The Qur’an is the only book in Islam for which Divine inspiration has been declared, however most miracle claims for Muhammad do not occur in the Qur’an but in the Hadith (Islamic Tradition), and do not rely on eyewitnesses* but on stories passed on orally for generations. Muslim scholars have no generally accepted list of authentic miracles from the Hadith and Bukhari, who is considered to be the most reliable collector of all admitted that of the 300,000 Hadith he collected, only 7275 may be true, thus eliminating over 290,000 of them. In fact Islamic miracle stories began to appear after two Christian Bishops (Abu Qurra from Edessa and Arethas from Caesarea) made a point of Muhammad’s lack of authenticating miracles. In fact these stories are contrary to the spirit of Muhammad in the Qur’an. He repeatedly refused to perform a miracle for unbeliever’s who challenged him (sura 3:181-84: 4:153; 6:8-9) *
See the Reliability of the Four Gospels.
Muhammad accepts the fact that God confirmed the prophets before him by miracles. He refers to Moses’ prophetic credentials (sura 7: 106-108, 116-19; 23:45), the manifestation of God’s miraculous power through other prophets (sura 4:63-65; 6:84-86) and Jesus’ miracles as proof of the divine origin of His power (5:113). However Muhammad’s response to the challenge to perform miracles (sura 6:8-9, 17:90-92) is illuminating: “Am I aught but a man-an apostle?” While admitting that when Moses was challenged by the Pharaoh he responded with miracles (sura 7:106-8: 118). In Muhammad’s own words from the Qur’an “They (will) say : ‘Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?’” since even Muhammad admitted that “God hath certainly power to send down a sign” (sura 6:37).
Sura 6:35 is used by many Muslims to prove that Muhammad could do miracles. It reads “If their spurning is hard on thy mind, yet if thou wert able to seek a tunnel in the ground or a ladder to the skies and bring them a sign,- What good?).” This passage is hypothetical “IF Thou wert able….” It does not say that Muhammad was able. And why was he being spurned for not performing miracles if he was able to do so?
Splitting of the moon. Sura 54:1-2 reads “The Hour (of judgment) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder: But if they see a sign they turn away And say, “This is (but ) transient magic”’. However Muhammad Is not mentioned in this passage and if it is a miracle it contradicts other passages, which state that Muhammad did not perform feats of nature like this (sura 3:181-84). Had a miracle of this magnitude actually taken place it is impossible that unbelievers would have asked for a sign later on. Additionally Muslim scholars believe that the “hour (of judgment)” refers to the end times.
The Victory at Badr. (Sura 3:123; 8:17. Also see sura 5:12). According to Islamic tradition several miracles happened here. God sent 3000 angels to help in the battle and Muhammad was miraculously rescued from the sword of a Meccan. However there is some question as to whether all these passages refer to the same event. Many Muslims believe that Sura 8 is speaking of another event and is to be taken figuratively for God casting fear into the heart of Muhammad’s enemies. Sura 5 has been considered by some to refer to the attempted assassination of Muhammad at Usfan, yet another incident. Badr is only referred to in Sura 3 and is says nothing about a miracle. If the victory of Badr was a sing of divine confirmation then surely the resounding defeat at Uhud should be taken as a sign of disfavor, considering that the Qur’an boasts that Muhammad’s followers could win a battle (with God’s help) even out numbered ten to one. However it is not at all uncommon for a military victories to occur even in the face of terrible odds. The Israeli six-day war in 1967 is one of the quickest and most decisive battles in the history of modern warfare, but how many Muslims see this as a sign of God’s help.
See Israel’s History Written in Advance
The Night Journey. Many Muslims believe that Muhammad was mysteriously transported to the “Furtherest Mosque”, deemed by Islam to mean Jerusalem, (sura 17;1) then taken up into Heaven. There were later expansions on this verse, which claimed that Muhammad was escorted by the angel Gabriel and was greeted by important people like Adam and Jesus. Many Muslim scholars do not take this to be literal trip to Heaven. Abdullah Yusuf Ali noted that “it opens with the mystic vision of the Ascension of the Holy Prophet…” (“Introduction to Sura XVII,” 691).
InPlainSite.org Note: What about Islam's claim that the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem represent Islam's third most holy sites? Details
In any case, by Islam’s own definition this incident has no apologetic value even if it is understood to be a miracle.
The Splitting of Muhammad’s Breast. Islamic tradition tells us that at his birth (or before his ascension) the angel Gabriel cut open Muhammad’s chest, removed his heart, cleansed it, filled it with wisdom and then proceeded to replace it. (based in part on sura 94:1,2,8). Most conservative Muslim scholars take this passage as expressing the anxiety Muhammad felt in his early years at Mecca. Ali in The Meaning Of The Glorious Qur’an said “the breast is symbolically the seat of knowledge and of the highest feeling of love and affection” (2.1755).
Prophecies in the Qur’an. Suras most alluded to are the ones in which Muhammad promises victory to his army. However after Muhammad had abandoned the peaceful but unsuccessful method of spreading his message it should not come as any surprise that he would predict victory. It is also hard to imagine any general not ‘rallying the troops’, and when religious matters are involved that rallying is bound to take the form of ‘God is on our side’. Also Muslim forces were especially zealous as they were promised paradise for their efforts.
There was one prediction made in Sura 30:2-4 regarding the “Roman Empire Has been defeated-In a land close by: But they (even) after this defeat of theirs, Will soon be victorious-within a few years”. The Persians defeated the Roman in the capture of Jerusalem in about 614. The counter-offensive began about 622 and resulted in victory in 625…. At least ten or eleven years after the prediction and possibly closer to thirteen of fourteen. Uthman’s edition of the Qur’an has no vowel points, which were added much later. The word ‘sayaghlibuna’ (they shall defeat) could have been rendered ‘sayughlabuna’ (they shall be defeated) which renders this ‘prediction’ very ambiguous. A perceptive reading of the trends of the time could very well have led to the conclusion that the Romans would bounce back. Compare this with certain Biblical prophecies, which are amazing in their details of time, place and people, to the extent that individuals have been called by name before they were born.
See Daniel’s Amazing Prophecies and Other Prophecies
Did the Bible Foretell Muhammad?
Alleged Biblical prophecies about Muhammad. Muslims have often claimed that both the Old and the New Testament contain clear prophecies about Muhammad and that Muhammad, not Christ is the foretold prophet.
Deuteronomy 18:15-18. “I will raise up for them (Israel) a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him”. It is impossible to construe this passage as referring to Muhammad. In the same passage (v.2) the Levites are told, “They shall have no inheritance among their brothers”, obviously using the word ‘brothers’ to mean fellow Israelite. This is borne out by other passages in Deuteronomy as when God told the Israelites to choose a king “from among your own brothers”, and not a “foreigner”. (Deut 17:15). Why would a prophet be raised up from the Arabs who were adversaries? On the other hand Jesus was a ‘brother’, and did nothing on His own but spoke just what the Father had taught Him. (John 8:28, 12:9). He performed signs and wonders and spoke to God ‘face to face’. [See The Great Messianic Prophecy of Moses]
Islam claims that the Arabic text of the Qur’an is perfectly preserved yet it does not mention Abraham in the following key verse. “And we bestowed on him Isaac and Jacob, And we established the Prophet hood and the Scripture among his seed: (sura 29:27). By adding the name (Abraham) Ali included Muhammad, a descendent of Ishmael, in the prophetic line.
Deuteronomy 33:2. Moses in blessing the sons of Israel before his death said “ The Lord came from Sinai, And dawned on them from Seir; He shone forth from Mount Paran, And He came from the midst of ten thousand holy ones;..”. Many Islamic scholars believe this to be three separate visitations from God.. 1) On ‘Sinai’ to Moses. 2) In ‘Seir’ through Jesus. 3) In ‘Paran’ through Muhammad who came to Mecca with an army of “ten thousand”. However ‘Seir’ is near Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula not in Palestine where Jesus ministered. ‘Paran’ is in North Eastern Sinai, hundreds of miles from Mecca. Additionally the verse says that the “Lord” is coming, not a prophet and that he is coming with “ten thousand saints” not soldiers. This verse is Moses “blessing” on the children of Israel, and could not have been a prophecy about Islam, which has been their constant enemy.
Deuteronomy 34:10. “Since then no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses”. Muslims claim that this verse proves the predicted prophet could not be an Israelite. However the last chapter of Deuteronomy was probably written by Joshua and the “since” simply means from Moses’ time to the time the words were written. It cannot be stretched to mean that there would NEVER be a prophet like Moses, as “I haven’t had a glass of water since ten o’clock this morning” does not mean I will never have a glass of water again. Even if, as critics claim, Deuteronomy was written much later than the traditionally accepted dating, it was still composed many centuries before Christ’s birth.
Habakkuk 3:3. “God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. His glory covered the heavens and his praise filled the earth”. Again Paran is hundreds of miles from Mecca to which Muhammad came and the verse expsessly speaks of God coming, not Muhammad who denied being God. The name Muhammad means ‘the praised one’ but the verse could not refer to him since the subject of both the ‘praise’ and the ‘glory’ is God.
Psalm 45:3-5. This verse speaks of one coming with the sword to subdue his enemies. Muhammad was known as the ‘prophet of the sword’ and is therefore believed by Muslims to be the one spoken of in this verse. (Jesus never came with a sword). However, verse six makes it very clear that the person spoken of is God and as the Bible tells us Jesus’ second coming will be with the ‘sword’, and the “armies of God” will follow Him. (Rev 19:11-16).
Isaiah 21:7. In Isaiah’s vision he sees chariots with teams of horses and riders on donkeys or camels. There is not a shred of evidence that can possible relate Muhammad to the rider of the camels as Muslims believe. Even a cursory reading of the passage tells us that the writer is referring to the fall of Babylon (v.9) which took place many centuries before Christ.
Matthew 3:11. “After me one will come who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”. Muslims argue that 1) John the Baptist and Christ were contemporaries therefore the “after me” could not refer to Christ. 2) If Jesus were more powerful of the two it would have been John who would have followed Jesus like a disciple. 3) Jesus would not have been baptized in the Jordan like any ordinary Jew. 4) John did not know of Jesus being the prophet until he was in jail. 5) The one John proclaimed was to make Jerusalem and the temple more glorious (see Haggai 2:8-9, Malachi 3:1) but Jesus did nothing of the sort. (Dawud, 158-160).
1) Jesus’ ministry did begin ‘after’ that of John the Baptist precisely as John stated. His ministry did not start until after He was baptized by John.
2) John did defer to Jesus saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matt 3:14).
3) Jesus stated the reason He was baptized.. It was necessary to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt 3:15) and that He came not to abolish the ‘Law and the Prophets’ but to fulfill them.
4) John proclaimed Jesus to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) when he baptized Jesus. He was also witness to the voice from Heaven proclaiming “This is my Son, who I love; with him I am well pleased”. John did have later questions, which were answered by Jesus who pointed to His miracles thereby assuring him that He was the Saviour.
5) Not all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning Jesus were fulfilled at His first coming. Jesus said that He would not set up His kingdom until the end of the age (Matt 24:3). His contemporaries considered Him to be the one spoken of in the Old testament since that was how they applied the Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. (Matt 3:1-3, Mark 1:1-3, Luke 3:4-6).
John 14:16. “and I will ask the Father and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever”. The word ‘Helper’ in this verse is the Greek word ‘Paraclete’. Muslims refer to Sura 61:6, which refers to Muhammad as “Ahmad” (periclytos) and take this to be the correct rendering of ‘Paraclete’.
A) Not one of the more than 5000 Greek manuscripts available to us today uses the word ‘Periclytos’.
B) In verse 17 Jesus tells the disciples that “You know Him” (The Helper) but the disciples did not know Muhammad who would not be born for another six centuries.
C) Verse 16 states that the Helper Jesus promised was to abide with them “forever”. Muhammad has been dead for over thirteen centuries.
D) Jesus also told His disciples in verse 17 that the Helper will be “in you”. Muhammad’s teachings were not in accord with that of the disciples and could not have been “in” them in any way.
E) Jesus also said the Helper would be sent “in My name”. No Muslim believes that Muhammad was sent by Jesus in Jesus’ name.
F) Jesus said that the Helper would not “speak on his own”, but would “glorify” Jesus (John 16:13, 14) but Muhammad constantly testifies to himself (sura 33:40 for example), and Islam declares that Muhammad supersedes Jesus.
G) Jesus also said that the Helper would come in “not many days”. (Acts 1:5). While the Holy Spirit arrived fifty days later on Pentecost, Muhammad didn’t make his appearance until hundreds of years later.
References to the Bible in the Qur’an. On the one hand Muslims claim that both the Old and the New Testament foretell Muhammad but on the other hand claim that the Bible has been corrupted and the New Testament we have today is not the single gospel revealed to Christ. Furthermore they claim there are doctrinal mistakes such as the incarnation of Jesus, the Trinity etc. However this is neither born out by the Qur’an nor the facts. Consider the following verses from the Qur’an..
1) The original New Testament (“Gospel”) is a revelation of God (Sura 5:46, 67,69,71)
2) Jesus was a prophet and his words should be believed by Muslims (Sura 4:171, 5:78)
3) Christians were obligated to accept the New Testament of Muhammad’s day (Seventh century A.D. Sura 19:94)
4) Muhammad is told “If thou were wert in doubt as to what We have revealed unto thee, then ask those who have been reading the Book (the Bible) from before thee; the truth hath indeed come to thee from thy Lord; so be in no wise of those in doubt” (Sura 10).
Muslims consider the Bible to be the ‘Word of God’ (Sura 2:75) and insist that God’s word cannot be altered or changed at the same time insisting that the Bible has been corrupted which in itself is a contradiction. Also the New Testament of Muhammad’s day has been is virtually identical to that of Muhammad’s day being based on Manuscripts that go back to several centuries before Muhammad.
See The Reliability of the Four Gospels
Regarding point 4 above.. Some Muslims say that this Sura is addressed to those who doubt the claim of Islam, others say that it is addressed to Muhammad himself. Either way they are referred to the Jews (or Christians) for an answer to their doubts.
Conclusion. Muslim reading of Scripture is usually arbitrary and involve forced interpretations of the text contrary to the context of the passage. Islamic scholars are quick to claim that the Bible has been “corrupted” but do not hesitate to accept it’s authenticity when they feel a particular text can be made to lend credence to their views. The Bible never has foretold anyone but Christ as can be amply demonstrated by the many, many prophecies about Him. Muhammad knew that prophets before him had performed miracles but referred people to the Qur’an (as a sign) when asked for one. While the language and teaching is the Qur’an is considered to be ‘without parallel, there is nothing supernatural about eloquence. The supernatural events connected to Muhammad’s life in the Qur’an can be explained by natural means and even Muslim scholars have rejected much of the Hadith as too many show signs of embellishment. By contrast Jesus performed many miracles (testified to by eye-witnesses) in connection with His claim to Deity. [See The Deity of Jesus Christ. Was He Lord, Liar Or Lunatic?]
If the Qur’an claims that the original New Testament is a revelation of God and If Christians in Muhammad’s day were obligated to accept the New Testament, and it has been proven that the New Testament is essentially the same as it was in the seventh century A.D. then according to the Qur’an itself Christians are obligated to accept the New Testament even today. However the New Testament teaches that Christ was and is the Son of God who was crucified for our sins and rose from the dead three days later. Muslims reject His Deity and resurrection, which is inconsistent with their belief in the divine inspiration of the Qur’an.