Knowledge of Unseen


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

This article discusses about whether Prophet Muhammad knew unseen and knowledge of the Hour.

Background

I came across a video  1 where someone was trying to prove that Prophet knew unseen unconditionally. Although this person has not given a single convincing evidence, yet we will provide evidences for anyone who is convinced, in shaa’ Allāh.

Scope of The Matter

This is a matter that should not be taken lightly. Believing in such a belief (i.e, Prophet knew unseen unconditionally) can lead to shirk in tawheed asmaa was-sifaat. It is attribute of Allāh alone that He knows unseen, he has called himself “‘allamu alghuyoobi” meaning “the Knower of the unseen” 2 ── and Allāh knows best

Qur’ānic Proof

Let us look at what Allāh said regarding this matter.

قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ٱلْغَيْبَ إِلَّا ٱللَّهُ

Say, “None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allāh” – Surah an-Naml 27:65 3

Allāh said

قُل لَّآ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِندِى خَزَآئِنُ ٱللَّهِ وَلَآ أَعْلَمُ ٱلْغَيْبَ وَلَآ أَقُولُ لَكُمْ إِنِّى مَلَكٌ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَىَّ ۚ قُلْ هَلْ يَسْتَوِى ٱلْأَعْمَىٰ وَٱلْبَصِيرُ ۚ أَفَلَا تَتَفَكَّرُونَ

Say, [O Muhammad], “I do not tell you that I have the depositories [containing the provision] of Allāh or that I know the unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I only follow what is revealed to me.” Say, “Is the blind equivalent to the seeing? Then will you not give thought?” – Surah al-An’am 6:50 4

In another place, Allāh said

وَعِندَهُۥ مَفَاتِحُ ٱلْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَآ إِلَّا هُوَ

And with Him are the keys of the unseen; none knows them except Him. … – Surah al-An’am 6:59 5

Regarding the knowledge of Hour, Allāh said

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُۥ عِلْمُ ٱلسَّاعَةِ

Indeed, Allāh [alone] has knowledge of the Hour … – Surah Luqmaan 31:34 6

Qur’ān is clear and evident against people who follow their desires.

Hadīthic Proof

We have said previously, Prophet didn’t know unseen “unconditionally”, this means He  knew of unseen what Allāh  told him, as mentioned in following verse

عَٰلِمُ ٱلْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِۦٓ أَحَدًا. إِلَّا مَنِ ٱرْتَضَىٰ مِن رَّسُولٍ

[He is] Knower of the unseen, and He does not disclose His [knowledge of the] unseen to anyone. Except whom He has approved of messengers … – Surah al-Jinn 72:26-27 7

If Prophet  knew absolutely everything, including knowledge of the Hour (Day of resurrection), [as this person said in the video], why did Prophet  say to Jibreel 

One who is asked [about the Hour] knows no more than the one who is inquiring – Muslim 8

Similar concept is also mentioned in a hadīth

Allāh’s Apostle said, “Keys of the unseen knowledge are five which nobody knows but Allāh;

  • nobody knows what will happen tomorrow;
  • nobody knows what is in the womb;
  • nobody knows what he will gain tomorrow;
  • nobody knows at what place he will die;
  • and nobody knows when it will rain.” – al-Bukhari 9

This matter has been mentioned by `Ayesha

‘Aisha said, “If anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen his Lord, he is a liar, for Allāh says: ‘No vision can grasp Him.’ (Surah al-An’am 6:103) And if anyone tells you that Muhammad has seen the Unseen, he is a liar, for Allāh says: “None has the knowledge of the Unseen but Allāh.” (Surah an-Naml 27:65) – al-Bukhari 10

Notice what we said in the beginning [Believing in such a belief is shirk in tawheed asmaa was-sifaat]. Imam al-Bukhari has put this hadīth in Book of Oneness of Allāh of his Sahih al-Bukhari. And the title of chapter/book usually refers to contents.

Conclusion

We have said it twice and we will say it once again to put more emphasis. This is very important issue and should not be taken lightly.