A Series of Answers to Common Questions

Sam Shamoun


Some Christians believe that Jesus’ miracles prove that he is God. The problem with this claim is that almost every single miracle performed by Jesus finds a parallel within the OT. There are many OT prophets that performed the very same kinds of miracles that Jesus did. If the miracles of Jesus make him God then why don’t the miracles of the other prophets prove that they are God/gods as well?


Before responding to this question, we first would like to provide a few examples from the OT which Muslims often point to. In fact, we will simply quote from a Muslim article (*) which presents some examples for us:

Bringing the dead back to life:

"Then he cried out to the LORD , "O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?"  Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD , "O LORD my God, let this boy's life return to him!"  The LORD heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived.   Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house.   He gave him to his mother and said, "Look, your son is alive!"  (From the NIV Bible, 1 Kings 17:20-23)"

"But the child's mother said, "As surely as the LORD lives and as you live, I will not leave you." So he got up and followed her.   Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy's face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, "The boy has not awakened."  When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch.  He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD.  Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy's body grew warm.  Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.  Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, "Call the Shunammite." And he did. When she came, he said, "Take your son."  (From the NIV Bible, 2 Kings 4:30-36)"

Jesus' dead body never caused for any dead to come back to life, but Elisha's did:

"Elisha died and was buried.  Now Moabite raiders used to enter the country every spring.  Once while some Israelites were burying a man, suddenly they saw a band of raiders; so they threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet.   Hazael king of Aram oppressed Israel throughout the reign of Jehoahaz.  (From the NIV Bible, 2 Kings 13:20-22)"

Creating life:

Jesus only restored life, but never actually created one from scratch.  Moses, however, did create a live snake from a wooden stick:

"Then the LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?"  "A staff," he replied.  The LORD said, "Throw it on the ground."  Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.  Then the LORD said to him, "Reach out your hand and take it by the tail."  So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.  (From the NIV Bible, Exodus 4:2-4)"

Curing the blind:

"When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. "Oh, my lord, what shall we do?" the servant asked.  "Don't be afraid," the prophet answered. "Those who are with us are more than those who are with them."  And Elisha prayed, "O LORD , open his eyes so he may see." Then the LORD opened the servant's eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.  As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD , "Strike these people with blindness." So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.  Elisha told them, "This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for." And he led them to Samaria.  After they entered the city, Elisha said, "LORD , open the eyes of these men so they can see." Then the LORD opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.  When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, "Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?"  "Do not kill them," he answered. "Would you kill men you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master."  So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel's territory.  Some time later, Ben-Hadad king of Aram mobilized his entire army and marched up and laid siege to Samaria.  (From the NIV Bible, 2 Kings 6:15-24)"

Healing leprosy:

"Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, "Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed."  But Naaman went away angry and said, "I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.  Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than any of the waters of Israel? Couldn't I wash in them and be cleansed?" So he turned and went off in a rage.  Naaman's servants went to him and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed'!"   So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.   (From the NIV Bible, 2 Kings 5:10-14)"

Feeding hundreds with few loafs of bread:

"A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. "Give it to the people to eat," Elisha said.  "How can I set this before a hundred men?" his servant asked.  But Elisha answered, "Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the LORD says: 'They will eat and have some left over.' "  Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD.  (From the NIV Bible, 2 Kings 4:42-44)"

The preceding examples are given in order to undermine Jesus’ uniqueness, supposedly refuting Christian claims that Christ is God’s divine, unique Son.

With the foregoing in mind, we can now address the arguments. In the first place, it isn’t so much the miracles which make Jesus God, but the divine claims of Jesus which the miracles serve to validate. Jesus made certain statements that no other true prophet before him ever did, and then performed supernatural miracles to back up the truthfulness and validity of those claims:

"‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE, and they will never perish, AND NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. I and the Father are one.’ The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, ‘I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?’ The Jews answered him, ‘It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.’ Jesus answered them, ‘Is it not written in your Law, "I said, you are gods"? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came--and Scripture cannot be broken-- do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, "You are blaspheming," because I said, "I am the Son of God"? If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.’ Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands." John 10:25-39

"Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, "Show us the Father"? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.’" John 14:9-11

"If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father." John 15:24

"concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God IN POWER according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord," Romans 1:3-4

Thus, the miracles do not make Jesus God, but rather it is Jesus’ own claims which demonstrate that he at least believed he is God. The miracles only served the purpose of providing divine validation for Christ’s claims.

Here, now, are some specific miracles which Jesus performed to prove that he has specific divine attributes and abilities:

Miracles Proving that Jesus Forgives Sins

"‘And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise, take up your bed and walk"? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ --he said to the paralytic—‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!" Mark 2:5-12

Miracles Proving that Jesus is Sovereign over both the Spiritual and Physical Realms

"And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’" Mark 3:9-11

"Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.’ And Peter answered him, ‘Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.’ He said, ‘Come.’ So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me.’ Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’" Matthew 14:22-33

"The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us IN YOUR NAME!’ And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I HAVE GIVEN YOU AUTHORITY to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.’" Luke 10:17-20

Miracles Proving that Jesus is the Sustainer and the Source of Life

"Lifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, ‘Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?’ He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, ‘Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, said to him, ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Have the people sit down.’ Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’ So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves, left by those who had eaten. When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, ‘This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world!’ Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself… Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.’ Then they said to him, ‘What must we do, to be doing the works of God?’ Jesus answered them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.’ So they said to him, ‘Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, "He gave them bread from heaven to eat."’ Jesus then said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE; whoever comes TO ME shall not hunger, and whoever believes IN ME shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. FOR I HAVE COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, THAT I SHOULD LOSE NOTHING OF ALL that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, THAT EVERYONE WHO LOOKS ON THE SON and believes in him should have eternal life, AND I WILL RAISE HIM UP ON THE LAST DAY.’ So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ They said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does HE NOW SAY, 'I have come down from heaven"?’ … ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I AM THE LIVING BREAD THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, AND I WILL RAISE HIM UP ON THE LAST DAY. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I IN HIM. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live BECAUSE OF ME. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not as the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.’" John 6:5-15, 26-42, 47-59

"Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, ‘Lord, he whom you love is ill.’ But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.’ … Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ Martha said to him, ‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?’ She said to him, ‘Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.’ … Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone.’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?’ So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that YOU ALWAYS HEAR ME, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out.’ The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.’" John 11:1-3, 23-27, 38-43

Miracles Proving that Jesus is co-equal to the Father

"Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids--blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who had been healed, ‘It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.’ But he answered them, ‘The man who healed me, that man said to me, "Take up your bed, and walk."’ … And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father is working until now, and I am working.’ This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God. So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will… Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear THE VOICE OF THE SON OF GOD, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himselfDo not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear HIS VOICE and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment… But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me." John 5:2-10, 16-21, 25-26, 28-29

No prophet or apostle ever made the claims that the Lord Jesus made, and none of their miracles were done to validate their claims of being Deity. The prophets went out of their to show that they were nothing more than fallible human beings whom God empowered to carry out his specific purpose and will. This is quite unlike the Lord Jesus.

Secondly, Jesus has authority to grant others the ability to perform miracles. The NT is replete with examples of people performing miracles in Jesus’ name:

"And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits… And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them." Mark 6:7, 13

"John said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons IN YOUR NAME, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.’ But Jesus said, ‘Do not stop him, for no one who does a mighty work IN MY NAME will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Mark 9:38-39

"Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him… ‘The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name--by faith in his name--has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.’" Acts 3:1-10, 13-16

"And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, ‘By what power or by what name did you do this?’ Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by him this man is standing before you well. This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.’" Acts 4:7-12

"There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed. And Peter said to him, 'Aeneas, JESUS CHRIST HEALS YOU; rise and make your bed.' And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord." Acts 9:33-35

"As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. She followed Paul and us, crying out, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.’ And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And it came out that very hour." Acts 16:16-18

Again, there is not a single instance in the entire Holy Bible where persons performed miracles in the name of prophets, apostles and/or saints.

Third, even though it is true that specific prophets performed some of the same kinds of miracles that Jesus performed, no single prophet performed all of the miracles that Jesus did. Nor did any one individual prophet perform as many miracles as Christ performed.

Finally, Muhammad wasn’t able to perform any of the miracles that the Lord Jesus and the other true prophets of God did. The Quran mentions many of the miracles of the prophets but fails to record a single miracle of Muhammad. In fact, many passages of the Quran explicitly deny that Muhammad could perform any sign or wonder. Here are a couple of verses:

But (now), when the Truth has come to them from Ourselves, they say, "Why are not (Signs) sent to him, like those which were sent to Moses?" Do they not then reject (the Signs) which were formerly sent to Moses? They say: "Two kinds of sorcery, each assisting the other!" And they say: "For us, we reject all (such things)!" S. 28:48

Nay; rather it is signs, clear signs in the breasts of those who have been given knowledge; and none denies Our signs but the evildoers. They say, 'Why have signs not been sent down upon him from his Lord?' Say: 'The signs are only with God, and I am only a plain warner. What, is it not SUFFICIENT FOR THEM that We have sent down upon thee the Book that is recited to them? Surely in that is a mercy, and a reminder to a people who believe. S. 29:49-51 A.J. Arberry

The last passage expressly states that the Quran is sufficient as a sign, which means that no other sign or miracle was necessary. Thus, this surah poses huge problems for Muslims since if Muhammad did perform miracles then this means that the Quran is not sufficient, thereby falsifying the claims of the Quran!

It is true that the hadith literature ascribe miracles to Muhammad, but these sources were compiled over one hundred years (if not later) after Muhammad’s death. They were not written by eyewitnesses, but by overzealous Muslims seeking to make Muhammad more like Christ and the other miracle-working prophets.

Besides, these narrations expressly contradict the Quran’s clear testimony that Muhammad performed no miracles. Christian philosopher Norman Geisler and co-author Abdul Saleeb provide some strong reasons why the miracle stories of the hadith are spurious:

"There are many reasons for questioning the authenticity of these stories. Critics have observed the following.

First, none of them are recorded in the Qur'an. In fact, they are in general contrary to the whole spirit of the Muhammad of the Qur'an, who repeatedly refused to do these very kinds of things for unbelievers who challenged him (3:181-84; 4:153; 6:8-9).

Second, these alleged miracles follow the same pattern as the apocryphal miracles of Christ from a century or two after his death. They are a legendary embellishment of people removed from the original events. They do not come from contemporary eye-witnesses of the events.

Third, even among Muslims there is no generally agreed upon list of miracles from the hadith. Indeed, the vast majority of stories from the hadiths are rejected by most Muslim scholars as not being authentic. Different groups accept different collections of them.

Fourth, the collections of the hadith that are generally accepted by most Muslims are far removed from the original events by several generations. Indeed, most of those who collected miracle stories lived one to two hundred years after the time of the events-plenty of time for legends to develop. They relied on stories that had been passed on orally for many generations with ample embellishment. Even the stories accepted by Muslims as authentic, as determined by the isnad (chain of storytellers), lack credibility. For even these stories are not based on eye-witnesses but rely on many generations of storytellers, often involving hundreds of years. Joseph Horowitz questioned the reliability of the isnad:

The question as to who first circulated these miracle tales would be very easy to answer if we could still look upon the isnad, or chain of witnesses, as unquestionably as we are apparently expected to do. It is especially seductive when one and the same report appears in various essentially similar versions... In general the technique of the isnad does not make it possible for us to decide where it is a case of taking over oral account and where copying from the lecture of books of teachers.

Fifth, Bukhari, considered to be the most reliable collector, admitted that of the 300,000 hadith he collected, he considered only 100,000 might be true. He then narrowed this number down to 7,275, many of which are repetitions so that the total number is in fact 3,000. That means that even he admitted there were errors in over 295,000 of them!

Sixth, there is no one canon of authenticity for these stories accepted by all Muslims. Most Muslims rank their credibility in descending order as follows: the Sahih of Al Bukhari (d. 256 A.H. [after Hijrah]); Al Sahih of Muslim (d. 261 A.H.); the Sunan of Abu Da'ud (d. 275 A.H.); the Jami of Al-Tirmidhi (d. 279 A.H.); the Suand [sic] of Al Nasa (d. 303 A.H.); and the Sunan of Ibn Majda (d. 283 A.H.). Along with these hadith there were important biographers who related miracle stories. The most important ones are Ibn S'ad (d. 123 A.H.), Ibn Ishaq (d. 151 A.H.), and Ibn Hisham (d. 218 A.H.). The above six categories are rejected by Shia Islam. Yet they, along with other Muslims, accept the Qur'an as it is. Finally, what is of crucial significance here is that none of these miracle stories fit the nine criteria accepted by Muslims for a miracle that can confirm a prophet's claim (mudjiza). Hence, by their own standard, none of them have any apologetic value in demonstrating the truth of Islam.

Finally, the origin of the miracle claims of Islam is suspect. It is common knowledge that Islam borrowed many of its beliefs and practices from other religions. This has also been documented by many scholars. It is not surprising that Muslim miracle claims arise, then, as a result of Christian apologists demonstrating the superiority of Jesus to that of Muhammad by way of Jesus' miracles. It was only after two Christian bishops (Abu Qurra from Edessa and Arethas from Ceasaria) had pointed this out that the Islamic miracle stories began to appear. As Sahas notes, 'The implication [of the bishop's challenge] is quite clear: Muhammad's teaching is one that might have merit; but this is not enough to qualify him as a prophet, without supernatural signs. If such signs could be shown one could possibly accept him as a prophet.'

Thus, the task for Muslims was clear. If they could invent miracles they could respond to the Christian challenge. It was soon after this that Muhammad's miracle claims began to appear. Sahas notes that 'it is quite interesting that several of these (miracle stories) sound as if they are being offered as responses to Christians as Abu Qurra, and they bear an amazing resemblance to miracles of Jesus found in the Gospels.' Likewise, it was during this polemic that Muslims began to interpret certain events in the Qur'an as miracles. All of this points toward one conclusion: the Muhammad miracle stories lack credibility." (Geisler & Saleeb, Answering Islam - The Crescent in the Light of the Cross [Baker Books; Grand Rapids, MI; updated and revision edition, 2002], pp. 169-170; see also pp. 171-174)

For more on Muhammad failing to perform any miracles we recommend the following sources:


And for more on the relationship between Jesus’ divine claims and his miracles, as well as how these contrast with the purpose of the miracles of the OT prophets, we recommend that our readers review our rebuttal to Dr. Jamal Badawi:


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