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Miracles Are Tests of Faith, Not Proof of Sainthood

“Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that [believer] who has taqwaa (a lifestyle of sincerely guarding oneself from spiritual harm in this world and in the Hereafter).”

—Qur’an (Al-Hujuraat, 49:13)

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“He performed miracles!” some say to defend their worship of “saints” and graves, and blindly following their beloved spiritual teachers. “That’s proof that he’s from the awliyaa (close friends) of Allah!”

Listen, dear soul, and listen well.

Miracles—or any other “amazing” things that happen in this world—are by the permission of Allah alone, not by the permission of His creation, no matter how apparently righteous. This is the case with Allah’s prophets and messengers (who all made it crystal clear that these miracles are to point to the magnificence of Allah alone), so how much more with regards to regular men and women like you and me, even if they carry the title sheikh or spiritual teacher.

Our Taqwaa Honors Us

Yes, due to our various levels of taqwaa (how well we sincerely guard our souls from spiritual harm), some of us are definitely more spiritually “pure” and beloved to Allah than others. However, even this spiritual reality is not a static state for any human soul. A person who earns Allah’s love and pleasure today due to their taqwaa and sincerity can earn Allah’s anger and punishment tomorrow due to their pride or sinfulness.

Similarly, a person whom Allah blessed to witness a miracle in their life can use this event as a sign of Allah’s greatness and therefore dedicate their lives to serving Him and Him alone. Or they can use this event as a sign of their own greatness and therefore call themselves (and others) to dedicate their lives to serving and praising themselves alone.

In both cases, the miracle was a divine sign pointing to the ultimate truth of Allah’s Power—and an invitation to His guidance. In other words, it was a spiritual trial of the soul to see if the person would praise Allah or praise themselves.

Unfortunately, so many of us do the latter (whether in overpraising ourselves or our spiritual teachers). Yet Allah says what has been translated to mean, “…So ascribe not purity to yourselves. He knows best who fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him” (An-Najm, 53:32).

And what could be a greater form of ascribing purity to ourselves than claiming we or someone else is one of the awliyaa (close friends) of Allah, without any specific divine revelation (in the Qur’an or prophetic teachings) mentioning us or this person by name?

Yes, we can hope and pray for this (for ourselves and others), but we cannot claim it as a reality and then teach it to others. Furthermore, we cannot ask others to treat our claim as spiritual truth while our conclusion is due to only the conjecture of our minds, even if sincere and “well-researched.”

Because no amount of sincerity or exhaustive research gives any human being access to the ghayb (unseen) with Allah, especially with regards to what is written next to someone’s name in the Preserved Tablet in the heavens.

In the end, each of us must worship Allah with hope and fear—not on the assumption that we are effectively in need of neither.

Miracles Are Not Proof of Righteousness

And dear soul, remember this and remember it well—especially in discussions about the apparent spiritual station of non-prophets of today and the past: Miracles in themselves are not proof of anything definite about a person’s lofty spiritual state in front of Allah.

This bears repeating: Miracles alone are not proof of anything definite about a person’s lofty spiritual state in front of Allah.

Besides the obvious fact that some things that we’re labeling “miracles” are actually acts of jinn (whether the person is working with jinn intentionally, or the jinn are bothering them as a trial from Allah), here is one “miraculous reality” that should give pause to the believing heart striving for taqwaa: Amazing miracles will be performed by the Dajjal (the false Messiah) when he comes.

So dear soul, if you have even a grain of emaan (truth faith) or fear of Allah in your heart, then sit with that for a moment, and sit with it long and hard. Then teach this weighty spiritual lesson to your struggling, confused heart that is in desperate need of Allah’s guidance, mercy, and forgiveness.

Miracles Are Tests of Faith

A simple look at the history of how and when Allah has decreed certain miracles to occur should clarify to us that, more than anything, miracles are decreed by Allah as tests of faith for the human soul.

In response to witnessing them or receiving them in our own lives, some of us will pass this test and thus dedicate ourselves to the worship and servitude of Allah alone until we die. On the other hand, some of us will fail the test and thus have on our records the miracle we witnessed as proof against our souls on the Day of Judgment.

Furthermore, these miracles are not decreed to come to only righteous people or through only righteous people or to exclusively the awliyaa (close friends of Allah). This is the case whether the miracle is in fact a true miracle from Allah, or whether what we are labeling a miracle is actually an act of jinn.

The example of the miracles of the Dajjal should make that point undeniably clear.

However, even beyond the reality of the Dajjal, there are many less obvious examples of this spiritual truth, including everything from medical miracles that disbelievers experience at times, as well as “spiritual” miracles like those that came to people of earlier times who were pagans, as a means of calling them to Allah.

Some Miracles Are Due to Our Faith

Yes, very often miracles do in fact come as a result of a person’s strong faith in Allah and His love of them (as we know from the reports of miracles happening in many battles in Islamic history). However, this is not the only context in which they occur, and they are certainly not the only reason they occur.

Understanding this point from the depths of our hearts could be the difference between guidance and misguidance in this world, and Paradise and Hellfire in the Hereafter.

Be careful.

As a general rule, when miracles or amazing spiritual events (such as noor emanating from someone’s face or grave) are due to Allah’s love of them or due to them being one of His awliyaa’, these signs accompany already evident spiritual truths, which are completely disconnected from the miracle or “amazing sign” itself. Even prophets came with clear spiritual guidance that was obviously true even when a miracle was not being performed.

Therefore, the foundation of our spiritual beliefs about anything or anyone must be rooted in clear divine proofs that uphold the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah, not in amazing external events, no matter how miraculous and dazzling.

And even then, when the person is not a prophet, our belief about them must be based on hopes and prayers that these signs point to their high station with Allah, not on definite claims we can make about them and then call others to.

Guard Yourself from Misguidance

When in doubt about anyone’s claims about miracles of non-prophets, remind yourself of the trial of the Dajjal. This is very important because it is quite possible that through your excessive fixation on the apparent “miracles” of a specific “saint” or (alleged) wali (close friend of Allah), you could actually be preparing your heart to follow the Dajjal when he comes. This is a very real danger if you are so fascinated by someone’s apparent miracles (which could in fact be acts of jinn) that it inspires you to follow them (or the one talking about them) in this world.

So dear soul, never allow your heart to be swayed to join any group, to follow any sheikh, or to declare any person a “saint” or one of the awliyaa of Allah based on claims of (alleged) miracles alone.

Pay attention to whether this person is actually calling you to follow the guidance of Allah and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as understood and practiced by the Prophet himself and his Companions, or whether they are calling you to blindly follow them (or their sheikh). Also carefully investigate whether they are trying to convince you to take bay’ah (a spiritual pledge of allegiance) to a certain spiritual teacher, or they are trying to guilt you into joining their group, which often has its own set of behavior codes and “spiritual paths” that differ from Qur’an and prophetic teachings.

And certainly don’t let these people’s claims of “miracles” misguide your heart into calling on these alleged “saints” or awliyaa as intercessors in your du’aa or into visiting certain graves in hopes of getting some blessings from dead people who are mere creations of Allah and who are in just as much need of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness as you are.

Protect Your Heart and Soul

In a personal journal entry, I offer this advice to my own soul and to my struggling sisters and brothers in faith:

Protect your heart and soul. 

Before you enroll in any religious class,

Before you sit across from any spiritual teacher,

Before you travel to any Muslim country,

Before you “study Islam” in any class or university,

Do this, and do it repeatedly: Protect your heart and soul.

How do you protect your heart and soul?

Through connecting them to Allah alone. 

Through making your primary source of divine guidance the Qur’an.

Through making your primary source of human guidance the prophetic teachings.

Through making Salaah, du’aa, and Qur’an your daily nourishment.

Through making self-reflection, self-accountability, and self-honesty the foundation of your relationship with the self.

And through reserving your right to get up and walk away from anything and anyone who seeks to disrupt or dismantle these boundaries of self-protection of the heart and soul.

In other words, protect the health of your heart and soul as if your very life and spiritual salvation depend on it.

Because they do.

Islam Is the Qur’an and Sunnah Only

In our faith, spiritual truth is based on clear spiritual proofs from the Book of Allah and the prophetic teachings—not miraculous feats like people walking on water, or (allegedly) knowing the unseen (in your life or that of others), or having some “secret knowledge” or sacred powers or special dreams and inspirations that no one else has.

In the Qur’an, Allah says what has been translated to mean, “And they were commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, [being] sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakaah (obligatory charity). And that is the correct religion” (Al-Bayyinah “The Clear Evidence,” 98:5).

So follow that deen (spiritual way of life), not the one that others are calling you to under the guise of getting you to appreciate certain miracles on earth.

Umm Zakiyyah is the internationally acclaimed author of more than twenty books, including the If I Should Speak trilogy, Muslim Girl, and His Other Wife. She recently launched her “Choosing To Love Alone” series via UZuniversity.com to support struggling believers seeking to nourish their emotional and spiritual health.

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