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Miracles: Mythical stories or signs of God?

Secular philosophy and science in modern times have increased the scepticism by which people
view stories of miracles. Natural explanations are sought for all things or else reports of the event are
The Quran – like the Old and New Testament - informs us that different Prophets throughout human
history performed miracles. Muslims believe that miracles are only performed with Allah’s (God’s)
permission. By definition, it is beyond the ability of human beings to perform these miracles without
God’s permission. The miracles performed by Prophets in the past were a sign to their people that
their claim to prophethood was real. The miracle of the Prophet Muhammad, which proved to his
people that he was a prophet, is the Quran itself, a proof that is still with us today. Miracles are not like
magic, in that magic is a trick that can be learnt. A miracle, on the other hand, is something that
should be impossible for a person to do, but is achieved due to Allah's intervention, i.e. when He gives
that special power to a Prophet.
Examples of past miracles related in the Quran are many:
Yusuf (Joseph) could correctly interpret dreams and this was one of the proofs of his prophethood.
One of the most famous incidents was a dream he interpreted for the King of Egypt of seven fat cows
and seven thin cows: “‘Truthful Joseph! Tell us the meaning of seven fat cows being eaten by seven
lean ones, seven green ears of corn and others withered, then I can return to the people to inform
them.’ Joseph said, ‘You will sow for seven consecutive years as usual. Store all that you reap, left in
the ear, apart from the little you eat. After that will come seven years of hardship which will consume
all but a little of what you stored up for them; after that will come a year when the people will have
abundant rain and will press grapes.” (Quran chapter 12, verses 46-49)
During the time of Musa (Moses) the people believed in magic, so the miracle that Allah gave Musa
was to actually change things in reality from one nature to another. On the contest between the
magicians and Musa it is mentioned in the Quran: The magicians said “O Musa! Either you throw first
or we be the first to throw?” Musa said: “No, you throw (first)!” Then behold, their ropes and their
sticks, by their magic, appeared to him as though they moved quickly. So Musa felt an anxiety in
himself. We (Allah) said: “Fear not! Surely, you will have the upper hand. Throw that which is in your
right hand, It will swallow up that which they have made! That which they have made is only a
magician's trick, and the magician will never be successful, no matter whatever amount of skill he
may attain” So the magicians fell down prostrate. They said: “We believe in the Lord of Haroon
(Aaron) and Musa.(Quran chapter 20, verses 66-70)
The miracles of Jesus were that, with God’s permission, he could heal the sick and bring the dead to
life: “Then Allah will say, ‘Jesus son of Mary! Remember My favour to you and to your mother: how I
strengthened you with the holy spirit (Gabriel), so that you spoke to people in your infancy and as a
grown man; how I taught you the Scripture and wisdom, the Torah and the Gospel; how, with My
permission, you fashioned the shape of a bird out of clay, breathed into it, and it became with My
permission, a bird; how, with My permission, you healed the blind person and the leper; how, with My
permission, you brought the dead back to life, and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you
(when they resolved to kill you) since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers
among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’” (Quran chapter 5, verse 110)
Even today these miracles could have no natural explanation. So these miracles were evidence to
the people of that time that the man claiming to be a Prophet truly was a Prophet of God. Those
miracles cannot be witnessed by people today.
The miracle of the Quran is that people cannot produce the like of it. Even today people can witness
its unique nature and this is the evidence that Muhammad who was given the Quran and claimed to
be a Prophet truly was a Prophet of Allah.