Are there differences between a Karaamah (miracle of a non-prophet) and a Mujizah (prophetic miracle)?

Quran

Hadith

Islamic Text

Yes, there are many important differences.

كُلَّمَا دَخَلَ عَلَيْهَا زَكَرِيَّا الْمِحْرَابَ وَجَدَ عِنْدَهَا رِزْقًا قَالَ يَامَرْيَمُ أَنَّى لَكِ هَذَا قَالَتْ هُوَ مِنْ عِنْدِ اللَّهِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَرْزُقُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ بِغَيْرِ حِسَابٍ

Every time Zakariyah entered upon her at the Mihrab (her prayer area), he found sustenance with her. He said O Maryam, where did you get this from. She said, it is from Allah (Most High), indeed Allah grants sustenance to whomsoever He wishes without limit. (Surah Ali Imraan, 37).

In the verse above we are informed of a Karaamah for Sayidah Maryam (peace be upon her). It is evident that Sayidah Maryam  was not propagating this miracle rather Sayidina Zakariyah  came across it inadvertently. This (hiding Karamaat) is one of many differences between a Mu’jizah and a Karaamah.

من الفرق بين المعجزات والكرامات أن الأنبياء عليهم الصلاة والسلام مأمورن بإظهارها والولي يجب عليه سترها وإخفاؤها والنبي يدعي ويقطع القول به والولي لا يدعيها ولا يقطع بكرامته لجواز أن يكون ذلك مكرا

Amongst the differences between (prophetic) miracles and Karamaat, is the Prophets, peace and blessings be upon them, have been commanded to make them apparent. Whereas it is obligatory for the Wali to veil and hide them. The Prophet calls to it and it is a matter of certainty. Whereas a Wali does not call to it, and they are not confirmed as Karamaat because of the possibility that it could be deception. (Imam al-Nawawi, Bustaan al-Arifeen, p63).

Imam al-Nawawi lists a number of differences between a Karaamah and Mu’jizah in the Nass (above), as well as the obligation to hide miracles, there is also the important issue of not confirming Karamaat. Rather one should treat them as speculative, whereas miracles of Prophets (peace be upon them) should be treated with absolute certainty.

Due to the widespread misguidance regarding this issue, students are well advised to study it in detail. Imam al-Nawawi’s book, Bustan al-Arifeen, has been translated into English, studying it with a reliable teacher will help to eradicate some of the misinformation prevalent in our communities.

And Allah (Most High) Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noor ud-deen (21.06.2021)

See also:

Do we believe in Karamaat of the Awliyaa?

Must Awliyaa hide their miracles?

Do Awliyaa know the unseen?

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