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Question 17: "I witness that you were lights in the sublime loins…."

"I witness that you were lights in the sublime loins…." 1

Q.I 7: Were all ancestors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) monotheists. Did they follow the religion of Prophet Musa and Isa (a.s.) during their respective periods? If it is so, then His Eminence, Abdul Muttalib ought to have been a Christian. If Abdul Muttalib and Abu Talib were on the religion of their ancestor, Ibrahim (a.s.), what prevented them from accepting the religions of Musa and Isa (a.s.)? It is said that Hamza, the Chief of Martyrs was formerly a polythe ist and that he accepted Islam afterwards and earned the attention of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Is it correct?

A: One of the agreed matters according to the true creed of the Imamites is that all ancestors of Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) right upto the father of mankind, His Eminence, Adam were monotheists.

Allamah Majlisi, in Chapter 3, Volume 2 of Hayatul Qulub says: Imamite scholars are unanimous that the parents of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and their grandparents right up to His Eminence, Adam (a.s.) were believers and the effulgence of his holiness never settled in the loin or womb of any polytheist and there never has been any doubt in the matter of the genealogy of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his male and female ancestors. There are traditions (both Sunni and Shia) to prove this.

On the contrary successive traditions show that all ancestors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had been messengers and Imams, and carriers of Religion of God (lslam). The descendants of Ismail (a.s.) who were ancestors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) were legatees of Prophet Ibrahim (a.s.) and the rulership of Mecca and guardianship of Holy Kaaba and its construction etc. had always rested with them and they were the point of reference whom people approached for guidance. The nationality of Ibrahim (a.s.) had always been in them.

And when the Shariat of His Eminence, Musa and His Eminence, Isa was there, the Shariat of Ibrahim had not been cancelled for the children of Ismail. They were the protectors of that Shariat and willed one another about it and had been handing over the heirloom of messengership to one after another until they made Abdul Muttalib and Abu Talib their legatees and Abu Talib handed over these things to the last prophet, His Eminence, Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) when he was raised by Allah as His final messenger.

Also in Chapter 13 of the same book, it is mentioned that the legatees of His Eminence, Ibrahim and Ismail (a.s.) are the descendants of Ismail and his legatees ended at His Eminence, Abdul Muttalib and then after him to Abu Talib and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), because, as mentioned in some narrations, the legatees of Ibrahim were in two branches: one the descendants of Ishaq among whom are the prophets of Bani Israel and second the sons of Ismail among whom were grandfathers of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and they were on the faith of His Eminence, Ibrahim and had protected his Shariat and the prophets of Bani Israel were not raised from them.

Statements of Allamah Majlisi clarify that His Eminences, Abdul Muttalib and Abu Talib were not bound to follow the religious law of Musa and Isa (a.s.) as they themselves were the legatees of His Eminence, Ibrahim (a.s.) and divine proofs. Thus it is written in Volume 6 of Biharul Anwar that Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: The Almighty Allah will raise Abdul Muttalib on Judgment Day, having the appearance of messengers and the pomp of kings.2

It is mentioned in Ittiqadaat of Shaykh Sadooq (r.a.) that:

"And it is related that Abdu l Muttalib was a Proof (Hujjat) and Abu Talib was a Successor (Wasi)."3

As for His Eminence, Hamza, uncle of the Prophet, the cause of his conversion to Islam is explained in detail in Elaamul Waraa of Tabarsi . It also shows how high his sacrifice was in the path of mono heism and in support of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.).

Question 18

Q.18: Apparently verses 90, 91 and 924 of Surah Bani Israel show that people asked for a miracle from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and he did not comply with that demand. Opponents present them to prove that he did not possess miracles. Please reply to this objection and also narrate the circumstances of revelation of these verses.

A: Logically it is necessary that one who claims to be a messenger of God (and if he has the virtues for messengership mentioned elsewhere earlier) to have a miracle. It means that he must have something, which is extraordinary so that it may prove the veracity of his claim. It is so, because if he is a false claimant, Allah would never allow him to do anything extraordinary or unusual. Of course, only one miracle is sufficient for the confinnation of this high post. It is against logic to say that he should bring miracles demanded by everyone. Rather such compliance is undesirable, because if he brings about whatever everyone asks for, it would disrupt the management of this universe and upset the maintenance of the affair of this world which the Almighty Allah has made, according to His strategies, dependent upon causes and reasons. In other words, the prophets were not raised to disrupt the organization of the universe, they were raised to cleanse hearts and to call the people to the Lord Creator.

We may also say that most probabl y those who demanded such silly things never wanted to put faith in truth. On the contrary they only needed material benefits or intended to mock the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). In such circumstances, complying with their demands would have been illogical and against wisdom.

We also say that sometimes they may ask for a thing, which is illogical and it is obvious that the illogical is prohibited. And a miracle is to be against the ordinary, and never against logic.

After this preamble, we can say that the polytheists who demanded miracle from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had in fact asked for extraordinary things as mentioned in these verses.

Firstly, their demand was never to get confirmation or proof of the Prophet's messengership in order to bring faith, because they had always been bent on harming the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) even after observing hundreds of splendid signs. Such manifestation did not increase in them anything but hatred.

Had they really wanted to know the truth, only one miracle would have sufficed; especially the miraculous Quran. Even after seeing the miracle of the splitting of moon, they said: This is magic. Summarily, their aim after demanding such miracles was never to believe and to put faith in the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). They only intended to mock him and hence such demands were not worth paying attention to.

Secondly, some of their demands were absurd and against logic, which included seeing Almighty Allah and angels; that is, they said: We will not believe in what you say, until you make us see Allah and His angels with our eyes:

أَوْ تَأْتِيَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ قَبِيلًا

"...or bring Allah and the angels face to face (with us). "(Al-Israa, 17:92)

And since, seeing Almighty Allah is impossible because He is not a body and is free from physicality, He says in reply:

قُلْ سُبْحَانَ رَبِّي

"Say: Glory be to my Lord ...” (Al-Israa, 17:93)

Some of their demands were against divine wisdom in the affairs of the universe and creation. They said: We will not believe you unless you lift up the mountains of Mecca and make the ground plain and make streams to flow, which should never dry up:

وَقَالُوا لَنْ نُؤْمِنَ لَكَ حَتَّىٰ تَفْجُرَ لَنَا مِنَ الْأَرْضِ يَنْبُوعًا

"And they say: We will by no means believe in you until you cause a fountain to gush forth from the earth for us…” (Al-lsraa, 17:90)

Some of their demands were childish, based on ignorance and seeking excuse and quarrels, which were based on their enmity, grudge and obstinacy. They said:

رًاأَوْ تَكُونَ لَكَ جَنَّةٌ مِنْ نَخِيلٍ وَعِنَبٍ فَتُفَجِّرَ الْأَنْهَارَ خِلَالَهَا تَفْجِي

"Or you should have a garden of palms and grapes in the
midst of which you should cause rivers to flow forth, gushing out."(Al-Isra, 17:91)

أَوْ تُسْقِطَ السَّمَاءَ كَمَا زَعَمْتَ عَلَيْنَا كِسَفً

"Or you should cause the heaven to come down upon us in pieces as you think ..."
(Al-Israa, 17:92)

أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِنْ زُخْرُفٍ

"Or you should have a house of gold ...” (Al-lsraa, 17:93)

أَوْ يَكُونَ لَكَ بَيْتٌ مِنْ زُخْرُفٍ

"...or you should ascend into heaven, and we will not believe in your ascending until you bring down to us a book which we may read.” (Al-Israa, 17:93)

It is not hidden from any sensible person that none of these demands are logical and worth being attended to, especially in view of their enmity, hatred and obstinacy.

Thirdly, we say that one of the reasons for not meeting such foolish demands is that it has always been full of hidden wisdom of Almighty Allah that whenever a community demanded an extraordinary miracle and when He also showed it to them and when even thereafter they did not put faith in the messenger, they were destroyed in an instant punishment.

The people of Prophet Salih (a.s.) demanded that a special kind of she-camel should come out of the mountain; but even after seeing the desired miracle they did not believe in His prophethood, on the contrary their hatred and enmity doubled; then the Almighty Allah destroyed all of them.

No doubt the polytheists of Mecca also were like people of Salih (a.s.) and that even after seeing what they had demanded they were certainly not going to believe in what the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said and their hatred would have multiplied and they would also have been destroyed. God's strategy did not call for their total destruction, especially from the aspect that most of their descendants were to become Muslims. There is a hint in this verse about this demand:

وَمَا مَنَعَنَا أَنْ نُرْسِلَ بِالْآيَاتِ إِلَّا أَنْ كَذَّبَ بِهَا الْأَوَّلُونَ

"And nothing could have hindered Us that We should send signs except that the ancients rejected them..." (Al-Israa, 17:59)

Meaning: Nothing prevented us from acceding to the improvised demands of the Quraish, but the fact that the people before them had made such demands and We had shown the same to them through Our Messengers. But they rejected them, gave them a lie and then We annihilated them. If We bring about what they are demanding by way of miracles, We know that they would not believe.Then chastisement must be sent down on them. But from the begi nning We have decided that We wou ld not annihilate them because of the nobility of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) or due to the fact that We would bring out true believers from their progeny.

Or the meaning of the holy verse is that We do not send improvised signs as We do know that they would not believe. So such sending of signs would be useless.

It is clear from the above explanation that the argument of deniers is wrong, whereby they say that according to the verse the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) did not possess miracles. The fact is that the Holy Quran repeatedly asserts that messengers of Allah did have miracles:

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ

"Certainly We sent Our apostles with clear arguments..." (Al- Had id, 57:25)

On the contrary, it even provides details of some such miracles. How can they say that the Last Prophet did not have miracles? Almighty Allah Himself has described the Holy Quran as His miracle and also challenges that even if all jinns and men join together, they would not be able to bring even a single chapter like that of the Holy Quran.

There also are many continuous narrations mentioning several other miracles shown by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). Some of them are mentioned in the Holy Quran. Now then do the opponents dare say that the Holy Quran denies the miracles by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.)? For example, here are brief descriptions of some miracles of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) in Quran:

I - One of the miracles of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is ascension to the heavens (Meraj) wherein Allah raised the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) one night from Mecca to Masjid Aqsa and from there to heavens. He says in the beginning of Surah Bani Israel :

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ ىالْأَقْصَ

"Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque ..." (Al- Israa, 17:l)

And the end of ascension is described in Surah Najm. 5

2- Another miracle is splitting of the Moon, which was demanded by the polytheists of Mecca who said: As magic is not effective in the sky, if you show us the splitting of moon, we would believe in your messengership. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) hinted at the moon with his holy finger whereby the moon split into two and thereafter he again pointed his finger to it and it rejoined. So it is mentioned in Surah Qamar:

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ

"The hour drew nigh and the moon did rend asunder. (Al-Qamar, 54: 1)

3- Yet another miracle of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) is h is throwing a handful of sand on the army of infidels whereby Allah made it to hit the eyes and noses of the entire army of deniers in such a way that they were totally defeated in that war between truth and falsehood. It is mentioned in Surah Anfal:

وَمَا رَمَيْتَ إِذْ رَمَيْتَ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ رَمَىٰ

"...and you did not smite when you smote (the enemy), but it was Allah Who smote ..."
(Al- An fal, ( 8:17)

4- One more of the miracles of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) was blowing of a hard wind during the Battle of Ahzab. The Almighty Allah made that wind so severe and cold that it uprooted their tents and extinguished their fires and made them unable to stay there, so they were compelled to flee. Almighty Allah also sent a number of angels to assist the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). It is mentioned in Surah Ahzab that:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكُمْ إِذْ جَاءَتْكُمْ جُنُودٌ فَأَرْسَلْنَا عَلَيْهِمْ رِيحًا وَجُنُودًا لَمْ تَرَوْهَا ۚ وَكَانَ اللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرًا

"O you who believe! Call to mind the favor of Allah to you when there came down upon you hosts, so We sent against them a strong wind and hosts, that you saw not...”
(Al- Ahzab, 33:9)

So also, in the Battle of Hunain, when the Muslim army was defeated and took to flight, Almighty Allah sent some angels to help the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). He gave peace of mind to believers and defeated and overpowered the deniers. It is mentioned in Surah Baraat:

وَيَوْمَ حُنَيْنٍ لَقَدْ نَصَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ فِي مَوَاطِنَ كَثِيرَةٍ ۙ

"Certainly Allah helped you in many battlefields and on the day of (battle of) Hunain...” (At-Taubah, 9:25)

5- Also among the miracles granted to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and mentioned in Quran, is giving advance information of unknown events which proved true afterwards. There are many such miracles, but we mention only some of them here. Their details are available in books of Quranic exegesis. For example the holy verse:

سَيُهْزَمُ الْجَمْعُ وَيُوَلُّونَ الدُّبُرَ

"Soon shall the hosts be routed, and they shall turn (their) backs. " (Al-Qamar, 54:45)

. . .which predicted the defeat and flight of the denier army and which was proved true during the Battle of Badr. It is mentioned:

سَأُلْقِي فِي قُلُوبِ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا الرُّعْبَ فَاضْرِبُوا فَوْقَ الْأَعْنَاقِ

"I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads ..” (Al-Anfal, 8:12)

Then He predicted the victory of Khyber and so also of the conquests, all of which proved totally true. Accordingly, it is mentioned in Surah Fath:

وَعَدَكُمُ اللَّهُ مَغَانِمَ كَثِيرَةً

"Allah promised you many acquisitions...” (Al-Fath, 48:20)

Also in Surah Kauthar the prediction of continuation of progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and discontinuation of progeny of his taunters is given and so did it happen. The late scholar, Fakhrul Islam, (r.a.), in his Bayanul Haqq (Vol. 1), has quoted thirty instances of such prophecies given in the Holy Quran and twenty prophecies of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) about things known to none except Almigh ty Allah and mentioned in the Holy
Quran (desirous readers may refer to this book). Allamah Majlisi (r.a.) in Vol. 2 of Hayatul Qulub has also collected a number of such news items, which can be seen by those who want to.

It is mentioned in Volume 2 of Aneesul Aalaam (Pg. 245) that there are eight instances of such advance news in the Gospels. It is mentioned therein that His Eminence, Isa Masih (a.s.) was asked to produce some improvised signs and His Eminence, did not pay attention to those demands. One of such instances quoted in the said book is verse II , chapter 8 in the Book of Marks:

The Farisis came out and began to argue with him (His Eminence, Masih) and as a trial they asked him to produce miracles from the sky and he sighed from his heart saying: For what this group is asking such signs? I have already told you that no sign will be shown to this group.

Question 19

Q.19: What is the difference between the terms: Zanb (sin), lthm (transgression), lsyaan (disobedience) and Tarke Oolaa (leaving a preferable option)?

The Holy Quran talks clearly about Zanb (sin) of prophets. How can it mean Tarke Oolaa (leaving a preferable option)? How is immunity from sin (lsmah) proved?

A: Zanb, lthm and Isyaan are different words meaning one thing, which is going against divine command to do something or to refrain from a thing that Allah has ordered. Again order and prohibition are of two types. It is either absolutely obligatory and what is opposite to it should never be done. In other words, it is liked by Lord Almighty and hence not complying with it, results in divine anger. For example, the order to perform ritual prayer, fasting, paying of Zakat etc. Carrying out these commands pleases God and not complying with them invites God's wrath and displeasure; likewise are examples of prohibitions.

The second kind is without any threat. In other words, it is desired and liked by God, yet not doing it does not earn His anger and chastisement. Such commands and prohibitions are called recommended and detestable respectively. It means that a recommended act is one doing which is better and that it is better not to leave it. Yet there is no punishment for leaving it. That which is against the position of prophet's infallibility is the first kind: That is to leave compulsory deeds and to indulge in prohibited things.

But to give up recommended deeds and to commit that which is detestable (better not done) does not go against the position of messengers. Since plain logic demands that messengers of Allah must always be immune from every big and small sin, the word used in the Holy Quran that is, 'Zanb' must mean a deed of the second sort.

As regards the way of proving the infallibility of prophets and Imams, Allamah Hilli 's Sharhe Gufta Muhaqqiq Tusi, says that infallibility is a secret known to nobody (as it is a power of the soul and might of Almighty Allah, it is impossible for one who has it to ever disobey Allah). It can be proved in two ways:

First is a clear statement of the prophet or Imam and such clear texts prove the matter. Of course, the concerned person in question must have the qualities of such infallibility.

Second is appointment by Almighty Allah, Who shows miracles through that holy person. Such show of miracles testifies that Allah made him His prophet. Otherwise He would have never allowed such extraordinary event to take place through him. Since showing miracles by a man is proof of Allah's attestation to that person 's prophethood or Imamate, he must always have the virtue of infallibility, which is an essential condition.

"Logically effect is the proof of the cause. Accordingly, existence of effect proves existence of cause. The mention of the messenger in the Holy Quran testifies that they are divinely appointed messengers. Hence their infallibility too is also proved and agreed. Therefore whatever fault of theirs is mentioned therein must be of the second kind: either omitting the recommended or committing the detestable.

Question 20

Q.20: ls it essential to believe that ascension (Meraj) of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was physical. On the night of ascension, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had seen people being chastised, though Judgment Day has not yet arrived. What was the nature of Prophet's observance?

A: Yes, it is an essential principle of Islamic belief and proved by the text of the Holy Quran that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) traveled during the night of ascension from Masjidul Haraam to Masjidul Aqsa. Allah says in the beginning of Surah Ban Israel:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى

"Glory be to Him Who 1nade His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to tlie remote mosque ..." (Al- Isra, 17: I)

Then from Masjidul Aqsa he traveled to the heavens as mentioned in narrations.

It is also mentioned in Surah Najm and commentaries of the same. Thus belief in ascension of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) on the night of ascension is an essential article of religious belief. Scenes shown by Allah to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) were scenes of events which are to take place in the world of Purgatory (Barzakh) and in Judgment Day (Qiyamat) with regard to people who would earn either reward or punishment. Even though it is supposed to happen in future, it was shown to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in advance.

Question 21

اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ

"The hour drew nigh and the moon did rend asunder. " (Al- Qamar, 54: l)

Q.21: Healthy logic and intelligence accepts that when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) pointed to the moon, it split into two and thereafter at his order the two parts rejoined. But it is mentioned in Sunnah that one of the pieces entered the right sleeve of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the other half in the left. This latter part of the saying seems to be against logic just as the saying that the world is contained in the skin of an egg.
Please let us know if this latter part is mentioned in reliable traditions: If so what is the reply to this question?

A: What is agreed by all in the matter of the Prophet's miracle called splitting of the Moon (Shaqqul Qamar) is that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) had pointed to the moon and split it into two. The two parts remained separate for some time and when the Prophet once again gestured, they joined and returned to the previous state. Upto this is, there is no doubt in what has been mentioned in Quran and in consecutive traditions. It is also not correct to say that breaking and joining of heavenly bodies in the sky is impossible. Recent research in space sciences has revealed that the globe of moon is, like globe of earth and amenable to breaking and joining and there is no difference as such in these two celestial bodies.

As for the subject of coming of the moon to earth and going of it into the sleeve of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), I have not found any such thing in Quranic commentaries and books of religious scholars. This is mentioned only in Nasikhut Tawarikh; and that too without quoting the source. There is no doubt that it is not only unacceptable but also illogical; unless it is explained properly and until the true meaning of this statement is brought forth.

Question 22

وَهَمَّ بِهَا لَوْلَا أَنْ رَأَىٰ بُرْهَانَ رَبِّهِ وَلَقَدْ هَمَّتْ بِهِ

"And certainly she made for him, and he would have made for her, were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord ..." ( Yusuf, 1 2:24)

Q.22: Mamun asked Imam Ridha’ (a.s.): 'How can Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) indulge with Zulaikha when he is a prophet and infallible?' What was the reply of Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) which satisfied the latter?

A: In Uyun Akhbar Ar-Ridha’ (a.s.) it is narrated that: Mamun said: 0 son of the Prophet of God, how excellent! Let me know about the meaning of what the Almighty Allah said:

"And certainly she made for him, and he would have made for her, were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord ..."

Imam Ridha’ (a.s.) said: ·she tried to seduce Yusuf (a.s.). Were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord, he would have done to her just as what she had done to him. However, Yusuf (a.s.) was immaculate, and the immaculate neither commits sins nor think of committing them. Indeed my father, Imam Ja'far Sadiq (a.s.) told me that she intended to do it, but he decided not to."6

The gist of the reply of Imam Ali Ridha’ (a.s.) is that the phrase: "were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord" is the condition for "and he would have made for her” hence the meaning of this holy verse becomes:

Had Yusuf (a.s.) not seen the proof of his Lord, he would have certainly inclined toward Zulaikha. Since "were it not that he had seen the manifest evidence of his Lord" is for rejection of the second sentence through the existence of the first the meaning becomes:

As Yusuf saw the proof of his Lord, he did not incline toward Zulaikha. For explanation of His Lord's proof (Burhane Rabbih), His Eminence, Ali bin Husain (a.s.) is reported to have said that :

Zulaikha threw her dress on the idol in her apartment, saying: I feel ashamed of it (the idol). Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) remarked: When you feel thus ashamed in front of an idol, which neither sees nor hear; why should I not feel ashamed before my God, Who has created man and Who knows each and everything about him?


إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا

"Surely We have sent you as a witness and as a bearer of good news and as a warner. “
(Al-Fath, 48:8)

Q.23: Kindly explain the difference between giver of glad tidings (Basheer) and warner (Nazeer).

A: Basheer means one who gives good tidings anct Nazeer means one who frightens with warnings. The reason for calling the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) by these two adjectives is that his honor gave glad tidings of Paradise to the believers and warned the infidels of a fearful hellfire. He is the giver of good news of the ranks to the obedient and of stages of Hell to the disobedient and sinners. He is also a giver of good news to sinners that their repentance will be accepted by the Merciful God. At the same time he is also a warner for those worshippers, who make a show and are proud of their worship as such attitude nullifies their deeds.

Question 24

Q.24: Please explain the difference between miracle, magic and jugglery.

A: A miracle is manifested by Allah through His Messenger, which is against the normal course in such a way that all cannot present such a thing in spite of all their knowledge and power. A miracle is thus a proof of truthfulness of one who claims to be a messenger of God, Who never allows a miracle to be performed by an imposter of messengership or prophethood as it is against perfect wisdom of Almighty Allah, because it is apparently awkward that a liar should be able to show miracles and Allah can never indulge in an awkward thing.

As for the definition of magic: Sorcery or magic is manifestation of a thing against the ordinary by a person who is impure and evil with the help or means of some special acts.

Those acts are such, which anyone can learn by heart and bring about results. Thus difference between miracle and magic was such as:

First: Miracle is from Allah, the Merciful for testifying His messenger's truthfulness; whereas sorcery is from Satan. It is an effect of the filth of the magician and his engagement with devils and their indulgence in unclean deeds or acts, which make them nearer to satans. The difference between miracle and sorcery is seen from the difference between Mercifulness and mischievousness.

Second: If an extraordinary thing is seen or manifested with the hands of a person who has no faults or evils in him at all and he is also having all desirable virtues and is not selfish at all regarding any material thing and his total concern is with Almighty Allah, all this shows that the unusual thing he has shown is indeed a miracle and that it is granted to him by Almighty Allah as a miracle and that he is true in his claim to be a messenger or Imam.

On the other hand, if there is a fellow who shows extraordinary and unusual things, but who is mean-minded, desirous of worldly things and worshipper of his desires and devoid of all graceful virtues, then what he has shown is of course magic and he himself is accursed. Most probably every aspect of his mean-mindedness and evil intentions will not remain hidden from intelligent people. This is how miracle and magic can be distinguished by wise people.

Intelligent people, on seeing unusual and unhabitual things in someone do not put faith in him at once until they have looked deeply into that person 's conditions and ascertain whether what he has shown is spiritual and divine or material and satanic. When they find that he is clean and pious and is not interested in anything except the pleasure of God and that he is always engaged in worship and has perfect virtues and is clean of every evil thing then they obey him fully and love him from heart and put themselves in his service.

On the other hand, if they find that a fellow is selfish and mad after money and material things and seeks only worldly ranks and his deeds are undesirable, then they become sure that he has shown only magic and sorcery. If such a selfish fellow claims to be a prophet or spiritual leadership, the wise people at once become sure that he is a liar and a perjurer and hence will reject his claim even if he shows thousands of unusual things and astonishing and wonderful matters. Intelligent and wise people understand that whatever unusual things such an imposter has shown are the result of some hidden causes which rnay be exposed by those who have any knowledge of such matters.

The third difference between miracle and sorcery is that miracle does not require any ritual or trouble-taking and whatever the messenger or prophet asks comes up by the Command of God. On the other hand a magician or a sorcerer needs to do perform acts acquiring some

materials, spells, charms, amulets and materials like stones or roots and control of jinns and satans and some eatables, which disrupt human mind and change feelings. Hence it is often noticed that magicians make people drink tea or coffee to affect their perceptions and make them see astonishing things. They also indulge in hidden handiworks for gathering riches.

That is why some scholars have said that it is also necessary to gain knowledge of sorcery (at least for some people) so that masses may be warned of their tricks and they may be protected from their webs, nets, traps etc. It should also be known that sometimes a magician may show wonders without resorting to special acts and may show his will power acquired by exercises (which are false and rejected). But in such event, if he claims to be a prophet, Almighty Allah, Who is merciful and kind will certainly expose that fellow's falsehood or He will not allow what that fellows wants to bring out and raise some certain events, which will expose that fellow's falsehood.

Fourth: Miracle is not bound by time and space. Time and space cannot hinder the messenger and he will seek from the Almighty Allah anything at anytime and at any place whereby the extraordinary and wonderful event will come up at once before all. And also what the Messenger of Allah will show will be according to what people had demanded. For example, if people say: Please make a man who died a hundred years ago rise from his grave so that we may believe in your prophethood; then as soon as the messengers requests Allah, that dead person will rise up unless it is known that what people demanded was not for putting faith, but only to seek excuse as mentioned in reply to another question.

But magic is bound by time and space. The magician cannot do whatever he wants at once. In magic it is what the magician wants to show, not what people ask of him. In case there is a fellow who acquires will power to bring forth what others demand then we say that if such person claims divine messengership, Almighty Allah, Who is wise and kind to His creation, will certainly not allow such a thing to happen, which may misguide the masses.

Question 25

Q.25: Please differentiate between logically impossible (Mahaale Aqli) and seemingly impossible (Ghair Aqli).

A: Logically impossible (Mahaale Aqli) is something the occurrence of which seems improbable to reason or logic; in other words which is impossible by itself; for example having controversies such as associating anything or anyone with Allah, which is absolutely ruled out by reason and common sense does not admit its happening or for example the statement that the universe is contained in the shell of an egg (unless the world becomes small and the egg large). Obviously such matters are logically impossible.

As for the commonly impossible; they are things which can happen by themselves, that is, logic or reason does not rule out its possibility; but which are not likely to happen in the normal course. They include conception of a fetus without a father as in case of Isa (a.s.).

Miracles shown by all divine messengers are also as such. They are against ordinary but not against logic. For example: speaking and movement of animals, trees and stones etc; so also curing of born blinds without medicine and even ma k ing the dead alive. All these are abnormal phenomena, but the Almighty Allah makes them possible through the hands of His Messengers for verification of their prophethood or Imamate. None of such events are against logic and reason does not rule out their occurrence.

  • 1. Mafatihul Jinan, Ziyarat Imam Husain (a.s.), on Eidul Fitr and Eidul Adha (Qurban).
  • 2. Biharul Anwar , Vol. 35. Pg. I 56
  • 3. Shiite Creed, Shaykh Saduq, Pg. 85, Chapter 40
  • 4. And they say: We will by no mean..; believe in you until you cause a fountain to gush forth from the earth for us. Or you should have a garden of palms and grapes in the midst of which you should cause rivers to flow forth, gushing out. Or you should cause the heaven to come down upon us in pieces as you think, or bring Allah and the angels face to face (with us).
  • 5. The explanation of Surah Najm with details of Ascension (Meraj}) has
    been discussed by Ayatullah Dastghaib in a separate book.
  • 6. Uyun Akhbar ar-Ridha’ (a.s.), Vol. l , Pg. 20 l