Biblical prophets performed miracles to establish their credentials. For example, Moses said to God in Exodus 4:1, “What if [the Israelites] do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?” How did God respond? He told Moses to throw his staff to the ground; instantly, it turned into a snake. He told Moses to pick it up by its tail; it turned back into a staff. Then God said in Exodus 4:5, “This … is so that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.”
A similar thing happened to Elijah on Mount Carmel: He was challenged, and God sent down fire from heaven to confirm he was a true prophet (see 1 Kings 18:16–39). As for Jesus, he actually came out and said, “Do not believe me unless I do [miracles] of my Father” (John 10:37). And then he did them. Even Nicodemus conceded this when he said to Jesus, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him” (John 3:2).
This kind of confirmation never happened on Muhammad’s behalf. In fact, Muhammad, the founder of Islam, actually believed Jesus was a prophet who performed miracles, including raising the dead. Muslims also believe Moses and Elijah performed miracles. However, in the Koran when unbelievers challenged Muhammad to perform a miracle, he refused. He merely said they should read a chapter in the Koran. (See Sura 2:118; 3:181–84; 4:153; 6:8,9,37 in the Koran.) And yet Muhammad himself said, “God hath certainly power to send down a sign” (Sura 6:37). He even said, “They [will] say: ‘Why is not a sign sent down to him from his Lord?’” (Sura 6:37). Unlike Jesus, miracles were not a sign of Muhammad’s ministry. It wasn’t until 150 or 200 years after Muhammad’s death that his followers invented miracles and ascribed them to him.
Adapted from interview with Dr. Norman Geisler