What Do You Expect From Him?
Think for a moment: Your friend Mahmoud has left his satchel in your home. A person knocks at the door and says, "I have been sent by Mahmoud. He wants me to pick up his satchel for him, please give it to me." If you don't know this boy, what should you do?
Should you immediately hope for the best and trust him and give him the satchel? How do you know he has really been sent by Mahmoud? How can you recognize him as a true messenger? Do you ask him for some proof that he has really been sent by Mahmoud?
Surely you will say, "Give me some proof and you can take the satchel.
Then, if he is really sent by Mahmoud, he will give some proof. For example, he will say: "Mahmoud said the satchel is in the living room, or it contains his arithmetic book, a religious book, a blue pen, a little red pencil and a watch." If his signs are correct, what do you realize, what do you do?
If his signs are correct, you realize that he is telling the truth, and that Mahmoud has sent him because he trusts him, and you respect him. You trust him too and you give him the satchel.
With this example in mind, can you say how we should recognize a prophet'?
A prophet is sent by Allah, and in order to identify himself he brings with him special signs from Allah, so that the people can trust him and accept his call.
If a prophet did not bring a special sign from Allah, how would the people recognize him as a prophet?
How would they know whether he was really a prophet sent by Allah, and not simply an impostor?
The special signs Allah gives to His prophets are the miracles. Without these miracles how would the people recognize the prophets? How would they realize that they have a special relationship with Allah, and that they are His servants and messengers? How would they trust them'? How would they know whether or not to accept their call?
Miracles are the special sings given by Allah to His prophets. A miracle is an action that people are unable to perform, and can only be performed by Allah and his special messengers.
When someone says: I am a prophet of Allah and I have a special connection with Allah," then if he shows miracles. the truth-loving people realize that he is telling the truth and is really Allah's messenger and prophet, and that he has a special connection with Allah and enjoys Allah's trust and confidence.
The truth-loving people trust him, believe his words, accept his call, obey him and say: "Since he has miracles he is a real prophet and must have special connection with Allah." Miracles in the Qur'an In Book Three, you learned about the miracles of the prophets. You learned how Musa (A.S) put his hand inside his pocket and how, when he brought it out, it shone just like a bright star. You also learned that Musa's (A.S) staff-by the authority of Allah-used to turn into a fierce snake. The same staff was used by the Prophet Musa (A.S), with the authority of Allah, to make path in the bed of the Nile River and the tribes of Israel were able to walk upon it and escape from Pharaoh.
Allah has described these and tens of other miracles in the Qur'an. The miracles of 'Isa (A.S) cured those who were born blind, and brought the dead to life.
With the Divine authority he made a bird with clay, breathed into it, and the bird came to life. He was also aware of hidden things. For example, he could tell the people what they had eaten and what they had hidden in their homes. And, when only a new-born baby, Isa (A.S) spoke to people from his cradle.
In the same way, by the command of Allah the tyrant Nimrud's fire that he had arranged to burn the Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) became cool, and Ibrahim (A.S) felt no discomfort.
The Prophet (PBUH) of Islam also had many miracles.
His greatest miracle is the Holy Qur'an. Later, you will learn more about all his miracles. Now, let us look at how miracles are shown.
With His limitless power and might, Allah does whatever He wishes. Other than Allah, who can make path in the river with a simple stick? Who except Allah can grant sight to those born blind? Who, except Allah, can give life to a clay model and give it feathers, eyes and flesh? Who-other than Allah-is aware of the unseen?
With the power invested in them by Allah, the true prophets perform such deeds so that the truth-loving people realize that the prophets are genuine.
Witnessing these miracles, the people realize that the prophets have a special relationship with Allah, are trusted and chosen by Him, and have brought the people Allah's message.
These deeds are called miracles. A miracle is an action that Allah and His messengers can show. When Allah sends a person as a prophet, He puts these special powers at the disposal of the prophet to be a kind of sign of the people, so that they can recognize him as a prophet.
Without such clear signs for the people, how would they be able to recognize the prophets? How would they know the genuine from the false? How would they he able to trust them and accept their leadership?