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What Does Mu'jiza Mean?

A mu'jiza ( miracle ) is something proving the truthfulness of a person who said he was a Prophet. There were conditions for a mu'jiza:

1 — Allahu ta'ala made it in the absence of ordinary means, whereby to help His Prophet be confirmed.

2 — It had to be extraordinary. Ordinary things, such as the sun's rising in the East every day or flowers blooming in the spring, could not be mu'jizas.

3 — Others had to be incapable of doing it.

4 — It had to happen whenever the person who announced his prophethood wished it to.

5 — It had to agree with his wish. For example, if he said that he would enliven a certain dead person and if some other marvel took place, for example, if a mountain was broken into two, instead, it would not be a mu'jiza.

6 — The mu'jiza happening upon his wish should not belie him. For example, while he was miraculously talking with a certain beast, if the beast said, "This man is a liar," it would not be a mu'jiza.

7 — The mu'jiza should not happen before he said he was a Prophet. Wonders that happened before [the announcement of his prophethood], such as 'Isa's ('alaihi 's-salam) talking when he was in a cradle, his being handed dates when he asked for dates from a withered-up tree, and in Muhammad's (alaihi 'ssalam) childhood, the cleavage of his chest and his heart being cleansed by washing, there being a cloud over his head continuously and his being greeted by trees and stones were not mu'jizas, but karamas. They are called irhasat (preparatory signs of a prophet). They emphasized prophethood. It is possible for such karamas to happen through Awliya' [2] as well. Before Prophets were informed of their prophethood, their status was not lower than that of the Awliya'. Karamas were seen from them. A mu'jiza could happen immediately after a Prophet is informed of his prophethood. For example, if he had said that such and such an event would take place a month later, the event would become a mu'jiza when it took place. But it would not be necessary to believe in his prophethood before it took place.

GLOSSARY
[1] karama: (pl. -at) miraculous deed worked by Allahu ta'ala through a Wali.
[2] awliya: (pl. of Wali) a person loved by Allahu ta'ala.