2. Proofs of Prophethood


2.1. WHAT IS A MIRACLE?


A miracle is an extraordinary event that men are incapable of doing and that is granted by Allah only prophets. In other words, a miracle is the approval of the truthfulness of prophets by the creator of the universe.

There are many wisdoms of a miracle. They may manifest as a proof of prophethood, persuasion of deniers, strengthening the belief of the believers and meeting some needs.


2.1. 1- SOME PROPERTIES OF MIRACLES



In fact, the properties of a miracle are present in the definition above. Let us clarify them.

a- A miracle must be something extraordinary. That extraordinary thing can be words or something similar. The following are some examples of that kind of a miracle: once pebbles in the hands of Hazrat Prophet (PBUH) glorified Allah; the palm log in the minbar (pulpit) groaned like a camel because it was separated from the Messenger of Allah (PBUH); trees witnessed.

It can be a deed or action. The fact that water began flowing from among the fingers of Hazrat Prophet (PBUH) is that kind of a miracle. A miracle may also take place through the changing of a law of nature or through the loss of the essential quality of something. For instance, the fact that fire did not burn Hazrat Ibrahim (PBUH) is that kind of a miracle.

b- A miracle takes place through the will and creation of Allah.


وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلًا مِنْ قَبْلِكَ مِنْهُمْ مَنْ قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ لَمْ نَقْصُصْ عَلَيْكَ وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُولٍ أَنْ يَأْتِيَ بِآَيَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ فَإِذَا جَاءَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قُضِيَ بِالْحَقِّ وَخَسِرَ هُنَالِكَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ
We did aforetime send messengers before you: of them there are some whose story We have related to you, and some whose story We have not related to you. It was not (possible) for any messenger to bring a Sign except by the leave of Allah: but when the Command of Allah issued, the matter was decided in truth and justice, and there perished there and then, those who stood on Falsehoods. (al-Mumin, (Ghafir) 40/78).



Therefore, nobody can determine its time and kind.


وَأَقْسَمُوا بِاللَّهِ جَهْدَ أَيْمَانِهِمْ لَئِنْ جَاءَتْهُمْ آَيَةٌ لَيُؤْمِنُنَّ بِهَا قُلْ إِنَّمَا الْآَيَاتُ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ وَمَا يُشْعِرُكُمْ أَنَّهَا إِذَا جَاءَتْ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ
They swear their strongest oaths by Allah, that if a (special) sign came to them, by it they would believe. Say: "Certainly (all) signs are in the power of Allah: but what will make you (Muslims) realize that even if a (special) sign come, they will not believe." (al-Anaam 6/109).



c- A miracle must occur in accordance with the claim or prayer of a prophet.

d- Miracles occur through the hands of prophets. The extraordinary things that occur through people that are not prophets are not miracles.


2.1.2- Miracles are usually related to the Issues that Communities are deeply interested in



When the miracles of all prophets are examined, it is seen that the miracles are related to the issues that are common and famous in the relevant community. The kind of miracle must also be in accordance with the level of thought and culture of that community. It is possible to summarize that general rule and other secondary issues as follows:

a- The miracles of the prophets who lived in Arab lands were in accordance with the conditions of the desert. For instance, the miracle of Hazrat Saleh (PBUH) was a camel that came out of rocks, its birth was strange. It is referred to as follows in the Quran:


قَالُوا إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مِنَ الْمُسَحَّرِينَ مَا أَنْتَ إِلَّا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُنَا فَأْتِ بِآَيَةٍ إِنْ كُنْتَ مِنَ الصَّادِقِينَ قَالَ هَذِهِ نَاقَةٌ لَهَا شِرْبٌ وَلَكُمْ شِرْبُ يَوْمٍ مَعْلُومٍ وَلَا تَمَسُّوهَا بِسُوءٍ فَيَأْخُذَكُمْ عَذَابُ يَوْمٍ عَظِيمٍ فَعَقَرُوهَا فَأَصْبَحُوا نَادِمِينَ
They said: "You are only of those bewitched!You are no more than a mortal like us: then bring us a Sign, if you tell the truth!" He said: "Here is a she-camel: she has a right of watering, and you have a right of watering, (severally) on a day appointed. "Touch her not with harm, lest the Penalty of a Great Day seize you." But they hamstrung her: then did they become full of regrets. (ash-Shuara 26/153-157).



b- Magic was very common among all of the Egyptians whether common people or the elite. The Pharaoh and his soldiers frightened people with it. Therefore, Hazrat Musa (Moses) (PBUH), who was sent to that community, had two basic miracles: the miracles of the stick and his hand. His stick turned to a large snake. When he put his hand into his bosom and took it out, it shone light. The magicians of the Pharaoh had similar magic to those two miracles. However, every person with a mind could discriminate easily between magic and miracle that the magicians power could never reach.1

c- After the age of Hazrat Musa, the determinist philosophy that ascribed everything to causes and that claimed nothing could take place without a cause was common. Therefore, the prophets that were sent in that age showed kinds of miracles that destroyed that philosophic belief. They proved with those miracles that causes are not real doers and that everything in the universe existed and continued to exist through the creation of a creator who had a will. For instance, the miracles of Hazrat Sulaiman (Solomon) (PBUH) like dominating jinn and birds, understanding the language of birds and other animals, dominating the wind were that kind of miracles.2

d- During the time of Hazrat Eesa (Jesus Christ) the science of medicine along with that materialist philosophy was common. Therefore, his miracles were related to those two fields. For instance, his birth was a miracle that destroyed the materialist philosophy and the positivist thought completely. It is because he was born without a father, which is one of the causes for man to come into the world and he uttered wise words when he was only a baby. His miracle about the science of medicine was the fact that he revived the dead with the permission of Allah, which showed the ultimate point in that science.3

e- Before the last Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was sent, fluency and rhetoric were at the peak in that community. That is, words were used in accordance with the person to be addressed in terms of form, meaning and harmony. Arabs appreciated and showed respect to nothing as much as rhetoric and fluency. The fact that they put up seven elected poems called Muallaqat Saba (Seven Suspended Poems) on the wall of the Kaaba, the most sacred temple, was an indication of that appreciation and respect. Another proof of that respect was the fact that the poet of each tribe was a national hero. So much so that, one word of the poet was enough to declare war or to make peace. Therefore, divine wisdom necessitated the greatest miracle of the last prophet (PBUH) to be something of that kind, and gave him the Glorious Quran, which was at the peak of rhetoric. Thus, his miracle had an attribute that the miracles of other prophets did not have, the attribute of being eternal, as he himself was brighter than other prophets.

f- Although miracles are proofs for the truthfulness of prophets, they are not so compelling as to make people believe. It is because the world is a place of testing. Otherwise, everybody would have believed and there would have been no testing. Therefore, in miracles, there is a slight opening for denial as a pretext. However, the more obvious and definite the miracle is, the more intense and difficult the testing is. The denial of such miracles brings about the torture of total destruction. For instance, when the nation of Hazrat Saleh (PBUH) did not believe although the miracle that they demanded took place, they were destroyed totally.4



2.2. OTHER EXTRAORDINARY STATES AND DEEDS



1. Irhas (Extraordinary Event before Prophethood)

If something extraordinary takes place in or through a prophet before prophethood, it is called irhas. For instance, the fact that a cloud continuously cast a shadow on Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and some stones and trees greeted him, the fact that Hazrat Eesa spoke when he was in the cradle are extraordinary states of that kind.

2. Karamah (Extraordinary Event by a wali)

The wonders shown by wali slaves of Allah are called karamah. A wali, who reached the rank of walayah, is a person who is very fastidious in obeying Allah and His Messenger and in avoiding sins and lust, loves Allah very much and is loved by Allah. Some of the attributes of them are summarized as follows in the Glorious Quran:


أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآَخِرَةِ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil― For them are Glad Tidings, in the life of the Present and in the Hereafter: no change can there be in the Words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme Felicity. (Yunus 10/62-64).



The first one of the next two verses describes the karamah of Hazrat Maryam and the second one of Ashab Kahf (Companions of the Cave):


فَتَقَبَّلَهَا رَبُّهَا بِقَبُولٍ حَسَنٍ وَأَنْبَتَهَا نَبَاتًا حَسَنًا وَكَفَّلَهَا زَكَرِيَّا كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا رِزْقًا قَالَ يَا مَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Right graciously did her Lord accept her: He made her grow in purity and beauty; to the care of Zakariya was she assigned. Every time that he entered (her) chamber to see her, he found her supplied with sustenance. He said: "O Mary! whence (comes) this to you?" She said: "From Allah: for Allah provides sustenance to whom He pleases, without measure (Aal-e- Imran 3/37).




إِذْ أَوَى الْفِتْيَةُ إِلَى الْكَهْفِ فَقَالُوا رَبَّنَا آَتِنَا مِنْ لَدُنْكَ رَحْمَةً وَهَيِّئْ لَنَا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا رَشَدًا فَضَرَبْنَا عَلَى آَذَانِهِمْ فِي الْكَهْفِ سِنِينَ عَدَدًا ثُمَّ بَعَثْنَاهُمْ لِنَعْلَمَ أَيُّ الْحِزْبَيْنِ أَحْصَى لِمَا لَبِثُوا أَمَدًا
Or do you reflect that the Companions of the Cave and of the Inscription were wonders among Our Signs? Behold, the youths betook themselves to the Cave: they said "Our Lord! Bestow on us Mercy from Yourself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way! Then We drew (a veil) over their ears, for a number of years, in the Cave, (so that they heard not): Then We roused them, in order to test which of the two parties was best at calculating the term of years they had tarried! (al-Kahf, 18/9-12).



The following karamah of Hazrat Umar is also famous: One of his commanders, Sariya, was in a battle with his army in Nihawand. While reciting the Friday sermon, Hazrat Umar saw the battle arrangement of the armies as if he was watching the battlefield on a cinema screen, and called out O Sariya, withdraw to the mountain!. Sariya heard it and carried out the order.

Karamah is regarded as the miracle of the prophet that the wali follows because the wali reached that rank by following him.

3.Maunah (Divine Help)

Maunah is an extraordinary state seen in Muslims with good deeds and high ethics. The fact that those people make their livings easily in spite of hardships, that they face misfortunes bravely are examples of maunah.

4.Istidraj (Extraordinary Event by an Unbeliever)

Istidraj is an extraordinary state or deed seen in people who are obvious unbelievers and commit sins openly: Some wonders like prospering in worldly issues, being extraordinarily successful may take place in or through such people. For instance, the fact that the Pharaoh and Namrud continued their sultanate in the world in splendor for a certain time are examples of istidraj. Istidraj is given to them so that they will not have any excuses in the world and their torture will be increased. Almighty God states the following in a verse regarding the issue:


فَلَمَّا نَسُوا مَا ذُكِّرُوا بِهِ فَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ أَبْوَابَ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ حَتَّى إِذَا فَرِحُوا بِمَا أُوتُوا أَخَذْنَاهُمْ بَغْتَةً فَإِذَا هُمْ مُبْلِسُونَ
But when they forget the warning they had received, We opened to them the gates of all (good) things, until, in the midst of their enjoyment of Our gifts, on a sudden, We called them to account, when lo! they were plunged in despair! (al-Anaam 6/44).



5.Khidhlan (Extraordinary Event by an Unbeliever to the contrary of his will)

Extraordinary states or deeds that take place to the contrary of the will of unbelievers or sinners. That kind of extraordinary events occurred in or through some imposter prophets. When one of those imposters, Musaylama al Kadhdhab, was asked to show a miracle similar to those shown by Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), he patted the patient to cure him but he died immediately. When he rubbed his saliva on the blind eye of a child who was blind in one eye, his other eye became blind, let alone being cured. When he spitted into a well to increase its water, the well dried up. They are examples of khidhlan.


2.3. PLACE OF MIRACLES IN
THE DEVELOPMENT OF HUMANKIND

5

Just as prophets exalted men spiritually in belief and worshipping Allah through their guidance, so did the Quran make those prophets masters and foremen in regard to mankind's material progress.

Thus, it is the hand of miracle that first gave man the gift of the ship, which was a miracle of Hazrat Nooh (Noah) and the clock, a miracle of Hazrat Yousuph (Joseph).

It is a subtle indication to this truth that most craftsmen take a prophet as the patron of their craft. For example, seamen take Hazrat Nooh (PBUH), watchmakers take Hazrat Yousuph (PBUH), tailors take Hazrat Idris (Enoch) (PBUH)...

Then, the verses of the miracles of the prophets, which are the most brilliant verses of the Quran, are not historical stories, but comprise numerous meanings of guidance. Yes, through mentioning the prophets' miracles, it traces the final limit of man's science and industry. It points the finger at his furthest aims. It specifies his final goals. And by striking the hand of encouragement on man's back, it urges him forward towards that aim.
For example, the verse,


شَهْرٌ وَرَوَاحُهَا شَهْرٌ وَلِسُلَيْمَانَ الرِّيحَ غُدُوُّهَا And to Solomon (We made) the Wind (obedient): its early morning (stride) was a month's (journey), and its evening (stride) was a month's (journey) (Saba 34/12)
which describes one of Hazrat Sulaimans (PBUH) miracles, the subjugating of the air, says: "Solomon traversed the distance of two months in one day by flying through the air."



Thus, it is suggesting in it that the road is open for man to cover such a distance in the air. O man! Since the road is open to you, reach this level and draw close to it! And in meaning Almighty God is saying through the tongue of this verse:

"O man! I mounted one of my servants on the air because he gave up the desires of his soul. If you too give up the soul's laziness and benefit thoroughly from certain of my laws in the cosmos, you too may mount it."

And this verse explains a miracle of Hazrat Musa (Moses):



وَإِذِ اسْتَسْقَى مُوسَى لِقَوْمِهِ فَقُلْنَا اضْرِب بِّعَصَاكَ الْحَجَرَ فَانفَجَرَتْ مِنْهُ اثْنَتَا عَشْرَةَ عَيْناً قَدْ عَلِمَ كُلُّ أُنَاسٍ مَّشْرَبَهُمْ كُلُواْ وَاشْرَبُواْ مِن رِّزْقِ اللَّهِ وَلاَ تَعْثَوْاْ فِي الأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ
And remember Moses prayed for water for his people; We said: "Strike the rock with thy staff." Then gushed forth therefrom twelve springs. Each group knew its own place for water. So eat and drink of the sustenance provided by Allah, and do no evil nor mischief on the (face of the) earth. (al-Baqara, 2/60).



That verse indicates that the treasuries of Mercy concealed under the earth may be profited from with simple tools. In places hard as rock even, the water of life may be attracted with a staff. Thus, through this meaning the verse says to man: "You may find the subtlest effulgence of Mercy, the water of life, with a staff. Then, come on, work and find it!" And in meaning Almighty God says through the verse's allusive tongue:

"O man! Since I gave to the hand of one of my servants who trusted in Me such a staff that it draws the water of life from wherever he wishes, if you too rely of the laws of My Mercy, you may obtain an implement resembling it or close to it. So, come on and do so!" Thus, one of the most important contributions to man's progress is the creation of an implement that causes water to gush forth from most of the places it is struck. This verse traces farther goals and limits, and ends beyond that.

And for instance, a verse that concerns a miracle of Hazrat Eesa (Jesus) is as follows:


وَرَسُولًا إِلَى بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ أَنِّي قَدْ جِئْتُكُمْ بِآَيَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ أَنِّي أَخْلُقُ لَكُمْ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ فَأَنْفُخُ فِيهِ فَيَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَأُبْرِئُ الْأَكْمَهَ وَالْأَبْرَصَ وَأُحْيِي الْمَوْتَى بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ وَأُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِمَا تَأْكُلُونَ وَمَا تَدَّخِرُونَ فِي بُيُوتِكُمْ إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآَيَةً لَكُمْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ مُؤْمِنِينَ
And (appoint him) a Messenger to the Children of Israel, (with this message): I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, in that I make for you out of clay as it were the figure of a bird, and breathe into it, and it becomes a bird by Allah's leave; and I heal those born blind, and the lepers and I quicken the dead by Allah's leave; and I declare to you what you eat, and what you store in your houses. Surely therein is a Sign for you if you did believe. (Aal-e-Imran 3/49).



Just as the Quran explicitly urges man to follow Jesus' (PBUH) high ethics, so too it allusively encourages him towards the elevated art and divine medicine of which he was the master. Thus, this verse indicates it:

Remedies may be found for even the most chronic illnesses. Then, O man! and O calamity-afflicted sons of Adam! Don't despair! Whatever the illness, its cure is possible. Search for it and you will find it. It is even possible to give a temporary tinge of life to death.

And in meaning Almighty God is saying through the figurative tongue of this verse: "O man! I gave two gifts to one of My servants who abandoned the world for Me. One was the remedy for spiritual ills, and the other the cure for physical sicknesses. Thus, dead hearts were raised to life through the light of guidance. And sick people who were as though dead found health through his breath and cure. You too may find the cure for every ill in the pharmacy of My wisdom. Work and find it! If you seek, you will certainly find." Thus, that verse traces the limit that is far ahead of man's present progress concerning medicine. And it hints at it, and urges him towards it.
And for instance:


وَعَلَّمَ آدَمَ الأَسْمَاء كُلَّهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضَهُمْ عَلَى الْمَلاَئِكَةِ فَقَالَ أَنبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاء هَؤُلاء إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ
And He taught Adam the names of all things; then He placed them before the angels and said: "Tell Me the names of these if you are right (al-Baqara, 2/ 31).



Hazrat Adam's (PBUH) greatest miracle in the question of the supreme vicegerency was the teaching of the Divine Names. Thus, like the miracles of the other Prophets each allude to a particular human wonder, the miracle of Hazrat Adam, who was the father of all the prophets and the opening of the office of prophethood, indicates almost explicitly to the final points of all human attainment and progress, and their final goals. Through the tongue of allusion, Almighty God (May His glory be exalted) is saying in meaning with that verse:

O Sons of Adam! Since as a proof of their superiority over the angels in the question of the vicegerency, I taught your forefather all the names, you too, since you are his sons and the inheritors of his abilities, should learn all the names and show your worthiness before all creatures in the degree of the Supreme Trust. For the way is open to you to rise to exalted rank like the highest positions over all creatures in the universe, and for vast creatures like the earth to be subjected to you. Come on, step forward, adhere to each of the names, and rise!"

However, your forefather was deceived one time by Satan, and temporarily fell to the earth from a position like Paradise. Beware! In your progress, do not follow Satan and make it the means of falling into the misguidance of 'nature' from the heavens of divine wisdom. Continuously raising your head and studying carefully My most beautiful names, make your sciences and your progress steps by which to ascend to those heavens.

Then you may rise to my dominical names, which are the realities and sources of your sciences and attainments, and you may look to your Sustainer with your hearts through the telescope of the names.6


2.4. WAY OF SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT THROUGH THE LADDER OF SCIENCE



The laws of the Glorious Quran that are in the form of orders and prohibitions are based on God Almightys attribute of speech. For instance, decrees related to belief, worship, haram (prohibited) and halal (permitted).

The laws that occur in the universe are based on God Almightys attribute of will. For instance, law of gravity, law of buoyancy, law of burning.

Man is obliged to obey both of those laws of God Almighty. When he acts in accordance with the laws of nature that are the works of His attribute of will, he will receive his reward in this world; if he does not, he will receive the punishment in this world. For instance, the result of working is wealth; the result of laziness is misery. In accordance with that law, whether an unbeliever or a Muslim, a person will be rich if he works, and will be miserable if he does not work.

He who obeys the attribute of speech will receive the reward and he who does not obey will receive the punishment generally in the hereafter. That is, the reward and punishment of belief and worship will generally be in the hereafter.
However, as the works and efforts, especially science, in the world bring about material development, goodwill and looking at the beings in the name of Allah will bring about spiritual development and may be a stepping-stone and a ladder to understand and know Allah.

As it is known, all of the beings in the universe are the work of Allahs power and knowledge. The universe was created with a plan, wisdom and balance like a book. All of the exact sciences and even social sciences have been trying to present the forms, structures natures and behaviors of the beings in the book of the universe. If the balanced, purposeful, perfect and planned creation in the beings that are presented by each science is contemplated and considered as the manifestation of Allahs knowledge, power and names and is looked at as works of Allah, the knowledge obtained from that science will be a means of knowing and understanding Allah better. It is called the science of knowing Allah or Marifatullah. Consequently, the more progress a person makes in the field of science, the better he will know Allah and will develop in Marifatullah. That development is only possible through looking at the beings with signified meaning, that is, on behalf of their Creator. That is, instead of saying How nice, one should say, how nice it was created.

If beings are looked at with their literal meaning, that is, as a work of nature or coincidence, then all of the sciences become meaningless and cause Allah to be forgotten. It will give rise to naturalism and denial. It will throw man to the lowest of the low spiritually. Therefore, it is necessary to look at things not with literal meaning but with signified meaning, that is, on behalf of Allah that created them. For instance, when we look at a tree and ascribe its formation and its uses for us to nature and coincidence, that look is look with literal meaning. If we remember its creator when we look at the tree, then we look at the tree on behalf of Allah, that is, with signified meaning.

Thus, when we look at beings with signified meaning, that is, on behalf of Allah, then each science becomes a ladder for understanding and knowing Allah and turns to the worship of contemplation. Thus, man that becomes engaged in sciences that will be useful for mankind will become a mirror to the hadith An hour of contemplation is better than a year of extra worship. That science that is learnt leads to the science of knowing Allah, that is, Marifatullah and it brings about the spiritual development of man along with material development.

1 Ash-Shuara 26-32; an-Naml 27/12.
2 An-Naml 27/16-26) (Saba 34/12.
3 Aal-e-Imran 3/49; Maryam 19/17-22; Maryam 19/29-33.
4 Ash-Shams 91/11-14.
5 Reminder : There are various levels of meaning of the verse of the Quran. It is stated as follows in a hadith: "In each level of meaning of a verse there is one apparent, one esoteric, one end limited and one beginning limited meaning. Each of those four levels have details, signs, branches and knobs (described as shujun and ghusun) in the hadith" (Nursi, B. S. Şualar. Sözler Neşriyat, İstanbul, 2004, p.617). When the issue is explained the esoteric meanings of the verses were given along with literal meanings.
6 Nursi, B. S. Sözler (Words). Sözler Neşriyat, İstanbul, 2000, p.248.

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