In Surat Al-Qamar 54:1, the Quran states “The Hour has come near, and the moon has split asunder. 54:2: “And if they see a sign, they turn away and say: ‘Ongoing magic!’” The word “Hour” clearly refers to the Day of Resurrection, the word “sign” being aya which can have multiple meanings per my previous post. Some scholars, such as M.A.S. Abdul-Haleem and Sheikh Mohammed al-Ghazali, say this refers to one of the signs of the Day of Resurrection, others that it actually refers to a physical miracle given to Prophet Mohammad, or perhaps both. Here we discuss how the moon-splitting described in the Quran is clearly a sign of the approach of Judgment Day when studied in context of the surrounding verses and the significance, purpose, and meaning of ayat/“signs” in the Quran as a whole. Does this mean it cannot be Mohammad’s miracle? What is the best evidence for the truth?
WE CAN’T ELIMINATE THE MOON-SPLITTING AS A SIGN OF THE “HOUR”
Using a logical process of elimination to consider which type of aya/“sign” applies to this event, we can eliminate the meaning “verses,” since it refers to an astronomical event, and “verses” are usually referred to in plural. But we cannot eliminate the meaning of aya here as a “sign” in creation, and more precisely a sign of the Finality (Al-Akhira), the Hour, the Day of Resurrection, when time as we know it ceases to exist. The moon in itself is an important “sign” in creation even without having split, used by people to measure time and from that, learn “calculation”/math (2:189, 6:96,10:5, 55:5). The moon may also be unique in the universe, or at least quite rare. For that important celestial “sign” to split symbolizes a “split” or breakage in time, because any major change in the moon would change time itself, affecting the length of days/nights and other cyclical processes that mark time, and time is tied up with its calculation (per Quranic references above). Thus we cannot eliminate the moon-splitting as also symbolic (another type of aya) of the Day of Resurrection, when time is transformed to ultimately become timelessness, nor can we eliminate it as a sign of the Hour as the two are conceptually paired in its Quranic presentation.
Some of the strongest evidence comes from considering the Quranic verses above in context with the entire section that follows:
54:1 The Hour has come near, and the moon has split asunder. 54:2 And if they see a sign, they turn away and say: “Ongoing magic!” 54:3 And they denied, and followed their desires, and every old tradition. 54:4 While the news had come to them in which there was sufficient warning. 54:5 A perfect wisdom; but the warnings are to no avail. 54:6 So turn away from them; the Day will come when the caller will call to a terrible disaster. 54:7 With their eyes humiliated, they come out of the graves like a swarm of locusts. 54:8 Hastening towards the caller, the rejecters will say: “This is a difficult Day.” (Emphasis mine.)Al-Qamar 54:1-8
Pairing the Hour’s approach with the moon-splitting in the very first aya (verse) makes the immediate connection between the two. In the full context of the surrounding ayat focused on Resurrection Day, the moon-splitting is also a warning. “Warnings” are mentioned of a terrifying Day of Judgment coming and in it consequences for our deeds. All the words in bold refer to this Day/Hour (both terms are used showing us something about what that Event does to time), including importantly a mention of people coming out of their graves, obviously for the Day of Resurrection.
Many ayat/verses in the Quran indicate the pressure by the Meccans on prophet Mohammad to show them a physical “performance” miracle weighed heavily on him. This pressure was done out of mocking insolence, not an actual desire to “satisfy their hearts” (2:260, 8:126).
And among them are those who listen to you, but We have placed over their hearts coverings, lest they understand it, and in their ears deafness. And if they should see every sign, they will not believe in it. Even when they come to you arguing with you, those who deny say, “This is not but legends of the former peoples.”Al-An’am 6:25
And if their turning away is difficult for you, then if you are able, seek a tunnel into the earth or a stairway into the sky to bring them a sign. But if Allah had willed, He would have united them upon guidance. So never be of the ignorant.Al-An’am 6:35
Quite an admonishment above!
And nothing has prevented Us from sending signs except that the former peoples denied them. And We gave Thamud the she-camel as a visible sign, but they wronged her. And we do not send the signs except as a warning.Al-Isra’ 17:59
If you [O Prophet] do not bring them a sign ˹which they demanded˺, they ask, “Why do you not make it yourself?” Say, “I only follow what is revealed to me from my Lord. This Quran˺is an insight from your Lord—a guide and a mercy for those who believe.”Al-‘Araf 7:203
They want a show made up, rejecting the Quran.
And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if a sign came to them, they would surely believe in it. Say, “The signs are only with Allah.” And what will make you perceive that even if a sign came, they would not believe.Al-An’am 6:109
The last statement indicates a certain frustration with the prophet (pbuh) who probably hoped he could somehow make them believe. This is from the compassion of his heart, knowing the reality of the Hereafter.
And they say, “Why is a sign not sent down to him from his Lord?” So say, “The unseen is only for Allah [to administer], so wait; indeed, I am with you among those who wait.”Yunus 10:20
Note: this expression to “wait” is also frequently used in the Quran as a rebuttal to people demanding other prophets to hurry up and bring on the Resurrection Day or punishment (right now on demand!).
And [even] if We opened to them a gate from the heaven and they continued to ascend therein,Al-Hijr 15:14
They would say, “Our eyes have only been dazzled. Rather, we are a people affected by magic.”15:15
But they say, “[The revelation is but] a mixture of false dreams; rather, he has invented it; rather, he is a poet. So let him bring us a sign just as the previous [messengers] were sent [with miracles].” Here their demand is caused by rejection of the Quran. They don’t like it but they want a show.Al-Anbia’ 21:5
And even if We had sent down to you, [O Muhammad], a written scripture on a page and they touched it with their hands, the disbelievers would say, “This is not but obvious magic.”Al-An’am 6:7
And is it not sufficient for them that We revealed to you the Book which is recited to them? Indeed in that is a mercy and reminder for a people who believe.Al-’Ankabut 29:51
The cumulative effect of these ayat is unmistakable — the bombardment by the Quraish for Mohammad to come up with a miracle, Allah’s firm response, and their rejection of the Quran are all highly relevant here. When in (6:35) the Exalted tells prophet Mohammad to seek a tunnel into the earth or a stairway into the sky to bring them a sign — a miracle in this case, — one can sense a certain sternness toward the prophet insofar as Mohammad (pbuh) wants to please and convince the people by bringing a miracle, whereas the Omniscient told him they will never believe in any sign, implying the purpose of the Quran is greater than the miracles those people desire: they will refuse to accept the message regardless to signs, and Allah does not send His signs or miracles to please those whom He knows would deny them. It is also clear that the “sign” Allah the Exalted sent to prophet Mohammad and “all the worlds” is the Quran and not “performance” miracles, and we are told why. However, he was sent other miraculous support, such as when Allah sent angels down to support the believers in their fight against the aggressors among the disbelievers/polytheists but it was not visible hence not for impressing the doubters, and the signs shown to him in the Isra’ or “night journey,” but those were not shown to anyone else. The truly ongoing miracle is the Quran.
TIME, TENSE, AND SPLITTING THE MOON
The first aya shown above, 54:1, is in the past tense referring to the future, because from Allah’s perspective (which when we understand how the Quran uses tense can be our perspective too) these events are already ordained. Whereas the aya that follows it (also above), 54:2, is in the present tense. This Quranic use of past tense is sometimes argued to be evidence that this was Mohammad’s miracle which occurred in the past, but in light of how the Quran uses past, present, and future tense, this is in fact evidence against the hadith-based assumption that it was a miracle-type sign. Because the next verse, used to claim the people referred to here are those Quraish who accuse the prophet of mere magic, would place those people in a different time frame than the moon-splitting itself. Indeed the Quran protects Allah’s truth in clear language!
But the translation above, as with many other translations, do not clearly show this past/present change of tense due to the English being not as clear to convey it. One might revise the translation this way but the tense is not as obvious:
54:1 The Hour came near, and the moon was split asunder. 54:2: “And if they see a sign, they turn away and say: ‘Ongoing magic!’”
To be consistent with the miracle hypothesis, aya 2 would have read “and when they saw the sign, they turned away and said ‘Ongoing magic!’” – precisely because to be consistent with it being a prophet’s miracle, which all agree is for the immediate benefit of a specific group of people present in time to its presentation rather than as a sign for all people of all times, the observers would need to be in the same time-frame as the miracle. Then we would not be having this argument. The Quran is clear and unequivocal!
WHY WAS MOHAMMAD OF ALL PROPHETS NOT SPECIFICALLY CREDITED?
One might argue this usage in present tense with the generalized “a sign” rather than “the sign” means it’s being used as an instructive narrative, the present tense and non-specifying usage linking this event to other miracles. But this argument doesn’t work here because, again, we can’t eliminate the obvious pairing of the event as a sign of the Hour, where the generalized denial of “signs” is clearly more applicable. If the Quran meant to convey this as Mohammad’s miracle, why was Mohammad not mentioned or referred to in any way in these ayat, and the “sign” not treated as a particular sign (which in Arabic would include an additional word “this” sign and be in the past tense along with the preceding aya)?
The moon being split asunder is certainly a terrifying and consequential sign/warning, which would have affected its brightness rather dramatically, as well as had consequences on earth. a “sign” not mentioned in the hadiths describing the alleged “physical miracle” of prophet Mohammad (pbuh). Rather it is a sign of what follows: descriptions of Resurrection Day and events that are themselves also allegories for that Day, such as in the very next section following the above ayat, the narrative of prophet Noah and the flood, itself an allegory for Judgment Day. Without considering the hadiths claiming this was prophet Mohammad’s miracle, would there be any doubt about its referring to a sign of the Hour? That is clearly, from the context, the most obvious interpretation. In fact, without the hadiths, would we have even considered this as referring to a miracle of prophet Mohammad? Certainly not.
HOW ALLAH’S SIGNS CAN BE DENIED
To deny the signs of Allah is an egregious sin, something about which there is no dispute. But one form of “denial” is to steer people to a particular interpretation contrary to that presented in the Quran. Here the aya is essentially hijacked to “prove” hadiths using the Quran’s greater authority. If no such hadith existed, this event would be clearly interpreted as a sign of the approach of the Hour. And as such, its meaning as a “sign” has such significance that to deny this is plausibly a denial of Allah’s signs.
And never be of those who deny the signs of Allah and [thus] be among the losers.Yunus 10:95
This warning applies to all of ayat Allah, including His “verses”/revelations, His creation, His prophets’ miracles, and His analogies and allegories/symbols. Not only that, but this sign is in the heavens, seen from every location on earth. Keep this in mind. Advocates of the story that this was a miracle of prophet Mohammad say in this article:
“The splitting of the moon is a miraculous phenomenon, something that transcends the natural order. It is unclear why one should expect a supernatural event to have natural effects. Miracles are always meant for those who witness them directly.” (Emphasis mine.) Yaqeen Institute
The passage in bold directly contradicts the Quranic evidence — and Allah would not contradict a truth in His ayat/verses. In truth, all prophets’ miracles had consequential “natural” effects: people were healed from disease by Jesus; when the Red Sea was parted, Moses’ people were saved and Pharaoh’s army was drowned; Moses’ staff-turned-snake devoured the “false” illusionary snakes of Pharaoh’s magicians, and they never came back; despite the virgin birth, Maryam went through a very painful “normal” delivery. “Natural” consequences are exactly what the Quran mentions as “truth” in these miracles. They occur in a real-world setting and have real-world consequences. They are never illusions, which are associated with magic, which has apparent real-world consequences but not actual ones.
Of course these miracles were/are supernatural events, but within the protocols set by the Almighty All-Merciful, whose capability to do all things does not mean He will do anything one wants or believes. So how can we tell the difference between real miracles and illusions?
Precisely those real-world consequences. A banquet sent from heaven is clearly supernatural, but what confirmed its miraculous nature was precisely the natural consequence that witnesses actually ate the real food. Moses’ hand changed color to bright white, a visual, but people could touch his hand which was also in close proximity to those who saw it, confirming this was a real hand. On the other hand, the moon was split in the heavens visually where not a single natural confirmation of its reality could be obtained. And there were absolutely no real-world consequences to this “miracle.” This is entirely inconsistent with all prophets’ miracles. What did this moon-splitting do to benefit people, to warn them of the Hereafter, or to demonstrate Allah’s power? The lack of real-world consequences would make it feel less consequential because what happened was removed and intangible. Contrast with the miracle of Moses in the ultimate performance before the Pharaoh:
And We inspired Moses: “Cast down your staff;” then at once it devoured what they fabricated!Al-‘Araf 7:117
Thus the truth was established, and what they did was made of no effect. (Emphasis mine.)7:118
The actual “devouring,” a real-world consequence, is what distinguished Moses’ miracle as true not false like the merely visual illusions produced by magicians.
EXAMINING THE MOON-SPLITTING HADITHS, SOMETHING IS MISSING
The moon-splitting as described in the hadiths, in contrast, is merely a visual phenomenon with no aftereffects or consequences whatsoever.
The moon was split ( into two pieces ) while we were with the Prophet (ﷺ) in Mina. He said, “Be witnesses.” Then a Piece of the moon went towards the mountain.Sahih al-Bukhari 3869
That the Meccan people requested Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to show them a miracle, and so he showed them the splitting of the moon.Sahih al-Bukhari 3637
The people of Mecca asked Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hira’ mountain.Sahih al-Bukhari 3868
During the lifetime of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) the moon was split into two parts; one part remained over the mountain, and the other part went beyond the mountain. On that, Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Witness this miracle.”Sahih al-Bukhari 4864
The first hadith #3869 above actually shows the moment of the split. It is an entirely peaceful, solely visual experience using the nondescript verb “went.” The very moment itself is presented entirely devoid of drama for such a significant event, contrasted with other prophets’ miracles. But then, it took place in the heavenly realm which at the time fit perfectly their ideas about the cosmic order — in contrast to Allah’s knowledge.
The sheer passivity of this event is illustrated – including a sense of wealth and ease surrounding the prophet whose life was the diametrical opposite: self-sacrifice, struggle, torn by grief and compassion.
The moon itself mentioned in these hadiths is utterly non-descript: not a single detail of the moon’s appearance (aside from “splitting” as one might split a 2-dimensional circle), luminosity, phase, size, movement (such as fast or slow, jerky or smooth, or relative position in the sky), etc., or even the time this event occurred except to say “in the prophet’s lifetime.” These uneventful descriptions of what now would seem a major and consequential event do not add credibility at all to the idea, but rather stand in sharp contrast to other prophets’ miracles which literally caused things to happen. But this is positively medieval — what happens in the sky, stays in the sky, like the flat paintings of Mary holding an adult-featured infant Jesus with stilted expressions on both — no sense of anything happening except a sort of unreal calm with superimposed halos overhead.
As the Quran and indeed prophet Mohammad (pbuh) himself were both sent by Allah the Exalted as a message and mercy to “all the worlds,” superimposing an old-world-based “miracle” on the timeless message of the Quran and Allah’s messenger undermines the credibility of both. It is eminently clear to those in the modern world who uphold education and the pursuit of knowledge that there would be major consequences on earth to even a brief actual splitting of the moon.
At the time of the prophet through the early Middle Ages, however, the concept of heavenly bodies such as the moon was that they moved inviolably in separate protected spheres, as illustrated in the manuscript above, and were made of a substance (called “quintessence” by Aristotle) unlike anything on earth. What natural consequences would occur from a moon-splitting was completely unknown, so naturally one presumed there would plausibly be no consequences. It was considered to be safely in the celestial “sphere,” and all it required was an order from the Almighty and voila! Part of the moon would separate from the rest and each part or one part (it didn’t make any difference really in this worldview) would move away from the other. And that’s it! The specifics would be irrelevant. It was a perfectly reasonable description at that time for the hoped-for miracle that never was: celestial, a realm about which at the time there could be no argument or ability to dream up some argument, and also better than the “competing” miracles of previous prophets for being in the celestial sphere. The “perfect miracle,” someone’s “gift” to the prophet to help “bolster his image” perhaps. No doubt some Muslims were internally grumbling and unhappy about the lack of more physical “performance” miracles for Mohammad, not yet convinced of Allah’s wisdom in sending the Quran as a far more effective form of guidance that would remain effective throughout the coming major changes in future generations worldwide to whom this Quran was also sent. That would require greater faith. But this presentation in hadiths of the supposed miracle, widespread as its acceptance may be today as a viable interpretation, has a major flaw. Far more major than all the above.
Something of utmost importance is missing in every one of these hadiths as well as all the others on the Sunnah website linked above. Can you guess what it is?
It’s something central to all prophets’ miracles and found in some way associated with all of them: thikr Allah! Prophet Mohammad never mentions Allah before, during, or after this event, in stark contrast to all other miracles in the Quran where invoking Allah the Exalted (with even the word Lord or another of Allah’s names) is central to the performance of the miracle – often mentioning what this miracle tells us about Allah’s power and/or mercy and other qualities. Mentioning prophet Mohammad as “Allah’s messenger”, in Arabic commonly referred to as Rasoul Allah or following his name with sallallahu’alayhi wasalam are both expressions mentioning Allah only in reference to the prophet. None of the hadiths associated with this alleged miracle mention our Lord the Almighty as the One who empowered this miracle to show us something about Allah Himself, not any prophet.
The prophets did not compete with each other in miracles; rather, this is the attitude of those whose faith is less in Allah than in a sort of groupthink revolving around their personally favored prophet Mohammad (pbuh), people whose focus was not tawheed worshiping Allah but promoting a more successful group (in this world) with the coolest leader ever, who doles out miracles on demand, intercedes directly between us and God (a whole other subject), and has power over whatever apparently exasperates some humans with God, such as insufficient wow-factor performance miracles. This in itself could be almost ok if it did not ignore the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in and between them.
ALL PROPHETS ACKNOWLEDGED AND MENTIONED ALLAH IN CONJUNCTION WITH THEIR MIRACLES
So notably here Allah the Exalted is not even mentioned by prophet Mohammad. All he says is “behold” or “witness this” or “bear witness.” This is not a proper way for a true prophet to perform a miracle. Certainly a prophet as aware of Allah’s borders and with as much taqwa as prophet Mohammad would never fail to invoke his Lord and Creator. Even if these hadiths are third-person accounts, any legitimate miracle is given by Allah only to the prophet and must refer the onlookers/ witnesses to Allah.
This is no small matter. It suggests the author(s) of these hadiths had one primary motive in “producing” it: to show, at last, that Mohammad had a miracle like other prophets and even better than them, perhaps thinking of this as a “white lie” for a higher purpose of giving the prophet more credibility, as such an author might imagine. Narration chains can be more easily fabricated (just write it! — with a little knowledge of the names of prominent sahaba) than the public illusions used by modern magicians that often require extensive planning and equipment. Such an author is focused on the prophet, not “inspired” by Allah, certainly not God-fearing. Thus Allah Himself is left out of the hadith. It’s reminiscent of Al-Munafiqoon 63:1:
When the hypocrites come to you, [O Muhammad], they say, “We testify that you are the Messenger of Allah.” And Allah knows that you are His Messenger, and Allah testifies that the hypocrites are liars.
Why are they hypocrites here if they acknowledge the truth that Mohammad is Allah’s prophet? Because they did not bear witness that there is no god but Allah: they forgot thikr Allah. The sin of this omission is precisely the sign of their hypocrisy! Acknowledgement of Mohammad’s prophecy is worthless and meaningless without tawheed. And here in all these hadiths we discover the very same omission: promotion of Mohammad as prophet without mentioning Allah’s existence in such a miracle. From this alone, we can conclude that these hadiths are false and the entire moon-splitting “miracle” is fallacious, its connection to the Quran perhaps chosen to “curate” the hadith to provide credibility. This was not the behavior of Allah’s final prophet (pbuh) and in fact insults his legacy, as well as puts words in the mouths of innocent sahaba, Mohammad’s faithful honored followers who sacrificed so much.
But because this is so important, and to show these are not spurious remarks or “bizarre” arguments, we present below how thikr Allah — invoking and mindfulness of Allah — is central to all of Allah’s prophets’ miracles in the Quran.
QURANIC EVIDENCE OF MENTIONING ALLAH AS ESSENTIAL TO ALL MIRACLES
Below is a list of miracles in the Quran showing the inclusion of thikr Allah (with thikr Allah in bold):
- (2:248-9) a sign that Saul is king shown by a Tabut (chest/container) “from your Lord” containing items from Moses and Aaron’s family (2:248), followed by another sign where Saul says “Allah will be testing you with a river…” and this single verse contains 4 mentions of Allah (2:249)
- (2:253) mentions Jesus came with signs, has 4 mentions of Allah
- (2:260) describes the miracle of birds given to prophet Abraham to satisfy his heart which concludes “and know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.”
- (2:259) has the miracle of a man whom Allah caused to live 100 years, where Allah is mentioned 3 times, and the man concludes (saying) “I know that Allah has power over all things.”
- (3:13) re a sign of when two armies met and Allah made the one fighting in the cause of Allah to look twice their number in their enemies’ eyes where Allah is mentioned twice, concluding with “Allah supports with His victory whom He wills.” This happened with the prophet and believers.
- (3:49) where Jesus speaks to his people about his miracles: “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord in that I design for you from clay [that which is] like the form of a bird, then I breathe into it and it becomes a bird by permission of Allah. And I cure the blind and the leper, and I give life to the dead – by permission of Allah.”
- (3:50) Jesus says “And I have come to you with a sign from your Lord, so fear Allah and obey me.”
- (3:124-6) describes Allah sending angels to fight alongside Mohammad and the believers battling against oppressors where v. 124 mentions prophet Mohammad asking “is it not sufficient that your Lord should reinforce you with 3,000 angels.” Here is a “sign”/miracle given to prophet Mohammad who in his own words credits Allah. V. 125 mentions both Allah and Lord where Allah promises another 5,000 angels sent down if they remain patient and God-fearing. V. 126 states “And Allah made it not except as [a sign of] good tidings for you and to reassure your hearts thereby. And victory is not except from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”
- (5:110) Jesus’ miracles recounted in the voice of Allah on Judgment Day where Allah says “remember My favor upon you,” then lists the same 3 miracles mentioned in point (6) above, each concluding “with My permission” and in the case of speaking as infant, Allah “supported you from My spirit.”
- (5:114) Jesus asks Allah in a du’a to send down a banquet from the heaven, invoking “Allah, our Lord” for “a sign from You” and concluding “and You are the best of providers.”
- (7:73) Prophet Salih said to his people “This is the she-camel of Allah [sent] to you as a sign. So leave her to eat within Allah ‘s land and do not touch her with harm, lest there seize you a painful punishment.”
- (7:104-5) prophet Moses said to the Pharaoh introducing his miracles already prepared by Allah “O Pharaoh, I am a messenger from the Lord of the worlds” (104) – “and it behooves me to say nothing about Allah except what is true. I have come to you from your Lord with a clear sign. So send with me the children of Israel.”
- (10:81) prophet Moses says after the magicians throw their staffs/wands and before he throws his: “What you have brought is [only] magic. Indeed, Allah will expose its worthlessness. Indeed, Allah does not amend the work of corrupters.” (10:82) “And Allah will establish the truth by His words, even if the criminals dislike it.”
- (11:64) repeats number 11 above.
- (17:102) when the Pharaoh accused prophet Moses of being “affected by magic,” Moses replied to him “You have already known that none has sent down these [signs] except the Lord of the heavens and the earth as evidence”
- (12:37-40) prophet Yusuf promises to interpret the dreams of his companions in prison, but first he speaks to them about Allah and His way of Tawheed (faith in Allah as One) and faith in the hereafter, distinguished from the religion of those who reject such faith, mentioning Allah — as Lord (2x), Allah (6x), the One, the Prevailing — 9 times before interpreting their dreams (his “supernatural” gift).
- (20:49-52) Prophet Moses brings the message of Allah and the Hereafter to Pharaoh, who asks about his Lord, whereafter Moses refers to Allah as “our/my Lord” in conversation with Pharaoh. Only thereafter shows the miracles.
- (20:61) Prophet Moses says to Pharaoh’s magicians “Woe to you! Do not invent a lie against Allah or He will exterminate you with a punishment” just before they compete with him in “magic” vs miracle.
- (20:70) After Moses’ staff-turned-snake devours the magicians’ fake “snakes”, this: “So the magicians fell down in prostration. They said, ‘We have believed in the Lord of Aaron and Moses.’” (Comment: this miracle had a tangible effect — the magicians converted to Islam, mentioning Allah.)
- (20:73) after their submission to Allah, the magicians invoke Him further: “Indeed, we have believed in our Lord that He may forgive us our sins and what you compelled us [to do] of magic. And Allah is better and more enduring.”
- (21:87) mentions prophet Yunus (Jonah) who “called out within the darknesses, “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” It is only this statement calling upon Allah (“deity”/You, a direct Shahada) that permitted Allah’s miracle of saving him, after which all his people submitted to Allah.
- (23:28) referring to prophet Noah, Allah commanded “And when you have boarded the ship, you and those with you, then say, ‘Praise to Allah who has saved us from the wrongdoing people.’” The miraculous event of saving Noah and his true followers in a Divinely-designed ship/ark had to be “sealed” with thikr Allah!
- (11:41) when prophet Noah came to enter the ark with his followers, he said: “Embark therein; in the name of Allah is its course and its anchorage. Indeed, my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.”
- (26:16-51) Moses’ talk begins with thikr Allah saying we are the messengers of the Lord of the worlds. An exchange between Moses and Pharaoh ensues, where Pharaoh mocks each reply from Moses who replies: “The Lord of the heavens and earth and that between them,” “Your Lord and the Lord of your first forefathers,” “Lord of the east and the west and that between them, if you were to reason.” Then when Pharaoh threatens Moses (pbuh), he presents his miracles, “inspired” by Allah as to what to do. Thikr Allah then is invoked (“Lord”) 4 times from the mouths of those very magicians, who prostrate and submit to Allah openly even enduring torture.
- (26:61-68) before the great miracle of parting the Red Sea, Moses’ people saw Pharaoh’s army, said they will be overtaken, so Moses replied “No! Indeed, with me is my Lord; He will guide me.” Then Allah commands Moses to strike with his staff and the sea parts “like two mountains” and Allah the Almighty drowns Pharaoh and his army and saves Moses and his people “entirely.” What is the final conclusion? “And indeed, your Lord – He is the Exalted in Might, the Merciful.”
- (27:40) prophet Solomon expressed gratitude with thikr Allah for many miracles, for example someone in his court who “had knowledge from the book” promised to bring the great throne of the Queen of Sheba “in the twinkling of an eye” which he did. Upon seeing it, prophet Solomon said “This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.”
- (43:45) before presenting miracles, prophet Moses says “I am a messenger of the Lord of all worlds.”
- (43:63) And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, “I have come to you with wisdom and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me.” The “clear proofs” are miracles. Before presenting them he invokes Allah as Lord.
Thus all miracles are essentially Allah’s miracles; they are not to confer “status” upon any prophet but rather to prove Allah’s might and the prophet’s being a messenger of the Almighty. All prophets put their message first; all invoked God/Allah before, during, and/or after the presentation of miracles, and the witnesses to the miracles were made aware of the Source, the Almighty, who enabled such “signs.”
A quick look at the surah in which these ayat came shows us that the moon-splitting “miracle” interpretation stands out as a foreign or alien intrusion that has no place in the surah. The refrain throughout is “And how [severe] were My punishment and warning!” – just as in the first ayat of the Surah, the word “warning” is repeated in 11 ayat throughout the surah, and the refrain is repeated 5 times. The entire surah is devoted to how Allah destroyed the “criminals,” oppressors and deniers. To insert at the beginning the benign scenario in the hadiths, which even mention that this miracle was in response to the Meccans, essentially to acquiesce to their demands, contradicts the whole and very powerfully presented message of the surah. It both contradicts and denies, telling us that Allah will bend to aggressive demands by human beings and the prophet should have made up one, but he didn’t so the hadith author will do the job of making one up himself. Maybe he thinks it would “help” the prophet — while it is a grave sin to have done it. Of which of course the referenced sahaba claimed to have been the hadiths sources are entirely innocent. They, and prophet Mohammad, would indeed have been horrified at such hadiths being said in their names. May Allah guide us all to the truth, away from what people fabricate!
This shows us conclusively that the Quranic reference to the moon being split is only and emphatically as a sign of the Hour’s approach, and that the notion of this as having been a miracle of prophet Mohammad is entirely inconsistent with the Quranic aya, with the knowledge Allah has given to humankind since the time of revelation, and with the way miracles are presented as well as the purpose of them.
Only those who trust in Divine guidance will recognize the signs when they come and say “these are the signs of our Lord, and whatever He ordains is for the Best,” thus spared the horrors and consequences of such a Day. May Allah guide us all with His Quran and resurrect us with those who are blessed with His mercy.