Seeking Sacred Sunni Knowledge

Did the Prophet Muhammad Know the Future?

I recently came upon an argument that was presented by the heretical group that denies the Sunnah and by extension the hadith of the Prophet Muhammad. Many label this group “Qur’anites“, though I believe they do not deserve such labeling, as they are quick to ignore the Qur’an when it does not befit their desires. So here I will label them “Sunnah-Deniers“, and I hope it catches on!

Their argument goes (literally, as I am quoting from their work):

“God teaches us in the Quran that the Prophet Muhammad did not know the future. This will immediately expose the falsehood of this hadith and similar ones and expose the hypocrisy of those who claim to be Muslims but refuse to believe God in the Quran. God told them Muhammad did not know the future.

“Say (O Muhammad), “I have no power to benefit myself, or harm myself. Only what God wills happen to me. If I KNEW THE FUTURE, I would have increased my wealth, and no harm would have afflicted me. I am no more than a warner, and a bearer of good news for those who believe.” 7:188

“Say (O Muhammad), “I am not different from other messengers, I have NO IDEA what will happen to ME OR TO YOU. I ONLY follow what is revealed to me. I am NO MORE than a profound warner.” 46:9

Before responding to the abuse of these verses and the clear denial of other verses, we must first start with the premise that within the Qur’an, Allah has stated that he abrogates certain verses. He says,

مَا نَنسَخْ مِنْ آيَةٍ أَوْ نُنسِهَا نَأْتِ بِخَيْرٍ مِّنْهَا أَوْ مِثْلِهَا ۗ أَلَمْ تَعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. Do you not know that Allah is over all things competent? ” [2:106]

Allah also says,

وَإِذَا بَدَّلْنَا آيَةً مَّكَانَ آيَةٍ ۙ وَاللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا يُنَزِّلُ قَالُوا إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُفْتَرٍ ۚ بَلْ أَكْثَرُهُمْ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

“When We substitute one revelation for another,- and God knows best what He reveals (in stages),- they say, “Thou art but a forger”: but most of them understand not.” [16:101]

This is a premise that has solidified itself within Qur’anic exegesis and is considered a sub-study within the general science itself.

The verse in surah Al-Ahqaf that they have quoted in their attempt to claim that the Prophet Muhammad “did not know the future” reads,

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 original 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]

is an abrogated verse. Muslim exegesis agree with this premise and utilize as proof the verse of the Qur’an, which here I will be using the Sunnah-denier Rashid Kalifa’s translation to solidify the point:

إِنَّا فَتَحْنَا لَكَ فَتْحًۭا مُّبِينًۭا

مِن ذَنۢبِكَ وَمَا تَأَخَّرَ وَيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُۥ عَلَيْكَ وَيَهْدِيَكَ صِرَٰطًۭا مُّسْتَقِيمًۭا

وَيَنصُرَكَ ٱللَّهُ نَصْرًا عَزِيزًا

1) We have bestowed upon you (O Messenger) a great victory.

2) Whereby GOD forgives your past sins, as well as future sins, and perfects His blessings upon you, and guides you in a straight path.

3) Additionally, GOD will support you with an unwavering support.

Ayah 2 clearly state that Allah has given future knowledge to the Prophet Muhammad regarding his spiritual state. A) He is to be forgiven of all of his sins, b) perfect his Ni’mah upon him, c) and guide him to the ‘straight path’.

The ك in dhanbik, alayka, laka all show that this is directly speaking to the one the revelation is being revealed to. Such is why Rashid Kalifa, and every other translator, or anyone who speaks arabic, can ascertain that it is the Prophet Muhammad who is being addressed here.

Another ayah utilized to manifest futuristic knowledge being imparted upon the noble soul of the Prophet Muhammad is:

وَبَشِّرِ المُؤْمِنِينَ بأنَّ لَهُمْ مِنَ اللَّهِ فَضْلاً كَبيراً

“Deliver good news to the believers, that they have deserved from GOD a great blessing.” [33:47]

In other words, that the believers – as he was speaking to those immediately around him (‘alayhis salam) – will attain Allah’s great blessing (or bounty, fadlan kabeeran). Therefore, their end is known, and His proclamation for him to “bashshir” – to tell those people to ‘rejoice’ means that he (‘alayhis salam) knew their futures.

Another verse Imam At-Tabari quotes as proof that the Prophet Muhammad was inspired with futuristic knowledge is,

لِّيُدْخِلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَيُكَفِّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ ۚ وَكَانَ ذَٰلِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا

“[And] that He may admit the believing men and the believing women to gardens beneath which rivers flow to abide therein eternally and remove from them their misdeeds – and ever is that, in the sight of Allah , a great attainment.” [48:5]

To add to these verses, Imam Fakhrud-Din Ar-Razi argues in his tafsir that it would be impossible that Allah ta’ala send Muhammad as a Messenger without him knowing his final end. For Allah says,

إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ قَالُواْ رَبُّنَا ٱللَّهُ ثُمَّ ٱسْتَقَـٰمُواْ فَلاَ خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ

“Surely, those who say, “Our Lord is GOD,” then lead a righteous life, will have no fear, nor will they grieve.” [46:13]

One would have to accuse the Prophet Muhammad of living an unrighteous life, and Allah’s refuge is sought, to declare him one who did not know the future, particularly his own end, as is implied within the above abrogated verse.

As Allah ta’ala also says,

وَإِذَا جَآءَتْهُمْ ءَايَةٌۭ قَالُوا۟ لَن نُّؤْمِنَ حَتَّىٰ نُؤْتَىٰ مِثْلَ مَآ أُوتِىَ رُسُلُ ٱللَّهِ ۘ ٱللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ حَيْثُ يَجْعَلُ رِسَالَتَهُۥ ۗ سَيُصِيبُ ٱلَّذِينَ أَجْرَمُوا۟ صَغَارٌ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَعَذَابٌۭ شَدِيدٌۢ بِمَا كَانُوا۟ يَمْكُرُونَ

“When a powerful proof comes to them, they say, “We will not believe, unless we are given what is given to GOD’s messengers!” GOD knows exactly who is best qualified to deliver His message. Such criminals will suffer debasement at GOD, and terrible retribution as a consequence of their evil scheming.” [6:124]

These are some of the clear signs manifesting the fact that futuristic knowledge was given to the Prophet Muhammad (saaws), and such squelches the evil insinuations of the ignorant Sunnah-deniers!

For the Sunni, the one who ascribes himself to the words of the Prophet Muhammad that explained verses of the Qur’an to the Muslim Ummah, this issue is even clearer, but because our opponents are unwilling to rationally accept the validity of the hadithic imperative, we are forced to forgo what is authentically reported from our Prophet Muhammad regarding this issue.

wa-Sallallahu ‘ala Sayyiduna Muhammad, wa ‘ala Alihi wa Sahbihi wa sallam!

[For further explanation see Mafatih Al-Ghayb of Imam Fakhrud-Din Ar-Razi, Tafsir At-Tabari and other bona fide scholarly works of the earlier generations of Muslims.]

12 Responses to “Did the Prophet Muhammad Know the Future?”

  1. Ali says:

    Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu!

    a little offtopic here.

    Did the Rasul Allah, sall Allahu Taala alayhi wa ala alihi wa sallam do khalwa after the Risala and Nubuwwa where given to him?

    Jazakum Allahu Taala khayran!

  2. Ibn Ismail says:

    Is the prediction in surah al rum not good enough for them ?

    I believe they might try to make a difference between those matters of future directly revealed by Allah and known as word of God(Quran) with those revelations which known to us as words of prophet muhammed(pbuh)(recorded in hadith). But such differentiation is futile as we believe those predictions in the hadith are also a result of revealation. No different to the king through a dream knowing of a famine to occur in future during Prophet Yusuf(a.s)’s time.

    wa salam

  3. muhammad says:

    Doesn’t Ayatul Kursi state that Allah(swt) gives some people His Knowledge?

  4. Slave of the Most Merciful says:

    Salaam

    I do agree with you that the Nabie(saw) did know the future but only as a result of the wahi(Quran wa sunnah) that he received. But some people who misunderstand this go so far as to claim that the prophet(saw) (nauthubillah) knew everything, EVEN when the final hour will be.

  5. Ali Abdullah says:

    “Who can intercede with Him except the cases He permits? He knows what is in front of them (the Prophet and the Imams) and what is behind them, and they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He will.” (Quran 2:255)

    He possesses the Ghayb and He does not discloses His Ghayb to anyone except to such a Messenger as He is well-pleased with.” (Quran 72:26-27).

    “And he (Muhammad) is not niggardly the Knowledge of the Unseen.”
    (Quran 81:24).

  6. Ibrahim says:

    What is the evidence that the verse in suuratul ahqaaf is abrogated. what about the verse قل لا يعلم من فى السماؤات ؤمن فى الأرض الغيب الا الله
    is it also abrogated? rather there is a difference between knowing the future and having an info about something that will occur

  7. admin says:

    No one has said that the Nabi Muhammad (saaws) knew everything of the future Ibrahim. We are simply saying that he did know things from the future, mainly what Allah inspired or revealed to Him. The aayah you have posted is understood accordingly.

    If you want to understand abrogation, then see the references we gave. Such would save us all time!

    was-salam

  8. Assalaamu alaykum ya ikhwa,

    Please don’t hate me (lol),
    I love the website> especially having just read the post regarding Imam Nawawi and the KSA dilemma, masha Allah, the comments from admin was fantastic.

    As to what follows, in regards to the issue of “did Muhammad (saw) know the future”, I find that the evidences quoted from the Qur’an (advocating that “he did”) are not Qati’i Daleel thus serve as insufficient to the cause, so too do they seem to be even misquoted.

    Beyond the point of “lacking definity” in regards to the evidences prior, if I am not mistaken, another principle which seems to be overlooked is in regards to the eventuality of contradictory evidences existing, i.e. the evidences which Muhammad (saw) ‘clearly’ stated from the “Qur’anite” (lol), but numerous evidences for example:

    a) The incident concerning the “correct course of action in regards to the captives of the battle of Badr, of which Muhammad (saw) and Abu Bakr (ra) differed with Umar (ra), upon which Umar had returned only to find the two [M & Ab] in tears because they acted contrary to Umars opinion (which was optimally of a greater degree).

    b) I would like to continue, but I am getting tired. lol

    Jazaakum Allahu khayru, though a question which I always have when it comes to descerning the validity of a position is:
    “Is there Ijma’ on this position”?
    [i.e. That Muhammad (saw) "did know" the future].

    P.s. Would it not be a more sounder opinion to adopt (especially in terms of reconciling the evidences on the matter) that Muhammad (saw) only knew what was “revealed to him” by Allah (swt) in terms of Qur’an/ Hadith Qudsi and Future events?

    Wa Allahu alam.

    But seriously, I love this website. (Go easy on me). lol
    Wa alaykum salaam.

  9. Apologies, I had missed to comment posted by Admin to “Ibrahim” which clarified the stance ‘already’ taken. :)

  10. ahmed john says:

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ABROGATION, it is a Sunni made theory. Are you saying Allah is not sure and doesnt know the future,? that he made mistakes in some of his Ayats in Quran that he later changed it????? What nonsense. Guys wakeup, dont corrupt your religion more.

  11. admin says:

    Abrogation simply proves context within time and ultimate knowledge of the milieu.

    Just as alcohol was slowly abrogated through several verses, one can see Divine Wisdom in the act of abrogation – it teaches believers the need to take gradual steps, depending on of course the spiritual state the believer is in.

    Abrogation does not mean that Allah does not know the future, but it does mean that man is within time and is to be treated accordingly.

    was-salam

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