Knowledge Of Unseen Possessed By the Prophet ﷺ
Some people do not accept that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has been blessed by Allah with Ilm e Gaib (Knowledge of the unseen).
The Ahle Sunnah wal Jama’at believes that The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) after being informed to by Allah Ta’ala is aware of everything that happened and will happen.
“Ghayb” is that hidden thing which cannot be perceived by human senses nor can be known through human wisdom.
The Holy Quran has mentioned Ilm-e-Ghayb in several verses and has declared that this knowledge one of the attributes of Allah.”Say thou,(O Muhammad )! The knowledge of unseen belongeth unto Allah alone.”(Surah Yunus,10:20) See also Surah Ana’m 6:59; Surah Baqarah, 2:33; Surah HUD 10:31.
These verses indicate that the knowledge of Unseen belongs to Allah Ta’ala Alone. Nobody on his own has this knowledge nor can anybody possess this Divine Treasure. However, these verses have nowhere indicated Allah Ta’ala to say that He does not grant this knowledge of Unseen to anybody
Allah Ta’ala says:” Allah alone is the knower of the Unseen. He never grants the knowledge of Ghayb to any one but to his chosen Messengers and appoints guard before them and behind them.”(Surah Jinn, 72:26-27).
The Holy Quran has mentioned at various places that Allah Ta’ala has granted the knowledge of Unseen to His exalted Prophets. See Surah Baqarah 2:31,2:251. Surah Naml 27:16, Surah Ambiya 21:74, Surah Yusuf 12:68,12:96 and Surah Qasas 28:14.
The Knowledge of Unseen was also given to the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). This was his biggest miracle. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was granted the knowledge equivalent to the knowledge of which was given to 124 000 or more Prophets.
The Quran says:”And, O Beloved (prophet)! If there had not been theGrace and Mercy of Allah upon you, then some people of them had wished to defraud you. And they are misleading themselves only and they will not hurt you in anything. And Allah has sent down to you the Book of wisdom and has taught you what you did not know and great is the Grace of Allah upon you.” (Surah Nisa 4:113) This verse proves that not a single thing in both worlds is left excluded from the knowledge of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). The word “Great Grace” verifies this fact. The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was taught by Allah Ta’ala.
The Holy Quran say: “These are the tidings of Unseen that We reveal to you in secret. And you were not with them when they drew lots with their pen that under those guardianship Maryam should be given and you were not with then when they were disputing.” (Surah Ale Imraan, 3:44) In this verse, the Holy Quran gives the reason of mentioning the episodes of the past Prophets. Allah Ta’ala says: O Beloved One! These episodes are not mentioned as mere tales of the past. We have mentioned these events to prove your Prophethood. The Knowledge of Unseen will become the testimony of your special status as the Apostle of Allah Ta’ala. O Prophet! These is among those events of which the accurate records are now obliterated altogether, and there is no means of knowing in full and exact details except by Revelation.
The Phrase “tidings of the Unseen” indicate the Allah Ta’ala has given the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) the knowledge of those things, which happened long before him or to happen in the distant future.
The Holy Quran, which was revealed to Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) contained everything that he would need in religion and in world affairs as well. The Holy Quran says that Allah Ta’ala taught His Beloved the Quran. He created Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) the soul of the Mankind and taught him the knowledge of the past and the Present.
The Holy Quran says: “And taught you that which you knew not. And this is a great favour of Allah Ta’ala upon you.”
Tafseer-e-Jalalain says Allah Ta’ala taught His Apostle (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) the commandments and the Unseen. Tafseer-e-Kabir observes that Allah Ta’ala revealed to Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) the Holy Quran, and the knowledge, and taught him the Divine secrets, and implications. Tafseer-e-Jalalain says that Allah Ta’ala taught the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) the Shari’ah Laws and the religion, and taught him the unseen, which he knew not, and gave him the knowledge of that which was hidden in the human mind, and disclosed to him the evil doings of the Hypocrites. Tafseer-e-Hussaini Bahrul Haqaeq says that the above verse refers to the absolute knowledge of all Unseen which Allah Ta’ala granted to Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) during the Me’raj. The Hadith of Me’raj reports the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) as saying: “I was beneath the Arsh when Allah put a drop into my throat and (with that) I attained the knowledge of the past and the future.”
Commentators observe that Allah Ta’ala has created Lauh-e-Mahfooz, a Tablet on which the Destinies of the world since its creation are written. It contains the Knowledge of all possible things. The knowledge of the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) encompasses the Lauh. The Holy Quran contains whatever is written in the Lauh and since the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has been taught the Quran, he has the Knowledge of the Lauh-e-Mahfooz.
Allah Ta’ala showed Hazrat Adam (alaihis salaam) all His creatures in person and made him learn the thins by their names. He taught him the names of those who would be in his generation and also taught him all the languages. Allah Ta’ala also taught him the Names of Angels and all human beings who would belong to his generation, and the name of animals and vegetation, and taught him to manufacture things, and taught him the names of the cities and towns, and trees, and the names of those whom He will create until Doomsday, and taught him the names of all the gifts in Paradise.
The knowledge of Adam (alaihis salaam), who is first Khalifa (vicegerent) of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), is a drop in the ocean when compared with the knowledge that Allah Ta’ala gave to his beloved Prophet Hazrath Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam). When the knowledge of a khalifa is so vast and overwhelming, one can well estimate the magnitude of the knowledge of the original person.
Commentators say that the knowledge of Awliya if compared with the knowledge of the Prophet is just like a drop in seven seas, and the knowledge of Prophets is like the same when compared with the knowledge of Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam); and the knowledge of Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) when compared with that of Allah is just like a drop out of seven seas.
The fact that Allah Ta’ala has granted Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) the knowledge of Unseen, can be explained in three dimensions:
Firstly, he was given the knowledge of the Unseen directly: Surah HUD, 11:49- “These tidings of unseen, We reveal to you. Neither you did know nor your people before this. Then be patient. No doubt there is good for the duty-bound.” See also Surah Yusuf, 12:102; Surah Takvir, 81:24.
He was given the Quran, which is the treasure house of the Knowledge of the unseen: “O People of the Book! Undoubtedly, our Messenger has come to you who make clear to you much of that which you had hidden in the Book and pardons much. Undoubtedly, there has come to you from Allah a Light and a Book Luminous.” (Surah Maidah, 5:15) See also Surah Nahl, 16:89; Surah Yusuf 12:111,Surah An’am 6:38, Surah Naml 27:75, Surah An’am 6:59.
He was sent as a witness. A witness can only be that person who is present at the place and time of happening and sees everything by himself. “Surely we have sent you as a witness (present and seeing) and bearer of Glad Tidings and a Warner.(Surah Fath, 48:8) See also Surah Nisa,4:41: Surah Muzzamil,73:15. These verses prove that Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) will stand witness on the Day of Judgment. He will not only bear witness for his own Ummah but also for the Ummah of other Prophets.
The following Tradition of Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) also indicates that Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has been granted compressive knowledge of Unseen:
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “I can see at my back in the same manner as I can see in my front.” (Sahih Muslim)
Holy Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) saw Nabi Musa (alaihis salaam) loudly reciting the Tasbih in the valley of Azraq.
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was going from Medina to Mecca. Then he saw Hazrat Yunus (Alaihis salaam) wearing a woolen grab and riding a red she camel in the valley of Hersh.(ibn-e-Majah)
Another Hadith reports Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) beholding the Paradise and the Hell. (Muslim)
Prophet Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihis salaam) knows the name of each inmate of the Heaven and the Hell. (Miskhat)
Another Hadith reports that a man asked the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) whether he would go to Paradise or the Hell. The Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said that he would go to Hell. (Bukhari)
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “My Ummah has been presented to me along with its good and Bad deeds.” (Muslim)
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: “Last night my Ummah was presented to me near my house. I know each and every person more intimately than you know about your colleagues. :” (Anba-el-Mustafa)
Hazrat Uthman ibm-e-Khattab (radi allahu anhu) narrates: “The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was Camping with us at a place where he gave us information about the creation of the world.”
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “Allah has Shrunk the earth for me so I Could see its easts and wests.” (Mishkat)
Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (radi Allahu anhu) has narrated that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) Said, “Allah has put the entire earth before me. I can see the universe and the things which are going to happen here till the Doomsday like I see my palm.”
Hazrat Huzaifa (radi Allahu anhu) has reported: “The Apostle of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), informed us about three hundred or more persons who would appear on the face of the earth and generate tension and crises among the Muslims. The Apostle of Allah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) told us their names along with their father’s names and their tribe as well.” (Mishkat)
Hazrat Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) asked the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), “O Prophet! Is there any person in the world whose virtues are equal to the number of stars?” The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Yes, and he is Umar (radi Allahu anhu)”. This Hadith shows that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) has the knowledge of all apparent and hidden actions of people and also the knowledge of stars.
Hazrat Huzayfah Ibn-e-Usayd (radi Allahu Anhu) reported that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Last night my Ummah was presented to me from beginning to the end.” The companions asked, “O Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam), how could you see those who were not even created so far.” He said, “Allah created the faces of my Ummah in water and soil and I could recognize each of them better than that you know your colleagues.”
And, finally, what can be hidden from the person who could see Allah Ta’ala! The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) says: “I saw Allah the Almighty. Allah put his hand at my back and I felt it’s coolness in my chest. The very moment, everything became known to me and I recognized everything.” (Tirmidi; Mishkat).
There are some other instances indicating that the Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) was granted the knowledge of the Unseen:
The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said, “Ubai bin Khalaf will be killed in my hands”.
Suraqah bin Malik will wear the gold bangles of Khosroes.
Informing about the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (radi Allahu anhu) years before his assassination at Karbala.
Informing about the split in the Muslim nation into 73 Sects, with one Sect following the righteous path.
During the Uhud Battle, he informed that the Angels have taken away the body of Hazrat Hunzulah (radi Allahu anhu) to give him the last bath.
Informing that his wife with long arms (Hazrat Zainab – radi Allahu anha) would be first among his wives to join him after death.
He said that Abu Bakr (radi Allahu anhu) is the inmate of the paradise.
Hussain and Hasan (radi Allahu anhuma) are the Chief of Youths in the Heaven.
Fatima Zahra (radi Allahu anha) is the chief of Women in the Paradise