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,
“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,
“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,
“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:
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:
“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,
“[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,
“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,
“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.]