What is a Miracle?

These notes are part of an ongoing discussion session on the purpose of our lives and the role of religion in it. We are all on a journey and mistakes are part of the learning process, so if you come across something that you think is wrong, feel free to share your thoughts.

We are not only referring to the miracles by the Prophet Muhammad SAW but historically, miracles from all the Prophets.

What do we understand from the word miracle?

–          an occurrence that is not possibly executed by someone else

–          Break in the routine/order that we are accustomed to

Mojiza is something that makes others incompetent.

As far as the creation side of the matter is concerned, every event in this world is a miracle because NO ONE can do it EXCEPT the one who is creating the whole universe

–          Whether it is in the form of a growth of a tree or in the form of fruits decaying, they are miracles

  • None of us can make a tree grow or fruits decay

–          We are not accustomed to seeing people walk on the sea and so we tend to term only such occurrences as miracles BUT in reality every act of creation is a miracle

  • It is our lack of knowledge of certain things which makes the occurrences of certain events seem like an anomaly

If we are aware that nothing in this world happens naturally (by itself) then everything is a miracle.

When we see someone operating a machine that I have no knowledge of, it seems extra ordinary to me BUT to the person who is operating it, the task is normal.

–          What we deem as miracles/out of the ordinary is a result of our thought perspectives.

–          Everything is a miracle from the creation point of view

  • From our point of view, when we are not accustomed to a particular event, we deem it a miracle.

Through creating miracles the Creator demonstrates that the existence is directly under His administration. He is the Lord of “material” and “spiritual” aspects of whole creation.

–          “material” and “spiritual” are categories that we give to creation

–          But in reality, all of creation is ONE whole entity

–          When our creator creates us, He creates us with both “material” and “spiritual” form

When they are alive, they are living cells and if they are not living, we call them non-living cells.

–          These are categories and definitions we impose on creation

–          But in reality, EVERYTHING is created by the Creator

I need to train myself to see existence as it is, as a whole, without categorizing (past, present, future, young, old, etc).

–          Everything is being created, given existence, as it is

–          Within creation, we give categories and names to objects (humans, flowers, buildings, seas)

  • But these are all artificial categories
  • We should not lose ourselves within these artificial categories which we have created for practical purposes (communication, etc)

Example:

To create one fly, can I say that whoever created this one fly, is the one who is administering the whole universe

–          Miracles are included in this category

–          Whoever is creating a man walking on the sea, is the same one who created the man who is walking on the street

–          Existence is given individually to each organism

  • We ought to look at each organism in the universe in its connection to its creator
  • In doing so, we will realize that the one who is administering the existence of a leaf is the same one who is administering the existence of a fly

Get used to seeing the world in a way which looks to its creator

–          Otherwise, we end up taking a lot of things for granted

–          And end up believing in superstitions

Statements we hear: When there is no oxygen in our world, there will be no life and everything will fall into catastrophe because oxygen is the source of life

–          We should be careful not to fall into this trap

–          Do not attribute the power to create to oxygen

God = administrator of the whole universe

–          The one who created the whole universe is the one who created the oxygen atom

Pay attention to what you are referring to when you say ‘God made this or that’

–          Be conscious of what you mean by God

–          We tend to easily utter such terminology

–          But we have to be ready to present our belief to everybody in an acceptable form

Do not be like those who follow superstitions

–          Things are happen ‘naturally’

  • They do not clarify what they mean by natural

–          Do not just say, it was made by God with no explanation

  • Try and deconstruct your words so that it makes sense to all human beings

By creating an event in an unaccustomed way, which is called miracle, the Creator points out to the attention of the human beings that the person who claims to be appointed by the Creator of is really true.

If something is created by the demand of a particular person (Messenger), who claims to be appointed by the creator of the universe (God), it is very easy to disregard his claims as hallucinations.

–          See if my message matches the message in the whole of creation

–          I am going to create you in the way that you do something exceptional

We know that the man is not exceptional, but rather, the creator of the man is exceptional.

Miracles are given to the Prophet’s in a way that shows them to have the ‘highest’ knowledge in relevance to the knowledge held by people during that time.

During the time of Moses – everyone was involved in magic but his ‘magical’ act superseded everybody else’s because his staff swallowed the objects used by the other ‘magicians’.

–          Although the Prophet was not a magician, he triumphed against the other people

Prophets do not only teach us how to see the world, interpret the world, develop a world view BUT at the same time they teach  us about that which is hidden in this world.

Solomon flew on his carpet – His ‘miracle’ proved to the people that flying in the air was not impossible (although at that time no one had even thought about it)

There must be a way to walk on the sea (Jesus), there must be a way to make ships/submarines (Noah),…

–          This is why the miracles of the Prophets are narrated in the Quran

–          Prophets are to lead humanity not only in the theoretical way  but also in a practical way

–          We are taught about the creator of this world, and also about what is engraved within the creation in this world.

The Prophets, are leaders of humanity, to teach them what is secret/hidden within the creation of this world.

–          God sends His help and guidance to human beings to:

  •  help them make sense of their existence in this world
  • How to use their human qualities
  • How to use this world and benefit from creation

In the miracles and acts of the Prophets, the message is not always clear cut

–          As we discover the way the universe is being created, the more, we will come to realize more characteristics of creation and in these characteristics we will learn more about the creator.

–          The material/worldly side of the world cannot be separated from the spiritual aspect of things

  • The more your discover the way things are being created, the more you appreciate the qualities manifested in the creation

Prophets are leaders in creation to do BOTH (learn about physical and spiritual aspects)

Materialists – use the world to serve them ONLY

Prophets – encourage us to discover the secrets  in the physical world so that we may benefit from the information and interpret the qualities manifested in these objects to develop our spiritual sides

We should not separate physical and spiritual aspects BUT our relationship with the universe is such that if I do not explore the physical aspect of creation I cannot appreciate the spiritual aspect

–          I perform my appreciation of the creator (worship) better if I connect myself with the physical aspects of creation

–          By understanding and appreciating the qualities in creation, we can better express our appreciation of the creator.

Miracles demonstrate that the Prophets are sent to be the pioneers of discovering the hidden aspects of the creation.

 

The messengers of God, the Prophets , are the pioneers of discovering the hidden aspects of creation so that you will appreciate the manifested qualities of the creator in a better way

–          It is very human to get excited when you find out something that you do not know

  • Through the Prophetic miracles, we get excited because the information that is presented is NEW for us
  • We are then guided by the Prophet, to use these miracles to find out about our Lord in a better way.

Question: Are there some miracles which this does not apply to?

Answer: No. Regardless of how historical the miracle might seem, we need to change how we read the message.

The first group of people who heard the Quran, did not know most of the things

–          Everything was NEW for them

–          Similarly, when we read the Quran and do not understand, it is a task for us to keep pursuing in unraveling the information.

Question: Was it a big part of the Prophet’s mission was to discover the hidden aspects of the creation?

Answer: The Prophet’s miracles have been spread in various ways

–          In Islam, we have an acute sensitivity when it comes to understanding miracles, because of the background of miracles in Chrstian tradition where

–          It is within human nature that we may not entirely grasp the teachings behind miracles and instead idolize the performer of the miracle

  • Hence why the miracles of the Prophet SAW are not emphasized
  • Every unit in the universe confirms the Prophethood of Muhammad (SAW)
    • The creator of the whole universe creates miracles in various way in the language of the creator beings

You can never separate the Prophetic message from what you see in the universe

1)      Your interaction with the material world

2)      Your appreciation of the qualities manifested in that creation

As science progresses and we learn how our cells function, what our brain does, etc – through it all we are learning more about our creator WHO has created all that we are finding out more about.

–          The knowledge of God most certainly is manifested in an infinite number of ways

We should not be prejudiced about the fact that science has advanced so much, to a point where things are advancing so much and everything is becoming superficial and commercialized, etc

–          Technology is used, mainly, for war and terrorism

–          And some people become very skeptical of this advancement

–          But in it, is a lesson for us

  • We learn the power in technology and subsequently learn the power of Allah

The world is to be used to discover the Signs of its Creator. Miracles are given to human beings through Prophets in order to encourage them to utilize the universe to certify that the message of the Prophets is really confirmable by human experience of the world.

–          You can confirm  the message of the Prophet by taking witnesses from the world itself

–          The Prophets are combining their message by witnessing the universe

Establish a bridge between the message of the Prophet and the witnessing of miracles in creation

–          Their messengership is

1)      The message they bring

2)      The miracles they are given from creation

–           I have to unite the message from creation and the message I get from the miracles of the Prophet

How do you confirm the miracles of the Messengers?

–          The miracles lead you to a conclusion

The Quran says something (from an example 1400 years ago) and you find out that what the Quran mentions is actually possible in the creation we see today

Example: Flying

–          We might not have seen the Prophet fly 1400 years ago, BUT, we see things flying today

–          The one who is saying it in the Quran 1400 years ago, is the One who is creating what we experience today

–          We can confirm hence confirm the miracle.

Only by discovering the manifestations of the Names of God in the creation through the manifestations of the Names of God bestowed on us that we can be in the Presence of God while we are in this world.

Miracles help me to connect the qualities I experience in this creation with the creator of these qualities

–          The miracles brought by the Prophets are all from within creation

What is it to do with me that the Qur’an narrates the miracles of the ancient Prophets?

When we read the Quran, we do not ask this question, and most people usually don’t.

–          Solomon flew, etc

–          I cannot really confirm it and it is not expected from me to confirm it

  • Maybe, I could say that the narrations of the miracles of the Prophet  Muhammad were narrated so that I can confirm that he was the final messenger
  • But why would I need to know about the other Prophets?
  • His narrations might help consolidate my trust in him as the Prophet

The speaker in the Quran, God, is teaching us that Prophets are leaders for us in both spiritual and physical matters.

**Miracles are the “tips” of general laws.

Miracles seem like they are impossible.

The principle of realizing the creation of miracles is a general law that we need to be comfortable with.

Behind these “minor events” mentioned in the Qur’an, concealed the “universal principles.” How?

1) Teaching of the Names to Adam took place in the realm of the unseen (paradise.)

• What is the universal principle in this minor event?

• How can I confirm it?

–          Quran says that God taught ALL the names to Adam and this happened in Paradise

–          If it is not in this world than what should  I do about it?

And He taugh Adam all the names, then showed them to the angels, saying: Inform Me of the names of these, if ye are truthful. (QURAN)

God says that He taught Adam and He tells me this BUT has it to do with me?

–          By definition, miracles are TIPS of the general rule

–          Miracles are part of an all-encompassing message

The creator of Adam is telling you that you also have all these qualities

–          Check within yourself to see if you have the ability know the names of things manifested in this world?

–          If I cannot experience it in this world, then the speech of the Quran is contradictory

  • But we see, from our own experience, that along every step we learn MORE names
  • We are conscious of the fact that the universe is part of a perfect deliberate order
    • The manifestations of the order has infinite levels

Throughout history, we see that humans keep discovering more and more things

–          This is because, the creator has taught me the manifestations of His names and has enabled me to learn this

–          We do not have to go to paradise to see how Allah taught Adam the names

–          We can relate the narration to ourselves

–          Though it seems to have nothing to do with us, it does

–          The Quran, is the speech of God for me, so whatever He is mentioning must have some relevance for me

  • By taking this responsibility, you question and ask what do the verses mean for me?
  • You try your best
  • The next generation also ought to try the best and you will see the information unraveling

What has happened, unfortunately, is that humans have hijacked the information and are abusing the creation for their own worldly benefit instead of using the information in His name.

Although we live in a time where people use the information gathered to build weapons and subsequently kill other humans in a drive to increase their worldly power, it does not mean that we should be against the discovering of all this new information.

If used right, you will come to realize that it is only through discovering new information that we can learn more about Allah.

Today people are hijacking the information but you never know, in the next generation,  Allah might make people come to their senses

–          We should not be against discoveries, but we should be against the hijackers and abusers of this new information.

This means that you can personally identify with the verse

–          But it is important for you to ask questions, such as, what does this verse mean for me?

–          Without investigations, you will not find any enlightenment.

Due to comprehensive disposition He was enabled to be God’s vicegerent on earth.

It was the teaching of countless sciences, all embracing branches of knowledge about the universe, and extensive learning about the Creator’s attributes and qualities.

“Teaching of the Names” afforded human beings superiority over not only the angels but also the heavens and earth and mountains in the question of the supreme trust.

If you are endowed with the qualities to appreciate and uncover all the manifested forms of the names of God only then are you superior to the angels (because they are only able to uncover 1 manifested name)

–          But we have to uncover these names and not arrogantly assume superiority and not do anything with what we have been given by the creator.

–          Human beings can glorify their Lord with all the various forms of manifestations of the names of God

We should not be ‘bragging’ about it BUT rather we have a huge capacity

–          Ask yourself, are you using this capacity or are you wasting it?

–          I should be ashamed of myself because I am wasting my capacity in search of worldly gains

Remember, whatever you do, use that opportunity to discover the manifested names of Allah

–          And within each event, if you are able to live in this consciousness, then you are superior to angels.

Angels’ prostrating before Adam and Satan’s refusing it:

 “And when We told the angels, “Prostrate yourselves before Adam!”-they all prostrated themselves, save Iblis, who refused and gloried in his arrogance: and thus he became one of the disbelievers. (QURAN)

Do you think God is mentioning this just to curse Iblis?

–          What is the benefit in cursing Iblis FOR ME?

–          We have every right to ask of the verses in Quran, what is the relevance of a verse for me?\

–          If God is telling me this, it has to have something to do with me

–          We have every right to ask this question and expect it to be a perfect guide for me.

Most of the physical beings in the universe and their representatives and appointed beings are subjugated to human beings.

Evil matter and its representatives are serious obstacles in the path of the human beings’ progress. They corrupt human being’s nature and drive them down wrong path.

By narrating this minor event, the Qur’an warns all human beings about who their friends and enemies are.

–          ‘Their representatives’: Angels are the representatives of the qualities manifested in the Earth

–          They declare and glorify the names of God manifested in things

–          When you look at the objects and you say it is ‘amazing or sweet’

  • What are you talking about?
  • The qualities, awesome, sweet, etc are qualities of the matter
  • How do you extract meaning from the matter?
    • This is described in the Quran as angels
    • The angels are transferring the meanings to you and ARE delivering the manifestations of names of Allah to you

When we proclaim something is beautiful, we take it for granted.

–          But if we think about seriously, you will wonder how the quality in question is manifested in the object you are praising?

  • Where do you get the meaning of beauty?
  • The Quran, explains that the qualities we see manifested in this world, is the result of angels glorifying those qualities.

You will not defy this idea

The meaning is represented to me by the angels, that is why I communicate\

–          My human qualities and communicating with the qualities manifested in things around us

–          Our hands are like detectors

–          We have always had and will always have this relationship of communication with the creation

** In reality, if you are careful, your soul is communicating with angels.

–          Your eyes, brain, mouth, hands, etc are ALL flesh.

–          Similarly, the matter component of a book is its flesh

–          But when we get a meaning from the book, we get it from angels

The soul is communicating with angels

If you see the world with this relationship, your world will be completely different.

Your spirit is communicating with angels.

Unfortunately, what happens is, people tend to say: “I am reading a book”

–          Remember, it is not your flesh that is reading

–          Rather, it is your ability to detect meaning that is communicating with the book

  • And what you are getting from the book, is not simply the ‘words’ BUT the meaning within these words

This is what it meant when we say angels are glorifying the creator.

The topic is very REAL. It is not something mysterious or mythological.

In the creation, the angels are prostrating, serving, us. But, sometimes, I get hurt, ill and something happens that harms me –this is when Iblis is REFUSING to serve you.

–          They are the representatives of the faith side of creation

WE taught Adam the names and we asked the angels to prostrate – they did but Iblis refused.

God is letting us know that are, in the creation, something that serves you and some other thing that harms you.

This verse is directly related to my practical life and warning me to be aware of what is going on in the creation

–          You realize that both your soul and the universe are communicating with each other

We should be observant of how we interact with creation.

Example: Radio/TV is broadcasted in the air BUT there is no TV (machine)

–          The book cannot show what is broadcasted in the air

–          We need a TV

–          Similarly, only the human soul can communicate with the message transmitted to us through the angels.

“…and I shall heal the blind and the leper, and bring the dead back to life” (Surah Maida, verse 110)

The Qur’an says: “O human beings! I gave two gifts to one of my servants who abandoned his egoistic urges for Me:

1- The remedy for spiritual ills,

2- The cure for physical sicknesses.

You too may find the cure for every ill in the pharmacy of My wisdom. Work to find it! If you seek you will certainly find. This verse traces the limit for the possible progress in medicine.

The miracles are told to us in order to encourage us to work to this end.

The more we find out, the more we appreciate our creator.

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