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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reasons for the Differences Among the Miracles of the Messengers

I've been reading some of the translations of the books of a Shia scholar called Murtada Mutahhari. Its amazing to see the wide range of subjects he has managed to cover and a good point about his works is that they are usually very easy to understand for an average person.

This is an excerpt from his book
Guiding the Youth of the New Generation.

The book itself is very enlightening in terms of trying to prove that people of different generations or time periods need to be shown the 'Truth', taking into account the 'specific' situations and needs of their time and this is very important when one is talking to the younger generation. Then he gives the example of the different kinds of miracles that different prophets brought for their 'specific' times and I think this part answered one of my own questions about miracles of different prophets.

[ a man (Ibne Sikkiyt) asks the 10th Shia Imam] : Why is it that when Prophet Moses (a.s.) was raised as a Prophet, his signs and the ways and miracles that he employed to invite the people and to bring guidance to them was through his staff being transformed into a serpent, and his hand that radiated with Divine light and other things such as this. However when Prophet Jesus (a.s.) was raised as a Prophet, we see that his method and the miracles which he used to invite the people was something different. He cured people who were born blind; he healed the lepers; he brought the dead back to life and other things such as this. However Prophet Mohammad (s.w.a.) – when he was appointed as a Messenger, his form of miracle were none of these – meaning his miracle was through expression and words – the Noble Qurān.”

The Imām (a.s.) replied to him that, “This was due to the difference in times when these Prophets were raised. During the time of Prophet Moses (a.s.), people were amazed by magic and trickery, thus, the miracles of Moses (a.s.) resembled the things that the others were performing, but the difference was that Prophet Moses (a.s.) brought a miracle with substance to it, whereas the other people had magic and witchcraft.

As for the time of Prophet Jesus (a.s.), his era was one in which doctors were in abundance and they were able to cure the most serious of sicknesses and this brought amazement and bewilderment to the masses. Thus, Allāh (s.w.t.) gave Jesus (a.s.) miracles that would be in line with what the people of his time were performing.

As for the time of the seal of the Prophets (Prophet Mohammad) (s.w.a.), his time was that of speech and verbal communication and the attention that people paid to oratory powers was very high. It is for this reason that the greatest teaching of Islām was brought forth through the noble words clothed in the perfect garment of eloquence and expression (the Noble Qurān).”

Ibne Sikkiyt (r.d.a.) thoroughly benefited from the answer given to him by the Imām (a.s.) and now that he understood this issue, he said to the Imām, “O’ Son of the Messenger of Allāh! What is the Hujjah of Allāh right now?” The Imām (a.s.) replied to him, “Intelligence” and said to him:

هٌذَا وَاللٌّهِ هُوَالْجَوٌابِ

“This, by Allāh is the answer.”

Thus, it is clear that the reason for the difference in miracles of the Prophets was that through each of them, they were able to guide the people in different time periods. If this was not the case, then it is possible that from Ādam (a.s.) till Muhammad (s.w.a.) – if Prophet Ādam (a.s.) had any miracles and if he was a Prophet (since there are some people who say that he was not a Prophet) - there would have only been one type of miracle. However we see that this is not the case and that each and every Prophet brought along with him his own specific miracle that was fit for his time and age.

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