏ غَنَمِى وَ لىِ‏َ فِيهَا مَارِبُ أُخْرَى ﴿18﴾

He said, “It is my staff. I lean upon it, and with it I beat down leaves for my sheep; and I have other uses for it.”

قَالَ أَلْقِهَا يَمُوسىَ ﴿19﴾

He said, “Moses, throw it down.”

فَأَلْقَئهَا فَإِذَا هِىَ حَيَّةٌ تَسْعَى ﴿20﴾

So he threw it down, and behold, it was a snake, moving swiftly

قَالَ خُذْهَا وَ لَا تخَفْ سَنُعِيدُهَا سِيرَتَهَا الْأُولىَ ﴿21﴾

He said, “Take hold of it, and do not fear. We will restore it to its former state” 21

One of the miracles of Prophet Moses (peace be on him) was that his walking stick could turn into a snake (with God’s permission) and this the miracle he performed when he was faced with the magic of the magicians in the Pharaoh’s court.

Miracles in the Quran: the White Hand of Prophet Moses

وَاضْمُمْ يَدَكَ إِلَىٰ جَنَاحِكَ تَخْرُجْ بَيْضَاءَ مِنْ غَيْرِ سُوءٍ آيَةً أُخْرَىٰ ﴿22﴾

… Now clasp your hand to your armpit: it will emerge white, without any harm—[this is yet] another sign,

Another one of the miracles that he was blessed with is that if he put his hand to his armpit, it would come out white, without any evil or ugliness. 22

The Splitting apart of the Sea

وَإِذْ فَرَقْنَا بِكُمُ الْبَحْرَ فَأَنجَيْنَاكُمْ وَأَغْرَقْنَا آلَ فِرْعَوْنَ وَأَنتُمْ تَنظُرُونَ ﴿50﴾

And when We parted the sea with you, and We delivered you and drowned Pharaoh’s clan as you looked on. 23

This verse refers to when the Israelites, led by Prophet Moses escaped the Pharaoh who had sent his army to pursue them due to their faith. Divine assistance came to their aid when they reached the Red Sea. The sea parted for them while their pursuers drowned.

Fountains of Water

وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَىٰ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ ۖ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْنًا ۖ قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ…

And when Moses prayed for water for his people, We said, ‘Strike the rock with your staff.’ Thereat twelve fountains gushed forth from it; every tribe came to know its drinking-place. 24

This verse is referring to another one of the miracles of Prophet Moses. His people faced a shortage of water and asked him for water. The rock in the verse was a special one which had water and when he struck it with his staff, twelve springs of water gushed from it; one for each of the tribes of the Israelites who had descended from the twelve sons of Prophet Yaqoub (Jacob) (peace be on him). 25

The Lifting of the Mountain

وَإِذْ أَخَذْنَا مِيثَاقَكُمْ وَرَفَعْنَا فَوْقَكُمُ الطُّورَ خُذُوا مَا آتَيْنَاكُم بِقُوَّةٍ وَاذْكُرُوا مَا فِيهِ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ ﴿63﴾

And when We took a pledge from you, and raised the Mount above you, [declaring], ‘Hold on with power to what We have given you and remember that which is in it so that you may be Godwary.’ 26

One of the miracles of Prophet Moses was the lifting of the mountain over the Israelites. God lifted it with His power and they imagines it would fall upon them. 27

However, a point to note is that the lifting of the mountain was to scare people in regards to the majesty of God’s power and not to force them to act upon the Torah. If the purpose was to compel them there was no point in taking a pledge and this is also not the purpose of miracles, i.e. to force people to believe. 28

Prophet Jesus and Miracles in the Quran

Many of the miracles that Prophet Jesus (Isa), peace be on him, performed are mentioned in the Quran. Some of these will be discussed below.

Miraculous Birth

قَالَ إِنَّمَا أَنَا رَسُولُ رَبِّكِ لِأَهَبَ لَكِ غُلَامًا زَكِيًّا ﴿19﴾

He said,” I am only a messenger of your Lord that I may give you a pure son.”

قَالَتْ أَنىَ‏ يَكُونُ لىِ غُلَامٌ وَ لَمْ يَمْسَسْنىِ بَشَرٌ وَ لَمْ أَكُ بَغِيًّا ﴿20﴾

She said,” How shall I have a child seeing that no human being has ever touched me, nor have I been unchaste?”

قَالَ كَذَالِكِ قَالَ رَبُّكِ هُوَ عَلىَ‏َّ هَينِ‏ٌّ وَ لِنَجْعَلَهُ ءَايَةً لِّلنَّاسِ وَ رَحْمَةً مِّنَّا وَ كاَنَ أَمْرًا مَّقْضِيًّا ﴿21﴾

He said,” So shall it be. Your Lord says,” It is simple for Me.” And so that We may make him a sign for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a matter] already [decided.”

فَحَمَلَتْهُ فَانتَبَذَتْ بِهِ مَكاَنًا قَصِيًّا ﴿22﴾

Thus she conceived him, then withdrew with him to a distant place 29

This verse speaks of the miraculous conception of Prophet Jesus by the virgin Lady Maryam (Mary) through God’s angel. The angel breathed into her and Jesus was conceived and born a few hours later.

Miracles in the Quran: Speaking from the Cradle

فَأَشَارَتْ إِلَيْهِ قَالُواْ كَيْفَ نُكلَّمُ مَن كاَنَ فىِ الْمَهْدِ صَبِيًّا ﴿29﴾

Thereat she pointed to him. They said,” How can we speak to one who is yet a baby in the cradle?”

قَالَ إِنىّ‏ِ عَبْدُ اللَّهِ ءَاتَئنىِ‏َ الْكِتَابَ وَ جَعَلَنىِ نَبِيًّا ﴿30﴾

He said,” Indeed I am a servant of Allah! He has given me the Book and made me a prophet.

وَ جَعَلَنىِ مُبَارَكا أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُ وَ أَوْصَانىِ بِالصَّلَوةِ وَ الزَّكَوةِ مَا دُمْتُ حَيًّا ﴿31﴾

He has made me blessed, wherever I may be, and He has enjoined me to] maintain [the prayer and to] pay [the zakat as long as I live 30

After the Lady gave birth to Prophet Jesus and was asked about him, she pointed to the baby to indicate that they should ask him themselves. 31 When they expressed amazement at asking a child in the cradle, the Prophet spoke and introduced himself as a servant of God and His prophet.

Giving Life to the Form of a Bird

…أَنىّ‏ِ أَخْلُقُ لَكُم مِّنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْةِ الطَّيرْ فَأَنفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيرْا بِإِذْنِ الله…

…I will create for you out of clay the form of a bird, then I will breathe into it, and it will become a bird by Allah’s leave… 32

One of the miracles of Prophet Jesus was that he could create a form of a bird and breathe life into it. Albeit, with God’s leave and not independent of Him. This is true of all miracles that he or other prophets performed.

The verse attributes creation to the Prophet and the question is: is Jesus a creator? In response, you must know that the word ‘khilqat’ (خلقة) refers not to creation from nothing but rather to bringing together parts of a thing that is to be created. 33

Giving Life to the Dead

…وَ أُحْىِ الْمَوْتىَ‏ بِإِذْنِ الله…

…I revive the dead by Allah’s leave… 34

From this part of the verse, one can conclude that the fact that he would bring the dead to life was not something that he did once or twice. Rather, he did this numerous times. Again, with God’s leave and power. 35

Curing the Blind and Leper

بِإِذْنِ الله …وَ أُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَ الْأَبْرَصَ… ‏

…And I heal the blind and the leper… by Allah’s leave. 36

‘Akmah’ (أکمه) in the verse refers to someone who was blind from birth; while leprosy is a skin condition.

The Seal of the Prophets and Miracles in the Quran

One of the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household) is the miracle of the Quran which is his greatest blessing. Apart from this, the Prophet also has other miracles and we will discuss them below.

Quran: The Greatest Miracle

There are many aspects to the miraculous nature of the Quran. Although this article does not have the capacity to get into all of them in detail, we will discuss some aspects of the miracle of the Quran.

None Can Bring something Like it: the Challenge of the Quran

إِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّـهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ ﴿23﴾

And if you are in doubt concerning what We have sent down to Our servant, then bring a surah like it, and invoke your helpers besides Allah, if you are truthful. 37

This verse and other verses like it prove that all of the Quran is a miracle, even the shortest of its chapters. To prove its miraculous nature the Quran issues this challenge in many verses asking others to bring even one chapter like it – if they can. 38

Another one of the verses states:

Say, ‘Should all humans and jinn rally to bring the like of this Quran, they will not bring its like, even if they assisted one another.’ 39

Another thing which proves that the Quran is a miracle is the fact that it was revealed on a Prophet who had seen no worldly education and therefore could not have brought such a book from himself.

The miraculous nature of the Quran has many aspects, like its rhetoric and eloquence, knowledge of the unseen that is mentioned in it, news of the future, etc. However, the Quran as a whole is a miracle and none of these aspects can be considered as being the sole reason for its being a miracle.

In short, it is a miracle for all people of all walks of life and all levels of knowledge in relation to realities that they have no way of discovering. 40

Miracles in the Quran: the Splitting apart of the Moon

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ ﴿1﴾

The Hour has drawn near and the moon is split. 41

This verse is indicating the miracle of the splitting apart of the moon into two halves by God through the Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him and his household) in Makka before the migration to Madina and this has been unanimously agreed on by most of the narrators and exegetes.

‘Inshaqqa’ (إنشقّ) refers to the splitting apart of something in a way that it is halved.

The people of Makka asked the Prophet for a miracle and God split the moon in half. When the Quraish saw this miracle they said that is the magic of the prophet which has enchanted people. They decided to wait and ask the travelers if they too had seen this as they said that he could not enchant all the people of the world.

Therefore, they asked various travelers who arrived if they had seen the event and they confirmed that they indeed had. 42

Israʾ and Meʿraj

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى الَّذِي بَارَكْنَا حَوْلَهُ لِنُرِيَهُ مِنْ آيَاتِنَا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْبَصِيرُ ﴿1﴾

Immaculate is He who carried His servant on a journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose environs We have blessed, that We might show him some of Our signs. Indeed, He is the All-hearing, the All-seeing. 43

This verse speaks of the night journey and ascension of the Prophet (peace be on him and his household) from Makka which took place before his migration to Madina. 44

This journey is one of the miracles of the Holy Prophet and was from the Masjidul Haram (مسجد الحرام), i.e. the mosque in Makka where the Kaʿbah is located to the al-Aqsa Mosque (مسجد الأقصی) in Jerusalem. And though this part of the journey is clearly indicated in the verses of the Quran and is known as Israʾ, the next part of it where he ascended to the Heavens and his the sights that he saw is something that has been unanimously narrated in Islamic hadith and is referred to as Meʿraj (معراج). 45

The word Israʾ refers to a journey of the night and the reason why the verse mentions night separately as well is to indicate that the entire journey took place in one night. 46

A Physical Journey

One of the miraculous aspects of this journey is that it was a physical journey, i.e. the Prophet had a bodily journey and he was awake and not just his soul traveled. If it was solely a journey of the soul and what is intended is a dream or visional journey, this would not be a merit as sleep and dreams are possible for everyone. 47

The verse speaks of a favor upon the Prophet and at the same time also praises God for the unprecedented journey and the show of power. This demonstration of power is not consistent with a dream since good or bad, all people see dreams and some bad people might even see dreams that are stranger than what a pious believer might see. And a dream is not something most people would consider to be a proof of power.

Apart from this, Muslim sources are unanimous in that this journey took place physically. 48

What did the Prophet See in this Journey?

It is on this night that he was taught the Adhan (أذان), the call to prayer, and the obligatory prayers were made obligatory on this night; the first prayer the Prophet prayed was in the heavens in the presence of his Lord. 49

On this journey the Prophet saw the other prophets, Heaven and Hell and traveled till the Sidrat al-Muntaha (سدرة المنتهی). 50 This is a tree and has been mentioned in the Quran in the following verse:

عِندَ سِدْرَةِ الْمُنتَهَىٰ ﴿14﴾

By the Lote Tree of the Ultimate Boundary, 51

The Sidrat al-Muntaha

However, as to the reality of this tree, it seems that God seeks to speak in signs and ambiguity. In narrations it has been indicated that it is a tree that is above the 7th Heaven and the deeds of people go up to there. Perhaps it is speaking of the highest point of the heavens since the next verse indicates that it is beside the Jannat al-Maʾwa (جنة المأوی), i.e. the Garden of Abode which is in the heavens. 52

The Highest Point

He also reached the point known in Quranic verses as follows:

وَهُوَ بِالْأُفُقِ الْأَعْلَىٰ ﴿7﴾

While he was on the highest horizon.

ثُمَّ دَنَا فَتَدَلَّىٰ ﴿8﴾

Then he drew nearer and nearer

فَكَانَ قَابَ قَوْسَيْنِ أَوْ أَدْنَىٰ ﴿9﴾

until he was within two bows’ length or even nearer, 53

This point of being ‘two bows length or even nearer’ is a point where not even Gabriel who accompanied the Prophet on the entire journey could accompany him to.

It is a point where he was shown the great signs of God and through the eyes of his heart – not his physical eyes – he perceived God. 54

Summary of Miracles in the Quran

Miracles are an event that cause wonder for everyone. Miracles are a sign of God’s power and existence and have certain conditions in Islamic terminology.

In the Quran many miracles of God that were performed through the prophets or other personalities have been mentioned. These miracles were usually to prove the prophet hood of the prophets and the message they brought.

In this article, we have mentioned the miracles performed by or for the following prophets: Prophet Saleh, Prophet Ibrahim, Prophet Dawood, Prophet Sulaiman, Prophet Musa, Prophet Isa and Prophet Muhammad (peace be on them all).


References

  1. A Translation and Commentary of Kashf al-Murad fi Tajrid al-Iʿtiqad (written by Abu Nasr Mansur Jamal al-Din Hassan al-Hilli). Dar al-Ilm Publications. Vol. 2, pp. 23 & 24
  2. Ibid. pp. 24 & 25
  3. [7: 73]. Qarai translation
  4. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 8, p. 228
  5. [21: 69]. Qarai translation
  6. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 14, p. 427
  7. [2: 260]. Qarai translation
  8. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 2, 561 & 562
  9. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 2, p. 576
  10. [21: 79]. Qarai translation
  11. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 14, p. 441
  12. [34: 10]. Qarai translation
  13. Tabarsi, F. Translation of Tafsir Majmaʿ al-Bayan. Vol. 20, p. 224
  14. [27: 16]. Qarai translation
  15. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 15, 498-499
  16. [21: 81]. Qarai translation
  17. So We disposed the wind for him, blowing softly wherever he intended by his command. [38: 36]. Qarai translation
  18. [34: 12]. Qarai translation وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ غُدُوُّهَا شَهْرٌ وَرَوَاحُهَا شَهْرٌ…
  19. Tafsir Nur. Commentary of Surah al-Anbiya. Verses 80-81
  20. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 15, pp. 516, 517 & 518
  21. [20: 18-21]. Qarai translation
  22. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 14, p. 200
  23. [2: 50]. Qarai translation
  24. [2: 60]. Qarai translation
  25. Qarashi, A. A. Tafsir Ahsan al-Hadith. Bethat Publications. Vol. 1, p. 144
  26. [2: 63]. Qarai translation
  27. Tafsir Ahsan al-Hadith. Vol. 1, p. 150
  28. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 1, p. 300
  29. [19: 19-22]. Qarai translation
  30. [19: 29-31]. Qarai translation
  31. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 14, p. 58
  32. [3: 49]. Qarai translation
  33. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 3, p. 312
  34. [3: 49]. Qarai translation
  35. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 3, p. 312
  36. [3: 49]. Qarai translation
  37. [2: 23]. Qarai translation
  38. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 1, p. 92
  39. [17: 88]. Qarai translation. قُل لَّئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الْإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَىٰ أَن يَأْتُوا بِمِثْلِ هَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لَا يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا ﴿٨٨﴾
  40. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 1, pp. 94 & 95
  41. [54: 1]. Qarai translation
  42. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 19, pp. 89, 90, & 94-95
  43. [17: 1]. Qarai translation
  44. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 13, p. 29
  45. Tafsir Ahsan al-Hadith. Vol. 6, p. 7
  46. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 13, p. 6
  47. Tafsir Ahsan al-Hadith. Vol. 6, p. 11
  48. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 13, p. 29
  49. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 13, pp. 30 & 31
  50. Tafsir Ahsan al-Hadith. Vol. 6, p. 12
  51. [53: 14]. Qarai translation
  52. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 19, p. 49
  53. [53: 7-9]. Qarai translation
  54. Tafsir al-Mizan. Vol. 19, p. 47
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