In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Allaah [The Exalted] said:
وَتَفَقَّدَ ٱلطَّيۡرَ فَقَالَ مَا لِىَ لَآ أَرَى ٱلۡهُدۡهُدَ أَمۡ ڪَانَ مِنَ ٱلۡغَآٮِٕبِينَ (٢٠) لَأُعَذِّبَنَّهُ ۥ عَذَابً۬ا شَدِيدًا أَوۡ لَأَاْذۡبَحَنَّهُ ۥۤ أَوۡ لَيَأۡتِيَنِّى بِسُلۡطَـٰنٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬ (٢١) فَمَكَثَ غَيۡرَ بَعِيدٍ۬ فَقَالَ أَحَطتُ بِمَا لَمۡ تُحِطۡ بِهِۦ وَجِئۡتُكَ مِن سَبَإِۭ بِنَبَإٍ۬ يَقِينٍ (٢٢) إِنِّى وَجَدتُّ ٱمۡرَأَةً۬ تَمۡلِڪُهُمۡ وَأُوتِيَتۡ مِن ڪُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ وَلَهَا عَرۡشٌ عَظِيمٌ۬ (٢٣) وَجَدتُّهَا وَقَوۡمَهَا يَسۡجُدُونَ لِلشَّمۡسِ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَزَيَّنَ لَهُمُ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنُ أَعۡمَـٰلَهُمۡ فَصَدَّهُمۡ عَنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ فَهُمۡ لَا يَهۡتَدُونَ (٢٤) أَلَّا يَسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ (٢٥) ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ رَبُّ ٱلۡعَرۡشِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ
He inspected the birds, and said: “What is the matter that I see not the hoopoe? Or is he among the absentees? I will surely punish him with a severe torment, or slaughter him, unless he brings me a clear reason.” But the hoopoe stayed not long, he (came up and) said: “I have grasped (the knowledge of a thing) which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ (Sheba) with true news. “I found a woman ruling over them, and she has been given all things that could be possessed by any ruler of the earth, and she has a great throne. I found her and her people worshipping the sun instead of Allah, and Shaitan (Satan) has made their deeds fair-seeming to them, and has barred them from (Allah’s) Way, so they have no guidance, so that they do not worship (prostrate before) Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal. Allah, La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the Lord of the Supreme Throne!” [Surah An-Naml. Verses 20-26]
Concerning the statement of the Hoopoe:
[أَلَّا يَسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ – so that they do not worship (prostrate before) Allah, Who brings to light what is hidden in the heavens and the earth, and knows what you conceal and what you reveal]: Imaam Muhammad Ameen Ash-Shanqeetee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said: The statement: [أَلَّا يَسۡجُدُواْ – so that they do not worship (prostrate before)] is similar to the statement of Allaah: [لَا تَسۡجُدُواْ لِلشَّمۡسِ وَلَا لِلۡقَمَرِ وَٱسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى خَلَقَهُنَّ إِن ڪُنتُمۡ إِيَّاهُ تَعۡبُدُونَ – Prostrate not to the sun nor to the moon, but prostrate to Allah Who created them, if you (really) worship Him]. [Surah Fussilat. Verse 37] It is also similar to the statement of Allaah: [فَٱسۡجُدُواْ لِلَّهِ وَٱعۡبُدُواْ – So fall you down in prostration to Allah, and worship Him (Alone)]. [Surah An-Najm. Verse 62]
And regarding the statement: [ٱلَّذِى يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ – Who brings to light what is hidden]: Imaam Muhammad Ameen Ash-Shanqeetee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “Some of the scholars said that [الخبأ في السماء – what is hidden in the heavens] means rain and [الخبأ في الأرض- what is hidden in the earth] means vegetation, minerals and treasures, and this meaning fits the statement [يُخۡرِجُ ٱلۡخَبۡءَ – brings to light]. Some other scholars say that الخبأ is what is secret and unseen, meaning that Allaah knows what unseen in the heavens and the earth as is indicated by the statement that comes after it as follows: [وَيَعۡلَمُ مَا تُخۡفُونَ وَمَا تُعۡلِنُونَ – and knows what you conceal and what you reveal], which is similar to another noble verse as follows: [وَمَا مِنۡ غَآٮِٕبَةٍ۬ فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضِ إِلَّا فِى كِتَـٰبٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ – And there is nothing hidden in the heaven and the earth, but is in a Clear Book (i.e. Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz)]. [Surah An-Naml. Verse 75] And also the statement of Allaah:
[وَمَا يَعۡزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثۡقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ۬ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ وَلَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَلَآ أَصۡغَرَ مِن ذَٲلِكَ وَلَآ أَكۡبَرَ إِلَّا فِى كِتَـٰبٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ – And nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom (or small ant) on the earth or in the heaven. Not what is less than that or what is greater than that but is (written) in a Clear Record]. [Surah Yunus. Verse 61] [Ref 1]
Knowledge of The Unseen – A Brief Rebuttal Against All The Extremist Soofees
Neither Do the Prophets, Messengers and Angels Possess Knowledge of Unseen nor Does Allaah Reveal the Unseen to Anyone Else, Except What He Wishes to Inform the Prophets and Messengers
Allaah (The Most High) said: [وَعِنْدَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ – And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He].
In his explanation of the above Ayah, Imaam Ash-Shanqeetee (may Allaah have mercy upon him] brought a number of robust proofs to demonstrate and establish that even the most knowledgeable amongst the creation- Allaah’s Messengers and Angels-do not posses knowledge of the Unseen. The Imaam [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said:
Proof A: Aa’isha (may Allah be pleased with her] was falsely accused and the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] did not know whether she was innocent or not until Allaah informed him, saying:
[ أُولَٰئِكَ مُبَرَّءُونَ مِمَّا يَقُولُونَ- ‘Such (good people) are innocent of (each and every) bad statement which they say].
Proof B: Prophet Ibraaheem (peace be upon him) slaughtered a lamb for the angels, whilst not knowing that they were angels until they informed him that they were angels. Allaah said that the angels said to him:
[إِنَّا أُرْسِلْنَا إِلَىٰ قَوْمِ لُوطٍ – We have been sent against the people of Lout (Lot)].
Proof C: When the angels came to Prophet Lut (peace be upon him), he did not know that they were angels, and due to that Allaah said: [عَصِيبٌ سِيءَ بِهِمْ وَضَاقَ بِهِمْ ذَرْعًا وَقَالَ هَٰذَا يَوْمٌ – He was grieved on their account and felt himself straitened for them (lest the town people should approach them to commit lewdness with them). He said: This is a distressful day]. And because of this Allaah said that lut said: [لَوْ أَنَّ لِي بِكُمْ قُوَّةً أَوْ آوِي إِلَىٰ رُكْنٍ شَدِيدٍ – Would that I had strength (men) to overpower you, or that I could betake myself to some powerful support (to resist you). (11:80)]. He did not know the news the angels brought until they said to him: [إِنَّا رُسُلُ رَبِّكَ لَنْ يَصِلُوا إِلَيْكَ – Verily, we are the Messengers from your Lord!]
Proof D: Prophet Ya’qoob (peace be upon him) lost his eye sight due to grieving for Yusuf (peace be upon him), whilst he was in Egypt. He did not know anything about Yusuf until Allaah reveal news about him.
Proof E: Prophet Sulaymaan (peace be upon him), even though Allaah gave him authority over the devils and subjugated the wind in his service, did not know about the people Bil Qees until the Hud’hud came with news about them. Allaah said that the Hud’hud said: [أَحَطْتُ بِمَا لَمْ تُحِطْ بِهِ وَجِئْتُكَ مِنْ سَبَإٍ بِنَبَإٍ يَقِينٍ – I have grasped (the knowledge of a thing) which you have not grasped and I have come to you from Saba’ (Sheba) with true news].
Proof F: Prophet Nuh (peace be upon him) did not know that his son – who was drowned- was not from those members of his household who were to be saved, as Allaah said that Nuh said: [رَبِّ إِنَّ ابْنِي مِنْ أَهْلِي وَإِنَّ وَعْدَكَ الْحَقُّ – O my Lord! Verily, my son is of my family! And certainly, Your Promise is true]. He did not know the reality of the affair until Allaah informed him, saying:
[بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۖ إِنِّي أَعِظُكَ أَنْ تَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ ۖ إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَالِحٍ ۖ فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ – He said: “O Nuh (Noah)! Surely, he is not of your family; verily, his work is unrighteous, so ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge! I admonish you, lest you be one of the ignorant].
And indeed Allaah (The Most High) also stated in Surah Hud about Nuh that he said to his people: [وَلَا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِنْدِي خَزَائِنُ اللَّهِ وَلَا أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ -And I do not say to you that with me are the Treasures of Allah, “Nor that I know the Ghaib (unseen)].
Proof G: And when Allaah said to the Angels: [هَٰؤُلَاءِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ صَادِقِينَ أَنْبِئُونِي بِأَسْمَاءِ -Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful]; Allaah said that the angels replied: [قَالُوا سُبْحَانَكَ لَا عِلْمَ لَنَا إِلَّا مَا عَلَّمْتَنَا -They (angels) said: “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what you have taught us.
Therefore, it is very clear that the most knowledgeable amongst the creation, the Messengers and the Angels, do not know anything of the unseen except what Allaah makes known to them. Allaah (The Most High) informs His Messengers what He wishes from the knowledge of the Unseen, as Allaah stated:
[وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ لِيُطْلِعَكُمْ عَلَى الْغَيْبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ يَجْتَبِي مِنْ رُسُلِهِ مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۖ- Nor will Allah disclose to you the secrets of the Ghaib (unseen), but Allah chooses of His Messengers whom He pleases].
And Allaah said: [إِلَّا مَنِ ارْتَضَىٰ مِنْ رَسُولٍ عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ فَلَا يُظْهِرُ عَلَىٰ غَيْبِهِ أَحَد- (He Alone) the All-Knower of the Gha’ib (unseen), and He reveals to none His Gha’ib (unseen).” Except to a Messenger (from mankind)…[Ref 2]
Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic] said:
فَلَمَّا قَضَيۡنَا عَلَيۡهِ ٱلۡمَوۡتَ مَا دَلَّهُمۡ عَلَىٰ مَوۡتِهِۦۤ إِلَّا دَآبَّةُ ٱلۡأَرۡضِ تَأۡڪُلُ مِنسَأَتَهُۖ ۥ فَلَمَّا خَرَّ تَبَيَّنَتِ ٱلۡجِنُّ أَن لَّوۡ كَانُواْ يَعۡلَمُونَ ٱلۡغَيۡبَ مَا لَبِثُواْ فِى ٱلۡعَذَابِ ٱلۡمُهِينِ
Then when We decreed death for him [Sulaiman (Solomon)], nothing informed them (jinns) of his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his stick, so when he fell down, the jinns saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment. [Surah Saba Verse 14]
Therefore, it is established without any doubt that none has knowledge of the unseen besides Allaah, and that Allaah only reveals the unseen to Prophets and Messengers when He wishes. So, if anyone claims that he (or she) knows the future or his (or her) Shaikh knows the future, then remind them of the proofs cited above as well as what is stated in the following authentic hadeeth reported by Imaam Al-Bukhaari on the authority Abu Hurairah (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said, “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, “When Allah has ordained some affair in the Heaven, the angels beat with their wings in obedience to His statement, which sounds like a chain dragged over a rock.” (`Ali and other sub-narrators said, “The sound reaches them.”) “Until when fear is banished from their (angels) hearts, they (angels) say, ‘What was it that your Lord said? They say, ‘The truth; And He is the Most High, the Most Great.’ (34.23) Then those who gain a hearing by stealing (i.e. devils) will hear Allah’s Statement:– ‘Those who gain a hearing by stealing, (stand one over the other like this). (Sufyan, to illustrate this, spread the fingers of his right hand and placed them one over the other horizontally.) A flame may overtake and burn the eavesdropper before conveying the news to the one below him; or it may not overtake him till he has conveyed it to the one below him, who in his turn, conveys it to the one below him, and so on till they convey the news to the earth. (Or probably Sufyan said, “Till the news reaches the earth.”) Then the news is inspired to a sorcerer who would add a hundred lies to it. His prophecy will prove true (as far as the heavenly news is concerned). The people will say. ‘Didn’t he tell us that on such-and-such a day, such-and-such a thing will happen? We have found that is true because of the true news heard from heaven.” The above hadith is also narrated by Abu Huraira, starting: ‘When Allah has ordained some affair…’) In this narration the word foreteller is added to the word wizard. [Saheeh Al-Bukhaari Vol 6’ Hadeeth Number 4701]
[Ref 1: Excerpt from ‘Tafseer Al-Qur’aan Bil-Qur’aan Min Adwaa Al-Bayaan’ pages 1076. Daar Hady An-Nabawiy’ 2nd ed. (1431AH -2010)]
[Ref 2: Excerpt from ‘Tafseer Al-Qur’aan Bil-Qur’aan Min Adwaa Al-Bayaan’ pages 169-170’ Daar Hady An-Nabawiy’ 2nd ed. (1431AH -2010)]