MEANING OF A MIRACLE
The World Divine Book Dictionary (1995; Vol. L-z page 1326) has defined a miracle as “ a wonderful happening that is beyond the known laws of nature.”
A typical example of these laws is the appearance of the sun from the east. If it appears from the West, it becomes a miracle and sign.
Encyclopaedia Britannica (1983; Vol. 12 P269) toes the above line of reasoning and defines miracles as “extraordinary and astonishing happenings that are attributed to the presence and action of an ultimate or divine power,” and that is Allah, the Almighty.
The Quran is called a miracle because it has certain features which make it unique and of inimitable quality. This inimitability is called “ijaaz al-Quraan,” the “miraculous nature” of the Quran.
The word “’ijaaz” is derived from the root ‘’’ajaza’’ which has various meanings, ranging from ‘’ to be incapable, to make powerless, ‘’to ‘’to be impossible, to be inimitable’’.
In technical language, it means the inimitable and unique nature of the Quran which leaves its opponents powerless or incapable of meeting the challenge which the revelation poses to them (divine, 1985,149). Indeed, the miraculous nature of the Quran has another unique dimension.This dimension is the mention of diverse knowledge that mankind was unaware of.
In the areas of science, psychology, medicine,…etc, the Quran has preceded intellectual prowess of all times and this will be clearly seen when we look at the diverse miracles in the Divine Book.
According to Muslim theologians, the following five conditions must be met before an event can be accepted as a miracle from Allah, the Almighty:
- That no one else apart from Allah, the Master of the world, is able to do it;
- That it breaks the usual norms and differs from the laws of nature (that is the way nature normally is);
- That it serves as proof for the truth and claim of the messenger;
- That it happens in accordance with the messenger’s claim;
- That the event happens through the messenger and no one else(Saabuuni,1981;99)
Imam Al Qurtubii(d.656/1258) in his commentary on the Quran has indicated the following ten aspects of the ‘ijaaz al-Quraan:
- Its language excels all other Arabic Language
- Its style excels all another Arabic style;
- Its comprehensiveness connot be matched;
- Its Legislation connot be surpassed;
- Its narrations about the unknown can only result from revelation;
- Its lack of contradiction with the sound natural sciences;
- Its fulfilment of all that it promises, both good tidings and threat;
- The knowledge it comprises (both legal and concerning the creation);
- Its fulfilment of human needs;
- Its effect on the hearts of men;
Such is the unique, inimitable and miraculous state of the Quran and in the coming lines, I intend to look at the diverse miracles associated with the Divine Book.
References: The Beauty Islam
Sheikh Ishaak Ibrahim Nuamah.