Monday, April 26, 2010


From the Layman’s Desk-7: Miracles–Islamic perspective in brief: Part 6
– Continued….

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

“And thou (Muhammad) threwest not when thou didst throw (a handful of dust in the Battle of Badr), but Allah threw.”(Quran: 8:17)

Mujizah and Karamah are two broad categories of Miracles in Islam:

A miracle is broadly categorized as ‘Mujizah’ and ‘Karamah’, and as stated before, are actually the actions of Allah. In Islam, the phenomena that happen beyond the laws of causation are distinguished by their sources, that is at whose hands they are shown, as we shall see below:

1. The miracles wrought by Prophets and Messengers of Allah are called Mujizaat. The literal meaning of Mujizah is something that “incapacitates”, i.e. it is derived from the word ‘ijaaz’ which means “inability”

2. The miracles or marvels attributed to Awliya-Allah are called “Karamah” or “Karamaat” which is a gift of Grace or  a “token of honour”.   In English language the word is commonly termed as miracle.  However, some orientalists do make a distinction by terming Mujizah as “Evidentiary Miracle” and Karamah as “ non-evidentiary miracle, Marvel, etc”.   Generally, no Wali claims that he can work miracles and can make on attain whatever one wishes.

3. Those that happen through the disbelievers are called “Sihr” i.e. magic.

4. Those that happen at the hands of those whose sins are many (Fasiqs) are called “Istidraj” which proves the person to be an imposter and are a means to degrade and demote him gradually. The marvelous acts related to Shaddad, Nimrod and Pharaoh fall under divine deception. So also the extraordinary acts of Dajjal that are related from many ahadeeth (prophetic traditions) about the future events fall under Divine deception.

5. Those that happen in any community from people who are not Awliya-Allah (Friends of God) is called Firasat (say, Clairvoyance). However, if it is the effect of the light which Allah sets in the purified heart of the Awliya-Allah, Firasa is reckoned among the gifts and is accepted as evidence of holiness. The exalted position of the Awliya’s “Firasat” is evident from the hadith: “Beware of the vision of the believer, for he sees with the light of Allah.” The miracles of Hazrat Abu Sa’id Fazlullah ibn Abi’l Khayr mainly consisted of the powers of Firasa.

6. ‘Kashf’ or spiritual unveilings are the knowledge disclosed to the soul of the one who constantly remembers and worships Allah. Kashf consists, according to al-Sharif al-Jurjani's definition in his Kitab al-ta`rifat, in "apprehending beyond the veil of ordinary phenomena, whether by vision or experience, the meanings and realities that pertain to the unseen. It is a kind of intuitive knowledge or discovery that exemplifies Awliya-Allah whose ranks are raised by Allah with the affirmation. The reality of Kashf is established in Sacred Law and it refers to a hidden knowledge of a tremendous nature - what has also been called the “Secrets of Allah the Exalted.” Kashf is reliable if it is in conformity with Islam. The vision seen while one is awake is Kashf and that seen in a dream is called Ru’ya. The purer and the cleaner the mirror of the mind is, the more correct and reliable is the Kashf and the Ru’ya. Prophet’s dream are absolutely reliable, and most dreams of Awliya too are reliable since their ‘baatins’ (states of inner conditions) are polished like bright mirrors because of their obedience to prophets. Allah mentions in the Qur'an thus: "Allah has fulfilled the vision (ru'ya) for his Messenger in very truth" (48:27). The Prophet said: The vision or dream (al-ru'ya) is one-fortysixth part of prophecy.

7. The process of receiving the gift (karamah) for the saint is through ilham (inspiration). In addition to those mentioned above, the others are mubashshira (glad tidings from Allah), mushahada (mutual vision) or mukhataba (divine conversation).

Distinction between Mujizah and Karamah: Just a few points:

The holy Qur’an as well as the prophetic traditions are replete with the examples of Mujizaat worked by the Prophets and Messengers. The Holy Qur’an ratifies the miracles of Moses and Jesus, including the Virgin Birth of Jesus, amongst those of other prophets of Bani Isra’il. Since there are no disagreements regarding the Mujizaat, we won’t delve into these.

We have mentioned before that the miracles worked by Messengers and Prophets of Allah are called Mujizaat and those worked by other than Prophets and Messengers, such as Awliya-Allah, are called Karamaat. In his celebrated Kashful Mahjoob (Unveiling of the Veiled), Hazrat Ali bin Uthman al-Hajwiri, who is also known as Data Ganj Baksh ® in the sub-continent of India and Pakistan, has dealt with this subject at length nearly a thousand years ago. To put it very succinctly, this is what he says: Mujizaat involve publicity since they affect others. Karamaat involve secrecy since they are peculiar to the person by whom they are performed. The doer of Mujizaat is quite sure that he has worked a miracle while the doer of Karamaat is not sure, whether he has really worked a miracle.

According to Hazrat Data Ganj Baksh ®, however, the quality of ijaaz (inimitability) is the same as in the other and not affected. He gives a classic example: When the infidels were putting Khubaib ® on the gallows in Makkah, the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) who was with his Companions in the Masjid at Madinah Munawwara told them what was happening to Khubaib ®. Allah also lifted the veil from the eyes of Khubaib ® so that he saw the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and greeted him (s). Allah caused the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) to hear that salutation so that he gave the answer, and He also caused Khubaib ® to hear that answer. Both were extraordinary acts but one was an example of Mujiza and the other, that of a Karaamat.

Data Ganj Baksh ® makes another important statement: There is no difference in absence in time and absence in space. For Khubaib ® the Karaamat was wrought when he was absent from the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) in space.  The later days miracles were performed by those who were absent from the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) in time.  Data Ganj Baksh ® says that this is a clear proof that a Karaamat cannot be in contradiction with ‘ijaaz, i.e. the miracles performed by prophets.  Karamaat are not established unless and until they testify to the truth of the one performing the mujizaat. Therefore, Karamaat are not given except to a pious believer who gives such testimony. The Muslim saints are witnesses to the truth of the mission of Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) and therefore, it is impossible that Karamaat may be worked by unbelievers because as the law of the Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam) is permanent, so must the proof (hujjat) be also permanent.  All Karamaat of a saint or Wali are the mujizaat of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wassallam).

To continue Insha Allah….


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