Those are Allah's Signs that We recite to you with truth. You are indeed one of the messengers.
(Surat al-Baqarah: 252)
Some of the Miracles in the Life of Our Prophet (saas)
There were many miracles in our Prophet's (saas) life, such as the Qur'an (the greatest miracle), his excellent moral character, and his actions and sayings. He proclaimed the Qur'an as a guide to the right path and reached all of his people, from the least civilized Bedouins to highly civilized people. This was also one of Allah's miracles. He communicated the morality of Islam most effectively. Through him, people who used to bury their daughters alive turned into merciful and compassionate human beings, and people who used to worship idols made with their own hands came to believe in the oneness of Allah.
Many of these miracles are related in the Qur'an and the hadiths. Among them the following:
His ascension into heavens (Mi`raj)
The Prophet Muhammad's (saas) ascension is one of the greatest miracles. Surat al-Isra' and Surat al-Najm relate his miraculous night journey to the Masjid al-Aqsa and his ascension to the "lote tree of the utmost boundary" (sidrat al-muntaha).
In Arabic, isra' means "night journey" or "night walk." In the first verse of Surat al-Isra', Almighty Allah tells us of our dear Prophet's miraculous journey:
Glory be to Him Who took His servant on a journey by night from the Masjid al-Haram to the Masjid al-Aqsa, whose surroundings We have blessed, in order to show him some of Our Signs. He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing. (Surat al-Isra': 1)
The word aqsa means "far" or "farthest." The Masjid al-Haram is located in Mecca; the Masjid al-Aqsa is located in Jerusalem. The distance between them is about 1,235 kilometres (767 miles). Our Prophet (saas) was transported from Mecca to Jerusalem. The great Islamic scholar Ibn Kathir says that at least twenty-five Companions heard the story from our Prophet (saas) but that this number could have been as high as forty-five. The accounts reported by Anas ibn Malik, Abu Hurayrah, Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, Malik ibn Sa'sa, Abu Zarr al-Ghaffari, Abdullah ibn Abbas, Abdullah ibn Mas`ud, and Umm Hani are considered the most reliable. According to them, while our Prophet (saas) was sleeping in his niece's (Umm Hani Abi Talib) house, Gabriel appeared to him, put him on a horse called Buraq, and took him to the Masjid al-Aqsa, where he ascended. The hadiths contain a great deal of detailed information about what he saw during this event, such as his conversations with earlier prophets and his glimpses of Paradise and Hell.
According to Islamic texts, the Meccan unbelievers doubted this miracle because of their weak intellects and so tried to find out if his words were true. Due to this unseemly attitude, the Lord humiliated them and turned their ridicule against them:
He also said:
"I remember being in al-Hijr, and the Qurayshis were asking me about my Night Journey. They asked me things about Bayt al-Maqdis of which I was not sure ... Then Allah raised it up for me to see, and there was nothing they asked me about that I could not tell them."23
Before this event, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) had never gone to the Masjid al-Aqsa, so it was a great miracle and mercy from Allah that he could answer all of these questions. This miracle increased the believers' enthusiasm and eagerness and strengthened their bond with our Prophet (saas); some of the unbelievers, however, persisted in their rebellion. They went to Abu Bakr and, after making groundless accusations about our Prophet (saas), asked if he believed this story and if he would continue to believe in our Prophet (saas). He replied: "If he said it, then I believe him, yes." For his loyalty, our Prophet (saas) gave him the title al-Siddiq (the Faithful).
The hadiths also tell us that our Prophet (saas) gave them one more miraculous sign that they could not deny:
Both his description of the Masjid al-Aqsa and of the caravan were great miracles of Allah's mercy. Allah informs us in the Qur'an of some of the verses about his ascent to the "lote tree of the final limit":
He saw him again another time by the Lote-tree of the Final Limit, beside which is the Garden of Refuge, when that which covered the Lote-tree covered it. His eye did not waver, nor did he look away. He saw some of the Greatest Signs of his Lord. (Surat al-Najm: 13-18)
This great miracle is an important proof from the Lord to the unbelievers. Every single miracle that the Lord allowed our Prophet (saas) to perform was created by Allah's will; none of them depended upon a cause. And, they all strengthened the believers' faith.
Our Prophet (saas) split the Moon in two
Another miracle occurred when our Prophet (saas) split the Moon in two. Allah mentions this extraordinary event in the Qur'an, and many hadiths tell us about it:
The Hour has drawn near and the Moon has split. If they see a Sign, they turn away, exclaiming: "There is no end to this witchcraft!" They have denied the truth and followed their whims and desires. But everything has its time. (Surat al-Qamar: 1-3)
The splitting of the Moon (wa inshaqqa al-qamar) consists of the words "splitting" and "Moon." "Splitting" comes from the basic Arabic root meaning "to divide, gum, the appearance of a plant after the soil has been ploughed." In this sense, it means "to be divided, to be cut into pieces, to be separated." The Encyclopaedia of Seerah contains a compilation of all of the related hadiths. In summary, they say:
It was an evening on the 14th day of the lunar month, five years before the hijra (immigration) to Madinah. At that time, the new-born Moon was divided in two. One part went toward a hill opposite; the second part in the other direction. It was only a second. Then the two parts of the Moon joined up again. At that time, the Prophet (saas) was in Mina. He addressed those who were there, saying: "Look and witness!" The unbelievers suggested that he had bewitched them, for which reason their eyes had not seen accurately. Others present there said: "Muhammad (saas) could have bewitched us, but not those not here. Wait a little, and let's ask those who come this way if they saw such an occurrence." Those coming from outside agreed that they had witnessed this. (Afzalur Rahman, Encyclopaedia of Seerah, 164.)
This story is included in the works of such great hadith scholars as Imam al-Bukhari, Muslim, al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Abu Dawud, al-Hakim, al-Bayhaqi, and Abu Nu`aym.25 Some of these hadiths are as follows:
The hadiths state that this miracle occurred in Mecca. They also relate that the Meccans wanted him to perform this miracle:
According to the story, the Prophet Muhammad (saas) did as they asked, but they continued to deny the truth of his message and embrace Islam:
If they see a Sign they turn away, saying: "There is no end to this witchcraft!" They have denied the truth and followed their whims and desires. But everything has its time. (Surat al-Qamar: 2-3)
The unbelievers could say nothing in the face of such a great miracle and accused our Prophet (saas) of bewitching them. After they saw the Moon split with their own eyes, they should have realized that he was a true prophet. But because of their arrogance, desires, and passions, they did not accept the Qur'an. This attitude is common among all unbelievers. No matter what miracle they witness, they say:
Our eyesight is befuddled! Or, rather, we have been put under a spell! (Surat al-Hijr: 15)
Bediuzzaman Said Nursi mentions the splitting of the Moon in his The Letters. He relates that many Companions witnessed it and that the unbelievers were rendered totally powerless in the face of this event:
Among his greatest miracles, a certain and mutawatir one, is the splitting of the Moon. This miracle was related through various channels, to the degree of tawatur and by the foremost Companions, among them Ibn Mas`ud, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, Ali, Anas, and Hudhayfa (ra). Moreover, Allah stated in the Qur'an this supreme miracle to the whole world: "The Hour has drawn near and the Moon has split." (Surat al-Qamar: 1).
Bediuzzaman says that one of reasons behind our Prophet's (saas) miracles was to expose the difference between a tyrant like Abu Jahl and a good man like Abu Bakr. In his The Letters, he says:
Like all other bodies and beings in the universe, the Moon lies in the Lord's power; it can be seen if He wills and how He wills it to be seen. As Allah informs in the Qur'an, whatever He commands to happen happens:
His command when He desires a thing is just to say to it, "Be!" and it is. (Surah Ya Sin: 82)
All this shows that Allah has placed His Messenger, the Prophet Muhammad (saas), above all other human beings; revealed His last holy book to him, and, in His mercy, empowered him to perform miracles to soften people's hearts as a way of bringing them to faith. Some people have embraced Islam to save their lives in the next world; others have lost their eternal life by persisting in their rebellion. The words that Allah spoke to our Prophet (saas) have always turned out to be true.
22. Imam Ahmad, Musnad
23. Ibn Kathir, Tafsir of Qur'an with Hadiths (Istanbul: Cagri Publications, 1996), 9:4623.
24. Ibid., 4615.
25. Ilyas Celebi, Itikadi Açıdan Uzak ve Yakın Gelecekle İlgili Haberler, Kitabevi, Istanbul, March 1996, 161
30. Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, Risale-i Nur Collection, "The Letters: The Nineteenth Letter, Seventeenth Sign," www.risale-inur.com.tr/rnk/eng/letters/19letter.html.