Saturday, April 24, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles –Islamic Perspective in brief:
Part 4 - Continued.....

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

“His command when He desires a thing is just to say to it, ‘Be!’ and it is.” (Surah Ya Sin, 82)

Allah is the Real Doer, Causator and Creator of Miracles:

Now before we come to “Miracles” it is important to draw the attention of the uninitiated non-muslim readers that while in non-Islamic religions “miracles” are usually directly attributed to the human agency that seems to be the author, this is not so in Islam because human attribution is not allowed.

Imam Tahawi, who was one of the Salafs (not to be confused with modern Salafi sects), says: Nothing happens except what Allah wills. Everything happens according to His degree and will, and His will is accomplished. The only will that people have is what He wills for them. What He wills for them occurs and what He does not will, does not occur. Allah has been always the Creator and the originator and the Lord.

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Allah is the Creator of all things.” (Sûrah al-Zumar: 62 , and Sûrah al-Ra`d: 16). There are quite a few verses of this kind in the Holy Qur’an that says that it is Allah the Almighty who is the Creator, Real Doer, Author, Originator and Causator. This applies not only to the creation of the universe and creatures and all that is there, but also to day to day activities and occurrences and miracles. Everything takes place in the universe because of the decree of Allah. Therefore, the bottom-line is that while the miracles may be attributed, as the case may be, to prophets and the Awliya-Allah or a pious person, in our hearts we must always know and believe that it is Allah alone who is the Causator, Doer and Creator of Miracles. Therein remains our safety as far as the religion of Islam goes.

Hazrat Bayazid Bistami ® stated that ‘Maarifat’ (Gnosis) consists in knowing that without Allah’s permission no one has the least control of his kingdom. It is Allah who creates the ability to act and puts the will to act in the heart since the human actions are metaphorical and Allah is the Real Causator. It is only when Allah gives strength that we are able to carry on the spiritual exercises. Bishr al-Hafi ® whom even Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal used to consult, stated that an individual and his actions are created by Allah. Allah being the Provider, if He makes a creature the means of giving you sustenance, consider it that it has come from Allah and not the creature.

Before we come to the "Miracles" there is one more aspect to be understood about the miracles.  It is this:

Miracles are downplayed in Islam:

The Holy Qur’an sent down upon the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) is the greatest sign sent down to mankind. Generally, not much weightage is given to miracles. The Holy Qur’an says: And yet they say, “Why are signs not sent down upon him from his Lord? Say: “The signs are indeed with Allah, and I am but a clear warner.” (29:50).

Indeed, Awliya-Allah have also not attached much significance to miracles and marvels.

When the great saint of Mayhana, Hazrat Abu Sa’id Fazlullah ibn Abi’l Khayr ® (967-1049 c.e.) was told that so- and-so walks on water, he replied that it was easy since frogs and water-fowls do it.  When someone drew his attention that so-and-so flies through the air, he merely replied that so do the birds and insects.   Again, when someone told him that somebody goes from one town to another in a moment, he replied that things such as these are of no great value since even Satan travels from East to the West in a moment. According to him, the true saint eats and sleeps and has social intercourse with the people. He even marries and lives among them. He carries on buying and selling in the market. However, he never forgets Allah even for a single moment. It is true that some of them renounced worldly activities in order to worship Allah unhindered. However, that was nothing new since we have the example of Ashab us-Suffa (People of the Verandah), i.e. the Companions of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) who resided in the verandah of the Masjidun Nabawi and who were extremely poor, and about whom it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an: “Do not drive away those who call unto their Lord, at morn and eve, desiring His face” (6:52).   Despite their privations and sufferings, the Ahle Suffa were great lovers of Allah and His holy Messenger (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam).    It is significant to note that included among these are such famous names as Bilal ibn al-Rabah, Salman al-Farsi, Abu Dharr al-Ghiffari, Abdullah ibn-Masood, Abdullah ibn Umar, Abu Huraira, Muadh b. al-Haris and others (may Allah be pleased with them all), some of whom even attained martyrdom in several battles of nascent Islam.

When Hazrat Bahaudin Naqshbandi was asked about showing miraculous power, he said: “What more miraculous power do you want than that we are still walking on this earth with all these sins upon us and around us.” Hazrat Shihab ad-din Suhrawardi (d.632H/1234 c.e.) mentioned in his Awaarif Al-Ma’arif that “Marvels and Karamaat are of no value in comparision with the heart’s dhikr of Allah”.

Hazrat Bayazid Bistami ® says: I seek His Grace from the Bestower of Graces. I don’t seek miracles. He also said that if you see a person sitting cross-legged in the air, don’t be fooled by his act!  Observe his approach and attitude to the compulsory acts (Faraaiz, Waajibaat) and prohibited acts (Haraam, Makrooh Tahreemi) and detestable acts (Makrooh) and other restrictions and etiquettes of the Shariah. (Risalah Qushayriya)

Further, according to Imam Muhammad Mathum (d.1074H/1668 c.e.) of Sirhind, knowing Allah is more valuable than possessing Kashf and Karamah. The reason is that being a knower of Allah (Aarif Billah) entails the secret knowledge about Allah’s Essence and Attributes; while Karamah or marvels manifest secret knowledge about creatures. Awliya-Allah don’t want marvels because they don’t desire knowledge about the creatures. As Allah loves his Awliya very much, He does not keep them preoccupied with creatures. Those who are addicted to the world cannot recognize and do not like men of Allah who can comprehend and reveal secrets about creatures better than others provided they choose to think about them.

In short, it is important to realize that just as the pre-eminence of prophets depends not on miracles or evidentiary miracles but on their exalted ranks and being preserved from defilement of sin, similarly, working miracles or ‘Karaamaat’ is not an end in itself for a Vali (Saint).  As Dr. Tahir al-Qadri explains, Miracle is not Vilayat (Sainthood), and Vilayat is not miracle. Miracle is just a by-product of being a Vali because for a Vali a miracle is not a product. According to him, there is Ijma (consensus) among the scholars that a Karamat is “Nafs-ki-Talab” while “Allah’s Talab” is Isteqaamat (remaining firm on the right path, or rectitude, steadfastness). Isteqaamat is higher than Karaamat. There have been many Friends of Allah who have had no miracles, and what is more, there are many unknown Awliya-Allah who are unknown to the world. As far as the Vilayat is concerned, all Awliya-Allah are equal, but they differ as far as the status is concerned.

To continue....

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