Shiareformist - ‘Aqaid, Post#4
Salam alaykum wa rahmatullah,
Today I will begin my series of responding to the posts of Shiareformist - a known revisionist writer, on his series about “Aqa’id belief” - which consist of over 20 posts.
I will begin with his 4th post - as his first 3 posts speak about Ghuluw, a topic I’ve already touched upon extensively - and will inshallah cover all his posts.
In his 4th post, he doubts the possibility of the Imams having ilm al ghayb knowledge of past and future - and to this we will respond.
“Do the Prophet (saww) and Imams (as) have knowledge of everything?”
I will begin by citing Shiareformist’s 13th point of the post, as I believe it will relate to all his points.
- Point 13 :
“Allah (swt) says in Surah Ibrahim 14:9
أَلَمْ يَأْتِكُمْ نَبَأُ الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ قَوْمِ نُوحٍ وَعَادٍ وَثَمُودَ ۛ وَالَّذِينَ مِن بَعْدِهِمْ ۛ لَا يَعْلَمُهُمْ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۚ جَاءَتْهُمْ رُسُلُهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَرَدُّوا أَيْدِيَهُمْ فِيأَفْوَاهِهِمْ وَقَالُوا إِنَّا كَفَرْنَا بِمَا أُرْسِلْتُم بِهِ وَإِنَّا لَفِي شَكٍّ مِّمَّا تَدْعُونَنَا إِلَيْهِ مُرِيبٍ
Has there not reached you the news of those before you – the people of Noah and ‘Aad and Thamud and those after them? No one knows them but Allah. Their messengers brought them clear proofs, but they returned their hands to their mouths and said, “Indeed, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent, and indeed we are, about that to which you invite us, in disquieting doubt.”
“No one knows them except Allah”, does Rasulallah (saww) come in “except Allah” or not? ofcourse he does, it means clearly that the knowledge of those after ‘Aad and Thamud is not with Rasulallah (saww), as it is ONLY with Allah and there is no exception to this.
This clearly proves that Allah (swt) has NOT given the Prophet (saww) the knowledge of everything. The Prophet (saww) only knew about certain past and future events (like the ones that are in Quran), and whatever the Imams (as) knew, they had learnt it from the Quran and the Prophet (saww), hence is goes without saying that even the Imams (as) did not have the knowledge of everything.
- My thoughts:
Shiareformist states that the verse below “means clearly that the knowledge of those after ‘Aad and Thamud is not with Rasulallah (saww), as it is ONLY with Allah and there is no exception to this.”
“Has there not reached you the news of those before you – the people of Noah and ‘Aad and Thamud and those after them? No one knows them but Allah. Their messengers brought them clear proofs, but they returned their hands to their mouths and said, “Indeed, we disbelieve in that with which you have been sent, and indeed we are, about that to which you invite us, in disquieting doubt.” (14:9)
However, Shiareformist’s idea is incorrect.
It is impossible for no one to know them except Allah.
For each slave of Allah, Allah assigned angels who are aware of each and every single action taken by this slave.
“And indeed, [appointed] over you are keepers. Honourable angels, recording ˹everything˺. They know whatever you do.” (82:10-12)
Allah appointed angels to record all the deeds of mankind, so how would they not be aware of the deeds of the people who came after ‘Aad and Thamud?
Rather - what Allah means is that he has the authority to dispose of this knowledge to others and no one but him.
Not that Allah did not share this knowledge with anyone but Himself.
- Point 1
“After narrating the story of Prophet Nuh (as), Allah (swt) says to Prophet Muhammad (saww), in Surah Hud 11:49
تِلْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهَا إِلَيْكَ ۖ مَا كُنتَ تَعْلَمُهَا أَنتَ وَلَا قَوْمُكَ مِن قَبْلِ هَٰذَا ۖ فَاصْبِرْ ۖ إِنَّ الْعَاقِبَةَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. You knew it not, neither you nor your people, before this. So be patient; indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous.
This is such a clear verse, Allah (swt) is clearly saying that Rasulallah (saww) did not know about this (events of Nuh a.s) before it was revealed to him in the Quran. Allah (swt) made it crystal clear by adding “..neither you nor your people, before this”.
Bearing in mind that the (so called) scholars are very good at twisting the meaning of verses to suit their beliefs, if the verse had only said “..You (oh Prophet) did not know this..”, the scholars could have said, well this verse is talking about Alam e Dharr, or Alam al arwah, even before Adam was created, that is the time when Allah (swt) revealed to our Prophet (saww) the story of Nooh. Well Allah (swt) clarified it by saying “..neither you nor your people..” knew it “BEFORE THIS..”, which clearly shows that Allah (swt) is talking about this world, not some other realm.
This clearly proves that the Prophet (saww) does not know everything from the past (like story of Nuh (as)), and this also proves that the Prophet (saww) was not even aware of the Quran before it was revealed to him in this world.”
- My thoughts:
Shiareformist cites the above verse to claim that “this clearly proves that the Prophet (saww) does not know everything from the past (like story of Nuh (as)), and this also proves that the Prophet (saww) was not even aware of the Quran before it was revealed to him in this world.”
This is not true.
The mushrikeen were quite aware of the stories of previous Prophets - previously taught to them by the Jews.
This is why they told the Prophet they will not believe until he brings miracles like that which were given to the “messengers of Allah”.
“And when a sign comes to them, they say, "Never will we believe until we are given like that which was given to the messengers of Allah." (6:124)
And the knowledge of previous prophets taught to the Meccan mushrikeen by Jews, is the reason why Allah cites the knowledge of Jews about Muhammad (sawa) being a prophet is evidence to the mushrikeen.
“And has it not been a sign to them [i.e, mushrikeen] that it is recognized by the scholars of the Children of Israel?”
Thus, what Allah means by the following verse:
“That is from the news of the unseen which We reveal to you, [O Muhammad]. You knew it not, neither you nor your people, before this. So be patient; indeed, the [best] outcome is for the righteous.” (11:49)
Is that no prophet was authorized to teach the mushrikeen and them being taught this knowledge by him (a prophet) - before Prophet Muhammad.
No previous scripture was revealed to the mushrikeen in particular.
“Or do you have a [previous] scripture in which you learn” (68:37)
Remember, point #13 - Allah’s ilm refers to his authority to dispose knowledge. In point 1, this ‘ilm is Allah’s authority to send a prophet to dispose knowledge - the mushrikeen did not have this blessing, but rather - learned the tales of prophets from other sources.
Hence, they proclaimed that the stories of previous prophets are ancient tales. Stories they heard from generations ago:
“Whenever Our revelations are recited to them, they challenge ˹you˺, “We have already heard ˹the recitation˺. If we wanted, we could have easily produced something similar. This ˹Quran˺ is nothing but ancient fables!” (8:31)
- Point 2:
In Surah Saad 38:67-70, Allah (swt) instructs the Prophet (saww) to say to the people
قُلْ هُوَ نَبَأٌ عَظِيمٌ
مَا كَانَ لِيَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ بِالْمَلَإِ الْأَعْلَىٰ إِذْ يَخْتَصِمُونَ
إِن يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ إِلَّا أَنَّمَا أَنَا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Say, “It is great news from which you turn away.
I had no knowledge of the exalted assembly [of angels] when they were disputing [the creation of Adam].
It has not been revealed to me except that I am a clear warner.”
Mala e A’ala, according to most Mufassireen refers to the incident when Angels were asked to Prostrate in front of Adam (as), and there was a controversy. Irrespective of what it means, one thing is clear, that the Prophet (saww) was not aware of “Mala e A’ala” when it took place, even though according to popular belief, the Prophet (saww) was created much before Adam (as), so he (saww) should have witnessed whatever happened in Mala e A’ala.”
- My thoughts:
Allah says in the verse that had it not been for His wahi, the Prophet would not have knowledge of the angels’ dispute.
“I had no knowledge of the exalted assembly [of angels] when they were disputing [the creation of Adam].
It has not been revealed to me except that I am a clear warner.””
Ibn Kathir’s tafsir:
“Had it not been for wahi, how will I know about the dispute of the angels?”
وقوله : ( ما كان لي من علم بالملإ الأعلى إذ يختصمون ) أي : لولا الوحي من أين كنت أدري باختلاف الملأ الأعلى ؟
This does not contradict the Shi’i belief in which the Prophet’s knowledge is not independent from Allah. The Prophet receives knowledge through wahi in its various forms and shapes.
Moreover, Prophet being created in soul before Adam is different from him being created as a bodily, sentient being when he was born in dunya.
Even if we were to assume the Prophet were a sentient being in ‘Alam al-Dharr. And he did not directly witness dispute of the angels - it does not mean he could not have received it in other ways (such as wahi).
As an example -
Allah kicked Iblis from heaven
“[Allah] said, "Then get out of it [i.e., Paradise], for indeed, you are expelled.” (38:77)
Yet, Iblis was still able to receive knowledge somehow about Adam’s activities in heaven and was he was able to do waswasa (inspiring evil thought in Adam) - despite Adam being in heaven and Iblis out of it.
“But Satan whispered to them [i.e, Adam and Eve] to make apparent to them that which was concealed from them of their private parts. He said, "Your Lord did not forbid you this tree except that you become angels or become of the immortal." (7:20)
Similarly, Prophet Muhammad might not be in the same area in heaven where angels dispute. But Allah could have given him knowledge of it.
- Point 3
“Allah (swt) says to Rasulallah (saww) in Surah Tawba 9:101
وَمِمَّنْ حَوْلَكُم مِّنَ الْأَعْرَابِ مُنَافِقُونَ ۖ وَمِنْ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ ۖ مَرَدُوا عَلَى النِّفَاقِ لَا تَعْلَمُهُمْ ۖ نَحْنُ نَعْلَمُهُمْ ۚ سَنُعَذِّبُهُم مَّرَّتَيْنِ ثُمَّ يُرَدُّونَ إِلَىٰ عَذَابٍعَظِيمٍ
And among those around you of the Bedouins are hypocrites, and [also] from the people of Madinah. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, [O Muhammad], do not know them, [but] We know them. We will punish them twice [in this world]; then they will be returned to a great punishment.
Not just, past and future, like any normal human being, the Prophet (saww) was even unaware of the people of his own time, and in his own city, that’s why Allah (swt) says “You do not know them…”.”
- My thoughts
Shiareformist is quoting the below verse out of context:
“And among those around you of the bedouins are hypocrites, and [also] from the people of Madinah. They have become accustomed to hypocrisy. You, [O Muhammad], do not know them, [but] We know them. We will punish them twice [in this world]; then they will be returned to a great punishment” (9:101)
Yes - there are some munafiqeen which Allah did not inform the Prophet of by name.
But these munafiqeen - one in the verse you quoted, Allah made the prophet to discern they are munafiqeen by the way they speak:
“And if We willed, We could show them to you, and you would know them by their mark; but you will surely know them by the tone of [their] speech. And Allah knows your deeds.” (47:30)
Other munafiqeen, Allah clearly identified to the Prophet:
“And when it is said to them, "Come to what Allah has revealed and to the Messenger," you see the hypocrites turning away from you in aversion.” (4:61)
Hence - Allah tells the Prophet to not pray for any hypocrite once he dies. Whether Allah made the Prophet identify him by the way he spoke, or directly identified the hypocrite to the Prophet:
“Do not ever pray over any of them [i.e, hypocrites] who dies, nor stand over his grave. They disbelieved in Allah and His Messenger and died in iniquity” (9:84)
- Point 4
“Before narrating the story of Prophet Yusuf (as), Allah says to Rasulallah (saww) in Surah Yusuf 12:3
نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ بِمَا أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ هَٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ وَإِن كُنتَ مِن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الْغَافِلِينَ
We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories in what We have revealed to you of this Qur’an although you were, before it, among the unaware.
An argument is made that the word “ghaafil” does not mean “unaware” rather it means that Rasulallah (saww) was aware, but did not tell the people.
Well why would Allah (swt) call Rasulallah (saww) “Ghafil” (which is a negative word) while Rasulallah (saww) only says something when Allah asks him to say it?
Also if we assume that Rasulallah (saww) knew everything, then Nauzobillah even when he died he was ghaafil, because he did not tell the people all that he knew in his life. This is clearly illogical.
Also see 6:131, 6:156, 7:172 etc where word ghaafil is used for being “unaware”
- My thoughts
“And you were not expecting that the Book would be conveyed to you, but [it is] a mercy from your Lord.” (28:86)
The Prophet being unaware is in the sense he was not expecting to be prescribed his own book of commandments by Allah, as clarified in 28:86 above.
Meaning - the Prophet did not consciously study the books of Ahl al-Kitab to invent a revelation to the mushrikeen, expecting that they follow it. As the mushrikeen claimed:
“And so We vary our signs to the extent that they will say, “You have studied ˹previous scriptures˺ (6:105)
Rather, the Holy Quran was revealed as a mercy from Allah - not because the Prophet wanted it or consciously sought to bring a new religion to his people.
“Say, "If Allah had willed, I would not have recited it to you, nor would He have made it known to you, for I had remained among you a lifetime before it. Then will you not reason?" (10:16)
In other words:
Imagine a Christian preacher tells you I received a revelation from God. You will say he is consciously making these claims up, he is doing so in an aware state.
Not in a state out of his control (unawareness) - which can be reflective of true prophethood. As Prophet Muhammad did not choose prophethood, Allah chose him for it.
- Point 5
“In Surah Ahqaf 46:9, Allah (swt) asks Rasulallah (saww) to say to his people
قُلْ مَا كُنتُ بِدْعًا مِّنَ الرُّسُلِ وَمَا أَدْرِي مَا يُفْعَلُ بِي وَلَا بِكُمْ ۖ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلَّا مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيَّ وَمَا أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ مُّبِينٌ
Say, “I am not something new among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner.”
Some people say, well when this verse says “What will be done with me and you” it is talking about Day of Judgment, and that is not included in Ilm al Ghayb, rather everything that happens before the Day of Judgment is included in Ilm al ghayb.
This is against what Imam Ali (as) has been quoted to have said in Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 128. While Imam Ali (as) was informing the people of certain future events, a person from the tribe of Kalb stood up and said “O Amir al-mu’minin, you have been given knowledge of Ghayb. (Because this companion was thinking, if the Imam doesn’t have Ilmul Ghayb, then how can he tell us about these future events, but the Imam corrected him as you will see below:)
Whereupon Amir al-mu’minin (as) laughed and said to the man who belonged to the tribe of Banu Kalb:
“O brother of Kalb! This is not knowledge of hidden things (`ilmu’l-ghayb); rather, these are simply matters I have learned from a possessor of knowledge (i.e. the Prophet) who knew them. As for knowledge of Ghyab, that encompasses the knowledge of the Day of Judgement, and the things covered by Allah in the verse:
“Verily, Allah is He with Whom is the knowledge of the Hour; He sends down the rain, and He knows what is in the wombs. No soul knows what it will earn tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die..” (Qur’an, 31:34)
Therefore, Allah alone knows what is there in the wombs, whether male or female, ugly or handsome, generous or miserly, mischievous or pious, and who will be the fuel for Hell and who will be in the company of the Prophets in Paradise. This is the knowledge of the hidden things which is not known to anyone save Allah. Other than this is that whose knowledge Allah passed on to His Prophet and he passed it on to me, and prayed for me that my bosom may retain it and my ribs may hold it.”
As we can see, according to Imam Ali (as), the Day of Judgment is included in Ilm al Ghayb, therefore not having knowledge about the Day of Judgment implies not having Ilm al ghayb.”
- My thoughts:
If we apply the following verse from Shiareformist’s understanding, that the Prophet has no ghayb knowledge of the future - we will come to believe the Quran is contradictory.
Say, “I am not something new among the messengers, nor do I know what will be done with me or with you. I only follow that which is revealed to me, and I am not but a clear warner.” (46:9)
If the Prophet does not know the fate of the mushrikeen, then how come Allah told the Prophet the fate of Abu Lahab which is a form of ‘ilm al-ghayb?
“May the hands of Abū Lahab be ruined, and ruined is he. His wealth will not avail him or that which he gained. He will [enter to] burn in a Fire of [blazing] flame. And his wife [as well] - the carrier of firewood. Around her neck is a rope of [twisted] fiber.”
If the Prophet does not know the fate of mankind, how come Allah told him about the events of Yawm al-Qiyama (which is a part of ‘ilm al-ghayb) - such as when the Earth experiences an earthquake and the earth itself speaks?
“When the earth is shaken with its [final] earthquake. And the earth discharges its burdens. And the earth discharges its burdens. On that Day the earth will recount everything, having been inspired by your Lord ˹to do so˺.” (99:1-5)
Instead of Shiareformist’s understanding, “nor do I know what will be done with me or with you” does not mean the Prophet is completely ignorant of the future.
It means he does not independently possess this knowledge, but rather is taught to it by Allah.
Similar to Prophet Ya’qub, whom Allah describes as “And indeed, he was a possessor of knowledge because of what We had taught him” (12:68)
This interpretation here can be applied to Shiareformist’s points 6, 7, 9, 10 - thus, I will not repeat my explanations for them.
And I will directly my go to Shiareformist’s points 8, 11, and 12.
- Point 8
“Allah (swt) instructs the Prophet (saww) to say to the people, in Surah ash Shura 42:52
كَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا ۚ مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَٰكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَن نَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا ۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰصِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
“And thus did We reveal to you an inspired book by Our command. You did not know what the Book was, nor (what) the faith (was), but We made it a light, guiding thereby whom We please of Our servants; and most surely you show the way to the right path!”
This clearly shows that Rasulallah (saww) did not know about the Quran before it was revealed to him nor did he know about the faith. This does not mean that he used to worship idols. Since the Prophet (saww) was born in a house whose members were on the religion of Ibrahim (as), and were pure monotheists, there is no question of idol worship.”
- My thoughts:
I have explained this verse previously, so I will show my response below:
Al-Kitab” (The Book) in the above verses refers to prescribed commandments by Allah.
The same meaning of Kitab in ‘Ahl al-Kitab’.
The Prophet was not expecting to be prescribed the Quran, but it happened by Allah’s will (as I explained in point #4 for this post, review it for more information)
As Allah says:
“And you were not expecting that the Book would be conveyed to you, but [it is] a mercy from your Lord.” (28:86)
Thus, it is not that the Prophet was ignorant of morals / values of Allah!
Rather, it is that he did not consciously endeavor to prescribe his own book of commandments by Allah. But it happened by Allah’s will.
Now, what does the Prophet not knowing “what is faith” mean?
The answer lays in this verse:
“And whomever had disbelief in faith, his work has become invalid” (3:5)
Muqatil - Sunni classical mufasir, defines ‘the faith’ here as meaning ‘the Quran sent down upon Muhammad.
وقال مقاتل : بما أنزل على محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو القرآن
This makes sense..
Considering Allah says in 42:52 that he make the faith “a light by which We guide whom we will of Our servants”.
The light which was sent down with Prophet Muhammad, as evident in 7:157, is the Holy Quran - “the light which was sent down with him”.
- Point 11
“Allah (swt) says to the Prophet (saww), in Surah Ghafir 40:78
وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلًا مِّن قَبْلِكَ مِنْهُم مَّن قَصَصْنَا عَلَيْكَ وَمِنْهُم مَّن لَّمْ نَقْصُصْ عَلَيْكَ ۗ وَمَا كَانَ لِرَسُولٍ أَن يَأْتِيَ بِآيَةٍ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ ۚ فَإِذَا جَاءَأَمْرُ اللَّهِ قُضِيَ بِالْحَقِّ وَخَسِرَ هُنَالِكَ الْمُبْطِلُونَ
And We have already sent messengers before you. Among them are those [whose stories] We have related to you, and among them are those [whose stories] We have not related to you. And it was not for any messenger to bring a sign [or verse] except by permission of Allah. So when the command of Allah comes, it will be concluded in truth, and the falsifiers will thereupon lose [all]
There are messengers who’s story has not been related to Rasulallah (saww), and if Allah did not tell Rasulallah (saww) surely there is no other way he can know.
If an argument is made that this ayat is not addressed to Rasulallah (saww) rather to his people, this can be refuted as Allah says, “qasasna ‘ALAIKA” not “‘alaikum”, also in the translation of Quran by Ali Quli Qarai (Shia translator of Quran), whenever something is addressed to Rasulallah, the word “you” is written in italics, and in the translation of this ayat also “you” is written in italics, therefore there is no doubt that this ayat is addressed to Rasulallah (saww).”
- My thoughts:
“Al-Qasas” is storytelling.
When you say tell somebody a story - it’s a narrative version of events that takes out trivia and sidepoints, and focusing on the plot.
It’s the reason why for example we don’t know anything about the mother of prophet Yusuf in the Quranic story and the focus is all on his father.
When Allah tells the Prophet a qissa (narrative story), it is for the audience to reflect.
“So narrate ˹to them˺ stories ˹of the past˺, so perhaps they will reflect.” (7:176)
There were prophets whom Allah informed the prophet of in a non-story like fashion, because perhaps the knowledge was intended for the Prophet only and not for the general public.
This explanation can be applied for Shiareformist’s point #12.
Shiareformist using the above verses to disregard the Prophet having ‘ilm al-ghayb is done incorrectly, nonholistically and out of context - leading to a flawed understanding.
Wa Allahu A’lam