The Miracle of the Splitting of the Moon
Although Qurayshi polytheists witnessed several miracles confirming the cause of the Messenger of Allah (PEACE BE UPON HIM), they did not give up their obstinacy and denial; they did not accept him. They found an excuse for every miracle they saw; thus, they tried to deceive both themselves and the people by showing a miracle as a small and unimportant thing.
They sometimes wanted something that they regarded impossible from the Messenger of Allah so as to put him in a tight spot. They said, “If you are really a prophet appointed by Allah, do this and that, show this and that, etc.”
When they wanted those things, their aim was not to believe but to put the Messenger of Allah in a tight spot. However, Allah Almighty never allowed them to put His beloved messenger in a tight spot; He always helped and protected him.
Once, a group of polytheists among whom were Abu Jahl and Walid bin Mughira came to the Prophet and said, “If you truly are a prophet appointed by Allah, split the moon into two so that one half will appear over Mount Abu Qubays and the other half will be seen over Mount Quayqian.”
The Messenger of Allah asked, “Will you believe if I do it?
They said, “Yes, we will.”
It is the duty of a prophet to want to show a miracle to prove that he is right in his cause; the one that creates the miracle is Allah Almighty.
There was full moon that night; that is, it was the 14th night, when the moon looked the most beautiful.
The Messenger of Allah pointed at the moon, which moved based on the order and will of Allah, with his index finger.
This sign of the Prophet was enough; the moon was split into two, one half standing over Mount Abu Qubays and the other half over Mount Quayqian as the polytheists had wanted.
The Messenger of Allah said to the people there, “Bear witness! Bear witness!”
However, the polytheists did not give up their obstinacy and denial despite this clear miracle. What is more, they said, “This is one of the spells of Abu Kabsha’s son.” They preferred to interpret it in a wrong way, deceiving and consoling themselves. It was impossible for them to deny the incident that took place before their eyes. Therefore, they had to say, “Magic”.
It is reported from many Companions like Anas bin Malik, Hz. Ali, Huzayfa bin Yaman, Abdullah bin Mas’ud, Abdullah bin Abbas, Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah bin Amr bin As and Jubayr bin Mut’im (May Allah be pleased with all of them) that the miracle of the splitting of the moon occurred before the migration to Madinah upon the demands of the polytheists with the permission of Allah and it was shown by the prophet Muhammad (PEACE BE UPON HIM).
The polytheists said, “magic” for this clear miracle so as not to approve the Messenger of Allah; however, they said to one another,
“If Muhammad had cast a spell on us, his magic cannot have covered the whole earth. Let us ask the wayfarers who came from the surrounding areas and see whether they saw what we saw”
They asked the people who came from other places. They admitted that they had seen the same thing.
Despite all this, the polytheists whose spirits and hearts faded away and who dirtied their hearts with polytheism did not believe though they had promised to believe. They did not proceed to the source of the eternal bliss; besides, they said,
“The magic of Abu Talib’s orphan affected the sky too.”
Upon the denial of this bright miracle of the Prophet by the polytheists, Allah Almighty stated that it took place and that they insisted on being unbelievers and liars:
Allah Almighty indicates this miracle in the chapter of al-Qamar as follows:
“The Hour (of Judgment) is nigh, and the moon is cleft asunder. But if they see a Sign, they turn away, and say, “This is (but) transient magic.”
(When they saw the miracle of the moon splitting into two), they acted in accordance with their desires and said, ‘It is a lie!’ (They denied the Prophet.)
We want to answer some questions that may come to the mind about the splitting of the moon: “Did the miracle of the splitting of the moon occur? Why do the historical records not mention about the splitting of the moon? ” We will give answers that will scatter the clouds of doubts to those questions by benefitting from the book written by Badiuzzaman Said Nursi.
The miracle of the splitting of the moon is a miracle shown to some of the polytheists who heard the cause of the Messenger of Allah and denied in order to prove the authenticity of his cause to them with the permission of Allah; it happened instantaneously at night when people were heedless. Since there were obstacles hindering the sighting of it such as mist, clouds, and time-differences between different parts of the world, and since at that time science and civilization were not widespread, observation of the skies was very limited, and the event itself was exceptional, there was, therefore, nothing to necessitate that it should have been seen all over the world and been recorded in the general histories.
The extreme stubbornness of the unbelievers there at that time is well-known and is recorded in history. And yet, when the Quran announced this event to the whole world through saying: “And the moon is split”, not one of those unbelievers, who denied the Quran, spoke up to give the lie to this verse; that is, not one of them denied the event it was announcing.
If the event had not been considered a definite fact by the polytheists, they would have made the verse a pretext, denied it strenuously, and tried to attack and nullify the Prophet’s claim to prophethood. However, the biographies of the Prophet (PEACE BE UPON HIM) and histories mentioning the event relate nothing to suggest that the unbelievers denied it.
The miracle of the splitting of the moon is a miracle narrated in all books of the Islamic history and sirah; besides, it is a miracle mentioned in the first verses of the chapter of al-Qamar of the Quran. None of the stubborn polytheists who witnessed this miracle along with deniers of the Quran denied this but tried to reject it by calling it “Magic”. No information that this event did not exist in history is given. If this miracle had not occurred, polytheists who did not disregard using even a small incident against Islam for denigration would have certainly denied this event, which is narrated by history and the Quran. Their failure of denying shows that there is no doubt about the occurrence of this event.
Great scholars like Sa’d Taftazani states the following:
“The miracle of the splitting of the moon is a mutawatir event just like the water flowing down from his fingers, the dry wooden stud that the Prophet leaned against while reciting sermons in the mosque crying due to leaving the Prophet and the whole congregation hearing it. That is, it was reported by such a big congregation that it is impossible for them to agree to lie about something. We are sure that a comet called Halley was seen from the world and recorded by historians a thousand years ago because people transmitted that information through centuries; that is, it is mutawatir; we are sure that there is a country called Sri Lanka only by hearing its name though we have not seen it; similarly, the splitting of the moon is mutawatir.”
To deny such a definite unanimous agreement cannot be explained by logic; it means to accuse the Companions, whose greatest principle is honesty, of telling lies – God forbid.
It is unreasonable to foster baseless doubts about such an incident that is certain to have happened.
Besides, it is not something impossible. The splitting of the moon is possible like the breakup of a mountain due to a volcanic eruption.
It should not be forgotten that somebody who is away from something cannot see that thing as clearly as someone who is near. No matter how intelligent the man who is far away is, the view of the person who is near is valid when disagreements occur about the details of that thing. The people living in this age are far away compared to the people living in the Era of Bliss. The statements of those whose minds have come down to their eyes and who say they do not believe in what they do not see are of no value compared to the great group of the Companions who say they saw with their own eyes since they are 1400 years away. For, the people of this age are far away related to the incident of the splitting of the moon compared to that age. When there is a disagreement about such an issue, the statements of the Companions who were close to that incident are acceptable and they have the right to speak regarding the issue.
Miracles are shown to persuade people who do not believe in a prophet, not to make people believers by force. If they had forced unbelievers to believe, it would have been contrary to the mystery of testing because a test opens the doors to the mind. If it had been so clear as to remove their will from them, everybody would have had to believe.
If Allah had left the moon split apart for a couple of hours so as to show it to the whole world as the deniers wished, and it had been recorded in all the general histories of mankind, then it would have been like all other occurrences in the heavens and would not have been an evidence for Muhammad’s (PEACE BE UPON HIM) claim to prophethood. Or else, it would have been so self-evident a miracle that it would have annulled the reason’s power to choose, and compelled it to accept it; it would have had to assent to his prophethood. People with coal-like spirits like Abu Jahl would have remained on the same level as people with diamond-like spirits like Abu Bakr the Veracious, and the mystery of man’s accountability would have been lost. It was due to this mystery that, being both instantaneous and at nighttime, and at a time of sleep, and due to time differences, mist, and cloud and other factors concealing it, it was not shown to the whole world and did not pass into the histories.
The following thought can come to mind: “If such an incident had taken place, it would have been mentioned in the history of the nations like England, China, Japan and America; they do not mention it; therefore, it did not take place. We can answer this claim as follows:
This event took place instantaneously at night; therefore, it is normal that it was not seen in the other part of the world since it was daytime there. Various obstacles like fog and cloudy weather might have prevented it from being seen in some places. If such an event had seen by some individuals, they would not have believed their eyes and could not have made other people believe it; therefore, it is not recorded in history books.
To sum up, we can state the following:
Yes, as the Quran states, “The moon is cleft asunder. But if they see a Sign, they turn away, and say, ‘This is (but) transient magic.’”
Can the statement of the people who did not see this incident, who interpret the verse with their dim minds and deny sound narrations by saying “something like that did not take place” today for an incident that took place so many centuries ago be of any value since the Quran states it clearly, the Companions who saw it or who reported from those who saw it agree on it unanimously and hadith scholars say they are sound narrations.