In the first place, we would like to stress that a mujizah (miracle) is any action that breaks normal patterns and which ordinary human beings are incapable of performing and a challenge which a prophet says to his people: “If you do not accept my message, then such and such will happen to you.” His people then say exactly the same thing to him in disbelief of his message and they exhort him to do something that they may believe in his prophecy.
Here, we would like to add that unlike the mujizah, the karamah is an act of wondrous proportions, and it belongs to those who are righteous rather than the prophets. Thus, an extraordinary action that does not occur specifically in response to a challenge or a denial of a message (on the part of a prophet) is called a karamah.
Having clarified the above, we would like to furnish you with the following response issued by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who states the following: “Allah may bestow certain powers on some of His servants whether saints or devils. The mere fact that someone is performing certain extraordinary feats does not make him a saint. For we believe, just as Christians do, that even devils have been given certain extraordinary powers.
So the only way to know whether a person is a saint or a devil is to see whether he or she conforms to Allah’s Laws and Commandments or not. For if a person is a true servant of Allah, he or she must submit to Him and to Him Alone.
Therefore, if such people had been fully observant of Allah’s Laws, then they are saints; otherwise, they are devils. Allah has given them these powers as a ruse and not as a grace.
Since all power is ultimately from Allah, we glorify Allah and not these people through whom such powers are manifested.”
Shedding more light on the issue, Sheikh Muhammad Nur Abdullah, ISNA President and Member of the Fiqh Council of North America, adds:
“As for the belief in saints, it is wholly a Christian phenomenon. We don’t believe in saints in Islam. As for the miracles they claim, most of them are not true. People can claim whatever they want, but nobody can believe whatever is not true.
However, we believe in what is known as karamah or some supernatural power that Allah can give to a righteous person. This happened with `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) when Allah made him see what was going on in the battlefield (from a great distance). `Umar gave instruction to the commander, Sariya, to seek protection on the mountain, and Sariya got the message. But this can be true because it does not contradict with the action of `Umar as a caliph and as a righteous servant of Allah.
However, if someone claims to have some of these extraordinary powers without adhering to the Sunnah of the Prophet, then nobody can believe him. Imam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah bless his soul) says: “If you see someone flying in the air or walking on water, and he in the meantime, does not act according to the Sunnah of the Prophet, then you should know that this is the work of the Satan.”