The Miracles of the Prophets: Part 3 – Prophet Mohammed

Prophet Isa and Musa were given miracles distinct to their time, that amazed the minds of those around them, their stories forever etched in history. However, this begs the question. What about the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, who was sent not merely to convey the message to a certain people, but rather the people until the last day, ourselves included? What miracle was he given that could entice the minds of the people today? It’s true that just like both Musa and Isa he too had miracles that he performed that amazed his people. However, his biggest miracle, the one lasting even until this day is that of a literary miracle.

The Arabs were widely known for and took great pride and treasure in their oratory skills. Eloquence was considered the highest quality that man could possess. Language had reached its peak of development and they would often hold yearly contests in which lines of speeches and poetry were recited from memory. Language was so revered that they even went as far as to etch the ten most famous poems in gold and hang them on their sacred place of worship, the Kabah. Even today, Arab societies pride themselves on their skills of poetry and word.

Therefore, in order to tantalize the minds of the Arabs and create a lasting miracle that even the people of our time could clearly see, Allah, exalted is He, blessed the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, with the Quran. It is a miracle that stretches even farther than just a literary miracle, being one of scientific miracles, historical miracles and the like. However, for the sake of this article I will focus merely on the literary aspect of this miracle.

The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, was a man who was known for his complete honesty and could neither read nor write, never partaking in poetry or the like. The people of his time were so overtaken by the literary miracle of the Quran that despite opposing him, it was impossible for them to deny. One such case was that of when a man of Bani Makhzum (a noble tribe in the city of Makkah) heard the verses he said:

“Today I have heard from Mohammed a speech which does not belong to the category of the speeches of the human beings and the genii [spirits;jin]. It is very melodious and possesses a special beauty. Its branches are full of fruits and its roots abound with blessings. It is an outstanding narration and no other narration is as outstanding as this.” (Majma’ul Bayan)

The Arabs fell in love with the unusual rapture, attraction, sweetness and melody because they could not find such an elegance in anything other than the Quran. The earthquake it caused in their hearts was not merely for this man alone but also for the leaders, who greatly opposed the Prophet, not wanting to change their lifestyle. The key figures of the Quraysh (the tribe of the Prophet) would go in the darkness of the night and keep hidden just to listen to the recitation of the Quran, standing there until dawn, completely mesmerized; only to find the other leaders and make a promise amongst themselves not to partake in such a thing again. However, due to its beauty they still were unable to keep away and continuously returned, catching each other again and again, making the same promises. (Ibn Hisham)

The Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him said: “All prophets were given something which would cause people to believe in them. The thing which I was given is none other than a revelation (the Quran) which Allah revealed to me. So I hope that I will have the most followers among them on the Day of Judgment.” Al Bukhari

The Quran is a guidance, a book that brings man out of darkness and into light, a map that clearly outlines the right and wrong, the best path to follow, giving clear directions to the ultimate treasure, Allah’s pleasure and Paradise. It is such a lasting miracle, that even today, more than fourteen centuries after the revelation of the Quran, the captivating sound of the recitation can still be heard in all different parts of the world, leaving an impression on the hearts and minds, and transforming those who listen to it, preserved in its original form not a single verse having changed.

“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears, because of the truth they recognize. They say, “Our Lord we believe; so register us among the witnesses.” al-Maaida (5):83

“…and We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as a guidance and mercy…” an-Nahl (16):89

“… a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion…” al-Baqarah (2):185

“And (as for) those who strive hard for Us, We will most certainly guide them onto Our ways”. al-Ankaboot (29):69

Unlike most scholarly and scientific texts, the Quran is a book that has not needed to be updated for over 1400 years. It is a work that has been preserved in its original living language without a single changed word over time nor lost to translation. The Quran itself testifies to its own literary miracle in the verse:

“And if you are in doubt about what We have sent down upon Our Servant (Mohammed), then produce a Surrah the like thereof and call upon your witnesses other than Allah, if you should be truthful. But if you do not – and you will never be able to – then fear the Fire, whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers.” al-Baqarah (2):23-24

To this day, it stands up to the test of time and no one has ever met that challenge, despite their best efforts. The Quran is indeed the biggest literary miracle of all time and with it comes the proof of its divinity as it was first spoken to the Arab community by a chosen man who could neither read nor write, yet was obviously divinely inspired to our beloved Prophet.

Arrogance: A hated characteristic in Islam

There are several characteristics that are looked down upon and detested in Islam, one of the greatest being arrogance. Undoubtedly, arrogance is a sin that is hated by Allah swt, and has no place in the religion of Islam. Muslims are constantly encouraged to be humbled and modest before their Lord and with other human beings too. In an authentic hadith, the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: The one who has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his heart will not enter Jannah” [muslim] SubhanAllah! This alarming hadith shows the severity of this sin, contemplate the size of an atom for a minute, it is tiny! And yet the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam is warning us that even if we possess such a tiny amount of arrogance, we will not be amongst the inhabitants of paradise.

The reasons why arrogance is a toxic characteristic and sin are many, I will highlight a few below to enlighten us on this issue, and remind myself primarily, and other servants of Allah swt to beware about being arrogant.

Arrogance as a disease:

It is no secret that many diseases, although present within our bodies, are manifested externally. For example, an individual may have a cold or flu, and although it is a sickness from within the body, its symptoms and effects are visible outside too. One would be able to detect someone who has a cold due to the person sneezing, perhaps looking visibly weak, coughing and so forth. Arrogance is a disease amongst the diseases of the heart. Like soot, arrogance covers the heart in darkness once it penetrates it, and its symptoms and effects begin to manifest themselves. A person with arrogance isn’t appreciated in any community, they are perceived as being haughty and proud, ungenerous and neglectful in many regards. Arrogant people are careless about what they say and how they act, hurting many others in the process. Such a disease doesn’t affect a believer in this life only, but in the hereafter too.

Why is arrogance despised in Islam?

Arrogance is one of the sins that can lead to kufr (disbelief). The one who is too arrogant fails to realise what he or she was created for, and doesn’t fulfil their objective in life. They consider themselves too proud to worship Allah swt as commanded. The one who has arrogance is generally too caught up in his narcissistic self and trapped within his vain desires to adhere to the commands of Islam, arrogant people are constantly disobeying Allah swt, and too proud to seek His forgiveness.

Arrogance corrupted those before us.

As we know, the prophet muhammed sallallahu alayhi wasalam is the final of many messengers and prophets sent by Allah before him. Among them were Ibrahim alayhi salam, Musa alayhi salam, Nuh alayhi salam and so forth. If you read and ponder over their incredible stories, you will find that their primary goal was to make their people worship Allah swt alone without associating partners with Him. Many of the people who denied or rejected the clear claims of these messengers did so out of arrogance, they refused to single out Allah swt in worship, and chose the actions of their forefathers over their intellect. Arrogance is also a characteristic of Iblees, as we know from the Quran, he was too proud to obey the command of Allah swt and prostrate before Adam. So when any of us are behaving arrogantly, we must remind ourselves of where this sin might take us, and Allah’s protection is sought.

I hope that this short reminder has instilled fear within us, and reminded us on the importance of abstaining from being arrogant Muslims. Many of us have and can fall short on this aspect, and the way to cure it is through worship of Allah swt, humbleness, piety and gratitude. We must reflect upon our weaknesses and deficiencies, and realise the Greatness of our creator. We mustn’t look down upon others, keeping in mind that they could be better and more beloved in the sight of Allah than us.

GPS

You slam on your breaks, your car stopping abruptly at an unexpected dead end, throwing you back against your seat from the sudden halt. “You have arrived,” your GPS chimes loudly from the little screen that you paid a good penny to install in your car. You look at it in frustration, jabbing the screen furiously, as it continues to chime that you’ve arrived, unmoved by your now swelling fingers. You huff in frustration and savagely turn off the engine, fighting with the seatbelt for release, as it tries to imprison you. You open the door and manage to slam it behind you, stumbling out not-so-gracefully and catching your fall with the palm of your hand scraping against an angry rock before you. You stand up, wiping off your knees with your throbbing palms. The sun is raging above you, intent on making you it’s victim, as you cover your eyes, tasting the heat, almost as if it were a solid, nearly suffocating you as you look behind you, aghast, as there is more than one route.

You’re not even sure which one you came from.

You’re lost.

The GPS took you to the wrong location.

You sigh heavily, opening the car door, and slump in; the GPS is now silent. You take a deep breath, reminding yourself that it’s just a gadget, as you inspect the coordinates you entered.

They’re correct.

Yet you’re at a dead end.

Suddenly, you remember a map your mother had given you last year “just in case” that you had promptly shoved into the glove box. Your hands shake as you reach for it; there’s hope, or at least you pray so. You pry it open, grabbing the neatly folded map and undo it with the gracefulness of a toddler as you spread it over your steering wheel, trying to pinpoint exactly where you are.

Sweat beads around your temple, trickling down your face. You wail in frustration as you realize that you’ve never really read a map. You lean back bitterly against your seat, tears stinging your eyes. You take a deep breath, determined not to give up as you look at the map again, batting down the desperation that threatens you, as your eyes scan it once more. You groan, banging your head against the back of the seat when you realize that you had been given an outdated map from 1993.

***

When thinking about dunya’a, worldly life, this story illustrates the significance of having accurate guidance in order to get where one needs to go. Likewise, this is additionally imperative when thinking about our journey to Akhirah, afterlife. We were not put on this Earth without direction. Contrary to what some philosophers believe, the pieces of the ‘map’ are not strewn across various religions in every corner of the globe. “…‘Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]…’” Aal-Imran (3):191

Rather, Allah, Exalted is He, in His Mercy and Wisdom, sent us both messengers and a book of guidance as our ‘map’ for the ultimate abode in the Akhirah. “This [Qur’an] is enlightenment for mankind and guidance and mercy for a people who are certain [in faith].” Al-Jaathiya (45):20

Unfortunately, many people go through life aimlessly, unsure or unaware that the accurate map is easily accessible. This leads to getting lost; making most of their efforts go to waste. Outwardly, things may seem to be going good in your life. Perhaps you have a good job, a significant other, but certain questions will never go away.

Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? What happens when I die? Is there life after death and if so, what should I be preparing?

If you don’t have a satisfactory answer for these questions, as you’re unsure where to look, they will continue to gnaw at your heart, no matter what other trappings of success you may achieve. Without this accurate map, the Quran and the Sunnah, a person may make choices that he will only realize were wrong after he dies, at a point where it is too late.

Don’t allow yourself to become lost, in a maze, confused and desperate whilst following an inaccurate source of guidance. There is no guidance except with Allah, Exalted is He. Realize that choosing to follow anything else is a guarantee of failure. Allah, Exalted is He, has sent the perfect GPS with the pages of Qur’an as our Guidance, sayings of the Prophet as our clarification, and Sunnah, the living example of the Prophet, peace and blessing be upon him, as our example.

“…And We have sent down to you the Book as clarification for all things and as guidance and mercy…” An Nahl (16):89