THE MIRACLE OF
SPLITTING OF THE MOON
The miracle of the splitting of the moon was demonstrated before a certain gathering of people who persisted in denial of Muhammad’s (s.a.a.w.s.) Prophethood. As was related by Adbullah ibn Mas‘ud: “While they were in Mina (a place near Mecca) one night, the Prophet split the moon into two by a gesture of his index finger. The halves of the moon appeared one behind the mountain and the other in front of it. Then, the Prophet turned to us and said: Be witnesses! ” (sources: Sahih Bukhari, and Manaqib)
Another narration of this miracle states: “The people of Mecca asked Allah's Apostle to show them a miracle. So he showed them the moon split in two halves between which they saw the Hiram' mountain.” (source: Sahih Bukhari)
The Qur’an refers to this miracle in the following verses:
اقْتَرَبَتِ السَّاعَةُ وَانْشَقَّ الْقَمَرُ (1) وَإِنْ يَرَوْا آيَةً يُعْرِضُوا وَيَقُولُوا سِحْرٌ مُسْتَمِرٌّ (2) وَكَذَّبُوا وَاتَّبَعُوا أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَكُلُّ أَمْرٍ مُسْتَقِرٌّ (3)
The Hour has drawn closer, and the moon has split. And if they see a sign, they turn away, and say: "This is continuous magic." (3) They belied (the Verses of Allâh - this Qur’ân), and followed their own desires. And every matter will be settled. (Qur’an 54:1-3)
In order to remove any concerns regarding the miracle of the splitting of the moon, take the following 5 points into consideration:
The extreme stubbornness of the unbelievers of Mecca at that time is well-known and is recorded in history. When the Quranic verse about the moon split miracle was revealed, none of those unbelievers, who denied the Qur’an, challenged the verse as untrue because they had witnessed this miracle by their own eyes. If this incident had not occurred before their eyes, they would certainly have taken this verse as a pretext to attack the Prophet more formidably in his cause. However, neither the biographies of the Prophet, nor the books of history report anything to suggest that these unbelievers denied the occurrence of this incident.
What was reported concerning their reaction is that they said, ‘This is magic’. Thus, by declaring the event as magic, the unbelievers indirectly confirmed that the splitting of the moon miracle actually had occurred.
The unbelievers added further that if the caravans in other places had seen it, it truly happened, otherwise the Prophet bewitched them.
However, even when the caravans coming the following morning from the Yemen and other places announced that they had witnessed the event too, the unbelievers in Mecca reacted by saying: “The magic of Abu Talib’s orphan (referring to that fact that prophet Mohammad was an orphan raised by his uncle Abu Talib) has affected even the Heaven!”
Narration scholars have concluded that the narrations regarding the splitting of the moon are authentic and have a reliable chain of narrators.
The splitting of the moon is a miracle and not an ordinary incident which happened due to particular causes. Therefore, it should be criticized from the viewpoint of the law of cause and effect.
Today, some opponents argue that if that incident had taken place, in would have been mentioned in the histories of such nations as the Chinese, Japanese, Europeans, or Americans.
It is worth noting that:
(a) The moon splitting miracle happened momentarily and at night in Arabia.
(b) For someone in other parts of the world to have noticed this event must have been watching the sky at that particular moment.
(c) Since prophet Mohammad did not announce to the whole world that he was going to perform this miracle, people in other countries who might have noticed the splitting of the moon would most likely have thought that their eyes or mind played a trick on them, due to stress or fatigue, etc.
(d) it was barely sunset in such European countries as Spain, France and England, daytime in America and morning in China and Japan, so people in such far away locations, in different time zones, could not have witnessed the event.
(e) Natural phenomena and weather conditions, such as clouds, fog, etc., might have prevented clear vision in other parts of the world.