Seventh Sign: It explains the miracles of the Prophet (pbuh) about effecting increase in food through sixteen examples.
We will give in this Sign a few examples from among the Prophet’s (PBUH) miracles that relate to his effecting increase in food and that are definite to the degree of ‘consensus in meaning.’ But before going into the subject, some introductory comments will be appropriate.
I n t r o d u c t i o n
Each of the following examples of miracles is narrated, as authentic, through various -sometimes as many as sixteen- chains of transmission. Most of them occurred in the presence of large assemblies, and were narrated by many truthful persons of good repute from among those present. For example, from among seventy men who partook of four handfuls of food and were filled, one relates the incident, and the others do not contradict him. Their silence thus indicates their confirmation. For if in that era of truth and truthfulness the Companions, who were lovers of the truth and earnest and honest, had witnessed even the tiniest lie, they would have rejected and denied it. But the incidents we will be citing were narrated by many, and the others who witnessed them remained silent. Thus, each of these incidents has the certainty of ‘consensus in meaning.’
Furthermore, books of both history and the Prophet’s biography testify that, next to the preservation of the Qur’an and its verses, the Companions worked with all their strength to preserve the deeds and words of Allah’s Most Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and especially those relating to the injunctions of the Shari‘a and to miracles, paying extreme attention to their accuracy. They never neglected even the tiniest aspect of his conduct, actions, and states. This and the fact that they recorded them is testified to by books of Hadith.
In addition, in the Era of Bliss, they wrote down and recorded very many of the Hadiths concerning the injunctions of the Law and his miracles. The ‘Seven ‘Abd Allah’s’ in particular recorded them in writing. And especially ‘Abd Allah b. al-‘Abbas, known as ‘the Interpreter of the Qur’an,’ and ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Amr b. al-‘As some thirty to forty years later, and the thousands of exacting scholars of the generation that followed the Companions recorded the Hadiths and miracles in writing. And still later, chiefly the four great interpreters of the Law and thousands of exacting scholars of Hadith related them and preserved them in writing. Then two hundred years after the Hijra, foremost Bukhari and Muslim and the six accepted books of tradition, undertook the duty of their preservation. Many severe critics such as Ibn al-Jawzi emerged who identified false reports which had been produced by deniers, the unthinking, the ignorant, or those who had recalled them wrongly. Later, learned and exacting scholars like Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, who seventy times was honoured in a waking state by the presence and conversation of Allah’s Noble Messenger (PBUH), differentiated the diamonds of authentic traditions from other sayings and fabrications.
Thus, the incidents and miracles we shall speak of, have come down to us through numerous, perhaps uncountable, strong and trustworthy hands, and have reached us in sound condition.
All praise be to Allah, this is from the bounty of my Lord.
It is for this reason that one’s mind should be freed from the notion that these incidents have been distorted or confused in any way in being passed down all the way from that time to the present.
T h e F i r s t E x a m p l e of definite miracles concerning the Prophet’s increase of food through his blessing. The six accurate books of tradition, Bukhari and Muslim included, unanimously relate that during the feast on the occasion of the Prophet’s (PBUH) marriage to Zaynab, Anas’s mother, Umm Sulaym, prepared a dish by frying two handfuls of dates in oil and sent it with Anas to the Prophet. The Noble Prophet told him: “Go and invite so-and-so [naming some persons], and also invite whomever you encounter on your way.” Anas invited those named and those he met. About three hundred Companions came and filled the Prophet’s room and anteroom. Then the Prophet said: “Make circles of ten.” He placed his blessed hand on that little amount of food, uttered supplications, and told them to help themselves. All of them ate and was fully satisfied. Afterwards the Prophet asked Anas to remove the food. Anas later related: “I could not tell if there was more of it when I set it down, or when I removed it.”1
S e c o n d E x a m p l e : Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, the Prophet’s host, relates that when the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace) honoured his house, he had prepared a meal for two, which would suffice the Prophet and Abu Bakr. But the Prophet told him: “Invite thirty men from among the distinguished Ansar!”2 Abu Ayyub said: “Thirty men came and ate. He then said: ‘Invite sixty men,’ which I did, and they also came and ate. The Prophet said again: ‘Invite seventy more.’ I invited them; they came, and when they finished eating, there was still food left in the bowls. All who came embraced Islam and took the oath of allegiance after witnessing this miracle. One hundred and eighty men ate the food of two men.”3
T h i r d E x a m p l e : It is reported through many chains of transmission from ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, Abu Hurayra, Salama b. Akwa‘, Abu ‘Amrat al-Ansari and others that on one expedition, the army went hungry. They referred themselves to the Noble Prophet (Upon whom be blessings and peace), and he told them: “Gather whatever food is left in your saddle-bags.” Everyone brought a few pieces of dates and put them on a mat. The most they could put together was four handfuls. Salama related: “I estimated it amounted to the size of a sitting goat.” Then the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) announced: “Everyone bring his dish!” They pressed forward, and no one in the whole army remained with an empty dish, all the dishes were filled. There was even some left over. One of the Companions later said: “I realized from the way that increase was obtained that if the whole world had come, the food still would have been sufficient.”4
F o u r t h E x a m p l e : As recorded in all of the Six Books including Bukhari and Muslim, ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Abu Bakr al-Siddiq relates: “We, one hundred and thirty Companions, were with the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) on an expedition. Dough was prepared to the amount of about four handfuls, a goat was slaughtered and cooked, and its liver and kidneys were roasted. I swear by Allah that from that roasted meat [liver and kidneys] Allah’s Messenger gave a small piece to each and put the cooked meat into two large bowls. After we had all eaten until we were filled there was still some left over, which I loaded onto a camel.”5
F i f t h E x a m p l e : As is recorded in the Six Books, Jabir al-Ansari related under oath: “During the Ahzab expedition on the celebrated day of Khandaq, about a thousand people ate from four handfuls of rye bread and a young cooked goat; yet food was still left over. That day the food had been cooked in my house, and after the one thousand people had left, the pot was still boiling with meat in it, and bread was being made from the dough; for the Prophet had wetted the dough and the pot with his blessed mouth, beseeching Allah for plenty.”6
S i x t h E x a m p l e : According to an authentic narration from Abu Talha, the uncle of Anas who served Allah’s Messenger, the Messenger fed seventy to eighty men with a small amount of rye bread that Anas had brought under his arm. The Messenger ordered: “Break the bread into small pieces!”, and prayed for increase. Because the house was small, they came ten at a time, and left having filled themselves.7
S e v e n t h E x a m p l e : It is related as authentic in accurate books such as Shifa’ al-Sharif and Muslim that Jabir al-Ansari narrated: “Once a man asked the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) for food for his household. The Messenger gave him a half load of barley. For a long time he ate of the barley together with his family and guests. They would look and see that it did not finish. So they measured it to see by how much it decreased. After that the blessing of abundance was gone and the barley began to dwindle rapidly. The man went to the Messenger and related what had happened. Allah’s Messenger replied: “If you had not put it to the test by measuring it, it would have lasted you a life-time.”8
E i g h t h E x a m p l e : According to accurate books such as Tirmidhi, Nasa’i, Bayhaqi, and Shifa’ al-Sharif, Samura b. Jundub related that a bowl of meat was brought to the Prophet (PBUH). From morning to evening, many groups of men came and ate from it.9
In accordance with the explanation we gave in the introduction to this section, this is not the narration of Samura alone, since Samura narrated this incident on behalf of, and with the approval of, all those present.
N i n t h E x a m p l e : It is also narrated by reliable and trusted scholars such as the well-known author of Shifa’ al-Sharif, Ibn Abi Shayba, and Tabarani, that Abu Hurayra related: “The Noble Messenger commanded me, ‘Invite the poor Makkan migrants who have made the Bench [suffa]10 of the Mosque their home and who number more than a hundred.’ So I went and searched for them and gathered them together. A tray of food was set before us, and we ate as much as we wanted, then we arose. The dish remained full as it was when set down, only, the traces of fingers on the food were visible.11
Thus, this incident is related by Abu Hurayra in the name of all the People of the Bench, supported by their confirmation. Hence, the incident is as definite as if all the People of the Bench had related it. Is it at all possible that if it had not been true those men of truth and perfection would have remained silent and not denied it?
T e n t h E x a m p l e : According to an authentic narration from ‘Ali, the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) once gathered the Bani ‘Abd al-Muttalib. They were about forty, including some who would eat a young camel and drink a gallon of milk in one meal. Yet for them he had prepared only a handful of food. All ate and were satisfied, and the food remained just as it had been before. Later he brought milk in a wooden bowl that would have been sufficent for only three or four persons. They all drank their fill.12
Thus, a miracle of plenty as definite as ‘Ali’s courage and loyalty!
E l e v e n t h E x a m p l e : According to an authentic narration, on the occasion of ‘Ali’s marriage to Fatima al-Zahra, The Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) ordered Bilal al-Habashi: “Have bread made from a few handfuls of flour; also slaughter a young camel!” Bilal relates: “I brought the food and he put his hand on it to bless it. Later, the Companions arrived in groups, ate, and left. From the remaining food, he sent a full bowl to each of his wives, saying that they should eat and feed anyone who visited them.”13
Such blessed plenty was indeed necessary for such a blessed marriage!
T w e l f t h E x a m p l e : Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq related from his father Muhammad al-Baqir, and he from his father, Zayn al-‘Abidin, and he from ‘Ali, that Fatima al-Zahra had prepared enough food for herself and ‘Ali. She then sent ‘Ali to invite the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) to come and eat with them. Allah’s Messenger came and told them to send a dish of food to each of his wives. Fatima said that after a dish of food had been set aside for himself, ‘Ali, Fatima, and their children, they lifted up the saucepan and it was full to overflowing. Through Allah’s will, they ate of the food for a long time afterwards.14
Why do you not believe this miracle of increase just as if you had witnessed it with your own eyes, since it comes from this luminous, elevated chain of transmission? Satan himself could find no excuse in this face of this one.
T h i r t e e n t h E x a m p l e : Veracious authorities such as Abu Da’ud, Ahmad b. Hanbal, and Bayhaqi, narrate from Dukayn al-Ahmasi b. Sa‘id al-Muzayn, and from Nu‘man b. Muqarrin al-Ahmasi al-Muzayn, who with his six brothers was honoured with the Prophet’s conversation and was a Companion, and by way of Jarir through numerous chains of transmission from ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, that Allah’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) ordered ‘Umar b. al-Khattab: “Equip with provisions for a journey four hundred horsemen from the Ahmasi tribe!” ‘Umar replied: “O Messenger of Allah! What we have in hand is the equivalent of a seated young camel.” The Messenger said: “Go and give it to them!” So he went, and out of that half load of dates, gave the four hundred horsemen sufficient provisions. And he stated that it remained as before, without diminishing.15
Thus, this miracle of plenty occurred in connection with four hundred men and ‘Umar in particular. They are behind the narrations, supporting them, and their silence confirms them. Do not ignore these narrations because they are related by a few individuals only, for if the incident had only been reported by a single individual, it still would have the certainty of ‘consensus in meaning.’
F o u r t e e n t h E x a m p l e : All the accurate books of tradition, and foremost Bukhari and Muslim, narrate that when Jabir’s father died, he was heavily in debt. His creditors were Jews. Jabir offered the creditors all his father’s possessions but they did not accept them. The fruit produced by his orchard over many years would have been insufficient to defray the debt. The Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) said: “Pick and gather in all the fruit in the orchard!” They did so, then the Noble Messenger walked around the crop and prayed. Then Jabir gave from the amount corresponding to his father’s debt. What was left was as much as the annual produce of the orchard. And according to another narration, it was equal to the amount he gave the creditors. The Jews were amazed and astounded at this.16
See, this clear miracle of plenty was not only reported by a few narrators like Jabir; many people connected with it described and narrated it, thus giving it the degree of ‘consensus in meaning.’
F i f t e e n t h E x a m p l e : Exact scholars, and foremost Tirmidhi and Imam Bayhaqi, related through a sound chain of authorities from Abu Hurayra that Abu Hurayra said: “During one expedition -that of Tabuk according to another narration- the army went hungry. Allah’s Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) asked: ‘Is there nothing?’ I said: ‘I have one or two dates in my saddle-bag.’-According to another narration, it was fifteen.- He said: ‘Bring them here!’ I took them to him, and he plunged his hand into them and took a handful. He put them into a dish, and offered a supplication for their increase. Then he called the men in groups of ten and they all ate of them. Then he said: ‘Take what you brought, hold it, and do not turn it upside down.’ I put my hand in the bag; there were in my hands as many dates as I had brought. Later, during the lifetime of the Prophet (PBUH), and those of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman, I ate of those dates.” -It is narrated through another chain of transmission: “I gave several loads of those dates to be used ‘in Allah’s way.’ Later the bag containing the dates was plundered when ‘Uthman was assassinated.”17
Abu Hurayra was a constant and important student and disciple among the People of the Bench, the sacred school and tekke of the Teacher of the Universe, the Pride of the World (PBUH). In addition, the Prophet had prayed for his strength of memory. The miracle of plenty he reported which occurred in a large gathering like the expedition of Tabuk, should therefore be as sound and certain as the word of a whole army.
S i x t e e n t h E x a m p l e : Foremost Bukhari, and the accurate books relate, through an authentic narration, that once Abu Hurayra was hungry, so he followed the Noble Messenger (Upon whom be blessings and peace) into his house. There they saw that a cup of milk had been brought as a gift. Allah’s Messenger said to him: “Call all the People of the Bench!” Abu Hurayra relates: “I said to myself, I could drink all the milk myself, as I was most in need of it. But since it was Allah’s Messenger’s order, I fetched the People of the Bench, who numbered more than a hundred. Allah’s Messenger told me to offer milk to them. I gave the cup to each one by one, and each drank until satisfied. At the end, the Messenger told me, ‘The rest is for me and you.’ As I drank, Allah’s Messenger kept telling me to drink more, until I said, ‘I swear by the Glorious One who sent you with the truth that I am too full to drink any more.’ Then Allah’s Messenger drank the rest, invoking the name of Allah and offering Him thanks.”18 May it be a blessing for him a hundred thousand times!
This indubitable, manifest miracle, as pure and sweet as milk itself, is related by all Six Books with their sound narrations, and foremost Bukhari, who committed to memory five hundred thousand Hadiths. Moreover, it is narrated by a celebrated, loyal, and brilliant student of the Prophet’s blessed school of the Bench, Abu Hurayra, who also cited as witness -rather, represented- all the other students of the Bench. Therefore, not to regard such a report as having the certainty of ‘consensus,’ either one’s heart should be corrupted, or one’s brain, destroyed! Is it ever possible that such a truthful person as Abu Hurayra, who devoted all his life to the Prophet’s Hadiths and to religion, and who heard and himself transmitted the Hadith, “Whoever knowingly tells a lie concerning me should prepare for a seat in Hell-fire,”19 should have related an unfounded incident or saying that would have made him the target of the contradiction of the People of the Bench, and that would have caused doubt concerning the value and soundness of all the other Hadiths he had memorized? Allah forbid!
O our Sustainer! For the sake of the blessings You bestowed on Your Most Noble Messenger, bestow the blessings of abundance on the favours with which You have provided us!
A n I m p o r t a n t P o i n t : It is well-known that when assembled together, weak things become strong. Fine threads are twisted, and they become a strong rope; strong ropes are wound together, and no one can break them. In this Sign, we have shown from among fifteen different kinds of miracles only one, that related to the blessings of increase and plenty, and the sixteen examples we have given constitute barely a fifteenth of this one kind. However, each of the examples mentioned is a proof on its own, with enough strength to prove prophethood. Even if some of them -supposing the impossible- were to be regarded as weak, they could still not properly be called such, since whatever is united with the strong also becomes strong.
When considered together, the sixteen examples given above constitute a great and strong miracle through the strength of definite, indisputable ‘consensus in meaning.’ And, when this miracle is joined by fourteen other miracles of plenty that have not been mentioned, it manifests a supreme miracle which is as unbreakable as a collection of strong ropes. Now add this supreme miracle to the fourteen other kinds of miracle, and see what a definite, decisive and irrefutable proof they provide for the prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH)! Thus, the pillar of Muhammad’s prophethood, formed by such a collection, has the strength of a mountain. Now you have understood how unreasonable it is to regard as unstable and liable to fall that lofty, firm heaven, due to doubts arising from lack of understanding in particular matters and examples. Certainly those miracles concerning increase and plenty show that Muhammad the Arabian (Upon whom be blessings and peace) was the beloved official and honoured servant of One All-Compassionate and Munificent Who creates all sustenance and provides all beings with it, for contrary to His practice, He sent him banquets of different varieties of food out of nothing, from the pure Unseen.
It is well-known that the Arabian Peninsula is a place where water and agriculture are scarce. For this reason, its people, and particularly the Companions in the early days of Islam, suffered want and scarcity. They were also frequently afflicted with thirst. Due to this, the important of the manifest miracles of Muhammad (Upon whom be blessings and peace) concerned food and water. Rather than being miracles proving his claim to prophethood, these wonders were on account of need and like Divine gifts, dominical bounty, and banquets of the Most Merciful One for His Most Noble Messenger. For those who saw the miracles had already assented to his prophethood. However, as the miracles took place, their belief increased and became more luminous.
1. Bukhari, Nikah, 64; Muslim, Nikah 94, 95; Tirmidhi, xxxiii, 21; Nasa’i, Nikah 84; Abu Da’ud, Adab 95; Musnad iii, 29; v, 462; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 294.
2. Ansar-Helpers: those of the Madinan Companions who had the migrants from Makkah to stay in their houses. (Tr.)
3. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 292; al-Haythami, al-Majma’ al-Zawa’id vii, 303; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 33; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 604.
4. Bukhari, Sharika 1; Jihad 123; Muslim, Iman 44, 45; Musnad iii, 11, 418.
5. Bukhari, Hiba 28; At’ima 6; Muslim, Ashriba 175; Musnad i, 197, 198; al-Sa’ati, al-Fath al-Rabbani xx, 55.
6. Bukhari, Maghazi 29; Muslim, Ashriba 141; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak iii, 31; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 290; Suyuti, Kanz al-‘Ummal xii, 409, 424.
7. Bukhari, At’ima 6, 48; Muslim, Ashriba 142, 143; Musnad iii, 218; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 291, 297; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak iii, 31.
8. Muslim, Fada’il 3 No: 2281; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa vi, 114.
9. Tirmidhi (Tahqiq: Ahmad Shakir) no: 2629; Abu Da’ud, Muqaddima 9; Musnad v, 12, 18; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak ii, 618.
10. The People of the Bench: those among the Makkan migrants (Muhajirun) who lived in the outer part of the Mosque, who devoted their lives to the preservation and dissemination of the Qur’an, Sunna, and Hadith, and whose livelihood was provided by the Prophet (PBUH). (Tr.)
11. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 293; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 606; al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id viii, 308; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa vi, 101.
12. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 293; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 607; al-Khafaji, Sharh al-Shifa’ iii, 36; al-Haythami, Majma’ al-Zawa’id viii, 302-3; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Fada’il al-Sahaba (Tahqiq: Vasiyyullah) 1220; Musnad i, 159.
13. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 297; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 613; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa iii, 160.
14. Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 294; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 608; Ibn Hajar al-‘Asqalani, al-Matalib al-‘Aliya iv, 73 no: 4001.
15. al-Sa’ati, al-Fath al-Rabbani xx, 85; Musnad v, 445; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 294; ^Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’ i, 609; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa v, 365.
16. Bukhari, Vasaya 36; Buyu’ 51; Sulh 13; Istiqrad 18; Nasa’i, Vasaya 3, 4; Musnad iii, 313, 365, 373, 391, 395, 398; Ibn Hibban, Sahih viii, 167; al-Sa’ati, al-Fath al-Rabbani xx, 60; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 295.
17. Tirmidhi, Manaqib 47 no: 3839; Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa vi, 110 (through various lines of transmission); Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 295; al-Sa’ati, al-Fath al-Rabbani xx, 56; Tabrizi, Mishkat al-Masabih iii, 191 no: 5933.
18. Bukhari, Riqaq 17; Tirmidhi, Sifat al-Qiyama 36 no: 2477; Musnad ii, 515; Tirmidhi (Tahqiq: Ahmad Shakir) no: 2479; al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak iii, 15; Qadi Iyad, al-Shifa’ i, 296.
19. Bukhari, ‘Ilm 39; Jana’iz 33; Anbiya’ 50; Adab 109; Muslim, Zuhd 72; Abu Da’ud, ‘Ilm 4; Tirmidhi, Fitan 70; ‘Ilm 8, 13; Tafsir 1; Manaqib 19; Ibn Maja, Muqaddima 4; Darimi, Muqaddima 25, 46; Musnad i, 70, 78.
- Eleventh Sign: Eleventh Sign: It indicates how non-living beings like rocks and mountains demonstrated prophetic miracles.
- Ninth Sign: It is about miracles of the Prophet (pbuh) related to trees. It narrates the miracles about trees obeying the Prophet’s orders like human beings, and moving from their places to go to him.
- The Third Kind is some wondrous events that occurred at the time of the birth of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh).
- Thirteenth Sign: It narrates the miracles of the Prophet (pbuh) about healing the sick and the wounded.
- First Branch explains how the animal species recognized and approved the Prophet (pbuh) as a miracle.
- Fourteenth Sign: It mentions the miracles that became manifest as a result of the Prophet’s prayers.
- Second Branch explains how the dead bodies, jinn and angels recognized and approved the Prophet (pbuh).
- Third Branch is a great miracle about the protection and preservation of the Prophet by Allah.
- Sixth Sign: It includes the miracles of Hz. Muhammad (pbuh) about the future and an answer to a question about the Shi‘a’s love for Hz. Ali.
- Twelfth Sign: It narrates three miracles that are related to the Eleventh Sign and that are of great importance.