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Full text of "Ahle sunnat urdu magazines,urdu islamic book,"

Knowledge of the Unseen and the Five l 

Mawlana 'Abdul Hakim SharfQadri 

Translated by Abu Hanzala 2 
(Released by www.aqdas.co.uk) 



All praise to Allah, who knows the manifest and hidden. The knowledge of the unseen of 
the heavens and Earth are only for Him and by revelation, He grants news of the unseen 
to His Prophets as He wishes. Peace and salutations upon His revered Messenger 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam to whom we turn and his family who are epitomes of 
righteousness and his companions. 

Allah gifted His Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam with innumerable qualities and 
distinctions; one of which is that He granted him more knowledge than all knowledge of 
the first and the last. He informed him of many hidden things and it is His habit that he 
unveils hidden things upon His Prophets and friends. 

Definition of Ghayb 

Before presenting the evidences, it is important to define Ghayb. Imam Baydawi writes: 

Ghayb is that which can be understood neither by the senses nor with the effort of 
the intellect. It has two forms: 

1 . That for which there is no proof. This is what is meant by the verse: And 
with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures - none knows them but He 
[6:59]. 

2. That for which there is proof such as Allah and His attributes; the day of 
judgement and its occurrences and this is what is meant by the verse: 
Those who believe in the unseen [2:3]. 3 

Regarding the verse: Those who believe in the unseen, Imam Baydawi writes: 



1 The original book is available at http://www.razanw.org/modules/sunnibooks/item. php?itemid= 105 

2 Translation began on 1 st Ramadan, 1430 AH 

3 Tafsir Baydawi, p. 128 



Linguistically, Iman means testifying. Sometimes, it also refers to certainty. Both 
meanings are appropriate in this verse. 4 

It is evident from these two excerpts that an ordinary believer knows that unseen for 
which there is proof because when Iman means testifying and testifying is a type of 
knowledge; then the verse Those who believe in the unseen means that Muslims know the 
unseen and can know that unseen for which there is proof and Allah informing them is 
the biggest proof for this. 

Imam Zarqani writes: 

Allah has made us responsible to believe in the unseen only because He 
sometimes opens the doors of the unseen upon us. This is what Imam Ghazzali 
has pointed towards in the marginalia of Ihya al- 'Ulum. 5 

It must be pondered that if ordinary Muslims know the unseen, then what will be the 
level of the knowledge of the unseen of Allah's Prophets and friends and in particular the 
dear Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam? 

Evidence from the Qur'an 

There are many verses of the Qur'an which prove that Allah bestowed His Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam with knowledge of many hidden things. We shall mention 
some of them: 

1. Nor is Allah going to make you acquainted with the unseen, but Allah chooses of 
His Messengers whom He pleases. 6 

2. The Knower of the unseen, He does not reveal His secrets to any, except to him 
whom He chooses as a Messenger. 7 

3. Oh Prophet, these are announcements relating to the unseen which We reveal to 
you. 8 

4. And this Prophet is not avid of the unseen. 9 

5. And taught you that knowledge of the unseen which you could not have known by 
yourself and Allah's grace on you is very great. 10 



4 Tafsir Baydawi, p.123-124 

5 Sharh Mawahib al-Ladunniya, v.7, p. 229 

6 3:179 

7 72:26-27 

8 11:49 

9 81:24 

10 4:113 



6. The most affectionate taught the Qur'an to His beloved. He created the perfect 
man and taught him whatever had already happened and whatever will happen. ! ! 

Evidence from the hadith 

The hadith on this subject are numerous but for conciseness, we shall present only a few. 

1. Mu'adh ibn Jabal radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that once, the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam was late for the Fajr prayer. He then arrived and after leading the 
prayer, he said: Indeed, I shall inform you what caused my delay today. I stood in 
prayer at night and did so for as long as Allah wished. During prayer, I felt tired 
and when I awoke, I was present before my Lord in the best manner. Allah said: 
Oh Muhammad, do you know what the closest angels are arguing about? I said: 
Oh my Lord, I do not know. I then saw that Allah placed His hand 12 of mercy 
between my shoulders until I felt its coolness in my chest. Then, everything 
became enlightened for me and I recognised it. 13 

2. Abu Bakr Siddiq radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam performed the morning prayer and stayed in his position through the 
time of Duha [between sunrise and meridian] and did so till he offered Dhuhr, 
'Asr, Maghrib and Tsha. During this time, he conversed with no one and he then 
stood and walked away. Abu Bakr radiyAllahu 'anhu asked about this and the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam replied: Yes, all occurrences in this world and 
the hereafter were presented before me. 14 

3. Tariq ibn Shihab narrates that he heard 'Umar radiyAllahu 'anhu say: The Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam stood amongst us and informed us about events from 
the beginning of creation till the entrance of people into paradise and hell. 
Whoever remembered it, remembered it and whoever forgot it, forgot it. 15 

4. Hudhaifa radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam 
stood amongst us spoke and he did not leave out any occurrence till the day of 
judgment. Whoever remembered it, remembered it and whoever forgot it, forgot 
it. My companions learned of this. When I see something about which the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam had mentioned that I had forgotten, I recall it upon 
seeing it. Like that person who remembers a face when it is absent; when he sees 
it again, he remembers it. 16 

5. Abu Zayd radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam 
led us in the morning prayer. He then climbed the pulpit and sermonised until the 



"55:1-4 

12 The hadith has the words Yad and Anamil for Allah. These are from the ambiguous whose reality our 
intellect cannot reach. Allah is free from a body and hands - Sharf Qadri 

13 Musnad Ahmad, v.5, p.243, Beirut 

14 Ibid 

15 Sahih Bukhari, v.l,p.453 

16 Sahih Muslim, v.2, p.390 



time of Dhuhr for which he descended the pulpit and led us. He then ascended the 
pulpit and spoke till 'Asr for which he stepped down and led us. He then ascended 
the pulpit again and orated till sunset. Thus, he informed of past and future events. 
The most knowledgeable of us is whose memory in the strongest. 17 

6. Thawban radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam 
said: Indeed Allah folded the Earth for me and I have seen its East and West. 18 

7. Anas ibn Malik radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that some people continuously 
questioned the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. So, one day he came and 
ascended the pulpit and said: Ask me. I will answer any question that you pose. 
Anas says that a man who was attributed to other than his father asked: Oh 
Prophet of Allah! Who is my father? The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam 
said: Hudhafa. 19 

We say that if Allah had not gifted his Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam with copious 
knowledge, then the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam would not have issued an 
unconditional challenge that ask me whatever you wish. 

8. The famous exegete, Sudai, says that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said 
that my nation was presented to me in form of idols made of sand as it was 
presented before Adam 'alaihis salam. I was told which of them will believe in me 
and who will deny. These words reached the hypocrites so they said mockingly: 
Muhammad claims to know about people who are not yet born and whether they 
will affirm or deny him even though we are with him and he does not know about 
us. When this reached the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, he ascended the 
pulpit, praised Allah and said: What is the state of those people who object to my 
knowledge? Ask me about whatever you wish till the day of judgement, I will 
inform you. 'AbdAllah ibn Hudhafa stood and asked: Oh Prophet of Allah, who is 
my father? He replied: Your father is Hudhafa. Then 'Umar radiyAllahu 'anhu 
stood and said: Oh Prophet of Allah, we are satisfied that Allah is the Lord, Islam 
is the religion, the Qur'an is the leader and you are a Prophet. Forgive us. The 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: Will you refrain? Will you refrain? 20 

9. Abu Musa Ash'ari radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam was asked about things which displeased him. When people continued 
to question him about such things abundantly, he became angry and said: You can 
ask me whatever you wish. One man asked who his father is. He replied: 
Hudhafa. Another man stood and asked the same. He replied: Your father is 
Salim, the freed slave of Shayba. 21 



7 Sahih Muslim, v.l, p.390 

8 Ibid. 

9 Ibid. 

Tafsir Khazin, v.l, p.382, Egypt 

1 Sahih Bukhari, v.l, p. 19-20 



10. Abu Hurayra radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that a wolf once came to a shepherd and 
took one of his goats. Upon this, the shepherd challenged the wolf and took back 
his goat which caused the wolf to climb a rock and stand on its tail. He said: Allah 
has given me sustenance but you took it from me. The shepherd replied: By Allah, 
I have not heard a wolf speak to this day. The wolf said: More amazing than this 
is that a man is present in Madina who gives you news of the past and future. Abu 
Hurayra says that this shepherd was a Jew who then came to the presence of the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and relayed this event. The Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam affirmed it and he became a Muslim. 22 

11. Imam Qastalani writes that Imam Tabrani relates from 'AbdAllah ibn 'Umar 
radiyAllahu 'anhuma that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: Indeed 
Allah raised the world for me, hence, I can see the world and whatever will occur 
in it till the day of judgement like I see the palm of my hand. 23 

Imam Zarqani writes in its commentary: Thus I have encompassed everything that 
is in this world. 

He also writes: Since he is truthful and it is necessary to believe in his sayings, it 
is known that after his demise, whatever events transpire before people are from 
those that he saw when the world was presented to him. 24 

12. The companion, Sawad bin Qarib radiyAllahu 'anhu, recited poetry in the 
presence of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam amongst which is this line: 

/ bear witness that there is not deity except Allah 
And indeed he was entrusted with all of the unseen 

It is evident that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam can only be entrusted with all of 
the unseen when he has knowledge of it too and if it is Shirk as the Wahabis claim, then 
the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam would have rebuked it strongly. He did not stop 
Sawad, hence, we learn that it is not Shirk. 

13. ibn Hisham relates that in the year of the conquest of Makkah, the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam was circumambulating the Ka'bah when Fudala bin 
'Umar Laythi intended to martyr him. When he neared, the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam asked: Are you Fudala? He affirmed. The Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam asked: What were you planning in your heart? Nothing, I was 
remembering Allah, he responded. The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam smiled 



Mishkat, p.541, Karachi 

23 Mawahib al-Ladunniya ma'a Sharh Zarqani, v.7, p.234, Egypt 

24 Sharh Mawahib, v.7, p.234 

25 Mukhtasar Sirat al-Rasul, p. 69, 'AbdAllah bin Muhammad ibn 'Abdul Wahhab Najdi, Maktaba Salfiya 
Lahore 



and said: Seek forgiveness from Allah. He then placed his blessed hand on 
Fudala's chest which gave it tranquillity. Fudala used to say that the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam had not lifted his hand from my chest that my state 
became such that nothing in creation was more beloved to me than the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. 26 

The Unseen Five and the Soul 

Allah says: 

Surely Allah is He with Whom is the knowledge of the hour, and He sends 

down the rain and He knows what is in the wombs; and no one knows what 

he shall earn on the morrow; and no one knows in what land he shall die; 

surely Allah is Knowing, Aware. 27 

Does this verse mean that only Allah has knowledge of these five things and that no one 
can know them? The reality is that these five things, rather, all knowledge of the unseen 
is specific to Allah. He bestows knowledge upon whomsoever He pleases and no one can 
prevent Him from imparting knowledge. He says: 

And they cannot comprehend anything out of His knowledge 
except what He pleases. 28 

Knowledge of the Hour [Judgement Day] 

Allah says: 

The Knower of the unseen, He does not reveal His secrets to any, except to 
him whom He chooses as a Messenger. 29 

Imam Zamakhshari Mu'tazali writes: 

Here, Messenger refers to those chosen by Allah, meaning he only informs of the 
specific unseen to those whom He elects as Prophets. Not all favoured and elect 
people are meant. 

He continues: 

This verse disproves miracles of non-Prophets because Allah only informs His 
Messengers of the unseen. 30 



26 Fiqh al-Sira, p.363, Beirut, Dr. Sa'id Ramadan al-Buti; al-Sirat al-Nabawiyya, v.2, p.276, Imam 'Abdul 
Malik bin Hisham 

27 31:34 

28 2:255 

29 72:26-27 

30 Tafsir al-Kash'shaf, v.4, p. 172, Tehran 



Since Zamakhshari is a Mu'tazali, his denial of miracles from non-Prophets is due to his 
I'tizal which has been refuted by many commentators. 

Imam Razi writes: 

Allah says: He does not reveal His secrets to any. Here, Ghayb is not the ordinary 
unseen, rather, we say that it refers to the time of Qiyamah. This is supported by 
the fact the verse comes after the verse: I do not know whether that with which 
you are threatened is near 31 which means that I do not know of the time of 
Qiyamah by myself. There is no proof in the verse which shows that Allah does 
not reveal the unseen upon anyone, rather, it means that Allah does not reveal this 
specific unseen [knowledge of the hour] to anyone except His chosen Messengers. 

He continues: 

If it is asked that if you have designated the meaning of this verse towards 
knowledge of the hour, then why does Allah say: Except to whom He chooses as 
a Messenger, even though He does not reveal this unseen upon any of His 
Messengers? We reply that near the hour, Allah will reveal it upon them and how 
can it not be when Allah says: The Day the heaven shall be rent asunder with 
clouds, and angels shall be sent down, descending in ranks [25:25]. Doubtless, the 
angels will get to know this knowledge with the commencement of Qiyamah. 32 

Where there is negation of Dirayah in some places, such as the verse: And no one knows 
what he shall earn on the morrow; and no one knows in what land he shall die; this means 
that no one can know with their own effort and exertion what he will do tomorrow or 
where he will die. This certainly does not mean that Allah cannot grant this knowledge to 
whom He wills. 

Imam Badr al-Din ' Ayni explains the word Dirayah: 

Dirayah refers to obtaining knowledge through ones own efforts. 33 

The earlier scholars differed as to whether the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam was 
granted the knowledge of the time of Qiyamah. There are two schools: 

1. Some scholars opine that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam was not told of 
the exact time of Qiyamah but it is imperative to bear in mind that these scholars 
believed this according to their research and certainly not because [Allah forbid] 
they intended to denigrate the rank of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. 



1 72:25 

2 Tafsir al-Kabir, v.30, p. 168, Egypt 

3 'Umdat al-Qari, v.l, p.293, Beirut 



2. The second school believers that Allah even bestowed the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam with the knowledge of when Qiyamah will happen. Neither 
school is the target of any sneer. 

The Mu'tazila repudiate two things using the verse The Knower of the unseen, He does 
not reveal His secrets to any, except to him whom He chooses as a Messenger. Firstly, 
the miracles of the saints and secondly that Allah does not bestow the knowledge of the 
unseen upon them. The conclusion of this is that Ghayb in this verse refers to the time of 
Qiyamah and it is permissible for Allah to inform His chosen Messengers of this. 

Imam Taftazani refuted the Mu'tazila thusly: 

Here, Ghayb is not for generality, rather it is to denote a specific unseen 
knowledge which, according to the context, is the time of Qiyamah. It is not far 
fetched that Allah informs some of His Messengers of this; whether they be 
angelic Messengers or human. 34 

Imam Sayyid Mahmud Alusi writes about the time of Qiyamah: 

It is permissible to believe that Allah gave the exact knowledge of the time of 
Qiyamah to His beloved sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam but not such that his 
knowledge is equal to the knowledge of Allah. Due to some wisdom, He made it 
necessary for the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam to conceal this and this 
knowledge is specific to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam though I have not 
seen any absolute evidence for this. 35 

Imam Qurtubi writes: 

Whoever claims to know these five things without the intermediation of the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is a liar. 36 

The meaning of this is clear that whoever claims to know these five things with the 
intermediation of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is truthful, otherwise, placing 
the restriction of attaining them without the intermediation of the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam holds no significance. 

Imam Suyuti writes: 

Some scholars hold that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam has been given 
the knowledge of even the five and he knows the time of Qiyamah and of the Soul 
but has been ordered to conceal this. 37 



34 Sharh Maqasid, v.2, p.205, Lahore 

35 Tafsir Ruh al-Ma'ani, v. 21, p. 101, Tehran 

36 Fath al-Bari, v.l, p.132, Egypt; 'Umdat al-Qari, v.l, p.290, Beirut; Mirqat, v.l, p.65, Multan; Tafsir Ruh 
al-Ma'ani, v.21, p. 100 

37 Khasa'is al-Kubra, v.2, p.95, Faisalabad 



Imam 'Abdul Baqi Zarqani states: 

Apart from the keys the unseen five, Allah has bestowed the knowledge of other 
knowledge upon the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and it has been said that 
He bestowed the five too and forbidden him to inform others, as stated in 
Khasa 'is al-Kubra. 

Imam 'Abdul Ra'uf Manawi writes: 

No one knows these five things, meaning no one can encompass them so as to 
know every minute detail regarding them. This is not contradictory of Allah 
informing His chosen people of several unseen things and even these five because 
they are a few parts. The denial of the Mu'tazila is without proof and 
stubbornness. 39 

The Ghawth of his era, 'Abdul 'Aziz Dabbagh, writes: 

How can the knowledge of these five be hidden from the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam when it is not concealed upon leading saints. The saints cannot 
dispose of affairs in the universe until they know the knowledge of the five. 40 

Imam Ahmad Rida Baraylawi writes: 

Does the verse 31:34 prove that only Allah knows the unseen five and they are 
specific to Him? 

He answers: 

These verses do not prove any specificity never mind particular specificity. Have 
you not seen that from these five things, some do not even point towards 
specificity. This is why Allah says: He sends down the rain and He knows what is 
in the wombs. We do not accept that just because these things have been used to 
praise Allah, knowledge of them is specific to Him. Allah has praised Himself 
with the attributes of hearing and seeing and has done so for His creation too. He 
says: He gave you hearing and sight and intelligence and affections 41 . 

Secondly, if specificity is accepted, then the question remains: What is special 
about these five things that there is no way for Allah to reveal them? 42 



Sharh Mawahib al-Ladunniya, v.l, p. 10. Egypt 
9 Fayd al-Qadir, v.3, p.485, Beirut 

al-Ibriz, p.283, Egypt 

1 16:78; 32:9; 67:23 

2 al-Dawlah al-Makkiya, p. 3 10, Karachi 



Knowledge of Rainfall 

Imam Jalal al-Din Suyuti has entitled a chapter in his Khasa 'is al-Kubra: The Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam gave news of rain in Yemen. He then wrote: 

Imam Bayhaqi narrates through his chain from ' Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas radiyAllahu 
'anhuma that it once rained and the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam came to us 
and told us: The angel deputised for rainfall came to me. After greeting me he 
informed me that he is taking the rain to a valley in Yemen called Sarih. 
Thereafter, a traveller came to me and upon being asked, told me that on the same 
day, rain fell in their land. 

Imam Bayhaqi said that this is supported by the narration of Bakr ibn 'AbdAllah 
Mazani who said that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam told us: The angel of 
rainfall came to from a certain city where it had rained on a particular day. The 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam asked him: When will it rain in our city? On a 
certain day, he replied. Some hypocrites were in the presence of the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and they remembered this dialogue. When they 
researched it, they found that it had actually rained on that day and thus, they 
became believers. They mentioned this event to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam who prayed for steadfastness in their belief. 43 

Imam Alusi Baghdadi writes: 

Imam Qastalani said that when Allah orders the angel of rainfall to go to a certain 
city, those angels get to know this and Allah informs from His creation whom He 
wills about the knowledge of rainfall. 44 

Allah mentions the story of Yusuf 'alaihis salam thusly: 

He said: You shall sow for seven years continuously, then what you reap 
leave it in its ear except a little of which you eat. Then there shall come after 

that seven years of hardship which shall eat away all that you have 

beforehand laid up in store for them, except a little of what you shall have 

preserved. Then there will come after that a year in which people shall have 

rain and in which they shall press (oil). 45 

Notice how Yusuf 'alaihis salam gave news of abundance and surplus after famine. All of 
this happened by Allah informing him of it. 



Khasa'is al-Kubra, v.2, p. 103, Faisalabad 

4 Tafsir Ruh al-Ma'ani, v.21, p.100, Tehran 

5 12:47-49 



10 



Knowledge of what is in the Womb 

1. Umm Fadl bint Harith radiyAllahu 'anha narrates that she went to the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and asked: Oh Prophet of Allah, I saw a strange dream 
last night. When she explained what she had seen, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam said: You have seen something very good. It means that Fatima [the 
daughter of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam] will give birth to a boy whom 
you will nurture. Umm Fadl said that this is what happened when Husayn 
radiyAllahu 'anhu was born. According to what the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam had foretold, he was nurtured by me [Imam Bayhaqi narrated this in 
Dala 'il al-Nubuwwah] . 

2. Abu Nu'aym narrates through his own chain from ibn 'Abbas radiyAllahu 
'anhuma that Umm Fadl passed by the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said to her: There is a boy in your womb. 
When he is born, bring him to me. She says that when the boy was born, I took 
him to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam who proclaimed the adhan in his 
right ear and takbir in his left and gifted him his blessed saliva as medicine and 
named him ' AbdAllah. He then said: Take the father of the Khulafa. Umm Fadl 
told 'Abbas of this who then came to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and 
the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: What you have been informed of is 
true; he is the father of the Khulafa. From him will be Safah, Mahdi and the one 
who leads Tsa ibn Maryam in prayer. 47 

3. Imam Muhammad narrates from 'Aisha radiyAllahu 'anhu that Abu Bakr 
radiyAllahu 'anhu said to her: This belongs to the heirs and they are your two 
brothers and two sisters. Divide it between you according to the Qur'an. 'Aisha 
asked: Father, by Allah, I would not take of it even if it is this much. Asma' is my 
only sister, who is the other? He replied: The daughter of Kharja [his wife] 
because I feel there is a girl in her womb. Hence, it so happened that a girl was 
born. 48 

4. Hudhaifa bin Asyad narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: 
The seed stays in the womb for 40-45 days and then an angel comes to it and 
says: Oh Lord, is this child privileged or not? It is written according to the order 
and the angel then asks: Is it a male or female? This too is written where after its 
actions, influence, age and sustenance are written. The scrolls are then tied after 
which no change can occur in them. 49 

All this knowledge is given by Allah to His Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, Abu 
Bakr radiyAllahu 'anhu and the angel responsible for the womb. Modern medicine has 
advanced so much in this age that experts can determine the gender of the child through 



Mishkat al-Masabih, p.572, Karachi 
7 Mawahib al-Ladunniya ma' a Sharh, v. 7, p. 254 
3 Muwatta Imam Muhammad, p. 349-350, Karachi 
5 Sahih Muslim, v.2, p.333 



11 



apparatus. Not just this, they can tell if the child is properly formed and see its features. If 
Allah grants this knowledge to His chosen people, then to deem it impossible in this day 
and age is erroneous. 

Knowledge of what will happen tomorrow 

The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam gave much news of future events. Details of 
these can be seen in al-Shifa ', Mawahib al-Ladunniya and other books of Sira. We shall 
mention only a few things here that are connected with news of the future. 

1. Anas ibn Malik radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam placed his hands on the ground and said: Such and such an infidel will 
die here and another here. Wherever the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam had 
indicated, no infidel died at any other place than it. 50 

Look how accurately the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam gave news of the future and 
it transpired exactly how he told it. 

Imam Nawawi commentates on this hadith: 

This hadith mentions two miracles one of which is wherever the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam had specified, no infidel leader fell at even a slightly 
different place. 51 

2. Salma ibn Akwa' narrates that 'Ali radiyAllahu 'anhu was left behind during 
Khaybar due to eye pain. He thought that he would be left further behind and thus 
he met with the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. The night before the 
conquest, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said that tomorrow, I will give 
the flag to that person or that person will hold the flag [the narrator is uncertain] 
who is beloved to Allah and His Prophet or who loves Allah and His Prophet. 
Allah will grant victory at his hands. Suddenly, we saw 'Ali radiyAllahu 'anhu 
even though we did not expect his arrival. The people said: Here is 'Ali and then 
the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam gifted the flag to him and Allah granted 
victory through him. 52 

3. Abu Tufayl 'Amir ibn Wathila narrates that Mu'adh radiyAllahu 'anhu said that 
we left for Tabuk with the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. The Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: Insha' Allah, we will reach the spring of Tabuk 
tomorrow and you shall reach it at the time of Duha. Whoever reaches it must not 
touch its water before my arrival. 53 



50 SahihMuslim,v.2,p.l02 

51 Sharh Muslim, v.2, p. 102 

52 Sahih Muslim, v.2, p.279 

53 Musnad Ahmad, v.5, p.237 



12 



4. 'AbdAllah ibn Rawaha radiyAllahu 'anhu said in his poetry: The Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam showed us the path when we were wondering like 
blind people. Our hearts are certain that whatever the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam said will surely come true. 54 

Commentating on this poetry, Imam Qastalani writes: 

Our hearts are certain that whatever news of the unseen the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam gave will surely come true. 55 

When 'Abdul Rahman ibn Rawaha recited these verses in the presence of the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: 

Your brother is neither speaking incorrectly nor obscenely. 56 

Hence, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam verified the words of 'AbdAllah ibn 
Rawaha that whatever news of the unseen he foretells, they will indeed occur. These are 
news of the future. 

5. Hassan ibn Thabit radiyAllahu 'anhu says: 

Alj*. (jJill <_sjj V Lj <_£JJ ^ 

1$ ■'"'" (J£ ^ <uj! i . il j£ jiyj 

l—ulc. -Ulia *jj ^ Jli yli 

The Prophet sees that around him [angels etc.] which others do not 

And he recites the book of Allah at every place 

If he says something about the unseen on any day 

It is verified on the same day before the time of Duha 

Knowledge of where one will die 

1. We have mentioned the narration from Sahih Muslim which mentions the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam foretelling the place of death of the idolaters. 
Wherever he placed his blessed hand, the mentioned infidel died in exactly the 
same place. 58 

2. The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said to the Ansar: My life and demise 
will be with you. 59 



54 Sahih Bukhari, v. 1, p. 155 

55 Irshad al-Sari Sharh Bukhari, v.2, p.330, Beirut 

56 'Umdat al-Qari, v.7, p.214 

57 Mawahib al-Ladunniya Sharh Zarqani, v.7, p. 230 

58 Sahih Muslim, v.2, p. 102 

59 Ibid, v.2, p. 103 



13 



This hadith unequivocally states that Allah had given the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam knowledge that his luminous shrine will be in Madina [may Allah increase its 
nobility] . 

Imam Nawawi commentates on this hadith thusly: 

Meaning I will spend my life with you and my demise will also happen near you. 
This is from the miracles of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. 60 

3. Imam Qastalani writes: One incident from the knowledge of the unseen of the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is that he foretold that Imam Husayn 
radiyAllahu 'anhu will be martyred in Tuf. The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam also took dust from his blessed hands and said that in this land will be 
Imam Husayn' s final resting place. 

This hadith has been narrated by Baghawi in Kabir and Hafidh Abu'l Qasim 
' AbdAllah ibn Muhammad in his Mu 'jam from Anas ibn Malik that the angel in 
charge of rainfall sought permission from Allah to visit the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam and Allah granted it. That day, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam was at the residence of Umm Salama radiyAllahu 'anha and he said to 
her: Oh Umm Salama, keep an eye on the door lest someone disturb us. Hence, 
she stood at door when suddenly Imam Husayn radiyAllahu 'anhu arrived and 
without being stopped, entered and came to the Prophet. The Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam kissed Husayn with great affection so the angel asked: Is he 
beloved to you? The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam affirmed upon which the 
angel said: Indeed your nation will martyr him and if you wish, I shall show you 
the place of martyrdom. Hence, he did so and bought sand or red coloured dust 
which Umm Salama wrapped in a cloth. Thabit says we used to call this place 
Karbala. 61 

Imam Hafidh Abu Hatim Muhammad ibn Hibban narrated it in his Sahih and Imam 
Zarqani explains his words Malik al-Qatar thusly: 

Malik al-Qatar is Israfil 'alaihis salam who is appointed upon rainfall and 
vegetation. The same is related from Imam Bayhaqi and others from 'Abdul 
Rahman ibn Sabit. Imam Ahmad and ibn As'ad relate it from 'AH and Tabrani 
does so from 'Aisha radiyAllahu 'anha that it refers to Israfil 'alaihis salam. 62 

4. Mu'adh ibn Jabal radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that when the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam sent him to Yemen, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam came 
out with him and when he had finished advising him, he said: Oh Mu'adh, 



3 Sharh Muslim, v.2,p.l03 

1 Mawahib al-Ladunniya Sharh Zarqani, v.7, p. 250 

2 Ibid. 



14 



perhaps we will not meet after this year and it could be that you will pass by my 
mosque and my grave. 63 

This hadith explicitly shows that the blessed grave of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam will be near his mosque in Madina and that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam knew about his demise. 

5. Jabir ibn 'AbdAllah radiyAllahu 'anhuma narrates that during the battle of Uhud, 
my father called me in the night and said: I can only see that I will be first to be 
martyred from the companions of the Prophet and apart from the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, you are the dearest to me amongst those I leave 
behind. I have a debt which you must repay and take good care of your sisters. 
Jabir said: When morning came, he was the first to be martyred. 64 

Notice how a companion of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam foretold the news of 
his martyrdom and how it transpired as he had said. 

Knowledge of the Soul 

Like there is disagreement about Qiyamah, so too is there on this issue. A large group has 
proven that by the bestowment of Allah, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam has 
knowledge of the Soul too. 

1. Imam Fakhr al-Din Razi writes: Thirdly, even the common philosophers and 
theologians know about the Soul. Hence, for the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam to deny this knowledge for himself is against his status and will result in 
people denying him. Moreover, the issue of not knowing about the Soul is 
contemptible for even a common man. So, how can it be that the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, who is more knowledgeable than any other, does not 
know about it? 

Fourthly, Allah says about the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam: The most 
compassionate taught the Qur'an 65 and We taught you that which you knew not 
and the grace of Allah upon you is great 66 . He also said: Supplicate to Allah that 
Oh my Lord, increase me in knowledge 67 . About the attribute of the Qur'an, it 
says: The knowledge of all wet and dry is in the Qur'an 68 . The personality who 
holds these ranks, how can it be envisaged that he does not have knowledge of the 
Soul. 69 



63 Musnad Ahmad, v.5, p.235 

64 Sahih Bukhari, v. 1, p. 180 

65 55:1-2 

66 4:113 

67 20:114 

68 6:59 

69 Tafsir al-Kabir, v.21, p.37, Egypt 



15 



2. Imam Ghazzali writes: As for the Soul which is the origin and due to whose 
depravity the whole body becomes corrupt; it is from the secrets of Allah. This is 
why the intellect cannot comprehend it, rather, knowledge of it is through a light 
which is higher and more eminent than the intellect. This light shines only in the 
realm of Prophethood and sainthood and its relationship with the intellect is like 
the intellects relationship with the imagination and thought. 

3. Imam Badr al-Din 'Ayni writes: I say that the rank of the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam is higher than this that he does not have knowledge of the Soul. 
How can it be when he is the beloved of Allah and the leader of creation and 
Allah has announced His favour upon him by saying: We taught you all that 
which you knew not and the grace of Allah upon you is great [4: 113]. 

Most scholars said there is neither any verse of the Qur'an which says it 
impossible to have knowledge of the Soul nor any verse that denies this 
knowledge for the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. 70 

Sayings of scholars regarding knowledge of the unseen 

Imam Qadi Tyad writes: 

It has been said that a Prophet and a Messenger are different in one way because 
they both share the quality of Prophethood which means knowing the unseen. 71 

He further writes: 

And from the miracles of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is that he is 
aware of ma kan wa ma yakun meaning the unseen of the past and future. There 
are numerous hadith on this matter which are an ocean whose depth cannot be 
imagined. It is from his miracles that we know definitely and has reached us 
through mass transmission because its reporters are many and these hadith all 
point towards the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam being aware of the unseen. 72 

Imam Ghazzali writes about the specialities of Prophethood: 

The fourth attribute of Prophethood is that a Prophet gets to know the unseen of 
the future whilst asleep or awake because through this attribute, he reads the 
sacred tablet and whatever unseen is written on the tablet, he sees it. 

He further writes: 

When the interior is pure, the eyes of the heart begin to see events of the future 
such as the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam seeing the entry into Makkah in 



'Umdat al-Qari, v.2, p.201, Beirut 

1 al-Shifa',v.l,p.l61,Multan 

2 Ibid, v.l,p.221,Multan 



16 



his dream up to the point that the verse: Truly did Allah fulfil the vision for His 
Messenger [48:27] was revealed. 73 

ImamBaghawi narrates from ibn Kisan the exegesis of the verse: uW ' u ^ c u^^ i3^: 

Insan in this verse refers to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and Bayan 
refers to ma kan wa ma yakun, meaning the exposition of all that has happened 
and all that will happen. That is, Allah gave the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam knowledge of all that has happened and all that will happen because the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam has explained news of the entire first and the 
last and of Qiyamah. 74 

Imam Qastalani writes: 

The Prophet's knowledge of the unseen was so well known amongst the 
companions and even the hypocrites and infidels that they would fear saying 
anything to each other and would say: Be quiet, by Allah, even if there is no one 
to inform the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, the stones of the valleys of 
Makkah will tell him what we speak. 75 

Imam Zarqani writes: 

According to Qadi Tyad, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam being aware of 
the unseen is mass transmitted and they all point to this fact. 76 

Imam ibn al-Haj Makki writes: 

There is no difference in the life and demise of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam in that he continues to be a witness upon his nation and their intentions, 
thoughts and states. All of these matters are clear to him and none of them are 
hidden. 77 

Commentating on the verse: Guide us along the straight path 78 , Imam Baydawi writes: 

Guidance from Allah comes in innumerable forms but they can be categorised. 
The fourth type of guidance is that Allah reveals secrets upon their hearts through 
revelation and inspiration and true dreams. He makes them witness things in their 
reality and this is specific to Prophets and saints. Only they can attain this and this 
is what is meant by the verse: These are they whom Allah guided [6:90]. 79 



3 Ihya al-'Ulum al-Din, v.4, p. 194, Beirut 

4 Ma'alim al-Tanzil, v.7, p.2, Egypt; Khazin, v.7, p.2 

5 Mawahib al-Ladunniya ma'a Sharh Zarqani, v.7, p.229 

6 Sharh Zarqani 'ala al-Mawahib, v.7, p.228 

7 al-Madkhal, v.l, p.252, Beirut; al-Mawahib al-Ladunniya, v.8, p. 349 

8 1:6 

9 Tafsir Baydawi, p.9-10, Deoband 



17 



Imam ibn Hajar ' Asqalani writes: 

The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam has an attribute through which he 
encompasses the unseen future and reads the sacred tablet. Similar to the attribute 
by which a wise man is distinguished from a fool. These are the flawless 
attributes that are proven for the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. 80 

Imam ' Ali Qari writes: 

When a purified Soul becomes enlightened and its illumination increases due to 
its disinclination from the material world; and similarly, when the mirror of the 
heart is polished free from the rust of foulness; steadfastness upon good actions 
and knowledge and the continuous showering of the mercies of Allah strengthen 
the illumination [of the Soul]. This causes the heart to broaden and at this point, 
the writing of the sacred tablet begins to reflect on this heart. Man becomes aware 
of the unseen and begins disposing of affairs in the world. Moreover, if Allah 
Himself enlightens him which is the highest and most noble gift, then why will 
other things not become apparent to him? 81 

He writes concerning the hadith: I got to know everything in the heavens and the Earth: 

Imam ibn Hajar said that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam knows the whole 
universe and everything that is in the heavens and above as proven from the 
occasion of Mi'raj. Similarly, he has knowledge of everything that is in the seven 
worlds as proven from the hadith that all the worlds rest upon a fish and an ox. 82 

He also writes regarding the verse of Imam Busiri's Qasida Burdah: And amongst your 
knowledge is that of the tablet and the pen: 

The tablet and the pen are but one line from the lines of knowledge of the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and one river from the oceans of his knowledge. 83 

Shaykh 'Abdul Haq Dihlawi writes concerning the hadith: I got to know everything in the 
heavens and the Earth: 

This means that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam has knowledge of all 
partial and complete knowledge and he has encompassed them. 84 



Fath al-Bari, v. 16, p.21, Egypt 

1 Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih, v.l, p.62, Multan 

2 Mirqat al-Mafatih Sharh Mishkat al-Masabih, v.2, p.210, Multan 

3 al-Zubdat al- 'Umdah, p. 1 1 7, Sindh 

4 Ashi'at al-Lum'at, v.l, p.333, Sikkhar 



18 



Imam Alusi Baghdadi writes: 

The knowledge of Qiyamah is the most hidden from the mentioned things and 
Allah has informed the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam of this time partially 
but his knowledge compared to others is perfect and complete. As for his saying: I 
was sent in the time when I and Qiyamah are like this [indicating towards two 
fingers]. The most this proves is that he has some knowledge of the time of 
Qiyamah and I do not believe that some angels have more knowledge of Qiyamah 
than the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. This is supported by Hamidi in his 
Nawadir who reports with his own chain from Imam Sha'bi that Tsa ibn Maryam 
asked Jibril 'alaihis salam about the time of Qiyamah. Jibril waved his wings and 
said: The one being asked does not know more than the questioner; which means 
their knowledge is equal and the perfect knowledge of Qiyamah is with Allah 
alone and He has granted others brief knowledge of it such as its signs. It is 
possible that Allah gives perfect knowledge of this to the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam at the onset of Qiyamah but not such that his knowledge becomes 
the same as Allah. Allah ordered the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam to 
conceal this knowledge due to some wisdom and it is from his specialities though 
I have seen no definitive evidence for this. 85 

Qadi Shawkani 

It must be remembered that Qadi Shawkani is a personality revered by all Ghayr 
Muqallids of the subcontinent. He writes regarding the verse: Nor is Allah going to make 
you acquainted with the unseen [3:179]: 

If it is asked that when it is proven from the Qur'an that Allah bestows upon His 
Messengers as much knowledge of the unseen as He wishes, then is it permitted 
for the Messenger to convey this knowledge of the unseen which Allah has 
revealed to him to some members of his nation? I say, yes, there is nothing 
preventing this and it is proven from the sunnah of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam. [Qadi Shawkani then presents numerous hadith that mention the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam giving news of the unseen and then writes:] 
When this is proven, then there is nothing prohibiting Allah from choosing pious 
people for this nation to reveal the unseen to that he revealed upon His Prophet. 
The Prophet has specified some persons of his nation too and they have informed 
others. This is from the miracles of the pious and are all through the 
intermediation of the Prophet and the blessings of Allah. 86 



Tafsir Ruh al-Ma'ani, v.21, p. 100, Tehran 
6 Fath al-Qadir, v.5, p.312, Beirut 



19 



Deobandi creed regarding Knowledge of the Unseen 

Khalil Ahmad Anbethwi writes: 

We believe with the heart and speak with the tongue that the Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam has been given more knowledge than the whole of creation 
regarding the intrinsic, attributes and rulings and also the utmost reality and 
hidden secrets that no creation could reach; neither an angel nor a Prophet. And 
indeed he was given the knowledge of the first and last and the grace of Allah is 
upon him but this does not necessitate that he has knowledge of all the particulars 
of every event in every age. 

A few lines later, he writes: 

Yes, it is not damaging whatsoever if he does not have knowledge of irrelevant 
details due to not paying attention to them when it is proven that he has more 
knowledge than any creation regarding those aspects that are connected with his 
task. 87 

The truth reveals itself and need not be forced. 

Even Khalil Anbethwi is accepting in clear words that the knowledge of the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is more than the whole of creation and that he sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam knows the utmost realities and hidden secrets [of the unseen] and not 
knowing some minor events is due to lack of attention and this does not divert from him 
being the most knowledgeable. 

Note that the book al-Muhannad has been endorsed by all leading Deobandi scholars that 
number over twenty, some of whom are: Mahmud Hasan, Ashraf ' Ali Thanwi and Mufti 
KifayatAllah. 

Clarification of a misconception 

We know that Allah bestowed His Prophets and especially the final Prophet sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam with knowledge of the unseen as we have elucidated. There are many 
Qur'anic verses and hadith and sayings of the predecessors that establish this but on the 
other hand, Allah has denied knowledge of the unseen for anyone but Himself, as the 
following verses show: 

Say: No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen but Allah. 88 

To Allah do belong the unseen (secrets) of the heavens and the earth and to Him 
goes back every affair. 89 



al-Muhannad, p. 24-25, Deoband 
3 27:65 
'11:123 



20 



And with Him are the keys of the unseen treasures, none knows them but He. 90 

There are many other verses to this effect. 

Hadith 

It is in the hadith of Jibril 'alaihis salam: 

The time of Qiyamah is from those five things which only Allah knows, then the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam recited the verse: Verily the knowledge of the 
Hour is with Allah [3 1:34] . 91 

' Aisha radiyAllahu 'anha said: 

Whoever says the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam used to give news of what 
will happen tomorrow, he has told a great lie against Allah because He says: Say: 
No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen but Allah [27:65]. 92 

No believer would dare deny any verse that affirms or negates knowledge of the unseen. 
We thank Allah that we - Ahlu's Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah - have conviction in all verses 
and in reality, these verses [of affirmation and negation] are not contradictory because the 
word of Allah is free from this. Allah says: 

Do they not consider the Qur'an (with care)? Had it been from other than Allah, 
they would surely have found therein much discrepancy. 93 

To diffuse the apparent contradiction between verses of affirmation and negating 
regarding knowledge of the unseen, Sayyid Yusuf Hashim Rifa'i, who is from the 
scholars of Kuwait, writes: 

See, on one hand, our Lord has clearly negated knowledge of the unseen for His 
creation as He says: No one in the heavens and the earth knows the unseen but 
Allah and in other verses, He has affirmed knowledge of the unseen for His 
Messengers wherein there in room for doubt such as: Except to him whom He 
chooses as a Messenger. All these verses are true and having faith in them is 
necessary and denying any of them is to deny the Qur'an. Hence, whoever totally 
denies and does not believe in knowledge of the unseen is a denier of the verses of 
affirmation and whoever complete affirms and does not deny at all is a denier of 
the verses of negation. A believer is someone who believes in all verses and does 



°6:59 

1 Sahih Muslim, v.l,p.29 

2 Ibid,v.l,p.98 

3 4:82 



21 



not attempt to take the path of differentiating so as to affirm some and deny 
others. 94 

Imam ibn Hajar Makki writes: 

Whatever I have written in the exegesis of this verse has been expounded upon by 
Imam Nawawi in his fatawa. He says the meaning of the verse is that to 
encompass all knowledge and know it by oneself intrinsically is not proven for 
anyone but Allah and as for miracles, they are bestowed upon them by Allah 
telling them. 95 

He also writes: 

This verse does not conflict with the verse: Of them there are some whose story 
We have related to you, and some whose story We have not related to you 
[40:78]. Firstly because Allah only related stories about those Prophets who were 
mentioned to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam and secondly because after 
the revelation of this verse, Allah mentioned all the Prophets to the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. 96 

Imam Shihab al-Din Khafaji writes: 

This is not contradictory to those verses that prove that only Allah knows the 
unseen. The verse: Had I known the unseen I would have had much of good 
[7:188] is negating knowledge without a means. However, it is an accepted point 
that by Allah informing him, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam knows the 
unseen which is proven by the verse: He does not reveal His secrets to any, except 
to him whom He chooses as a Messenger. Allah does not grant perfect knowledge 
of His unseen to anyone except His chosen Messengers. 

ibn ' AtaAllah Iskandari writes in Lata 'ifal-Minan that it is not extraordinary for a 
person to know the unseen of Allah through his visual perception. This is proven 
by the hadith: Fear the perception of a believer because he sees with the light of 
Allah. This is the meaning of the hadith of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam: I become his eyes with which he sees because if Allah becomes 
someone's eyes, it is not improbable for him to know the unseen. 97 

Imam Zarqani has written exactly the same. 98 

Imam Mahmud ibn Isma'il, better known as Qadi Samawana, writes: 



Adilla Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama'ah, p.30-31, Kuwait 
5 Fatawa Hadithiya, p.268, Egypt 
6 Ibid,p.l53 

7 Nasim al-Riyad Sharh Shifa', v.3, p. 150, Beirut 

8 Zarqani Sharh Mawahib, v.7, p.228-229 



22 



These verses are reconciled because the knowledge that is negated is that which is 
personal or that definitive knowledge is denied, not speculative. This is supported 
by the verse: Will You place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed 
blood [2:30] because this is unseen and the angels said it due to their opinion or 
by Allah telling them. Hence, if someone claims to know without being bestowed, 
he will be called an infidel and if someone claims to know it through inspiration 
whilst asleep or awake, he will not be deemed an infidel because there is no clash 
between the verse and his claim as has been stated in the reconciliation earlier." 

These excerpts prove that knowledge that is negated is personal knowledge that is 
attained without a means or without being told. However, knowledge of the unseen that is 
bestowed by Allah is not negated. 

Imam Mahmud Alusi writes: 

And it is permitted for Allah to inform His chosen people of any of these five 
unseen and to grant them some level of knowledge of them. The knowledge that 
is specific to Allah is that which encompasses everything in every detail. There is 
a hadith in Manawi Kabir, commentary of JamV Saghir that says: There are five 
things that only Allah knows. This refers to that knowledge that is all 
encompassing and includes all partial and complete details, this is only proven for 
Allah and no one but Him. This is not contrary to Allah informing His chosen 
people of some of the unseen and even some of the unseen five. As for the denial 
of the Mu'tazila, it is stubbornness [Imam Manawi]. From this elucidation, the 
hadith that mention knowledge of the unseen is specific to Allah are reconciled. 
For hadith that prove the opposite - that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam 
gave news of the unseen - study of Shifa ' and Mawahib al-Ladunniya is useful. 100 

The Knowledge of Allah and creation are not equal 

What has been expounded earlier gives an idea of the breadth of the Prophet's 
knowledge. Allah granted the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam the knowledge of the 
first and last up to the point that in a single sitting, he gave news from the beginning of 
creation to the entry of people into heaven and hell. Inspite of this, the knowledge of the 
Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is not equal to the knowledge of Allah, rather, the 
knowledge of the whole of creation is not equal to it, rather, the reality is that there is not 
even a possibility of it being equal. 

Imam Ahmad Rida Baraylawi discussed the issue of whether the knowledge of Allah and 
that of His creation is equal. He writes: 

From this research, it is clear that no Muslim can even think that if the knowledge 
of the whole of creation is on one side, it can be equal to the knowledge of Allah. 



Jami' al-Fusulin, v.2, p.220, Egypt 
00 Tafsir Ruh al-Ma'ani, v.21, p. 100, Tehran 



23 



Can the blind not see that there are many differences between the knowledge of 
Allah and the knowledge of the Prophet [and the whole of creation]? 

1. His knowledge is personal and innate, that of is His creation is bestowed. 

2. Knowledge is necessary for Allah and possible for His creation. 

3. His knowledge is beginningless and endless, eternal, it has and will always 
exist and real whereas the knowledge of creation has a beginning because 
all creation has a beginning and the rule is that an attribute cannot exist 
before that to which it is attributed. 

4. His knowledge is not created, the knowledge of creation is created. 

5. His knowledge is not governed, the knowledge of creation is governed and 
constrained. 

6. It is necessary for His knowledge to always exist, the knowledge of 
creation can be destroyed. 

7. It is impossible for His knowledge to undergo change, the knowledge of 
creation is changing. 101 

The idea of equality will only inflict that person who is ignorant of the vastness of the 
knowledge of Allah. The reality is that the comparison of the knowledge of the whole of 
creation to the knowledge of Allah is not even like a drop in the seven oceans. Even if 
this comparison is made, it is only to allow comprehension, otherwise a drop and an 
ocean are both limited and comparison between them is a comparison of two limited 
entities whereas there can be no such comparison between the knowledge of Allah and 
His creation because the knowledge of creation is limited and the knowledge of Allah is 
unlimited. The relationship between them is like the relationship between limited and 
unlimited. 

Hafidh Abu 'AbdAllah Hakim Nishapuri narrates from Ubai ibn Ka'b radiyAllahu 'anhu 
that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: 

When Musa 'alaihis salam met Khidr 'alaihis salam, a bird came and dipped its 
beak in water. Khidr 'alaihis salam said to Musa 'alaihis salam: Notice what this 
bird is saying. Musa 'alaihis salam asked: What is it saying? Khidr 'alaihis salam 
replied: This bird is saying: Oh Khidr, yours and Musa's knowledge compared to 
the knowledge of Allah is like my taking some of this water with my beak. 

This hadith is Sahih according to the conditions of Imam Bukhari and Imam 
Muslim but they did not narrate it. 102 



al-Dawlah al-Makkiya, p.212, Karachi 
2 Mustadrak Hakim, v.2, p.369 



24 



Imam Khafaji replicates what Imam Tayyibi [commentator of Mishkat] wrote thusly: 

There is no limit to the knowledge of Allah. Whatever unseen is in the heavens 
and the Earth and whatever the angels reveal and conceal is all but a drop of His 
knowledge. 103 

Mawlana 'Abdul Hakim Siyalkoti wrote the same. 104 

Mawlana Siyalkoti also writes: 

It is narrated that Allah created one hundred thousands lanterns that were hanged 
from the 'Arsh [throne]. Their vastness is such that the whole sky and Earth and 
whatever is in them and heaven and hell are in only one lantern and Allah knows 
what is in the rest of them. Ka'b al-Ahbar said: Allah knows how many worlds 
there are. Nobody knows the armies of your Lord apart from Himself. 105 

Conclusion 

It is the creed of Ahlu's Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah that Allah granted the knowledge of ma 
kan wa ma yakun [all that has happened and all that will happen] to His Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam gradually. The knowledge of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam encompasses everything that has happened and will happen from the beginning 
of creation till people entering heaven and hell. This has been proven from the Qur'an, 
hadith and sayings of the predecessors earlier. As the revelation of the Qur'an continued, 
so too did his knowledge until it became complete. Whoever denies this must provide 
absolute evidence that after the revelation of the whole Qur'an, there is something that 
the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam does not know. This is the creed of the Imam of 
Ahlu's Sunnah, Imam Ahmad Rida Baraylawi. Numerous jurists, hadith masters, 
Qur'anic exegetes and gnostics are united in this belief. 

Imam Ahmad Rida Baraylawi writes: 

After all these consensuses, our scholars disagreed whether the innumerable 
knowledge of the unseen granted by Allah to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam include the knowledge from the first day to the last for the whole 
universe as is the meaning of various verses and hadith; or is there specificity in 
it. Many Ahl al-Dhahir [people who take apparent meanings] have leant towards 
specificity. Some of them said knowledge the ambiguous, some said of the five 
and many said of the Hour [Day of Judgement]. The Ahl al-Batin [who consider 
inner meanings, Sufis], and following them, many Ahl al-Dhahir, have opined 
that the verses and hadith are general. It is possible that it includes the knowledge 
of ma kan wa ma yakun [from beginning of creation till Qiyamah] as explained 



103 'Inayat al-Qadi, v.2, p. 129, Beirut 

104 Hashiya Tafsir Baydawi, p.301, Quetta 

105 Ibid, p.59 

25 



above. Whether knowledge of the Hour is included or not, it is but a small portion 
of the knowledge of Allah. 

He then writes: 

This is the issue that our scholars of Ahlu's Sunnah have discussed and it is 
similar to the differences between Ash'aris and Maturidis where there is no scorn 
upon one another. Yes, our adopted position is that which is the creed of most 
gnostics and numerous scholars and details of verses, hadith and sayings of the 
scholars can be found in my monographs Anba' al-Mustafa and al-Lu'lu' al- 
Maknunfi 'Ilm al-Bashir ma Kan wa ma Yakun. 

Causes of the disagreement 

The actual reason for disagreement on this matter is due to writings such as this of Isma'il 
Dihlawi: 

Whoever says that a Messenger or an Imam or an elder knew the unseen but did 
not claim it respect for the Shari'ah, such a person is a big liar. Rather, no one 
knows the unseen apart from Allah. 107 

He did not pay attention to all the verses and hadith some of which we have mentioned 
earlier. 

Khalil Ahmad Anbethwi wrote: 

The end result: One should ponder that by looking at the state of Shaytan and the 
angel of death, and proving [similar] knowledge that encompasses the Earth to the 
Pride of the world sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam without any documentary evidence 
and merely by wrong analogy - if this is not polytheism, then which part of belief 
is this? 

Because such extensive [knowledge] for the angel of death and Shaytan is proved 
from absolute evidence [nusus-e-qat'iyah]. Where is any such absolute evidence 
to prove the extensiveness of the knowledge of the Pride of the world sallAllahu 
'alaihi wasallam which refutes all absolute documents in order to prove one 
polytheistic belief? 108 

The meaning of this passage is that the knowledge of Shaytan [Allah forbid] is greater 
than the knowledge of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam because he wrote that the 
knowledge of Shaytan encompasses the Earth and this is proven from the texts and the 
knowledge of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is not like this. Rather, to attribute 
knowledge that encompasses the Earth to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam is Shirk 



Khalis al-I'tiqad, p. 26-27, Lahore 

7 Taqwiyat al-Iman, p. 26, Delhi 

8 Barahin-e-Qati'ah, p. 55, Deoband 



26 



and against the texts. How astonishing that if knowledge that encompasses the Earth is 
attributed to the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, it will be Shirk and if Anbethwi 
attributes the same knowledge to the accursed Shaytan, it is not only not Shirk but 
actually proven from the texts [we seek the refuge of Allah]. 

Further, Ashraf ' Ali Thanwi writes: 

And then, if it is correct to attribute the knowledge of the unseen to be possessed 
by the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam, as Zayd says, then it remains to be 
asked, which one he refers to. Is it only a part of it or complete; if he refers to 
part, then what is extraordinary about the Prophet in possessing it? Such 
knowledge of the unseen is also possessed by all and sundry (Zayd, Amr); even 
infants, lunatics and all the animals and quadrupeds. 109 

These passages and others like them were the cause for disagreement in the Subcontinent. 
The scholars of Ahlu's Sunnah wa'l Jama'ah rose up to protect the rights of the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam which was a necessary action upon them and strongly refuted 
such notions. Amongst them was Imam Ahmad Rida Baraylawi who wrote numerous 
books to protect the sanctity of divinity and the status of the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam. He thoroughly refuted those who insulted the sanctity of divinity and the rank 
of Prophethood and this is the reason why the insulters have abhorrence towards him and 
they invent lies against him which his personality is free from. 

The Awliya [saints] and Knowledge of the unseen 

Imam ibn Hajar Makki was asked about a person who says that a believer knows the 
unseen. Will he be deemed an infidel due to verse: Say: No one in the heavens and the 
earth knows the unseen but Allah? The Imam replied that because his speech is 
ambiguous, he will not be deemed an infidel unconditionally. He writes: 

When a person says that a believer knows the unseen, he will asked for 
clarification and if he says my words mean that Allah grants knowledge of some 
unseen to His friends, then his words will be accepted because they are valid 
intellectually ['aqlan] and are proven to be true through transmission [naqlan]. 
This is from the miracles of the saints that are uncountable. Some saints know the 
unseen thorough revelation, some have the veil lifted for them and some have the 
sacred tablet revealed to them and they can see it. 

Mawlana Jalal al-Din Rumi says: 

^Jjjjl (JJJJ dlui) Jjjqt a r- j\ 



Hifz al-Iman, p.8, Deoband 

27 



The story of Khidr in the Qur'an is proof enough for this on the basis that the majority of 
scholars and gnostics consider him to be a saint, even though the more correct position is 
that he was a Prophet. It is narrated about Abu Bakr Siddiq radiyAllahu 'anhu that he 
gave news to his wife that she will give birth to a boy and it so happened. no 

Similarly, 'Umar radiyAllahu 'anhu made an exposition about Sariya and his army even 
though he was in a different country. 'Umar was on the pulpit in Madina delivering the 
Friday sermon and with the words Ya Sariyat al-Jabal [Oh Sariya, save yourself towards 
the mountain], he informed Sariya of the imminent attack of the enemy. The Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said about 'Umar radiyAllahu 'anhu: He is the Muhaddath of 
my nation who receives revelation [Ilham] . 

Risala Qushayriyya and 'Awarif al-Ma'arif of Imam Suharwardi have countless accounts 
of saints giving news of the unseen such as some of them saying that I will pass away at 
the time of Dhuhr tomorrow and it so happened and after they are buried, upon seeing 
them open both eyes, the buriers asked: Have you become alive after demising? The saint 
replied: I am alive and every beloved of Allah is alive. 

Qadi Shawkani writes [as mentioned earlier]: 

When this is proven, then there is nothing prohibiting Allah from choosing pious 
people for this nation to reveal the unseen to that he revealed upon His Prophet. 
The Prophet has specified some persons of his nation too and they have informed 
others. This is from the miracles of the pious and are all through the 
intermediation of the Prophet and the blessings of Allah. 111 

This is possible even today that Allah imparts His blessings upon His pious servants 
through the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam. There is no Islamic or intellectual ruling 
forbidding this. 

Imam Fakhr al-Din Razi writes: 

The Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said that I spend time with my Lord and 
He gives me to eat and drink. Using this meaning, it is our creed that whosoever 
has greater knowledge of the unseen realm, his heart becomes stronger and its 
weakness decreases. This is why 'Ali ibn Abi Talib radiyAllahu 'anhu said: By 
Allah, I did not tear the door of Khaybar with physical strength, rather it was 
through divine strength. This is because at that time, the attention of 'Ali 
radiyAllahu 'anhu was not towards the physical realm, the angels were pouring 
light into his heart from the sovereign realm and his soul received strength 
through its connection with the angelic souls. The light from the angelic realm 
began to shine in his soul, hence, he necessarily became powerful over things that 
other people were not. 



We have the reference from Muwatta that he gave tidings of a girl and it was a girl that was born - Sharf 
Qadri 
111 Fath al-Qadir, v.5, p.312, Beirut 



28 



He further writes: 

When a person becomes habitual upon obedience, he attains a rank about which 
Allah says: I become his ears and eyes. When the light of Allah becomes his ears, 
he hears from afar as he hears from near and when the light of Allah becomes his 
eyes, he sees both near and far and when this light becomes his hands, he 
becomes powerful over the disposition of worldly affairs, whether easy or 
difficult. 112 

Imam ' Ali Qari writes: 

It should be known that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam said: Fear the 
perception of the believer for he sees with the light of Allah and the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam recited the verse: Surely in this are signs for those who 
examine [15:75]. Tirmidhi narrated it from Abu Sa'id Khudri radiyAllahu 'anhu. 
It is also pertinent to note that Firasat has three types. Firasat Imaniya is gained 
through the light that places in a believer's heart whose nature is that it conquers 
the heart as fast as a lion does its prey and this is why it is called Firasat. It 
strengthens and weaken according to the strength of Iman; however strong ones 
Iman is, the stronger his Firasat will be. Abu Sulayman Darani says: Firasat is 
composed of inspiration of the soul and seeing the unseen and is a level from the 
levels of Iman. 113 

Shah WaliAllah Dihlawi writes: 

When the being is overtaken by seraphic strength and its animalistic strength is 
destroyed, the heart is revolutionised and becomes the soul and it stops striving 
and gains friendship without any difficulty. The person's intellect becomes 
accomplished and moves away from normal workings and utilises perception 
[firasat], spiritual unveiling [kashf] and revelation [ilham] to achieve perfection 
and knowledge of the unseen. 114 

He also writes: 

The Naqshbandis have astonishing power over disposition of affairs such as 
concentrating on a goal such that it becomes according to their will; to affect the 
heart of a seeker; to remove illness from the sick; to inspire a sinner towards 
repentance; to control peoples hearts so that they begin to love and respect; to 
influence peoples intellects so that they understand greater things; to know about 
the engagements of the pious whether they are alive or in their graves; to know 
the states of peoples hearts and their thoughts; to reveal events of the future and to 



112 Tafsir al-Kabir, v.21, p.91, Egypt 

113 Sharh Fiqh al-Akbar, p.80, Egypt 

114 Ham'at, p.109, Hyderabad, Sindh 



29 



remove calamities that were to befall and other things, but, we have presented 
only a few as an example. 115 

And the most astounding of Shah WaliAllah's expositions is that he writes: 

Today, I am speaking whilst I am silent. To summarise, one after the other, I 
travelled through the secrets [asrar] and illuminations [tajalliyat] and knowledge 
['ilm] and cognizance [ma'rifat] until I reached the name of Rahman which is the 
origin and centre of all illuminations. I reached the highest level through it and 
when it entered into me, I saw all the knowledge, places and excellence that were 
given to the first man. I do not mean just Adam, rather all the men from Adam till 
when the world is destroyed and the skies are torn asunder, all the knowledge, 
excellences and ranks that all men ever gained - whether in this world, in the 
grave, on Qiyamah or in paradise - I encompassed all those excellences such that 
no one thing was an obstacle to the other until I encompassed the excellences of 
all the heavens, substances, vegetation, animals, angels, jinns, the sacred tablet, 
Israfil and the whole universe. 

He then added: 

Whoever examined me did not find any excellence for me, rather I am excellence 
personified and excellence is within me. My hands, feet, face and chest are all 
excellence. I entered my grave according to my excellence and I await seeing all 
excellences enter into me. Perhaps my existence is Qiyamah which is established 
to display excellences. I know such secrets that I cannot talk of. I say: 

l^ la.ia-3 ^l£j V f jic iS^- J 

116 JaUb ^ Jalx. f^ cSjIuij 
And I have so much knowledge that the skies, land, oceans and shores cannot encompass 
it; but for people in my times, the knowledgeable and ignorant are the same 

Yes, where are those people who denigrate the knowledge of the Prophets and saints? We 
ask them, what ruling will you issue upon Shah WaliAllah? He has affirmed for himself 
knowledge that encompasses everything. If even after this, Shah WaliAllah is a 
monotheist then it remains to be asked if such knowledge is accepted for the Prophet 
sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam by Imam Ahmad Rida Baraylawi and his followers, rather by 
all the scholars of Islam, that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi wasallam has knowledge of 
ma kan wa ma yakun [and that too which is bestowed and not intrinsic] by Allah teaching 
it to him, then why are they deemed polytheists? 



5 Qawl al-Jamil, p.102-103, Karachi 

6 Tafhimat, v.2, p.90-98, Hyderabad, Sindh 



30 



Shah WaliAllah Dihlawi is a personality that is respected by the scholars of Ahlu's 
Sunnah, Deobandis and Ghayr Muqallids. Isma'il Dihlawi writes about him: 

The Qiblah of the researchers and Ka'bah of the sagacious, I mean Hadrat Shah 
WaliAllah, may Allah sanctify his secret. 117 

He also writes: 

The model of saints and quintessence of the people of purity, meaning Hadrat 
Shah WaliAllah. 118 

This is what Shah 'Abdul 'Aziz Dihlawi writes regarding knowledge of the unseen: 

To know about the essence [nafs al-amr] of all existence - whether by reading the 
sacred tablet or otherwise - is in all cases acquired by the friends of Allah. 
Reading the contents of sacred tablet is mass transmitted from some saints. 119 

The Imam of Deobandis and Ghayr Muqallids in the subcontinent, Isma'il Dihlawi 
writes: 

And similarly, when the hearts of the abstemious people turn away from 
everything but Allah and become clean from rust of carelessness, then they 
become like mirrors. For example, when something becomes ordained by Allah, 
many pious people see them whilst asleep or awake before they occur. 120 

Anwar Shah Kashmiri Deobandi writes: 

Then it must be known that those things which the saints see before their 
transpiration in this world, they too have some sort of existence. Such as Bayazid 
Bustami passing by a school and smelling a whiff of air from it upon which he 
said: In this air, I smell the fragrance of an accomplished man of Allah. Hence, 
Shaykh Abu'l Hasan Kharkani was born there. Also, the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam saying: I smell the fragrance of Allah from Yemen, hence, Uwais Qarni 
radiyAllahu 'anhu was born there. 121 

It is expected from an unbiased reader that after reading these texts from the Qur'an, 
hadith and from scholars of Ahlu's Sunnah, Deobandis and Ghayr Muqallids; he will 
decide that Imam Ahmad Rida Baraylawi did not hold any contravening or new belief 
regarding knowledge of the unseen. Rather, his proof is from the Qur'an and hadith and 
the expositions of outstanding gnostics, jurists, hadith masters and Qur'anic exegetes. 



Sirat-e-Mustaqim, p. 11, Lahore 

8 Ibid, p. 14 

9 Tafsir Fath al-'Aziz, v.Tabarakalladhi, p. 26, Delhi 

Sirat-e-Mustaqim, p.37, Lahore 

1 Faid al-Bari, v.l, p. 182, Cairo 



31 



The claim that Ihsan Ilahi Zahir made in his book al-Baraylawiya that this is an 
innovation concocted by Imam Ahmad Rida and that he is alone in this stance - our 
readers will have themselves decided how much of a clear slander this is and also how far 
Zahir has gone away from the boundaries of justice. 

'AbdAllah ibn Mas'ud radiyAllahu 'anhu narrates that the Prophet sallAllahu 'alaihi 
wasallam said: 

I am the city of knowledge and Abu Bakr is its foundation; 'Umar is its four 
walls; 'Uthman is its roof and ' Ali is its door. Speak only goodness about these 
four. 122 



~ Firdaus al-Akhbar, v.l, p.76, Beirut 

32