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Chapter Eleven:
Muhammad's Views on Miracles

Muhammad discouraged his followers from believing in miracles. When He proclaimed His Mission, his countrymen demanded miracles as proof of His divine station. In the Qur’án, we read about their demand in these words: "Yet they say; why are not signs sent down to Him from His Lord?"1 They asked Muhammad to put a ladder up to heaven2 and bring down a Book from God in their very sight or turn a mountain into gold or make streams to gush out in the desert. "Then we would believe," they said.3

In response to their unreasonable sceptical demands, Muhammad said that he was neither an angel nor were the treasuries of God in His hands. He told them that He only followed what God revealed to Him. "Say: Indeed the signs (miracles) are with God: And verily I am a clear-cut warner."4

People who had been told of the miracles performed by Moses and Jesus wanted similar signs from Muhammad. In reality, God is the source of all signs, wonders, miracles, and the supernatural events which are associated with the lives of the Prophets.

The opponents of Muhammad frequently pestered Him to show them miracles as a sign of his divinity. They scornfully spoke these words to Him: "Lo! Allah hath charged us that we believe not in any messenger until he bring us an offering which fire (from heaven) shall devour."5 People wanting to test Muhammad asked him to work another miracle, and give them another sign! They wanted him to ‘make a part of the heaven to fall down’6 upon them or to ‘rain down stones’7 upon them from heaven. They asked him to ‘bring back’8 their fathers if he spoke the truth.

These people sought to exchange the divinely revealed verses for their foul, vile, and idle desires. Muhammad was guided by God to answer them thus: "Messengers came unto you before me with miracles, and with that (very miracle) which ye describe. Why then did ye slay them? (Answer that) if ye are truthful!"9 "Is it not enough for them that we have sent down to Thee (O Muhammad) the Book which is rehearsed to them? Verily, in it is a mercy and reminder to those who believe."10

Two clear cut proofs were given to the people to assure them that the Qur’án was divinely revealed and not a product of Muhammad’s mind. Everybody knew that Muhammad was not educated and He could not read, write or even sign his name. The other proof advanced is the Qur’án itself. It was revealed a little at a time over a period of twenty three years according to the immediate needs of the people, but remains totally consistent. Such is the quality of its verses that none of Muhammad’s opponents could produce even one of their like when challenged to do so.

The miracle of the Qur’án lies in its purity of style, its wisdom and truth. In response to the repeated demands for miracles, Muhammad, the Prophet of God, is made to point to the Qur’án—the Message from on High—as "The Miracle". God, Its real author, challenges the doubters: "Do they not consider the Qur’án (with care)? Had it been from other than God, they would surely have found therein much discrepancy."11 Many contemporaries of Muhammad perceived the Beauty and Majesty of the Qur’án, the Nobility of its Call and the Magnanimity of its Message, the Sign and Miracle of God’s Handiwork, and accepted Islam.

These two proofs apply not only to Muhammad and His revelation but to all the prophets and Manifestations of God in whichever time or region they might have appeared. All Holy books containing the Word of God have a tremendous influence on men’s hearts and minds. The divinely revealed Word causes the ultimate transformation of the individual believer and society at large and helps to establish a divine civilization on earth.

Many mysteries lie hidden in the Holy books of all religions that can be safely described as the treasuries of the gems of divine knowledge. A fascinating study of the Qur’án undertaken in the computer age has confirmed the consistency of the Qur’án and its divine origin. Dr. Rashad Khalifa12 computed the frequency of occurrence of the letters (including the Qur’ánic initial letters—see below) in each Sura of the Qur’án and discovered that the Qur’án contains an intricate interlocking system based on the number nineteen. This means any tampering with the text of the Qur’án will become obvious. The mathematical pattern would be destroyed by additions, deletions or interpolations of letters or words. Thus using the ultimate in scientific proof, namely mathematics, the author has given the physical, examinable evidence that the Qur’án is the infallible Word of God.13 The frequent occurrence of the factor of nineteen in the Qur’án appears to explain the meaning of the verse "Over it are nineteen."14

The author gives a visual presentation of the occurrence of the factor of nineteen in the Qur’án. The opening statement of Qur’án or the Seal (‘Bismillah’—"In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful") of the Qur’án consists of 19 letters The first Qur’ánic revelation (verses 96:1-5) has 19 words and 76 (194) letters. The first Sura (96) revealed is 19th in position from the end of the Qur’án, and consists of 19 verses comprising 285 (1915) letters. The last Sura revealed to Muhammad (Sura 110) consists of 19 words and the first verse contains 19 letters. There are 114 (196) Suras or chapters in the Qur’án.

The frequency of occurrence of the four words in Bismillah (Ism–Name, Allah–God, Rahman–the Most Gracious, and Rahim–the Most Merciful) in the numbered verses (including the Seals in verses 1:1 and 27:30) of the Qur’án are 19, 2698 (19142), 57 (193), and 114 (196) respectively.

The frequency of occurrence of the four words in the Bismillah (19, 2698, 57 and 114) corresponds to the numerical value of one of God’s names. All compiled lists of the known names of God (more than 400) were found to include only four names with numerical values divisible by 19. These four names are the same four whose numerical values correspond to the frequency of occurrence of the four words of the Bismillah.

A number of Suras have a combination of Arabic letters (‘Initials’ or ‘Code Letters’) in verse one without any known meaning. A count of the number of these letters in the Sura in which they occur reveals a frequency that is a multiple of nineteen. These Initial letters have been faithfully copied despite there being no apparent reason for their presence.

Dr. Rashad Khalifa gives many more intricate details in relation to the factors of number 19. He remarks that Muhammad, by Himself, could not have achieved such a complex pattern and offers it as an undeniable proof that the Qur’án is indeed the divinely revealed Word of God..

Why is the number 19 given such importance? Ahmed Deedat, in his book based on Dr. Khalifa’s work, offers a number of possible reasons. Nineteen is mathematically a "prime" number, and it is also unique because it begins with the lowest and ends with the highest numerals. Hence it seems to be the "alpha and omega" of our mathematical system.15

On this subject, Ahmed Deedat makes the interesting statement that "Muslims had discovered the existence of this Miracle [Qur’ánic numerical code] only 132 years after [the] Bahá’ís."16 This statement is partly based on the Bahá’í calendar having nineteen months consisting of nineteen days each. The Bahá’ís have not claimed to have known the Qur’ánic numeric code. However, it is highly likely that the Twin Manifestations in the Bahá’í Revelation being successors of Muhammad were well aware of the significance of this Qur’ánic verse.

There is, of course, a significant likeness in the assertions of Muhammad and both the Báb and Bahá’u’lláh about the absolute integrity of Their Writings as the Word of God. The Báb writes: "For if one from whose life only twenty-four years have passed, and who is devoid of those sciences wherein all are learned, now reciteth verses after such fashion without thought or hesitation, writes a thousand verses of prayer in the course of five hours without pause of the pen, and produceth commentaries and learned treatises on such lofty themes as the true understanding of God and of the oneness of His Being, in a manner which doctors and philosophers confess surpasseth their power of understanding, then there is no doubt that all that hath been manifested is divinely inspired. Notwithstanding their life-long diligent study, what pains do these divines take when writing a single line in Arabic! Yet after such efforts the result is but words which are unworthy of mention. All these things are for a proof unto the people; otherwise the religion of God is too mighty and glorious for anyone to comprehend through aught but itself; rather by it all else is understood."17

Similarly Bahá’u’lláh has asserted, "By My life! Not of Mine own volition have I revealed Myself, but God, of His own choosing, hath manifested Me." In a Tablet addressed to the Shah of Irán, He further wrote, "O King! I was but a man like others, asleep upon My couch, when lo, the breezes of the All-Glorious were wafted over Me, and taught Me the knowledge of all that hath been. This thing is not from Me, but from One Who is Almighty and All-Knowing. And He bade Me lift up My voice between earth and heaven, and for this there befell Me what hath caused the tears of every man of understanding to flow. The learning current amongst men I studied not; their schools I entered not. Ask of the city wherein I dwelt, that thou mayest be well assured that I am not of them who speak falsely. This is but a leaf which the winds of the will of thy Lord, the Almighty, the All-Praised, have stirred. Can it be still when the tempestuous winds are blowing? Nay, by Him Who is the Lord of all Names and Attributes! They move it as they list. The evanescent is as nothing before Him Who is the Ever-Abiding. His all-compelling summons hath reached Me, and caused Me to speak His praise amidst all people. I was indeed as one dead when His behest was uttered. The hand of the will of thy Lord, the Compassionate, the Merciful, transformed Me."18

Finally, Bahá’u’lláh thus exhorts His followers: "Immerse yourselves in the ocean of My words, that ye may unravel its secrets, and discover all the pearls of wisdom that lie hid in its depths. Take heed that ye do not vacillate in your determination to embrace the truth of this Cause—a Cause through which the potentialities of the might of God have been revealed, and His sovereignty established. With faces beaming with joy, hasten ye unto Him. This is the changeless Faith of God, eternal in the past, eternal in the future. Let him that seeketh, attain it; and as to him that hath refused to seek it—verily, God is Self-Sufficient, above any need of His creatures."19

******

NOTES AND REFERENCES

1. Qur’án 29:50.

2. ibid., 4:153.

3. ibid., 17:90-3.

4. ibid., 29:50.

5. The Meaning of The Glorious Qur’án, translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, Islamic Arab Libyan Popular Socialist, Tripoli, 3:183.

6. Qur’án 26:187.

7. ibid., 8:32.

8. ibid., 45:24.

9. ibid., 3:183.

10. ibid., 29:51.

11. ibid., 4:82.

12. R. Khalifa, Miracle of the Qur’an - Significance of the Mysterious Alphabets, Islamic Productions, Tuscon, Arizona.

13. Ahmed Deedat, Al-Qur’an, The Ultimate Miracle, Academy of Islamic Research, Madras, India, 1984.

14. Qur’án 74:30.

15. Ahmed Deedat, Al-Qur’an, The Ultimate Miracle, p. 28.

16. ibid., p. 78.

17. Báb, Selections from the Writings of The Báb, p. 109.

18. Bahá’u’lláh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf , pp. 11-12.

19. Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp. 85-86.



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