Does the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم know the Unseen? A Long Discussion Concerning that | 3
by The Albaani Blog
Translated by Ahmed Abu Turaab
Following on from the second post:
The Shaikh continues, “Another point remains which I alluded to earlier [but] I [still] want to talk about it a little, and hopefully [talking about] it won’t go on for too long.
If [for argument’s sake we were to say that] Allaah chose His Prophet عليه السلام by [indeed] informing him of all of the Unseen, who is that person who can encompass the knowledge of the Messenger عليه السلام, and claim to have memorised it?
We now say [the following, let us suppose that] Ustaadh Maaher [is an expert] in any field you want to name, and he has the most adept and bright of students, the best memoriser–how much of Ustaadh Maaher’s knowledge will he memorise? A little. So will this intelligent teacher pour all of his knowledge into the breast of that student? [To do so] will require him [to expend] an extraordinarily exhausting effort. And Allaah does not burden a soul with more than it can bear.
So from this angle which negates human nature it is not plausible that the Prophet عليه السلام … if Allaah had taught him everything and had made him a partner with Himself concerning the knowledge of the Unseen, it is not reasonable [to say] that he would inform the people of that which they are not capable of bearing or enduring.
So in summary, may Allaah bless you, it is obligatory to explain hadiths such as this one in light of the aqidah of the Muslims which has been derived from all of the Book of Allaah and all of the Sunnah and hadiths of the Prophet of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم and that we do not stop at one hadith. For this reason I’m telling you now that the last word in this issue is: we claim that, firstly, we are all Muslims, alhamdulillaah.
But there is something else which we claim which is that we respect our Pious Predecessors from the Companions and their students [taabi’een], and the mujtahid Imaams. Through them we learnt the knowledge of the Book, the Sunnah, fiqh and aqidah.
So who from the scholars of the Muslims says that Allaah taught the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم everything, [that He taught him all the things that] occur in the hadith of the Pen, ‘Write that which will be up until the Day of Judgement,’ basing that upon the hadith of Muslim [quoted in the question]. I do not know a Muslim scholar who has preceded us in such a statement.
For this reason it is not permissible for a person to say that which opposes what our scholars of before, who were from different madhhabs and inclinations, have said.
Questioner: your excellency, the [respected] Shaikh, knows that the Companions were the most truthful and precise of people in reporting from the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام, such that one of them would refrain from reporting [something from him عليه الصلاة والسلام] for fear of [the possibility of] forgetting something. So [even though they were so careful, here] this narration came to us on the tongue of a Companion with precision, ‘He told us what was and would be.’ The Companion could have said, ‘He informed us of the keys to these things, or told us in generality, or the major events that would occur,’ but instead he said, ‘He told us what was and would be,’ meaning comprehensively/exhaustively. This is one point.
The second thing is that the Companion said, ‘To the extent that there was not an [army] detachment except that he informed us of it and its leader.’ And it is known that the ‘detachment’ is a group [of people].
As for your saying that if Allaah, the One free of all imperfections and the Most High, informed the Prophet of His Knowledge then he would have become a partner [with Allaah in that], then this is not said for one reason: as long as we ascribe the matter back to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, saying, ‘Allaah informed him,’ then this is something from the creation. This is one matter.
The second thing is that your Excellency knows that Allaah, the One free of all imperfections and the Most High, bestowed [lit. ‘split/shared’] some of His Beautiful Names on him which are present in the Quran, “Verily, there has come unto you a Messenger from amongst yourselves (i.e. whom you know well). It grieves him that you should receive any injury or difficulty. He is anxious over you (to be rightly guided …), for the believers full of pity, kind [ra’oof], and merciful [raheem].” [Tawbah 9:128]. And these are from the Most Beautiful Names of Allaah [Al-Asmaa al-Husnaa].
We are only trying to say the following: He said about our master Ishaaq, “…a boy (son) possessing much knowledge and wisdom [aleem].” [Hijr 15:53] and this [i.e., aleem] is also from the Asmaa al-Husnaa. But when the wisdom is attributed back to Allaah the Mighty and Majestic then the knowledge of the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام is something originated or brought into being [haadith], so if Allaah were to inform him of the Unseen and [we also have] the open statement of the Companion that He informed him of what was and what will be, then this is somethng brought into being [haadith] in relation to the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام. Because the Prophet عليه والسلام is muhaddath [“spoken to” i.e., this knowledge is revealed unto him]. So this does not show that there is any sharing in any way, nor does it mean that the kindness of the Prophet عليه الصلاة والسلام is the same as the divine Kindness, nor that the prophetic mercy is the same as the diving Mercy. Because the first Mercy [i.e., that of Allaah], is sempiternal, and the mercy of the Prophet عليه والسلام is recent and created. Just like that is the knowledge of our master Ishaaq, which is recent knowledge, whereas the knowledge of The Truth is pre-existent.
Thus: Imaam al-Busiri has a point when he says, ‘And from your knowledge is the knowledge of the Tablet and the Pen,’ i.e., he came across this hadith and is not ignorant or a polytheist. Rather he was in a generation that had scholars and people of tawheed, [discerning scholars] who knew how to separate the wheat from the chaff. So if he was a polytheist they would have refuted him [it’s as though here the questioner is saying to Shaikh al-Albaani, ‘If he was a polytheist or a kaafir as you Salafis claim …’ even though Shaikh al-Albaani has not made any such accusation in the discussion]. [On top of that] it is well known that if we have ninety-nine reasons to declare a Muslim to be a disbeliever and we have one reason not to, we should resort to the safer option [of not declaring him to be a disbeliever], as long as supporting rationale exists.
Al-Albani: I’m sorry, you are now straying from the topic at hand, no offense intended.
Questioner: I haven’t strayed at all.
Al-Albani: I’ll establish for you the fact that you have strayed.
Questioner: If I have strayed I take back what I have said.
Al-Albani: I’m sorry but now you’re saying firstly, secondly, thirdly, fourthly and fifthly. Wallaahi, I admit to you that my memory is weak, I will not say to you that the answer to number one is so and so, and number two is so and so, etc. But at the end I felt that you left the topic when you said that al-Busiri is [not] a polytheist and no one declared him to be a disbeliever etc.–we were not discussing that.
Interjection by someone at the gathering: What’s known to people is that this majlis [assembly/sitting] is clean and its conduct is vindicated [of accusing anyone of shirk “idolatry”].
[Compilers note: The questioner was trying to say that the Salafis say that al-Busiri is a mushrik, so Shaikh al-Albaani answered him back because by saying that he has now entered into a new topic of discussion and so the above interjector was trying to say that it is common amongst many who associate themselves to Salafiyyah that al-Busiri is a mushrik but as for the gathering of Shaikh al-Albaani then it is clean and its conduct is vindicated from abusing people. Shaikh al-Albaani also responds by saying what is written below, that as long as our gathering is clean and free of such things then why do you want to make it filthy with your accusation of shirk?]
Al-Albani: I’m sorry but just now you didn’t mention [the topic of] shirk and that it is not shirk and that he is not a polytheist.
Questioner: Because there is a story …
Al-Albani: I’m sorry ustaadh, did you say he was not a polytheist or not?