Did the Prophet (ﷺ) perform miracles?

Scholars have counted the miracles of the Prophet (ﷺ) in thousands.[1] However, there are some who deny the narrations where the miracles are mentioned because they state that they contradict the Qur’an and the Hadith.[2] They state that it is Imam Bukhari’s criteria to judge the authenticity of a Hadith to match it against the Qur’an and if it contradicts, the Hadith should be rejected and based on this principle, they claim that the act of performing miracles by the Prophet (ﷺ) contradicts the Qur’an and the statement of the Prophet (ﷺ) himself:

مَا مِنَ الأَنْبِيَاءِ نَبِيٌّ إِلاَّ أُعْطِيَ مِنَ الآيَاتِ مَا مِثْلُهُ أُومِنَ ـ أَوْ آمَنَ ـ عَلَيْهِ الْبَشَرُ، وَإِنَّمَا كَانَ الَّذِي أُوتِيتُ وَحْيًا أَوْحَاهُ اللَّهُ إِلَىَّ، فَأَرْجُو أَنِّي أَكْثَرُهُمْ تَابِعًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “There was no prophet among the prophets but was given miracles because of which people had security or had belief, but what I was given was the Divine Inspiration which Allah revealed to me. So I hope that my followers will be more than those of any other prophet on the Day of Resurrection.”[3]

The statement of the Prophet (ﷺ) does not say that he was not given a miracle at all; what it states is that as a proof, other prophets were given miracles and proof of his prophethood is the Divine Inspiration i.e. the Qur’an. The other countless miracles through the blessed Prophet (ﷺ) did not have the main aim of convincing the people; they were mostly done based on the need of that time and in front of people who already believed. For example, when the food for a couple of people multiplied and hundreds ate from it, it was not solely intended to increase the belief of those eating it but the primary purpose behind it was to fill the stomachs suffering from hunger.

Secondly, the Hadith quoted above has been understood incorrectly in more ways than one by those who claim that the Prophet (ﷺ) did not have any miracle. The Hadith states that all prophets (including the Prophet (ﷺ)) were given miracles and when the Prophet (ﷺ) says ‘but what I was given’, there is an emphasis on these words indicating that he had been given miracles as well and in addition (emphasis) what he had been given (extra) was the Qur’an.

Statements in the Qur’an such as the following are also misunderstood by some. Let us discuss some of the verses in the Qur’an which have been misunderstood to arrive at the faulty conclusion that the Prophet (ﷺ) was not given any miracles:

سُبْحَـنَ رَبِّى هَلْ كُنتُ إَلاَّ بَشَرًا رَّسُولاً

Exalted is my Lord! Was I ever but a human messenger?[4]

The disbelievers would ask the Prophet (ﷺ) of miracles as if he claimed to be god himself and Allah instructed him to proclaim these words to them. A miracle is never performed by a human being but it is performed by Allah through that human. When someone would misunderstand the concept of prophethood and demand something that is not Islamic, he would not get it; it is as simple as that. Let us continue with more misunderstood verses:

وَمَا مَنَعَ النَّاسَ أَن يُؤْمِنُواْ إِذْ جَآءَهُمُ الْهُدَى إِلاَّ أَن قَالُواْ أَبَعَثَ اللَّهُ بَشَرًا رَّسُولاً – قُل لَوْ كَانَ فِى الاٌّرْضِ مَلَـئِكَةٌ يَمْشُونَ مُطْمَئِنِّينَ لَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ مَلَكًا رَّسُولاً

And what prevented the people from believing when guidance came to them except that they said, “Has Allah sent a human messenger?” Say, “If there were upon the earth angels walking securely, We would have sent down to them from the heaven an angel [as a] messenger.”[5]

وَقَالُواْ مَا لِهَـذَا الرَّسُولِ يَأْكُلُ الطَّعَامَ وَيَمْشِى فِى الاٌّسْوَاقِ لَوْلا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْهِ مَلَكٌ فَيَكُونَ مَعَهُ نَذِيراً – أَوْ يُلْقَى إِلَيْهِ كَنْزٌ أَوْ تَكُونُ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهَا وَقَالَ الظَّـلِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ رَجُلاً مَّسْحُوراً

And they say, “What is this messenger that eats food and walks in the markets? Why was there not sent down to him an angel so he would be with him a warner? Or [why is not] a treasure presented to him [from heaven], or does he [not] have a garden from which he eats?” And the wrongdoers say, “You follow not but a man affected by magic.”[6]

The Quran teaches that all of God’s Prophets and Messengers to the humans have been human. That is because they are not only delivering a message, but their life is also a practical example of how to follow and implement that message. This makes sense. If one human can do it, then at least in theory the rest of us can too! If the messenger for all of us was an angel, then we’d all be making lots of excuses about how we couldn’t possibly be like an angel since it’s easy for them to be, well, so angelic![7]

Based on the following verses, it is argued: Common sense dictates that no one would deny and call a man who performs such mighty miracles a “mad man” or “possessed”. But the people who knew him actually called him by these names.

قُلْ إِنَّمَآ أَعِظُكُمْ بِوَحِدَةٍ أَن تَقُومُواْ لِلَّهِ مَثْنَى وَفُرَادَى ثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُواْ مَا بِصَـحِبِكُمْ مِّن جِنَّةٍ إِنْ هُوَ إِلاَّ نَذِيرٌ لَّكُمْ بَيْنَ يَدَىْ عَذَابٍ شَدِيدٍ

Say, “I only advise you of one [thing] – that you stand for Allah, [seeking truth] in pairs and individually, and then give thought.” There is not in your companion any madness. He is only a warner to you before a severe punishment.[8]

وَمَا صَـحِبُكُمْ بِمَجْنُونٍ

And your companion is not [at all] mad.[9]

أَوْ يُلْقَى إِلَيْهِ كَنْزٌ أَوْ تَكُونُ لَهُ جَنَّةٌ يَأْكُلُ مِنْهَا وَقَالَ الظَّـلِمُونَ إِن تَتَّبِعُونَ إِلاَّ رَجُلاً مَّسْحُوراً

Or [why is not] a treasure presented to him [from heaven], or does he [not] have a garden from which he eats?” And the wrongdoers say, “You follow not but a man affected by magic.”[10]

The manufactured common sense behind these verses is that since he was called madman or possessed, it must be because he did not perform miracles; otherwise, no one would deny such a man. If this was the case, then previous nations would not have killed messengers sent to them who openly brought miracles to them. An atheist denying those miracles is a separate thing but the fact remains that those prophets brought things which were unexplainable by those who sought to kill them.

Secondly, the Prophet (ﷺ) was not just labelled a madman by the disbelievers but had also been called a magician[11], in addition to other insulting names.

Thirdly, when someone labels another, it is because of something in return. When they termed the Prophet (ﷺ) a magician, it was as a response to the miracles he presented to them; when they called him a madman, it was due to the great speech and mighty words, and details and warnings about the afterlife and so on. Therefore, to say that since he was called a madman, he did not perform any miracles is simply absurd, to say the least.

Fourthly, the context of these verses clarify the reason behind calling him a madman. It was the miracle of heavenly ascension of the Prophet (ﷺ) to which the disbelievers called him a madman (ref. 81:23). The 46th verse of the 34th chapter is also self-explanatory; as a response to the guidance and warnings from the Prophet (ﷺ), the disbelievers called him a madman.

Based on the following verses, it is claimed: No one would demand him miracles if he had already performed one:

لَّوْ مَا تَأْتِينَا بِالْمَلَـئِكَةِ إِن كُنتَ مِنَ الصَّـدِقِينَ – مَا نُنَزِّلُ الْمَلَـئِكَةَ إِلاَّ بِالحَقِّ وَمَا كَانُواْ إِذًا مُّنظَرِينَ

Why do you not bring us the angels, if you should be among the truthful?” We do not send down the angels except with truth; and the disbelievers would not then be reprieved.[12]

وَيَقُولُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لَوْلا أُنزِلَ عَلَيْهِ آيَةٌ مِّن رَّبِّهِ إِنَّمَآ أَنتَ مُنذِرٌ وَلِكُلِّ قَوْمٍ هَادٍ

And those who disbelieved say, “Why has a sign not been sent down to him from his Lord?” You are only a warner, and for every people is a guide.[13]

As we have seen, the disbelievers called the Prophet (ﷺ) a magician in response to the miracles he brought with him. It was a habit of the disbelievers to explain away the miracles as magic. Allah Almighty met their demand of showing them a miracle but when they continued to reject and ask over and over again, their unnecessary demands were rejected. This was so because they had no intent on believing in them and would simply brush aside such events as magic. They would reject the miracle as magic and demand more so much that they demanded to see the angels.

فَإِن كَذَّبُوكَ فَقَدْ كُذِّبَ رُسُلٌ مِّن قَبْلِكَ جَآءُوا بِالْبَيِّنَـتِ وَالزُّبُرِ وَالْكِتَـبِ الْمُنِيرِ

Then if they deny you, [O Muhammad] – so were messengers denied before you, who brought clear proofs and written ordinances and the enlightening Scripture.[14]

This verse has been separately discussed: Does the Qur’an err in 3:183?

The miracles of the Prophet (ﷺ) narrated in the books of Hadith are true and they do not contradict the Qur’an or other Ahadith.

Indeed, Allah knows the best.

Related reading: Why doesn’t Allah show signs to the disbelievers as and when requested?

References and Footnotes:

[1] Miracles of the Prophet (ﷺ); some examples [1][2]

[2] Muhammad (ﷺ)’s Miracles

[3] Sahih al-Bukhari, book 96, Hadith 7

[4] Qur’an 17:93

[5] Qur’an 17:94-95

[6] Qur’an 25:7-8

[7] The Man in the Red Underpants

[8] Qur’an 34:46

[9] Qur’an 81:22

[10] Qur’an 25:8

[11] And they wonder that there has come to them a warner from among themselves. And the disbelievers say, “This is a magician and a liar. [Qur’an 38:4]

[12] Qur’an 15:7-8

[13] Qur’an 13:7

[14] Qur’an 3:184

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2 thoughts on “Did the Prophet (ﷺ) perform miracles?

  1. Pingback: False contradiction # 1 : No Miracles performed by Muhammad – Answering Hadeeth Rejectors

  2. Pingback: ‘The People vs Muhammad – Psychological Analysis’ Refuted | Qur'anic misconceptions addressed

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