Some groups claim the Prophet possessed knowledge of unseen, as for example in this article. Indian sub-continent Barelvis say the Prophet possessed knowledge of unseen, too.

Question: Did the Prophet have knowledge of the unseen ('ilm al-ghayb)?

During Hijra, the Prophet hired a guide for the trip.

If the Prophet had knowledge of unseen, he would not have hired a guide. The Prophet would have known all safe routes to Madinah. Does hiring a guide for Hijra opposes those who say the Prophet had knowledge of unseen?

  • I didn't understand your question so well. Could you edit it and describe a bit more what you are asking. Thanks :) – Kilise May 18 '17 at 13:32
  • Prophet would know all routes to Madinah, he had no need of guide if he possessed knowledge of unseen – Abu AbdulQayyum May 18 '17 at 13:46
  • 1
    Knowing all roads doesn't sound to me logical in this context. But knowing "safe" roads would be related to knowledge of unseen. – Medi1Saif May 18 '17 at 14:12
  • Another defend yourself question with a touch of sectarianism: Islam.SE is not a game show. We are not here to play an elimination round of "Are these beliefs true in real Islam?" – Rebecca J. Stones May 18 '17 at 15:24
  • Life of prophet is full of refutations to disbelievers and Quran too is a huge refutation. Like Quran asking to ponder over eating habit of Maryam and jesus – Abu AbdulQayyum May 18 '17 at 16:23

Allah ﷻ, and only Allah, knows the absolute unseen (Arabic: علم الغيب المطلق). The Prophet ﷺ received revelation from Allah through Gabriel about specific incidents at specific times, but he had no absolute knowledge of the unseen.

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ رَبِّي ۖ لَا يُجَلِّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَا إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ ثَقُلَتْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۚ لَا تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلَّا بَغْتَةً ۗ يَسْأَلُونَكَ كَأَنَّكَ حَفِيٌّ عَنْهَا ۖ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ اللَّهِ وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ ۝ قُل لَّا أَمْلِكُ لِنَفْسِي نَفْعًا وَلَا ضَرًّا إِلَّا مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ ۚ وَلَوْ كُنتُ أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ لَاسْتَكْثَرْتُ مِنَ الْخَيْرِ وَمَا مَسَّنِيَ السُّوءُ ۚ إِنْ أَنَا إِلَّا نَذِيرٌ وَبَشِيرٌ لِّقَوْمٍ يُؤْمِنُونَ

They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the Hour: when is its arrival? Say, "Its knowledge is only with my Lord. None will reveal its time except Him. It lays heavily upon the heavens and the earth. It will not come upon you except unexpectedly." They ask you as if you are familiar with it. Say, "Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most of the people do not know." Say, "I hold not for myself [the power of] benefit or harm, except what Allah has willed. And if I knew the unseen, I could have acquired much wealth, and no harm would have touched me. I am not except a warner and a bringer of good tidings to a people who believe."

Qur'an 7:187-188

These verses show that Prophet ﷺ had no knowledge of the unseen, otherwise he would have acquired wealth, and not have been harmed. In this context, one may say that had he known that he would have completed the Hijra trip without being harmed, he would not have done so and so. Having said that, this would be reverting to deductions based on interpretations of some incidents; this is prone to interpretation and personal opinion. Whereas, in the presence of a very clear verse like the one above (Allah commanding the Prophet ﷺ to say he did not know the unseen), there is no need for deductions or inferences.

One may say from the above verses that the Prophet ﷺ did not know the unseen, but others might have. Allah ﷻ makes it very clear in the following verse that this knowledge is only His, and no one else's:

قُل لَّا يَعْلَمُ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ الْغَيْبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ ۚ وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ أَيَّانَ يُبْعَثُونَ

Say, "None in the heavens and earth knows the unseen except Allah, and they do not perceive when they will be resurrected."

Qur'an 27:65

Finally, while the Prophet ﷺ received revelations of prophecies, so did others who were either prophets ...

فَلَمَّا ذَهَبُوا بِهِ وَأَجْمَعُوا أَن يَجْعَلُوهُ فِي غَيَابَتِ الْجُبِّ ۚ وَأَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْهِ لَتُنَبِّئَنَّهُم بِأَمْرِهِمْ هَٰذَا وَهُمْ لَا يَشْعُرُونَ

So when they took him [out] and agreed to put him into the bottom of the well. But We inspired to him, "You will surely inform them [someday] about this affair of theirs while they do not perceive [your identity]."

Qur'an 12:15

... or not prophets:

إِذْ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَىٰ أُمِّكَ مَا يُوحَىٰ ۝ أَنِ اقْذِفِيهِ فِي التَّابُوتِ فَاقْذِفِيهِ فِي الْيَمِّ فَلْيُلْقِهِ الْيَمُّ بِالسَّاحِلِ يَأْخُذْهُ عَدُوٌّ لِّي وَعَدُوٌّ لَّهُ ۚ وَأَلْقَيْتُ عَلَيْكَ مَحَبَّةً مِّنِّي وَلِتُصْنَعَ عَلَىٰ عَيْنِي

When We inspired to your mother what We inspired, [Saying], 'Cast him into the chest and cast it into the river, and the river will throw it onto the bank; there will take him an enemy to Me and an enemy to him.' And I bestowed upon you love from Me that you would be brought up under My eye.

Qur'an 20:38-39


the simple answer of your question is that the prophet have the knowledge of ilm e ghaib but through Allah Almighty.When you read the life of the Holy Prophet SAWW uou will find that ilm e ghaib is provided to Holy Prophet by Wahi (the message of Allah Almighty).

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Our life is given. It can be taken away from us in a split second. Same for the prophet. Our knowledge is also given and can be taken away from us. Same for the prophet. His knowledge is given by Allah.

If Allah doesn't want him to have access to his knowledge then so be it. Additionally if the prophet was constantly using/applying his knowledge, power then:

  • All the time he would be like punish him/her because they did adultery, they stole, etc.
  • It becomes less difficult for the prophet to govern and you would always have the upper hand even against tyrants. As a result more people would become hypocrites. Additionally it's a test for prophets to have the power but to not wield it against others.

  • He would become less like us and no longer he would be an اسوه (excellent pattern) for us. Imagine if all the time he had the knowledge/power to outdo others...As a result he is like us, he gets sick, he gets beat by others in the street, has to make money for his own, sometimes he doesn't know things or simply he isn't allowed to use them. <-- This person is more like us and more in reach

Al-Ahzab 21

لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.

So to conclude it's a test for the prophet. It reduces hypocrisy. It brings the prophet more in our reach so we can be more like him and life with a prophet who is always using his knowledge is a very difficult life, because he will always punish you for your sins...

  • not sure why I got the downvotes.... – Thaqalain May 19 '17 at 16:33
  • Not sure either, but maybe because it isn't answer the question directly with a "yes or no" conclusion rather it answers it with reasons why not, which isn't what he asked. I.e if he asked "why didn't the Prophet have knowledge of the unseen?", then i think this would be a better fit answer. – Kilise May 19 '17 at 20:57

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