Miracles Concerning Trees

Some of the miracles of our prophet (PBUH) are about trees. There are many incidents concerning trees leaving their places and coming to him and obeying the orders of the prophet Muhammad (PBUH). There is also ‘mutawatir manawi’ in the reports of these miracles. (1) That is, these miracles are conveyed to us through chains of companions where there is no room for doubt. The best-known of the Companions who conveyed these miracles to us are ‘Hazrat Ali, Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn Mas‘ud, Ibn ‘Umar, Ya‘la b. Murra, Jabir, Anas b. Malik, Burayda, Usama b. Zayd, and Ghaylan b. Salama.’ Each companion conveyed a different miracle to the latter ages.  Hundreds of scholars of the succeeding generation distinguished the authentic miracles and conveyed them to us. That is why these riwayahs should be evaluated as tawatur in which there is no room for doubt. Now we are going to narrate some of these miracles with their sources.

The miracle of the tree that obeys the order – 1

Foremost, the same miracle was narrated by Imam Ibn Maja, Darimi, Imam Bayhaqi, Hazrat Anas Ibn Malik from Hazrat Ali; Bazzaz and Imam Bayhaqi narrated it from ‘Umar:

When the Noble Messenger (pbuh) was saddened at the denial of the unbelievers, he said:

“O my Sustainer! Give me a sign that I shall no longer see anyone who contradicts me!”

According to Anas, Gabriel was also there present before the occurrence of this miracle. There was a tree at the side of the valley. Upon the instruction of Gabriel, the messenger of Allah called that tree. The tree came near him. He then told the tree to “go back”; it returned and settled itself in its place. (2)

The miracle of the tree that obeys the order – 2

In Shifa’ ash-Sharif, Qadi Iyad, the leading scholar of the Maghrib, relates from ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar through an exalted and sound chain of narrators:

“On one expedition, a Bedouin approached the Noble Messenger (pbuh). God’s Messenger asked him:

‘Where are you going?’ The Bedouin replied:

‘To my family.’ God’s Messenger asked him again:

‘Do you not want something better than that?’ The Bedouin asked:

‘What is that?’The Messenger said:

‘That you bear witness that there is no god but Allah, He is One, He has no partner, and that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.’The Bedouin asked:

‘What is witness to this testimony?’God’s Messenger said:

‘The tree beside the valley shall bear witness.’

Ibn ‘Umar said: “Shaking, the tree cleft the earth and came to God’s Messenger. He asked the tree three times to testify; each time it testified to his truthfulness. When he ordered, it went back and settled in its place.” (3)

According to the authentic narration of Ibn Sahib al-Aslami, Burayda reports: “When we were with the Noble Messenger (pbuh) on an expedition, a Bedouin came and asked for a sign, that is, a miracle. The Messenger said: ‘Tell that tree that God’s Messenger summons it!’ Then he pointed to a tree; it swayed to right and left, brought itself out of the ground with its roots, and came to the presence of the Messenger, saying: ‘Peace be upon you, O Messenger of God!’ The Bedouin said: ‘Now let it go to its place again!’ He commanded, and it went.

Then the Bedouin said: ‘Allow me to prostrate before you.’ The Messenger replied: ‘No one is permitted to do that.’ The Bedouin said: ‘Then I will kiss your hands and feet,’ and he permitted him.” (4) 

The miracle of the tree that obeys the order – 3

Foremost the Sahih of Muslim, and the authentic books of Hadith relate that Jabir said:

“We were together with God’s Noble Messenger (pbuh) on an expedition when he searched for a place to answer the call of nature. There was no secluded place. So, he went towards two trees, caught hold of the branches of one of them, and pulled. Obeying him, the tree went together with him to the second tree. It was like an obedient camel being led by its reins. Having, in this way, brought the two trees together, he said: ‘Join together over me, with God’s permission!’ The two trees joined together and formed a screen. After relieving himself behind them, he ordered them to go back, and they returned to their places.” (5)

According to another narration, Jabir said: “God’s Messenger commanded me: ‘Tell those trees to join together for the relief of God’s Messenger!’ I told them to do so, and they joined together. Then, while I was waiting, God’s Messenger (pbuh) emerged, and indicated to left and right with his head. The two trees returned to their places.” (6) 

The miracle of the tree that obeys the order – 4

Usama b. Zayd, one the brave commanders and servants of the Noble Messenger (pbuh), reports in an authentic narration:

“We were together with God’s Messenger on an expedition. There was no secluded, private place in which to answer the call of nature. He asked: ‘Can you see any trees or rocks?’ I replied: ‘Yes, I can.’ He ordered: ‘Speak to them and tell them to join together for the relief of God’s Messenger; also tell the rocks to gather together as a wall.’ I went and said as he commanded. I swear that the trees joined together and the rocks formed a wall. God’s Messenger after relieving himself, again  commanded: ‘Tell them to separate!’ I swear by the Glorious One in the grasp of Whose power I am that the trees and rocks separated, and returned to their places.” (7)

These two incidents which were reported by Jabir b. Usama were also reported by Ya‘la b. Murra, Ghaylan b. Salama al-Thaqafi, and Ibn Mas‘ud, referring to the Battle of Hunayn. (8) 

The Tree Split in Two

Reported by Imam b. Fawrak, known as ‘the foremost scholar of his time’ and ‘Shafi‘i the Second’ for his excellence in interpretation:

“While travelling on horseback one night during the Ta’if expedition, sleep overcame God’s Noble Messenger (pbuh). While in that state, a lote-tree loomed up before him. To make way for him and not to hurt his horse, the tree split in two, and the Noble Messenger, on the horse, passed between the two parts of the tree.” The tree has remained as two trunks, in that honored position, up to our time. (9)

The tree that salutes

Ya‘la b. Murra relates in an authentic narration:

“During an expedition, a tree -called either talha or samura- came, passed around God’s Noble Messenger (pbuh) as if circumambulating, and went back to its place. God’s Messenger said:

‘The tree requested of God that it should salute me.’(10)

The tree miracle that let the Jinn find the true way

Scholars of Hadith relate from Ibn Mas‘ud with an authentic narration:

“When the jinn of Nusaybin came to the Noble Messenger (pbuh) in the place called Batn an-Nakhl in order to find guidance, a tree informed him of their coming.” Also, Imam Mujahid relates from Ibn Mas‘ud in the Hadith: “The jinn asked for a proof of his prophethood, so the Noble Prophet commanded the tree, and it left its place, came to him, then returned to its place.” (11)

That single miracle was sufficient for the race of jinn. So if a human being does not come to believe having heard of a thousand miracles like this one, is he not more of a devil than those described by the jinn as, “Some foolish ones among us”? (12)

The Branch of a tree that comes upon calling

Foremost Tirmidhi, along with many scholars of hadith, reports from Hazrat Ibn ‘Abbas:

Ibn Abbas said:

 “God’s Noble Messenger (pbuh) asked a Bedouin:

 ‘Will you testify that I am the Messenger of God if a branch of that tree comes to me when I call to it?’ The Bedouin replied:

 ‘Yes.’

The Messenger called to the branch. It broke off and jumped over near him, then jumped back when he told it to do so.” (13)

Like these eight examples, there are many others related through many chains of transmission. Seven or eight strands of rope form a strong cable when they come together. Similarly, these miracles concerning trees, which were reported on the authority of the best-known and most veracious Companions in thus numerous chains of transmission, certainly have the strength of ‘consensus in meaning,’ indeed, ‘true consensus.’ In fact, they take on the form of ‘consensus’ when passed down by the Companions to the following generation. In particular, the accurate books of Hadith such as Bukhari, Muslim, Ibn Hibban, and Tirmidhi, made the chains leading back to the time of the Companions so sound, and they kept them thus, that reading a Hadith, say in Bukhari, is like hearing it directly from the Companions.

If, as seen in the above examples, trees recognize God’s Messenger(pbuh) testify to his prophethood, visit and salute him, and obey his orders, and those lifeless, unreasoning creatures who call themselves human beings do not recognize him or believe in him, will they not be more worthless than a dead tree, and like a piece of wood, fit for the fire? 

The Crying Date-Palm Pole

Corroborating the miracles concerning trees and reported in the form of ‘consensus,’ is the miracle of the moaning of the pole.

 “When delivering the sermon in the mosque, God’s Noble Messenger (pbuh) used to lean against a pole consisting of a date-palm. But when the pulpit was made, he began to give the sermon from there. Whereupon the pole moaned and wailed like a camel; the whole congregation heard it. Only when the Prophet came down from the pulpit to it, and placed his hand on it, speaking to it and consoling it, did the pole stop moaning.” (14)

Indeed, the miracle of the moaning of the pole is very widely known and there is ‘true consensus’ concerning it. (15) Because this miracle occurred in a community where there were major companions and narrated by fifteen different companions. (16) Then hundreds Imams of Tabi’in related this riwayah and passed it down to succeeding centuries through chains of transmission. Eminent scholars among the Companions and leading experts on Hadith such as Anas b. Malik (The servant of the prophet) (17) and Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari (The servant of the prophet) (18), ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar, (19) ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas, (20) Sahl b. Sa‘d, (21) Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri, (22) Ubayy b. Ka‘b, (23) Burayda, (24) and Umm Salama, the Mother of Believers, (25) reported this miracle. Foremost Bukhari, Muslim, and the authentic books of Hadith gave accounts of this great miracle.

In his narration, Sahl b. Sa‘d says: “And weeping increased among the people, on the pole’s moaning.” While in another narration (26), the Noble Messenger said: “It is weeping at being separated from the recitation of God’s Names and the mentioning of God.”

Still another narration (27) reports that God’s Messenger said: “If I had not embraced and consoled it, it would have wept at being separated from God’s Messenger until Doomsday.”

Burayda reports: “When the pole began to moan, God’s Messenger put his hand on it and said:

“If you wish, I will return you to the grove you came from; your roots will grow and you will flourish; you will produce new fruits. Or if you wish, I will plant you in Paradise, and God’s friends, the saints, will eat of your fruit.” Then the pole answered, companions who were there heard it. The pole said: “Plant me in Paradise, where there is no decay, so that Almighty God’s beloved servants will eat of my fruit.” The Messenger said: ‘I will,’ and added: ‘It has preferred the eternal realm to that of transitoriness.’

Hazrat Ubayy b. Ka‘b says: After this extraordinary event, God’s Messenger ordered “that the pole be put under the pulpit.” It was put there and remained there until the mosque was pulled down before being rebuilt. Then Ubayy b. Ka‘b took it and kept it until it decayed. (28)

The famous scholar Hasan al-Basri would weep while teaching this miraculous event to his students, and say to them:

“A piece of wood demonstrated love and longing for God’s Noble Messenger (pbuh), so you should feel more love than that.” (29)

Hazrat Bediuzzaman said in his book where he narrated this miracle:

“As for us, we say, Yes, and love and longing for him is shown through following his illustrious Practices and sacred Shari‘a.” (30)

Here such a question may come to our mind:“Why were the other miracles which were demonstrated in relation to food -to satisfy fully a thousand men with four handfuls of food in the Battle of Khandaq, and another thousand men with water flowing from the Messenger’s blessed fingers- not narrated through numerous chains of transmission as the miracle of the moaning of the pole, although the former two miracles occurred in the presence of larger crowds?”

As an answer to this we will say: The miracles that were manifested were of two kinds: one were manifested at the hands of God’s Messenger (pbuh), in order to make people assent to his prophethood. The moaning of the pole was of that kind. It occurred solely as a proof, an affirmation, of prophethood, to increase the believers’ faith, to urge the dissemblers to sincerity and belief, and to bring to belief the unbelievers. That is why everyone, the low and the high, saw it, and great attention was paid to broadcasting it.

Some other kinds of miracles are shown because of a need. “Miracles concerning abundance”can be put into this category. These are given by God as a divine favor upon a need. For sure, they were proofs of his claim to prophethood and miracles, but their basic aim was this: the army was hungry so Almighty God provided a feast for a thousand men out of a handful of food from His treasury in the Unseen, just as He creates a thousand pounds of dates from a single seed. And for a thirsty army fighting in His way, He caused water to flow like the water of Kawthar from the fingers of the Commander-in-Chief, and gave them to drink. But these miracles are again mutawatir. They were transmitted to us via authentic sources. Besides, not everyone could see the increase of food and water flowing from his fingers; they could only see the results. Whereas everyone heard the pole moaning, so it was more widely broadcast.

Also such a question may come to our mind: “Why are many narrated from Anas, Jabir, and Abu Hurayra, and few related from Abu Bakr and ‘Umar?

As we have partially mentioned at the beginning of miracles concerning abundance; just as someone in need of medicine goes to a doctor, mathematicians are consulted on mathematical problems, and questions to do with the Shari‘a are asked of the Mufti, and so on; so too, some of the scholars among the Companions were charged with the duty of instructing succeeding centuries in the Hadiths of the Prophet, working with all their strength for this end. Yes, Abu Hurayra devoted his entire life to memorizing Hadiths, while ‘Umar was occupied with the world of politics and the Caliphate. ‘Umar therefore narrated very few traditions, relying on persons like Abu Hurayra, Anas, and Jabir, to teach the Hadiths to the Muslim community. Furthermore, on a well-known, truthful, sincere, honest, and trusted Companion reporting an incident through one chain, it was regarded as sufficient, and no need remained for another to narrate it. This is why some significant events were narrated through only two or three chains of transmission.

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[1] Kattani, Nazm al-Mutanasir 137.
[2] Ibn Maja, Fitan 23 no: 4028; Darimi, Muqaddima 3; Musnad i, 223; iii, 113; iv, 177; Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 302; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh ash-Shifa’ i, 620; al-Haythami, Majma’ az-Zawa’id ix, 10; al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal ii, 354.
[3] Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 298; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh ash-Shifa’ i, 615; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa vi, 14; al-Haythami, Majma’ az-Zawa’id viii, 292; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa’n-Nihaya vi, 125; al-‘Asqalani, al-Matalib al-‘Aliya iv, 16 no: 3836; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak ii, 620; Ibn Hibban, Sahih viii, 150.
[4] Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 299; al-Khafaji, Sharh ash-Shifa’ iii, 49.
[5]  Muslim, Zuhd no: 3012.
[6]  Darimi, Muqaddima 4; Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 299; Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 616; al-Khafaji, Sharh ash-Shifa’ iii, 51.
[7]  Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 300; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh ash-Shifa’ i, 617-9; al-Khafaji, Sharh ash-Shifa’ iii, 51; al-‘Asqalani, al-Matalib al-‘Aliya iv, 8-10 no: 3830.
[8]Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 301; al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal xii, 403.
[9]  Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 301; Ali al-Qari, Sharh ash-Shifa’ i, 619; al-Khafaji, Sharh ash-Shifa’ iii, 57.
[10] Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa’ i, 301; Ali al-Qari, Sharh ash-Shifa’ i, 619; al-Khafaji, Sharh ash-Shifa’ iii, 53; al-Haythami, Majma’ az-Zawa’id ix, 6-7; Musnad iv, 170, 172; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak ii, 617.
[11] Bukhari, Manaqib-Ansar: 32 (Dhikrul Jinn); Muslim, Salat: 150; Ali al-Qari, Sharh ash-Shifa’ i:619.
[12] Surah Jinn, the Qur’an, 72:4.
[13] Tirmidhi, Manaqib 6; al-Mubarakfuri, Tuhfat al-Ahwazi no: 3707; al-Haythami, Majma’ az-Zawa’id ix, 10.
[14] Bukhari, Manaqib 25, Jum’a 26; Ibn Majah, Iqamat al-Salat 199; Nasa’i, Jum’a 17; Tirmidhi, Jum’a 10, Manaqib 6; Darimi, Muqaddima 6. Salat 202; Musnad i:249.
[15] al-Kattani, Nazm al-Mutanasir 134-5.
[16] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa’n-Nihaya 125-132.
[17] Tariq Anas ibn Malik: Bukhari, Manaqib: 25; Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 6, Jumu’a: 10; Ibn Majah, Iqama tu’s-Salat: 199; Darimi, Muqaddima: 6; Salat: 202; Musnad, 1:249, 267, 363, 3:226.
[18]Tariq Jabir bin Abdullah-il-Ansari: Bukhari, Manaqib: 25; Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 6, Jumu’a: 10; Nasai, Juum’a: 17; Ibn Majah, Iqamatu’s-Salat: 199; Darimi, Muqaddima: 6 (Through three different tariqs from Jabir); Salat: 202; Musnad, 3:293, 295, 306, 324.
[19]Tariq Abdullah ibn Umar: Bukhari, Manaqib: 25; Tirmidhi, Jumu’a: 10 Tirmidhi (tahqiq: Ahmad Shakir), no. 505, Manaqib: 6; Darimi, Muqaddima: 6.
[20]Tariq Abdullah bin Abbas: Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 6; Jumu’a: 10; Darimi, Muqaddima: 6; Salat: 202; Musnad, 1:249; Musnad, 1:363.
[21]Tariq Sahl bin Sa’d: Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 6; Jumu’a: 10; Darimi, Muqaddima: 6; Salat: 202; Khafaji, Sharhu’sh-Shifa, 3:62.
[22]Tariq Abu Said-il-Khudri, Darimi,Muqaddima: 6.
[23]Tariq Ubay ibni’l-Ka’b: Tirmidhi, Jumu’a: 10; Ibni Majah, Iqametu’s-Salat: 199; Darimi, Muqaddima: 6; Musnad, 139; Khafaji, Sharhu’sh-Shifa, 3:62; Mubarakfuri, Tuhfatu’l-Ahwazi, 3:22.
[24]Tariq Burayda: Darimi,Muqaddima: 6.
[25]Tariq Ummu’l-Mu’minin Umm Salama: Tirmidhi, Manaqib: 6; Jumu’a: 10.
[26]That is, tariq Jabir ibn Abdullah. Bukhari,Manaqib: 25.
[27] That is, tariq Anas ibn Malik and Abdullah ibn Abbas. Darimi,Muqaddima: 6.
[28]Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa, 1:304; Ibn Majah, Iqamatu’s-Salat: 199; Darimi,Muqaddima: 6; Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa, 1:304.
[29] Qadi Iyad, ash-Shifa, 1:305.
[30]Risale-i Nur Külliyatı (Collection), Mektubat (Letters), On Dokuzuncu Mektup (Nineteenth Letter), Onuncu İşaret (Tenth Sign)

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