Unseen Knowledge of the Prophets of Allah swt
Question and answer concerning to ilm-ghaib (unseen Knowledge) of prophets and relevant quranic verses/Ahadees prooving ilm-ghaib (unseen Knowledge):
Q) How can you say that Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) has been given the knowledge of the Ghayb when Allah Almighty says in the Qur’an that there are five things of which no one has any knowledge about?
The relevant verse of the Qur’an is as follows:-
“Undoubtedly, Allah has the knowledge of the Hour, and He sends rain and knows what is in the wombs of the mothers and no soul knows in what land it will die. Undoubtedly, Allah is the Knower, All Aware”. (Surah Luqman Verse 34)
There are two answers to this:
The word used in this verse in Arabic is Adri, which refers to that knowledge which someone can attain by guessing. Of course the knowledge of the Unseen of the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) was not by guessing. Allah informed this to him.
Hafidh Ibn Kathir (who met and briefly studied with Ibn Taymiyya) has written in his famous commentary to the Qur’an, ‘Tafsir Ibn Kathir’, the meaning of this ayaat, namely, that no-one can find the knowledge of these things on there own endeavor. Only Allah can give this knowledge, for example Allah gives knowledge to the angels whose duties are to control rain, and therefore on the command of Allah it rains.
Also Allah commands an angel who goes into the mother’s womb and hangs a record around the child’s neck what he/she will do in their lifetime. This knowledge is not attained by the angel but rather it is given by Allah Himself.
If the literal and direct meaning is taken from the above quoted ayaat, then it will mean that only Allah knows what is in the mothers womb but today, we can discover quite easily if the child is a male or female by modern scanning techniques.
If the angels have some knowledge on the five Unseen things – given to them by Allah, why is it strange if the Prophet (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) also has some of this knowledge – again bestowed by Allah.
Relevant quranic verses proving knowledge of unseen:
1. “These are the tidings of Unseen that We reveal to you in secret”.
[ The Holy Quran, Surah-Ale-Imran, verse 44].
2. “Nor will He disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen. But He chooses of His Apostles (For the purpose)” [The Holy Quran, Surah-Ale-Imran, verse 179].
3. “The Knower of Unseen reveals not His secret to anyone. Except to His chosen Messengers”. [The Holy Quran, Surah-Al-Jinn, verse 26.]
4. “…Allah has sent down to you the Book and Wisdom and has taught to you what you did not know, and great is the grace of Allah upon you.” [Holy Quran, Surah Al-Nisa, Verse 113]
5. And this Prophet is not miserly upon the hidden. (Allah gave the knowledge of the hidden to the Holy Prophet – peace and blessings be upon him.) [Holy Quran, Takweer 81:24]
6. Sayyiduna Esa (Peace be upon him) when he addressed his Ummah, saying “And I declare to you whatever you eat and whatever you store in your houses.”[Holy Quran, Surah Ale Imran: 3:49]
It meant that whatever they had eaten in the houses – within four walls – and whatever they had preserved there in was well known to the Prophet of Allah.
Few hadith(s) proving knowledge of unseen:
1. Narrated Anas bin Malik RA : The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said, “Straighten your rows for I see you from behind my back.” Anas RA added, “Everyone of us used to put his shoulder with the shoulder of his companion and his foot with the foot of his companion.” (Sahih Bukhari: Call to Prayer:692)
2. The Prophet Muhammad (May Allah bless him and grant him peace) stated, “I have seen my Lord, He put His hands upon my chest, after which everything appeared before me and I recognized everything. [Musnad Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, vol 5, page 243]
3. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Without doubt Allah SWT had placed the whole earth in front of Me and I saw its ends.”
(Sahih Muslim Vol 2, Pg No: 390)
4.“The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam), “I have seen all the things of this universe from where I stood, to the extent that I have seen Heaven and hell also.”
(Sahih Bukhari Vol 1, Pg No: 126, Pg No: 18)
Meaning of quranic verses cannot be taken in isolation of other verses and ahadees, neither any meaning taken should contradict sharia and has to be rightly understood.
Those who take this with literal and logical explanation contradicting other verses is misguided. these are those who believe that devils, angels has knowledge of our action but deny bestowed power/knowledge to the prophets, denying qualities and reducing the status of prophets.
Our emaan is incomplete if we believe Allah, messengers, books, angles but deny their qualities. may Allah count us in momin’s and save us from hell fire.