The world was flooded yet the ark of Nuh survived. Today the world is flooded with darkness, yet the ark of Sunnah is here for us to survive.
Ibrahim was thrown into a raging gigantic fire that could be seen —and its heat felt— from miles away, yet the fire didn’t harm him. Rather it comforted him.
Musa was in the tightest of situations. Pharaoh and his army were advancing from the back and the raging expanse of the Red Sea loomed in the front. The Red Sea parts to make way for him. What became a path of safety for him and his followers became a death warrant for Pharaoh and his followers.
The sun stopped in its tracks so Yusha could conquer Bait Al Maqdis.
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Isa himself is a walking miracle. He was given the ability to cure the blind and dead. Sad that today most of those who claim to follow him are blinded to his true teachings and their hearts have died. He was further raised to the heavens very much alive, away from any kind of harm.
Lastly,, we reach our very own Prophet ﷺ:
Blessed were his hands that Allah made by them water to flow in abundance and food to multiply so that thirst was quenched and hunger could be satisfied.
Blessed was his tongue on which Allah revealed His revelation to quench the thirst of our souls and the hunger for guidance to be satisfied. His saliva was a cure, his sweat greater than any perfume. By the permission of Allah, the very moon split at his pointing and storms engulfed enemies at his throw. His people were sarcastic at his claim of travelling from Makkah to Jerusalem during one Night. Wait till they hear that he traveled from Palestine to the Heavens in all its might!
Sorry for getting a bit dramatic there but reading the Seerah just pumps you up. An interesting point to note here is Imam Shafi’i’s observation:
“For every miracle Allah gave to the other prophets, He gave Prophet Muhammad a similar or a greater miracle.”
Just goes to show the immense status of our Nabi ﷺ, Imam of the Prophets.
I would like to raise two points here with regards to these miracles:
- Tawakkul(Complete Reliance on Allah alone)
Do you see any kind of pattern emerge when we read about the miracles of the Prophets? In the tightest of situations what always helped, and what was always the go-to answer for all the prophets throughout was their utmost and complete reliance on Allah. It didn’t matter what the people said or what impossible force stood in their way; they went on with their task for the sake of Allah. This does not mean that they never felt scared, anxious or even depressed.
Read Surah al-Duha and your heart will warm up as though it’s filled directly from the spring of al–Kauthar. Rather what helped all these prophets and their righteous companions again and again was the mindset that no matter what, Allah’s power is greater than all. Whatever Allah has decreed will come to pass and NO ONE can change it. Anything and everything is at the command of Allah. He says, “Be!” and it is. The impossible becomes possible.
ALL of this being said, we must focus on the crux of the matter. Allah says in Surah Yunus:
“Say, ‘I possess not for myself any harm or benefit except what Allah should will. For every nation is a [specified] term [of existence]. When their time has come, then they will not remain behind an hour, nor will they precede [it].’” [Surah Yunus, 10:49].
Allah also says in the sixth sûrah:
Say, [O Muhammad], “I do not tell you that I have the depositories [containing the provision] of Allah or that I know the unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.” Say, “Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Then will you not give thought?” [Surah al-‘An‘âm, 6:50]
- How Do We Benefit?
The prophets of Allah were given many miracles of which a few are mentioned above. We further read that the close friends of Allah (His true servants) are also given miracles, but of a lower degree.
The difference here is that a miracle is called a Mu’jizah which is exclusive to prophets. The Arabic word for miracle is mu’jizah —meaning something unique that cannot be resisted. The miracles granted to the prophets were not only unique, they were also pertinent and understandable to the people to whom they were sent. When they saw a miracle they knew that it could not have been performed by an ordinary man.
Karamah (plural: karamât) on the other hand is the lower level miracle that is brought about at the hands of a believer who obeys Allah. A karamah usually only benefits the one to whom it is given. This is something that we can all aspire to reach. Some scholars even say that we can make du’a to Allah specifically, so he grants us the ability to reach this level.
A side note but something really important is that today we have many people duping Muslims by doing something and claiming it to be a karamah. A simple litmus solution is to check out the person. Why? Because such miracles occur at the hand of a true believer, who is the best of people in knowledge, deeds and attitude, whereas witchcraft and its likes occur at the hand of the practitioner of witchcraft, who is the worst of people in knowledge, deeds and attitude. If this so-called miracle is involved in doing or asking for anything to be done which contradicts the Shari’ah, then it’s not a karamah. Run very, very far away from such people.
So many stories and anecdotes are narrated by the scholars in their books. However, we must bear in mind that many of the stories that have been narrated in this regard may not be sound, so it is essential to verify reports of this nature before taking them seriously or quoting them.
It was narrated that Qays ibn Abi Hâzim said: I saw Khalid ibn al-Walîd in Hîrah. Some poison was brought to him and he said: What is this? They said: Poison that kills in a very short time. He said: Bismillah, then he swallowed it and nothing bad happened to him.
(Sharh Usûl I‘tiqâd Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jamâ‘ah, 6/498; al-Bidâyah wa al-Nihâyah, 6/382) (DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME)
There are many such stories in the books of the scholars that deal with biographies and stories of the Salaf, such as Al-Zuhd by Imam Ahmad; Hilyat al-Awliya’ by Abu Na‘îm al-Asbahâni; Siyar A‘lâm al-Nubala’ by Imam al-Dhahabi; al-Bidâyah wa al-Nihâyah by Imam Ibn Kathîr, and many others. But some of these stories are not authentic and some are exaggerated, especially the stories told by the Sufis in their books about their sheikhs.
Having read about so so many of these incidents, be it as kids or even today the thought, “Man, I wish I could do something like that too” would have crossed our minds at least once. Right? What if I said we can do something like that? Interesting?
Sheikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah has made a profound statement: “The greatest of the saintly miracles is to be given the grace to be upright on the straight path.”
That is, upon loving obedience to Allah. There is no honour that Allah bestows on any of His slaves that can match the honour of being helped by Him to do that which He loves, and which pleases Him, and to do more of that which will bring that slave closer to Him and raise him in status.
If you focus on the last word, there – Istiqamah – that is the KEY. Our beloved Prophetﷺ told us,
“Say: ‘I believe in Allah,’ and then stand firm and steadfast.” [Muslim]
The literal meaning of Istiqamah is to go straight into the right direction, acting rightly, allowing no deviation. It is derived from the stem Qiyyam, which implies the continuity of doing something, following up with it and making sure that it is done in the right way and that there is neither deviation nor swerving. This entails fulfilling obligations, avoiding prohibitions, and not giving in to sinful desires.
According to Imam Ibn Qayyim, there are five conditions to achieving Istiqamah:
- The act should be done for the sake of Allah alone
- Doing it based of knowledge
- Performing worship should be in the same manner that it has been commanded
- Doing it in the best way possible
- Restricting oneself to what is lawful while performing those deeds
Allah revealed to our Nabi ﷺ
So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do. [Surah Hud, 11:112]
Ibn Abbas said that this verse was the hardest and most difficult verse of the Quran on the Prophet ﷺ. Being steadfast is not something we can achieve overnight, it takes time to reach that level. We will fail and make mistakes for we are human, but at the end even that struggle is worth it because Allah is the Best of Judges and sees all our efforts. Just ponder on the fact that we recite Surah al-Fatihah at least seventeen times each day seeking continuous guidance to the Straight Path from Allah.
Furthermore, coming closer to Allah is a source of increasing one in provision. Not just here but also in the hereafter. Allah says in the Quran:
And whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him – He will make for him a way out (of every difficulty). And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. [Surah al-Talaq, 65:2-3]
Conversely, sin brings poverty. A person may be deprived of provision because of sins that he commits. Nothing brings provision like doing acts of obedience and avoiding sins. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim said,
“The things that spoil and cancel out good deeds are too many to list. What matters is not the deed; what matters is protecting the deed from that which would spoil it and cancel it out.” [Al-Wabil al-Sayyib (p.20)]
We have all read about the Battle of Badr and how Allah sent down an army to help the believers against a force more than triple their numbers. My teacher, Sheikh Sajid Umar, during an explanation of the Names of Allah, emphasized that even today, if we were to have our intentions sincere and to work solely to please Allah, then —no matter what gigantic problem obstructs our path— Allah will send down His (angels) to help us.
Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah” and then remained on a right course – the angels will descend upon them, [saying], “Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised. We [angels] were your allies in worldly life and [are so] in the Hereafter. And you will have therein whatever your souls desire, and you will have therein whatever you request [or wish]. As accommodation from a [Lord who is] Forgiving and Merciful.” [Surah Fussilat, 41:30-32]
We have a crazy amount of potential that we can achieve. It does not do just to read about these incidents and miracles and treat them as mere stories. No, they have been narrated to us for a reason. We can achieve something similar even today. Let’s not brush it aside, thinking that only they could do such amazing things because they were so much closer to Allah, or thinking that the stories are merely heroic legends, or what not.
We, too, can attain great favours from the never-diminishing bounty of Allah. All that matters is our complete servitude to Allah. So, aim higher, work harder and have utmost faith in Allah. Mountains will turn to dust. He who turns to Allah – Allah will aid him, for Allah doesn’t like that his slave raises his hands for help and be left empty-handed.
Today the world is flooded with darkness, yet the ark of Sunnah is here for us to survive. Today the fire of ignorance is raging hot, but the words of Allah are here to comfort us. How little has Allah asked from us and in return offers Jannah. Have complete faith in Allah and He will split asunder all your problems. Never declare anyone to be lost for eternity when Allah can give birth to guidance in his heart. The sun and the moon illuminate us with their light. The words of Allah illuminate our hearts with light.
Is it not time to ponder on the immense bounty and blessings from Allah!