How do we refute that Rasoolulahi (SAW) is Alimul Ghaib?

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Q:) How do we refute that Rasoolulahi (SAW) is Alimul Ghaib? consider the following:

Believers use the following evidences to support their belief that rasoolulla (SAW) had IlmulGhaib: 

1. The verse “And taught you whatever you did not know” (4:113) implies that prophet SAW had all knowledge except which is given specification. 

2. The 5 things which only Allah knows mentioned in 31:34 means those who claim to know them without Allah teaching them does not know it. But Allah taught rasoolullah SAW – this is why the Hadith mentioned in Bukhari that he told the congregation “Ask of me and I shall tell you anything from now till Qiyamah” and the other hadith that rasoolullah SAW mentioned the places where people would die at Badr. 

3. When Jibreeli Ameen questioned prophet SAW about the time of Qiyamah he said “The questioned has no more knowledge than the questionnaire” – he did not lie and say “I don’t know” or tell the truth because the Mushriks would consider him as god; rather he meant Jibreel (AS) knows no more than himself SAW, but Jibreel knows when Qiyamah is because he is the leader of the angels and Israfeel (AS) knows so he must know. 

4. The ayah “Knower of the unseen and does not give clarification on the unseen to anybody except those he is pleased with from the messengers” (72:26-26) 6. Allah is Al-aleem – his knowledge is limitless, the prophet’s knowledge is vast but limited. 

5. If you claim Allah’s qualities are taken – he is also Alimush Shahadah. Mufti: 

  • How do we refute these arguments? 

  • Does believing in this tantamount to shirk or not?

A:) At the outset it is important to clarify what is Ilmul Garb. The literal translation of Ilmul Garb Knowledge of the unseen is not general and neither is it mentioned here. Ilmul Garb refers to knowledge without any means whatsoever. That is not the case with the knowledge of Rasulullah (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasalam).His knowledge was from Allah. Allah says "and He thought you that which you did not know" The verse is clear that Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasalam) knowledge was limited. It is therefore incorrect to state that His knowledge was absolute like the knowledge of Allah. How would we then differentiate between Allah and His Rasul in knowledge? How would we explain the incident of Ilq (false accusation) against Ayesha (R.A) and Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasalam) investigating the issue. Why did he not simply deny the allegations from the beginning? How would we explain the delay in the revelation of Surah Kahf for 15 days upon being asked three questions and Rasulullah (Salallahu Alaihi Wasalam) not knowing them? The list goes on.... 

1) "The following are the answers to their objections: 1) The actual translation of this verse is "And he taught you what you knew not." This is definitely correct, for Allah did teach Nabi(Salla Allahu alayhi wa 
sallam) that knowledge which Nabi(Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did not have. But at the same time there is no indication in this Aayah that he(Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) possessed Ilmul-Ghaib. 2ndly this Aayah is in fact a refutation of Ilmul-Ghaib, since as mentioned earlier Ilmul-Ghaib is that knowledge which is attained without means, i.e. direct knowledge. This Aayah shows that Nabi(Salla Allahu alayhi wa 
sallam) was taught therefore his knowledge was with means which shows that he did not have Ilmul-Ghaib. 

2) The 5 things mentioned in the Quraan 31:34 are known only by Allah and these were not taught to Nabi (SAW). Allah Taa'la says in the Quraan "And with him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden). None knows them but him" (6:59). Nabi(Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) whilst making Tafseer (commentary) of this verse remarked "The keys of the Ghaib are five, and then he read the verse 31:34. From here it is apparent that it is in regards to these exact five things that Allah Taa'la said "None knows them but Him". Such is the clarity of this verse that even a child can understand that it means , Allah and Allah alone knows them with no exception whatsoever. Undoubtedly there were many future events which Allah revealed to Nabi(Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) but to deduce from this that he was Aalimul-Ghaib is incorrect. Since there were many occurrences about which Nabi (SAW) had no knowledge of. To the extent that when his own wife Hadhrat Aisha (RA) was falsely accused of Zina, Nabi (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) did not know if the allegation was true or false until Allah himself revealed her innocence. 

3) The meaning of "the questioned has no more knowledge than the questionnaire" is "As you Jibrael (AS) do not when Qiyamat will take place similarly I also am unaware of its date of occurrence. Secondly, Israfeel (AS) is also unaware of when Qiyamat will take place. In fact the Hadith of Targheeb informs us that at present he is listening intently waiting for the command to blow the soor. Thirdly, the contention that if Jibrael (AS) told the truth the mushriks would think him to be God is far fetched. This incident took place toward the end of the prophet's (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) life in Madinah and there was a gathering of the Muslimeen around the prophet (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam ), not the mushrikeen. For argument's sake, if the mushrikeen were present, when they had seen Nabi (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) splitting the moon in front of their very eyes, they did not accept that he was the messenger of Allah, let alone God. Why would they believe that a man who told them that Qiyamat would take place over thousands of years away, to be God? 

4) The ayat that Allah shows the unseen to His Rasool, does not show that Rasulullah (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is Aalimul Ghaib. Allah definitely gave him knowledge of the unseen to the extent of the requirement of his prophet hood, as other Ambiya were also given knowledge of the unseen to the extent of their prophet hood. 

5) "Allah is Al-Aleem, His knowledge is limitless. The prophet's (Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) knowledge is vast but limited" is a correct belief. 

6) Aalimush Shahadah means whatever can be seen, Allah knows all of it. This is also an exclusive quality of Allah. 

  • The belief that Nabi(Salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam) is Aalimul-Ghaib is tantamount to Shirk. 

Mufti Ebrahim Desai 

Article taken (with Thanks) from


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This page was last updated on June 14, 2003 .