About the Miracle of the Splitting of the Moon
About the Miracle of the
Splitting of the Moon
[Addendum to the Nineteenth and Thirty-First Words]
In the Name of Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.
The Hour is nigh, and the moon is split. * But if they see a sign, they turn away, and say: “This is evident magic.”1
Philosophers and their unreasoning imitators, who want to eclipse with their vicious delusions the Splitting of the Moon, which is a miracle of Muhammad (PBUH) that shines like the moon, say: “If the Splitting of the Moon had occurred, it would have been known to the whole world and would have been related throughout the subsequent history of man.”
T h e A n s w e r : Since the Splitting of the Moon was demonstrated as an evidence of prophethood, and happened instantaneously, at night when people were asleep, and before a gathering who, although they witnessed such an evidence, denied it; and since there were obstacles hindering the sighting of it such as mist, clouds, and time-differences between different parts of the world; and since at that time science and civilization were not widespread, and observation of the skies was very limited, and the event itself was exceptional, there was, therefore, nothing to necessitate that it should have been seen all over the world and passed into the general histories. For now, listen to Five Points out of many that will scatter those clouds of delusion concerning the Splitting of the Moon.
The extreme stubbornness of the unbelievers there at that time is well-known and is recorded in history. And yet, when the All-Wise Qur’an announced this event to the whole world through saying:
And the moon is split,
not one of those unbelievers, who denied the Qur’an, spoke up to give the lie to this verse; that is, not one of them denied the event it was announcing. If the event had not been considered as a definite fact by the unbelievers at that time, they would have taken the verse as a pretext, denied it in a most fearsome manner, and tried to attack and overthrow Muhammad’s (PBUH) claim to prophethood. However, the biographies of the Prophet and histories mentioning the event relate nothing to suggest that the unbelievers denied it. The only thing that history relates is, as the verse
And [they] say, “This is evident magic”
points out, the unbelievers who saw the event declared it to be magic, and said that if the caravans in other places had seen it, it was true, otherwise he had bewitched them. The caravans arriving the following morning from the Yemen and other places announced that they had seen such a happening. So the unbelievers then said of the Pride of All the Worlds (PBUH) that, Allah forbid, the magic of Abu Talib’s orphan had affected the heavens.
The majority of the most illustrious scholars, like Sa‘d al-din Taftazani, declared that like the Prophet had satisfied the thirst of a whole army with water flowing from his fingers, and the whole congregation had heard a dry wooden post against which Muhammad (PBUH) had leant while delivering the sermon weep on being separated from him, the Splitting of the Moon had been transmitted by numerous authorities. That is to say, these events had been passed down from group to group forming such a vast congregation that a conspiracy to lie would have been impossible. Like the appearance of the famous Haley’s Comet a thousand years ago had been unanimously reported, and the existence of the island of Ceylon was certain due to unanimous reports, although we had not seen it.
It is therefore unreasonable to foster baseless doubts in such certain, witnessed matters. It is enough that they are not impossible. And as for the Splitting of the Moon, it is quite as possible as a mountain’s splitting with a volcanic eruption.
Miracles are for proving claims to prophethood and for convincing those who deny such claims, they are not for compelling people to believe. Therefore, miracles have to be manifested to those who hear claims to prophethood at a degree that will persuade them. Just as it would be contrary to the All-Wise and Glorious One’s wisdom to display them all over the world or in so self-evident a manner that all would be compelled to believe, so would it also be contrary to the mystery of man’s accountability. For this accountability requires “opening the door to the reason and not cancelling the power of choice.” If the All-Wise Creator had left the moon split for one or two hours in order to show it to the whole world as the philosophers wished, and it had been recorded in all the general histories of man, then it would have been like all other occurrences in the heavens and would not have been an evidence to Muhammad’s (PBUH) claim to prophethood and been special to it. Or else it would have been such a self-evident miracle that it would have annulled the reason’s power to choose, and compelled the reason to accept it; willy-nilly, it would have had to assent to his prophethood. Someone with a coal-like spirit like Abu Jahl would have remained at the same level as someone with a diamond-like spirit like Abu Bakr the Veracious; the mystery of man’s accountability would have been lost. It was due to this mystery that, being both instantaneous, and at nighttime, and at a time of sleep, and time differences, mist, and cloud and other factors concealing it, it was not shown to the whole world and did not pass into the histories.
Since this event occurred instantaneously at night while everyone was sleeping, of course it was not seen all over the world. Even if some people had seen it, they would not have believed their eyes. And if it had made them believe, such a significant event would not have become a permanent source for future histories through isolated individual reports.
In some books it is written that after the moon split into two halves, it fell to earth, but veracious scholars have rejected such additions, saying that they were perhaps added by dissemblers with the intention of belittling this evident miracle, and making it valueless.
Also, that time in England and Spain, which were then enveloped in mists of ignorance, would have been just after sunset, in America it would have been daytime, and in China and Japan, morning. And in other places there would have been other obstacles preventing it from being seen. Now consider these unreasoning objectors who say that the histories of peoples like the English, Chinese, Japanese, and Americans do not mention it, and that therefore it did not occur. A thousand curses be on the heads of those who toady to Europe and repeat such things.
The Splitting of the Moon happened neither of its own accord in consequence of certain causes, nor as a result of chance, nor was it a natural event that occurred through the ordinary laws of nature. Rather, the All-Wise Creator of the Sun and the Moon caused it to happen as something out of the ordinary in order to confirm His Messenger’s messengership and to illuminate his claim.
As the mystery of guidance, the mystery of human responsibility, and the wisdom of prophethood required, it was demonstrated as a convincing proof to a number of people specified by dominical wisdom. The mystery of wisdom required that it was not shown to people in every region of the world, who had not yet heard of Muhammad’s (PBUH) claim to prophethood. Numerous obstacles prevented them, therefore, such as mist, cloud, and time-differences, and the fact that in some countries the moon had not risen, and in others the sun had risen, while in others it was morning, and in yet others the sun had just set.
If it had been shown to all and sundry, it would have been shown as a result of the Sign of Muhammad (PBUH), and a miracle of prophethood, in which case his messengership would have been so manifest that everyone would have been compelled to affirm it. No choice would have remained for man’s reason. And belief is attained through the reason and the power of choice. The mystery of human responsibility would have been lost. And if it had been shown merely as an occurrence in the heavens, its connection with Muhammad’s (PBUH) messengership would have been severed, and it would have retained no peculiarity to him.
To Conclude: There is no longer any doubt concerning the possibility that the Splitting of the Moon occurred; it has been proved decisively. And now we shall mention six2 of the many evidences pointing to its occurrence.
The concurrence of the Companions of the Prophet, who were all men of justice, on its occurrence.
Their agreement in expounding the verse, And the moon is split of all exacting commentators on the Qur’an.
The fact that, relying on numerous different chains of authorities and lines of transmission, all the scholars of the Prophetic Traditions and transmitters of the sound narrations narrated the event.3
The testimony of all the saints and the veracious, those who receive inspiration, and uncover the mysteries of the creation.
The confirmation of learned scholars and theologians, whose ways differ greatly from one another.
The fact that the Community of Muhammad (PBUH) accepted its occurrence, which, on an established principle, never agrees upon error.
These six evidences prove the Splitting of the Moon as clearly as the sun.
Up to here this Addendum has been in the name of establishing the truth, and for the sake of silencing those enemies who deny it. Its concluding sentences will now be in the name of the truth and for the sake of belief. Establishing the truth spoke as above, now the truth speaks:
The Seal of the Office of Prophethood, who was the luminous moon of the heavens of messengership, proved his sainthood through his Ascension. This was the greatest wonder and supreme miracle of sainthood, achieved through his worship, which was so elevated as to make him Allah’s beloved. That is to say, by travelling with his earthly body through the heavens, his superiority and his being Allah’s beloved were demonstrated to the dwellers of the heavens and inhabitants of the lofty worlds. So too, through the moon, which is bound to the earth and suspended in the heavens, being split into two halves at the sign of an inhabitant of the earth, it displayed a miracle to the other inhabitants of the earth which indicated the former’s messengership. Thus, the person of Muhammad (PBUH) flew to the very summit of perfections on the two luminous wings of messengership and sainthood-like the two luminous unfolded wings of the moon; he ascended to the distance of two bow-lengths; he became the cause of pride of both the inhabitants of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth....
Upon him and upon his Family be blessings and peace such as will fill the earth and the heavens.
Glory be unto You! we have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise.
1. Qur’an, 54:1-2.
2. That is to say, there are six proofs concerning the event in the form of a sixfold consensus. Unfortunately, the explanation of them is brief, and they deserve more.
3. Musnad i, 377, 413, 447, 456; iii, 207, 220, 275, 278; iv, 81; Tafsir Ibn Kathir vi, 469.
- Addendum to the Nineteenth and Thirty-First Words: About the Miracle of the Splitting of the Moon.
- Third Sign: The evidences for the universality of Muhammad’s (pbuh) messengership.
- The Miracle of the Splitting of the Moon
- The First Addendum to the Miracles of Muhammad (PBUH): The Nineteenth Word is about the messengership of Muhammad (pbuh) and the miracle of the splitting of the moon.
- Third Principle: The wisdom and purpose of the Ascension.
- Isra and the Miracle of Miraj (Ascension)
- Is the existence of miracles not contrary to the mystery of testing?
- Why are Miracles Shown?
- Fourth Principle: The definition and comparison of revelation and inspiration. An explanation of the following verse, “If the ocean were ink..
- Fourth Sign: It consists of six principles ensuring a complete understanding of the Noble Prophet’s (pbuh) predictions about his Companions, his family, and his community.