Sunday, February 8, 2015

Part 11: A Brief Survey: Was Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) given the Knowledge of Unseen?

From the Layman’s Desk: Islamic Article No.18:

Part 11: A Brief Survey: Was Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) given the Knowledge of Unseen?

In the Name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

Earlier, we noted many ahadith.  According to a hadith, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) said 'Ooteetul ilmal awwaleena wal  Aakhireen" (Meaning  - I have been bestowed with the knowledge of the past (present) and future creations. Prominent scholars like al-Haytami, al-Qari, Abu’l Su`ud, and many others stated that  the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) had knowledge of everything encompassed in the tablet and pen.  Ahmad Rida Khaan al-Bareilawi (reh.) said in Khalis al Itiqaad p 38: "The Knowldege of the guarded tablet, the knowledge of the pen, and the knowledge of whatever existed and of whatever will exist are  part of the knowledge of the Prophet."  This is proven by the fact that all of the above concern whats takes place until the Rising of the Hour, and al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated from Hudhayfa, Abu Zayd al-Ansari, and other Sahaba that "The Prophet e stood among us [speaking] for a long time and did not leave out one thing from that time until the rising of the Final Hour except he told us about it. Whoever remembers it remembers it and whoever forgot it forgot it. All those who are present know this."    The sources of knowledge of Unseen of Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) are: (a) Direct, (b) Indirect, and (c) Prophetic Vision. Direct Knowledge - The above Ahadith and verses refer to the direct knowledge bestowed upon him. Indirect knowledge - The  Quran, was sent to Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) as official document via Hazrat Jibreel (AS). Prophetic Vision - In addition to the above two sources, the knowledge of Unseen was  disclosed to Prophet Mohammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) by way of "Prophetic vision".  In this category, the World of Souls (Aalam-e-Arwah), the World of Similitude (Aalam-e-Mithaal) and Prophetic Dreams are included. There are many Ahadith that describe the events unfolded in the past or that will happen in future till the Day of Resurrection and beyond.  This knowledge was bestowed to Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) directly from "Ilm-e-Elahi" (Allah's -SWT knowledge).  Under this category he might have witnessed how things unfolded in the past or will happen in future.  Or may be he was simply informed about them by Allah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) directly. Please refer to the earlier parts of this Article.  So the opinions of the dissenters do not hold water!  In the book of Ahmad Yaar, Mawa'iz Naimiya p 192 it is written: "The Prophets know the unseen from their birth."  This is established by the doctrine of [the real] Ahl al-Hadith that Prophets are Prophets from birth, and the meaning of Nabi is one who informs others about the unseen.

The Deoband Akabirs’, on the contrary, claim for themselves what they deny for the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) and as we noted before.  Some of the incidents of their power of perception that verge on the knowledge of unseen and even their being Haazir wa Naazir were presented in earlier Parts.  Here’s another example:  

Ilm-e-Ghayb of Molvi Rasheed Gangohi:

Meer Wajid ali Qannawji narrates this incidence from his Shaykh Molvi Qasim that once he (Molvi Qasim) went to the (town of) Gangoh. There was an earthen pot kept in the "Khankah".  He took that earthen pot and put it in the well to get some water.  When he drank the water, it was bitter.  At the time of Zuhar Salah, he met Hazrat ( Rashid Ahmed) and told about the bitter water. Hazrat (Rashid Ahmed) told that the water of this well is very sweet.  He then presented that earthen pot filled with water to Hazrat (Rashid Ahmed).  When Hazrat (Rashid Ahmed) drank the water he also found the water to be bitter.  Hazrat said "OK,  leave it here",  and he went for Zuhar Salah. After finishing Zuhar Salah , Hazrat    (Rashid Ahmed ) told everyone present there to recite" Kalima Tayyab" as much as they could.  Hazrat also recited Kalima Tayyab and after some time raised his hand, made Dua (supplication) and rubbed his hands on his face.  After that, he took that earthen pot and drank water. It was found very sweet.  Every one drank the water and there was no bitterness in it. Then Hazrat said: "This earthen pot is made from the soil of a grave whose inhabitant was under "punishment of the grave".  Alhamduillah, due to the blessings ( barakah) of kalima Tayyab the punishment has now been taken off.  (Tazkiratur Rashid, vol 1, page 271) (old edition, vol 2, page 212)

From the above, the following points arise:  Molvi Rasheed Gangohi  came to know (how else but by ilm-e-ghayb) that the earthen pot was made from the soil of a grave. This, despite the fact that he was not present when the potter had collected the soil and shaped a pot.  Yet, he came to know the origin of the soil! The Molvi knew what was happening to the inhabitant of the grave, namely, that he was undergoing the punishment of the grave and this he correlated to the cause of the bitterness of the water in the pot.  He could even know that the inhabitant of the grave was no longer undergoing the punishment of the grave as a result of the blessings of Kalima Tayyab.

Now that we have seen Rasheed Gangohi’s claim as above,  let’s see what Rasheed Gangohi says regarding Prophetic Knowledge.   Rasheed Gangohi says: “Whosoever considers the Messenger of Allah (Allah give him peace and blessings) was a knower of the unseen is undoubtedly an infidel and mushrik according to the Hanafi scholars.”  He added, “As for their saying that his knowledge of the unseen of all things is not intrinsic but is granted by Allah Most High is purely absurd and from their fables.” This fatwa was signed by the following Deobandi scholars: Abul Khayrat Sayyid Ahmad, Muhammad Ya’qub, Ahmad Hazarwi, Mufti Azizur Rahman, Abdullah Ansari, Muhammad Mahmud al-Hasan and Muhammad Is’haq. “Is prayer [salah] permissible behind someone who considers the Prophet (Allah give him peace and blessings) has knowledge of the unseen?”  To which he replied in clear words in his Fataawa (3: 113), “Prayer [salah] is invalid behind whoever establishes for the Messenger of Allah (Allah give him peace and blessings) knowledge of the unseen, which is exclusive to Allah Most High, because it is kufr and prayer behind him is unlawful. Such is stipulated in al-Durr al-Mukhtar”.   Under the subheading in his Fatawa “the Messenger’s knowledge of the unseen”, Rasheed Gangohi writes (p. 244 of Daarul ’Isha’at – Karachi), “Hazrat (Allah give him peace and blessings) did not have knowledge of the unseen nor did he ever claim it. The Word of Allah (i.e. Qur’an) and numerous hadiths tell us that he was not a knower of the unseen and believing he has knowledge of the unseen is explicit shirk”.  Rasheed Gangohi similarly states in Mas’alah Ilm-e-Ghayb p. 154, “All four Imams of the schools unanimously concur that prophets, upon them peace and blessings, are not informed of the unseen”.  FATWA OF RASHEED GANGOHI: “When Prophets don’t have knowledge of unseen then saying ‘O Prophet (Ya Rasool ALLAH)’ would be invalid too. If one says while keeping this faith that he listens from far away via knowledge of unseen then this (belief) itself is infidelity.”  (Fatawa-e-Rasheediya, part 3, page 90, by Rasheed Gangohi)  

Now firstly, it must be stated that in Radd al-Muhtar which is the primary reference book for Fatawa according to the Hanafi jurisprudence, Allama ibn Abidin had denounced Wahhabism and called Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab as the Khwarij of our Time.   Allama Ibn Abidin states: ‘…As it has occurred in our times with the followers of Abd al-Wahhab al-Najdi,  who appeared from Najd and imposed their control over the two sacred Harams. They used to  attribute themselves to the Hanbali School but they believed that only they were Muslims and that whoever opposed their beliefs were polytheists (mushrik), thus they considered the killing of those who were from the Ahl al-Sunnah and their scholars to be legitimate, until Allah Most High destroyed their might and power.’ (Radd al-Muhtar, 3/339-340, chapter regarding the followers of Abd al-Wahhab, the Khawarij of our times)”.  Yet  Molvi Rasheed Gangohi ignored this ruling while issuing his aforesaid Fatwa.  Of course, the claim that he did not know about the Wahhabis, their enmity with the Ahle Sunnah as well as the ruling in Radd al-Muhtar, is just an eye-wash! The interesting part is that according to Arwahe Salasa, page 292, Molvi Rasheed Gangohi could find a ruling in Radd al-Muhtar even after literally losing his eye-sight, the details of which we need not mention here.   It must also be stated here that calling Prophet Mohammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) as 'Ya Rasulullah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam)'  is not infidelity but a must.  It is important because the great Imams of Fiqh and Ahadith ( Imam Ahmad, Ibn Abi al-Dunya, Abu Nu'aym, Bayhaqi, Ibn Asakir, etc.  have mentioned this in their books and all their books were written after the death of Prophet Muhammad (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam).  Calling Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) as 'Ya Rasulullah, Ya Habeeballah, Ya Muhammad, Ya Habeebana,  Ya Mustafa (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) (after his death)  is also confirmed by Tirmizi, Nasa'i, Ibn Huzeema, Hakim and Baihaqi.   Arif Billah Sayyid Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani al-Makki al-Hanafi (d. Mecca, 1268 A.H./1852) said on page 14 of his work Akrab at-turuki ila ‘l-haqq: Think of Rasulullahâ’s  (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) presence facing you, his seeing and hearing you! Even if you are far away, Allahu ta’ala makes your voice be heard and displays you. Here, being near or distant is the same. All these passages show that Rasulullah (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam)  sees and hears those who think of facing him. The founder of Jamaat at-tabligh does not believe in this. He prohibits it even if it would be out of extreme love and says that the Prophet does not see or hear those who think of him. This word of his, however, stems from the basic Wahhabite tenet that states, “The dead do not hear.”  The most correct comment on this subject is the following fatwa of Ahmad ibn Hajar al-Haitami, the last of profound ulamaâ, which is written on the ninth page of the second volume of Fatawa al-kubra which is not being reproduced here for brevity’s sake and digression.  However, in fact coming to the Deobandis themselves, we have already mentioned Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki’s views on Ilm-e-Ghayb earlier and this is what the Pir of Molvi Thanvi and others,  (1814-1896) says:

“O the Grandeur Messenger! This is appeal; O Muhammad Mustafa (salALLAHu alaihi walayhi wassalam)! This is appeal.
I’m stuck in severe hardship nowadays; O my solver of difficulty (Mushkil-Kusha)! This is appeal.
Free me from the caption of grief; O great king! This is appeal.”
(Naala-e-Imdaad Ghareeb Munaajaat, page 18, by Haji Imdadullah Sahib). 

While continuing with the opinions of the dissenters and opponents who, despite the Quranic verses and the overwhelming ahadith shareef, don’t acknowledge that Allah bestowed a partial knowledge of the unseen on Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam), we note to our utter horror and regret that these scholars who call themselves Muslims should stoop to the level of making blasphemous and highly condemnable statements against Muhammad Mustafa sal Allahu alayhi wasallam to score a point on the false pretext of Shirk and Bidah.  Mind you, such things are happening even now at the hands of deviant preachers – many a time in a subtle garb.    We shall not digress into all the details concerning what is blasphemy, its categories and consequences but shall just mention that, generally, according to Islamic scholars, to compare any quality of the Noble Messenger (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) to disgraceful things or say that it is equal to such things is an explicit blasphemy and infidelity (kufr).  Imam lbn-e Hajar in his work Al-Aalam, in chapter of Approved Unbelief, has quoted references from the illustrious religious scholars as follows:  “Whoever utters blasphemy, or whoever appreciates it or shows pleasure upon it, commits blasphemy”.   Blasphemous statements from Deoband Elders and scholars are found throughout their literature but all of them cannot be mentioned in this brief survey.  They are condemnable and have been refuted by the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah.  Accusing those who maintain that Allah acquainted the Prophets with matters of the unseen with kufr [disbelief], is the act of the Kharijites who attribute the verses of shirk [polytheism] to Muslims. In the context of ilm-e-ghayb, Shirk means to believe that a person is able to know the unseen by himself without attributing it to Allah the Almighty.

Blasphemy in Hifzul Iman while relating ilm-e-ghayb:

Anyway, the position of Ahlus Sunnah regarding Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) Ilm-e-Ghayb has been clearly expounded by Shaykh Ahmad Rida Khan (reh.) who stated that the Prophet's  `ilm al-ghayb is partial (juz'i), non-exhaustive (ghayr ihati), bestowed (`ata'i) and not independent (ghayr istiqlali) as established once and for all by the Qur'anic verse {the knower of the Unseen, and He reveals unto none His secret save unto every messenger whom He has chosen} (72:26-27).   Such other Quranic verses we have already mentioned in earlier parts of this Article.

Now, it seems that the part relating to partial ilm-e-ghayb did not go down well with the Deoband Elder, Molvi Ashraf Ali Thanwi and so he made ugly and blasphemous statements:  "If Zaid (meaning anybody) holds the belief that the sacred personality (of the holy Prophet) had the knowledge of the unseen is true, still the question is: does this knowledge of the unseen encompass all things or is it confined merely to some of them? If it means knowledge of only a few unseen things, then how is it that he (Sallal Laahu Alaihi Wasallam) bears the stamp of distinction in this respect? Such knowledge of the unseen is also possessed not only by a Zaid or an Amar (i.e. every Tom, Dick and Harry) but by the epileptics and the insane, the animals and the beasts as well" (Hifz-ul-lmaan, Page 7 & 8, by Ashraf Ali Thanvi.)  It should be noted that the epithet "such" is not only used in the sense of "being like something" but is also used in the sense of "in like measure" and "this much" and this is what is meant here (in Molvi Thanvi’s writing).

As pointed out by Islamic scholar, Muhammad Munawwar Ateeq, the point Thanvi desired to establish was that there was no specialty in the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) possessing knowledge of the unseen when such kind of knowledge was also possessed by other lowly creatures. He not only made an ugly comparison that demeaned the lofty station of our Beloved Prophet  (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) but also ignored the crucial point that virtue was not restricted to full knowledge (kull ghayb), but in fact, even partial knowledge was virtuous.  For example, the degrees among ulama are considered virtuous even though their knowledge is partial. Thanvi did not pause for a moment and ponder as to why he was honoured by the title “hakeem al-ummah” among his mureeds and why his elders, such as Rasheed Gangohi,  were revered with lofty titles such as “Qutb-e-Alam” if virtue was restricted to full-knowledge alone that is only for Allah Most High?

It is common knowledge that if anything is compared with a respectable thing, it implies respect - whereas on the contrary, if anything is compared with a disgraceful and shameful thing, it implies defamation and disrespect. No learned person can deny the authenticity of this interpretation.  Undoubtedly, therefore, Molvi Thanvi is guilty of insolence towards the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam).  By comparing the knowledge of the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) with that of animals and lowly creatures, he has definitely committed the heinous crime of insulting the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam).  Deobandis say that to make the meaning clear the Molvi made changes in the text; but this is another lie. He made changes when muslim population read this and started hurling invectives against him.  He never did any tawba and all that he did was to change the word 'aysa' (this sort of), and this word is used for “misl” (similitude),”itnaa” (this much) and  “is qadar” (this much).

Imam Ahmad Raza Khan (reh.) translated the aforesaid blasphemous statements word by word into Arabic; but without resorting to any interpretations.  This translation he presented to the scholars of Harmayn Sherifain for their consideration and opinion.  For this anti-Islamic writing, two hundred and sixty eight (268) scholars from the Indian subcontinent and thirty three (33) scholars from Harmayn Sherifain declared the fatwa (verdict) of kufr upon Ashraf Ali Thanvi al-Deobandi.  However, it needs to be reiterated here that this Fatwa on Molvi Thanvi was issued NOT for his denial of Prophet’s (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) knowledge of unseen, but for his blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam).  Even  their own scholars have expressed their disgust at the blasphemous contentions of Molvi Thanvi and labeled them as “Aqbah” (most abhorrent), and “Stinking of Kufr”.   

Without going into the many details, according to the Islamic scholars there is Ijma'a (consensus) that he  who insults the Prophet Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam is a Kafir." (Radd alMuhtar vol.3/p.294).  Elsewhere he (Ibn Aabideen) says: "I say, and I have seen it in Kitaabul Kharaaj by Imam Yousuf that if a Muslim slanders the Messenger Sallallahu 'Alayhi wa Sallam or belies him (kadhdhaba) or finds fault ('aaba) or degrades (tanaqqasahu) be it known that he has disbelieved in Allah Ta'alah and his wife goes out of his Nikah.. (Baanat minhu imra-atahu)" (Radd al-Muhtar vol.3/p.291).  The above fatawa are from Radd al-Muhtar, Volume Three. This is the same volume that Nuh Keller quotes in defense of the Deobandis. However, Keller neglects to mention that a Muslim who slanders, belies, finds fault, or degrades the Messenger has disbelieved in Allah Ta’ala and his wife goes out of his Nikah. This is the postion of Imam-e-A’zam, Abu Hanafi  and his followers, such as his famous student Imam Yousuf . And the Shafii school concurs!

Interestingly, the Darul Uloom Deoband issued a Fatwa:  FATWA OF KHALEEL AMBETHVI:  “The person who equalizes Prophet’s knowledge to Zaid o Bakr, insane, children or animals is purely an infidel.”  (Almuhannad, page 36, by Khaleel Ambethvi).
However, it may be remembered that this is the same Khaleel Sahranpuri who had said "Knowledge of Shaitan (Satan) and Malakat-ul-Maut is more than that of the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wasallam) Nauz Billa.  (Baraheen-Qatia written in 1303 AH/ 1885 C.E. P.148.  This forms the part of our discussion in our next instalment.
Continued in Part 12....


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