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Last Updated: 2013/05/19
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Were miracles performed by prophets in order to demonstrate the truth of their claims to prophethood or were they to meet the demands of stubborn people? What is meant by “We made from water every living thing”?
question
I have a few questions regarding the Qur\'an, In the Quran, Surah 21 Verse 5 and 6 it says, “Nay! say they: Medleys of dreams; nay! he has forged it; nay! he is a poet; so let him bring to us a sign as the former (prophets) were sent (with). There did not believe before them any town which We destroyed, will they then believe? In Surah 10 Verse 20 the Quran says, “And they say: Why is not a sign sent to him from his Lord? Say: The unseen is only for Allah; therefore wait-- surely I too, with you am of those who wait.” Surah 6 Verse 109, 110 and 111 say, “And they swear by Allah with the strongest of their oaths, that if a sign came to them they would most certainly believe in it. Say: Signs are only with Allah; and what should make you know that when it comes they will not believe?And We will turn their hearts and their sights, even as they did not believe in it the first time, and We will leave them in their inordinacy, blindly wandering on. And even if We had sent down to them the angels and the dead had spoken to them and We had brought together all things before them, they would not believe unless Allah pleases, but most of them are ignorant.” And Surah 13 Verse 7 it says, “And those who disbelieve say: Why has not a sign been sent down upon him from his Lord? You are only a warner and (there is) a guide for every people.” Now I want to ask, didn\'t Allah (swt) send them signs though? Such as the moon being split by the Prophet (pbuh) and the Qur\'an being a miracle itself, wouldn\'t this be a contradiction? Another question I have is, in the Qur\'an we are told that everything is made from water, but then we are told that the Jinn are made from Smokeless Fire, could you please clarify this apparent contradiction. "Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe? (The Noble Quran, 21:30)" "We created Jinn from smokeless fire?" - Qur\'an 55:15. Can you please explain this contradiction? Jazakamullah Khair in advance.
Concise answer
1. It is necessary to note that bringing a miracle is a decisive and clear proof of the authenticity of a prophet’s claim to prophethood. It is not, therefore, just to convince people.[1]
2. The verses mentioned in your message speak of stubborn people who are never ready to surrender to the truth and if the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) did not surrender to their demands, it was also because of the same enmity and stubbornness. Obviously, the Prophet (PBUH) would not meet such people’s demands about performing a miracle because their demands were not aimed at seeking the truth but they were just out of stubbornness and selfishness that only served to devalue miracles. There was no hope of them embracing the religion. Nevertheless, if the prophets showed people some miracles at God’s order, the purpose for the miraculous deeds was to make divine prophets known and to leave no excuse for others. They were not meant to force people to accept the prophets’ invitation or to meet their obstinate demands. As for the miracles of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH), they were also meant to make Muhammad (PBUH) known as a prophet of God. Therefore, there is no contradiction among these verses and the miracles that were brought forth. The signs sent down by God, the Exalted, were not to surrender to the obstinate demands of a group of people.
3. When it comes to the Quranic verses which says, “We made from water every living thing”, it refers to living beings which are visible and observable to people.[2] In other words, there are different kinds of life: solid, vegetable, animal, celestial, scientific and spiritual.  The verse in question refers to vegetable and animal life. That is to say, everything that has a vegetable and animal life, its life depends squarely on water.[3]
In another verse, the Quran describes the reason for rainfall as such: “That We may give life thereby to a dead land and give it for drink, out of what We have created, to cattle and many people.”[4] Therefore, the verse “We made from water every living thing”[5] means that water is the perfect cause in creating a living being. Without water, it is impossible for living beings to exist. That does not mean that everything has been created from water. The word “living” qualifies “being” which means that God, the Exalted, made every living thing of water. [6]
Conclusively, this verse does not include angels and Jinns[7] The aforementioned verse, therefore, does not run counter to the verses which say that certain beings were made of other things as we read about the creation of Jinns in the Quran: “And He created Jinns from fire free of smoke.”[8]
However, there is another discussion concerning the universe and creation in an absolute manner and you can refer to index: The Primary Matter of the World, question 272” to learn.
 

[1] Vide: Subhani, Ja’far, al-Elahiyat Alaa Huda al-Kitab wa al-Sunnah wa al-Aql, vol.3, p. 67, 71, 93 -97, Al-Markaz al-Alami Lil-Dirasaat al-Islamiyah, Qom, 3rd edition A.H; “The Place of Miracle in Prophethood of Prophets”, question 11681; Knowing the Claimant of Revelation (Prophet), question 119.
[2] Husseini Hamedani, Sayed Muhammad Hussein, Anwar Darakhshan, vol.11, p. 41, Lutfi Library, Tehran, first edition, 1404 A.H; Makarem Shirazi, Naser, Tafsir Namunah, vol.13, p. 396, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, first edition, 1374 (1995); Vide: The Primary Matter of the World, question 272.
[3] Tayyib, Sayed Abdul Hussein, Atyab al-Bayan fi Tafsir al-Quran, vol.9, p. 168, Islam Publications, Tehran, second edition, 1378 A.H.
[4] Furqan, 49.
[5] Anbiya, 30.
[6] Qarashi, Sayed Ali Akbar, Tafsir Ahsan al-Hadith, vol.6, p. 506, Bunyad Be’that, Tehran, 3rd edition, 1377 (1998).
[7] Tafsir Namunah, vol.13, p. 396; Vide: Abstractness of Angels, question 93.
[8] Al-Rahman, 15.
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