What are the differences between miracles and wonder-works (Kearamaths)?
Submitted by on Mon, 04/01/2010 - 23:09
Dear Brother / Sister,
Miracles, which are wonder-works, have got two main characteristics. One of them is “challenge” and the other one is “excelling” the deniers. Scholars from the followers of Sunnah have described miracles with various expressions taking the characteristics and conditions which distinguish miracles from other wonder-works such as kaeramath (wonder-works displayed by saints or dervishes) into consideration. The most appropriate and the clearest of themse is as follows: Miracle is a supernatural and metaphysical event which Allah shows through prophets and which deniers cannot excel, in order to prove that the prophets, who claim their prophethood of His prophet whocy and challenge deniers is, right. (at-Taftazani, Sharhul-Aqaid an-Nasafiyya; Cairo 1939, p. 459–460; For another description see: al-Jurjani, Sharhu'l-Mawaqif, III,177; al-Jaziri, Tavdihu'l-Aqaid, 140).
As it can be deduced from thatis description, miracle is an act by Allah. Allah is the one who creates the miracle for prophets and displays it. Displaying through someone who claims to be a prophet and challenge deniers such a great miracle which excels deniers is meant to prove and approve of his prophethoodcy. In fact, a prophet’s show of miracle means “My slave is right to claim prophethoodprophecy, both his prophethoodprophecy and the messages he delivers are true”. The conditions of “claiming prophethoodprophecy” and “challenging” mentioned in the description distinguish miracles from similar events called kaeramath which are done by saints and dervishes who are the loyal slaves to Allah. Saints and dervishes who are the friends to of Allah do not claim prophethoodprophecy or challenge people. The kearamahts they display are considered to be a kind of miracle belonging to the prophets whom they follow (Jalal-ad-Dawvani, Sharh-al Akqaid-el Adudiyyah, II, 277).
A miracle has to meet some conditions in order to be accepted as true.
1. A miracle has to be an act by Allah the Glorious, because Allah is fail-i mukhtar, which means “He creates whatever he likes”. He only confirms the reality of an act created by Himself. For instance, the acts such as turning the stick of Prophet Moses’ into a snake and that Prophet Jesus the resuscitation of ed a dead person by Prophet Jesus are willed and created by Allah the Glorious. Attributing themse to prophets is a metaphor.
2. A miracle has to be supernatural and metaphysical. Only when it is so it can it deserve to be approved by Allah. There is not a wonder in events which occur according to natural laws and usual system of the Universe, such as sunrise.
3. A miracle has to be impossible to be denied. This is because, its feature of concision shows how weak those deniers are and silence them.
4. A miracle has to be displayed by a person who claims prophethoodprophecy, as an evidence to prove his prophethoodcy.
5. The miracle being displayed has to fit the prophet’s claim, that ’is to say; it has to fit what he announces that he is going to do. If he shows something else which does not fit his claim, this it is not considered to be a miracle.
6. The miracle which heto be displayed in accordance with his claim should not contradict him and should not prove him wrong.
7. A miracle should not be before or after the claim; it must occur right after the prophets’ claims (al-Jurjani, Sharh’al-Mawakqif, III, 177-179).
Wonder-works which occur before the claim of prophethoodcy despite of the last condition of a miracle are considered to be a kind of kearamaht like those of saints and dervishes, although they are not considered to be miracles. Prophets are friends to of Allah like dervishes before they are given prophethoodcy. Wonderful events, which occur as the prophethoodcy approaches, are called “ihras”. Those are some wonders shown by would-be-prophets in order to establish the prophethoodcy to come.
Differences Between Miracles and Wonder-Works (Kearamaths)
The most significant differences are as listed below:
1. A miracle is done only by eminent people, dear slaves of Allah who are honored with prophethoodcy and in accordance with their claims. Thoese conditions cannot be found in other wonder-works.
2. A miracle is usually shown or happens because people want it. During this miracle, people are challenged by saying: “Do something similar to this” and people know they are weak because they cannot do it. Saints and who have other kinds of wonder-works do not challenge.
3. Prophets who display miracles set an example of morals and virtues because they have all moral and virtuous values. Even this state of them can be considered to be evidence to their prophethoodcy. For this reason, those who do not have prophetical features cannot display miracles. (For more information see: Ssharh’al-Maewakqif, III, 177-181; Sharh’al-Maqkasid, II, 130-135; Islam’da Iman ve Esaslari 204-220).
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