Q. People say stories about Shaqqul-Qamar i.e., splitting of the moon by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). How far are these stories true. Please explain it in the light of Quran and Hadith.
Razi Ur Rehman
A. The event is there in Islamic history and the books of Ahadith.
Some scholars say that Surah Qamar points to the event. اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ وَإِن يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُّسْتَمِرٌّ “The Hour has drawn near, and the moon has been cleft asunder. And if they see a sign, they turn away, and say: “This is continuous magic.” (54:1-2)
There are a number of traditions in Hadith about ‘Shaqqul Qamar’ but more authentic of them do not say that it was a Mo’jiza of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. They only report that the people saw the moon splitting and the Prophet S.A.W. told people to remember the event and be a witness of Allah’s control.
A few less authentic traditions say that the Prophet S.A.W. pointed towards the moon on the demand of the disbelievers and it was split.
Even if they are true, it does not necessarily mean that the split and reunion actually happened. It may still be a Mo’jiza (miracle) of the Prophet S.A.W. that people’s eyes saw it splitting. However the actual split not only does not have a scientific basis but is against the principle explained to us by Qur’an in respect of miracles.
Please note that the splitting of the moon has not been scientifically proved till date. The photos and videos of the moon being circulated to prove it, do not at all prove a split. We should not make claim on the basis of flimsy or false evidences while possessing hundreds of other scientific and historical evidences in favour of Qur’an and the Prophet S.A.W.
We observe that none of the more than 300 miracles (some people say thousands) of the Prophet S.A.W., reported in the history have been cited in Qur’an. On the contrary we find from Qur’an that in case of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W., the miracles were never produced on the demand of the disbelievers. For example:
“And they say: “Why are not signs sent down to him from his Lord? Say: “The signs are only with Allah, and I am only a plain Warner.” (29:50)
“And those who disbelieve say: Why has not a sign (miracle) been sent down upon him from his Lord? (Tell them) You are only a Warner and (there is) a guide for every people.” (13:7)
See also Ayahs 2:118, 6:37, 7:203, 10:20 and 13:27 to mention a few.
Even in case of Hazrat Eisa (A.S.), the prophet just prior to Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W), it is reported in the gospels that he did not perform miracles on the demand of disbelievers.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (M’t:12:39:40).
Qur’an also states unambiguously on a number of occasions that the disbelievers will never believe by seeing the miracles.
“They swear their strongest oaths by Allah, that if a (special) sign came to them, by it they would believe. Say: “Certainly (all) signs are in the power of Allah: but what will make you (Muslims) realise that (even) if (special) signs came, they will not believe.”? (6:109)
Some of the other Ayahs asserting the above statement are 6:25, 6:124, 7:141
Earlier prophets came before the age of science. The scope of the last Prophet (S.A.W) was to be extended till the Last Day, therefore Qur’an stressed on believing through the use of intelligence, knowledge, understanding and wisdom instead of some unexplainable phenomenon of nature called miracle. Qur’an emphasized that the miracles were scattered all around if they only wanted to see.
Look at what were called signs (miracles) for the people of scientific age in Qur’an by Allah.
“And how many Signs in the heavens and the earth do they pass by? Yet they turn (their faces) away from them!” (12:105)
“Among His Signs in this, that He created you from dust; and then,- behold, you are men scattered (far and wide)! And among His Signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your (hearts): verily in that are Signs for those who reflect. And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know. And among His Signs is the sleep that you take by night and by day, and the quest that you (make for livelihood) out of His Bounty: verily in that are signs for those who listen. And among His Signs, He shows you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope, and He sends down rain from the sky and with it gives life to the earth after it is dead: verily in that are Signs for those who are wise.” (30:20-24)
See also 16:10-13, 16:65, 67, 69, 17:12, 26:7-8, 196-97, 30:46, 36:33, 37, 41 etc.
Let me mention one thing very clearly. The miracles of the prophets were to make the disbelievers speechless. More than three hundred miracles such as given to earlier prophets, were reportedly given to Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. The believers may believe in them but you can never prove to a disbeliever, the miracles appeared before Bani Israel through Hazrat Musa’s staff. For them, it will only be your claim based on your faith. Hindus may claim that Hanuman brought Lanka raised upon his hand. It is their claim that can never be proved. Similarly the description of the miracles associated with the prophets shall carry no more substance than Hanuman’s reported power in the eyes of Non-believers. Allah therefore, gave Prophet Muhammad S.A.W a miracle that can never be denied and which will always have power to silence the disbelievers. It is Qur’an, the only miracle of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. recognised by Qur’an itself which will remain there with all its wonders and powers to silence the disbelievers till the Last Day.
It is therefore worthless to argue about any miracle of Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W) other than Qur’an. All the miracles including the above said more than 300 miracles of Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. were specific to those prophets to whom they were bestowed upon. The staff of Hazrat Musa A.S. was not a miracle in the hands of another prophet of the same time Hazrat Haroon A.S. Qur’an is such a wonderful miracle of the Last Prophet that it can perform miracles in the hands of all believers. It is a great honour for us. It is now our duty to master the techniques of proving this miracle to the non-believers and render them astonished instead of arguing about earlier miracles which have now disappeared in deniable history.