Dictionary / Arabic - Turkish Terminology

TAWÂTUR – تواتر


Literally: A continual cropping up of successive acts or events, with slight intervals. The transmission of a piece of intelligence through various confirmatory channels, especially, a consensus of various reporters of a tradition.

Tawâtur is a kind of report transmitted by numerous authorities about which there is no room for doubt. A report confirmed by a consensus.



Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm declared his nubuwwah and presented to humanity such a decree as the Qur'an of Mighty Stature and such manifest miracles up to the number one thousand according to the Ahl al-Tahqîq. The occurrence of those miracles in their entirety is as certain as the fact that he declared himself nubuwwah. In fact, as is shown by the words of the most obstinate kâfirs quoted in various places of Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm, even they could not deny the occurrence of his miracles, but only called them Hâsha! sihr, in order to satisfy themselves, or to deceive their followers.

The miracles of Ahmad (asm) have the certainty of a hundred tawâtur’s strength. The miracle is the confirmation by Al-Khâliq of the universe of his claim; it has the effect of the words, “Sadakta”1 Suppose that you said in the assembly of a sultân while being observed by him, "The sultân has appointed me to such-and-such a position." At a time when you were asked for a proof of your claim, the word "Yes" uttered by the sultân would sufficiently support you. Or, if the sultân changed his usual practice and attitude at your request, this would confirm your claim even more soundly and more definitely than would the word "Yes."

In the same way, Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm claimed: "I am the envoy of Al-Khâliq of the universe. My proof is that He will change His unbroken order at my request and my du'â. Now look at my fingers: He causes them to run like a fountain with five spigots. Look at the moon: by a gesture of my finger, He splits it in two. Look at that tree: to affirm me and to bear witness to me, it moves and comes near to me. Look at this food: although it is barely enough for two or three men, it satisfies two or three hundred." He demonstrated too hundreds of similar miracles.

However, the evidences of the sidq of this being and the proofs of his nubuwwah are not restricted to his miracles. All his deeds and acts, his words and behaviour, his moral conduct and manners, his character and appearance prove to the attentiveness of his sidq and seriousness. Indeed, many people such as 'Abd Allah b. Salam, the famous ‘âlim of the Son of Israel, came to îmân merely by seeing his face, and said, "No lie can hide in this face, nor fraud be found in it!"

Although muhaqqiqîn ‘ulamâ have said that the proofs of the nubuwwah and the miracles up to the number of one thousand, there are thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, of proofs of the nubuwwah. And hundreds of thousands of men with varying opinions have affirmed his nubuwwah in hundreds of thousands of ways. Al-Qur'an Al-Hakîm alone demonstrates a thousand of the proofs of Ahmad ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm’s nubuwwah, in addition to its own forty aspects of miraculousness.

Since there is nubuwwah in humanity, and hundreds of thousands of individuals who claimed nubuwwah and performed miracles have lived and passed away, of a certainty the nubuwwah of Ahmad (asm) is superior to all the others. For whatever evidences, qualities, and attributes made rasûls such as ‘Îsâ ‘Alayhissalâm and Mûsâ ‘Alayhissalâm be known as prophets (Nabî) and were the means of their messengership, they were all possessed more perfectly and comprehensively by Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm. And since the causes and means of nubuwwah were more perfectly present in the person of Ahmad (asm), the decree of nubuwwah was to be found in him with more certainty than in all the others.


The miracles of Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm were extremely varied. Since his messengership was universal, he endowed with miracles that related to almost all species of the universe. Just as the supreme lieutenant of a renowned sultân, arriving with many gifts in a city where various peoples live, will be welcomed by a representative of each group, who acclaims him and bids him welcome in his own language; so too when the supreme Lieutenant of As-Sultân of Pre-Eternity and Post-Eternity honoured al-‘âlam by coming as an envoy to the inhabitants of the earth, and brought with him the nûr of haqiqah and ma’nawî gifts sent by Al-Khâliq of the universe, which were connected to the haqiqahs of the whole universe, each groups - from water, rocks, trees, animals and human beings to the moon, the sun and the stars- each welcomed him and acclaimed his nubuwwah, each in its own language, and each bearing one of his miracles in their hands.

Now it would require a voluminous work to mention all his miracles. As muhaqqiqîn asfiyâ have written many volumes concerning the proofs of his nubuwwah, here we will briefly point out only the general categories into which fall the miracles that are definite and ma’nawî mutawâtir.

The evidences of the nubuwwah of Ahmad (asm) fall into two main categories:

The First is called “irhâsat” and includes the wondrous events that happened at the time of his birth, or before his nubuwwah.

The Second group pertains to all the remaining evidences of his nubuwwah, and contains two subdivisions:

The first are those wonders that were manifested after his departure from this world in order to confirm his nubuwwah, and the second, those that he exhibited during the Era of Bliss. The latter has also two parts:

The first, the evidences of his nubuwwah that became manifest in his own personality, his inner and outer being, his moral conduct and perfections, and the second, the miracles manifested in the outer world, âfâkî2 . The last part again has two branches:

One, ma’nawî and those concerning the Qur'an, and the other, those relating to materiality and the universe. This last branch is again divided into two categories:

The first involves the wondrous miracles that occurred during his claim of nubuwwah either to break the stubbornness of the people of kufr or to augment the îmân of the people of îmân. This category has twenty different sorts, such as the splitting of the moon, the flowing of water from his fingers, the satisfying of large numbers with a little food, and the speaking of trees, rocks and animals. Each of these sorts also has many instances, and each has the degree of ma’nawî tawâtur. As for the second category, they are the events lying in the future that he reported. He reported through Janâb-i Haqq's instructions and it occurred as he had reported. Now, starting from the last category, we will summarize a list of them.{ Unfortunately, I could not write as I had intended. Without will, I wrote as my heart dictated, and I could not completely conform to the order of this classification.}


There is no limit to the reports Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm gave concerning the matters of ghayb through the instruction of Al-‘Allâm Al-Ghuyûb. As we have mentioned the types of these reports in the Twenty-Fifth Word, which is about the miraculousness of the Qur'an, and to a degree explained and proved them, we now refer to that Word, the explanation of the information he gave concerning the ghayb about past times and prophets, as well as haqiqahs concerning Allah, the universe and the âkhirah, and will point out a few particular examples of his many true reports concerning the ghayb, after his departure from this world, about the Sahâbah, âl al-bayt and the events that will happen in the ummah. But first, for a complete understanding of this haqiqah, we will state Six Principles by way of an introduction.

First Principle

All the states and acts of Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm may testify to his sidq and nubuwwah, but not all the states and acts of his have to be wondrous. For Janâb-i Haqq sent him in the form of a human being so that he may be a guide and imam to the acts and deeds  of man in by means of which they attain happiness of the world and the âkhirah and to their social affairs and so that he may display disposal of Ilahî Qoudrah and Rabbânî art that are wondrous within the customary, each of which is a miracle of Ilahî Qoudrah. He could not have been an imam personally if he had abandoned the human state and become wondrous; he could not have instructed with his acts, states and demeanour. But only to prove his nubuwwah to the obstinate people, he became the place of manifestation for wondrous works and displayed miracles on occasion, when the need arose. But as a requirement of examination and trial which is the mystery of man's accountability, certainly, miracles would have not occurred in an evident degree and to a degree that would compel to confirm willingly or unwillingly. Because the mystery of testing and the hikmah of man's accountability requires opening the door to the mind (aql) and not taking the mind’s will away. The will of the mind does not remain if it is so evident. Abu Jahl may believe as Abu Bakr believed. Test and man’s accountability through the obligations placed on him by Allah may remain fruitless. Coal and diamond would have remained at the same level.

It is a source of amazement that while thousands of men of different character came to îmân through observing a single of his miracles, a single proof of his nubuwwah, or a word of his, or through merely seeing his face and so also with a single sign, some wretches are nowadays going to dhalâlah as if those thousands of proofs of his nubuwwah are not sufficient evidence, although they all have come down to us through sahîh transmission and with certain proofs, and have caused many thousands of exacting scholars and thinkers and different men to accept îmân.

Second Principle

Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm was a human being; hence he acted like a human being. He was also a Rasûl, and with regard to his messengership, he was an interpreter and an envoy of Janâb-i Haqq. His messengership was based upon wahy, which is of two kinds:

The First is al-wahy as-sarîh (explicit wahy). In this case, Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm is merely an interpreter and announcer, with no share in the content. The Qur'an and some Sacred Hadith are included in this kind of wahy.

The Second is al-wahy al-dhimnî (implicit wahy). The essence and summary of this sort are also based on wahy or ilham, but its explanation and description were left to Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm. When he explained and described such wahy, sometimes Ahmad ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm again relied on wahy, or on ilham, or sometimes he declared with his own farâsah. And, when he resorted to his own ijtihad, he declared on account of his prophetic mission with elevated, sacred quwwa, or he declared on account of his humanity with common usage, custom and the level of common comprehension.

Thus, all the details of every Hadith are not necessarily derived from pure wahy, nor should the lofty marks of messengership be sought in such thoughts and transactions of his as are required by his participation in the human state. Since some events came to him by wahy in a brief and unconditional form, and he himself described them with his own farâsah and according to common comprehension, the mutashabihât in his descriptions sometimes may need tafsir or even interpretation. There are, indeed, some haqiqahs that the human mind can grasp only by way of comparison. For example, once in the presence of the Prophet, a loud noise was heard. The Prophet said, "This is the noise of a rock that has been rolling down for seventy years and has now reached the lowest depths of Jahannam." An hour later the news came that a famous munâfiq who had recently turned seventy years old had died and gone to Jahannam, thus explaining the event Ahmad ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm had described by means of an eloquent comparison.

Third Principle

If narrated reports are in the form of tawâtur, it is indisputable. There are two kinds of tawâtur: one is “explicit (sarîh) tawâtur,” the other is “ma’nawî tawâtur”. The ma’nawî tawâtur is also of two kinds: the first is sukûtî3 . That is, acceptance shown by keeping silent. For example, if a man in a jamâ’ah reports an incident under the view of that jamâ’ah and the jamâ’ah do not contradict him, that is, they respond to him by keeping silent, this implies their acceptance. In particular, if that jamâ’ah does not accept any error, will consider any lie reprehensible,  is ready to criticize and, in addition, is related with the reported incident, the silence of that jamâ’ah testifies strongly to the incident has occurred.

The second kind of ma’nawî tawâtur is that, which occurs when different people relate a particular incident, for example, one okka4 of food fed two hundred people, in different versions-one person describes in one way, another in another way, and another in yet another way, but all are unanimously agreed on the occurrence of the incident. Thus, the occurrence of this certain incident is mutawâtir in meaning (mutawâtir bi’l ma’na), and is definite; differences in form does not harm. But apart from this, there are times when a report supplied by a single person expresses the certainty like tawâtur, under certain conditions. It also sometimes happens that a single report expresses certainty when supported by other, outside evidences.

Most of the reports concerning the miracles and the evidences of his nubuwwah of Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm that have come down to us are tawâtur, either of the category of explicit (sarîh), or ma’nawî, or sukûtî5 . As for the others, although they are the report of a single person, they also have the certainty of tawâtur as they have received the acceptance of the meticulous muhaddisîn6 . Of such muhaqqiq ‘Ulamâ of Hadith were called al-Hâfidh, who had committed to memory at least 100,000 Hadiths, also such muttaqî ‘Ulamâ of Hadith were those geniuses who offered for fifty years their morning salâh with the wudû’ of the night salâh, and who produced the six accurate books of Hadith headed by those of Bukhari and Muslim. Without doubt, any report scrutinized and accepted by those great ‘Ulamâ cannot fall short of the certainty of 'tawâtur.' For the muhaqqiqs of the science of Hadith and its examiners acquired such intimacy with the Hadiths, became so familiar and acquired mastery with Ar-Rasûl Al-Akram ‘Alayhissalâtu Wassalâm’s manner of expression and exalted style that they could spot at first sight a single mawdu’ among a hundred hadiths, and would say “It is mawdu’ ”, saying, "This cannot be a hadith; it does not have his wording." and reject it. Since they were able to recognize the precious quality of the Hadith, like an expert jeweller, there was no possibility of their confusing any other word with that of the Prophet. Some muhaqqiqîn, however, such as Ibn al-Jawzi, went to ifrât in their criticism as to regard many sahîh Hadiths as mawdu’. Nevertheless, this does not mean that the meaning of every mawdu’ is wrong; rather it means that the wording itself is not a Hadith.

Question: What is the benefit of citing the chain of transmission of a tradition so that even if it is not called for in the case of a well-known incident they say: "So-and-so informed so-and-so, etc."?

Answer: Its benefits are many, and one is that the citing of the chain shows the concurrence of the truthful, reliable and exacting ‘Ulamâ of Hadith and the unanimity of the ahl al-tahqîq whose names are included; each of the Imams and great ‘Ulamâ signs, as it were, for the accuracy of the Hadith, and places his seal on it.

Question: Why were the miraculous events not transmitted through numerous chains, with as great emphasis and in the form of tawâtur as the necessary injunctions of the Sharî’ah?

Answer: Because the majority of the injunctions of the Sharî’ah are needed by most people at most times, for those injunctions are related to each individual, like a fardh ‘ayn7 But the miracles; not everyone needs to know of every miracle; even if he does, it suffices him to hear it only once. It is, in fact, like the kind of obligation the observance of which by some will absolve the rest; it is quite enough for miracles to be known only to some, like fardh kifâyah8 . For this reason, even if the occurrence and reality of a miracle ten times more certain than that of an injunction of the Sharî’ah, it will still come to us through one or two narrators, whereas the injunction is narrated by ten or twenty persons.” The Nineteenth Letter

1 ("You have spoken truly!")

2 (Pertains to the universe and the events contained within it. )

3 (Pertaining to keeping silent. The consensus is implied 'by silence.')

4 (One okka was the equivalent of 2.8 lbs. or 1,300 gr.)

5 (Pertaining to keeping silent. The consensus is implied 'by silence.')

6 (authorities on Hadith)

7 (fardh on each individual)

8 (A fardh which is not obligatory for every individual Muslim; when some Muslims fulfil it, others become exempt from it. If nobody fulfils it, then the whole community becomes responsible for it and everybody is regarded to have committed a sin; like performing the janazah prayer when a Muslim dies.)

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