Sunday, 17 July 2011

Ilm al-Ghaib- (the Knowledge of the Unseen)

Not a leaf falls but He knows it.    Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) says in Surat al-Jinn, “He is Knower of the Unseen, and does not divulge His Unseen to anyone – except a Messenger with whom He is well pleased.” (72:26-27)

 “Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) acquaints His Messengers with what He wishes of His Unseen because the Messengers are supported by miracles, some of which include being acquainted with some unseen matters. They included ‘Isa, peace be upon him, whom Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) acquainted with some unseen matters by means of revelation as the Almighty says, ‘I will tell you what you eat and what you store up in your homes.’ (3:49)”

Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD)  could impart certain details of the unseen to some of the friends of Allah (awliyâ')'--this is accepted from him, since it is something logically possible and its occurrence has been documented, it being among the countless miracles [Karamat] that have taken place over the ages.

The possibility of such knowledge is amply attested to by what the Quran informs us about Khidr (Allah bless him and give him peace), and the account related of Abu Bakr Siddiq (Allah Most High be well pleased with him) that he told of his wife being pregnant with a boy, and thus it proved; or of 'Umar (Allah Most High be well pleased with him), who miraculously perceived [n: the Muslim commander] Sariyah and his army who were in Persia, and while on the pulpit in Medina giving the Friday sermon, he said, 'O Sariyah, the mountain!' warning them of the enemy ambush intending to exterminate the Muslims. [Abu Bakr ibn al-`Arabi said of this incident: "It constitutes a tremendous rank and an evident gift from Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD and it is present in all of the righteous incessantly until the Day of Resurrection." (Ibn al-`Arabi,

Or the rigorously authenticated (Sahih) hadith that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said of 'Umar (Allah Most High be well pleased with him),

“‘He is of those who are spoken to [i.e. preternaturally inspire].'

In its abstract sense, there are two kinds of Knowledge (or learning); the one which is taught in Madrasahs, school, colleges and universities (in the progressive order). For a lay-man as well as for the majority of the populace this is what constitutes the knowledge and it is believed to be sufficient to satisfy our material quest and urge in this behalf.
However, there is yet another branch of knowledge which is taught and acquired directly or straightaway through the divine agency, with the functional audio-visual aids, such as books, papers, pens or such-like paraphernalia, needing neither the teaching institutes, such as schools, colleges, universities, etc. nor the professional teachers and degree holders. This is the transcendental or divine sector of knowledge, which in Quranic terminology is known as 'lm-il-Ghayb" or the "Knowledge of the Unseen" (Surah Kahf: Verse 65) and which constitutes one of the fundamental tenets of Islamic belief. In fact, the belief and unbelief in the Unseen (Ghaib) is the distinguishing mark of a person being a Muslim or a Heathen.

This is the branch of knowledge which is super human in nature surpassing the human intellect as also the five proverbial senses on their own. The Knowledge of the Unseen ('lm-il-Ghayb) is superior to and dominant over all other knowledge in any field of human activity, defying all methods of imparting and receiving education and knowledge. This is essentially an emblem of Divine Grace bestowed upon the chosen servants of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) , like the gentle blissful rain showered upon the hearts and minds of the esteemed recipients on earth.

Those who believe (in the Oneness of  Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD)  - Islamic Monotheism), and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of  Allah SWT (God), Verily, in the remembrance of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) do hearts find rest. (Rad 13:28

The enforcement of Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam) sermon on his last pilgrimage and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. '

O, You who believe! Be upright for Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) witnesses to justice; and do not let your hatred of a people move you to a position where you are unjust.
 Be just, that is closer to piety. Be mindful of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD)! Verily Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) is well informed concerning all that you do. [Quran 4:135]

Two concepts namely "Ilm al-Ghaib" (the Knowledge of the Unseen) and "Ilm al-Kitab" (the knowledge of the Book) which both seem to be confusing in many people's mind

            "Ilm al-Ghaib" (the Knowledge of the Unseen)

  The original meaning of "Ghaib" in Arabic is "that which has been concealed", and it is with this meaning which has appeared in the Holy Quran (4:34, 12:52, etc.) It signifies a meaning opposite to "Hadar" which means "present to the senses", and thus denotes with things to the external world (i.e., Ma'lumat; known things). This opposition of Ghaib / Hadar (unseen/present) should not be confused with the opposition of Ilm/Jahl (knowledge/ignorance) in which the latter pair is concerned with the internal act of knowing. So it may happen that something is "Ghaib" in the dimension of time which does not exist now but it will be or it was; or in the dimension of place that is the knowledge of something which is located elsewhere but not here.

The concept of the Unseen pertains to what is supra-sensory and metaphysical or even meta-cosmic. In this sense, the past, as well as the future and everything beyond ordinary human senses are all included in the concept of the Unseen, provided that some concrete indications have not been manifest. However, in a narrower sense of the concept, the Unseen pertains only to the future and what I intend here to concentrate on is the tidings Allah SWT (God)’s Messenger gave of certain future events.

    Regarding Hazrat Adam (Alaihi salaam) and the Angels, it is said: “He (Allah) taught the names (nature and qualitative attributes) of all the things and placed them before the Angels”. (Surah Baqarah: Verse 31)
Regarding Hazrat Dawud (Alaihi salaam), it is said, “He (Allah) gave Dawud power and wisdom and taught him whatever (else) He willed.” (Surah Baqarah: Verse 251)
In respect of the ilm- Ghaib to Hazrat Suleiman (Alaihi salaam), it is said, “O People! We have been taught the speech of the birds, and on us has been bestowed (a little of) all things.” (Surah Naml: Verse 16)
For Hazrat Lut (Alaihi salaam), it is said, “And to Lut we gave Judgment and Wisdom.” (Surah Anbiyaa: Verse 74)
About Hazrat Yaqoob (Alaihi salaam) it was said, “He was, by our instructions full of Knowledge (and experience), but most men know not.” (Surah Yusuf: Verse 96)
Hazrat Yaqoob (Alaihi salaam) himself told his sons about this blessing from Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) thus, “Did I not say to you, I know from Allah that which you know not.” (Surah Yusuf: Verse 96)
About Hazrat Yusuf (Alaihi salaam), it is said, “When Yusuf attained his full manhood, we gave him Power and Knowledge; thus do we reward those who do the right things.” (Surah Yusuf: Verse 22)
Regarding Hazrat Musa (Alaihi salaam), it is said, “When he reached full age and was firmly established (in life), we bestowed on him Wisdom and Knowledge.” (Surah Qasas: Verse 140)
It is said about Hazrat Khidr (Alaihi salaam): “So they found one of our servants on whom we had bestowed Mercy from ourselves and whom we had taught knowledge (of special significance) from Our Own Presence.” (Surah Kahf: Verse 65)

These verses of the Holy Quran make it clear that Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD)  the Almighty bestowed the Knowledge of the Unseen (Ghaib) on His chosen servants, but is unfortunate that most people do not know this; on the contrary, even they refuse to believe it without realizing the consequence thereof! These pious souls, at times on their own, disclosed this Divine bestowment in order to convince the people and clear their doubts and put them on the right track of faith and Belief.

    For example, Hazrat Isa (Alaihi salaam) spoke to his followers thus, “And I declare to you whatever you eat and whatever you store in your houses.” (Surah Ale Imran: Verse 49) (It meant that whatever they had eaten in the houses – within four walls – and whatever they had preserved therein was well known to the Prophet of Allah.
On another occasions, Hazrat Yusuf (Alaihi salaam) spoke to his fellow prisoners before telling them the meaning of their dreams. He said, “Before any food comes to you, I shall surely reveal to you the truth and meaning of this. It is due to the knowledge bestowed upon me by Allah that I have to reveal to you what you did not know.” (Surah Yusuf: Verse 37)

These verses reveal that Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) the Almighty has bestowed ilm- Ghaib to His chosen Apostles. To deny this, amounts to the denial and rejection of the Holy Quran itself. This is not an ordinary or routine knowledge. Elaborate precautionary and protective measures are adopted before such messages relating to the “Unseen” are dispatched. Special angels are sent (on earth) who stay around the Apostles, on whom the Knowledge of the Unseen (ilm -I -Ghaib) is bestowed. (Surah Jinn: Verse 26)

The grant of lm-il-Ghayb is admitted by a great honour and whosoever of the Apostles is bestowed this Unique Divine blessing become the holders of great Divine Treasure. However, there is no uniform and set pattern of Divine Message transmitted to each recipient in accordance to their status.

According to the Holy Quran the status and nature of responsible of the Apostles vary from one to another. “Those Apostles, we bestowed with gifts (endowed with ranks, etc.) as willed by Allah.” (Surah Baqarah: Verse 253) Likewise the grant of ’ilmil-Ghaybi to Prophets varies according to their nature of assignment relating to their prescribed mission.

The story of Hazrat Musa and Khidr (alayhim salaam) so vividly described in the Holy Quran explains this aspect of the proposition. Hazrat Musa met Khidr (alayhim salaam) and requested him to enlighten him with the specific knowledge which Allah bestowed on him. Hazrat Khidr (Alaihi salaam) accepted, but advised Hazrat Musa (Alaihi salaam) to be patient and not to utter any word until he would permit him to do so. Whatever Hazrat Khidr (Alaihi salaam) did was beyond the understanding of Hazrat Musa (Alaihi salaam).

The promise of keeping silence on events taking place before his eyes was too much for Hazrat Musa (Alaihi salaam) to sustain and at last (he broke the silence) Hazrat Khidr (Alaihi salaam) revealed the secrets of the events. Hazrat Khidr (Alaihi salaam) did not keep him in his company any more. Details of the story is found in the Holy Quran (Surah Kahf: Verse 65-82) this clearly shows that the nature of Ilmil-Ghaybi even to Prophets of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) was not uniform nor of equal measure.

The knowledge of the Unseen is, first of all, with Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD). This is evident from some Quranic verses, such as the following:

            With Him are the keys of the Unseen, none knows them but He. He knows whatever is in the earth and in the sea.
Not a leaf falls but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything wet, fresh or dry but is in a Manifest Record. (6:59)

            Say, [O Muhammad]: ‘I do not tell you that with me are the treasures of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) , nor that I do not know the Unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to me’. Say: ‘Are the blind and the one who sees equal? Will you not then reflect’? (6:50)

            Say: ‘I have no power over any benefit or harm to myself except as Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) wills. If I had the knowledge of the Unseen, I should increase well for myself and no evil should have touched me. I am but a Warner and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe’. (7:188)

These verses clearly state that the knowledge of the Unseen is with Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD). Does this, however, mean that no one can, by Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD)’s leave, obtain any part of the knowledge of the Unseen?

Can no one obtain any part of the knowledge of the Unseen?

Everything man has, like health, knowledge, and power, essentially belongs to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) and is, accordingly, from Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD). We have no power except that with which He has endowed us. We have no knowledge except what He has taught us or what He has enabled us to learn.
 Likewise, we see through His enabling us to see and hear through His enabling us to hear. Since this is so, the verses do not absolutely exclude man from possessing, by God’s leave, some knowledge of the Unseen.

The concept of the Unseen does not only relate to the future, it also relates to the past.
The Quran presents the stories of past nations as the stories of the Unseen.
Historical researches make us informed of the past.

Many people can, by Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD)’s will, get some glimpse of the future, partly or generally, in dreams or through some other ways which it is not proper to explain here.

The Quran, like the universe and man, is an organic entity, each verse being interrelated to the others. So, the first and foremost interpreter of the Quran is the Quran itself. In which case, the complete and true understanding of a verse depends on the understanding of other relevant verses. As a principle of creed, and as explicitly declared in the verses mentioned above, the knowledge of the Unseen, like power, seeing, and hearing, belongs to Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD). However, He reveals the knowledge of some of the Unseen to a Messenger whom He has chosen, as declared in the following verse:

            [Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) alone is] the knower of the Unseen and He does not disclose His Unseen to anyone, except a Messenger whom He has chosen. (72:26-7)

Normally, no one can know exactly what will take place in future, even a few minutes later. Scientists are not certain about even natural events which take place according to ‘deterministic’ laws; they state that they cannot say with certainty that the world will be in the same state as it is in now. Sociologists and historians have spoken about historical laws that they have claimed to be based on historical events or the flow of history but history has contradicted almost all of them including historians and those who favor some notion of continual progress in history like Marx, Weber, Fiche, Hegel, Herder and others.

The knowledge of the future is only with Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD). However, He may favor whomever He pleases with some part of this knowledge. If a man is convinced about the news he gives concerning the future, he can only be a Messenger of Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD)

Proof from the Qur’an that the Prophet Muhammad [May Allah bless him and grant him peace] has been given the knowledge of Ghaib

Allah says in the Qur’an,

“These are the tidings of Unseen that we reveal to you in secret”.

Surah-Ale-Imran:-, verse 44.

“Nor will He disclose to you the secrets of the Unseen. But He chooses of His Apostles (For the purpose)”

Surah-Ale-Imran: verse 179.

“The Knower of Unseen reveals not His secret to anyone. Except to His chosen Messengers”.

Surah-Al-Jinn, verse 26.

“…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.”

Surah Al-Nisa:, Verse 113.

The Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu-alaihi-wasallam, upon him be peace and blessings, made numerous predictions about the future, and history has not contradicted them.
Like the information he gave about the past, his predictions are also to be found in the Quran and in books of Tradition.

I wonder at the mentality of a miser, fearing poverty he takes to stinginess and thus hastily pushes himself head- long into a state of want and destitution, he madly desires plenty and ease, but throws it away without understanding.
In this world he, of his own free will, leads the life of a beggar and in the next world he will have to submit an account like the rich.

I wonder at the arrogance of a haughty and vain person.

 Yesterday he was only a drop of semen and tomorrow he will turn into a corpse.

I wonder at the man who observes the Universe created by Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) and doubts His Being and Existence.

I wonder at the man who sees people dying around him and yet he has forgotten his end.

 I wonder at the man who understands the marvel of genesis of creation and refuses to accept that he will be brought back to life again.

 I wonder at the man who takes great pains to decorate and to make comfortable this mortal habitat and totally forgets his permanent abode.

The Creator and Benefactor of the universe to whom everything and every being returns.
 He is the model of perfection and glory, not by any means deficient. He is Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) who is described by Ibrahim (Alaihi salaam).

1 – "Who created me, and it is He who guides me; who gives me food and drink.
And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; who will cause me to die, and then to live (again).
And who I hope will forgive my faults on the Day of Judgment", (Al-Shura "The Poet"‘: 78 - 82)

"Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it." ~Rumi

    May Allah Subhanahu WA Ta’aala (GOD) make our efforts sincere and keep us all on the straight path...........

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