Was the Prophet (pbuh) given any miracles? They say there is a verse in the Quran stating that he was not given a miracle.

Details of the Question

- The following is stated in a verse in the Quran: "And We refrain from sending the signs, only because the men of former generations treated them as false." Was the Prophet (pbuh) not given any miracles?

- It is stated in some articles that the Prophet (pbuh) was not given any miracles and this verse is presented as an evidence. Will you explain it?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The verses regarding the issue are as follows:

"And We refrain from sending the signs, only because the men of former generations treated them as false: We sent the she-camel to the Thamud to open their eyes, but they treated her wrongfully: We only send the Signs by way of terror (and warning from evil). Behold! We told thee that thy Lord doth encompass mankind round about: We granted the vision which We showed thee, but as a trial for men,- as also the Cursed Tree (mentioned) in the Qur´an: We put terror (and warning) into them, but it only increases their inordinate transgression." (al-Isra, 17/59-60)

Nothing prevented us from sending prophets with those signs (miracles) but the previous ones treated them as false.

Therefore, they were destroyed and eliminated completely. Signs that show Allah’s power are divided into three. Some of them encompass everything.

"There is a sign (of Allah) in everything that indicates His oneness." The thought of the scholars are in this verse. Some of them are usual signs like thunder and solar eclipse. The thought of the ignorant people are also in it. Some of them are extraordinary. The miracles of the prophets and the karamahs of saints are of this kind. There is a part among miracles that are demanded insistently and stubbornly; they are called "ayat al-muqtaraha". When they were shown, those who did not believe in the prophet were eliminated wholly by a wrath like the one sent to the nation of Thamud.

The preposition of "lam al-ahd" indicates "ayat al-muqtaraha" of that kind; it means the signs (miracles) that Qurayshi polytheists demanded stubbornly. As a matter of fact, it is expressed clearly in a verse later in the same chapter:  

"They say: ‘We shall not believe in thee, until thou cause a spring to gush forth for us from the earth.’" (al-Isra, 17/90)

However, we send those signs only to frighten people. O Muhammad! We do not send the verses to you in order to punish and to eliminate people, but to frighten them with the penalty in the hereafter. Therefore, the reason why the miracles they insistently demand are not sent is not because there is something that prevents Allah's power but because Allah does not want to send a wrath that will destroy all of them like the people of Thamud.

According to the narration from Ibn Abbas related to the reason for the revelation of this verse, the people of Makkah wanted Safa Hill to be transformed into gold and the mountains around Makkah to be removed so that it would be arable land. When the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) asked Allah to do it, Allah said,

"I will do it if you want. However, if they exit the religion, I will eliminate them wholly like the previous nations." Thereupon, the Messenger of Allah said, ‘O Lord! I do not want you to do it. I want patience.’ Thereupon, the verse in question was sent down. (Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 1,258; Tabari, ibid. XV,74, 75; Nasai, Hakim, Tabarani and other hadith scholars also narrated it.)

That is, what is mentioned in this verse is a miracle that will cause a wrath that will eliminate those who do not believe in the Prophet wholly like the people of Thamud.

After that, the following is stated so that a possibility like ‘they would probably not deny the Prophet after that’ would not come to mind: Remember! We told you that your Lord encompasses humanity. That is, He encompasses humanity with His knowledge.

"And it is your Lord that knoweth best all beings that are in the heavens and on earth..." (al-Isra, 17/55)

As it is stated in the verse above, He knows what is inside and outside everything, what is before and after everything. Therefore, Allah knows that they will not believe when the miracles that they demand are sent. He is the one that determines the deeds or qadar of everybody.

Thus, the summary of the meaning is as follows: We made the night of Isra a means of mischief and testing for the people who insistently demanded miracles though Isra is one of our greatest signs. They did not believe despite the extraordinary signs that were shown to them and denied them stubbornly. Therefore, as your Lord knows, it is understood through this test that they will deny any sign that will be shown to them.

We also made the tree damned in the Quran a means of testing for them. What is meant by that damned tree is the tree of Zaqqum (oleander) as it is narrated in Bukhari and other hadith books. The following is stated in the chapter of as-Saaffat:

"Is that the better entertainment or the Tree of Zaqqum? For We have truly made it (as) a trial for the wrong-doers. For it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-Fire: The shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils: Truly they will eat thereof and fill their bellies therewith. Then on top of that they will be given a mixture made of boiling water." (as-Saaffat, 37/62-67)

The following is stated in the chapter of ad-Dukhan:

"Verily the tree of ZaqqumWill be the food of the Sinful,- Like molten brass; it will boil in their insides. Like the boiling of scalding water." (ad-Dukhn, 44/43-46)

The following is stated in the chapter of al-Waqia:

"Then will ye truly,- O ye that go wrong, and treat (Truth) as Falsehood!- "Ye will surely taste of the Tree of Zaqqum. "Then will ye fill your insides therewith, "And drink Boiling Water on top of it." (al-Waqia, 56/51-54)

It is narrated that when those verses were sent down, Abu Jahl said, "Muhammad frightens you with a fire that will burn stones. Then, he says a tree will come out of that fire." Ibnuz-Ziba'ra said, "We know only dates and cream as zaqqum." Thereupon, Abu Jahl ordered his female slave to prepare dates and cream, and said to his friends, "Come on! Eat zaqqum." Thereupon, some people loved zaqqum and exited the religion of Islam.

Although they saw that an ostrich swallowed cinder and hot iron, and fire was hidden in a green tree, they denied that the power of Allah, who did them, could produce a tree from the bottom of Hell; thus, they despised the power of Allah and were deceived badly. Some more words were said about that damned tree but according to the most reliable and correct view, it is zaqqum tree. That it is mentioned like that at the end of this verse is a frightening warning pointing at the admiration of those stubborn people who denied Isra toward damnation. As a matter of fact, the following is stated: We put terror (and warning) into them, but it only increases their inordinate transgression.

(bk. Elmalılı Muhammed Hamdi Yazır, Kur'an-ı Kerim Tefsir)

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