Categories of miracles

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Question: What is the difference between Mu`jizah and Karamat? 

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Answer: Supernatural feats are either carried out by nabi or a non-nabi. If it occurs at the hand of a nabi the it could either be before his claiming nubuwwat or after. If is before then this is called irhaas.


For example, before Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam was granted nubuwwat the clouds used to shade him when on a journey. When Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam sat beneath a tree, the branches would incline towards him to shade him. Salam to Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam would be heard from trees and stones. These occurrences are known as Irhaasaat.

If the supernatural feat occurred at the hands of a nabi after nubuwwat as proof for the people, then it is called mu`jizah.

For example, by the gesture of his finger Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam split the moon into two. Stones made tasbeeh in his blessed hands.

Once Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam called a tree and it came forth and bowed. Nabi sallallahu alayhi wasallam once went to relieve himself at some place. The trees split open and allowed him to enter and thereafter closed after him (in order to grant him privacy.)

If a supernatural event occurs at the hands of a non-nabi then it could either be at the hands of a wali (saint) or a non-wali. If it at the hands of a wali then it is called karamat.

If it occurs at the hands of a non-wali then it could either be a righteous person or not. If the person is righteous then this occurrence is called ma`oonat otherwise it is istidraaj.
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