In 2012, a news broke out in Nigeria: “Woman gives birth to Baby holding a Quran!” It was a dawah score point on social media. Pictures showed that the Quran was bigger than the baby’s arm. Muslims explained that the book miraculously became bigger than the baby’s tiny fists shortly after birth. Months later, another baby was born with an Islamic rosary hanged around its neck.
Though few institutions investigate such stories and claims in Nigeria, many people are smart enough to spot tall tales. But as it’s often the case with staged “miracles”, what comes out as fake to reasoning people is just the opium a Muslim needs to make it through another week.
In 2013, there was another news about apparitions of 3 dead Muslim clerics on a mosque wall. Thousands thronged there with “women wailing, men bowing in reverential worship and some pressing bottles of water at the apparition hoping to siphon some blessing” as reported. Thankfully, not many Muslims bought this one. It was too spurious to cuddle up to.
The images purported to have appeared were Algerian, Senegalese and Nigerian sheikhs who lived in the 18th, 19th and 20th century respectively. It takes a Muslim (“one who has submitted”) to see faces of dead unknown dudes on a capillary action of a mosque’s wall! A similar case occurred in Russia in 2009 when a tattoo of Quranic verses “suddenly appeared” on a Muslim baby. Muslim clergymen promptly debunked this “miracle” as tattoos were against Islamic teachings.
Indeed, these stories are meant to lend a supernatural voice to Islam in a Christian-dominated environment where miracles abound. However, in the absence of real miracles, Muslims resort to tricks, voodoo and wild claims. Such stories would be useful to them as a prop to support their beliefs (or lack of it).
I logged on to an Islamic miracle website sometime ago, and laughter blew me out of my socks. They had pictures of a rock bowing in worship, a tree in prayer position, mosques surviving a Tsunami and bees forming the name “Allah.” That’s not all. Allah’s name has also been seen on clouds, plants, boiled meat, water melon, an oscar fish, a lamb, the ocean and the moon. These are the islamic miracles – seeing “signs” on bugs, birds and trees.
I saw a picture of a cow on which Muhammad’s name in Arabic appeared. They said the cow doesn’t moo like other cows, it sounds “omuu…omuu.” Let me complete it “Muuhaaaamaaad!” Notice also the racist undertone. These names always appear in Arabic as if that is the only language on earth.
If these are the best Muslims can offer at the religious marketplace, then they need to upgrade their package. A miracle, according to Islam, is a supernatural intervention in the life of human beings. Miracles should impact humans in real, verifiable ways – the blind seeing, the lame walking, the leprous being cleansed, the sick being healed. When these start to happen in Islam, then we can take the discussion higher.
This is even based on the premise that miracles were experienced by Muhammad himself and were promised to continue in our day. But such notions find no support from Islamic sources. When Muhammad told the Jews and Christians that he was a prophet of God and foretold in the Torah and Gospel (Q7:157), they demanded signs/miracles or prophecies as proof of his prophethood. Some of Muhammad’s responses to them are in the Quran:
“They say ‘why has a sign not been sent down upon him from his Lord? Say ‘the unseen belongs only to God. Then watch and wait; I shall be with you watching and waiting.” (10:20)
“The unbelievers say ‘Why has a sign not been sent down upon him from his Lord? Thou art only a warner and a guide to every people.” (13:7)
“And they say, why are not signs, miracles sent down to him from his Lord? Say: O Muhammad, the signs are only with Allah and I am only a plain warner.” (29:50)
The Jews knew what they were asking for. In the Hebrew Scriptures, God laid down criteria by which they could identify a true prophet – he must have a sign/miracle (Ex. 4:1) and give accurate prophecies (Dt. 18:22). Since Muhammad had no supernatural proof, he changed his narratives:
“And they that know not say why does God not speak to us? Why does a sign not come to us? So spoke those before them as these men say: their hearts are much alike. Yet We have made clear signs unto a people who are sure.” (2:118)
“They also say why has no sign been sent down upon him from his Lord? Say ‘surely God is able to send down a sign but most of them know not.” (6:37)
By repeatedly making references to “clear signs,” Muhammad was employing a psychological weapon by which people would tend to accept that there were indeed “clear signs” even though they weren’t seeing anything. So, rather than proving himself, he conveniently blamed his critics for being ignorant and “blind” to his “clear signs.”
In the absence of miracles, Muhammad claimed his recitations was his “miracle.” This is significant, because the Hadiths (compiled 250 years later) present Muhammad doing all sorts of miracles he admitted he couldn’t do in the Quran. While this contradiction constitutes a problem to Muslims (who have to choose which to cling to) they are quite understandable.
The hadithic miracles were made up to redeem Muhammad’s inferior image in contrast with the Jewish prophets and the Lord Jesus. Muslims tried to re-make him into a superhuman or a deity in human clothes.
Islamic scholar, Ali Dashti, commenting on Muslims fed with these legends said: “But if they were to read the Qor’an, they would be surprised to find no report of a miracle in it at all. They would learn from twenty or more Qor’anic passages that whenever the Prophet Mohammad was asked by doubters to perform a miracle, he either stayed silent or said that he would not do so because he was a human being like any other, with no function except to communicate, to be a ‘bringer of good news and a warner” (23 Years: A Prophetic Career of Mohammed, 1985, 38).
While the Quran seems to give us the earlier views of Muhammad, the Hadiths give us the later legends concocted by Muslims who, in discussing with Jews, Christians and pagans, realized that their own emperor had no clothes on. Let’s examine some of these miracles (All quotes are from the Bukhari hadith).
(a) Splitting the Moon
When the Meccans asked Muhammad to do a miracle to prove his prophethood, he simply splitted the moon in half saying “bear witness [to this]” (4:830). The illiterate who forged this story thought the moon was like the size of a football which could be sliced (probably with a sword). He also didn’t know that the same moon seen in Arabia is also seen all over the earth.
If there was ever a splitted moon at any time in history, the rest of the world wouldn’t be oblivious of it. At least the annals of nations like the Chinese, Persians, Aztecs etc (who were experts at Astronomy) would make mention of it. Today, we know the idea of splitting the moon is stupid.
How can someone on earth split another planet? If such a phenomenon takes place, the two pieces of the moon will hit the earth and all life may disappear in this planet for at least a 1000 years. Now, why didn’t the Meccans believe in Muhammad after witnessing this “miracle” if it was true? Why did he have to force them into Islam? Wasn’t a splitted moon enough to convince a 7th century doubter?
(b) Finger spring
On one occasion when the Muslims needed water for ablution and couldn’t find any, Muhammad called for a pot and made water flow out of his fingernails into the pot until they all had the water they needed (1:170). If Muhammad had been a farmer he wouldn’t have spent a dime on sprinklers.
How many people used this water? A place says 70 people (4:774). Another says it’s 80 (4:775). Another says 300 (4:772), then others say 1,500 (4:776). The more this “miracle” was narrated, the bigger the numbers got.
(c) Multiplying bread
Muhammad had little bread for hungry people so he recited some words into it and the bread multiplied. The people came around until about 80 people ate to their fill (4:778). So why did he resort to looting merchant caravans in Medina? This miracle was copied from Jesus Christ.
(d) Multiplying dates
A Muslim said his father died with debts unpaid and the creditors were around so Muhammad multiplied several heaps of dates for him to cover the debt (4:780). This miracle was poorly copied from prophet Elisha’s (2Kgs. 4).
(e) The crying Palm tree
When Muhammad used a pulpit to preach instead of standing beneath a palm tree, the tree began to cry like a baby. Old Mo left his pulpit and went to embrace the trunk of the tree until it stopped crying (4:784). Hush little baby do not cry…
(f) Wind prophecy
Using the number of fruits in a woman’s garden, Muhammad predicted that a strong wind was going to blow and warned people to prepare for it. One man didn’t heed his warning and was blown away to a mountain called Taiy (2:559).
(g) Healing spit
A man with eye trouble was cured when Muhammad spat in his eyes (4:192). Another miracle grossly copied from Jesus Christ.
(h) The Miraj
Muhammad went on an astral night journey to Jerusalem riding on a flying camel. He also went through 7 heavens where he talked with Adam, Moses, Enoch, Jesus and Abraham (5:147; 1:213). He finally got to Allah and was told to pray 50 times daily, he sought a way to reduce it to 5 times (that’s why Muslims pray 5 times daily). So much for islamic submission.
This was probably borrowed from a Zoroastrian legend of Arta Namak who was taken by an angel to heaven to see fantastic sights and returned to earth.
i) Shouting foods
It was said “we heard the meal glorifying Allah when it was eaten [by Allah’s apostle]” (4:779). I’m trying to picture a man sitting down calmly and eating a slice of bread with sultry lips saying: “Yah Allah, he’s eating me!”
(j) Tying Satan up
One day, Satan came and stood before Muhammad to interrupt his prayer, but he overpowered him, choked him and even thought of tying him to one of the pillars of the mosque till morning for people to see, but he changed his mind and let Satan go (2:22:301). This is just as silly as stoning a spirit with pebbles during hajj.
k) The Drought maker
When the tribes of Mudar refused to accept Muhammad as Allah’s prophet, he cursed them in prayer that drought and famine would destroy them for 7 years. Within a year the people were reduced to eating carcasses and rotten dead animals (2:120). Come to think of it, if Muhammad could really lock up the sky, he wouldn’t have launched any jihad. All he needed to do to silence the Jews, Christians and pagans asking for a sign was to display this.
l) Miracle spittle
Muhammad spat into a dry well and it filled with enough water to satisfy 1,400 men and their camels (4:777).
m) Healing spells
He allegedly healed snake bites, scorpion stings and different illnesses by waving his hand over the wound, reciting the Quran or applying his spit to the wound (7:637-638).
This was the occult practice prevalent in his time. If he had these powers, how come he died from the effect of a poisoned meat? One account said this poisoned meat spoke out and asked not to be eaten, but the old prophet had a longer throat. By attributing Arab pagan abilities to Muhammad, the hadiths ended up with a chimeric Muhammad – mixture of a prophet, apostle and a pagan shaman.
Islamic scholar, Alfred Guillaume explains: “There are good reasons for believing that deliberate imitation was resorted to for the reasons already given, and because the ashabu-l-hadith did not stop at ascribing the works of Christ to their prophet. His words and those of his apostles are freely drawn on and put into the mouth of Muhammad” (The Traditions of Islam, London: 1924, 138).
Some Muslims still attempt to fabricate “prophecies” for their guru from the Quran. For example:
I. The preservation of Pharaoh’s body
“What, Now! When previously you [Pharaoh] rebelled and were one of the corrupters? Today we will preserve your body so you can be a sign for people who come after you. Surely many people are heedless of Our signs.” (10:91-92)
Modern Muslims claim this “prophecy” is fulfilled because a Pharaoh’s body is preserved in the Egyptian museum in Cairo. But Quranic commentators say: “Some of the children of Israel doubted the death of Firawn [Pharaoh] so Allah commanded the sea to throw his body – whole without a soul – with his known armour plate. The body was thrown to a high place on the kind so that the children of Israel could confirm his death and destruction” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 10:90-93).
Thus, the “sign” was only for the doubting Jews, not for future generations. The breastplate would also be an identification mark, but does the pharaoh mummy in Cairo have this identity? Has it been identified as the same pharaoh who drowned at sea? Muslims don’t seem to realize that the title “pharaoh” is a general one just like the title “king.” This is nothing but propaganda mush.
II. The “prophecy” of Space exploration
“O assembly of jinn and men! If you are able to pass beyond the zones of heavens and the earth, then pass beyond (there)! But you will never be able to pass them except with authority (from Allah) (55:33).
Muslims claim this was fulfilled when man explored and visited the space in 1969. But this verse actually refers to the day of judgement not space exploration. Tafsir Ibn Kathir explains it: “You will never be able to escape Allah’s orders and decrees, because it encompasses you. You will never be able to avoid or avert His rule and judgement over you.” Maududi gives the same explanation of Tafthim 55:33, so the Muslim trope is simply a house of cards.
Islamic miracles are based on frauds since its foundations are based on myths. “Present your case’, says the LORD, ‘Set forth your arguments’ …Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were so that we may consider them…” (Isa. 41:21-22). This is God’s challenge to false gods and false prophets. Muhammad, his deity and the religion he left behind, flunked this test.