Abu Zaid Abdurrahman bin Muhammad bin Khaldun Waliyuddin Hadhrami, known as Ibn Khaldun, was born in Tunis 1st Ramadhan 732 H/ 27 Mei 1332 M from an influential family who emigrated from Seville to Spain. His descendant came from Yaman who lived in Spain in the beginning of Muslim administration in 8th century, but after the fall of Seville they move to Tunisia.[1]

Ibn Khaldun received good education in sharia, logics, philosophy, Arabic grammar and poetry; all contributing to his capability of a statesman. No doubt if his role is vital in politics in North Africa and Spain, where he had an opportunity to write an analysis and valuation for what was happened. He worked for the ruler of Tunis, Fez, Granada and Biaja. Finally he worked in Egypt for 24 years in a high level position, namely as Rais Qadhi (chief judge) of Maliki school and as lecturer in Al-Azhar University. Political intrigue and jealousy for his position cause him expelled from high court position for five times.[2]

Ibn Khaldun is known as Father of Social Sciences.[3] In his famous book, Muqaddima, he writes on dynamics of civilization or umran, which is considered as foundation of Sociology. However, one can find foundation of other sciences in the book as well, such as economics [4] and alchemy. He is considered to complement foundations of alchemy that was written by Jabir ibn Hayyan through his dialogue with the famous alchemist Ibn Bishrun, student of Maslamah Al-Majriti, a greatest alchemist from Spain. [5]

His book Al-Ibar is unique source of historical analysis in his time, while other work, Tarikh al-Barbar, provides basic introduction in understanding Arab and Barbar tribes in Maroko, and history of medieval time.

Ibn Khaldun died in Cairo at 25th Ramadhan 808 AH/ 19th March 1406 AD.


Like other scientist in 14th century, who are usually generalist (in the sense that their expertise covers many disciplines), Ibn Khaldun wrote his work by explaining various foundations of science. His book Muqaddima is written to describe how a civilization (umran)begins, strengthens and finally falls. For that purpose he elaborates various constructing elements that finally become its foundation.

However, Ibn Khaldun represents a generation of scholars who wrote their books using positive-rational approach. This approach diverts from scholars tradition in previous century, and even centuries afterwards, which is usually embedded with legal-normative method in their writing. This uniqueness in approach seemed unpopular in his time since only few scholars who wrote book using this style, even after some centuries later. Positive-rational approach might have been extensively used in science books such as astronomy, medicine and alike but to apply such new approach in history and sociology was really a new invention.

In economics, Ibn Khaldun’s writing covers almost every foundation of modern economic thought, ranging from microeconomics to international trade. It is not a surprise when one finds almost one third of his Muqaddima consists of socio-economic concepts. He wrote the concepts in such a way that they are interconnected to one another, that one will not understand a concept without knowing basic ideas about others. Due to scope limitation, this paper will only discuss element of microeconomics (supply, demand and prices) in Ibn Khaldun writing.

1. Labor Theory of Value

According to Ibn Khaldun, labor is source of value. He explains in details about his theory of labor value and presents it for the first time in the history.[6 ]According to him,
“…everything in the world is purchased with labor.[7] What is purchased with money or other good is purchased by labor, inasmuch as gained by labor from our body. Money or commodities indeed save us. They contain certain quantity value of labor that we exchange for what it should be, when it contains the same quantity. The value of a commodity for those who own it, and those who do not use it for himself, but exchange it with other commodity, therefore, equal to labor quantity that enable him purchasing or, directing it. Labor, therefore is a real measure of exchangeable value of all commodities.[8]”
“Labor is necessary for revenues and capital accumulation. This is obvious in the case of manufacture (craft). Even if revenue generated from something other than manufacture, the value of generated profit (and capital) should cover labor value by which the commodity is obtained. Without labor, all other things will not be acquired.”

Khaldun divides all revenues into two categories: ribh (gross revenue) and kasb (life revenue). Ribh is secured when man works for himself and sells his product to others. In this context the value should contain cost of raw material and natural resources. Kasb is achieved when man works for himself. Therefore ribh means profit or gross revenue, depending on the context. In this instance, ribh means gross revenue because raw material cost and natural resources are included in selling price of an object.

Whether ribh or kasb, revenue is the value realized from man’s labor i.e. all that is obtained through human effort. According to Ibn Khaldun, although commodity value comprises of cost from raw material and natural resources, it is through labor that value become increasing and hence, wealth grows. Without man’s effort, the opposite will occur. Ibn Khaldun underlines the role of extra effort that later known as marginal productivity, in the welfare of a society. His theory on labor give the reason for the increase of cities, such as one indicated by his historical analysis, that becomes major element of civilization.

If we can interprete Ibn Khaldun’s idea on work, it is clear that labor is necessary and sufficient condition for revenue and natural resources is only necessary condition. Labor and effort tend to produce which in turn will be used against an exchange through barter, or through the use of money, namely gold and silver. The process hence generates revenue and profit that is acquired by man from a manufacture/commodity as value of his labor, after deducting cost of raw material. Ibn Khaldun also explains causes of different labor revenue.[10] They might be caused by different in skill, market size, location, expertise (craftsmanship) or work, and in how far the authority and governors purchase final products. When a certain kind of labor become more expensive, namely if the demand exceeds available supply, the revenue must increase.

High return in a manufacture will attract other players. This is a dynamic phenomenon that finally increase available supply, and bring to lower profit. This principle explains how original Ibn Khaldun idea was, in adjusting long term of the labor, and between certain profession and others.[11]

Ibn Khaldun precisely observes how income may differ in one place to another, even for similar profession. Income for judges, crafters even burglars, for instance, is directly related with welfare level and living standard in every city, achieved through labor result and crystallization of productive society. Adam Smith explains the difference in labor income by comparing between England and Bangladesh, similar to what Ibn Khaldun did four centuries before, when he compares income in Fez and Tlemcen.[12] It is Ibn Khaldun, not Adam Smith who presents, for the first time, labor contribution as wealth creation for a nation, by stating that labor increases productivity, and that product exchange in a large market is the prime reason of wealth (and prosperity) of a nation. On the contrary, decrease in productivity may lead to decrease in economy and income of its society. In his words, “a civilization generates large profit (income) due to large number of labor force that is the cause of profit.”[13]

A large market means consisting a high demand (D1) compared to small market. (D0) even in different price level. This also causes large investment, causing high supply (S1). Through cost and return function, a large market generate large income as well.
Source: Koutsoyiannis, Modern Microeconomics

It is Ibn Khaldun, who asserts on the need of free economy and free choice. Quoted from his Muqaddima,

Among suppressive action, and very perilous measure to the people is to compel someone to do forced work injustice. Because labor is a commodity, like the one we will show later, in income and profit, representing work value of its recipient… unfortunately most people do not have income source other than his own labor. Therefore, if they are forced to work for what they achieved through training, or compelled to do work in their own field, they will lose the result of their work, and pulled out of the greatest part of, even all, their income. [14]
To maximize revenue and utility level, man should be free to do what is led by their talent and ability. Through natural talent and learnt ability man can freely produce high quality objects, and often more work-unit per hour.

2. Demand, Supply, Price and Profit.

Other original contribution to economics of labor is that Ibn Khaldun introduces and analyses the relationship of some economic instrument analysis such as demand, supply, price and profit

a. Demand

Demand for a commodity is based on utility to gain it, and not always based on the need for it. Hence satisfaction is the motive behind the demand. It creates incentive for a customer to purchase in market. Ibn Khaldun therefore planted the firs seed of demand theory that later on developed by Thomas Robert Malthus, Alfred Marshall, John Hicks and others. If a commodity demanded attract more customer purchase, either price or quantity sold will increase. On the other hand, if the demand for manufacture (craft) decreases, the sale will goes down and therefore the price will decrease.

Demand for certain commodities depends also on how far they will be purchased by state. Sultan (king) and ruling elite buy more quantity than the people can buy individually. A manufacture develops when state purchase its products. By his analytical and genius thinking, Ibn Khaldun has found a concept that is known in modern economic literature as “derived demand”. He said: “Manufacture increases and goes up when demand for its products increases.” Demand for a manufacture worker is also derived from the demand for this product in the market.

b. Supply theory

As generally accepted, modern price theory states that cost is the backbone of supply theory. It is Ibn Khaldun who for the first time explores analytically the role of production cost in supply and price. In searching differences between food price produced in fertile land and the less fertile one, he finds the difference among others merely in production cost.
In coast and hill areas, where the land is not suitable for agriculture, the inhabitants are forced to uplift the area condition and its plantation. They undertook it by giving additional work and things that need cost. All of them increases cost in agriculture product, which they include them in determining its sale price. And since then Andalusia is known for the high price…Its position is in opposite with land of Berber. Their land is very rich and fertile so that they do not need to add any cost in agriculture; therefore in that country the food price become low. [15]

Besides personal and state demand, and production cost, Ibn Khaldun introduces other factors that influence the cost of commodity or service, namely (a) welfare and prosperity level of a region, (b) wealth concentration rate and tax level imposed to intermediaries and traders. Direct functional relationship between income and consumption provided by Ibn Khaldun opens the way for consumption function theory as the cornerstone of Keynesian economics.

c. Profit

Ibn Khaldun also gives original contribution about concept of “profit“. In economic literature, a theory stating profit as a reward for uncertainty risk in the future generally refers to Frank Knight, who published his idea in 1921. Undoubtedly it is Frank Knight who substantially forwards a profit theory in a well established form. However, it is Ibn Khaldun, not Knight, who put the cornerstone of this theory.

Business (commerce) means to buy commodities, store them and wait for a market fluctuation brings about an increase in price (of these commodities). This is called “ribh” (profit).[16]
In other context Ibn Khaldun states again the same thought:
The clever and experienced people in the city know that to hoard and wait for high price is not good, and its profit can reduce or lost through this hoarding.[17]
The concept of profit hence becomes a reward for facing a risk. In undertaking uncertainty in the future, one who bears the risk may lose instead profit. Similarly, profit or loss may occur as a result of speculation by profit seekers in the market.

To maximize profit, Ibn Khaldun introduces magical word of traders: “Buy low and sell high.” [18]

d. Price

If Ibn Khaldun’s magical word is applied in cost analysis, it will be clear that profit may increase, even for a price of final product, when someone reduces raw material and other input used in production. It can be done by the means of purchasing them with discount -or in general- at low price even from distant market, as indicated in his explanation about benefit of foreign trade. However, Ibn Khaldun concludes that both excessive low price and excessive high price will potentially destroy the market.

Therefore, it is advised to a country not to bring prices artificially low through subsidy or other method of intervention. Such a policy is economically perilous because low price commodities will disappear from market, and increase disincentive for suppliers to produce whenever their profit is directly affected.

Ibn Khaldun also concludes that excessive high price will not be appropriate with market expansion. When high-price commodities are few in the market, high price policy becomes counterproductive and damage goods flow in the market. Ibn Khaldun hence put the basis of thought that afterward lead to formulation of disequilibrium analysis. He also mentions some factors that influence the increase in general price level, such as increase in demand, supply limitation and increase in production cost that includes sale tax as one component of total cost.
After his analysis about what creates overall demand in a growing economy, Ibn Khaldun states the following:

Because demand for luxury goods finally becomes habits and then becomes necessity. In addition, all labor become expensive in the city, convenience becomes expensive because there exist many purpose that also become demand of luxury, and also because the government impose tax in the market and business transaction. This is reflected in sale price. Convenience tools, food and labor hence become expensive. As a result, expenditure increase drastically, proportionate to the culture (city). A big sum of money is spent. In this situation, people need big amount of money to acquire necessities for themselves and their family, and other need as well. [19]
And he therefore concludes: When goods are less, its price increases.

By reading carefully both quotations above, it is clear that Ibn Khaldun finds what is known now as cost-push inflation and demand pull inflation (see Box 4 for comparison). In fact, he is the first philosopher in the history who systematically identifies factors that influence both commodity price and general price level.

e. Role of Government in State’s Economy

What make Ibn Khaldun differs from his western successor, especially Classicalist writer is that Ibn Khaldun believes that government plays a critical role in the economy.
Government plays important role in growth and in country’s economy in general through the purchase of goods and services through fiscal policy, namely tax and expenditure. Government may also provide an incentive environment for work and prosperity, or the opposite, an oppressive system that finally become self-defeating. Although Ibn Khaldun considers government as inefficient (too many calculation is done by those what is called today as cost and benefit) they still play important role in country’s economy through purchase in big scale. Government expenditure stimulates economy using income that increases through multiplier effect. However if Sultan (king, government) accumulates income from tax, business becomes slow and country’s economic activities will be affected significantly through multiplier effect.[20] In addition, welfare program to reduce poverty, help widows, orphans and blinds should be launched (if not become heavy burden to state treasury). Government should spend its tax income wisely to raise their condition in order to maintain their rights and save them from danger.[21]

f. Macroeconomy and Theory on Money

In macroeconomics, Ibn Khaldun also gives contribution in theory of money. According to him, money is not the real form of wealth, but an instrument where the wealth may be obtained. He is the first writer who present prime function of money as measure of value, store of value and numerairie.
Mines, gold and silver as (measure of) value for capital formation…considered as wealth and property. Even in a certain situation, everything is obtained, the final purpose only to acquire them. Everything depends on the fluctuation from which (gold and silver) are exempted. They are basis for profit, property and wealth.[22]
The real form of wealth is not money. The wealth is created or transformed through labor in the form of capital formation in the real measure. Hence it is Ibn Khaldun who the first time differentiate between money and real wealth; although he realizes that the later is obtained by the former. However, money plays more efficient role than barter in business transaction in a society, where man exchanges to each other the result of his labor, both in the form of goods and services, to fulfill the need that cannot be fulfilled individually. Money can also facilitate goods flowing from one market to other, even across the country’s border.


Criticism to Ibn Khaldun comes from modern Islamic economic thinker, among other, Masudul Alam Choudury.[23] In analyzing political economic thought in Islamic perspective in classical Islamic literature, Choudhury compares Ibn Khaldun, AlGhazali, Ibn Taimiyya and Shah Waliyullah Dahlawi. According to him, Ibn Khaldun

….. had equally failed to present a Quranic philosophy of history to show the rise and decline of civilizations owes to the primal condition of the believers’ commitment or otherwise to the observance of Shari’a and Sunna Allah in the midst of society and self. These were the undertakings of Al-Ghazzali and Ibn Taimiyya. Hence, no philosophy of history could be afforded by Ibn Khaldun. He thus remained to be merely an empiricist without the greater depth of epistemological-analytical vision that sways permanence of historical explanation. In the Western world, we find this attempt being made for Occidentalism by Hegel. In the Islamic world, a better and deeper study of the philosophy of history was given by Shah Waliullah.

According to Choudhury, only empirical theory of political economy, not Islamic political economic theory, that can be derived from Ibn Khaldun’s book, Muqaddima. Hence for those who believe in the reductionist philosophy of rationalism as the controller of destinies, and for those who treat the Divine Reality as outside the determining life of history as an endogenous force, will continue to take stock of Ibn Khaldun’s work. Thus has Ibn Khaldun become popular in the West today, but not so Shah Waliullah, Imam Ghazzali and Ibn Taimiyya. That is because, Ibn Khaldun championed his Greek leanage along with the Hellenic philosophers like, Ibn Sina, Ibn Rushd, Razi and others. That was the fashion of intellectual of the time when Ibn Khaldun wrote and it was the very kind of inquiry that gained the privileges with the elites and rulers of the time.[24]

Choudhury himself concedes that,
It is true that Ibn Khaldun thought of the pure economic functions of urban life — division of labour, economic development and public finance — long before Adam Smith and Keynes. He also argues that the transition from the state of dynasty to the state of towns and cities is a costly one, but he also promotes the importance of government functions. From Ibn Taimiyya to Ibn Khaldun, the importance of government in the economy has increased albeit not without cost.
However, Choudhury does not agree with development transformation of society with excessive role of government. Consequently, the capitalistic and elitist tend will arise in the society who lost their freedom to the state.

Ibn Khaldun’s taxes for the state have become increasingly onerous. In the above paragraphs, he is in a way defending the taxing powers of the state in spite of the costs that he recognizes in this state function. Thus, what can be concluded from these is the seemingly costly processes involved in the recommended transitions from basic needs regimes of development to industrial states of development with great degree of government presence in this transformation.[25]
It has taken off the human freedom to participate in development and has individuals have lost it to the overweening states. If Ibn Khaldun’s ideas are taken first, as a prescription of development, it is a socially and economically costly way to develop in the face of capitalistic and elitist claim over the resources of development, ownership and empowerment of elitism. kings and rulers. This sorrowfully has happened in the Arab world contrary to the Islamic precepts of governance.[26]

Finally, Choudhury sees that the idea of development model by Ibn Khaldun leads to disequilibrium, and contrary to Islamic methodology on development of socio-economy, political economy and history.

….if Ibn Khaldun’s ideas are taken as dynamics of the historical process of change, there is no relevance in all of these of the Islamic view to development, wealth and progress, growth and industrial advance while keeping the moral precepts in tact as was delineated by Ibn Taimiyya and Imam Ghazzali. Likewise, while the great Shari’a scholars described their politico-economic universe in the midst of equilibrium, Ibn Khaldun described it in terms of a disequilibrium dynamics. Economic development as an evolutionary process leading to the destruction of dynasties and the rise of cities and nation states as costly entities, means that this inevitable development must be increasingly costly in Ibn Khaldun’s framework of political economy. Taken in this perspective, Ibn Khaldun’s prescription and message of history are both contrary to the essentially Islamic methodology of socioeconomic development, political economy and historicism.[27]
From this criticism it appears that Choudhury tries to understand Ibn Khaldun as an intellectual who is separated from spirit of Islamic epistemology, something that actually may become perilous. This can be understood if the ideas in Ibn Khaldun’s work are not viewed in a unified concept. It is undenied that a large part of Ibn Khaldun’s writing in Muqaddima contains empirical explanation on contemporary phenomena that goes on around him in his age. It is because Ibn Khaldun’s career path walked in the midst of political situations, which contain dynamic intrigues and interests of different rulers. However, to place Ibn Khaldun as an intellectual who does not have any methodology that leads to Islamic epistemology is clearly a misconception. Furthermore, it should be noted that Choudhury‘s criticism is merely based on Muqaddima (translated by Franz Rosenthal), a book written by Ibn Khaldun as introduction to a planned bigger book called Kitab al-Ibar.

A small part of the book has been written and never been completed aftermath, because of his death. Choudhury seems ignore some details that may cause his criticism unnecessary. When discussing political decision-making, for instance, Ibn Khaldun clearly refers to Wilaya al-‘Ahd that is practiced during Prophet Muhammad’s companions era (Part III, Chapter 30); and the role of government head in religious matter (Chapter 31); also his dislike toward the replacement caliph institution to kingdom (Chapter 28) or his appreciation to the letter of Tahir bin Husein (Chapter 51) –a senior minister in Abbasid era who is also a literalist, philosopher and brave man- to his son on a method to manage a government so as to be the way toward the pleasure of Allah. Ibn Khaldun’s fond of this letter made him quotes fully in his Muqaddima.

Similar misconception is found in Ibn Khaldun’s socio-economic analysis. Choudhury is trapped with Western intellectual analysis that confines Ibn Khaldun on empiricism without examining details given him to lead them to Islamic perspective. In discussing monopoly (Ihtikar, Part IV, Chapter 13) for instance, can be seen how Ibn Khaldun explain it according to sharia and from psychological perspective, or his criticism against the ruler who applies pricing regulation policy, quoting Quranic verse 58 of Sura Azzariyat (Part IV, chapter 15). With this verse, Ibn Khaldun seems suggesting to the ruler that price regulation will have negative effect for development of their society and that the policy is against Islamic aqida (ideology, theology). Beside that, like other Islamic scholars and intellectuals in term of ethics (akhlaq) Ibn Khaldun always ends his writing by reminding the reader that there is He Who knows more than everyone in this world.

It is then can be concluded that Choudhury has a fractional view on Ibn Khaldun, namely form merely empirical approach. He may not realized that what Ibn Khaldun has done is to explain scientifically what is already laid by the Almighty in the dynamics of human civilization, from the perspective of power, socio-economy and knowledge. Furthermore, Ibn Khaldun wants to teach his Muslim brother an important lesson that to achieve a success in the world (and the hereafter) a nation cannot ignore Sunnatullah through empirical description. If a nation deviates from it, then the disaster will be the logical consequence.

Wallahu A’lam
Allah knows the best

Miracles of Aulia Allah Evident From Quran & Ahadith

Table of Contents

1      Definition & Classification of Miracles. 

2      Evidence from Quran. 

2.1     Bibi Maryam (ra) Mother of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him)

2.2     Bibi Maryam (ra) and The Dead Palm Tree.

2.3     People of Cave (Ashab-e-Kahf)

2.4     The sun changed its orbit for the People of Cave (Ashab-e-Kahf)

2.5     Dead fish became alive at place of Khidr (alihis salam)

2.6     Kashf & Miracles of Khidr:

2.7     Asif bin Barkhiya(ra) brought throne of Bilqis (ra) in blink of the eye.

3      Evidence from Hadith. 

3.1     Hadith Qudsi: Allah says “he becomes hands and legs” of His Pious worshiper.

3.2     Hadith-e-Nabwi regarding power of Aulia:

3.3     Beware of the gaze of a momin for he sees with the Noor of Allah.

3.4     Blessed presence of Khidr (AS) used to turn a barren land into greenery.

4      Demonstration of few acts of Sahaba. 

4.1     Karamat/Kashf of Abu Bakar (ra) (1st Caliph)

4.2     Karamat & Kashf of Hazrath Umar (ra) (2nd Caliph)

4.3     Karamat of Hazrath Utman (ra) (3rd Caliph)

4.4     Karamat/Kashf of Hazrath Ali (ra) (4th Caliph)

4.5     Kashf of Bibi Fatima (ra)

4.6     Karamat/Kashf of Imam Hussan ra.

4.7     Karamat of Imam Hussain (ra)

4.8     The Pious prisoner and bunch of grapes:

4.9     The Light of Usayd Ibn Hudhayr and Abbad ibn Bishr (radhiAllahu anhuma)

4.10   Sayyiduna Safina and Tiger in woods

4.11   Three men and the cave.

4.12   Abu Ubaida and the dead Fish Al-Anbar

4.13   Reciting Quran in Grave

4.14   Sending 1000 dinars placed in wood across the sea.

4.15   Miracle of Juraij and child speaking from Cradle

4.16   Miracle of an infant child his kashf and speaking to his mother whilst he is at age of suckling milk

5      From Book of Pious Scholars


6      From book of Salafi scholar Ibn Taymiyya.


7      Bibliography:


1     Definition & Classification of Miracles

A miracle is a phenomenon not explained by known laws of nature, or an act by some super natural entity which is beyond the capability of common men and of his understanding. Quran states about the miraculous pious man Sayyiduna Khidr that, when Musa (peace be upon him) asked Sayyiduna Khidr (AS) to permit him to stay with him for some time, Khidr (AS) said “you can never stay with me and how you will keep patience over that which your knowledge encompasses not” [Surah Kahf 18:66-68]

To say in simple words a miracle is an extraordinary act which a mind cannot comprehend or give logical explanations for.

Miracles are agreed upon amongst the pious predecessors and the authentic scholars who came after them. The existence of miracles is also proven by the Qur’an and the Hadith. The existence of miracles of prophet, awliya and the pious is an established fact. Numerous miracles have been mentioned in the Qur’an and also in the life histories of the Sahaaba, such as sustenance given to bibi Maryam (ra), Ashab-e-kahf (ra), Asif bin Barkhiya and so on which will be discussed in forth coming sections, denying them would be similar to denying the existence of the sun.

It must be understood that all the miracles, whether it be from prophets or from Aulia, is indeed the bestowed power and is by acceptance of Allah, who can bestow powers to whomsoever he pleases. To deny the existence of miracles is to deny Quran & Hadith and leads to astray.

The Criteria of classifying the extra ordinary events as a miracle varies depending on Emaan and status of the demonstrator of the act. Allamah Maulana Mufti Muhammad Amjad Ali Azami has states the classification as follows :-

1:  Irhas – Irhas is manifestation/demonstraction of such thing by a Prophet before [the declaration of] his Prophethood.

2: Mujizah             – is manifested after the declaration of Prophethood, Mujizah (miracle).

3: Karamah           – If a similar wonder is manifested by a Wali, then it is called Karamat.

4: Maunat              – If exhibited by a Mumin (true believer).

5: Istidraj                – If such a supernatural manifestation is exhibited by some Kafir (unbeliever) or a transgressor, then it is termed as Istidraj.

(Bahar-e-Shariat, vol. 1, pp. 56-58, publication of Maktaba-tul-Madinah, Pakistan)

In this article we explore Karamah of Sahaba & Aulia i.e the miracles performed by Aulia Allah

2     Evidence from Quran

2.1  Bibi Maryam (ra) Mother of Prophet Isa (peace be upon him)

Whenever Zakariyya entered the place where Maryam prayed, he would find unseasonal fruits there [i.e., the summer fruits during the winter and vice versa]. He asked her how she got it. She replied that this was Allah’s endowment. Allah gives whomever He willed whatever quantity He willed. [Al Imran 3:37]  

This verse of the Holy Quran explicitly establishes the miracles of the Saints.  Hadhrat Maryam (May peace be upon her) was not a Prophet, but a saint.

Unseasonal fruits and food/sustenance being present without any visible worldly means is the miracle of Hadhrat Maryam (ra)

2.2  Bibi Maryam (ra) and The Dead Palm Tree

When the time for the birth of Hadhrat ‘Isa (May peace be upon him) drew close, his mother Hadhrat Maryam (May peace be upon her) approached a dry date palm with no dates on it.  Allah Most High said:

And shake the trunk of the palm-tree toward thee, thou wilt cause ripe dates to fall upon thee. [Surah Maryam 19:25]

It is mentioned in the verse that the moment Hadhrat Maryam (May peace be upon her) touched the trunk of the date palm, it started shedding fresh dates in her lap.  For a dead tree to become green again, it takes time.  A tree does not become fruit bearing in a few moments or a few hours.  It cannot become green and cover itself with foliage and flowers.

A dead tree become green and fruit-bearing in just a moment is surely a bestowed miracle of Allah Most High to his pious worshipper Bibi Maryam.

2.3  People of Cave (Ashab-e-Kahf)

Allah says in the Holy Quran: “And (the people of the Cave [Kahf]) stayed in their cave for three hundred years and they added another (nine) years (to that).”  [Surah Kahf 18:25]

Here the incident of the people of cave (Ashab-e-Kahf) is being mentioned.  These were those pious servants of Allah Most High who were asleep for 309 years.  During this entire period, their bodies did not change at all.  This whole period, they neither ate nor drank anything.

This is the miracle through the power of Allah Most High that the People of the Cave spent a period as long as 309 years without eating/drinking.  Their bodies were not affected at all and even the dog, which remained at their doorstep, was safe.

2.4  The sun changed its orbit for the People of Cave (Ashab-e-Kahf)

And you see that the sun, when it rises, moves to the right from their cave and inclines obliquely from them to the left when it sets while they are (lying) in the open chamber of the cave. This (change of the sun’s course) is one of the (great) Signs of Allah’s (Might). He whom Allah guides is the one who is rightly guided, but one whom He holds strayed you will not find for him any Wali (friend to help) and Murshid (guide to show the path).  [ Surah Kahf 18:17 ]

This is a reality that the sun moves in its own orbit.  It neither delays nor makes haste anywhere in its path.  It does not swerve a hairbreadth’s worth of distance from its path.  This is the system of nature.  In spite of all this, Allah Most High granted the People of the Cave such excellence that for the whole time they spent in the cave, the sun swerved from its path.  When it would rise on the earth, it would move to its right and while setting, it would move to the left, so that the rays of the sun don’t fall on them.

This is a sign of the power of Allah Most High and a miracle of the People of the Cave.

Imam Razi writes in the Tafseer of this verse: “The rising and setting of the sun in this way is against what usually happens and is a great miracle, which Allah Most High has granted to the People of the cave”.  (Tafseer Kabeer, Surah Kahf, 17)

2.5  Dead fish became alive at place of Khidr (alihis salam)

Quran states that at the place where the Khidr (AS) was living, the cooked fish brought by Moses (peace be upon him) came alive and went into the water.

“Then when they both reached the meeting place of two seas they forgot their fish, and it found its way in the sea making an underground passage. Then when they had passed over from there, Musa told his servant, bring my breakfast, we have no doubt faced great hardship in this Journey. He said, please see, when we took rest near that rock, then undoubtedly I forgot the fish, and the Satan (devil) made me forget so that I may mention it and it took its way in the sea, in a strange way. [Surah Kahaf18:61-63]

2.6  Kashf & Miracles of Khidr:

When Sayyiduna Musa requested Khizr (peace be upon them) to permit him to be with him, he accepted with condition not to ask anything until explained, Quran states the whole narration of his knowledge of unseen and miracles in Surah Kahf

He (Khidr) said, ‘If you remain with me, then ask, not anything, unless I myself mention it. Now both of them set out, until when they embarked in a boat, he cleaved it. Musa told, ‘have you cleaved it in order to drown its passengers, undoubtedly you have done a wrong thing.’ He said? ‘Did I not tell you, that you would not be able to stay with me.’ Musa said, ‘catch me not for what I forgot and put not difficulty in my affair on me. Again, both of them set out, until when they met a boy he killed him, Musa said. ‘Have you killed an innocent soul without his having killed another? Undoubtedly you have done a hideous thing’. He said, ‘Had I not told you, that you could never keep company with me’? Musa said, ‘If I ask anything to you after this, then keep not company with me; undoubtedly, your excuse is already fulfilled from my side’. Again both went on till they came to the people of a village, they asked the villagers for food, but they refused to entertain them, then the two found a wall about to fall, he set it up right. Musa said, ‘if you had wished, you could have taken a wage for it’. He said, ‘this is the separation between me and you’; now I shall tell you the explanation of those things over which you could not have patience. As for the boat, it belonged to certain poor people who were working in the sea, then I intended to make it faulty and behind them, there was a king who used to seize every perfect boat forcibly. And as for the boy, his parents were Muslims, then we feared that he might involve them in contumacy and infidelity. Then we intended their Lord might give them one better than he in purity and nearer in affection. As for that wall, it belonged to the two orphan lads of the city and underneath it was their treasure and their father was a noble man; then your Lord desired that those two should reach their maturity and bring forth their treasure as a mercy from your Lord, and this I did, not of my own biding. This is the significance of those things on which you could not have patience [Surah Kahf 18:70 to 82]

The whole story of Moses and Al-Khidr is also told in a hadith and the best commentary of verses & event in words of our beloved Prophet himself:

Narrated Ibn Juraij: Ya’la bin Muslim and ‘Amr bin Dinar and some others narrated the narration of Said bin Jubair. Narrated Said: While we were at the house of Ibn ‘Abbas, Ibn ‘Abbas said, “Ask me (any question)” I said, “O Abu Abbas! May Allah let me be sacrificed for you ! There is a man at Kufa who is a story-teller called Nauf; who claims that he (Al-Khadir’s companion) is not Moses of Bani Israel.” As for ‘Amr, he said to me, “Ibn ‘Abbas said, “(Nauf) the enemy of Allah told a lie.” But Ya’la said to me, “Ibn ‘Abbas said, Ubai bin Ka’b said, Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Once Moses, Allah’s Apostle, preached to the people till their eyes shed tears and their hearts became tender, whereupon he finished his sermon. Then a man came to Moses and asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle! Is there anyone on the earth who is more learned than you?’ Moses replied, ‘No.’ So Allah admonished him (Moses), for he did not ascribe all knowledge to Allah. It was said, (on behalf of Allah), ‘Yes, (there is a slave of ours who knows more than you ).’ Moses said, ‘O my Lord! Where is he?’ Allah said, ‘At the junction of the two seas.’ Moses said, ‘O my Lord ! Tell I me of a sign whereby I will recognize the place.’ ” ‘Amr said to me, Allah said, “That place will be where the fish will leave you.” Ya’la said to me, “Allah said (to Moses), ‘Take a dead fish (and your goal will be) the place where it will become alive.’ ” So Moses took a fish and put it in a basket and said to his boy-servant “I don’t want to trouble you, except that you should inform me as soon as this fish leaves you.” He said (to Moses).” You have not demanded too much.” And that is as mentioned by Allah: ‘And (remember) when Moses said to his attendant …. ‘ (18.60) Yusha’ bin Nun. (Said did not state that). The Prophet said, “While the attendant was in the shade of the rock at a wet place, the fish slipped out (alive) while Moses was sleeping. His attend an said (to himself), “I will not wake him, but when he woke up, he forgot to tell him The fish slipped out and entered the sea. Allah stopped the flow of the sea. where the fish was, so that its trace looked as if it was made on a rock. ‘Amr forming a hole with his two thumbs an index fingers, said to me, “Like this, as in its trace was made on a rock.” Moses said “We have suffered much fatigue on this journey of ours.” (This was not narrate by Said). Then they returned back and found Al-Khadir. ‘Uthman bin Abi Sulaiman said to me, (they found him) on a green carpet in the middle of the sea. Al-Khadir was covered with his garment with one end under his feet and the other end under his head. When Moses greeted, he uncovered his face and said astonishingly, ‘Is there such a greeting in my land? Who are you?’ Moses said, ‘I am Moses.’ Al-Khadir said, ‘Are you the Moses of Bani Israel?’ Moses said, ‘Yes.’ Al-Khadir said, “What do you want?’ Moses said, ‘ I came to you so that you may teach me of the truth which you were taught.’ Al-Khadir said, ‘Is it not sufficient for you that the Torah is in your hands and the Divine Inspiration comes to you, O Moses? Verily, I have knowledge that you ought not learn, and you have a knowledge which I ought not learn.’ At that time a bird took with its beak (some water) from the sea: Al-Khadir then said, ‘By Allah, my knowledge and your knowledge besides Allah’s Knowledge is like what this bird has taken with its beak from the sea.’ Until, when they went on board the boat (18.71).

They found a small boat which used to carry the people from this sea-side to the other sea-side. The crew recognized Al-Khadir and said, ‘The pious slave of Allah.’ (We said to Said “Was that Khadir?” He said, “Yes.”) The boat men said, ‘We will not get him on board with fare.’ Al-Khadir scuttled the boat and then plugged the hole with a piece o wood. Moses said, ‘Have you scuttle it in order to drown these people surely, you have done a dreadful thing. (18.71) (Mujahid said. “Moses said so protestingly.”) Al-Khadir said, didn’t I say that you can have no patience with me?’ (18.72) The first inquiry of Moses was done because of forget fullness (**or not recalling as forgetfulness does not suit in respect for prophet), the second caused him to be bound with a stipulation, and the third was done he intentionally. Moses said, ‘Call me not to account for what I forgot and be not hard upon me for my affair (with you).’ (18.73)

(Then) they found a boy and Al-Khadir killed him. Ya’la- said: Said said ‘They found boys playing and Al-Khadir got hold of a handsome infidel boy laid him down and then slew him with knife. Moses said, ‘Have you killed a innocent soul who has killed nobody’ (18.74)

Then they proceeded and found a wall which was on the point of falling down, and Al-Khadir set it up straight Said moved his hand thus and said ‘Al-Khadir raised his hand and the wall became straight. Ya’la said, ‘I think Said said, ‘Al-Khadir touched the wall with his hand and it became straight (Moses said to Al-Khadir), ‘If you had wished, you could have taken wages for it. Said said, ‘Wages that we might had eaten.’

And there was a king in furor (ahead) of them” (18.79) And there was in front of them. Ibn ‘Abbas recited: ‘In front of them (was) a king.’ It is said on the authority of somebody other than Said that the king was Hudad bin Budad. They say that the boy was called Haisur. ‘A king who seized every ship by force. (18.79) So I wished that if that boat passed by him, he would leave it because of its defect and when they have passed they would repair it and get benefit from it. Some people said that they closed that hole with a bottle, and some said with tar.

‘His parents were believers, and he (the boy) was a non-believer and we(Khadir) feared lest he would oppress them by obstinate rebellion and disbelief.’ (18.80) (i.e. that their love for him would urge them to follow him in his religion, ‘so we (Khadir) desired that their Lord should change him for them for one better in righteousness and near to mercy’ (18:81). This was in reply to Moses’ saying: Have you killed an innocent soul.’? (18.74). ‘Near to mercy” means they will be more merciful to him than they were to the former whom Khadir had killed. Other than Sa’id, said that they were compensated with a girl. Dawud bin Abi ‘Asim said on the authority of more than one that this next child was a girl.  [Sahi Bukhari Book Prophetic Commentary on the Quran 60, Hadith 250]

All these incidents from Quran & commentary of prophet, prove the following miraculous powers of Sayyiduna Hadrath Khidr alaihis salam.

–          The dead fish became alive.

–          Knowing about beliefs of boy, his parents and the future that he will a rebellion and force his parents to disbelief in Allah.

–          Knowing that the parents will be compensated by a girl child.

–          Knowing about future seizure of boats and hence saving ship of the poor man.

–          Making the falling wall straight by a simple touch or gesture of hand.

–          Bestowed knowledge to Khidr as par from Musa as.

–          He was on green carpet on middle of the sea.

2.7  Asif bin Barkhiya(ra) brought throne of Bilqis (ra) in blink of the eye

Asif Bin Barkhiya, A wali [friend of Allah] and a member of court of Hazrath Suleiman(AS) brought the Throne of Hazrath Bilqis (ra) from thousands of miles away in no time.

“He said: I would bring the throne of Bilqis to you before the blink of your eye. And when [Solomon] saw it placed before him, he (Solomon)said,” This is from the favor of my Lord…” [Sura Naml 27:40].

The throne was known to be of gold and was bejeweled with various precious stones.  It was installed in the innermost palace of all 7 chambers with doors were locked and heavily guarded.  It is beyond comprehension that how Hadhrat Asif bin Barkhiyya carried such a heavy and securely kept thing from Yemen to Syria within the blink of an eye.

3     Evidence from Hadith.


3.1  Hadith Qudsi: Allah says “he becomes hands and legs” of His Pious worshiper.

Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “Allah said, ‘I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved things with which My slave comes nearer to Me, is what I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (praying or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him, so I become his sense of hearing with which he hears, and his sense of sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he grips, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks Me, I will give him, and if he asks My protection (Refuge), I will protect him; (i.e. give him My Refuge) and I do not hesitate to do anything as I hesitate to take the soul of the believer, for he hates death, and I hate to disappoint him. [Sahih Bukhari, Book 76 To make the Heart Tender (Ar-Riqaq), Number509]

Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la) does not take Human form [The Quran states “Allah is like no one”42:11] and it is obvious that this Hadith does not literally mean that Allah becomes His Worshiper’s hands and legs. This expression shows the specials powers Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’la) has bestowed to his Pious worshipers. Their seeing is not like ours. Their hearing is not like how we hear. They see what we cannot see and they hear what we cannot hear. They can do what we can do.

3.2  Hadith-e-Nabwi regarding power of Aulia:

Hazratha ‘Ā’ishah RA relates that the Holy Prophet (صلى اللهعليه وآله وسلم) used to mention in the context of patients: In the name of Allah, with the help of the soil of our land and the saliva from the MOUTH OF SOME OF US, our patient shall recover by the will of our God.

References: [Bukhārī transmitted it in his as-Sahīh, book of tibb (medicine) ch.37 (5:2168#5413) –  Muslim, as-Sahīh, b. of salām (peace) ch.21 (4:1724#2194) – Ahmad bin Hambal, Musnad (6:93) – Hākim, al-Mustadrak (4:412) – Baghawī in Sharh-us-sunnah (5:224-5#1414)]

3.3  Beware of the gaze of a momin for he sees with the Noor of Allah.

The exalted status of the saints’ firasa is mentioned in the hadith whereby the Prophet said: ittaqu firasat al-mu’min fa innahu yara bi nurillah “Beware the vision of the believer, for he sees with the light of Allah,” then he recited the verse: “Therein lie portents for those who read the signs” (al-mutawassimin) (15:75) [Tirmidhi (gharib) from Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, and Tabarani from Abu Imama with a fair (hasan) chain according to al-Haythami in the chapter on firasa of Majma` al-zawa’id],  al-Sakhawi in al-Maqasid al-hasana (#23) mentions another authentic hadith whereby the Prophet said: “Allah has servants who know (the truth about people) through reading the signs” (tawassum) Related from Anas with a fair chain by al-Bazzar, Tabarani, Abu Nu`aym in al-Tibb al-nabawi, and from Ibn Sa`id by Bukhari in his Tarikh, al-`Askari in al-Amthal, Ibn Jarir al-Tabari in his Tafsir for 15:75, Ibn Abi Hatim, and Ibn Mardawayh) – (8)

Abi Amama (ra) narrates that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said: Beware of Momin’s Firasah because he sees with the Nur of Allah – Imam al-Haythami said: This is narrated byTabarani and the chain is “HASAN (FAIR)” [Majma az-Zawad (10/473, Hadith #17940)

3.4  Blessed presence of Khidr (AS) used to turn a barren land into greenery.

Narrated Abu Huraira: The prophet said, “Al-Khidr was named so because he sat over a barren white land, it turned green with plantation after (his sitting over it.”  (Sahih Bukhari, Book of prophets 55, Hadith 614)

4     Demonstration of few acts of Sahaba

4.1  Karamat/Kashf of Abu Bakar (ra) (1st Caliph)

a. ‘A’ishah(ra) narrated: “When he ( Abu bakr (ra) ) was on his deathbed, my father(Abu bakr) said to me: “Verily, you have two brothers and two sisters.” So, I became startled at this, as I only had two brothers and one sister. He referred to his then-pregnant wife, Bint Kharijah, saying: “I see that she is pregnant with a girl,” and that turned out to be exactly the case.”          [Reported by Muwatta imam malik Book of Judiciary ,Hadith no 1438, baihaqi in Sunan al Kubra 6/169 hadith no 12267 and 12268, Imam Aqalani in Isabah 7/575 Hadith no 11023 ,Imam Nawawi in tahzeeb ul asma 2/574, Hadith no 1030, Ash-Shatibi in ‘al-Muwafaqat’ (4/85), and Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned it in ‘Majmu’ al-Fatawa’ (11/318)]

b. Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (May Allah be well pleased with him) had willed that after his passing away, his body should be placed before the grave of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and a request should be made:  O Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)!  Abu Bakr requests to enter your presence.  If the blessed doors open by themselves, then bury me by the side of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), otherwise bury me in Jannatul Baq’ee.

Thus, as Imam Razi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) relates: The bier of Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq (May Allah be well pleased with him) was placed before the sacred shrine of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) and the request was made:  Assalaamulaikum O Prophet of Allah (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)!  Abu Bakr is here.  Lo and behold!  The doors opened by themselves.  A voice was heard from the shrine:  Bring the beloved to the Beloved!  Verily!  The Beloved desires to meet with His beloved.  (Tafseer Kabeer, Surah Al Kahf-09)

c. Once an Abyssinian (Negro) slave, who had great esteem for Sayyidunā ‘Alī, committed the crime of theft. The people took him to the court of Amīr-ul-Mūminīn, Sayyidunā ‘Alī. The slave also confessed that he had committed theft. Sayyidunā ‘Alī cut his hand implementing the law of Sharī’aĥ. When the slave was on his way to home, he came across Sayyidunā Salmān Fārsī and Ibn-ul-Kawwā Ibn-ul-Kawwā inquired, ‘Who has cut your hand?’ The slave said, ‘Amīr-ul-Mūminīn Maulā ‘Alī has severed my hand.’ Ibn-ul-Kawwā said amazingly, ‘He has cut your hand and you are still taking his name with such an honour!’ The slave replied, ‘Why shouldn’t I admire him? He cut my hand lawfully and saved me from the torment of hellfire.’ Sayyidunā Salmān Fārsī listened what they conversed and related same to Sayyidunā ‘Alī who summoned the slave and placed his severed hand back to the joint of the wrist covering it with a handkerchief. Then Sayyidunā ‘Alī started reciting something. Meanwhile, a voice was heard from the unseen, ‘Remove the cloth.’ When the people removed the cloth, the severed hand of the slave was found reattached with his wrist leaving no scars behind! (Tafsīr Kabīr, vol. 7, pp. 434)

d. There is detailed narration from Abdur rahman bin Abu Bakr (ra) in sahi bukhari, where once Abu Bakr (ra) invited companions for a feast, he and the companions had the meal – at every morsal of food they took there was increase in quantity of food. Abu Bakr addressed his wife (saying) ‘O the sister of Bani Firas! What is this?’ She said, ‘O the pleasure of my eyes! The food is now three times more than it was before. Hence, all the companions to their fill and then took of it to the Prophet, which prophet also ate. [Gist- Sahi Bukhari, Book “Time of Prayers” 10, Hadith 576]

4.2  Karamat & Kashf of Hazrath Umar (ra) (2nd Caliph)

e. When Umar Ibn Khattab(ra) sent out an army, he appointed a man named Sariyah as their leader. Then while Umar (ra) was delivering the Khutbah he started shouting, “O Sariyah, the mountain! O Sariyah, the mountain, the mountain!’ Then a messenger from the army came and he [Hazrat Umar (ra)] questioned him [concerning the army], he said,’O Leader of the Believers! We met with the enemy and they had [almost] defeated us, then a voice proclaimed, ‘O Sariyah, the mountain!’ So we put ourbacks against the mountain and Allah vanquished them.’ 

[Baihaqi dalail un naubuwwah 6:370. Ahmed bin Hambal in fadail e Sahaba1:219:300 ., Ibn Taymiyya, The Decisive Criterion between the Friends of Allah and the Friends of Shaitain page 316] 

f. Hazrath Abdullah bin Umar (ra) narrates  “I never heard Umar (ra) saying about something that he thought it would be so-and-so, but he was quite right” (Whenever Hazrath Umar (ra) said about something that it could be like this ,the reality would never be different from what he had said) [Sahih Bukhari ,Volume 5,Book 58, Number206, Hakim in Mustadrak 3:4503] 

g. Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “A man from among the Companions of Muhammad met a man from among the jinn. They wrestled, and the human knocked down the jinn. The human said to him, ‘You look small and skinny to me, and your forearms look like the front paws of a dog. Do all the jinn look like this, or only you?’ He said, ‘No, by Allah, among them I am strong, but let us wrestle again, and if you defeat me I will teach you something that will do you good.’ The human said, ‘Fine.’ He said, ‘Recite, ‘Allah! None has the right to be worshipped but He, the Ever-living, the One Who sustains and protects all that exists…’ [Aayat al-Kursi – al-Baqarah 2:255 – interpretation of the meaning]. The human said, ‘Fine.’ He said, ‘You will never recite this in your house but the Satan will come out of it like a donkey breaking wind, and he will never come back in until the next morning.’” (Reported by al-Daarimi, 3247 also in Majma’ az-Zawa’id’; 9/71)


4.3  Karamat of Hazrath Utman (ra) (3rd Caliph)

h. A person by name, Jahjaah Ghaffari snatched the staff of Hadhrat Uthman (May Allah be well pleased with him) and broke it on his knee.  An abscess developed in his knee.  (Tafseer Kabeer, Surah Kahf-09)

Imam Qazi Iyaz (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has written in Ash-Shifa and Imam Nabhani has written in Jame’ Karamaat Ul Auliya that this person died because of this abscess.  (Shifa, Vol. 2, Pg. No. 57; Jame’ Karamaat Ul Auliya, Vol. 1, Pg. No. 151)

i. Narrated by Imam Malik that when Usman (ra) was martyred, his blessed head was saying “Bury me, Bury me”, therefore the blessed head along with the blessed body was taken to and buried at Kaukab Cemetery (Bagh-e-Kaukab) [Gist of hadith – Tibrani in Al maujam ul kabeer 1/78 no 109, Ibne asakir in tareeq e damishq 39/532, haytami in maujamuz zawaid 9/95, ibne saad in tabaqat ul kubra 3/77, mizzi in tahzeeb ul kamal 19/457]

4.4  Karamat/Kashf of Hazrath Ali (ra) (4th Caliph)

j. At the time of riding the horse, sayyiduan Ali ra, would start reciting the holy quran putting the first foot in one stirrup of the horse and would complete the recitation of the entire holy quran before putting the second foot in the other stirrup (Shawahid-un-Nabuwwah. Pp212)

This is Mowla Ali’s (Blessings Be Upon Him) miracle (karamat) to recite the quran in a moment – and a miracle is something which neither the mind can fully comprehend nor can explain logically. Think of it this way: The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) goes on the night of miraj on a journey that takes according to many sources many years but when he (Peace Be Upon Him) returns to this world, his (Peace Be Upon Him) bed is still warm as though it’s been only a few seconds. Time in the spiritual world for the prophets and awliya is something we cannot comprehend.

k. It is mentioned in ‘Sharh-us-Sudūr’, ‘Sayyiduna Sa’id bin Masaib has stated, ‘Once we went to the graveyard of Madinah Munawwarah with Amir-ul-Muminin, Sayyiduna Ali-ul-Murtaza. Sayyiduna Maula ‘Ali greeted the people of the graves with Salam and said, ‘O people of the grave! Will you give your news to us, or shall we give news to you?’ Sayyiduna Said bin Musayyab,said ‘We heard the words of greeting back from the grave, and somebody was saying, ‘O Amir-ul-Muminin! Give us the news about what happened after our death.’ Sayyiduna Maulā ‘Ali then said, ‘Listen! Your assets have been divided, your wives have remarried, your children were included in the orphans, and your enemies are living in the houses which you made so strong. Now tell us what happened with you.’ Listening to that, reply came from a grave, O Ameer-ul-Momineen, Our shrouds have been ripped to shreds, our hair withered away, our skin worn into pieces, our eyes poured out onto our cheeks, and pus is flowing through our nostrils. We have got whatever we had sent forward (i.e. the deeds we performed), and we have incurred loss in whatever we left behind.’’ (Sharh-us-Sudūr, pp. 209); (Ibn-e-‘Asākir, Vol. 27, pp. 395)

l. A heavy flood subsided

Once there was such a heavy flood in the River Euphrates (Al-Furat) that inundated all the agricultural fields. The people turned up to the court of Sayyidunā ‘Alī . Sayyidunā ‘Alī stood up at once and got dressed in the Prophet’s Blessed Robe (Jubbaĥ), Sacred Turban and Holy Shawl. He then mounted his horse. Ḥasanayn Karīmayn ” and others were also accompanied by him. On the bank of Al-Furat, he offered two Rak’āt Nafl Ṣalāĥ and headed towards the bridge of Al-Furat. After reaching on the bridge, Sayyidunā ‘Alī pointed his staff towards the river that lowered the water level by a yard. He again pointed the staff towards the river which further lowered by a yard. The third time he pointed and the water lowered more up to three yards and the flood subsided. The people requested, ‘O Amīr-ul-Mūminīn! This is enough. Please stop.’ (Shawāĥid-un-Nubūwwaĥ, pp. 214)

m.  Severed hand of a servant was reattached back.

Once an Abyssinian (Negro) slave, who had great esteem for Sayyidunā ‘Alī, committed the crime of theft. The people took him to the court of Amīr-ul-Mūminīn, Sayyidunā ‘Alī. The slave also confessed that he had committed theft. Sayyidunā ‘Alī cut his hand implementing the law of Sharī’aĥ. When the slave was on his way to home, he came across Sayyidunā Salmān Fārsī and Ibn-ul-Kawwā Ibn-ul-Kawwā inquired, ‘Who has cut your hand?’ The slave said, ‘Amīr-ul-Mūminīn Maulā ‘Alī has severed my hand.’ Ibn-ul-Kawwā said amazingly, ‘He has cut your hand and you are still taking his name with such an honour!’ The slave replied, ‘Why shouldn’t I admire him? He cut my hand lawfully and saved me from the torment of hellfire.’ Sayyidunā Salmān Fārsī listened what they conversed and related same to Sayyidunā ‘Alī who summoned the slave and placed his severed hand back to the joint of the wrist covering it with a handkerchief. Then Sayyidunā ‘Alī started reciting something. Meanwhile, a voice was heard from the unseen, ‘Remove the cloth.’ When the people removed the cloth, the severed hand of the slave was found reattached with his wrist leaving no scars behind! (Tafsīr Kabīr, vol. 7, pp. 434)

4.5  Kashf of Bibi Fatima (ra)

 n. Narrated by Umme Salma (ra), “I used to take care of Hazrath Fatima (ra) during her severe illness near to her demise. As far I remember, during the entire span of her illness one morning her health seemed better a bit. Hazrath Ali (ra) was away for some reason. Hadrath-e-Fatima (ra) said “Mother, arrange water for my Ghusl (bath)”, I have arranged water for bath and as far as I think she had a exceptionally good bath, then she said to me: “Mother, give me new dress, I did so. Then she laid-down directing towards Qibla with hand her hand placed under her face and said:

“Mother, I am going to die now. I took bath & got clean, so let nobody open me (for bath or shroud)” and in the same place she passed away. Umme Salma continues, “ When Hazrath Ali (ra) returned I have relayed to the him the whole discussion”. [Gist of Hadith]


[Ahmad Bin Hanbal Al-Musnad, 06/461, No- 27656, 27657, 01/113, Zayla’i Nasab-ur-Rayah, 02/250, 01/103, Haythami Majma‘-uz-Zawa’id, 09/210, Ibn Athir Asad-ul-Ghabah, 07/221]

4.6  Karamat/Kashf of Imam Hussan ra

o. Hadhrat ‘Abdur Rahman Jami (May Allah shower His mercy on him) has related this Tradition in Shawahid Un Nubuwwah:

Hadhrat Imam Hasan (May Allah be well pleased with him) was going to Makkah by foot for Hajj.  He developed swelling in his feet.  His attendant requested him to take a mount so that the swelling of the feet lessens.  Hadhrat Imam Hasan (May Allah be well pleased with him) didn’t accept his request and said:  When we reach our destination, you will meet an Abyssinian.  Buy oil from him.  His slave says:  We didn’t find any medicine on the way and when we reached our destination, the Imam said:  This is the slave about whom you were told.  Go, buy oil and give him its price.

When the slave went to buy the oil, the Abyssinian asked:  For whom are you buying this oil?  The slave said:  For Imam Hasan (May Allah be well pleased with him).  The Abyssinian said:  Take me to him.  I am also his slave.

When the Abyssinian was taken to Imam Hasan (May Allah be well pleased with him), he said: I am your slave, I will not take any payment from you.  You please pray for my wife.  She is in labor and pray that Almighty Allah should grant her a healthy baby.  The Imam said:  Go home!  Almighty Allah will grant you such a baby the way you want it to be and he will be our follower.  The Abyssinian returned home and found the situation as he was told it would be.  (Shawahid Un Nubuwwah, Pg. No. 302)

In this Tradition, various miracles of Imam Hasan (May Allah be well pleased with him) are related.  One is the foretelling where the medicine for the swelling of the feet will be found.  The second is the prayer that the Abyssinian will be granted a healthy baby and it became as he was told.  The third miracle is that the Imam foretold that the baby will be a boy and will be a follower of Imam Hasan (May Allah be well pleased with him).

4.7  Karamat of Imam Hussain (ra)

 p. ‘Allama Muhammad bin Yousuf Salihi (May Allah shower His mercy on him) relates in Subul Ul Huda War Rashad:

Translation: ‘Abbas bin Hisham bin Muhammad Kufi narrates on the authority of his father who narrates on the authority of his grandfather, he says:  There was a person in Karbala by name Zara’a.  This accursed man had shot an arrow at Imam Hussain (May Allah be well pleased with him) when he had asked for water and wanted to drink it. His arrow had come between the Imam and the water.  The Imam supplicated:  Lord, make him thirsty.  The narrator says:  A person who was present at the time of his death told me that this person was feeling a lot of heat in his stomach and coldness in his back because of which he started screaming and shouting although ice was placed on his stomach and fans were used and at the back an urn was placed.  He would shout:  Give me water.  This thirst is killing me.  Honey mixed with barley, water and milk was brought to him in such quantity that it would suffice for 5 persons.  He would gobble up everything and again cry out:  Satisfy me.  This thirst is killing me.  At last, his stomach split open like a camel’s.  (Subul Ul Huda War Rashad, Vol. 11, Pg. No. 79)

q. Recitation of the Holy Quran atop the spear

Minhal Ibn Amr has reported, ‘I was in Damascus at that time. By Allah, I saw with my own eyes that when the people were parading with the blessed head of Imam Hussain atop the spear, a person was reciting Surah Al-Kahf in front of the blessed head. When he reached the verse:

The men of the cave and of the forest’s side were a wonderful sign of Uurs. [Surah Kahf 18:9]

Allah has granted the blessed head capability to speak and the blessed head spoke out remarkably ‘My murder and roaming around with my head is stranger than the murder of the Ashab-e-Kahf.’ [Sharh-us-Sudur, p. 212]

4.8  The Pious prisoner and bunch of grapes:

 r. Abu Hurayrah narrated that Bint al-Harith used to say, (referring to Khubayb bin ‘Udayy who was imprisoned by Quraysh in Makkah): “… By Allah, I never saw a prisoner better than Khubaib. Once I saw him eating from a bunch of grapes although at that time no fruits were available at Mecca, and he was confined with iron chains in cage, and in fact, it was nothing but food bestowed upon him by Allah. ” ,

Detailed Hadith: Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet sent a Sariya of spies and appointed ‘Asim bin Thabit, the grandfather of ‘Asim bin ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, as their leader. So they set out, and when they reached (a place) between ‘Usfan and Mecca, they were mentioned to one of the branch tribes of Bani Hudhail called Lihyan. So, about one-hundred archers followed their traces till they (i.e. the archers) came to a journey station where they (i.e. ‘Asim and his companions) had encamped and found stones of dates they had brought as journey food from Medina. The archers said, “These are the dates of Medina,” and followed their traces till they took them over. When ‘Asim and his companions were not able to go ahead, they went up a high place, and their pursuers encircled them and said, “You have a covenant and a promise that if you come down to us, we will not kill anyone of you.” ‘Asim said, “As for me, I will never come down on the security of an infidel. O Allah! Inform Your Prophet about us.” So they fought with them till they killed ‘Asim along with seven of his companions with arrows, and there remained Khubaib, Zaid and another man to whom they gave a promise and a covenant. So when the infidels gave them the covenant and promise, they came down. When they captured them, they opened the strings of their arrow bows and tied them with it. The third man who was with them said, “This is the first breach in the covenant,” and refused to accompany them. They dragged him and tried to make him accompany them, but he refused, and they killed him. Then they proceeded on taking Khubaib and Zaid till they sold them in Mecca. The sons of Al-Harith bin ‘Amr bin Naufal bought Khubaib. It was Khubaib who had killed Al-Harith bin ‘Amr on the day of Badr. Khubaib stayed with them for a while as a captive till they decided unanimously to kill him. (At that time) Khubaib borrowed a razor from one of the daughters of Al-Harith to shave his pubic hair. She gave it to him. She said later on, “I was heedless of a little baby of mine, who moved towards Khubaib, and when it reached him, he put it on his thigh. When I saw it, I got scared so much that Khubaib noticed my distress while he was carrying the razor in his hand. He said ‘Are you afraid that I will kill it? Allah willing, I will never do that,’ ” Later on she used to say, “I have never seen a captive better than Khubaib Once I saw him eating from a bunch of grapes although at that time no fruits were available at Mecca, and he was fettered with iron chains, and in fact, it was nothing but food bestowed upon him by Allah.” So they took him out of the Sanctuary (of Mecca) to kill him. He said, “Allow me to offer a two-Rak’at prayer.” Then he went to them and said, “Had I not been afraid that you would think I was afraid of death, I would have prayed for a longer time.” So it was Khubaib who first set the tradition of praying two Rakat before being executed. He then said, “O Allah! Count them one by one,” and added, ‘When I am being martyred as a Muslim, I do not care in what way I receive my death for Allah’s Sake, because this death is in Allah’s Cause. If He wishes, He will bless the cut limbs.” Then ‘Uqba bin Al-Harith got up and martyred him. The narrator added: The Quraish (infidels) sent some people to ‘Asim in order to bring a part of his body so that his death might be known for certain, for ‘Asim had killed one of their chiefs on the day of Badr. But Allah sent a cloud of wasps which protected his body from their messengers who could not harm his body consequently.  [Sahi Bukhari, a. Military Expeditions led by the Prophet Book 59:Hadith412, b. Ibid:Hadith 325, c. book of Jihad, 52:Hadith 281, d. book of Nikah 62:Hadith 125]

4.9  The Light of Usayd Ibn Hudhayr and Abbad ibn Bishr (radhiAllahu anhuma)

 s. Usayd ibn Hudhayr and Abbad ibn Bishr (radhiAllahu anhuma) were speaking with the Prophet one night when it became very late. They left the Prophet’s home and they could not see their way due to the intense darkness. All of the sudden, the staffs that they were carrying in their hands, began to give out a bright light. With this bright light emitting from their staffs, they were able to see the pathway all the way until they reached their homes safely. The related hadith is mentioned below.

Narrated Anas bin Malik: Two of the companions of the Prophet departed from him on a dark night and were led by two lights like lamps (going in front of them from Allah as a miracle) lighting the way in front of them, and when they parted, each of them was accompanied by one of these lights till he reached their (respective) houses.  (Sahi Bukhari, Book of prayer-8, Hadith 454)

Narrated Anas: Once two men from the companions of Allah’s Apostle went out of the house of the Prophet on a very dark night. They were accompanied by two things that resembled two lamps lighting the way in front of them, and when they parted, each of them was accompanied by one of those two things (lamps) till they reached their homes.  (Sahi Bukhari, Book of “Virtues and Merits of the Prophet (pbuh) and his Companions-56, Hadith 833)

4.10    Sayyiduna Safina and Tiger in woods:

t. Sayyidina Safina, a servant of the Beloved Messenger, was once left behind by the Muslim army in the land of the Romans. As he was trying to catch up with them, he suddenly came across a lion. He said to it, “O Abu Harith (lion), I am a servant of the Messenger of Allah,” then proceeded to explain his situation. The lion not only spared him, but also showed him the route and accompanied him til he reached the army. [Imam Bayhaqi’s Dalaa’il al-Nubuwwah, Hakim 3:606. Also related by Tabarani, Abu Nu’aym]

4.11    Three men and the cave

 u. The Beloved Messenger narrated an incident in which three men took shelter from the rain inside a cave. A huge rock rolled over and blocked the mouth of it so they were trapped inside. Each of them made a supplication to Allah, and the rock moved completely from the mouth of the cave. [Gist of hadith: Bukhari, book of sales & trade 34:418, book of hiring 36:472, book of Agriculture 39:526, book of manners (adaab)73:5]

4.12    Abu Ubaida and the dead Fish Al-Anbar

 v. Narrated Jabir: We went out in a campaign and the army was called The Army of the Khabt, and Abu ‘Ubaida was our commander. We were struck with severe hunger. Then the sea threw a huge dead fish called Al-‘Anbar, the like of which had never been seen. We ate of it for half a month, and then Abu ‘Ubaida took one of its bones (and made an arch of it) so that a rider could easily pass under it.  (Sahi Bukhari, Book of Hunting, Slaughtering 67, Hadith 401)

4.13    Reciting Quran in Grave:

w.  One of the Prophet’s companions set up his tent over a grave without realizing that it was a grave, and it contained a man who was reciting the surah, “Blessed is He in whose hand is the kingdom,” up to the end. He went and told the Prophet (peace be upon him), who said, “It is the defender; it is the protector which is protecting him from Allah’s punishment.” [Tirmidhi Hadith 663]

4.14    Sending 1000 dinars placed in wood across the sea.

 x. Narrated Abu Huraira The Prophet said, “A man from Bani Israel asked someone from Bani Israel to give him a loan of one thousand Dinars and the later gave it to him. The debtor went on a voyage (when the time for the payment of the debt became due) but he did not find a boat, so he took a piece of wood and bored it and put 1000 diners in it and threw it into the sea. The creditor went out and took the piece of wood to his family to be used as fire-wood.”. And the Prophet narrated the narration (and said), “When he sawed the wood, he found his money.”  [Sahi Bukhari,  Book of Obligatory Charity Tax (Zakaat) 24, Hadith 574f, Transferance of a Debt from One Person to Another (Al-Hawaala) 37 hadith 488 B]

4.15    Miracle of Juraij and child speaking from Cradle:

 y. Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “There was an Israeli man called Juraij, while he was praying, his mother came and called him, but he did not respond to her call. He said (to himself) whether he should continue the prayer or reply to his mother. She came to him the second time and called him and said, “O Allah! Do not let him die until he sees the faces of prostitutes.” Juraij used to live in a hermitage. A woman said that she would entice Juraij, so she went to him and presented herself (for an evil act) but he refused. She then went to a shepherd and allowed him to commit an illegal sexual intercourse with her and later she gave birth to a boy. She alleged that the baby was from Juraij. The people went to Juraij and broke down his hermitage, pulled him out of it and abused him. He performed ablution and offered the prayer, then he went to the male (baby) and asked him; “O boy! Who is your father?” The baby replied (*from cradle) that his father was the shepherd. The people said that they would build for him a hermitage of gold but Juraij asked them to make it of mud only.” (Sahi Bukhari, Book of Oppressions 43:662, similar hadith ibid Book of Actions while Praying 22, Hadith 297m)

4.16    Miracle of an infant child his kashf and speaking to his mother whilst he is at age of suckling milk:

 z. Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “None spoke in cradle but three: (The first was) Jesus, (the second was), there a man from Bani Israel called Juraij. While he was offering his prayers, his mother came and called him. He said (to himself), ‘Shall I answer her or keep on praying?” (He went on praying) and did not answer her, his mother said, “O Allah! Do not let him die till he sees the faces of prostitutes.” So while he was in his hermitage, a lady came and sought to seduce him, but he refused. So she went to a shepherd and presented herself to him to commit illegal sexual intercourse with her and then later she gave birth to a child and claimed that it belonged to Juraij. The people, therefore, came to him and dismantled his hermitage and expelled him out of it and abused him. Juraij performed the ablution and offered prayer, and then came to the child and said, ‘O child! Who is your father?’ The child replied, ‘The shepherd.’ (After hearing this) the people said, ‘We shall rebuild your hermitage of gold,’ but he said, ‘No, of nothing but mud.'(The third was the hero of the following story) A lady from Bani Israel was nursing her child at her breast when a handsome rider passed by her. She said, ‘O Allah ! Make my child like him.’ On that the child left her breast, and facing the rider said, ‘O Allah! Do not make me like him.’ The child then started to suck her breast again. (Abu Huraira further said, “As if I were now looking at the Prophet sucking his finger (in way of demonstration.”) After a while the people passed by, with a lady slave and she (i.e. the child’s mother) said, ‘O Allah! Do not make my child like this (slave girl)!, On that the child left her breast and said, ‘O Allah! Make me like her.’ When she asked why, the child replied, ‘The rider is one of the tyrants while this slave girl is falsely accused of theft and illegal sexual intercourse.”  (Sahi Bukhari Book of Prophets 55:645)



5     From Book of Pious Scholars

I.          Imam Abu Hanifa writes that the karamat of Awliya is real although some, who claim to be Muslim yet deny spiritualism, do not believe in their karamat. [al-Fiqh al-Akbar]

II.          Imam Nawawi reports Imam al-Juwayni as saying, miracles in respect to the friends of Allah, the Awliya, is perfectly conceivable. [Bustan-ul Arifeen]

III.          Explaining further regarding karamat, Imam Nawawi quotes Imam al-Qushayri as saying, “A karama is an action about which there is no doubt…” He continues, “It is a gift and a mark of favor on him (the Wali). It may be obtained by the choosing and supplication of the Wali, while it is also possible that it will not be obtained by him. Sometimes it is without choice on the part of the Wali.” [Bustan-ul Arifeen]

IV.          Imam al-Qushayri also states that whenever a Prophet has a miracle appear through one of his community (Ummah), that miracle is also counted as one of his Prophetic miracles. [Imam Nawawi’s Bustan-ul Arifeen]

V.          However, karamat is not a condition of Wilayah therefore not every saint will possess this quality. Imam al-Qushayri states, “Indeed, if a Wali does not have outwardly manfiest karamat in this world, their lack does not detract from his being a wali.”[Imam Nawawi’s Bustan-ul Arifeen]

VI.          This is further clarified by Imam Mujaddid Alf Thaani Ahmad al-Faruqi as-Sirhindi who writes, “It is not a condition for a Wali[that is, for a person whom Allah loves] to display karamat. As it is not necessary for the scholars to display karamat, so it is not necessary for the Awliya to display karamat, because Wilayah means qurb- e ilahi. [That is, it means to get closer to Allah, to know Him.” [Volume 2, 92nd Letter of his Maktubat]

6     From book of Salafi scholar Ibn Taymiyya 

Ibn-Taymiyah says, “The miracles of saints are absolutely true and correct, by the acceptance of all Muslim scholars. And the Qur’an has pointed to it in different places, and the Hadith of the Prophet (s) has mentioned it, and whoever denies the miraculous powers of saints are only people who are innovators and their followers.” [al-Mukhtasar al-Fatawa, page 603].

Ibn Taymiyya regarding special hearing and seeing powers of Pious:

“What is considered as a miracle for a saint is that sometimes the saint might hear something that others do not hear and they might see something that others do not see, while not in a sleeping state, but in a wakened state of vision. And he can know something that others cannot know, through revelation or inspiration.” [Majmu’a Fatawa IbnTaymiyya, Vol. 11,p. 314].

 Ibne Taymiyya about saints andKashf:

Whenever a disciple came to Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani  he would be aware of the desires and problems in his disciple’s mind.(Ibn e Taymiyya in Al isteqama,page 78)

The volume 11 of Ibne Taymiyya book “Majmu’a al Fatawa” is entirely about Tasawwuf or Sufism (The way of Awliya), its excellence, the special powers of Awliya, etc. See the cover page at the end.

Few more quotes about Awliya Allah from the book “Majmu’al Fatawa” by Ibn Taymiyya.

“The pious friends of Allah are the followers of Prophet Muhammad (Sallelahu Alaihva sallam) . They do as He commanded and abstain from what He criticized. They follow Him in all that is clear to them that they should follow Him… Allah helps them with His angels and a spirit from Him and sends from His light into their hearts. Allah honors then by way of miracles which are also proofs for the Dīn and help for the Muslims. [Majmu’a Fatawa Ibn Taymiyya  v11; p 17]

“Sometimes he[The wali] is shown the exact object when Kashf of it is made. Sometimes he sees an image of it in his heart which acts as a mirror for him. The heart sees as well. This can occur while awake or asleep, such as when a man sees something in his dream and then sees the exact thing when he awakens without any change to it.” [V 11; p 638]

“As for the special ones amongst people, they know the punishments of Perished nations through the Kashf Allah give them.” [v11; p69]

7     Bibliography: 

  1. Marvels of Sayyiduna ‘Ali, by Maoulana Ilyas Attar Qadri

  2. Tarjuma Quran – Kazul Emaan

  3. Article on clarifying status of Ambia & Aulia, by Gulam Biabani (The Author).

  4. Umar Al Farooq The 2nd Caliph of Islam by Ziauddin Naqshbandi

  5. The status of saints and their miracles in light of the Holy Quran and the Hadith  by Ziauddin Naqshbandi

  6. Was Ibn Taymiyyah from Ahle sunnah wa Jamah by Shaykh Muhammad Abu Bakr Ghazipuri

  7. Marvels of Sayyiduna Imam Hussain (ra) by Moulana Ilyas Attar Qadri

  8. Marvels of Usman Al Ghani (ra) by Maulana ilyas Attar Qadri

  9. The Miracles of Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain (ra) by Ziauddin Naqshbandi

  10. Hadhrat Uthman – Excellence and eminence by Ziauddin Naqshbandi

  11. Karmat-e-Aulia by Mohammed Mian Barkati.

The story of Sultan Mahmood travelling faster than Messenger


Once Ayaz, the favourite slave of Mahmood, became ill due to the evil eye of courtiers who always envied Sultan Mahmood’s favours upon him.

Ayaz could not come to the court because of illness as he was bedridden.

When the news of his illness reached Sultan Mahmood, he called for his most loyal Royal Messenger to take the fastest horse and rush to Ayaz.

Although I am far away from you but in reality my soul is next to you I have not forgotten about you and your suffering is my own suffering”, Sultan wrote in message.

Sultan ordered the Messenger not stop anywhere and avoid any delays.

The Messenger rode over the fastest possible horse without any breaks but once he reached Ayaz, he was shocked to see that the emperor Mahmood was already there at his bedside.

The messenger shivered with fear since he thought the emperor will suspect that he disobeyed his order and took a rest during the journey.

“Do not worry” , replied Sultan seeing messenger’s facial expression. ” I know you did not take rest but how can anyone travel faster than one whose heart is captured by his beloved?”.

A Dangerous Vision, a Sufi Martyr, and Ghengiz Khan

This folio from Walters manuscript W.650 depicts the hanging of Mansur al-Hallaj. s

The relational nexus between Muslim saint and Muslim ruler in medieval and early modern times was almost always a fraught one. Both saint and ruler laid claim to divinely invested authority, claims that could coexist, cooperate, and clash. A given saint might support a ruler, undermine him, or simply ignore him, while rulers moved between strategies of co-opting saints, seeking them out for their baraka and the social power that being connected to a saint might bring, endowing zawiyas, khaniqahs, and the like, even as some saintly shaykhs made a prominent point of rejecting both contact with and reception of wealth from rulers. Occasionally a Muslim claimant to sainthood ran seriously afoul of a ruler, resulting in exile, imprisonment, or even martyrdom.

I encountered the story- from the early thirteenth century Khawarezm domains- I’ve translated and presented below first in an Ottoman context, in the Ta’rîh (History) of Ibrâhîm Peçevî (d. c. 1650), an Ottoman official and author, who described the martyrdom of the Kurdish Şeyh Mahmûd of Diyarbakır, executed by Sultan Murad IV, probably because the sultan feared the saint, who had a vast following across the Kurdish lands, posed a political threat. Peçevî, who had been posted in Diyarbakır as a defterdâr, had been an intimate of the saint and was deeply sorrowed to learn of his martyrdom. Upon learning that Şeyh Mahmûd had died, he was reminded, he writes, of the story I’ve translated here. It comes from the massive Persian hagiographic compilation, Nafaḥāt al-uns, by the poet, sufi, and author Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Jāmī (d. 1492). There are indeed striking parallels, as well as differences: Majd al-Dīn, while clearly of saintly status, is seen here oversteping his limits in his relationship with the powerful and axial saint Najm al-Dīn al-Kubrā (d. 1221) in relating his vision, a vision that implies exalted spiritual status. The remainder of the story is largely self-explanatory, though I’ve included some notes for clarification here and there. Given both the odd details, the hints of court intrigue, and the spectacular ending- the Mongols totally devastated the Khawarezm lands- it would be a popular item in Jāmī’s hagiography. Peçevî reproduced, in Ottoman Turkish form, a condensed version of the story (and thereby implicitly criticized the by-then deceased Murad IV and warned future sultans) in his chronicle, while it was circulated in Ottoman Turkish in other contexts as well. The lessons are clear enough: rulers ought to observe proper care and respect around the saints, as the consequences of not doing so can be truly enormous!

Ilkhanid Star Tile With Horse
Ilkhanid star-tile with poetry attributed to Majd al-Dīn around the border, made in 1310 (BMFA 31.729)

One day Shaykh Majd al-Dīn [Baghdādī] was sitting with a group of dervishes when a state of spiritual intoxication came over him. He said: ‘I was a duck’s egg upon the shore of the sea, and Shaykh Najm al-Dīn [Kubrā] was a bird with his wings of spiritual instruction spread out above my head until I came forth from the egg and I was like the young of the duck, then went into the sea, while the shaykh remained on the shore.’

Shaykh Najm al-Dīn knew [what Majd al-Dīn said] by the light of divinely instilled power, and the words ‘He will go into the ocean!’ passed upon his tongue [1]. When Shaykh Majd al-Dīn heard that he was fearful, and he came before Shaykh Sa’d al-Dīn Ḥamawī and with great humility asked, ‘When the time is right with the shaykh, will you give him report of me such that I may enter his presence and request forgiveness?’

When the shaykh underwent a pleasant state in the midst of semā’, [2] Shaykh Sa’d al-Dīn told him about Shaykh Majd al-Dīn, who then came, barefooted and with a basin filled with fire placed upon his head, and stood in the place where shoes are left. Shaykh [Najm al-Dīn] looked to him and said, ‘In accordance with the way of the dervishes you have desired forgiveness, your faith and your religion you will keep sound and whole, but your head will go away [ie you will die] and you will go into the sea. But we also will be in your head, and the heads of the commanders and the king of Khwarezm will be in your head and the world will become ruined.’ Shaykh Majd al-Dīn fell at the shaykh’s feet [to kiss them].

In only a little while the words of the shaykh were made manifest: Shaykh Majd al-Dīn preached in Khwarezm, and the mother of Sultan Muhammad, who was a woman of exceeding beauty, attended the preaching of Shaykh Majd al-Dīn, and would often go on pious visits to him. Slanderers sought occasion until one night the sultan was very drunk, and they claimed to him, ‘Your mother is going to end up entering the madhhab of Abū Ḥanīfa by marrying Shaykh Majd al-Dīn!’ The sultan became very angry and commanded that the shaykh be cast into the Tigris, so they cast him in.

The report came to Shaykh Najm al-Dīn, and he became very disturbed and said, ‘We are God’s and to God we return. They cast my son Majd al-Dīn into the water and he perished!’ He placed his head on his prayer rug and for a while was upon the prayer rug. Then he raised his head from the prayer rug and said, ‘From God Almighty I ask that the blood-price of my son incurred by Sultan Muhammad be answered!’ The sultan learned of this and became deeply repentant and came on foot to the presence of the shaykh, carrying a basin full of gold as well as a knife and winding-sheet [for burial] upon [the basin of gold]. Bareheaded he came and stood in the row of shoes and said, ‘If the blood-price is necessary, here is the gold, and if retribution, here is a knife!’

The shaykh answered, ‘That was written in the Book. His blood price is your entire kingdom, and your head too will go [you will die], along with most of your people, we too sharing in your fate.’ Sultan Muhammad returned, hopeless, and soon Ghengiz Khan came forth and did what he did.

Mawlana Abdulrahman bin Ahmed Jami and Mahdi Tawhidipur, Nafahat al-uns min hadarat al-quds (Tehran: Kitabfurushi-i Saadi, 1959).

[1] This utterance is somewhere between prophecy and threat- as indicated by Majd al-Dīn’s reaction.

[2] That is, the ritual of music and dance carried out by sufis, in various forms.

Shaykh Jawhar and the Green Bird of Destiny

Jami Birds

Shaykh Jawhar was in the beginning of his life the slave of someone, then became free, and took to buying and selling in the marketplace of Aden. He would attend the sessions of the [sufi] fuqarā’, [1] and had perfect belief in and loyalty towards them. He was illiterate. When the time of his shaykh’s death approached—the great shaykh Sa’d Ḥadād who is buried in Aden—the fuqarā’ said to him: ‘After you, who do you want to be shaykh?’ He replied: ‘The person who, on the third day after my passing, in the place where the fuqarā’ have gathered, a green bird comes and sits upon his head.’

When the third day came and the fuqarā’ had finished with Qur’an and dhikr they sat down in keeping with the shaykh’s words. Suddenly they saw a green bird had come down and had settled nearby, each of the important members of the fuqarā’hoping that the green bird would sit on his head. But after a while that bird flew up and alighted on the head of Jawhar! He had not at all imagined that this would happen, nor had any of the other fuqarā’! They all came before him and were set to bear him to the shaykh’s zawīya [2] and seat him in the place of the shaykh. But he said, ‘What qualification do I have for this work? I’m just a man of the marketplace and am illiterate! I don’t know the adāb and the ṭarīqa of the fuqarā’, [3] and I have obligations towards others to fulfill and relations to untangle!’

They replied, ‘This is the will of Heaven, you don’t have any way out of it! God will help you in whatever ways are necessary.’ So he said, ‘Give me a delay so that I can go to the marketplace and fulfill my obligations towards the Muslims there.’ So he went to the marketplace and met his obligations towards everyone, then went to the shaykh’s zawīya and adhered to the instruction of the fuqarā’, and he became like his name a gem (jawhar), possessing virtues and perfections whose enumeration would stretch long—glory to the Noble Beneficient One, that is grace of God which He bestows upon whom He wills, God possesses great grace! [4]

[1] Literally, ‘the poor ones,’ but by this period shorthand for sufi devotees (who may or may not have been literally poor).

[2] The structure devoted to a particular shaykh and his companions, for sufi ritual, teaching, and so forth. One of several words for a space of this sort.

[3] That is, the ‘mannered practices’ and ‘spiritual path’ of the sufi devotees. Both terms have so many resonances that I find it generally best not to translate them into English but to leave them in the original.

[4] The section in italics represents Jāmī’s switch from the Persian of the main narrative to Arabic.