Miracles related to animals, the dead, jinn, and angels


FIFTEENTH SIGN: Rocks, trees, the moon, and the sun recognize him and testify to his Prophethood, each demonstrating one of his miracles. In the same way, animals, the dead, jinn, and angels recognize him and testify to his Prophethood by becoming the object of his miracles. This sign is explained in three parts, as follows:

FIRST PART: The animal kingdom recognized God’s Messenger and became the means for him to work miracles. Although there are many examples, we mention only a few of the well-known ones having the certainty of mutawatir in meaning, agreed on by exacting authorities, or accepted by the Umma.

FIRST INCIDENT: This has the reputation of mutawatir in meaning. During the Prophet’s migration to Medina, he and Abu Bakr concealed themselves from their pursuers in Thawr cave. Two pigeons guarded its entrance like sentries; a spider, functioning as a doorkeeper, covered the entrance with a thick web.225 As Ubayy ibn al-Khalaf, a leading Qurayshi who would be killed by the Messenger during the Battle of Badr, was examining the cave, his friends wanted to enter. But he told them: “There’s no point. This web seems to have been spun before Muhammad was born.” The others added: “Would those pigeons, standing there, still be there if someone were inside?”226 Ibn Wahb also reports that a group of pigeons shaded the Messenger during Mecca’s conquest.227

‘A’isha reports: “We had a pigeon named Dajin in our house. When God’s Messenger was at home it would stay quiet, but as soon as he left it would begin to pace to and fro.”228 This signifies that the bird obeyed God’s Messenger by remaining quiet in his presence.

SECOND  INCIDENT: This concerns a wolf. Such well-known Companions as Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri, Salama ibn al-Aqwa’, Ibn Abi Wahb, Abu Hurayra, and Uhban (the shepherd directly involved) report this event, which gives it the certainty of tawatur in meaning. A wolf once snatched a goat from a herd, but the shepherd rescued the goat. The wolf said: “You deprive me of my food without fearing God.” The shepherd muttered: “How strange! Does a wolf speak?” The wolf responded: “What is [really] strange is that a Prophet behind that hill invites you to Paradise, but you do not recognize him!” All reports agree on the talking wolf. According to Abu Hurayra’s report, transmitted through a more reliable channel, the shepherd said to the wolf: “I will go, but who will watch over my goats?” “I will,” replied the wolf. The shepherd went to see God’s Messenger, leaving the goats under the wolf’s care, and soon became a believer.229 When he returned, he found the wolf watching the goats; not one had been lost. He then slaughtered a goat for the wolf, since it had become his teacher.

Abu Sufyan and Safwan, two leading Qurayshis, once saw a wolf chasing a gazelle. When the gazelle went into the Ka‘ba’s enclosure, the wolf returned and testified verbally to Muhammad’s Prophethood. Surprised, Abu Sufyan warned Safwan: “If we report this miracle to others, I fear all of Mecca will join the Muslims.”230 In short, this miracle is certain and tawatur in meaning.

THIRD INCIDENT: This is the story of the camel. It is reported through five or six channels by such Companions as Abu Hurayra, Tha‘laba ibn Malik, Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah, ‘Abdullah ibn Ja‘far, and ‘Abdullah ibn Abi Awfa’. A camel prostrated before God’s Messenger, as if greeting him, and spoke to him. Other reports say that this camel had gone wild in a vineyard, attacking anybody who came near it. When God’s Messenger appeared, it came to him, prostrated as a sign of respect, and knelt before him so that the Messenger could put a bridle on it. Then the camel complained to God’s Messenger: “They used me in the heaviest work, and now they want to slaughter me, so I went wild.” God’s Messenger asked its owner if this was true, and he replied that it was.231

The Prophet owned a camel named Abda’. After the Prophet died, this camel did not eat or drink anything out of grief, and finally died.232 Such significant authorities as Abu Ishaq al-Isfarani relate that this camel talked with God’s Messenger about an important event. Jabir ibn ‘Abdullah reports that once his camel became exhausted during a military campaign. When the Messenger prodded it slightly, the resulting joy and agility made the camel move so fast that nobody could catch up with or stop it.233

FOURTH INCIDENT: Traditionists, including Imam Bukhari, relate that one night it was rumored that the enemy was about to attack Medina. Some valiant horsemen set out to investigate. On their way, they saw a man who turned out to be God’s Messenger coming toward them. He told them: “There is nothing.”234 He had mounted Abu Talha’s horse and investigated the matter before anybody else. He said to Abu Talha: “Your horse is very fast and comfortable,” although before then it had been very slow. After that night, no other horse could beat it in a race. On another occasion, the Messenger told his horse to stop so he could pray. The horse remained still until he finished praying.235

FIFTH INCIDENT: Safina, the Messenger’s servant, set out to meet Mu‘adh ibn Jabal, the governor of Yemen, upon the order of God’s Messenger. Encountering a lion on the way, he said to it: “I am the Messenger’s servant.” The lion made a sound and left without harming him. According to another narration, Safina encountered the lion while returning to Medina. However, he got lost and the lion not only did not harm him but actually showed him the way.236

‘Umar relates that a Bedouin carrying a lizard said to God’s Messenger: “If this animal bears witness to your Prophethood, I will believe in you. Otherwise, I will not.” When God’s Messenger asked the lizard, it testified verbally to his Prophethood.237 Umm Salama (a mother of the believers) reports that an antelope once spoke to God’s Messenger and bore witness to His Messengership.238

We have cited only a few well-known examples out of many similar ones. We therefore say to those who do not recognize and obey God’s Messenger: “Do not try to fall behind the animals after you learn that even wolves and lions recognize and obey God’s Messenger.”

SECOND PART: Corpses, jinn, and angels recognize God’s Messenger. The miracles concerning jinn and angels are mutawatir and number in the thousands. Out of many instances illustrating that corpses recognize God’s Messenger, we cite only a few related by reliable authorities, as follows:

FIRST: Hasan al-Basri, a devoted student of Imam ‘Ali and the greatest Tabi‘un religious scholar in both the outer and inner dimension of Islam, reported that a bitterly weeping man came to God’s Messenger and said: “My little daughter died in that stream nearby, and I left her corpse there.” God’s Messenger had pity on him, and said: “Come, we will go there.” They reached the place where she was buried. When God’s Messenger called to her, she replied at once: “Here I am, ready to carry out your orders.” God’s Messenger asked if she wanted to return to her parents. “No,” she said, “for I have found a better place here.”239

SECOND: Such significant Traditionists as Imam Bayhaqi and Ibn ‘Adiyy report that Anas ibn Malik said: “A pious old woman’s only son died unexpectedly. She grieved very much and prayed: “O God, I emigrated here only to obtain Your good pleasure and serve Your Messenger, to whom I took the oath of allegiance. For Your Messenger’s sake, give me back my son, who was the only one to look after me.” Anas says: “That dead son was raised and ate with us.”240

In his Qasida al-Bur’a, written in praise of the Prophet, Imam Busiri refers to this miraculous event:

If the miracles he worked had been enough

to demonstrate his unequaled rank,

Mere mention of his name would suffice to quicken

decayed bones (let alone the newly dead).


THIRD: Bayhaqi and others quote ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ubayullah al-Ansari: “I was present when Thabit ibn Qays ibn Shammas was buried after being martyred during the Battle of Yamama. As he was being buried, people heard him say: ‘Muhammad is God’s Messenger, Abu Bakr is truthful, ‘Umar is a martyr, and ‘Uthman is pious and merciful.’ We opened the grave only to find him dead.”241 Thabit thus predicted ‘Umar’s martyrdom even before ‘Umar became caliph.

FOURTH: Imam Tabarani and Abu Nu‘aym in Dala’il al-Nubuwwa (Proofs of Prophethood) report from Nu‘man ibn Bashir: “Zayd ibn Kharija died unexpectedly at the market. We took his body home. Women cried around him for some time between the evening and the late evening prayers, when he was heard to say: ‘Silence, silence!’ and continued fluently: ‘Muhammad is God’s Messenger. Peace be upon you, O Messenger.’ We examined him, and found that he was dead.”242

If living people still do not confirm him even when the dead bear witness to his Messengership, they are more lifeless than corpses and more dead than the dead.

Accounts of angels appearing to and serving God’s Messenger, and those of jinn believing in and obeying him, have the status of mutawatir, for many Qur’anic verses have affirmed this explicitly. For example, the Qur’an states that during the Battle of Badr, 5,000 angels served him as Companions—like soldiers on the front line. This was done to strengthen the believers’ conviction that they would win, not to participate in the battle directly. These angels are distinguished among all others by that honor, just as the people of Badr were distinguished among all other Companions.

There are two aspects to be considered here: The existence of angels and jinn and their relationship with us (decisively proved in The Twenty-ninth Word), and the ability of certain Muslims to see and converse with them through the Messenger’s blessing and miracles. Many Tradition authorities, above all Bukhari and Muslim, report that Archangel Gabriel came to God’s Messenger, when he was sitting with some Companions, as a man dressed in white. He asked about belief, Islam, and excellence and virtue (ihsan). While God’s Messenger was defining them, the Companions learned a lesson and saw the questioner plainly. When the questioner, who appeared to be a visitor although, to their astonishment, he bore no signs of travel, suddenly disappeared, God’s Messenger said: “That was Gabriel, who came to teach you your religion.”243

Traditionists also report, through authentic narrations having the certainty of mutawatir in meaning, that Companions often saw Gabriel with God’s Messenger as Dihya, a very good-looking Companion. For instance, ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbas, Usama ibn Zayd, Harith, ‘A’isha, and Umm Salama report: “We frequently saw Gabriel with God’s Messenger in the form of Dihya.”244 Would they have said this if they could not see Gabriel?

Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas, conqueror of Persia and one of the ten Companions promised Paradise while alive, reported: “During the Battle of Uhud we saw two men dressed in white at each side of God’s Messenger, as if guarding him. We concluded that they were the Archangels Gabriel and Michael.”245 When such a hero of Islam says he saw them, could he not have seen them?

Abu Sufyan ibn Harith ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, the Prophet’s cousin, reports: “We saw horsemen dressed in white between the sky and Earth during the Battle of Badr.”246 One day, Hamza told God’s Messenger that he wanted to see Gabriel. The Messenger complied at the Ka‘ba, but Hamza could not bear the sight and fell unconscious.247

Several similar instances demonstrate this type of miracle, and indicate that even angels are like moths around his Prophethood’s light.

Both Companions and ordinary Muslims can meet and converse with jinn. The most definite example concerns Ibn Mas‘ud, whom the Traditionists report through one of the most authentic narrations, as saying: “I saw the jinn in Batn al-Nakhla on the night they were converted to Islam. They resembled the tall men of the Sudanese Zut tribe.”248

Another well-known incident accepted and narrated by Traditionists concerns Khalid ibn Walid. When ‘Uzza (a pre-Islamic idol) was demolished, a female jinn emerged in the form of a dark woman. Khalid cut her into two pieces with his sword. Then God’s Messenger said: “They have been worshipping her in the idol ‘Uzza. From now on, she will be worshipped no longer.”249

‘Umar said: “When we were with God’s Messenger, a jinn named Haama appeared as an old man with a stick. He converted to Islam. God’s Messenger instructed him in some short Qur’anic chapters and, after learning his lesson, the jinn departed.”250 Although some Traditionists question this event’s accuracy, the outstanding authorities agree that it happened.

There is no need for long explanations, since we have cited many examples in this respect. However, we add this: Through the light and teaching of God’s Messenger, and by following him, thousands of such eminent, godly people of purity as ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani have met and conversed with angels and jinn. Thus this event has reached the degree of tawatur a hundred times.

THIRD PART: The protection of God’s Messenger is an evident miracle, as expressed in: God will defend you from people (5:67) and illustrated by many incidents. When God’s Messenger proclaimed the Divine Message, he did not challenge just one tribe or race, a few politicians, or a particular religion, but all rulers and all religions. Despite his uncle’s and tribe’s status as among his greatest enemies, as well as the numerous conspiracies directed against him, he drew his last breath in his own bed in perfect contentment and reached the highest incorporeal realm after 23 years without a guard or any form of protection. This clearly shows the truth of the above quoted verse and provides a firm point of support for God’s Messenger. In this regard, we mention only a few of the many indisputably certain exemplary events, as follows:

FIRST EVENT: All Traditionists and biographers of the Prophet report that the Quraysh tried to kill him. Advised by a diabolical man or by Satan himself in the form of a man from Najd, they chose at least one man from each clan to avoid any intertribal dispute. Abu Jahl and Abu Lahab led the approximately 200 men who besieged the Messenger’s house. ‘Ali, who was with God’s Messenger that night, was told to sleep in the Messenger’s bed. When the Quraysh surrounded the house, the Messenger left and, throwing some dust on them, passed by without being seen.251

SECOND EVENT: God’s Messenger and Abu Bakr left Thawr cave, where God had sent a spider and two pigeons to guard them, and set out for Medina. Meanwhile, the Qurayshi chiefs sent Suraqa, a very brave man, to assassinate them in return for a large reward. Abu Bakr became anxious when they saw Suraqa coming. God’s Messenger repeated to him what he had said in the cave: “Don’t worry, for God is with us.” He then glanced at Suraqa, and the hooves of Suraqa’s horse got stuck in the ground. Suraqa pulled the horse free and began to follow them, but his horse’s hooves got stuck again and he saw smoke arising from that place. Only then did he realize that neither he nor anybody else could lay hands on God’s Messenger, and he had to ask for quarter. God’s Messenger freed him, saying: “Go back, and make sure nobody else comes.”252

In addition, a shepherd saw God’s Messenger and Abu Bakr and hurried to Mecca to inform the Quraysh. However, when he arrived he could not remember what he wanted to tell them. Unable to recall anything, he left and only later realized later that he had been made to forget.253

THIRD EVENT: During the military campaign of Ghatfan and Anmar, a courageous chieftain named Ghawras unexpectedly appeared at the Messenger’s side. Holding his sword over the Messenger’s head, he demanded: “Who will save you from me?” God’s Messenger replied: “God.” He then prayed: “O God, protect me from him as You will.” In the same breath, a blow between his shoulders felled Ghawras, and his sword slipped from his hand. God’s Messenger took the sword and asked: “Now who will save you from me?” God’s Messenger then forgave Ghawras and allowed him to return to his tribe. Surprised at such a brave man having failed to do anything, his fellows asked: “What happened? Why could you not do anything?” He explained what had happened, and added: “I have come from the presence of the best of humanity.”254

In a similar event, a hypocrite secretly approached God’s Messenger from behind during the Battle of Badr. Lifting his sword to strike God’s Messenger, at that instant the Messenger turned and glanced at him. This caused him to tremble and drop his sword.255

FOURTH EVENT: Most interpreters consider this event, almost as well-known as it is mutawatir, to be the occasion for revealing: We have put on their necks fetters up to the chin so their heads are raised. We have put before them a barrier and behind them a barrier, and We have covered them so they do not see (36:9). Abu Jahl picked up a large rock and swore that if he would hit the Prophet with it if he saw him prostrating. Finding the Prophet prostrating, he raised the rock to smash it on the Prophet’s head. But his hands froze in the air. God’s Messenger finished his prayer and stood up. Only then did Abu Jahl’s hands become unbound, either by permission of God’s Messenger or because there was no reason for them to remain bound.256

In a similar incident, a man from Abu Jahl’s clan (Walid ibn Mughira, according to one report) went to the Ka‘ba with a large rock to injure God’s Messenger while he was prostrating. However, his eyes became sealed and he could not see God’s Messenger. Still unable to see (although he could hear), he returned to those who had sent him.257 When God’s Messenger finished his prayer, the would-be assassin’s eyes were opened, since there was no need for them to remain closed.

Abu Bakr relates that after Surat al-Masad (Tabbat), which begins with Perish the hands of Abu Lahab (111:1), was revealed, Abu Lahab’s wife, described therein as the carrier of the firewood (111:4), picked up a rock and went to the Ka‘ba. God’s Messenger and Abu Bakr were sitting near it. She could not see God’s Messenger and asked Abu Bakr: “Where is your friend? I hear that he satirized me. If I see him, I will hit him on the mouth with this rock!”258 She could not see the one under God’s protection, who was the object of the hadith qudsi: “But for you, I would not have created the worlds.” And so she could not enter his presence. How could she carry out her plan?

FIFTH EVENT: Amir ibn Tufayl and Arbad ibn Qays conspired to assassinate the Messenger. Amir said to Arbad: “I will keep him busy; you hit him.” They went to him, but Arbad did not do anything. When Amir later asked him why he had not hit God’s Messenger, Arbad replied: “How could I? Every time I intended to hit him, I saw you between us. Did you expect me to hit you?”259

SIXTH EVENT: Either during the Battle of Uhud or Hunayn, Shayba ibn ‘Uthman al-Hajabiya approached God’s Messenger stealthily from behind. He intended to avenge his father and uncle, who had been killed by Hamza. He lifted his sword, but it suddenly slipped out of his hand. God’s Messenger turned to him and put his hand on his chest. When relating this event, Shayba said: “At that moment, no one else was more beloved to me.” He embraced Islam instantly, and God’s Messenger told him to go and fight. Shayba said: “I fought in front of God’s Messenger. If I had I met my own father, I would have killed him.”260

On the day of Mecca’s conquest, Fadhala approached God’s Messenger with the intent of killing him. God’s Messenger smiled at him, asked what he had in mind, and prayed that Fadhala might be forgiven. Entering Islam at that moment, Fadhala acknowledged later: “No one in the world was more beloved to me than him at that moment.”261

SEVENTH EVENT: Some Jews conspired to drop a large rock on the Prophet’s head while he was sitting under a particular roof. They were just about to do so when God’s Messenger stood up to go. As a result of God’s protection, their plot was foiled.262

There are many similar instances. Traditionists, above all Imam Bukhari and Muslim, relate from ‘A’isha that when God will protect you from people was revealed, God’s Messenger said to those who had guarded him from time to time: “Leave me, for my Lord, the Mighty and Glorious, protects me.”263

As this treatise demonstrates, everything in the universe recognizes and is related to God’s Messenger, and each displays a specific kind of his miracles. This shows that Prophet Muhammad is the Messenger and envoy of God, the Creator of the universe and the Lord of creation. An important inspector appointed by the ruler is recognized by every department of the administration and is related to each because he must perform a duty in each department on the ruler’s behalf. For example, a judicial inspector is connected with the judicial department and is unknown in other departments. Similarly, a military inspector is not recognized by the civil administration, and so on. As proven above, every department of the Divine Kingdom, from angels to insects and spiders, knows, recognizes, or has heard of the Messenger of the Lord of the Worlds and the seal of the Prophets. And, moreover, the field of his Messengership is far more comprehensive than that of all previous Prophets.

Said Nursi

225 Ibn Hanbal, 1:248; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 3:179-81.

226 Shifa’, 1: 313, related by Tabarani, Bazzar, and Bayhaqi.

227 Ibid., 1:313.

228 Ibid., 1:309, related by Ibn Hanbal, Bazzar, Abu Ya‘la, and Bayhaqi.

229 Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 8:291, related by Ibn Hanbal.

230 Shifa’, 1:311.

231 Hakim, 2:99; Ibn Hanbal, 3:158; Muslim, 1:268; Ibn Maja, 1:121.

232 Shifa’, 1:313.

233 Bukhari, 7:6; Muslim, 3:1222.

234 Muslim, no. 2307; Abu Dawud, 4988; Tirmidhi, 1685.

235 Shifa’, 1:315.

236 Hakim, 3:606; also related by Bazzar, Tabarani, and Abu Nu‘aym.

237 Kanz al-‘Ummal, 12:358, related by Bayhaqi, Hakim, and Abu Nu‘aym.

238 Shifa’, 1:314, related by Tabarani, Bayhaqi, Abu Nu‘aym, and Ibn Kathir.

239 Shifa’, 1:320.

240 Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 6:292; Shifa’, 1:320; Bayhaqi, 6:50.

241 Shifa’, 1:320.

242 Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, 6:293; related by Hakim and Bayhaqi.

243 Bukhari, 1:19-20; Shifa’, 1:341, also related by Muslim and many others.

244 Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, 1:212; Bukhari, 4:250; Bayhaqi, 7:52, 87.

245 Muslim, no. 2036; Bukhari, 7:192; Hakim, 2:264.

246 Shifa’, 1:362; Ibn Hanbal, 1:347; also related by Bukhari and Bayhaqi.

247 Shifa’, 1:362; Suyuti, al-Khasa’is al-Kubra’, 1:311.

248 Ibn Hanbal, 6:165; Suyuti, ibid., 1:343; Shifa’, 1:362.

249 Abu Nu‘aym, 2:535; Shifa’, 1:362; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, 4:316.

250 Bayhaqi, 5:416; Suyuti, 2:350.

251 Shifa’, 1:349; Ibn Hanbal, 4:269; Bayhaqi, 2:465; Abu Nu‘aym, 1:202-4.

252 Bukhari, 4:245-46; Muslim, no. 2009; Bayhaqi, 2:483.

253 Shifa’, 1:351; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’, 1:715.

254 Hakim, 3:29-30; Shifa’, 1:348; Bayhaqi, 3:373-79; also related by Muslim.

255 Shifa’, 1:347.

256 Ibid., 1:351; Muslim, no. 2797; Ibn Hanbal, 2:37.

257 Shifa’, 1:351; Bayhaqi, 3:197.

258 Hakim, 2:351; Bayhaqi, 2:195.

259 Bayhaqi, 5:318; Shifa’, 1:353; Abu Nu‘aym, 1:207.

260 Shifa’, 1:353; Ibn Hajar, al-Isaba, 2:157; Abu Nu‘aym, 1:195.

261 Shifa’, 1:354; ‘Ali al-Qari, Sharh al-Shifa’, 1:718.

262 Shifa’, 1:352; also related by Ibn Ishaq and Nasa’i in al-Khasa’is al-Kubra’, 1:525.

263 Hakim, 2:213; Bayhaqi, 2:184; also related by Tirmidhi.