Getting to Know Allah

Allah and the Unseen

59:22 He is Allah; there is no god but He, the Knower of the Unseen and the Seen. He is the Compassionate, the Merciful.

If Allah knows the Unseen, it is because He has the keys to wherever the Unseen can be found.

6:59 With Him are the keys of the Unseen; only He knows them, and He knows what is on land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but He knows it; and there is no grain in the dark bowels of the earth, nor anything green or dry, but is [recorded] in a Clear Book.

What are the keys to the Unseen you ask? A believer must have asked the Prophet that very question

Narrated Ibn Umar:

Allah's Apostle said, "The keys of Unseen are five which none knows but Allah:

None knows what will happen tomorrow but Allah;

none knows what is in the wombs (a male child or a female) but Allah;

none knows when it will rain but Allah;

none knows at what place one will die;

none knows when the Hour will be established but Allah." (31:34)

Bukhari 60.219

Seeing is knowing – maybe not for you or anyone who has ever looked through a telescope in wonder, but it is Allah – whether it be what you can or cannot see!

64:18 Knower of the Unseen and the Seen, the All-Mighty, the Wise.

67:12 Indeed, those who fear their Lord unseen will be accorded forgiveness and a great reward.

Who is more fitting to sit in judgement than one who knows about the Unseen and the Seen!

39:46 Say: “O Allah, Creator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the Unseen and the Seen, you shall judge between your servants regarding that whereon they used to differ.”

To whom Allah discloses the Unseen, after saying that never happens, and how He makes sure His message reaches its destination:

72:25 Say: “I do not know whether what you are promised is near, or whether my Lord shall extend it for a period.

72:26 “Knower of the Unseen, He does not disclose His Unseen to anyone.”

72:27 Except for any Messenger He is well-pleased with. He then will dispatch watchmen before him and behind him;

72:28 So as to know that they have delivered the Messages of their Lord. And He encompasses whatever they have and numbers everything.

Those whom Allah has not taken into His confidence are hurled the truth about the Unseen.

34:48 Say: “My Lord hurls down the truth. He is the Knower of the Unseen.”

Open-minded people have always speculated about what Allah warned they must not, the Unseen, which included the perplexing Seen for which explanations were not yet forthcoming. The worst offenders had to be the Meccans. Most being the Prophet's kin, they were the least willing to put up with his demand that they not think for themselves about matters his Mentor had decreed were off limits.

34:53 They have already disbelieved in Him and they speculate about the Unseen from a far-off place (Mecca, Moududi).

34:54 And they were barred from what they desired, as was done with their ilk before. Indeed, they were in disturbing doubt.

Whatever you do, unless you are Messenger of God, don't say anything that could even hint at having knowledge of the Unseen that contradicts what Allah has hurled at you.

19:77 Have you seen him who disbelieves in our Revelations and [yet] says: “I shall certainly be given wealth and children.”*

19:78 Does he have knowledge of the Unseen, or did he take a pledge from the Compassionate (received permission, Moududi)?

19:79 No, We shall write down what he says and shall add punishment to his punishment.

19:80 And We will inherit from him what he says and he will come to Us alone.

* Allah's need to communicate a revealed truth about our existence in the here-and-now or the Hereafter was often preceded by the most banal boast, even a joke, as appears to be the case here where a man promises to pay a blacksmith in the afterlife when Allah will have provided him with the means i.e. "property".

Narrated Khabbab:

I was a blacksmith and did some work for Al-'As bin Wail. When he owed me some money for my work, I went to him to ask for that amount.

He said, "I will not pay you unless you disbelieve in Muhammad."

I said, "By Allah! I will never do that till you die and be resurrected."

He said, "Will I be dead and then resurrected after my death?"

I said, "Yes."

He said, "There I will have property and offspring and then I will pay you your due."

Then Allah revealed. "Have you seen him who disbelieved in Our signs, and yet says: I will be given property and offspring?"

Bukhari 36.475

Some blessings of Allah's may be obvious, other less so, leading to disputes about exactly what Allah is talking about, such as the "outward and inward", revelation 31:20, which, if they are the same as the "Outer and the Inner", revelation 57:3, is about the Unseen and the Seen.

31:20 Have you not seen how Allah has subjected to you whatever is in the heavens and on earth and granted you His Blessings, both outward and inward? Some people, however, continue to dispute regarding Allah, without any knowledge or guidance or an illuminating Book.


57 Al-Hadîd

In the Name of Allah,

the Compassionate, the Merciful

57:1 Whatever is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Allah. He is the All-Mighty, the Wise.

57:2 To Him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth. He bring to life and causes to die, and He has power over everything.

57:3 He is the First and the Last, the Outer (the visible, Moududi) and the Inner (the invisible, Moududi), and He has knowledge of everything.

57:4 It is He Who created the heavens and the earth in six days; then He sat upon the Throne. He knows what penetrates into the earth and what comes out of it; what comes down from heaven and ascends to it. He is with you, wherever you are: Allah perceives whatever you do.

57:5 To him belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and unto Allah all matters are ultimately referred.

57:6 He causes the night to phase into the day and the day to phase into the night, and He knows the secrets within the breasts.

Today, much of the Unseen in the Koran and in the Sayings of God's Messenger is now the Seen, the most obvious being the sex of a developing embryo. I suspect that God's admonition about speculating about the Unseen may have had more to do with His Messenger not having a ready plausible response to a question from a member of his audience.

God's Messenger was very much a Prophet who knew his limitations, confining most of his observations to apocryphal explanations about things that had already happened such as the destruction caused by conflicts barely remembered and natural phenomena; wanton devastation which he attributed to the work of a thin-skinned deity cleansing the world of unbelievers.

Muhammad the merchant's prophet credentials come mainly from a prediction that has been a staple of people who claimed to have the gift since time immemorial and that is the coming of Judgement Day. A prudent prophet, he also admonished his followers not to write down anything he said, whether it was from him or from Allah, lest he be caught out, perhaps.