Revelation of Mystery (Kashf al Mahjub)
Difference between Mujiza معجزہ and Karamat کرامت
Chapter XIV (q)
Difference between Mujiza معجزہ and Karamat کرامت
As it has been proved that mujizat معجزات (miracles) and Karamat كرامات (miracles) can not be wrought by an imposter, it becomes necessary to distinguish more clearly between them. The mujiza involves publicity and beauty of karamat lies in its secrecy, because the benefit of mujiza معجزه reaches to others, while the fruitation of karamat كرامت is peculiar to the performer. Again, the performer of mujiza is quite sure of his miracle, whereas the performer of the karamat cannot be sure whether he has really performed a karamat or is deceived insensibly. He who perform mujiza has authority over the Shariat (Religious law) and in arranging it he denies or affirms, as Allah commands him. On the other hand, he who performs karamat has no choice but to resign himself (to Allah’s will) and to accept the ordinances that are laid upon him, because the karamat of a saint is never in anyway incompatible with the Shariat of the prophet.
It may be said that if miracle is the proof of the prophet’s veracity, then it may not be lawful for others as it would become ordinary events; therefore your proof of the reality of mujizat annuls your argument establishing the reality of karamat. I in reply say that it is not the case. The karamat of a saint is identical with, and displays the same evidence as the mujiza of a prophet. The exclusivity of mujiza exhibited in one instance does not impair the same in the other instance. When the infidels were to put Khubaib (may Allah be pleased with him) on the gallows at Mecca, the Prophet (peace be upon him) seated in the mosque at Medina was seeing and telling to the companions what was going on with Khubaib. Allah also lifted the veils from the eyes of Khubaib, so that he saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) and saluted him, and Allah caused the Prophet (peace be upon him) to hear his salutation, and Khubaib to hear the Prophet’s answer. The Prophet prayed for Khubaib and his face turned towards Qibla.
Now, seeing of Khubaib by Prophet (peace be upon him) from Medina while he was at Mecca, was an act of violation of custom and an extraordinary act on his part and to see an hidden is a violation to established customs and there is no difference between absence in time and absence in space. Therefore, to see Prophet (peace be upon him) by Khubaib (may Allah be pleased with him) from such a distance was a karamat of absence in space and the karamat of later were wrought by those who were absent from the Apostle in time. This is a clear distinction and a manifest proof that karamat cannot possibly be in contradiction with mujiza (miracle performed by a prophet). Karamat is nothing but testimony to the truth of one who has performed a mujiza, and they are not vouchsafed except to a pious believer who bears such testimony. Karamat of Muslims are an extraordinary mujizat (miracles) of the Prophet (peace be upon him), for as his Shariat is permanent so must his proof also be permanent. Therefore, the saints are witness to the truth of the Prophet’s mission, and it is impossible that a karamat should be wrought by an unbeliever.
Ibrahim Khawwas related that once as per his usual state of detachment from worldly things went into solitude in wilderness. After he had gone for some distance a man appeared and made a plea for his companionship. When he looked at him, he felt conscious of a feeling of revulsion which he failed to reconcile. In the mean time that man spoke out and said, “O Ibrahim, do not be vexed. I am a Christian monk, and have come from the confines of Rome in the hope of being thy companion.” When Ibrahim came to know that he was an unbeliever, he regained his composure, and felt comfortable to take him as his companion and to fulfill his obligations towards him. He told the monk that he had no eatables with him and feared that their absence might hurt the monk in that wilderness. The monk said, “O Ibrahim, your fame in the world is so great, and you are still concerned about bread and butter?” Ibrahim wondered at his frankness. After spending seven days in the wilderness they were overtaken by thirst. The monk stopped and said, “O Ibrahim, they trumpet your praise throughout the world, now let me see what you possess. The reason for being impatient is that I have been over taken by thirst and can not endure it any more.” Ibrahim laid his head on the earth and prayed, “O Lord, do not disgrace me as he although unbeliever, still thought good of me and whatever he has perceived of me, accomplish that.” When he raised his head he saw a dish with two loaves of bread and two cups of water. They ate that feast and continued on their way. After another seven days had passed Ibrahim resolved to test the monk ere he could again put him to the proof and said to him, “O monk, now it is your turn. Let me see the fruits of your mortification.” The monk laid his head on the ground and muttered something. Immediately a dish appeared containing four loaves and four cups of water. Ibrahim was amazed and grieved, and got despaired to his state and made up his mind that since the feast had appeared for the sake of an unbeliever, therefore, he would not eat anything from it. The monk bade Ibrahim to eat but he refused and said, “You are not worthy of karamat, and it is not in harmony with your spiritual condition. I am amazed about you, if I regard it as karamat, it is not vouchsafed to unbelievers and if I regard it as a contribution from thee, I must suspect thee of being an imposter.” The monk said,
“O Ibrahim! Eat, and I give you joy of two things. Firstly, I convert to Islam and say
اشهد ان لا اله الا الله وحده لا شريك له و اشهد ان محمد ًا عبده و رسوله
and secondly, of the great honor in which you are held by Allah.”
Ibrahim asked him that how it was so?
“I had no miraculous powers, but my shame on account of you made me lay my head on the ground and beg Allah to give me two loaves, and two cups of water if the religion of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is true, and two more loaves and cups if Ibrahim Khawwas is one of Thy saints. And when I lifted my head I found this tray before me.”
Then Ibrahim had that food, and the monk rose to eminence in Islam. This karamat through saint is identical with the evidentiary miracles which are wrought by Prophets and it is a rare event that in absence Prophet shows miracles to others or in the presence of wali, other than him is benefited from the karamat.
In fact, the one who has attained accomplishment in sainthood cannot be recognized by anyone except the beginner of this path. That monk was like Pharaoh’s magicians one of the hidden (saints). Ibrahim confirmed the Prophet’s power to violate custom, and the monk also desired to witness the truthfulness of Prophethood and excellence of sainthood and Allah in His Eternal Providence fulfilled his purpose. Therefore, difference between miracle and karamat is evident. This discussion is very lengthy, for which space in this book does not permit. The manifestation of karamat (miracles) to the saints is another karamat, as they ought to be kept secret, not intentionally reveal.
My Sheikh used to say that if a saint reveals his saintship and claims to be a saint, the soundness of his spiritual state is not impaired thereby, but if he takes pains to obtain publicity he is led astray by self conceit.