Monday, April 26, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic perspective in brief:

Part 5 – Continued….

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

Karamaat of Awliya-Allah are true:
Believing in miracles of the Messengers of Allah, the prophets, and the Awliya-Allah is among the fundamentals of the people of Sunnah and the community. This is evident from the Holy Quran, the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam), reports from the Sahaba, and the overwhelming majority of the Sunni scholars and the Sufi Shaykhs.

According to the Islamic scholars, only the people of Bidah (innovations) and deviation and those of weak faith in Allah’s attributes and actions deny the miracles of Awliya-Allah. Those who don’t believe that Allah has given the power of disposition and effectiveness to His awliya, about such people the scholars of Ahle Sunnat had anticipated them by way of a Karamat and refuted them before hand by giving a fit reply. Such scholars included ibn al-Arabi and his successor Sadrudin Qunawi, Jalaludin Rumi and Ahmad al-Badawi among many others.

The Holy Qur’an establishes the fact that miracles are also vouchsafed to people other than the prophets, in which case they are called Karamaat. Let’s see some of the very well-known Quranic examples of Karamaat:

Regarding Mary, mother of Jesus:

Whenever Zachariah went into the sanctuary where she was, he found that she had food. He said: O Mary! Whence cometh unto thee this (food) ? She answered: It is from Allah. Allah giveth without stint to whom He will. (Qur’an: 3:37) and

Regarding the People of the Cave and the Dog:
Or deemest thou that the People of the Cave and the Inscription are a wonder among Our portents ? When the young men fled for refuge to the Cave and said: Our Lord! Give us mercy from Thy presence, and shape for us right conduct in our plight. Then We sealed up their hearing in the Cave for a number of years. And afterward We raised them up that We might know which of the two parties would best calculate the time that they had tarried. (18:9-12)

And thou mightest have seen the sun when it rose move away from their cave to the right, and when it set go past them on the left, and they were in the cleft thereof. That was (one) of the portents of Allah. (18:17)

Regarding the one with the knowledge of the scripture: (Asif Barkhiya)
One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: I will bring it thee before thy gaze returneth unto thee. And when he saw it set in his presence. (Qur’an: 27:40).

Now, Mary (Maryam a.s.) is not an apostle. Owing to her piety and devotion, Allah raised her in rank as one of the best women.  Her story in the Holy Quran is one of the best stories ever told. The entire Chapter is devoted to her - something that is not found even in the Christian Bible.  In fact she was very young and miraculously pregnant with child Jesus. When the pangs of parturition drove her to the palm tree the miraculous child told her: And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee. (Qur’an: 19:25). He also told her that “Thy Lord has placed a rivulet beneath thee.”(19:24) Zakariya a.s. (Zachariah) had taken charge of her. Whenever Zakariya (a.s.) went into the sanctuary (Hujra) where she was, he found her with provisions. In fact, in summer he saw her with the winter fruit, such as culms of corn, and in winter he saw that she had summer fruit, such as the grapes. When he asked her from where did she get it, she answered that Allah sends this from Paradise and that Jibrail (a.s.) (Gabriel) brought it to her.

As for the People of the Cave, they were in the cave for 309 years. The cave was an open-ended one so that the sunlight could come both at sunrise and sunset. But Allah commanded the sun to change its path so that the the men did not feel the heat of the sun. Shaykul Islam Dr. Tahir al-Qadri explains that if someone says that the course of the sun was natural, the answer to that would be then there was no need for Allah to mention it in the Holy Qur’an. This was the sign of Allah (Ayatillah), just as Mary’s conception as well as the She-camel of Allah were far from the natural process. According to him, Imam Nasafi is an authority and he says in Tafseer Nasafi that the sun used to bend one side. Moreover, there was also a dog outside the cave for all those years. ‘Lahuti’ nutrition was provided for the Ashab. During their sleep, they used to change sides every six months. Even the dog correspondingly changed sides with them, stretching out his paw on the threshold. Imam Qurtubi in his Tafseer and Imam Razi in Tafseer al-Kabeer say that the dog did not belong to the ‘Ashab’. It had joined them on the way. The Ashab were hiding from the tyrant king and were afraid that the dog would bark and expose their hideout. They threw stones at it to drive it away. The dog prayed to Allah to give the power of speech which was granted. The dog asked them why did they hurl stones at him. They said: “You’ll bark!” The dog informed them that he was not a barking dog. The dog had “Muhabbat”, “Mutabiyat”, and “Isteqamat”. There was no change in their condition. So a speaker asked “How long have you tarried” (18:19). They had tarried in the Cave for 309 years (18:25).

As for the one with knowledge of the scripture, it was Asif bin Barkhiya, a righteous individual who had the knowledge of ‘Ism-e-Azam’ (Allah’s Greatest Names). When these are invoked in a supplication for something it is immediately granted . He said that he would bring the throne of Bilqis (the queen of Sheba) before the glance of Solomon returned to him. The Afreet Jinn told Solomon to look up heaven-wards, which he did. As soon as the glance returned to the normal, i.e. in front of him, he found the throne of Bilqis. What had happened was, that as soon as Solomon looked upwards to heaven Asif bin Barkhiya, by invoking the Ism-e-Azam, supplicated to God that He bring it there. This was done when the throne travelled under the earth until it sprung up below Solomon’s seat. Allamah Sayyad Mahmood Alusi states that Shaykh al-Akbar said that Asif bin Barkhiya did ‘Tasarruf’ with the throne of Bilqis. He made the throne disappear from its location and appear before Sulaiman (a.s.) before anyone could realize it, except for Him who knows everything. Everything happened in a moment. Chronologically speaking, Asif bin Barkhiya performed only one action since the accomplished persons gain a state where their speech is granted immediate action by the announcement of “Kun” (Be!) by Allah.

Thus the Holy Qur’an bears testimony to the fact that not only Allah loves His Awliya, but He also creates whatever they want through them to honour them. The miracles of the saint too helps the religion of Allah - as happened with Bilqis who was the sun-worshipper but adopted the Abrahamaic religion after meeting Solomon.    

Shaykh al-Akbar, Ibn al- ‘Arabi explains the phenomenon of a miracle as of two types: Apparent (Hissi) and Spiritual (Ma’nawi). The first type is generally seen by the common people, such as flying through the air, walking on water, foretelling future events, traversing hundreds of kilometers in a step and so on. The second type of miracle can only be seen and perceived by special people it consists in controlling the carnal desires, adopting virtues through divine guidance, refraining from corrupt practices, and punctually practicing all the compulsory acts (Waajibaat).

According to Al-Aqidah al-Wasitiyah of ibn Taimiyya, Allah created supernatural acts through the Awliya in all aspects of life, revelations (Mukashafaat), power and impressions. This is known of ancient nations in Surat al-Kahf (Chapter 18 of the Holy Qur’an) and in other Quranic chapters, and is known of the early men of this Ummah amongst the Sahabas (Companions of the Prophet sallal laahu alaihi wassallam), and the Tabiian (Successors of Sahabas) and also among the rest of the generations of this Ummah. It will be with them till the Day of Resurrection.

In Majmu’a Fataawa, Ibn Taimiyaa says: It is said that after the Seal of Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) revelation does descend but it is not called so. Rather it is called as what the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) referred to as the “Light of God”. The believer sees with the Light of God. When the believer sees through the Light of God he sees all things – the First and the Last; the Present and the Absent. How can anything be concealed from God’s light? And, if something does appear concealed, then it is not the Light of God. Therefore, the meaning of revelation exists even if it is not called so. Further, according to him: What is considered as a saint’s miracle, is that sometimes the saint hears what others do not hear or sees something that others do not see – not while he is asleep, but in a wakened state of vision. He even knows things that others cannot know, through revelation or inspiration – not while he is asleep, but in a wakened state of vision. He even knows things that others cannot know through revelation or inspiration.

In a book published by al-Madani Publishing House, namely Mukhtasar al-Fatawa al-Misriyya, the statements of ibn Taimiyya are: The miracles of saints are absolutely true and correct, and the Muslim scholars have acknowledged it. The Qur’an has pointed to them at various places. The Hadiths of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) too point them. Whoever denies the miraculous powers of saints are either people of ‘Bidah’ (innovators) or those who follow the innovators.

Ibn Taimiyya said (Vol.11 p.313): Allah the Almighty unveils to his saints states that have never been unveiled before and He gives them support without measure. If that saint begins to speak from the things of the unseen – past, present or future – that constitutes miraculous knowledge. Therefore, we have to accept anything that a saint does, as coming from the unseen, for the people or listeners, of healing or teaching knowledge. According to ibn Taimiyya, we must thank Allah for the unveiling of the appearances.

Hazrat Shaykh Muhiyuddeen Abdul Qadir Jilani ® said in Discourse 9 of his Futuh al-ghayb: To awliya' and abdal (Substitute-saints) are disclosed such workings of Allah in the course of kashf and mushahada as overwhelm the reasoning power of man and shatter into pieces all habits and customs.

Nor is it impossible that some saints of the Prophet's Community, like the Prophet himself, do know the Unseen except for what Allah hides from them and reserves to others of His creatures -- such as angels -- or exclusively to Himself, according to His will.

Allamah Nasafi (d.1013 c.e.) has also said that the charismatic miracles of the Friends of Allah are true – “Karamaat al-Awliya haqqun”.

To continue…