definite fact by the unbelievers, they would have made the verse a pretext, denied it strenuously, and tried to attack and nullify Muhammad’s (UWBP) claim to prophethood. However, the biographies of the Prophet (UWBP) and histories mentioning the event relate nothing to suggest that the unbelievers denied it. The only thing that history relates is, as the verse “And [they] say, ‘This is evident magic’”(54:2) points out, the unbelievers who saw the event declared it to be magic, and said that if the caravans in other places had seen it, it was true, otherwise he had bewitched them. The caravans arriving the following morning from the Yemen and other places announced that they had seen such a happening. So the unbelievers said of the Pride of All the Worlds (UWBP) that, God forbid, the magic of Abu Talib’s orphan had affected the heavens.1
S e c o n d P o i n t : The majority of the most illustrious scholars, like Sa‘d al-din Taftazani, declared that like the Prophet (UWBP) had satisfied the thirst of a whole army with water flowing from his fingers, and the whole congregation had heard a dry wooden post against which he had leant while delivering the sermon weep on being separated from him, the Splitting of the Moon had been transmitted by numerous authorities.2 That is to say, these events had been passed down from group to group forming such a vast congregation that a conspiracy to lie would have been impossible. Like the appearance of the famous Haley’s Comet a thousand years ago had been unanimously reported, and the existence of the island of Ceylon was certain because of the unanimous reports concerning it, although we had not seen it.
It is therefore unreasonable to foster baseless doubts about such certain, witnessed matters. It is enough that they are not impossible. And as for the Splitting of the Moon, it is quite as possible as a mountain’s splitting with a volcanic eruption.
T h i r d P o i n t : Miracles are for proving claims to prophethood and for convincing those who deny such claims, they are not for compelling people to believe. They have therefore to be shown to those who hear such claims to an extent that will persuade them. It would be contrary to the All-Wise and Glorious One’s wisdom to display them all over the world or in so self-evident a manner that everyone would be compelled to believe. It
Tirmidhi, Tafsir al-Qur’an, 54; Musnad, iii, 165; al-Tabari, Jami’ al-Bayan, xxvii, 84-5; al-Qurtubi, al-Jami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, xvii, 126; al-Bayhaqi, Dala’il al-Nubuwwa, ii, 268.
al-Iji, Kitab al-Mawaqif, iii, 405-6; al-Amidi, Ghayat al-Maram, i, 365; Ibn Taymiya, al-Jawab al-Sahih, i, 414; ii, 44; al-Shahristani, al-Farq bayn al-Firaq, i, 313; al-Taftazani, Sharh al-Maqasid, v, 17.