Revelation of Mystery (Kashf al Mahjub)

Proof and Argument on Karamat کرامات (Miracles)

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Chapter XIV (s)

Proof and Argument on Karamat کرامات (Miracles)


Since the reality of Karamat كرامات (miracles) have been established by rational and logical arguments, it will be appropriate now to verify their credibility though traditional evidences. A lot has been mentioned in the Hadith (Traditions of Prophet) and Quran and Sunnah also proclaims the manifestations of Karamat (miracles) and extraordinary acts wrought by auliya اوِلياء (saints) and their denial is to refute the whole manifestations of Quran. For example Allah hath said:

وَظَلَّلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْغَمَامَ وَأَنزَلْنَا عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَنَّ وَالسَّلْوَى

“And We gave you the shade of clouds and sent down to you Manna and quails,” (Q 2:57).

The clouds used to shade them and every night Manna and quails were descended on them. If any skeptic should assert that this was an evidentiary miracle of Moses (may blessings of Allah be on him), I raise no objection, because we also say the same that all the miracles of the saints are as evidentiary miracles of Muhammad (peace be upon him).  And if someone says that these Karamat (miracles) were wrought in the absence, how can these be miracles of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) because his miracles were only those which were manifested in his life time. In reply to this I say that when Moses (may blessings of Allah be on him) was away from his people and went to Mount Sinai, the miracle of Manna and quails remained there even in his absence, therefore, for miracle there is no difference between being absent in time and being absent in space. In case of Moses (may blessings of Allah be on him) if the manifestation of miracle can be right in his absence, then the same principle holds good in the case of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) that manifestation of miracle is also right  being absent in space.

Allah has mentioned about the miracle of Asif b. Barkhia as when Suleman (may blessings of Allah be on him) desired to get the throne of Bilqis before her arrival to him. Allah wanted to reveal the excellence of Asif and by manifestation of Asif’s karamat He showed the people of the time that manifestation of karamat by saints was admissible. Suleman (may blessings of Allah be on him) asked that who could get the throne of Bilqis before her arrival there. In the words of Quran,

قَالَ عِفْريتٌ مِّنَ الْجِنِّ أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن تَقُومَ مِن مَّقَامِكَ

said an Ifrit, (powerful Jinn) of the Jinn, `I will bring it to thee before thou rise from thy council:`” (Q 27:39). 

Suleman (may blessings of Allah be on him) said “No”, and desired the throne to be brought earlier than that. Asif said (in the words of Quran),

أَنَا آتِيكَ بِهِ قَبْلَ أَن يَرْتَدَّ إِلَيْكَ طَرْفُكَ

I will bring it to thee within the twinkling of any eye” (Q 27:40).

From this proposal neither Suleman (may blessings of Allah be on him) got astonished nor did he refuse as he did not see it an impossible act. It cannot be called a mujiza معجزه (miracle) as Asif was not a Prophet, and had it been a mujiza, it must have been wrought by Suleman (may blessings of Allah be on him), therefore it was a karamat كرامت (miracle).

Besides, Allah has mentioned in the Quran about Mary (may blessings of Allah be on her) that whenever Zakarriya (may blessings of Allah be on him) went into her chamber he found winter fruits in summer and summer fruits in winter, so that he asked Mary (Verse of Quran):

أَنَّى لَكِ هَـذَا 

whence (comes) this to you?”

She answered

وَ مِنْ عِندِ اللّهِ  

from Allah.” (Q 3:37).

Everyone has a unanimous opinion that Mary was not a Prophet. And Allah also mentioned about her in clear words that,

وَهُزِّي إِلَيْكِ بِجِذْعِ النَّخْلَةِ تُسَاقِطْ عَلَيْكِ رُطَبًا جَنِيًّا

and shake towards thyself the trunk of the palm tree; it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee. (Q 19:25).

Likewise, we have the story of the men of the cave that how their dog spoke to them, their long slumber and changing sides during sleep. Allah said,

وَنُقَلِّبُهُمْ ذَاتَ الْيَمِينِ وَذَاتَ الشِّمَالِ وَكَلْبُهُم بَاسِطٌ ذِرَاعَيْهِ بِالْوَصِيد

and We turned them on their right and on their left sides: their dog stretching forth his two forelegs on the threshold:” (Q 18:18).

All these were extraordinary acts, and since they certainly were not mujizat, they must have been karamat. And this is also permissible that such karamat may be the answering of prayers i.e. through the accomplishment of wishes conceived by one who is subject to Shariat or the traversing of great distance in a short time, or the appearance of food from an unexpected place, or reading the thoughts of others, etc.

Once, the Companions of the Prophet requested him to relate to them some marvelous tale of the adherents of the ancient Prophets. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

In the olden days three persons were going together somewhere. When night fell they took shelter in a cave, and while they were asleep a rock fell from the mountain and blocked the mouth of the cave. All three were shocked and apprehended that their escape was impossible. They decided to implore Allah through presenting their best ever deeds before Him as intercessor. The first of them began:

“My father and mother were alive and I had no worldly goods excepts one goat, whose milk I used to give to them and every day I used to gather a bundle of firewood from the jungle and sell it and spend the money in providing food to ourselves. One night I returned home late, and before I could milk the goat and soak their bread in the milk they fell asleep. I without having eaten anything held the bowl in my hand and stood next to their feet, until morning, when they awoke and had their food and I also felt relieved. After this he prayed, `O Lord, if I speak the truth, send us deliverance and come to our aid!`”

The Apostle (peace be upon him) said that thereupon the rock moved a little and a gap appeared. The second man said:

“I had a beautiful cousin, with whom I was deeply in love, but she would not pay any heed to my demand. One day I sent to her a hundred and twenty dinars with a promise that she should keep the money if she spent a night with me. When she came, my heart was overtaken by the fear of Allah. I turned away from her and let her keep the money. Then he said, `O Lord! if my this act has acceptance in Thy court, then deliver us from this cave!`”

The Apostle (peace be upon him) said that then the rock moved a little further and the crevice widened, but not that enough to let them escape. The third man said:

“I had some laborers working for me. When the work was done I gave them their wages except one, who had disappeared. I bought a sheep with his wages. First year its strength increased to two and which became four in the second year and in the next few years it became a large flock. After several years the laborer returned and asked me for his wages. I said to him that he might take the whole flock as that was his property. He thought as if I was making fun of him, but I assured him that it was true, and he went off with the whole flock. Then he pleaded to Allah, `O Lord, if I speak the truth, deliver us from this calamity!`”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that he had barely finished his supplication when the rock moved away from the mouth of the cave and let the three men came forth. This act is also violation of the established customs.

A well known tradition narrated by Abu Huraira that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

There have been only three men who talked while still in childhood cradle. The one Jesus about whom every one is aware. The second is related to an Israelites monk namely, Jareeh. He was a pious devotee and his mother a house lady was also pious. Once she came to him when he was busy in his devotion and did not open the door of his cell. This happened with the woman continuously for few days and ultimately she cursed his son to be disgraced. Incidentally there was a characterless woman. She told the people that she could wicked the monk and with that intention went to his worship place. Jareeh did not pay any heed to her, and she dejectedly while on her way back met her carnal desire with a herdsman and got pregnant. She made it common in the village that the cause of her pregnancy was Jareeh. She bore a boy. People got retaliated and took the Jareeh to the court of the king. Jareeh facing towards the boy asked him who his father was. The child said that his mother was propagating false accusation against him and his father was so and so herdsman 

The third such incident is that of a woman who along with child in her lap was sitting at the door of her house. Incidentally a handsome well dressed rider passed from there. The woman said: “O Lord! Make my son also like him.” The boy spoke out and said: “O Lord! Do not make me like him.” After a little while a woman of ill repute passed from there. The kid’s mother prayed: “O God! Do not make my son like her.” The boy immediately said: “O Lord, make me like that woman.” The woman surprised on her son’s remarks and asked him that why he had said so. The child replied: “That man is an oppressor, whereas that woman is pious and people needlessly talk ill about her.”

There is tradition about Zaidah, housemaid of Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) that one day when she came to Prophet (peace be upon him) and saluted him, he asked her that why she was so casual in her visits, for she was faithful and Prophet (peace be upon him) hold her dear. She said, O Prophet of Allah, I came across a wondrous thing today. On his inquiry she narrated that in the morning she had gone to fetch firewood and after collecting and making a bundle, she put it on a big stone so that it might be convenient for her to lift. In the meantime she saw a rider landing on the ground from the sky. He saluted me and introduced himself as Ridwan the Doorkeeper of Paradise. He asked her to deliver his greetings and following message to you.

“Blessed be you! Paradise has been divided into three sections for your Ummah, the first section is of those who would enter Paradise without any accounting, the second section is for those whose accounting would be very lenient, and the third section is for those who would be delivered through your intercession.” 

After saying this, he rose towards the sky and when he was in between the earth and the heaven, he saw her feeling difficulty in picking up the wood bundle. He asked her to place the bundle back on the stone and commanded the stone to take the bundle to the door of Umar’s house which it obeyed. After hearing it the Prophet (peace be upon him) along with his companions visited the Umar’s house and saw the arrival and departure marks of the stone. Then he said:

“Praise to Allah! Allah has not raised me from this world until Ridwan has not conveyed me the blessed news about my Ummah’s admission to Paradise and Allah by manifesting this karamat through a women, has bestowed upon her the rank of Mary.”

In another tradition it is narrated that when Prophet (peace be upon him) sent Ulai b. al-Hadrimi (may Allah be pleased with him) on an expedition, he came across a big river bed. He and his fellow warriors waded through the river and when they had crossed it, none had even his feet wet.

Once Abdullah b. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) while on his way to some destination saw a crowd. They told him that a lion had blocked their way. He addressed the lion, “O dog! If you have been commanded by Allah, obey Him otherwise let us pass through.” The lion got up and moved to his way.

There is a tradition about Abraham (may blessings of Allah be on him) that he saw a man suspended in the air. He inquired from him that how had he gained that degree. The man replied that it was a normal thing as he had renounced the world and submitted himself to Allah’s command. Then he was asked of his desire, to which he asked for his abode in the air so that he might remain separate from the creature.

A non-Arab young man came to Medina with an intention to assassinate the Caliph Umar (may Allah be pleased with him). He found the Caliph in wilderness sleeping on the ground and his whip was under his head. He got amazed to see the carefree style of a man due to whom the whole world was facing affliction. He with an evil thought that it was the best opportunity to assassinate him drew his sword. Suddenly he perceived that two lions had appeared and attacked him. He shouted for help. Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) got up. He narrated the whole story to him and converted to the faith. 

During the Caliphate of Abu Bakr, Khalid b. Walid (may Allah be pleased with them) was sent on an expedition in Iraq. There he was presented with gifts, among which there was a small box which had very deadly poison in it. Khalid, taking the name of Allah chucked it into his mouth and swallowed it. People got astonished with his act and many took the right path.

Hasan Basri narrated that there was black man in Abadan whose dwelling was normally in wilderness. One day Hasan purchased few eatables from the bazaar and took them to that man. He inquired about it. Hasan told him that those were eatables which he had brought for him. The man laughed and made a sign with his hand. Hasan said that he saw that everything i.e. stones, lumps, walls etc, in that wilderness became gold. He feeling ashamed of his act and shocked ran away from there.      

Ibrahim Adham related

Once I came across a herdsman and asked some water from him. He told me that he had both milk and water with him. I told him that I only desired water. He got up and struck his staff on a stone. The most pleasant and clean water started flowing out from the stone. Observing me in a state of astonishment, he said, “There is nothing to get astonished, for when man is faithful to Allah, then whole of the universe becomes obedient to him.”

Abu Darda and Salman ((may Allah be pleased with them) were eating together and clearly heard the food utensils praising Allah.

Abu Said Kharraz narrated that he used to have food once after every third day. Once when he was traveling in the desert and on the third day he felt weak because of hunger and habitually his body desired for food. He was unable to control over his weakness and hunger, and sat down on the ground. Suddenly he heard a voice calling him:

“Abu Said! Do you prefer food that quiets your lower nature, or an expedient that enables you to overcome your weakness without food?”

Abu Said pleaded to Allah, to give him strength and then he rose and traveled twelve stages without meat or drink.

It is well known that the house of Sahl b. Abdullah at Tustar is called the House of the Wild Beasts and the people of Tustar are agreed that many wild beasts used to come to him, and that he fed and tended them, although Tustar had a big population.

Abu al-Qasim Mervasi was walking on the sea shore with Abu Said Kharraz. They saw a youth clad in a muraqqa (patched frock) and carrying a leather water bucket to which an ink-bottle was fastened. Abu Said observed that youth’s face was illuminated and he looked to be in high state and accomplished but his appearance dictated him to be a student. Both of them got anxious to know about him and with that aim approached him. Abu Said asked the youth that what the way to Allah was. The youth replied:

“There are two ways to Allah, the way of the common people and the way of the elects. You have no knowledge of the way of elects, but are following the way of the commons, which you pursue to regard your own actions as the cause of attaining to Allah, and consider that an ink bottle is one of the things that interfere with attainment.”

Dhu al-Nun Narrated:

Once I embarked a ship voyaging from Egypt to Jeddah. Among the passengers was a youth wearing a patched frock. I desired to have his association but he inspired me with such awe that I even could not talk to him. He was a unique rare personality of exalted spiritual state who constantly kept himself engaged in devotion. One day a man lost his small purse of jewels, and accused that the youth had stolen it. The passengers thought to maltreat him but I reconciled them and sought their permission to talk to the youth. I told him that he was suspected of theft and that I had saved him from maltreatment. I asked his opinion about the theft. The youth looked towards Heaven and uttered some words. The fishes in the sea came to its surface, each with a jewel in its mouth. He took a jewel and gave it to the man who had lost his purse.  Then he set his foot on the water and waded away. Thereupon the real thief returned the purse, and the people in the ship repented.

Ibrahim Raqqi[1] related that in his novitiate he set out to visit Muslim Maghrabi. He found him in his mosque, leading the prayer. He pronounced al-hamd الحمد incorrectly. I thought that I took unnecessary trouble to visit him. I spent the night there and in the morning while on my way to river Euphrates to perform wadu (ablution), I saw a lion asleep on the road. I turned back, and was faced by another lion which had been following me. I cried aloud with fear. Muslim came forth from his cell. When the lion saw him they humbled themselves before him. He twisted the ear of each one and rebuked them, “O dogs of Allah! Did I not forbid you not to interfere with my guests?” Then he said to me:

“O Abu Ishaq, you have busied yourself with correcting your outward for the sake of creature; hence you are afraid of them. But we are busy to correct ourselves inwardly for the sake of Allah; hence His creatures are afraid of us.”

One day my Sheikh set out from Bayt al-Jinn to Damascus. On our way we came across heavy rain and I was walking with lot of difficulty in the slush. When I looked towards the Sheikh, I noticed that his shoes and clothes were perfectly dry. On my observation he said:

“Yes; Allah has preserved me from all kinds of quagmire ever since I put unquestioning trust in Him and guarded my heart from the desolation of cupidity.”

Once I got involved into an intricacy and was unable to solve it.  I with an intention to meet Sheikh Abu al-Qasim Gurgani set out for Tus. When I reached there I found him alone in the mosque of his house, and he was expounding precisely the same difficulty to a pillar. I asked the Sheikh that with whom was he talking. He answered, “O son, Allah caused this pillar to speak and ask me this question.”

An old man lived in a village Ashlatak of Farghana, who is one of the Autad of earth. He was renowned as Bab Umar. An old woman called Fatima also lived with him. I went from Uzkand to meet him. When I entered his presence he asked that how I had come. I replied that I wanted to meet him and seek blessings from him. He said:

“O son! I have been seeing you since such and such day, and I continue to see you as long as you are not removed from my sight.”

When I computed the days and years, it was the very day on which my conversion began. Then the Sheikh said:

“To traverse distance is child’s play. Make this visit an occasion of spiritual progress, for man of the way of Truth never commit himself to an act which is not the cause of progress of his spiritual state.”

Then he bade Fatima to bring something to eat. She brought a dish of fresh grapes and dates, although it was not the season of grapes and to procure dates in Farghana was also impossible.

On another occasion, when I was committed to secluded devotion at the tomb of Sheikh Abu Said at Minha, I saw a white pigeon came and hid itself under the cloth covering of the sepulcher. I supposed that the bird had escaped from its owner, but when I looked under the cloth nothing was to be seen. The same event took place the next day and also on the subsequent day. I was lost in amazement, until one night I dreamed of the saint and asked him about that mystery. He answered, “That pigeon is my good conduct which comes every day for my companionship.”

Abu Bakr Warraq relates that once Muhammad b. Ali handed him over some of his writings with the instructions that those were to be thrown in river Oxus. Since he had not the heart to do so, therefore, he kept them at his house and lied to Sheikh that he had obeyed his instructions. Sheikh asked him if he had observed anything at the time of obeying his instruction. He had no answer except to say that he had observed nothing. Then the Sheikh said, “You have not obeyed me; go back and throw them into the river.”

Overwhelmed with Sheikh’s insight, he went back and threw the papers into the river. Suddenly, the water parted and a chest with its lid open appeared, As soon as the papers fell into it, the lid closed and the water joined again and the chest vanished. He went back to him and told him what had occurred. He answered, “Now you have thrown them in.”

On his request to unveil the mystery the Sheikh said:

“I composed a work on theology and mysticism which could hardly be comprehended by the intellect. My brother Khidr (may blessings of Allah be on him)  desired it of me, and Allah bade the waters bring it to him.”

I might adduce many more of these tales without exhausting them, but my purpose in this book is to establish the principles of Sufism. As regards derivatives and matters of conduct books have been compiled by the traditionalists, and these topics are also disseminated from the pulpit by preachers. Now I will give, in one or two sections, an adequate account of certain points bearing on the present discussion, in order that I may not have to return to it again.


[1] Died in 326 A.H.


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