Words synonymous with the term

Dr. Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Musleh

Despite itscommonness, I have not found the term I‘jaaz– which indicates a supernatural matter associated with a challenge that cannot be opposed –in the Book of Allah or the Sunnah of His Messenger, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, with this meaning. In trying to find words of the same derivative particles (‘a - ja - za), I did not find anything indicative of this meaning. The following words are used in the Qur’an to indicate this meaning: “sign” or “verse” (‘aayah), “proof” (bayyinah), “evidence” (burhan), “authority” (sultan). The following will shed light on the respective terms.

Allah Almighty Says (what means): {And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that if a sign came to them, they would surely believe in it. Say,

“The signs are only with Allah.” And what will make you perceive that even if a sign came, they would not believe.} 

[Qur’an 6: 109]

Ibn Katheer, may Allah have mercy on him, says in the interpretation of this verse: Allah says about the idolaters that they swore by Allah their strongest oaths; that is, they took a solemn oath that {if a sign came to them}, that is, a miracle and supernatural occurrence, {they would surely believe in it}. Allah Almighty Says (what means):

{And We send not the signs except as a warning.} 

[Qur’an 17: 59]

Ibn Jareer, may Allah have mercy on him, states: Allah says, “Nothing keeps Us, O Muhammad, from sending the signs that your people ask for, but that the disbelieving nations of the past asked for the same thing. Then when they got what they asked for, they denied their messengers and did not keep their word when the signs came, so they were taken early; so we did not send the signs to your people because if we did so and they denied, we would have hastened their punishment in the same way We did with the people before them.”

This is also the case for the word “proof” (bayyinah), as in the following verse:

{They said, “O Hud, you have not brought us clear evidence, and we are not ones to leave our gods on your say-so. Nor are we believers in you.} 

[Qur’an 11: 53]

In his commentary, Ibn Jareer states: Prophet Hud’s people said to him, “Hud, you have not brought us proof or evidence for what you say so that we may acknowledge that you are telling the truth in what you invite us to: to declare Allah as one and acknowledge you as a prophet.

We can observe that it is interpreted as

“proof” (burhaan) in the verse where Allah addresses the Prophet Moosa (Moses), peace be upon him: {Insert your hand into the opening of your garment; it will come out white, without disease. And draw in your arm close to you [as prevention] from fear, for those are two proofs from your Lord to Pharaoh and his establishment. Indeed, they have been a people defiantly disobedient.”}

[Qur’an 28: 32]

Mujaahid and As-Suddi, may Allah have mercy on them, stated that [“two proofs,” Arabic: burhaanaan] is a reference to Moosa’s stick and hand. In his commentary, Ibn ‘Atiyyah states that the “two proofs” are:“two arguments and two miracles.”

The word sultaan (authority)comes in the verse where Allah relates what the nations of the past said to their prophets, peace be upon them:

 {They said, “You are not but men like us who wish to avert us from what our fathers were worshipping. So bring us a clear authority.”} 

[Qur’an 14: 10]

Al-Qurtubi states that [authority] means “a clear argument.” This was part of Allah’s plot, as the messengers never preached without having miracles.

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