Shiareformist - ‘Aqaid, Post #5


Salam alaykum wa rahmatullah,

Today I will speak about the 5th post of Shiareformist’s series on belief of classical scholars regarding ‘ilm al-ghayb.

Before, I start - I will mention the viewpoint of Allama Majlisi that will relate to the below classical scholars view:

(Bihar al-Anwar, vol 26, 103)

“I have said many times that denying the knowledge of the unseen from the Imams means that they do not know that on their own without His teaching by revelation or inspiration.

After all, it appears that the pillar of the miracles of the prophets and guardians is of this kind. 

One of the aspects of the inimitability of the Qur’an is also that it includes news of the unseen, and we also know many of the unseen news of God Almighty and His Messenger and the imams, may God’s prayers be upon them, such as the Resurrection and its conditions, Paradise and Hellfire, the return, the rise of the Qa’im (peace be upon him), the descent of Jesus and other portents of the Hour”

قال العلامة المجلسيقد عرفت مرارا أن نفي علم الغيب عنهم معناه أنهم لا يعلمون ذلك من أنفسهم بغير تعليمه تعالى بوحي أو إلهام، وإلافظاهر أن عمدة معجزات الأنبياء والأوصياء من هذا القبيلوأحد وجوه إعجاز القرآن أيضا اشتماله على الأخبار بالمغيبات، ونحن نعلم أيضاكثيرا من المغيبات بأخبار الله تعالى ورسوله والأئمة صلوات الله عليهم كالقيامة وأحوالها والجنة والنار والرجعة وقيام القائم (عليه السلامونزول عيسى وغير ذلك من أشراط الساعة

With that said, let us start


Shiareformist post:

Views of some Classical Scholars about Ilm al Ghayb

  • Shaykh al-Saduq

Shiareformist quote:

In his book, Kamal ud Deen, Sheikh Saduq says, on page 109 and 112

“And whoever professes that “the occurrences become apparent to Allah (swt), through consideration and gained knowledge”, then such a person is a disbeliever (kafir) in Allah (swt). And what was other than this, then it is the belief of the Mughiriah sect, and anyone who attributes the knowledge of unseen (ghaib) to the Imams (as), then that is an act of disbelief (Kufr) in Allah (swt) and a departure from Islam according to us.” (Kamal ud Deen, Saduq, Pg 109)

And in another place, on page 112, he says

…Also, the Imam was not aware of these confusing and contradictory claims that were transmitted by the narrators of Hadith because he does not know the unseen, rather he is just a pious slave of Allah (swt) who knows the Quran and Sunnah, and he only knows about those affairs of his shias which are reported to him” (Kamal ud Deen, Saduq, Pg 112)

Pic Reference: Kamal ud Deen, Sheikh Saduq, Pg 109 & Pg 112.”

  • My thoughts:

This is a lie - this text cited by Shaykh al-Saduq (found on pages 137-138 of Kamal

al-Deen on shiaonlinelibrary) are from a very long, word by word, quotation from the book of  the classical Twelver scholar Ibn Qibba al-Razi’s response to Zaydi polemical book Kitab al-Ishhad.

They are not the words of Shaykh al-Saduq. Just because Sh al-Saduq quotes it does not mean he agrees with it, and the words mustn’t simply be attributed to him. This is deceptive.

Shaykh al-Saduq might have agreed with some or most of the quote, or even may have simply showed it for perspective without agreeing. We don’t know why he quoted Ibn Qibba’s response, but it does not automatically reflect Shaykh al-Saduq’s stance. 

In fact, it seems even Ibn Qibba is being misrepresented here - as Ibn Qibba’s definition of ‘Ilm al-Ghayb is similar to that of Allama Majlisi (ilm al ghayb in imams is not independent.

The editor of Sharh al-Kafi, vol 5, page 186 says:

“Ibn Qibba, who is one of the classical Imams scholars, said: 

The knowledge of the unseen is not claimed regarding the imams except by a mushrik, even though he cited as evidence (of ‘ilm al-ghayb in Imams) in that that Ali (peace be upon him) was informed of the unseen in Nahrawan.”

وقال ابن قبة وهو من قدماء علمائنا الإماميةإن علم الغيب لا يدعيه في الأئمة إلا مشرك مع أنه استدل بإخبار علي (عليه السلامبالغيب فيالنهروان وأن مصرعهم دون النطفة ولم يعبروا النهر على إمامته 

  • Shaykh al-Mufid

Shaykh al-Mufid’s belief is similar to that of Allama Majlisi. 

When Sh al-Mufid says “some slaves” - it doesn’t necessarily mean a little number of slaves. It‘s possible it’s referring to all of humanity, but not certain slaves of Allah like Gabriel for example.

Shaykh al-Mufid also believes that the Imams cannot have knowledge of ghayb such as knowledge of future events - except, if they are taught this knowledge by Allah. They do not have this knowledge independently.

41 - Thoughts about the knowledge of the imams (peace be upon him) of inner thoughts of humans and other creatures, and calling them with knowledge of the unseen, and that they those as attributes. 

I say: The imams from the progeny of Muhammad (peace be upon him) knew the inner thoughts of some slaves (of Allah) and knew what would happen before it came into being

These attributes are not a condition for their imamate, however, God Almighty honored them with it and taught them to as a form of (lutf) reward for their obedience and adherence to their status of imam. These attributes are not necessary from the view point of logic, but obligatory to believe because of narrations.

As for saying that the Imams know ghaib, so it is an extremely evil and corrupt belief, because the description of that is only deserved by the one who knows things by Himself, not with learned knowledge, and this is only God- the Almighty - and following my belief a group of Imamites (Shia) except for those who deviate from them from the Mufawidda and Ghulat.

41 - القول في علم الأئمة (عبالضمائر والكائنات وإطلاق القول عليهم بعلم الغيب وكون ذلك لهم (1) في الصفات وأقولإن الأئمة من آلمحمد (صقد كانوا يعرفون ضمائر بعض العباد ويعرفون ما يكون قبل كونه، وليس ذلك بواجب في صفاتهم ولا شرطا في إمامتهم، وإنماأكرمهم الله تعالى به وأعلمهم إياه للطف في طاعتهم و التمسك بإمامتهم، وليس ذلك بواجب عقلا ولكنه وجب لهم من جهة السماعفأماإطلاق القول عليهم بأنهم يعلمون الغيب فهو منكر بين الفساد، لأن الوصف بذلك إنما يستحقه من علم الأشياء بنفسه لا بعلم مستفاد، وهذا لايكون إلا الله - عز وجل -، وعلى قولي هذا جماعة أهل الإمامة إلا من شذ عنهم من المفوضة ومن انتمى إليهم من الغلاة.


Of the above quote, Shiareformist shows a picture of the entire report but only translates the part that can be used selectively support his interpretation.

Instead of what Shaykh al-Mufid truly believed regarding ‘Ilm al-Ghayb.

  • Al-Tabrasi

(Majma’ al-Bayan, vol 10, page 155)

Allah said: (He will not reveal his ghayb to anyone.) 

Then he made an exception and said: (Except for those who are pleased from his Messengers) 

Meaning the messengers, for it is evidence of their prophethood that they are informed of the unseen (ghayb knowldge), so that it would be a miracle sign for them, and the verse’s meaning is: 

Whoever He (Allah) accepts and chooses for prophecthood and propagating His message, then He informs him of whatever He wills of the unseen (ghayb).

(فلا يظهر على غيبه أحداأي لا يطلع على الغيب أحدا من عبادهثم استثنى فقال: (إلا من ارتضى من رسوليعني الرسل، فإنه يستدلعلى نبوتهم بأن يخبروا بالغيب، لتكون آية معجزة لهم، ومعناهإن من ارتضاه واختاره للنبوة والرسالة، فإنه يطلعه على ما شاء من غيب

  • Shaykh al-Tusi

Shaikh Tusi wrote in his book Talkhis al Shafi (Volume 1 page 252): We do not consider it necessary for the Imam to have any knowledge of things which is not directly related to Islamic laws….”

  • My comment:

1 ) When one reads the full paragraph of Sh al-Tusi’s statements - it indicates Sh al-Tusi believes in ‘ilm al-ghayb for religious matters. 

قيل لههذا سؤال من لم يراع استدلالنا... لانا اوجبنا كونه كذلك حيث كان رئيساً فيها وحاكماً فى جميعها ومقدما على الناس كلهم ولمنوجب ان يكون عالماً بما لاتعلق له بالاحكام الشرعيه ولا بما ليس هو بمتقدم فيه... فاما ما يقع من ارباب الصنايع في المشاجرات والترافعفيها الى الامام فتكليف الامام ان يرجع ذلك الى الخبرة فيما يصح عنده من قول اهل الخبرة

We obligated him [the Imam] to be like this, as he was the chief in all of them and the ruler in all of them and superior to all the people, and we did not require him to be aware of what is not related to the rulings of Shari’anor what he is not superior to the people in

If the Imam *must* be aware of all the correct rulings of Sharia, this necessitates ‘ilm al-ghayb knowledge. Because the Imam would not be using personal reasoning (ijtihad) to deduce Sharia rulings, he would be using divine inspiration - this is why his Sharia hukm would never be wrong.

2 ) One must define necessity. 

If Shaykh al-Tusi did not believe something is necessary logically, he could still believe there is correct evidence for it from scripture. 

Similar to al-Mufid on ‘ilm al-ghayb quoted above:

“These attributes are not necessary from the view point of logic, but obligatory to believe because of narrations.”

3 ) Shaykh al-Tusi does believe ‘Ilm al-Ghayb knowledge i transmitted by Allah to His prophets and righteous slaves.

(Al-Tibyan, page 155)

And He is the one who opens to the door to knowledge (of al-Ghayb) to whomever he desires to teach it to - from His prophets and slaves, as no one knows al-Ghayb except Him. Thus, no one other than Him can teach (Allah’s) slaves that knowledge.”

ومعنى الآية أن الله تعالى عالم بكل شئ من مبتدءات الأمور وعواقبها فهو يعجل ما تعجيله أصلح وأصوب، ويأخر ما تأخيره أصلح واصواب،وأنه الذي يفتح باب العلم لمن يريد إعلامه شيئا من ذلك من أنبيائه وعباده، لأنه لا يعلم الغيب سواه، فلا يتهيأ لاحد ان يعلم العباد ذلك

  • Ibn Shahr Ashoob
  • The Prophet and the Imam must have full knowledge of the Islamic laws, but it is not necessary upon them to have knowledge of ghaib, after all that would then mean that they are partners of Allah.”

  • My thoughts:

Ibn Shahr Ashoob had the same as Allama Majlisi’s opinion

Wa Allahu A’lam