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In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Grantor of Mercy
Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad’s ﷺ ministry was supported by physical miracles that were witnessed and reported by a generation of superb moral integrity. This paper will feature some of the most authentically transmitted miracles, after assessing the utility, plausibility, and provability of miracles in the first place.
While the Qur’an is the Prophet’s ﷺ greatest miracle, and certainly sufficient on its own as a miracle, this does not negate that God gave him many other miraculous signs along with it. In other words, conviction in the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ is not dependent on his performance of miracles, but historically reliable reports of these miracles make their occurrence undeniable and a powerful cultivator of conviction. Of course, the believer is always encouraged to pursue higher states of conviction through contemplation, seeking knowledge, and purifying their heart until they can witness the Truth through the message of Islam itself. However, we should not underestimate the fact that some people’s psychospiritual makeup better orients them to traverse the “miracles avenue” to the gates of faith. As Ibn al-Qayyim writes, “The paths to guidance are diverse, as a mercy and kindness from God to His servants, due to the variation in their intellectual, mental, and spiritual insights.” He then proceeded to give examples of how some are guided by recognizing the truth in the message itself, due to the purity of their own nature, such as Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq (rA), and some recognized the truth through the impeccable character of its bearer ﷺ, such as Khadījah bint Khuwaylid (rAh). A third segment of humanity was brought to faith by God through miracles, while a fourth was impressed by the triumphs and successes of the Prophet’s lifetime, and a fifth group simply followed its leaders who joined the fold of Islam.
In addition to bringing some people to faith, miracles augment existing faith by instilling in those who read these stories immense love, respect, and admiration for the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Reflecting on God’s mercy and aid to the believers grants the faithful a firm confidence in divine providence and help in times of hardship and difficulty. Reading and believing in the reality of divine omnipotence as manifested through these miracles enables a person to dream big, pushing their boundaries, and shaking off self-limiting beliefs. One recognizes that the natural order, seemingly fixed, is in fact entirely contingent on divine will.
This is the utility of miracles and why deemphasizing them to appear more rational and sophisticated is a great disservice to many sincere seekers. As for those solely interested in validating their preexisting beliefs, the Qur’an itself asserts that miracles are futile for those not willing to believe them, even if they were to witness them with their own eyes. Allah says, “And [even] if We opened to them a gate from the heavens and they continued therein to ascend, they would say, ‘Our eyes have only been dazzled. Rather, we are a people affected by magic.’” The Qur’an repeatedly describes this response to miracles from skeptical minds across the ages and explains why some still rejected Islam after witnessing the Prophet’s ﷺ miracles themselves. It demonstrates the veracity of a key epistemological perspective that the Qur’an postulates—namely, the futility of skepticism as an approach to knowledge. Even the clearest signs and miracles can be doubted if a person is willing to be skeptical of their own senses and question reality entirely. But, because our postmodern times harbor greater suspicion against religious and traditional accounts of the supernatural than any other period in human history, let us first begin with dispelling the commonly held misconceptions that miracles are either logically impossible or historically unprovable.
The possibility of miracles
For the majority of people who believe that God is the Creator of the universe and remains a willful agent in the world, God’s ability to perform miracles—or to enable others to perform them—is easy to accept. After all, if God created the laws of nature, it logically follows that He is not bound by the system He designed but can also bring about occurrences outside of that system. Miracles are only problematic for atheists (who believe in no God) and deists (who posit a non-intervening God), both of whom may find it refreshing to familiarize themselves with the case for Allah’s existence in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
While belief in miracles was standard in Christian societies, the transition to modernity signaled a shift toward a more skeptical stance. The mechanical naturalists of Enlightenment thought painted a “disenchanted” view of nature as a closed system, describing natural laws as disconnected from God. Ultimately, they had a profound aversion to any suggestion of miraculous intervention. The notion of miracles was commonly rejected because they were “unscientific.” Perhaps the most notable vanguards of this view were the Dutch rationalist Baruch Spinoza (d. 1677) and the Scottish empiricist David Hume (d. 1776). Both used various arguments to reject the possibility of miracles, all of which suffer from either factual errors, logical inconsistency, or irrelevance to the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
In his Theological-Political Treatise, Spinoza argued that belief in miracles was but a remnant of the naive premodern mind, its inability to interpret natural phenomena, and not the intended meaning behind passages in the Torah. His contempt for miracles is expected, as the idea of “supernatural intervention” was perceived to be at odds with the philosophical outlook of rationalism that dominated his era and eventually resulted in the European Enlightenment. However, Spinoza’s unbridled zeal to disprove the very possibility of miracles is contrary to his usual astuteness. For instance, he attempts to explain away every explicit biblical account of miracles as not actually miraculous. He even claimed that every supposed miracle can be seen as a misunderstood natural phenomenon. While ignorance and superstition have certainly driven some people to prematurely classify some events as miracles, what scientific evidence suggests that staffs can be transformed into snakes, people blind from birth can have their sight restored, or that the moon can be split and restored? According to Spinoza, since our knowledge of nature is incomplete, there is no way to assert that a particular event is miraculous since it may have a yet-undiscovered natural explanation. Spinoza presumed that inexplicable occurrences should simply require us to rewrite our understanding of the laws of nature. However, modern philosophy of science considers Spinoza’s argument fallacious; the fundamental laws of nature are not rewritten when miracles occur. A bird being miraculously resurrected from a disassembled carcass does not require us to revise our knowledge of the natural decay of corpses.
Aside from this epistemological objection to miracles, another objection Spinoza raised was quasi-theological cum ontological: “If anyone asserted that God acts in contravention to the laws of nature, he, ipso facto, would be compelled to assert that God acted against His own nature.” But this argument is entirely contingent upon accepting Spinoza’s impoverished conception of God. Spinoza considered God as nothing other than nature itself (a view that limits the Divine so severely that many are convinced that Spinoza’s beliefs are essentially no different from atheism). On such a view, certainly it would seem absurd for nature to contradict itself. But when God is the Supreme Master of all in existence, who says “Be” and something comes into existence, then there is no rational objection to God intervening in His creation and delimiting the scope of some of the natural laws that He has ordained.
It is interesting that Spinoza also asserted that if miracles were true, they would imply that God created a flawed world that He had to keep repairing. Not only does this contradict his view that miracles should make us revise our understanding of natural laws, but it also constitutes a strawman argument whereby a position no one actually holds is refuted. Believers do not claim that the purpose of miracles is to fix a flawed world. Rather, they believe that the One who created this world and the laws that govern it can also suspend them.
The weakness of Spinoza’s critique was evident. It was only after Hume published his Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding that debates surrounding the logical and scientific possibility of miracles intensified. Not only were Hume’s arguments more refined, but prevailing paradigms of the Enlightenment era such as skepticism and naturalism were conducive to a wider embrace of his views. Hume alleged that we are forced by continuous evidence of nature’s uniformity to dismiss even the strongest testimony of any momentary supernatural event, since it would, by definition, violate the proven laws of nature. He further justified this by the lack of historical evidence for any one miracle, and by the multitude of the faithful who claim them in support of their conflicting doctrines. How Islam’s unique mechanism of knowledge transmission satisfies the criterion of historical evidence will be discussed shortly, but the fact that different religions offer different accounts does not justify dismissing them all. Doing so would render the very study of history useless, since sifting through conflicting reports and weighing them against one another is every historian’s methodology. Even Hume himself followed this protocol when he considered nature’s ongoing testimony stronger than individual accounts of miracles. As for Hume’s argument for the superiority of empirical science over historical testimony, this stems from his philosophical framework, which was effectively that of an agnostic or atheist. Theists, on the other hand, perceive miracles as identical to natural phenomena, in that both originate with God. Just as the universe began by the command of God, and its laws run as ordered by God, miracles can sometimes occur in it by the will of God. The reality of miracles is ultimately an extension of the divine reality; just as God evidenced His existence and magnificence through the brilliant laws of nature, He evidenced His omnipotence and the integrity of His messengers through occasionally breaching these same laws in mind-boggling ways. Finally, the “laws of nature” are a mere description of the world as we experience it, not a necessary prescription for how it must function. Miracles can, therefore, simply be exceptions to the predominant natural order, contrary to it but not contradictory. That would deliver us from Hume’s presumption of irreconcilability and shift our investigation from the logical possibility to the historical documentation of miracles.
The demonstrability of miracles
Neither the logical possibility of an omnipotent God performing miracles, nor historical claims of their incidence, constitutes proof that miracles took place. There must be compelling evidence, and no sensible person should accept accounts of miracles without scrutiny. As is often said, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” However, we must discern whether we are genuinely open to evidence—albeit extraordinary—or blindly committed to our presuppositions. Consistency is an excellent litmus test; do we question whether all similar convictions we hold about life and faith meet the same stringent criteria, or has a double standard snuck in here due to prejudice or extreme skepticism? Many people today may not realize that they are actually Humeans: dogmatic naturalists who believe no amount of historical evidence for miracles can ever suffice, and that nothing at all is provable except that which we personally experience. Consistency necessitates acknowledging that nobody actually only accepts what they have experienced themselves as evidence. Such a position would entail denying every map we have not charted ourselves and every scientific fact we have not personally established. Rational and balanced people accept that testimony, its traceability, and its corroboration, are acceptable as evidence that a fact or event is certainly true or likely true.
The discipline of Hadith is an instrumental science in the Islamic intellectual tradition, invested in verifying reports about the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and hence central to any discussion of miracles. It is a unique and sophisticated process involving the interplay of seven sub-disciplines, all engineered to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the transmission chain for each narration. Ultimately, a tiny fraction of these transmitted narrations survives the rigorous process to be classified as “authentic,” but Hadith scholars did not stop there. Authentic narrations were further categorized as mutawātir (abundantly concurring) or āḥād (solitary). Mutawātir reports are those narrated by many narrators in each layer of their transmission, making it inconceivable that they were all mistaken or had all colluded in a forgery. Āḥād reports—when authentic—are those transmitted reliably but without meeting the criteria of mutawātir, hence most Hadith scholars believe they involve preponderance (greater likelihood) as opposed to certain knowledge. However, this majority simultaneously deems āḥād reports worthier of being accepted than discarded, due to the reliability of their chains of transmission and the fact that all sensible people act on greater likelihood in the absence of certainty.
Miracles occurring at the hands of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is a mutawātir concept, meaning the sheer multitude of reports make it uncontestable in principle, even if some specific accounts are not independently mutawātir. The occurrence of World War I is a simple example of a mutawātir concept; the concurrence of abundant testimony about it renders it inconsequential whether any particular report of it having taken place is verifiable. Rejecting a mutawātir concept would be tantamount to someone refusing to confirm that Mayan, Inca, or Aztec civilizations existed until humans invent a time machine and travel back in time themselves. Until then, this person would be willing to entertain the possibility of all reports of these civilizations being a transhistorical conspiracy—similar to what the Flat Earth Society champions today.
Islam therefore requires a demonstrable chain of transmission before attributing a statement or action (like a miracle) to its Prophet ﷺ, unlike the many other accounts of miracles in other traditions which lack a chain of transmission and are only predicated on faith. Muslim theologians often highlight this important distinction, and how it compels every honest person to not differentiate between the miracles of Prophet Moses and Jesus (as) because of their comparable historicity (none solidly traceable to eyewitnesses), and first accept the miracles of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ since their historicity is far stronger. Ibn al-Qayyim says in Ighāthat al-Lahfān,
If this [inconsistency] was the case with the miracles of these two messengers, alongside how long ago that was, and how fragmented their nations became in the world, and the eventual disappearance of their miracles, then what should be assumed regarding the prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ and his miracles and signs when they were more recent, exceeded one thousand in number, were transmitted by the most pure and honorable individuals ever, and when this transmission was conveyed by tawātur (abundant concurrence) one century after another?
Muhammad ﷺ would additionally be the most authoritative confirmer of the miracles of the previous prophets and the most qualified to put an end to the controversies surrounding them.
Specific miracles of the Prophet ﷺ
In addition to miracles being a mutawātir phenomenon of the Prophet’s ﷺ ministry, there are specific miracles whose mutawātir transmission elevates them above any possibility of fabrication. The remainder of this paper discusses this subset, but let us first assert that requiring mutawātir testimony before believing anything is cynicism, not prudence. Most of acquired human knowledge comes through āḥād reports, such as reading something from a single source, and so this stipulation would prevent us from believing any bit of news that people circulate. It might even prevent us from believing our own eyes when we are the sole witness to an event. We generally trust our eyes, at least until we are compelled by stronger reasons to suspect them. Hence, after realizing the possibility and demonstrability of miracles in principle, even āḥād reports of them should not be dismissed whenever their reliability is defensible and no defects in their transmission have been identified.
In a brilliant passage in Fatḥ al-Bārī, Ibn Ḥajar (d. 1449) speaks on the abundance of the Prophet’s ﷺ miracles and says,
This collectively confers necessary knowledge (certainty) that a great number of supernatural events occurred at his hands ﷺ, in the same manner that someone can conclusively assert the generosity of Ḥātim [al-Ṭā’ī] and the courage of ‘Alī, even if the individual reports on this are only speculative due to their being reported through āḥād chains. However, it should be noted that many of the Prophet’s miracles became well-known and widespread, were narrated by huge groups of people (mutawātir), and consequently conferred certainty by the scholars of transmission, biographical verification, and testimony authentication—even if those unfamiliar with these disciplines did not reach this degree of confidence regarding them. In fact, if someone were to claim that most of these incidents (even the non-mutawātir) were definitively established, this would not be far-fetched because it is undeniable how accurately these narrators usually related these accounts in every layer of transmission. Furthermore, it is not documented from the Companions [of the Prophet ﷺ] or those after them a single conflicting report that challenges these accounts, and this silence necessitates approval since they are collectively above turning a blind eye to falsehood. And hypothetically, had they denied one another’s reports on these miracles, this would only be due to doubting the reliability of the narrator, or accusing him of lying, poor memory, or senility. As for the content of the narration itself, nobody ever criticized it.
Thus, even āḥād reports about miracles can be considered authentic and reliable. Despite this, the following accounts of specific miracles will be restricted to the most indisputable examples, those established by mutawātir transmission.
The moon splitting
The Hour has come near, and the moon has split [in two]. And if they see any miracle, they turn away and say, “Passing magic.” And they denied and followed their desires—and every matter will be settled.
In an attempt to stump the Prophet ﷺ, disbelievers from the Quraysh clan demanded an undeniable sign from the Prophet ﷺ, which led to God splitting the moon before their eyes. The Prophet ﷺ then said, “Bear witness.” The baffled crowd said that Muhammad must have cast a spell on them, but since he could not have cast a spell on everyone, they decided to ask the travelers from surrounding areas if they saw what they did. They sent riders racing out to question those beyond the city of Mecca, and they too confirmed having seen the exact same phenomenon in the night sky. Ultimately, the idolaters from Quraysh chose denial and they were forced to deny their own eyes.
Numerous luminaries of Hadith have independently verified the mutawātir-grade reporting of this miraculous event by exploring its narrators from every layer of transmission. This was done by al-Subkī in Sharḥ Mukhtaṣar Ibn al-Ḥājib, Ibn Ḥajar in al-Amālī, al-Qurṭubī in al-Mufhim, Ibn Kathīr in al-Bidāyah wal-Nihāyah, Imam al-Munāwī in Sharḥ Alfiyat al-‘Irāqī, and Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr (d. 1071), among others.
In describing many reports of the moon-splitting, Ibn Kathīr (d. 1373) brings a key aspect of this incident to our attention:
When the moon split, it never left the sky, rather it cleaved once the Prophet ﷺ gestured to it and became two pieces. It only proceeded to hover behind Mount Ḥirā’, setting the mountain between itself and its counterpart, as described by Ibn Mas‘ūd (rA) who reports witnessing this himself.
Imam al-Khaṭṭābī (d. 988) similarly said,
The moon splitting was a grand sign to which no other prophet’s miracle could compare, for it was something that appeared in the distant sky that was contrary to every naturally existing phenomenon which this world is comprised of. It therefore falls beyond what anyone can hope to achieve through trickery, making its proof value even more evident.
Of the bizarre objections to this incident is the expectation that there should be scientifically detectable sequelae to a supernatural event, such as a gravitational disturbance or a geological trace on the moon’s surface. However, this is a fallacious objection. The splitting of the moon was a miraculous phenomenon, something that transcended the natural order. It is unclear why one should expect a supernatural event to have natural effects. It is certainly within the power of an Omnipotent God to cleave asunder an astronomical object while suspending any of the expected impact.
Another objection is why people beyond the Prophet’s ﷺ audience did not see the moon split. This very weak objection is founded on a false presumption about historical records and the global visibility of a miracle that was intended for the Prophet’s audience. Classical scholars like al-Zajjāj have offered many possible answers to satisfy this inquiry. Among them is that people near Mecca did in fact confirm it and that other geographical locations were either experiencing daylight or were deeper into the night when hardly anyone would be awake and inspecting the sky. Another possibility is lack of visibility, or that a few other people saw it worldwide but assumed it to be a hallucination, or feared being accused of such, or shared it with others but were not taken seriously. People identify and report events based on context; a momentary decontextualized strange sight in the sky would be unlikely to be believed, reported, or documented, let alone transmitted.
The night journey
Glory be to the One Who took His servant [Muhammad] by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Farthest Mosque whose surroundings We have blessed, so that We might show him of Our signs. Indeed, He Alone is the All-Hearing, All-Seeing.
The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ was taken from Mecca to Jerusalem and back in a single night, a journey that would ordinarily take a full month for any traveler in the seventh century. When the pagans caught scent of this story being shared the following morning, they became jubilant with hopes of finally proving Muhammad was a madman. They rushed to gather everyone around him, and to their delight, people literally fell off their seats in laughter upon hearing this “ludicrous tale” from the Prophet ﷺ. Saddened by their mockery and disbelief, he ﷺ proceeded to the Ka‘bah where he praised God and asked Him to be reshown Jerusalem. To the dismay of everyone present, the Prophet ﷺ then began describing that blessed city in exquisite detail, as if he was walking through it at that very moment. People nervously turned to the Meccan traders who—unlike Muhammad—were known to frequent Jerusalem, only to find them admitting his accuracy. Many still denied him and stormed off in frustration.
As history tends to repeat itself, the leading critics of Islam today—like the new atheists Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris—also love to taunt Muslims who “reject scientific realism” and accept that “Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse.” However, this shows demonstrable ignorance about the Islamic faith, in addition to fallacious reasoning that actually undermines the scientific enterprise. With regards to their lack of familiarity with what Islamic sources actually say, it should be known that the creature called al-Burāq was emphatically not a winged horse and was never described as such by the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Moreover, the narrations explicitly mention that al-Burāq took the Prophet ﷺ to Jerusalem; the mechanism by which God raised the Prophet to Heaven is a different matter, as has been discussed in the Islamic tradition.
As for the logical fallacy behind this argument, it is grounded only in what is known as argumentum ad incredulum—the argument from incredulity. They seek for people to ridicule a belief purely because it sounds unimaginable and fantastically foreign to the natural realm. Yet, it is indeed the logical consequence of belief in an omnipotent God that such miraculous matters lie entirely within His capability. Moreover, the argument from incredulity would entail the demise of science for it is science that continually challenges our imagination of what is possible, unveiling the unfathomable world of quantum mechanics, bringing to light the possibility of multiple dimensions, and so on. To dismiss something out of hand simply based on incredulity would spell the end of the scientific enterprise which challenges us to explore the frontiers beyond what is imaginable.
Dr Hatem al-Haj, a contemporary Muslim scholar, writes,
Al-Burāq not being described as a huge horse or something fancier stresses the point that it was not about this particular creature; it was about the will of God. Just as God said about the legions of angels He sends to support the believers, “And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby. And victory is not except from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” God created the laws of physics, and it is only rational that He is not bound by them. The inclusion of al-Burāq in the story made it more memorable. It was also meant to be familiar for the comfort and assurance of the rider, blessings and peace be upon him.
In addition to the Qur’an describing this night journey, al-Kattānī (d. 1927) collected the names of forty-five different Companions who corroborated this astonishing event. In one of these narrations, ‘Āishah (rAh) reports that even some Muslims felt this miracle was too outrageous to accept and apostatized that morning as a result. They rushed to her father, Abū Bakr (rA), and said in protest, “Your companion is claiming he was taken to Jerusalem last night.” Abū Bakr asked, “Did he say that?” They said, “Yes.” He said, “If he did in fact say that, then he has been truthful.” They said, “You are willing to believe that he was carried to Jerusalem in a single night?” He said, “Yes, for I believe him about something that is more astonishing than that: I believe that he receives messages from heaven in the blink of an eye.” ‘Āishah (rAh) says that it was from that day forward that Abū Bakr was crowned with the title al-Ṣiddīq (the confirmer of truth). Finally, the Qur’an is filled with parallels of this miracle, such as God splitting time for the man who slept a hundred years without aging while his donkey decomposed, and for the youth and their dog who slept for 309 years while generations were born and died outside their cave.
A tree weeping
‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Umar (rA) reports that the Prophet ﷺ used to deliver his sermons while standing beside the trunk of a date-palm tree. Upon the request of an Anṣārī woman, the Prophet ﷺ permitted that a small pulpit of three steps be constructed for him so that he would be more visible and project his voice farther into the growing audience. When the Prophet ﷺ ascended the new pulpit on the following Friday, loud sounds of weeping emerged from this tree trunk. The Prophet ﷺ descended and went over to it and began caressing it with his hand just as someone does to quiet a child. Anas ibn Mālik (rA) adds, “And the mosque shook from its whimpers.” Sahl ibn Sa‘d (rA) adds, “Many people started weeping from hearing its crying and moaning.” Ibn ‘Abbās (rA) adds, “He ﷺ went and hugged it until it quieted, then said, ‘Had I not embraced it, it would have continued like this until the Day of Resurrection.’” Jābir (rA) adds, “It was weeping over missing the Revelation that it would hear [recited] close by.”
These were the only five Companions who reported this incident firsthand, though nearly twenty in total were present, according to the leading Hadith authorities. Ibn Ḥajar summarizes this investigation by saying, “The hadith of the tree weeping and moon splitting have each been transmitted by an enormous number, one that offers sure knowledge for Hadith experts who examine their chains of transmission, not those untrained in that, and Allah knows best.” Similarly, al-Munāwī reports this hadith on the tree whimpering through many authentic chains which collectively entail it being a mutawātir event, then states that it has been narrated from nearly twenty Companions. Their corroboration led al-Bayhaqī to say that tracing the narrations of this incident to verify whether it happened or not, after an entire generation conveyed it to an entire generation, is unnecessary.
In the Noble Qur’an, Allah tells us that of the powerful signs He granted Prophet David (as) was that his melodious glorifications of God would be echoed by the towering mountains and soaring birds around the clock: “And We certainly gave David from Us bounty. [We said], ‘O mountains, repeat [Our] praises with him, and the birds [as well].’ And We made pliable for him iron.” With this same miracle, Allah endorsed the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Inanimate objects would glorify God in his hands, and even testify to his ministry as messenger and prophet. ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (rA) said, “We used to hear the food making tasbīḥ (glorifying Allah) as he ate.” The dish would praise God in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ when the food was placed before him. Similarly, Abū Dharr (rA) said,
I was present with the Prophet ﷺ in a circle, and in his hands were pebbles, and everyone in the circle could hear their tasbīḥ. He then passed them to Abū Bakr, and they made tasbīḥ with Abū Bakr [as well]; everyone in the circle could hear their tasbīḥ. He then passed them back to the Prophet ﷺ and they made tasbīḥ in his hand again. He then passed them to ‘Umar, and they made tasbīḥ in his hand, and everyone in the circle could hear their tasbīh. The Prophet ﷺ then passed them to ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān, and they made tasbīh in his hand. He then passed them to us, and they did not make tasbīḥ with any one of us.
The very first miracles by which Allah prepared Muhammad ﷺ were of these types. Even before his prophethood, the stones would greet him. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “I certainly know stones in Mecca that used to greet me before I was commissioned, and I recognize them even now.” And after he became the Prophet of God, the Companions witnessed this as well. ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (rA) said, “We were with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ in Mecca, and we did not encounter any tree or mountain but that it said, ‘Peace be upon you, O Messenger of Allah.’”
Increasing the water supply
Imam al-Nawawī says, “These hadith on water gushing from between his fingers and increasing for him, and the food supply increasing as well, are all clear miracles performed by Allah’s Messenger ﷺ on many occasions and under different conditions and have collectively reached mutawātir status.” Hadith scholars have many compilations of these incidents; one example is the following account from ‘Abdullāh ibn Mas‘ūd (rA):
We used to consider miracles as Allah’s Blessings, but you people consider them to be threatening. We were once with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ on a journey, and our water ran short. He said, “Bring me the remaining water.” The people presented him a vessel containing water, in which he then placed his hands and said, “Come get the blessed purification water, and all blessings are from Allah.” I saw the water flowing from between the fingers of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ. Indeed, we used to also hear the food glorifying Allah as it was being eaten [by him].
Jābir ibn ‘Abdillāh (rA) narrated that the people became very thirsty on the Day of al-Ḥudaybīyah. There was a small pot containing some water in front of the Prophet ﷺ, and he found the people rushing towards him as he finished performing his ritual ablution with it. He ﷺ asked them, “What has happened?” They said, “We have water neither for ablution nor drinking.” So he ﷺ placed his palm into that pot, and water began flowing upwards from between his fingers like springs. He said, “All those seeking ablution, come forward; the blessing is from Allah.” Jābir said, “We all drank and performed ablution [from that pot], and I did not care how much I drank because I knew it was blessed.” One narrator asked Jābir, “How many were you?” He said, “Even if we had been one hundred thousand, it would have been sufficient for us, but we were fifteen hundred.” Anas ibn Mālik (rA) personally narrated several other nearly identical incidents of water pouring forth from between the Prophet’s ﷺ blessed fingers. These reports suggest that water was emerging from the actual fingers of the Prophet ﷺ, or that it sprang through the gaps between them. Most Hadith interpreters—including al-Baghawī and al-Suyūṭī—chose the first view, and consequently deemed this feat particularly exceptional.
Increasing the food supply
Salamah ibn al-Akwa‘ (rA) narrates:
We once set out on an expedition with Allah’s Messenger ﷺ and faced great hardship, and decided to slaughter some of our riding animals [for food]. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ ordered us to pool our food rations, so we spread a sheet and leather where everyone’s rations were collected. I stretched myself to assess how much that was, and it was only the area a small goat could sit on. We were fourteen hundred people, and we each ate to our satisfaction and then filled our bags with provisions. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ then said, “Is there any water for performing ablution?” A man came forward with a small container that held very little water, which the Prophet ﷺ emptied into a wider basin. From that amount, all thoroughly performed their ablution. Eight individuals later came and said, “Is there any water left to perform ablution?” Allah’s Messenger ﷺ replied, “The ablution water is finished.”
As Imam al-Nawawī points out elsewhere,
When a Companion narrates something this incredible and cites as evidence personally attending it himself along with the other Companions, who hear his narration and claim or hear about it, and do not denounce him, that further confirms it and necessitates sure knowledge about the truth of his words.
Jābir ibn ‘Abdillāh (rA) reports that his father, ‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Amr ibn Ḥarām (rA), died and left behind a sizable debt. He said,
So I sought the Prophet’s ﷺ help with his creditors so that they would reduce his debt. He ﷺ requested this from them, but they refused, so the Prophet ﷺ said to me, “Go divide your dates according to their kinds; set the ‘Ajwa dates on one side and the ‘Idhq Ibn Zayd on another side. Then notify me.” I did so, then notified the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. He came, sat down, then said, “Measure for the people (creditors).” I measured out their amounts until I had repaid them all that they were owed, and my dates remained as if nothing had decreased from them.” When ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (rA) was informed of this miraculous surplus, he said, “Once the Messenger of Allah ﷺ walked into the garden, I knew it would become blessed.”
‘Abdul-Rahmān ibn Abī Bakr (rA) reports:
There were 130 of us with the Prophet ﷺ, and he said to us, “Does any one of you have food with him?” One man had about a sā‘ of food, and so that was mixed. Then a tall pagan man with disheveled hair came by driving some sheep. The Prophet said to him, “Selling or gifting?” He said, “Selling.” He purchased a sheep from him, it was cooked, and the Prophet ﷺ ordered that the liver be roasted as well. By Allah, there was not a single person from the 130 except that the Prophet ﷺ cut for him a piece of its liver; those who were present were given, and those absent were stowed for. It was made into two dishes which they all ate from, and we had our fill, and yet the two dishes remained, and we loaded them onto a camel.
Jābir ibn ‘Abdillāh (rA) reports:
We were digging on the Day of the Trench when a huge solid boulder hindered us. They came to the Prophet ﷺ and complained to him about this boulder, and he said, “I am coming.” He then stood, stones tied to his stomach, as we had not tasted food in three days, and took the sledgehammer and struck the boulder until it became a dust mound. I said, “O Messenger of Allah, would you permit me to visit my home?” I went and said to my wife, “I saw on the Prophet ﷺ something that one cannot bear (i.e., the stones he had fastened from hunger). Do you have anything?” She said, “I have some wheat and a small goat.” I slaughtered the small goat, ground the wheat, then placed the meat in a clay pot. Before I left, my wife said, “Do not humiliate me in front of the Prophet ﷺ and those with him.” I went to the Prophet ﷺ and whispered to him, “I have a little food, so you come, O Messenger of Allah, along with a man or two.” He said, “How much is it?” I informed him, so he said, “That is plenty and good!” Then, he ﷺ said, “O People of the Trench! Stand [all of you]; Jābir has prepared a banquet for you. Let us go.” The Muhājirīn and Anṣār stood, and the Prophet ﷺ said to me, “Tell her not to pull the pot, nor the bread from the oven, until I come.” When I entered upon my wife and informed her of the army behind me, she said, “What is with you?!” I said, “I did what you said!” She said, “Did he ask you?” I said, “Yes.” The dough was brought out to the Prophet ﷺ, and he spat in it and prayed for blessings, then reached for the pot and did the same. Then, he tore the bread and placed it inside the pot and served ample bread and meat to each Companion. There were 1,000 people and, by Allah, each of them ate until they stopped [of their own accord] and left, and our pot was still full and our bread still plenty. In the end, he ﷺ said to us, “Eat from this, or gift it, for the people [of Madinah] have been struck with hunger.”
Anas ibn Mālik (rA) reports:
Abū Talḥah said to Umm Sulaym, “I heard the voice of Allah’s Messenger ﷺ reflecting weakness, and I could recognize hunger in it. Do you have anything?” She said, “Yes.” She pulled out several wheat loaves, wrapped them in her veil, then tucked them under my arm and wrapped me with the remaining part of the veil. She sent me to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and, upon reaching the mosque, I found people with him. I stood beside them, until the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said to me, “Did Abū Talḥah send you?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “With food?” I said, “Yes.” The Messenger of Allah ﷺ then said to the people, “Let us go.” They took off, and I took off in front of them until I reached Abū Talḥah and informed him. Abū Talḥah said, “O Umm Sulaym, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has come, accompanied by many people, and we have nothing to feed them.” She said, “Allah and His Messenger know best.” Upon arrival, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “O Umm Sulaym, what do you have?” She presented that same bread, which the Prophet ﷺ took and shredded, and then Umm Sulaym emptied her jar of shortening (butter) over it as a condiment. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ then supplicated over it for however long he wished before saying, “Permit ten [to enter].” They were permitted entrance and ate to their fill before leaving. Then he said, “Permit ten.” They too were permitted entrance and ate to their fill before leaving. Then he said, “Permit ten.” Everyone ate in this fashion, until they all had their fill, and there were seventy or eighty men in total.
Al-Qāḍī ‘Iyāḍ says, “The Prophet’s ﷺ supplications being answered for those he prayed for and against is mutawātir in principle, known by necessity.” He meant that God responded to the prayers of the Prophet ﷺ on so many occasions, and this was corroborated by testimony from so many people, that doubting it would be wholly irrational. An outnumbered and unequipped Muslim army was granted victory by God at the Battle of Badr, milk was drawn from the udders of a non-lactating goat, and rain poured from a cloudless sky—all by virtue of the Prophet ﷺ raising his palms to the heavens, and those who spent the shortest time with him witnessed these events and many were driven to conviction by them.
Anas ibn Mālik (rA) narrates:
As the Prophet ﷺ was once delivering a Friday sermon, a man rose and said, “O Messenger of Allah, the horses and sheep have perished! Will you not invoke Allah to bless us with rain?” The Prophet ﷺ lifted his hands and supplicated at a time when the sky was as clear as glass. Suddenly wind blew, driving together the clouds and causing heavy rain. We exited the mosque wading through flowing water till we reached our homes. It kept raining until the following Friday, when the same man—or another man—stood up and said, “O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, the houses have almost collapsed; please ask Allah to withhold the rain!” Hearing that, the Prophet ﷺ smiled and said, “O Allah, [let it rain] around us and not upon us.” I looked to the clouds and found them separating into a crown-like formation around Madinah.
Abū Hurayrah (rA) narrates that he once came to the Prophet ﷺ with tears in his eyes, which caused him to ask, “What makes you cry, O Abū Hurayrah?” He said, “I keep inviting my mother to Islam, but she continues to reject it. Today, I invited her again and heard from her painful words about you. Pray that Allah opens the heart of Abū Hurayrah’s mother to Islam.” The Prophet ﷺ obliged and said, “O Allah, guide the mother of Abū Hurayrah.” Abū Hurayrah narrates:
I left hopeful due to the prayer of the Prophet ﷺ and returned home to find the door partially open and could hear water splashing inside. When my mother heard my footsteps, she said, “Stay where you are, O Abū Hurayrah.” After putting on her clothes, she instructed me to enter. When I entered, she said, “I testify that none is worthy of worship but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is His servant and messenger.” I returned to the Prophet ﷺ weeping with joy, just as an hour earlier I had gone weeping in sadness, and said, “Great news, O Messenger of Allah! Allah has answered your prayer and guided the mother of Abū Hurayrah to Islam.” He praised Allah and thanked Him, and then I said, “O Messenger of Allah, pray that Allah make my mother and I beloved to His believing slaves, and make them beloved to us.” He ﷺ obliged, and there has not since been a believing slave who hears of me, or sees me, except that he loves me.”
‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Abbās (rA) narrates:
I once placed water for the Prophet ﷺ upon him entering the lavatory, so that he could perform his ablution. He ﷺ asked, “Who placed this?” They informed him that I had placed it, so he said, “O Allah, grant him a deep understanding of the religion, and teach him to interpret [the Qur’an].”
Shortly after the Prophet’s ﷺ death, even the senior-most Companions recognized that this young man had developed a unique prowess when it came to understanding the Qur’an and elucidating its nuances. Fourteen centuries later, nearly every credible Sunni work on Qur’anic commentary considers the explanations of Ibn ‘Abbās authoritative, is filled with examples of them, and testifies to him being Turjumān al-Qur’ān (the Master Interpreter of the Qur’an).
Anas ibn Mālik (rA) narrates:
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ once visited us at home when nobody was there but myself, my mother (Umm Sulaym), and her sister (Umm Ḥarām). My mother said to him, “O Messenger of Allah, this is your little servant (Anas); invoke Allah’s blessings upon him.” He ﷺ supplicated that I be afforded every good, and this is what he said to conclude his supplication: “O Allah, increase him in his wealth and progeny, and bless him in what you grant him.” By Allah, my wealth has certainly become abundant, and my children and grandchildren [combined] certainly surpass a hundred today.
‘Abdullāh ibn ‘Umar (rA) narrates that the Prophet ﷺ once said, “O Allah, honor Islam through the dearest of these two men to you: through Abū Jahl or through ‘Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb.” Ibn ‘Umar said, “And the dearest of them turned out to be ‘Umar.” Indeed, no person from the Prophet’s Companions honored Islam by advancing its public presence like ‘Umar (rA), as Ibn Mas‘ūd (rA) used to say, “We remained powerful since the moment ‘Umar embraced Islam.” Even after the Prophet’s ﷺ death, it was the unique impact of ‘Umar in spreading the light of Islam that compelled the historian Michael Hart to showcase him in his book, The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History.
Abū ‘Amrah al-Anṣāri (rA) reports that during a battle alongside the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, the people once again suffered from great hunger, and ‘Umar (rA) said, “O Messenger of Allah, if you see it proper, you can collect what remains of our rations. We can gather them, then you can call upon Allah to bless them, for Allah the Blessed and Exalted will certainly deliver us with your supplication.” Some people brought a single handful, and nobody had more than a ṣā‘ of dates. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ gathered it all together, then stood and supplicated for as long as Allah willed. Then, he called the army to come forth with their containers and fill them, and there did not remain a single container in the whole army except that they filled it. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ smiled until his molars could be seen, and said, “I testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah and that I am the Messenger of Allah. No slave meets Allah with these two statements without doubting them but that he will enter Paradise.”
Ibn Taymīyah says,
It is known that when Allah accustoms someone to having their prayers answered, this only happens in conjunction with righteousness and religiosity. When someone claims prophethood, they are either the most pious person—in that case they are truthful—or the most wicked person—in that case they are lying. But when Allah accustoms them to answering their supplications, then it must be that they are not wicked but instead pious. Even if the claim of prophethood was accompanied by nothing but righteousness [from the claimant] without miracles, it would necessitate him being a genuine prophet, for such a person cannot be someone who deliberately lies, nor can he be a deluded person who assumes that he is a prophet.
In summation, miracles are not the only proof of his prophethood, nor are they themselves unfounded proofs. Due to their mutawātir transmission, the historical proofs backing them are staggering, and confer such certainty that their denial would necessitate rejecting the miracles of all other prophets and rejecting every factoid of acquired knowledge. As for the presumed “logical” and “scientific” contentions against miracles, they only stem from a faulty philosophy, such as the indefensible claims that God does not exist or is not anything but nature itself. However, when such paradigms are the ethos of today’s dominant culture, and when humans have such a propensity for groupthink, whether those positions are intellectually tenable becomes irrelevant. This is why God encourages reflection throughout the Qur’an, liberating us from the indoctrination that resists the patent proofs of prophethood:
Say [O Prophet], “I advise you with just one thing: that you take a stand for the sake of God—individually or in pairs—then reflect. Your companion (Muhammad) surely has no traces of insanity; he is but a warner to you before the coming of a severe punishment.”
In this verse is a call to courage, as honesty and the willingness to detach oneself from the herd can sometimes come with a significant cost.
 Some have claimed that the Qur’an repeatedly denies the attribution of any miracle to the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ other than the Qur’an, but a careful reading of those passages reveals that they concerned God’s refusing to grant specific miracles to a defiant people, or His censure of human beings for feeling entitled to demand a miracle from God or for disregarding the Qur’an when nobody on earth was more equipped to recognize its miraculousness than they were.
 Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyah, Miftāḥ dār al-sa‘ādah (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmīyah, 2002), 2:13.
 Qur’an 15:14–15, author’s translation. To this day, when asked what proof it would take for them to reconsider their position and believe in the Divine, some prominent atheist debaters have candidly admitted that there is absolutely nothing that would change their mind. Even a miracle of the most spectacular kind would be dismissed as a “hallucination.” Of course, this is precisely what the Qur’an indicates: that even the greatest of miracles will not convince one who obstinately chooses to ignore every conceivable form of proof.
 See: Justin Parrott, “The Case for Allah’s Existence in the Qur’an and Sunnah,” Yaqeen, February 27, 2017.
 Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas, Islam and Secularism (Lahore: Suhail Academy, 1978), 18.
 Qur’an 2:260, Saheeh International translation.
 Baruch Spinoza, A Theological Political Treatise (N.p.: Dover Philosophical Classics: 2004), chapter VI, 83.
 Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzīyah, Ighāthat al-lahfān (Riyadh: Maktabat al-Ma‘ārif, 1975), 2:347.
 Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, 6:582.
 Qur’an 54:1–3, Saheeh International translation.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:206, no. 3636.
 Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥusayn al-Bayhaqī, Dalāʼil al-nubuwwah (Beirut: Dār al-Kutub al-ʻIlmīyah, 1988), 2:226; Abū Ja’far al-Ṭabarī, Jāmiʻ al-bayān ‘an ta’wīl al-Qur’ān (Beirut: Mu’assasat al-Risālah, 2000), 22:567, verse 54:1.
 Muḥammad al-Kattānī, Naẓm al-mutanāthir min al-ḥadīth al-mutawātir (Egypt: Dār al-Kutub al-Salafīyah, 1983), no. 264.
 Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāyah wal-nihāyah, 4:303.
 Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, 7:185.
 Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, 7:185.
 Qur’an 17:1, author’s translation.
 Richard Dawkins, (@RichardDawkins), “Ridiculing belief in a winged horse is not ‘bigotry,’ not ‘Islamophobia,’ not ‘racism.’ It’s sober, decent, gentle, scientific realism,” Twitter, December 27, 2015, 2:20 a.m.
 “Science, in the broadest sense, includes all reasonable claims to knowledge about ourselves and the world. If there were good reasons to believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, or that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, these beliefs would necessarily form part of our rational description of the universe.” Sam Harris, “Science must destroy religion,” samharris.org, January 2, 2006. In this essay, of course, Sam Harris merely begs the question, dismissing out of hand the notion that there could be any good reason to entertain the existence of miracles in the world, despite the overwhelming evidence of testimony to the contrary. But dismissing the evidence of testimony entails a death sentence for science, since science is grounded upon the faithful testimony of scientists regarding their accumulated experimental data, the vast majority of which could not be feasibly reproduced. See: Monya Baker, “1,500 Scientists Lift the Lid on Reproducibility,” Nature, 533 (2016): 452–54.
 Al-Burāq is a creature that is not from this world and has been described as a white beast that was smaller than a mule but larger than a donkey, whose stride was as far as the eye could see. When the Prophet mounted al-Burāq, the creature shied, upon which the angel Gabriel said to al-Burāq, “Do you behave this way with Muhammad? Verily, no one has ridden you who is more noble than him!” Sunan al-Tirmidhī, 5:152, no. 3131. This may suggest that al-Burāq had been ridden by other riders from the home world of this creature, perhaps even indicating extraterrestrial life-forms known only to God. See: Yasir Qadhi, “Seerah of Prophet Muhammed 21 – Night Journey & Ascension to Heavens 1 – Yasir Qadhi | January 2012,” Yasir Qadhi, YouTube video, January 25, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNBtUF7-uhQ.
 Ibn Ḥajar notes in his commentary on the hadith that other narrations specifically mention that after the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ arrived in Jerusalem, he left al-Burāq and ascended to Heaven through the mi‘rāj, a portal of ascension, concerning which the Prophet ﷺ stated, “I have never seen anything more wondrous than it.” Fatḥ al-Bārī, 7:208. Al-Zarqāni and Mulla ‘Alī al-Qāri point out that the abridged version of the hadith simply mentions the ascension after mentioning the Prophet ﷺ riding al-Burāq, without mentioning that he dismounted al-Burāq in Jerusalem, which is specified in other hadith. Al-Qārī, Mirqāt al-mafātīḥ, 9:3758.
 Qur’an 3:126, Saheeh International translation.
 Adapted with the author’s permission from his Facebook post on January 3, 2017.
 Al-Kattānī, Naẓm al-mutanāthir, no. 258.
 Al-Bayhaqī, Dalāʼil al-nubuwwah, 2:360; authenticated by al-Albānī in al-Silsilah al-ṣaḥīḥah, 1:615, no. 306.
 Qur’an 2:259, Saheeh International translation.
 Qur’an 18:9-25, Saheeh International translation.
 Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, 6:592.
 Al-Kattānī, Naẓm al-mutanāthir, no. 263.
 Ibn Ḥajar, Fatḥ al-Bārī, 6:603.
 Qur’an 34:10, Saheeh International translation.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:194, no. 3579.
 Sulaymān ibn Aḥmad al-Ṭabarānī, al-Muʻjam al-awsaṭ (Cairo: Dār al-Ḥaramayn, 1995) 2:59, no. 1244. For a variant narration, see Ibn Abī ‘Āṣim, al-Sunnah li-Ibn Abī ‘Āṣim (Beirut: al-Maktab al-Islāmī, 1980), 2:543, no. 1146; authenticated by al-Albānī in the comments.
 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 4:1782, no.2277.
 Al-Tirmidhī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī, 6:25, no. 3626; authenticated by al-Albānī in Ṣaḥīḥ al-targhīb wal-tarhīb, 2:29, no. 1209.
 Al-Nawawī, Sharḥ Ṣaḥiḥ Muslim, 15:38.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:194, no. 3579.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:193, no. 3576.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:192, no. 3572–74.
 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 3:1354, no. 1729.
 Al-Nawawī, Sharḥ Ṣaḥiḥ Muslim, 12:35.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 3:187, no. 2709.
 A sā‘ is a container that measures volume, comparable to a large salad bowl, and is equivalent to three liters.
 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 3:1626, no. 2056.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 5:108, no. 4101–102; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 3:1610, no. 2039.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:193, no. 3578; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 3:1612, no. 2040.
 Al-Qāḍī ’Iyāḍ, al-Shifā bi-taʻrīf ḥuqūq al-muṣṭafá, 1:325.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 2:28, no. 1013.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 4:195, no.3582.
 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 4:1938, no. 2491.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 1:41, no. 143; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 4:1927, no. 2477.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 8:75, no. 6344; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 4:1929, no. 2481.
 Al-Tirmidhī, Sunan al-Tirmidhī, 6:58, no. 3681; authenticated by al-Tirmidhī in the comments.
 Al-Bukhārī, Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī, 5:11, no. 3684.
 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim, 1:55, no. 27.
 Taqī al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn Taymīyah, al-Jawāb al-ṣaḥīḥ li-man baddala dīn al-masīḥ (Saudi Arabia: Dār al-‘Āṣimah, 1999), 6:297.
 Qur’an 34:46, author’s translation.