something out of the ordinary which the All-Wise Creator of the sun and the moon caused to happen in order to confirm His Messenger’s messengership and to illuminate his claim.
As required by the mysteries of guidance and human responsibility and the wisdom of prophethood, it was shown as a convincing proof to a number of people specified by dominical wisdom. The mystery of wisdom required that it was not shown to people in every region of the world, who had not yet heard of Muhammad’s (UWBP) claim to prophethood. Numerous obstacles prevented them, therefore, such as mist, cloud, and time-differences, and the fact that in some countries the moon had not risen, and in others the sun had risen, while in others it was morning, and in yet others the sun had just set.
If it had been shown to all and sundry, it would have been shown as a sign of Muhammad (UWBP) and a miracle of his prophethood, in which case his messengership would have been so obvious that everyone would have been compelled to affirm it. Human reason and will would have been cancelled, and belief is attained through the faculties of reason and will. Human responsibility and accountability would have been nullified. If it had been shown merely as an occurrence in the heavens, its connection with Muhammad’s (UWBP) messengership would have been cut, and there would have been nothing about it that pertained to him.
The concurrence of the Prophet’s (UWBP) Companions, who were all men of justice, on its occurrence.2
The agreement of all exacting commentators on the Qur’an in their explanations of the verse, “And the moon is split.”
The fact that, relying on numerous different chains of authorities and lines of transmission, all the scholars of the prophetic traditions and transmitters of the sound narrations narrated the event.3
That is to say, there are six proofs concerning the event in the form of a sixfold consensus. Unfortunately, the explanation of them is brief and they deserve more.
See, al-Wahidi, al-Wajiz fi Tafsir al-Kitab al-‘Aziz, i, 370; al-Tabari, Jami’ al-Bayan, 2784-7; al-Qurtubi, al-Jami’ li-Ahkam al-Qur’an, xvii, 126-7; al-Suyuti, al-Durr al-Manthur, vii, 672.
Line of ‘Abdullah b. Mas’ud: Bukhari, Tafsir,(54:)1; Muslim, Sifat al-Munafiqin, 44-5; Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 54. Line of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar: Muslim, Sifat al-Munafiqin,45, 48; Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 54:1. Line of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Abbas: Bukhari, Manaqib, 27; Manaqib al-Ansar, 36; Tafsir (54:)1; Muslim, Sifat al-Munafiqin, 48. Line of Anas b. Malik: Bukhari, Manaqib, 27; Manaqib al-Ansar, 36; Tafsir (54:)1; Muslim, Sifat al-Munafiqin,48; Tirmidhi, Tafsir Sura 54. Line of Khuzayfa ibn al-Yaman: al-Tabari, Jami’ al-Bayan, xxvii, 51; ‘Abd al-Razzaq, al-Musannaf, iii, 193-4; Abu Nu’aym, Hilyat al-Awliya’, i, 280-1. Line of Jubayr b. Mut’im: Tirmidhi, Tafsir Sura 54; Musnad, iv, 82; Ibn Hibban, al-Sahih, xiv, 422.