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In the Name of God بسم الله
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Khadim uz Zahra

Personal Miracles And Belief - Part 1

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(bismillah)

 

(salam)

 

I hope you are all in the best of health and the best of Imaan.

 

There is a question that has bothered me for sometime now, regarding the status of miracles and whether they - or, at least, some of them - should be used as a basis for belief.  While the end results are what concern me the most, my beliefs, as well as the questions I have regarding them, are shaped by my personal experiences, as is the case for us all. What we are exposed to has a profound impact on how we view the world. And, while the end result to these questions is what I seek, these experiences have created certain assumptions in my mind, certain prerequisites before I can finally get to my final query. As such, I have decided to put the question in parts, beginning with certain underlying assumptions, based on my personal experiences, so that we may first debate their validity before dealing with the derivatives. Due to this, I will also share some of these experiences, so that you may have a clearer picture of where I'm coming from.

 

While there are obviously other avenues to pursue with regard to miracles and their impact on beliefs, such as whether these miracles are simply examples of self-fulfilling prophecies or whether the individual is simply delusional, for the sake of this discussion, we will assume that miracles, Divine acts that affect the natural course of events, whether by means that can be explained by science or not, do take place. Once we have establised this, I would like to divide miracles into two categories. The large scale, impersonal events, such as the flood of Moses or the Prophet parting the moon, that affect/benefit a large group of people and no one individual in particular, especially if the benefits are not material, and, as such, cannot also be a result on one individual's psychosis. Then, there are the small-scale, personal miracles, that by definition, only affect a single individual or a very small group. Examples of these would be a relatively miraculously returning to health after contracting a terminal disease. As my title suggests, my focus will primarily be these and, while I might dabble in the former in a future thread, this will be the focus.

 

The reason I am interested is because you hear numerous stories of people converting to Islam because of similar miracles. For example, I've heard of a story of a Hindu woman in Congo whose son was sick and the doctors recommended that he drink some alcohol/wine (I think the problem had to do with the throat?) and she, for whatever reason, chose not to do so (though I can't imagine why she would be opposed to it). Instead, someone suggested she do a Nadhr for Hazrat Abbas, which she did, and her son was cured. She, then, became a Muslim and to this day, holds ceremonies in respect for Hazrat Abbas. Now, I've never been to Congo so I can't confirm the story but I'm sure you've come across myriads of such cases.

 

Now, onto the actual thing:

 

When I was much, much younger, there used to be a show on the TV that I used to watch on weekends, which showed various miracles. Now, the show chronicled  miracles involving people pertaining to various faiths: you would have a Muslim returning from the brink of death one week and Hanuman helping a single mother the next week. This raised a curious question in my mind: if only one God - or belief - is correct, how do all these people experience miracles? As such, the next time I met a cleric, I inquired about this apparent discrepancy.

 

His reply was somewhere along the lines of: while Islam is the only true religion, and the cries of the followers of other faiths to their gods fall on deaf ears, Allah is, after all, the Creator of all humans and, as such, when He hears His creation pleading, He sometimes chooses to enact a miracle, even though they may not be praying to Him. To my young self, the answer seemed satisfactory enough.

 

A similar sentiment was also expressed in the first episode of the series about Prophet Joseph (I've embedded the link, in case anyone wants to see it), where Prophet Jacob is preaching to the pagans of his time and one of them argues that if their god, Ishtar, is false, how did he/she heal their son. To this, the Prophet replied:

 

"The Omniscient God who hears your sobs healed your child, not Ishtar! Although you sought help from your gods, and sought help from someone other than God, He, who is aware of all His creations, heard you plead and showed mercy to you by healing your child."

 

This is very similar to the reply of the cleric that I had received earlier. Granted, the series is semi-fictional but it is, I assume, done under the supervision of religious scholars and consultants.

 

And, that is the first assumption I wanted to debate. Can personal miracles happen to those who do not follow the religion prescribed by God for their time and have either adulterated His religion or plain worship other gods? My primary concern at this point is textual; do we have any aHadith that might suggest that this is possible? Of course, there are philosophical questions that this raises as well, which I am much more interested in discussing, either here or in Part II, but we must first establish that this position has some credibility.

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