Miracles of the Holy Prophet [Muhammad (pbuh)] (Part 3)
The Light (Pakistan), 1st January 1923 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 2–3)
It should also be borne in mind that this transformation, which began with Arabia and gradually enfolded the world, was due to the Divine Book revealed to the Holy Prophet.
The Quran is a living miracle of Muhammad (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). The very name of the Book contains a wonderful prophecy and the world has seen its fulfilment. Literally, it means that which will be frequently read. And it is an undisputed fact that the Quran is the only Book that is most widely read. There are hundreds and thousands of men who have learnt it by heart and can recite it from memory. Every Muslim commits at least a portion of it to memory. It is recited on every occasion of rejoicing or mourning. Marriages are solemnised with its recitations. It is read out on the burial of the dead. In the month of Ramadan, the Quran is read or listened to by almost every Muslim. Its first chapter, which forms an essential part of a Muslim prayer, is read at least thirty-two times a day by Muslims in their five daily prayers all over the world. I am sure all mathematical figures cannot adequately represent the number of the Quranic reading. Early in the morning from every Muslim house comes the sweet vibration of the verses of the Holy Book. In fact, no heavenly or earthly book is so widely read as the Quran, and the mighty prophecy contained in its name, which is given to it by the All-Knowing Allah, is pre-eminently fulfilled.
Again, the Quran is a unique book. It has given an open challenge to the world:
وَ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ فِیۡ رَیۡبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلۡنَا عَلٰی عَبۡدِنَا فَاۡتُوۡا بِسُوۡرَۃٍ مِّنۡ مِّثۡلِہٖ ۪
“If you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to Our servant, then produce a chapter like it” (The Holy Quran, 2:23).
And in 17:88, the whole world is declared to be unable to produce a book like the Quran:
قُلۡ لَّئِنِ اجۡتَمَعَتِ الۡاِنۡسُ وَ الۡجِنُّ عَلٰۤی اَنۡ یَّاۡتُوۡا بِمِثۡلِ ہٰذَا الۡقُرۡاٰنِ لَا یَاۡتُوۡنَ بِمِثۡلِہٖ وَ لَوۡ کَانَ بَعۡضُہُمۡ لِبَعۡضٍ ظَہِیۡرًا ﴿۸۸﴾
“If men and jinn should combine together to bring the like of this Quran, they could not bring the like of it, though some of them were aiders of others.”
It is admitted on all hands that the Quran is a unique production of Arabic literature. The Arabs were poets and were proud of their eloquence. The masterpiece of their poetry was, as a token of recognition, hung with the door of the Kabah [Kaaba]. The Saba Muallaqat, the ‘Seven Hung Verses’, are so called because they, being the finest production of literature, were hanging with the door of the Kabah.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad was illiterate, and yet the Book he presented surpassed in eloquence and dictum the entire Arabic literature. Even the unbelievers were constrained to admit the superiority of the Holy Quran from the literary point of view. It was the charming influence of its language that won so many hearts to Islam. Omar [Umar (rta)], subsequently the great Caliph, happened to listen once to the recitation of the Quran and embraced Islam forthwith. It is impossible that an illiterate man should produce such a beautiful book. This establishes the fact that the Quran is not the product of Muhammad’s brain, but it is the word of God.
There is, however, another unique feature of the Quran which should not be ignored. The wonderful transformation which the Holy Prophet accomplished was in fact due to this Book, and what is still more wonderful is that it was all foretold in the very commencement of the Quran. In its very beginning it is clearly laid down that this Book is meant to be a guidance for the people, and those who will abide by it shall prosper.
Thus, it was clearly foreshadowed that the Quran is to fulfil a great mission, and that mission was duly fulfilled. The wild children of Arabia who, in the words of Firdausi, the great epic poet of Persia,
“were brought up on the camels’ milk and lizards’ flesh rose to such an eminence that the Persian and the Roman Empires crumbled down under their feet. And it was not the brutal force through which they achieved this greatness, but it was the moral and spiritual force.”
This characteristic of the Quran makes it peerless in the entire literature of the world. There is no other book which can claim equality with it in this respect.
I have already said that prophecy is the miracle which has no resemblance whatsoever with trickery or legerdemain. The surest criterion which even a man of very ordinary intelligence cannot fail to apply consists in the revelation of the deep secrets of the future to the Prophet. It is this circumstance which establishes beyond the shadow of doubt that the source of the Prophet’s revelations is super-natural, while all other miracles have some sort of resemblance with trickery or legerdemain, and therefore can be explained away. Besides, such miracles are often local and have their value in their own time. But prophecy has a record to which we can always refer, and therefore its sphere of influence is wide enough.
The prophecies of the Holy Quran, for instance, have got still the same value as in the time of the Holy Prophet (may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). We do not stand in need of an eyewitness to corroborate their statements, as they are reduced to writing and the whole world has seen their fulfilment.
The only consideration in regard to a prophecy should be whether it reveals any secret which is in the lap of the future. If it does, and is subsequently fulfilled, then it is the sure sign of the truth of a prophet. The Holy Quran is full of such prophecies. I will quote here a few of them.
The fifty-fourth chapter, The Moon, is admittedly one of the early revelations. In it, the enemies of the Holy Prophet are warned, by citing the examples of the fates of the previous people, and in the conclusion they are directly addressed:
اَکُفَّارُکُمۡ خَیۡرٌ مِّنۡ اُولٰٓئِکُمۡ اَمۡ لَکُمۡ بَرَآءَۃٌ فِی الزُّبُرِ ﴿ۚ۴۳﴾
“Are the unbelievers of yours better than those, or is there an exemption for you in the scriptures?” (The Holy Quran, 54:43).
The Holy Quran itself gives the reply in these words:
اَمۡ یَقُوۡلُوۡنَ نَحۡنُ جَمِیۡعٌ مُّنۡتَصِرٌ ﴿۴۴﴾ سَیُہۡزَمُ الۡجَمۡعُ وَ یُوَلُّوۡنَ الدُّبُرَ ﴿۴۵﴾
“They say we are a host allied together to help each other. Soon shall the host be routed and they shall turn their backs” (The Holy Quran, 54:44–45).
Here we have a clear prophecy about the future, and it consists of two parts:
- Firstly, the Muslims and the allied forces of their enemies shall meet in a battle.
- Secondly, the allied forces shall be routed, and they turn their backs.
Now, these words were revealed at Mecca when there was no fighting and the Holy Prophet was in a most helpless condition. No one could tell by foresight at that time that Muslims and the unbelievers shall meet one day on an open battlefield and the allied forces shall be defeated. But the Divine word came out exactly true. The Muslims met the enemy at the battlefield of Badr and defeated the allied troops of the unbelievers.
That the Holy Prophet understood these Divine words in the same way and in the same light is established by the following report mentioned by such a trustworthy authority as Bukhari:
“The Holy Prophet prayed within his tent on the day of Badr, saying, ‘O Lord! I beseech Thee according to Thy covenant, and Thy promise. O Lord, if such is Thy will, Thou mayest not be worshipped after it.’ Abu Bakr took his hand and said: ‘Allah is sufficient for you, O Prophet of Allah.’ So the Prophet went out while he was reciting: ‘Soon shall the hosts be routed and they shall turn their backs, but the hour is their promised time and the hour shall be most grievous and bitter.’”
The words “Thy covenant” and “Thy promise” clearly refer to the prophecy of the Quran quoted above, and the Holy Prophet’s reciting the same words gives further proof of the fact that he understood the words of the Quran as the prophecy of victory in a battle. This promised victory was, of course, granted to the Muslims on the battlefield of Badr.