The Prophet Muhammad and Miracles

 

Does the Quran deny he had miracles?

 

By Sami Zaatari

 

 

 

 

Missionary Sam Shamoun has come out with an article seeking to prove that the prophet Muhammad performed no miracles, to do this Shamoun claims that the Quran itself testifies to this, his article can be located here:

 

http://answering-islam.org/Responses/Azmy/mhd_miracles.htm

 

Before we refute his claims here are links that show several miracles performed by the prophet Muhammad:

 

http://muslim-responses.com/Prophet_Muhammads_Miracles/Prophet_Muhammads_Miracles_

&

http://muslim-responses.com/Miracles_of_prophet_Muhammad/Miracles_of_prophet_Muhammad_

 

With that said let us examine Shamoun's claims that the Quran claims that the blessed prophet Muhammad performed no miracles, Shamoun writes:

 

We present those citations here in order for our readers to see for themselves the Quran's outright denial that Muhammad was able to perform the miraculous. All quotations taken from A.J. Arberry, unless noted otherwise:

And they that know not say, 'Why does God not speak to us? Why does a sign (ayatun) not come to us?' So spoke those before them as these men say; their hearts are much alike. Yet We have made clear the signs (bayyanna al-ayati) unto a people who are sure. S. 2:118

 

RESPONSE

This verse does not say the prophet Muhammad had no miracles, in fact Shamoun is guilty of distorting what it actually does say, I shall quote the passage again this time highlighting the parts Shamoun conveniently left out:

002.118
YUSUFALI: Say those without knowledge: "Why speaketh not Allah unto us? or why cometh not unto us a Sign?" So said the people before them words of similar import. Their hearts are alike. We have indeed made clear the Signs unto any people who hold firmly to Faith (in their hearts).

The passage does not say the prophet had no miracles; the passage is quoting what the disbelievers are saying! Should we quote what the Jews said about Jesus and take it as the truth? The Jews called Jesus a fake, and called him a blasphemer etc so does that make it true because they made those claims?! Off course not, so why does Shamoun claim the prophet Muhammad had no miracles just because this was an accusation of disbelievers?

Secondly notice what the passage says, it explicitly states that the people of the past also used to say the same things to other prophets, the people of the past is referring to the Jews and Christians as Ibn Kathir writes:

Abu Al-`Aliyah, Ar-Rabi` bin Anas, Qatadah and As-Suddi said that it was actually the statement of the Arab disbelievers:

[ ]

(So said the people before them words of similar import. ) He said, "These are the Jews and the Christians.''

Shamoun conveniently ignored this part of the verse because he knew it shuts down his entire argument, these Arab pagans are no different than the previous peoples who had received prophets, just like the Jews the Arab pagans always looked for a miracle, and even when they got one they still rejected it and acted like they didn't receive one! In fact the Quran even testifies to this fact when it says:

006.124
YUSUFALI: When there comes to them a sign (from Allah), They say: "We shall not believe until we receive one (exactly) like those received by Allah's messengers." Allah knoweth best where (and how) to carry out His mission. Soon will the wicked be overtaken by humiliation before Allah, and a severe punishment, for all their plots.

So notice that even when Allah does grant them signs and miracles they still reject it! Instead of accepting the sign and miracle, they rather ask that they be given the same thing and if they are not then they will reject it and continue to disbelieve. Shamoun conveniently leaves all of this out, what he wants us to do is to accept the accusations of these very stubborn pagans who would not accept Islam no matter what they were given, and these are the very same people Shamoun is using as if they are credible people! Perhaps from now on we should quote the disbelieving Jews on what they thought about Jesus and his disciples and take our information from them, since this is exactly what Shamoun is doing.

But back to the verse Shamoun quoted, notice it says:

So said the people before them words of similar import

And as I showed this is referring to the Christians and Jews, Shamoun ignores this point, and the point is that the pagan claim is no different than the previous peoples, hence using Shamoun's logic all prophets never performed any miracles according to Islam because their people accused them of not doing so! In fact the Gospels also testify to this fact, that the Jews too used to always ask Jesus for a sign and would not believe in him until they were given one:

38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.  39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas (Matthew 12:38-39)

So this verse Shamoun quotes does not say the prophet Muhammad performed no miracles, it only QUOTES the pagans who are accusing him of performing no miracles, and the Quran clearly states that this is no different than previous peoples who were also given prophets. And the Quran clearly does show signs were given as I showed in surah 6:124.

Shamoun in his article goes on to quote three more verses which supposedly say the prophet Muhammad performed no miracles those verses being 6:37, 6:109, and 10:20. Yet all these verses do not say he had no miracles, all they show are pagans accusing him of performing no miracles, and we have already dealt with this issue.

Let us move on to another verse Shamoun quotes, this verse is not a quote of pagans accusing him performing no miracles, rather it says:

002.145
YUSUFALI: Even if thou wert to bring to the people of the Book all the Signs (together), they would not follow Thy Qibla; nor art thou going to follow their Qibla; nor indeed will they follow each other's Qibla. If thou after the knowledge hath reached thee, Wert to follow their (vain) desires,-then wert thou Indeed (clearly) in the wrong.

Where in the world does this verse say that the prophet Muhammad performed no miracles? The verse is talking about the stubbornness of the Jews, that no matter how many signs they would be given they would still not accept Islam, as Ibn Kathir writes:

Allah describes the Jews' disbelief, stubbornness and defiance of what they know of the truth of Allah's Messenger , that if the Prophet brought forward every proof to the truth of what he was sent with, they will never obey him or abandon following their desires. In another instance, Allah said:

[ - ]

(Truly, those, against whom the Word (wrath) of your Lord has been justified, will not believe. Even if every sign should come to them, until they see the painful torment.) (10:96, 97)

This is why Allah said here:

[ ]

(And even if you were to bring to the People of the Scripture (Jews and Christians) all the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.), they would not follow your Qiblah (prayer direction)).

So the verse is indicating the stubbornness of the Jews in rejecting the prophet Muhammad, that even if he gave them all the signs and miracles that they wanted they would still reject him, it does not say that no miracles and signs were given. Let us show how flimsy Shamoun's claims are, say I tell someone ?Even if I were to give this child many candies he will still not be happy with me' if I made that statement does it mean I have no candies? Off course not! So from where does Shamoun get the idea that when Allah says ?Even if thou wert to bring to the people of the Book all the Signs (together)' that this means he has no miracles? I have no idea.

Shamoun then goes on to quote another verse and goes on to make one of the silliest claims:

The unbelievers say, 'Why has a sign (ayatun) not been sent down upon him from his Lord?' Thou art ONLY a warner, and a guide to every people. S. 13:7

The foregoing text presupposes that Muhammad's only function was to warn people, not to perform miracles. After all, the statement "Thou art ONLY a warner" would make no sense if a warner could in fact perform wonders

RESPONSE

Shamoun's claim that being ONLY a warner means you perform no miracles is laughable! We ask Shamoun from where does he get such ideas, because I would really love to know. The verse is simply indicating the stubbornness of the pagans, that they are always asking for signs and wonders, but the prophet Muhammad's duty was not to simply make miracle after miracle, he was the last and final prophet and his duty was to warn the people of their fate had they not repented from their evil actions, his duty was not to go around performing hundreds of miracles a day to day to please these pagans and this is what the verse means.

Shamoun then goes on to quote and say:

Naught prevented Us from sending the signs (bial-ayati) but that the ancients cried lies to them; and We brought Thamood the She-camel visible, but they did her wrong. And We do not send the signs, except to frighten. S. 17:59

This last passage is one of the clearest proofs that Muhammad did absolutely no miracles whatsoever. The text says that Allah refrained from providing miracles, which would make no sense at all if Muhammad did indeed perform signs and wonders

RESPONSE

Shamoun is intentionally being deceptive here, he is not quoting the historical background and context of this passage! So therefore I shall do it for him, and once we do so it shall make this passage crystal clear:

The Reason why Allah did not send Signs or Miracles

Sa`id bin Jubayr said, "The idolators said: `O Muhammad, you claim that before you there were Prophets, among whom was one to whom the wind was subjugated, and another who could bring the dead back to life. If you want us to believe in you, ask your Lord to turn As-Safa' into gold for us.' Allah conveyed to him by inspiration (Wahy): `I have heard what they have said. If you wish, I will do what they say, but if they do not believe after that, the punishment will come down upon them, because after the sign has been sent, there is no room for speculation. Or if you wish, I will be patient with your people and give them more time.' He said:

(O Lord, give them more time.)'' This was also narrated by Qatadah, Ibn Jurayj and others. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said, "The people of Makkah asked the Prophet to turn As-Safa' into gold for them, and to remove the mountains (from around Makkah) so that they could cultivate the land. It was said to him (by Allah): `If you wish, I will be patient and give them more time, or if you wish, I will do what they are asking, but if they then disbelieve, they will be destroyed as the nations before them were destroyed.' He said,

ǡ

(No, be patient and give them more time.) Then Allah revealed:

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(And nothing stops Us from sending the Ayat but that the people of old denied them. ) An-Nasa'i also reported this from the Hadith of Jarir. Imam Ahmad recorded that Ibn `Abbas said: The Quraysh said to the Prophet , "Ask your Lord to turn As-Safa' into gold and we will believe in you.'' He said,

(Will you really do that) They said, "Yes.'' So he asked his Lord, and Jibril came to him and said: "Your Lord conveys His Salam to you and says, `If you wish, I will turn As-Safa' into gold for them, then whoever of them disbelieves after that, will be punished with a torment the like of which has never be seen in creation; or if you wish, I will open the gates of repentance and mercy for them.'''

This is what Shamoun ignored, the context of the verse and why it was revealed! As you can see, the pagans were asking for a mighty miracle, that the prophet Muhammad turn a mountain into gold, and that if he did so they would believe in him, Allah accepts this, however so there is a major condition, if the pagans still disbelieve after this then they would be given a very severe punishment that has not been done before, so therefore the prophet declined to perform the miracle in fear that the pagans would still not believe in him or his message which would mean their doom and destruction and the prophet did not want that hence he did not perform the miracle and hence the passage was revealed:

 Naught prevented Us from sending the signs (bial-ayati) but that the ancients cried lies to them; and We brought Thamood the She-camel visible, but they did her wrong. And We do not send the signs, except to frighten. S. 17:59

The miracle was not done in mercy of the pagans, because they would have been wiped out had the miracle been carried out because they still would have disbelieved. So please Shamoun stop being deceptive and painting false pictures, if you were an honest man and apologist you would have quoted all of this but rather you choose to ignore it hence setting up a false picture.

Shamoun then goes on to quote another passage:

They say, 'We will not believe thee till thou makest a spring to gush forth from the earth for us, or till thou possessest a garden of plants and vines, and thou makest rivers to gush forth abundantly all amongst it, or till thou makest heaven to fall, as thou assertest, on us in fragments, or thou bringest God and the angels as a surety, or till thou possessest a house of gold ornament, or till thou goest up into heaven; and we will not believe thy going up till thou bringest down on us a book that we may read. Say: 'Glory be to my Lord. Am I aught BUT A MORTAL, a Messenger?' S. 17:90-93

 

This verse does not say the prophet had no miracles, all it is showing is that he is a mere mortal man and that what the pagans are asking for is as if he is god to do all these things for them. Again Shamoun ignores the context of the passages, the context of the passages is showing the problems the pagans have with a MAN being sent as a messenger to them, they don't understand this and are too arrogant and ignorant to accept it, they want an angel or God himself to come down to them. Hence verses 90-93 are refuting them because they believe the prophet Muhammad should be some all powerful human being, that he should do all these mighty magnificent actions so they believe in him, yet Allah is telling them he is a mere man and is not some powerful all mighty being to do all these mighty actions, it does not mean he cant do it for if Allah wills he will allow the prophet to perform several mighty miracles which he did, all the verses are doing is to remove this preconceived idea that the pagans held in their brains that a messenger of God or a prophet of God is some mighty powerful being who is there to do all these mighty actions.

And we must not forget that having such a preconceived idea can be dangerous, because it then makes the man, the prophet, into some all powerful mighty divine being, and Allah here is clearly refuting any such ideas, because if these ideas are not refuted and dealt with they will continue to flourish and go out of control until they turn the man and prophet into God himself!

Finally, here is Shamoun's strongest argument (or so he thinks) when he writes:

Finally:

Not before this didst thou recite any Book, or inscribe it with thy right hand, for then those who follow falsehood would have doubted. Nay; rather it is signs, clear signs (ayatun bayyinatun) IN THE BREASTS of those who have been given knowledge; and none denies Our signs but the evildoers. They say, 'Why have signs (ayatun) not been sent down upon him from his Lord?' Say: 'The signs (al-ayatu) are only with God, and I am only a plain warner.' What, is it not SUFFICIENT for them that We have sent down upon thee the Book that is recited to them? Surely in that is a mercy, and a reminder to a people who believe. S. 29:48-51

This last one sounds the death knell for any Muslim who claims that Muhammad performed miracles. Muhammad presents the Quran as his only miracle, the one miracle he had which was sufficient to prove his prophethood.

RESPONSE

Well once again Shamoun fails in showing where the verse says that the prophet Muhammad performed no miracles. We have already addressed the parts of the prophet being called a warner only, so we don't have to repeat ourselves there. However so it is obvious that Shamoun's main point with these passages is because the verse says is not the Quran sufficient for them? As it says:

029.051
YUSUFALI: And is it not enough for them that we have sent down to thee the Book which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in it is Mercy and a Reminder to those who believe.

From where does Shamoun get the idea that this means this is the ONLY miracle? It seems Shamoun is very confused. All the verse is saying is the Quran not enough for you? What more can you possibly want, you keep asking for miracles and signs, yet isn't the Quran enough for you?! This is all it means, now how does that mean it is the only miracle I don't know, perhaps Shamoun can enlighten us there. The verse does not say we give you no miracles but the Quran, nor does it say you ask for signs and the Quran is THE ONLY SIGN, the verse says nothing like that, so Shamoun claiming this verse claims that the Quran is the only miracle is a lie and a distortion of what it actually says! Saying ?is this not enough?' is not saying ?this is all you get' so therefore Shamoun must go and learn common sense. Let us make an analogy that Shamoun will perhaps understand, say I go out with Bob, and Bob wants 10 double cheeseburgers and he wont be satisfied if he doesn't get it, but rather Bob has a triple chicken burger! So therefore I will tell him ?hey man isn't the triple chicken burger enough?! What more could you possibly want!'. Hopefully this simple analogy will be easy for Shamoun to get, the pagans kept asking for miracles and miracles, yet they had the best one right with them, and that is the Noble Quran, and as the Noble Quran says ?is this not enough?'.

In conclusion Shamoun has FAILED to show that the Quran denies that the blessed prophet Muhammad performed miracles, all Shamoun managed to do was distort, twist, and quote out of its proper context, and now that isn't very scholarly.

And Allah Knows Best!

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