His prayers were answered


FOURTEENTH SIGN: Miracles related to the Messenger’s prayers also are important. Such miracles are definite and genuinely mutawatir, having happened numerous times. Most of them reach the degree of tawatur or are as well-known as the mutawatir ones; the rest bear the same certitude as the well-known mutawatir Traditions, since they are narrated by the greatest authorities. Of many such instances, we relate only a few that are as famous as, or have the same certainty of, mutawatir.

FIRST EXAMPLE: Traditionists, including Imam Bukhari and Imam Muslim, report that God accepted all of the Messenger’s prayers for rain immediately. Sometimes it would begin to fall before he lowered his hands while on the pulpit. As mentioned earlier, clouds would appear to meet his army’s need for water. Even in his childhood, his grandfather ‘Abd al-Muttalib would go with him to pray for rain, and it would come out of respect for him. One of ‘Abd al-Muttalib’s poems made this famous.

After the Prophet’s death, ‘Umar once took ‘Abbas with him to pray for rain, saying: “O God, this is Your beloved Prophet’s uncle. Give us rain for his sake.” Thereafter it rained.187 As reported by Imam Bukhari and Muslim, God’s Messenger was asked to pray for rain and did so. It rained so heavily that they asked him to pray for it to cease. He did so, and the rain stopped instantly.188

SECOND EXAMPLE: It is as well-known as tawatur that even when there were only 40 Companions and they were praying in secret, God’s Messenger prayed: “O God, strengthen Islam by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab or ‘Amr ibn al-Hisham.” A few days later, ‘Umar embraced Islam and became a means of openly propagating and exalting Islam.189 He acquired the sublime title of Faruq (discerning between truth and falsehood).

THIRD  EXAMPLE: God’s Messenger prayed for various distinguished Companions. His prayers were so readily accepted that they can be considered miracles. The following are some examples out of many:

As reported primarily by Bukhari and Muslim, God’s Messenger prayed for Ibn ‘Abbas: “O God, make him profoundly knowledgeable in religion and teach him the Qur’an’s innermost meaning.”190 As a result, Ibn ‘Abbas acquired the sublime title of “Interpreter of the Qur’an” and the exalted position of being the “Scholar of the Umma.” When Ibn ‘Abbas was still young, ‘Umar included him in his consultative assembly, which consisted of the Companions’ scholars and elders.

Compilers of authentic books of Traditions, including Imam Bukhari, report that Anas’ mother asked God’s Messenger to pray that Anas would have many descendants and much wealth. He prayed: “O God, give abundance to his wealth and offspring, and bless that which You have bestowed on him.” In his old age, Anas swore by God: “I have buried 100 of my children. Concerning my wealth, nobody has lived as happily as I have. You see my abundant wealth, which is due to the Prophet’s prayer.”191

Traditionists, including Imam Bayhaqi, report that God’s Messenger prayed for ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, one of the ten Companions promised Paradise while still living, to have abundant wealth. As a result, he gained such wealth that once he gave 700 loaded camels as alms in God’s cause.192 Now reflect on the blessings of the Prophet’s prayer and say: “How great are God’s blessings.”

Tradition narrators, including Imam Bukhari, report that God’s Messenger prayed for ‘Urwa ibn Abi Ja‘da to profit in business. ‘Urwa says: “Sometimes I would go to Kufa’s market and return home in the evening having earned 40,000 (dirhams).” Imam Bukhari remarks: ‘If he had taken a little soil in his hand, he would have gained a profit from it.”193 ‘Abdullah ibn Ja‘far, for whom God’s Messenger prayed for abundance, became famous because of his great wealth. He was as well-known for his generosity as he was for his riches.194

The above-mentioned miracles are enough to illustrate this point.

Imam Tirmidhi and other Traditionists report that God’s Messenger prayed for Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas: “O God, answer his prayer.”195 After that, Sa‘d became famous for having his prayers accepted. In addition, everyone feared his malediction. God’s Messenger also prayed that Abu Qatada might remain young, saying: “May God prosper your face. O God, bless his hair and skin.” When Abu Qatada died at the age of 70, he seemed to be as young as a 15-year-old boy.196

Once the poet Nabigha recited a poem of his in the presence of God’s Messenger. When he recited the couplet:

Our honor and praise have reached the skies;

We want to ascend even higher!

the Messenger asked him, jokingly: “To where, O Abu Layla?” He replied: “To Paradise, O Messenger of God.” Afterwards, he recited another meaningful poem and the Messenger of God prayed: “May God not deform your mouth.” As a result, Nabigha had all of his teeth when he reached the great age of 120 years. Whenever he lost a tooth, a new one would appear in its place.197

God’s Messenger prayed for Imam ‘Ali: “O God, suffice him against heat and cold.” As a result, Imam ‘Ali felt neither cold nor heat even if he habitually wore winter clothing in summer or summer clothing in winter. He said: “I do not suffer from cold or heat, thanks to the Prophet’s prayer.”198

God’s Messenger also prayed for Fatima: “O God, do not let her suffer from hunger.” Fatima said: “I never suffered from hunger after his prayer.”199

Tufayl ibn ‘Amr once asked the Messenger to perform a miracle for his tribe. The Messenger prayed: “O God, provide light for him.” A light appeared between Tufayl’s eyes, which was later transferred to the end of a stick. This caused him to be known as Dhu al-Nur (possessor of light).200

These are some well-known events that have acquired certitude.

Abu Hurayra once complained to the Messenger about forgetfulness. The Messenger told him to spread a piece of cloth on the ground. He then made some movements as if filling his hands with invisible things and emptying them on the cloth. After doing this three or four times, he told Abu Hurayra to pick it up. Thereafter Abu Hurayra, as he later swore by God, never forgot anything.201

FOURTH EXAMPLE: Under severe persecutions, God’s Messenger sometimes had to refer the state of the persecutors to God:

FIRST: The Persian Chosroes, Parwiz, tore up the letter sent to him by the Prophet. When he heard this, the Prophet prayed: “O God, rend him and his rule as he rent my letter.” As a result, Parwiz was killed by his own son (Shirwiya) with a dagger, and Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas tore his kingdom into pieces, causing the Sassanid Empire to collapse completely.202 The Emperor of Byzantium and the rulers of other states did not perish, for they respected the Prophet’s letters.

SECOND: A famous mutawatir Tradition states, and Qur’anic verses point out, that in the early days of Islam when God’s Messenger prayed at the Ka‘ba, the Qurayshi leaders would gather around him and treat him very badly. He had to refer their state to God. Ibn Mas‘ud remarks: “I swear by God that I saw all of their corpses after the Battle of Badr.”203

THIRD: God’s Messenger prayed that the large Mudar tribe would endure famine, since they had contradicted him. Rain stopped, and drought and famine struck the Mudar. When the Quraysh, a sub-clan of the Mudar, asked God’s Messenger to pray for rain, he did so and thereby ended the drought and famine.204 This event is considered mutawatir.

FIFTH EXAMPLE: The Prophet’s resentment of particular people resulted in their terrible destruction. We cite three examples:

FIRST: He cursed ‘Utba ibn Abi Lahab: “O God, send one of your dogs upon him.”205 Sometime later when ‘Utba was traveling, a lion picked him out in the caravan and tore him up. This very famous event was related and verified by leading Tradition scholars.

SECOND: God’s Messenger dispatched Amir ibn Azbat to command a squadron. Muhallam ibn Jassama killed him out of spite. When God’s Messenger learned of this, he became angry and prayed: “O God, do not forgive Muhallam.”206 Muhallam died after 7 days. They put his corpse in the grave, but the grave rejected it. They tried to bury him several times, but each time the grave threw the body out. In the end, a covering finally had to be built.

THIRD: The Messenger saw a man eating with his left hand. He warned him to eat with his right hand. The man, who felt his pride injured, retorted: “I cannot do so.” God’s Messenger said: “May you never use it again.” After that, the man could never raise his right hand again.207

SIXTH EXAMPLE: Out of the many wonders manifested through the Prophet’s prayer and touch, we mention a few that have acquired certainty. They are as follows:

FIRST: The Messenger gave Khalid ibn Walid (the Sword of God) a few of his hairs and prayed for his triumph. Khalid kept the hairs in his turban. Due to their worth and that of the prayer, Khalid became victorious in every battle.208

SECOND: Salman al-Farisi was formerly a slave of the Jews. His masters demanded a very high ransom [for his emancipation], saying: “We will emancipate you if you plant 300 date palms and, after they yield fruit, you give us an additional 50 kilos of gold.”

Salman explained his situation to the Messenger. God’s Messenger planted the date palms somewhere around Medina, and one more was planted by another person. Within the same year, all 300 trees yielded fruit, except for the one planted by the other person. The Messenger pulled it up and replanted it, and it too yielded fruit. He then put some water from his mouth on an egg-sized piece of gold and, after praying, gave it to Salman and told him to give out of it what his masters asked. After Salman did so, it was still the same size.209 This miraculous incident, the most significant event in Salman’s life, is reported by reliable Traditionists.

THIRD: A female Companion named Umm Malik used to offer butter to the Messenger out of a leather bag (an ukka). He once returned it after praying over it, and told her not to empty or squeeze it. After that, her children would find butter in the bag whenever they wanted some. This continued for a long time, until they squeezed it and ended the blessing.210

SEVENTH EXAMPLE: There are many examples of water becoming sweet and emitting a pleasant fragrance. We cite a few of them, as follows:

FIRST: Traditionists, including Bayhaqi, narrate that Bi’r al-Quba (a well) dried up rather frequently. After God’s Messenger poured some of his ablution water into it, it always held a great amount of water.211

SECOND: Traditionists, above all Abu Nu‘aym in his Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, report that when God’s Messenger put some of his saliva into the well in Anas’ house and prayed, its water became the sweetest in Medina.212

THIRD: Ibn Maja narrated that once someone brought a bucket of Zamzam well water to the Messenger. After he put some in his mouth and emptied it into the bucket, the bucket gave off a musk-like smell.213

FOURTH: Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal narrates that a bucket of water was taken from a well. After God’s Messenger put some of his saliva in the bucket and poured the water into the well, the well began to smell of musk.214

FIFTH: Hammad ibn Salama, a pious narrator highly esteemed and relied upon by Imam Muslim and the scholars of Muslim West (North Africa and al-Andalusia), reports that God’s Messenger filled a leather bag with water, breathed a prayer into it, and then tied it up and gave it to some Companions, saying: “Don’t open it except when you will get ablution.” When they did so, they saw that there was milk inside, with cream on it.215

These five incidents are narrated by famous, significant authorities. Together with those cited here, they show such types of miracles as definitely as mutawatir in meaning.

EIGHTH EXAMPLE: Sterile goats gave plenty of milk after the Messenger touched them and prayed. There are various examples of this type of miracle. We mention only a few that are the best known and most authentic, as follows:

FIRST: All reliable biographies of the Prophet relate that during his migration to Medina, he and Abu Bakr stopped at ‘Atiqa bint al-Huda’iyya’s house (also known as Umm Ma‘bad). She had a very thin, barren goat. When the Messenger asked if the goat produced any milk, she replied: “It does not even have blood in its veins. How can it produce milk?” God’s Messenger rubbed its back and loins, stroked its udder, prayed, and then told her to get a vessel and milk her goat. She did so, and God’s Messenger, Abu Bakr, and the whole household drank until fully satisfied. Following this incident, the goat grew fat and strong and produced lots of milk.216

SECOND: This is the famous story of Ibn Mas‘ud’s goat. Prior to his conversion, Ibn Mas‘ud was a shepherd who cared for the flocks of some Meccan chiefs. One day, God’s Messenger and Abu Bakr stopped where he was pasturing the flock. When they asked him for some milk, Ibn Mas‘ud replied: “The goats do not belong to me.” God’s Messenger said: “Bring me a barren goat.” Ibn Mas‘ud fetched one that had not mated for the past 2 years. The Messenger stroked the goat’s udder and prayed. After they milked it and drank its pure, delicious milk,217 Ibn Mas‘ud became a Muslim.

THIRD: Halima of the Sa‘d tribe was the Messenger’s wet nurse. Once when her tribe was struck by famine and drought, the animals produced no milk. But when the future Messenger was sent as an infant to be nursed by Halima, her goats alone, and through his blessing, returned home in the evening fully satisfied and with their udders full of milk.218

Although there are similar examples of such miracles in biographies of the Prophet, these few are sufficient for the purpose.

NINTH EXAMPLE: Out of many wonders that happened when the Messenger touched people’s heads and faces and then prayed, we relate only a few well-known ones, as follows:

FIRST: He rubbed ‘Umar ibn Sa‘d’s head and prayed. As a result, this man had no white hairs on his head when he died at the age of eighty.219

SECOND: The Messenger stroked part of Qays ibn Zayd’s head and prayed. As a result, all of Qays’ hair turned gray, except for that area, when he became 100 years old.220

THIRD: ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Zayd ibn al-Khattab was a small, ugly man. The Messenger stroked his head and prayed, after which he became almost the tallest and most handsome man.221

FOURTH: When ‘A’iz ibn ‘Amr’s face was wounded at the Battle of Hunayn, the Messenger wiped the blood away. The part of his face touched by the Messenger became so radiant that Traditionists describe it as “like the whiteness on bay horse’s forehead.”222

FIFTH: After he stroked Qatada ibn Salman’s face and prayed, it began to shine as brightly as a mirror.223

SIXTH: Zaynab, daughter of Umm Salama (the mother of believers) and step-daughter of God’s Messenger, was a child when he sprinkled some of his ablution water on her face. As a result, her face acquired an extraordinary beauty.224

There are many similar examples, most of which are narrated by Traditionists. Taken together, they represent a miracle having the certainty of mutawatir in meaning, even if we were to regard each one as individual in nature and, accordingly, questionably reported.

Any incident reported in various ways is concluded to have happened, even though the separate reports are individually questionable. Suppose a loud noise is heard. One person says: “Such-and-such a house has collapsed.” Another says: “No, a different house has collapsed.” A third reports the collapse of a third house, and so on. Each report may be questionable and even untrue, but one thing is certain—a house did collapse. All six examples mentioned above are authentic, and some are famous. Even if we regard each one as questionable, when taken together they prove the occurrence of a miracle, just as the collapse of a house is certain in the above analogy.

Thus each category of miracle cited so far is established firmly, and the individual incidents related illustrate or represent the whole. As the Messenger’s hands, fingers, saliva, breath, and prayer are the means of his miracles, other parts of his body (material or immaterial) are the means of numerous wonders. History books and those relating his biography recount these wonders and display diverse proofs of his Prophethood by expressing his spiritual, moral, and physical qualities.

Said Nursi

187 Bukhari, 2:35; Bayhaqi, 6:147.

188 Shifa’, 1:327, related by Bukhari and Muslim.

189 Tirmidhi, no. 3684; Ibn Hanbal, 2:95; Hakim, 2:465; Bayhaqi, 2:215.

190 Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 1:264; also related by Bukhari, Muslim, and Hakim.

191 Bukhari, 8:93, 100; Muslim, no. 2480; Ibn Hanbal, 6:430.

192 Shifa’, 1:326; Bayhaqi, 6:218; Abu Dawud, no. 2109.

193 Bukhari, 4:252; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, 2:476; Bayhaqi, 6:220.

194 Ibn Hajar, Matalib al-‘Aliya, 4077; related by Abu Ya‘la and Tabarani.

195 Tirmidhi, 3752; Hakim, 3:499; also related by Ibn Hibban and Abu Nu‘aym.

196 Shifa’, 1:327, related by Bayhaqi.

197 Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, No. 8639; Bayhaqi, 6:232; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 6:168.

198 Ibn Hanbal, 1:99; Ibn Maja, 1:43; also related by Bayhaqi and Tabarani.

199 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 9:203, related by Bayhaqi and Tabarani.

200 Shifa’, 1:328, related by Bayhaqi, Ibn Jarir, and Ibn Ishaq.

201 Bukhari, 4:253; also related by Muslim, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hanbal.

202 Bukhari, 6:10; Abu Nu‘aym, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, 2:348.

203 Muslim, 3, no. 1794; Bukhari, 5:94; Ibn Hanbal, 1:417.

204 Bukhari, 2:37; Bayhaqi, 2:324.

205 Bayhaqi, 2:335; Kanz al-‘Ummal, 438-439; Abu Nu‘aym, 2:454.

206 Shifa’, 1:329; Ibn Hisham, Sira, 4:247.

207 Muslim, no. 2021; also related by Ibn Hibban, Bayhaqi, and Tabarani.

208 Hakim, 3:289; Shifa’, 1:331; Bayhaqi, 6:249.

209 Ibn Hanbal, 5:441-42; Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, 4:53-57; Hakim, 2:16.

210 Muslim, no. 2280; Ibn Hanbal, 3:242; Bayhaqi, Dala’il, 6:113.

211 Shifa’, 1:331, related by Bayhaqi.

212 Ibid., 1:331.

213 Ibn Maja, no. 659; Shifa’, 1:332.

214 Ibn Hanbal, 22, 67; also related by Ibn Maja.

215 Shifa’, 1:334, related by Ibn Sa‘d.

216 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, related by Hakim, Bazzar, and Ibn Sa‘d.

217 Ibn Hanbal, 5:210; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 6:102; Ibn Hibban, 8:149.

218 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 8:220-221, related by Ibn Hanbal, Ibn Hibban, and Ibn Sa‘d.

219 Shifa’, 1:334.

220 Ibid., 1:334.

221 Ibid., 1:335.

222 Ibid., 1:334; Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 9:412, related by Tabarani.

223 Shifa’, 1:334; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, 3:225.

224 Shifa’, 1:334; related by Tabarani and Ibn ‘Abd al-Birr.