The way to know if someone’s claim to be a Prophet is truthful is the miracle. The word “miracle”, when used in English, has a broader usage than in Arabic.
“Mu’jizah” (the word for miracle) is derived from “a’jizah” which means to incapacitate someone. Because the Qur’an was revealed as i’jaz, as something that disables others, it incapacitates others, it is called mu’jizah. The miracle is something extraordinary, something “supernatural”. It does not follow the normal course of nature. This thing occurs only at the hands of a man who claims Prophethood. This supernatural act supports his claim. What he says will take place, will take place.
The miracle is in the Prophet’s favor, not against him. If he tells a person is blind in one eye to go to a place and drink from that water and your sight will be restored, but instead when that person goes to the place and drinks, his sight does not return and in fact, he loses sight in the other eye, this is not normal. It was an occurrence that was not in his favor. It did not support the claim that that man said he was a Prophet. Rather, it opposes it.
This extraordinary act that pierces the norm–the natural course of things–would be in his favor. Anyone who would oppose him–the one claiming Prophethood—would not be able to come up with something more amazing than what this person did. The opposer would not be able to do the same thing that the Prophet did. An opposer could not truthfully say that “I can do the same, so your claim doesn’t prove you are sent by God.”
This supernatural act says that those who oppose him cannot do the same or greater than that. For example, Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, when he stood in front of the Pharaoh and ordered the Pharaoh to believe in Allah, the One Who created the heavens and the earth, and the Pharaoh asked for evidence that if you are really truthful in your claim then prove it. Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, cast his staff to the ground and it turned into a serpent. The Pharaoh said: “This is magic.” He said ‘I will challenge you. I will bring the top magicians of my land, and they will challenge and expose you.” They agreed on a date in which they would face off. Forty magicians came. They told Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, ‘You go first. Or if you want, we’ll go first.’ Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, warned them not to do it. He told them ‘if you do it, you will face the severe punishment from Allah.’
Sorcery/magic is real, not talking about quick parlor tricks. One type of sorcery is optical illusions that affect the people that they think something is there that in reality is not there. These sorcerers were experts in their field. They threw ropes and they appeared they were snakes. But when Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, threw his staff, and it swallowed the snakes that were really ropes on the ground. When they saw that, they knew that what they witnessed was not sorcery. They knew the one who did that must have the support of the Creator. It is as if Allah revealed to them Himself saying that this person is a Messenger of mine, so believe in him. As if when the person witnesses the miracle themselves, it is as if Allah revealed to them that this slave of mine is truthful, so believe in him. One cannot push that away. Just as one cannot push away or deny the whiteness of the wall. Or the blueness of the sky. The one who witnesses the miracle with their eyes cannot deny that this person is not false, that he is legitimate.
These magicians embraced Islam, and left their blasphemy. They could not do the same thing that Prophet Musa, peace be upon him, did.
The miracles of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ are well known, and undisputed. The greatest miracle of the Prophet ﷺ is the Qur’an. Miracles do not usually last for long periods of time. They take place and then they are finished. However, this miracle of the Prophet ﷺ remains among the tens of thousands that he had. It is an extraordinary matter. It complies with his claim. No one who opposes this Prophet ﷺ can do the same or greater.
The Arabs of Makkah sacrificed their own lives, money, reputations, their own children to fight Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. They were given a challenge that if this man is really false then bring something to dispute him. Bring something that is similar to even the shortest chapter of the Qur’an. It was said in the Qur’an that they cannot, and are never able to do so. This is a miracle. The shortest chapter of the Qur’an is three verses. After all these years, not one of the so-called intellectuals can bring something that is similar to these three lines in the Qur’an. What prevents them from believing in the Prophet ﷺ and following him? An illness in their hearts. Stubbornness. They do not want to admit that an Arab from the tribe of Quraysh is better than them. They want to hold on to their wickedness.
We ask Allah to guide those people in our lives who are not Muslim.
((This is a transcript of a beautiful lesson, and not authored by me.))