Miracles performed by Mohammed as a proof

Despite the fact that Mohammed repeatedly claimed in the Quran to be a warner to Arabia, one who did not pertorm miracles and signs, tradition records a number of occasions on which miracles are alleged to have been performed. Let us first look at what the Quran has to say:

So were Moses, Solomon and Jacob!

All this is plainly contradicted by the Hadis that tell us stories of signs. May just a couple be representative of the rest:

We read in the "Sahih Muslim" (IV, page 1 467):

We find this rather a strange argument. How did the witness know that the other part was behind the mountain?

A number of Hadis tell about miracles: Mohammed, being thirsty, asks permission to milk an almost "dry" goat. After obtaining it he invoked blessing on it and it supplied milk profusely, enough for the owner, his companions and himself ("Mishkat" IV, page 450). Asked for credentials of his prophethood, he

On another occasion Mohammed called date trees, which came at his command, fell down near him, and returned (ibid. page 436).

This is considered fulfilled prophecy, i.e. a miracle. We would ask that this prophecy be compared with those in the Bible ("Christians Answer Muslims" pp. 43ff.).

The feeding of a battalion of his soldiers to the full with some scrap foods that multiplied miraculously, reminds one a little of the feeding of the 4 000 (5 000) in the Bible. (Mishkat IV p 429).

Likewise the provision of water "springing forth from amidst the fingers of the Apostle of Allah", is a well-known Hadis (ibid. pages 407 and 427).

Water in the desert is the most important commodity. Hence a number of stories of its miraculous provision are in circulation. On another occasion, the well of Hudaibiyyah was exhausted on the day of the battle of the same name. Mohammed, having heard about it, called for a pot of water.

We are, of course, aware that wells do fill up again after having been depleted!

To the Christian reader many of these reports sound very much like the legendary stories of the New Testament Apocrypha. These are well-meaning "reports" often very fanciful in character. They lack just one thing: authenticity. The Apocrypha dates mainly from the Second Century A.D. i.e. 70-l70 years after the death of jesus. The Hadis was compiled approximately 250-300 years after the Hegira. This being the case, we have to take both the Apocrypha and the Hadis with a pinch of salt."

One is tempted to compare the attitude of Mohammed with that of the early Christians. Tradition has it that when the Apostle john returned to Ephesus after having been banned to the Isle of Patmos for a period of time, he found a young man of the Christian fellowship there missing. On enquiring, he found out that he had back-slidden and joined the robbers in the hinterland mountains. "You did not love him enough," exclaimed the very old John and asked to be taken into the mountain to the robbers. He recognized the man and saw that he returned to Christian fellowship.

Another alleged miracle of Mohammed's took place at the battle of Hunain:

Another account of the same event reports

Is there any need for proof that a prophet is indeed from God? Yes, undoubtedly--otherwise anyone could claim to be a messenger of God. (Many have actually done so and misled millions of ignorant and uncritical and well-meaning people.). Prophecies fulfilled and signs prove the authenticity of a messenger of God and his message. Christians seek in vain for prophecies and signs in Mohammed's life. The above-mentioned ones are in disagreement either with what Mohammed himself had said or what the Quran reports.

Prophecies attributed to Mohammed

Applying Biblical standards, we find it difficult to reach the conclusion that Mohammed was a prophet of God:

In addition we refer to a statement in the Mishkat Volume IV, page 396 where it says:

When we consider Mohammed in the light of this, we find that he spoke about past events, but as has already been pointed out, his knowledge was scanty and displays historical misconceptions. Did Mohammed then foretell future events? We shall investigate the matter:

Books have been written about this subject (I refer especially to one by Q. I. Hingora), but generally there are said to be twenty-two PREDICTIONS IN THE QURAN. These are recorded in the following passages:

2:23 and 24, 88 and 89

They may be divided into three categories:

  1. Those that refer to Mohammed's victories;
  2. Those relating to the Quran itself;
  3. A prophecy regarding the victory of the Byzantines of Syria, i.e. a political forecast.

With regard to the victories, it is impossible to prove these to be valid predictions, since the time between prediction and fulfilment was almost nil. We also realize that Mohammed obviously expected victory, otherwise he would not have been fighting. Besides that, he also needed to encourage his warriors. In every war that has been fought, both parties have expected and predicted victory. One of the two parties has always been right; therefore we cannot regard these predictions as prophecies.

The prophecies regarding the Quran are predictions about the preservation of the Quran in a state of completeness and without injury (Sura 15:9). If we consider the destruction of all original manuscripts by Uthman, after he had revised and reduced these to one uniform copy, as well as the loss of Suras as recorded in the Traditions (See page 49), we must conclude that this prophecy was not fulfilled.

The remaining prophecy is in Sura 30:1-4 and reads:

This passage refers to the defeat of the Byzantines in Syria by the Persians under Khusran Parvis. (A.D. 615 - 6 years before the Hegira). However, the defeat of the Persians should take place soon--"in a small number of years". In the light of this prediction, Abu-Bakr undertook a bet with Ubai-ibn-Khalaf that this prediction would be fulfilled within three years, but he was corrected by Mohammed who stated that the "small number" is between three and nine years (Al-Baizawi). Muslims tell us that the Byzantines overcame their enemies within seven years. The fact, however, is that the Byzantines defeated Persia in A.D. 628 (Al-Baizawi commentary). That was twelve years after the prediction of Mohammed. Consequently this passage does not qualify as a prophecy, particularly as the time between prophecy and fulfilment was far too short, and in addition the event was easily predictable.

Perhaps we ought to realize, that some "prophecies" uttered by Mohammed in the Quran, have not been fulfilled, e.g. Sura 4:159:

There are two possible interpretations to this text. This depends on whose death the writer refers to. If it refers to the "People of the Book", is has already been proved incorrect; if to the death of Jesus Christ, this is to occur, according to the Hadis, after his return to earth at the end of time. This is equally unacceptable as a prophecy. (Above information i.a. from Mizanu'l Haqq, page 277).

The prophetic argument thus breaks down. We may conclude that we do not find Quranic prophecy conforming to the Biblical standard as set out in ("Christians Answer Muslims", pp. 44ff.).

QUESTION: We saw earlier that the Quran does accept the Bible as revelation. In this revelation God warns of false prophets and provides a pattern for testing fulfilled prophecies. According to this pattern we, as the contemporary Jewish and Christian believers, find it not possible to accept Mohammed as one of God's prophets. Can we be expected to go against God's standards? Will God abandon His standands for others (Muslims)? Do we have to assume inconsistency on the part of God?

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