Mufti Mahmud al-Hasan Gangohi, may Allah shower His mercy upon him, related:

‘‘A [daily] gathering would take place in the company of Shaykh al-Hind [Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi] (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) after Fajar prayer in which tea would be served. Attendees would be involved in conversation with one another. However, ‘Allamah Anwar Shah Kashmiri (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would remain seated quietly, his head bowed. He would not partake in conversation. Gradually, people would finish drinking tea and leave. Then, Shaykh al-Hind (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would enquire, ‘‘Shah sahib, do you wish to say something?’’ He would then raise his head and answer, ‘‘Yes, I have a query regarding a particular Hadith.’’ Shaykh al-Hind (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would answer his query and thereafter, the Shah (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) would leave.’’

Malfuzat-e-Faqih al-Ummat: p. 231, Vol 3 (Karachi: Dar al-Huda, September 2005 ed.) by Mufti Muhammad Faruq Mirathi.


From the writings of Hadrat Shaykh (Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya), may Allah illuminate his grave, the treatises on fada’il were written at the insistence of the people of Allah . Thus, Fada’il-e-Qur’an Majid and Fada’il-e-Durud Sharif were written at the behest of Mawlana Shah Muhammad Yasin Naginawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him [1]. He wrote Fada’il-e-Tabligh, Fada’il-e-Namaz, Fada’il-e-Ramadan, Fada’il-e-Dhikr, Fada’il-e-Sadaqat and Fada’il-e-Tijarat in compliance with the  instruction of Mawlana Muhammad Ilyas (may Allah shower His mercy upon him),  Hikayat-e-Sahabah at the insistence of Mawlana Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir Raipuri (may Allah shower His mercy upon him), and Fada’il-e-Hajj at the insistence of Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Dehlawi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him). […] Thus, he wrote in the introduction to Awjaz al-Masalik that this work was written at the insistence of students. His additional commentary to al-Kawkab al-Durri and Lami‘ al-Darari was written at the insistence of Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him).

Monthly Iqra’ Digest, p. 160 (Qutb al-Aqtab Edition, Part 1), Safar/Rabi‘ al-Awwal 1407 AH/ November 1986 CE.

[1]               He was an authorised deputy of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him).  At the time of his death he instructed his student and loyal servant, Mawlana ‘Abd al-‘Aziz Du‘aju (may Allah shower His mercy upon him), to request Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) to write a book on the virtues of sending peace and blessings (durud) upon the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). (See Hadrat Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi quddisa sirruhu aur unke Khulafa, p. 140 (Multan: Idara Ta’lifat-e-Ashrafiyah, no date) by Doctor Hafiz Qari Fuyud al-Rahman.

By Zameelur Rahman

This link is to the fourth edition of Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwama’s brilliant book Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha which describes how the science of hadith impacts on the disagreements between the Fuqaha. Muhammad ‘Awwama (b. 1940), a resident of Medina of a Halabi background, is a contemporary hadith scholar and one of the major students of two important Halabi scholars of the last century, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda and Shaykh ‘Abd Allah Siraj al-Din. In this book, he has some interesting discussions, particularly on the statement of the Imams “When a hadith is sahih that is my madhhab” and how it should be understood; that some hadiths despite being sahih is not fit for practice; how often weak hadiths can inform certain rulings if not actually establish them; how variations in wordings of hadith can influence differences in rulings; the superiority of understanding over narration of hadiths and Abu Hanifa’s excellence in this; the dangers of taking shadh (isolated) opinions; the important differences between the Imams in reconciling between conflicting reports (there is a useful summary of the book on pages 193-8).

In the substance of the book, he refers to several Deobandi authors and their works, in particular Habib Kiranawi’s al-Qawa‘id fi ‘Ulum al-Fiqh, Yusuf Binnori’s Ma‘arif al-Sunan (a commentary on Jami‘ al-Tirmidhi), Zafar Ahmad al-Uthmani’s I‘la al-Sunan, al-Qawa‘id fi ‘Ulum al-Hadith and Abu Hanifa wa Ashabuhu l-Muhaddithun (which Awwama says “includes transmissions not found together anywhere else”), Anwar Shah Kashmiri’s footnotes to Nasb al-Rayah and he refers to Habib al-Rahman al-A‘zami’s help in offering some examples for one of the principles he cites which he included in this later edition of his work. He regards all of these authors and the works he mentions in high regard, designating them with superlative titles (like “Imam al-‘Asr” – the Imam of the time – for Anwar Shah Kashmiri and “Shaykhu Shuyukhina” – teacher of our teachers – for Zafar Ahmad al-‘Uthmani) and describing their books as “nafisa” (valuable) or “mawsu‘i” (encyclopaedic). In fact it might be said, from modern scholars, these Deobandi authors are his major sources in this book, with the exceptions of Allama al-Kawthari whom he cites frequently, and al-Ghumari and Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti‘i.

In the foreword to his book, while discussing endorsements, he writes:

“These short pages have received acceptance and approval from the leaders of the people of knowledge and virtue. From the most prominent of these and one whose acceptance and approval I treasure is our teacher, the great scholar, an authority of the people of knowledge, virtue, opinion and nobility in the Indian subcontinent, in particular, and among all who know him, in general, the master of hadith, Shaykh Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandehlewi (d. 1402), Allah Almighty have mercy on him. For he was so kind as to listen to its contents page from one of his students while I was sitting in his presence [in Medina] and he became delighted thereby and said to his student “it requires reading in its entirety”. He was then so kind as to hear it completely while on his sickbed (Allah substitute the Garden for him). He then graciously provided me a dictated statement, which the reader will find shortly.” (Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha, 4th Edition, Muhammad Awwama, pp. 6-7)

Shaykh al-Kandehlewi’s statement is as follows:

“In Allah’s Name, Most Merciful, the Beneficent

All praise to Allah who showered us with His blessings and connected us with His favours. And prayers and peace on the chief of His creation, Muhammad, whose beauty and splendour is perfect, and whose effort and struggles is enough to admonish creation, and (prayers and peace) on his family, his companions who derived light from his speech and obtained its rays, and on those who follow them in goodness to the Day of Recompense.

To proceed:

Indeed Allah Almighty has placed in this Umma memorisers of the Clear Book and of the traditions of the chief of the first and the last, and He elected by His special grace from them the people of Hadith and fiqh who distinguished between the strong and weak (narrations), deduced (evidence) from the hasan and sahih (hadiths) and extracted rulings on that which they did not find a clear text by selecting what is weightier (in evidence) according to them. (This they did) after following the reports, busying the minds and spending lifetimes in understanding the nasikh (canceller) and the mansukh (cancelled) reports, and delved into the depths of language and the understanding of meanings so they were adept (in formulating) chapters and subchapters and deriving peripheral (matters) from the principle (ones). May Allah Almighty rain upon them the showers of mercy and approval and let them live a life of ease in the Gardens (of Paradise).

They had an immense rank in the application of what (apparently) contradicted, assessing what (actually) conflicted, clarifying what was unclear and expanding on what was summarised, but despite their unity in purpose and conciliation of hearts, they differed in many of the issues and rulings due to the difference in the approaches to assessing (the conflicting reports) and the methods of deducing (evidence). This difference was a natural and necessary result devoid of any reprehensibility or repulsiveness; rather it is a mercy for the Umma, as was agreed by the notable ‘ulama’. And since men are enemies of what they don’t know, those who had no feel for knowledge and understanding began to criticise the juristic Imams and spoke against them with a sharp tongue. For this reason the early and late (scholars) of (this Umma) penned books and epistles on the (underlying) causes of (these) disagreements, like Raf‘ al-Malam ‘an A’immat al-A‘lam by the great Hafiz, the insightful and critical scholar Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Halim ibn Taymiyya al-Harrani, and like Bidayat al-Mujtahid by Abu Walid ibn Rushd al-Qurtubi, Allah Almighty have mercy on them. I have an epistle on this subject in Urdu which I authored at the prime of my youth and I called it Ikhtilaf al-A’imma[1] and people have attained great benefit from it, and praise is due to Allah for that.

The merit in this age (however) goes to our honourable brother the scholar Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah, for he delivered a valuable lecture on this subject three years ago at the Rawda University in Halab, then he made it into an independent epistle after editing (it) and concluding (it) and he called it Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha. And since I was unable to read it myself due to the weakness in my vision – and diseases betake humanity in old age – I heard it from one of my beloveds and found it to be very beneficial, and it, despite its brevity, contains lofty benefits and (coherently) arranges precious gems. I sought benefit in it (being read to me) and my soul was uplifted and my heart was delighted by it. It is worthy of being read by every teacher and student, for it is devoid of deviance and embellishment, and delivers (the Imams) from what (has been said) disparagingly about the rank of the Imams from the people of enmity and of deprivation.

I ask Allah Almighty to enable us and all Muslims to (do) all that He loves and pleases, and keep us alive on the religion of the one who came with light and guidance, and cause us to die on his religion which illuminates the darkness. And Allah Almighty bless the best of His creation Muhammad, his family and all his companions.

I am the needy servant,

Muhammad Zakariyya ibn Muhammad Yahya al-Kandehlewi

Medina, 1401 H”

(Athar al-Hadith al-Sharif fi Khtilaf al-A’immat al-Fuqaha, pp. 12-14)

[1]               The English rendering of this work, Differences of The Imams, has been published by White Thread Press. (blog administrator)


Related entry:  Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah on Contemporary Scholars Of the Indian Subcontinent

Courtesy of

By Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki
Translated by Muhammad Habib

Read Part One

An open letter by Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki in favour of Mawlana Rashid Ahmad Gangohi

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful. We praise Him and send blessings upon His honourable Messenger.

From the needy servant Imdadullah Chishti, in the service of all my friends:

This needy servant has recently received some letters from India, in which was written that some people harbour ill-thoughts concerning Molwi Rashid Ahmad [Gangohi], [and they wish to know] what they should make of him. Therefore, let it be announced and published on behalf of this needy servant that Molwi Rashid Ahmad is an Allah-fearing man of learning and an upright scholar. He is an example of the pious predecessors. His personality is the sublime combination of the exoteric (shari’ah) and esoteric sciences (tariqah).

His days and nights remain occupied in seeking the pleasure of Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He is preoccupied with the teaching of hadith. After Molwi Muhammad Ishaq[1] that kind of dissemination of the religious sciences has uniquely continued with Mawlana in the entire sub-continent.

Many complex problems are solved at the hands of Mawlana. Every year, about 50 people complete their hadith studies, acquiring ijazah from him. He is engaged in following the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and is absorbed in the love of Allah and his Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). He speaks only the truth. He is the manifestation of the verse:

And [they] are not afraid of the reproach of any critic. (Qur’an 5:54)

His complete reliance is solely on Allah. He shuns bid’ah (innovation) completely; propagating the Sunnah is his occupation. His forte is converting those with corrupt beliefs into those with sound beliefs. His company serves as alchemy and is the greatest elixir for Muslims. One is reminded of Allah by sitting with him and this is the sign of the men of Allah. He is pious, abstains from the world and is desirous of the Hereafter. He has attained perfection in tasawwuf and suluk. The rich and poor are equal in his eyes, and he treats each the same; he is free from avarice.

Whatever this needy servant has written as praise for him in Diya’ al-Qulub[2] is the truth, and my good opinion and love for him is now far more in comparison to what it was previously. This needy servant considers Mawlana the means of his salvation. I say openly that whosoever speaks ill of Mawlana pains my heart. I have two arms: one is the late Molwi Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] and other is Molwi Rashid Ahmad. People have also begun to cast the evil eye on the only one who now remains.


My ‘aqidah (belief) and Mawlana’s ‘aqidah is one and the same. I also consider innovation to be wrong. Whosoever opposes Mawlana in religious matters, opposes me, and opposes Allah and His Messenger (may Allah bless him and grant him peace). Those ignorant people who claim that Shari’ah and tariqah are separate entities do so due to their lack of understanding. Tariqah without Shari’ah is unacceptable to Allah, as clarity of the heart can also be achieved by non-believers. The heart is like a mirror. A rusty mirror can be cleared with urine as well as with rose water. However, the difference between both is one of purity and impurity. Adherence to the Sunnah is the yardstick for recognising a friend (wali) of Allah. One who adheres to the Sunnah is a wali of Allah, whilst the innovator acts in vain. Even Dajjal will display many unnatural feats. Allah says,

Say (O Prophet): “If you really love Allah, then follow me.” (Qur’an 3:31)

The one who is not a follower of the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) and gives custom to innovative practices cannot be a friend of Allah.

The people of knowledge who love this needy servant, it is only so because of adherence to the Sunnah.

Anyone’s opposition does not harm Mawlana. In fact, as the poet says,

He is the one at loss who does not venerate Mir

Mawlana is a person from whom scholars should benefit and whose company they should consider a tremendous good. It is my desire that no one says nor writes to me any words of disrespect concerning Mawlana. I am deeply pained by such matters. It is strange that you inflict pain upon my beloved and then consider yourself my friend. This can never be! Mawlana is firmly a Hanafi by madhhab, sufi in conduct and a pious, perfect wali. His company should be treasured.

[Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki al-Faruqi al-Thanawi]

25th Dhu ‘l-Qa’dah 1310 AH

Reproduced in Al-Shihab al-Thaqib ‘ala al-Mustariq al-Kadhib, p. 291 (Lahore: Dar al-Kitab, May 2004 ed.)


  1. Referring to the great-grandson of Shah Waliullah Dahlawi, Shah Muhammad Ishaq Dahlawi, who was among the foremost authorities of hadith in his time, the resort of the ‘ulama of his era and heir to his grandfather Shah ‘Abd al-’Aziz Dahlawi. []
  2. Haji Imdadullah writes in Diya’ al-Qulub: ”Whosoever has love, faith and devotion for me, should consider both Molwi Muhammad Qasim [Nanautwi] (may Allah protect him) and Molwi Rashid Ahmad (may Allah protect him) – who have combined both outward and inward perfection – my equal. In fact, he should consider them to be of a loftier rank than me, even though in practice it is the opposite, in that I am in their place and they are in mine. He should value their company because such people are not found in this age. He should attain benefit from their blessed service and under their guidance traverse the ways of tasawwuf. He will not be unsuccessful [by doing so], if Allah wills.  May Allah bless them in age, bestow them with all the blessings of gnosis and the sublimity of His proximity, elevate their status, enlighten the world with the light of their guidance and through the means of the Leader of both worlds (Allah bless him and grant him peace), perpetuate their spiritual legacies until the Day of Judgment.” (Kulliyat-e-Imdadiyyah, p.72-73, Karachi: Darul Isha’at, 1397/1976 ed.) []

Mawlana Mansur ‘Ali Khan wrote of his beloved teacher, Mawlana Muhammad Qasim Nanautwi (may Allah shower His mercy upon them): 

‘‘Allah Most High had favoured the late Mawlana with piety, asceticism, gnosis, tasawwuf, generosity, bravery, good character, and sound intellect, to which there seemed no end.’’ 

Madh-hab-e-Mansur, quoted in Maqalat-e-Hakim al-Islam, p. 401-402 (Karachi: Idaratul Ma‘arif, Jumada ‘l-Ula 1427 / June 2006 ed.)

Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Sayyid Husayn Ahmad Madani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) advised: 

‘‘One should be concerned with pleasing the Knower of the unseen. No matter how much success and fame we attain in this world, it is but for a few days. We should [seek to] attain the proximity and pleasure of that Pure Being who is attributed with perpetual eternity.’’ 

Malfuzat Hadrat Madani, p.107 (Delhi: Dar al-Isha‘at, July 1998 ed.) by Mawlana Abu ‘l-Hasan Barah Bankwi

Below is another brilliant translation  by brother Zameelur Rahman, this time from ‘Allamah Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani’s (may Allah shower His mercy upon him)  acclaimed commentary on Imam Muslim’s sahih, entitled Fath al-Mulhim. ‘Allamah Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani (may Allah shower His mercy upon him) was one of the leading students of Shaykh al-Hind Mawlana Mahmud Hasan Deobandi (may Allah shower His mercy upon him).  

To highlight the ‘Allamah’s lofty standing amongst scholars of the last century it may suffice to note that the renowned scholar, ‘Allamah Muhammad Zahid al-Kawthari (may Allah shower His mercy upon him), would refer to him as the muhaqqiq of his era and the ‘pride of the Hanafi madh-hab’.  


Knowledge of the Five

By Shaykh al-Islam  ‘Allamah Shabbir Ahmad ‘Uthmani  

Translated by Zameelur Rahman  

Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah and Zuhayr ibn Harb narrated to us: both from Ibn ‘Ulayyah. Zuhayr said: Isma’il ibn Ibrahim (Ibn ‘Ulayyah) narrated to us: from Abu Hayyan: from Abu Zur’ah ibn ‘Amr ibn Jarir from Abu Hurayrah that he said:“One day the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) appeared before the people and a man came to him and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is iman (true faith)? He replied: That you believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His meeting, His Messengers and that you believe in the Resurrection hereafter.’

“He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is islam (submission). He replied: islam is that you worship Allah and do not associate anything with Him, you establish the prescribed salah, you pay the obligatory zakah and you fast during Ramadan.’  

“He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, what is ihsan (excellence)? He replied: That you worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you see Him not that He sees you.’  

“He said: ‘O Messenger of Allah, when is the Hour? He replied: The one who is asked about it knows no better than the inquirer. I will, however, narrate to you some of its portents: when the slave-girl will give birth to her master, this is one of its portents; when the naked, barefooted would become the chiefs of people, this is one of its portents; when the shepherds of black camels would compete in high-rise buildings, this is one of its portents.’  

“The knowledge of the Hour is among the five which none knows but Allah. Then he (Allah bless him and grant him peace) recited: ‘Verily the knowledge of the Hour is with Allah alone. It is He Who sends down rain, and He Who knows what is in the wombs. Nor does anyone know what it is that he will earn on the morrow: Nor does anyone know in what land he is to die. Verily with Allah is full knowledge and He is acquainted with all things.’” (31:34)  

Abu Hurayrah (Allah be pleased with him) said: “Then the person turned back and the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: ‘Bring that man back to me.’ They went to bring him back, but they saw nothing. Upon this the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) remarked: ‘this was Jibril, he came to teach the people their religion.’” (Sahih Muslim)  

His statement “among the five which none knows but Allah”: the knowledge of the time of the hour is from the five which none knows but Allah.  

Al-Qurtubi said: “No one can expect to know one of these five matters because of this hadith. The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) explained the statement of Allah Most High: “With Him are the keys of the ghayb (unseen), that none knoweth but He” (6:59) as these five. And this [hadith] is from the authentic [narrations].” Al-Qutubi said: “So whoever claims knowledge of one of these without a chain back to Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), he is a liar in his claim.” He said: “As for conjecture about the ghayb this is possible for the astrologer and other than him when it is [extrapolated] from a general law, and this is not knowledge. Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr transmitted ijma’ (consensus) on the prohibition of accepting fees and wages and offering it for such speculative knowledge. It has been transmitted from Ibn Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) that he said: ‘Your Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was granted knowledge of all things besides these five.’ The like of it [was narrated] from Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with them both) in marfu’ form. Ahmad transmitted both of them. Humayd ibn Zanjawayh transmitted from one of the Companions that he mentioned the knowledge of the time of the eclipse before its occurrence, and the Prophet repudiated him saying, ‘Verily the ghayb is five’ and he recited the verse [31:34], ‘and what is unseen besides these, are known to some and unknown to some.’”  

‘Ali al-Qari said: “If you ask: the Prophets and the Saints (Awliya) have indeed given much information on these five, so wherefore the restriction? I reply: the restriction is by consideration of their universals, not their particulars. He Most High said ‘He revealeth unto none His ghayb, Except a messenger whom He has chosen’ (72:26-7), on the basis of the istithna (exception) being muttasil (connected)[1] as is the norm. Furthermore, what some of the Saints mentioned by way of karamah (miracle) in giving information of some of the particulars from the content of the universals of the verse, it is possible by way of mukashafa (unveiling), ilham (inspiration) or manam (dream), which are probabilistic (zanniyyat), and are not designated as certain knowledge.”  

And he said in another place: “Indeed ghayb consists of cores (mabadi’) and appendages (lawahiq). The cores are not disclosed to an angel brought nigh (malak muqarrab) or a Prophet that is sent (nabi mursal). As for the appendages, they are what Allah reveals to some of His beloveds from the tablet of His knowledge, and this is then excluded from absolute ghayb (al-ghayb al-mutlaq), and becomes relative ghayb (ghayb idafi). This [disclosure occurs] when the pure spirit is illuminated, and its light and illumination increases by turning away from the shadows of the world of senses, clearing the mirror of the heart from natural rust, persevering in [acquiring] knowledge and [performing] good works, and effusion of divine lights, until the light strengthens and expands in the accomplishment of one’s heart; then the inscriptions written in the Preserved Tablet are reflected onto it, and it is shown the divine secrets (mughayyabat), and is given free-disposal in the lower world of bodies. Rather, thereupon the purest effusion becomes manifest by true gnosis of Him which is the most glorious of bestowals, so what of [bestowals] besides this?”  

The weak servant (Allah pardon him) says:  

Since areas [of study] consist of principles (usul) and peripherals (furu’), actual knowledge of them is restricted to knowledge of their principles. As for knowledge of the peripherals without knowledge of the principles, it is not regarded as knowledge by the scholars and experts [of the field], and it is only knowledge in its linguistic sense according to the general public who are limited [in their expertise]. An example of this is when one of the people memorises thousands of particular juristic rulings like the wajibs (the compulsory), the harams (the unlawful), the mandubs (the recommended) and the makruhs (the disliked), he is not called according to them an ‘alim (scholar) or a faqih (jurist), until he knows its principles and its universals. On the other hand, one who knows the principles of the rulings and their sources is an ‘alim and a faqih according to them, even if recalling some of the particulars and peripherals escapes him, for indeed the principles and the universals are the keys to the peripherals and the particulars, and not the other way round.  

This is how it should be understood in this context that the unqualified application of [the designation] ‘alim al-ghayb is not suitable except for one who knows the principles of ghayb and its universals. As regards to cognizance (ittila’) of some of the divine secrets (mughayyabat), even if it is extensive, it is not called knowledge (‘ilm), nor is one who acquires them an ‘alim, except as a kind of vagueness [in expression], until one knows their principles and foundations, and these principles and universals are the keys of the ghayb which are with Allah Most High. None knows them but He.  

Hence, the knowledge of these five matters mentioned in the hadith of the chapter, is specific to Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He), whereby none from the creation can expect to acquire their principles and their universals, in the same way one of them acquires the time of the eclipse of the sun or the moon by [recourse to] the mathematical laws of nature, for example, and he reports it before it occurs by specifying its precise time in distant lands. For such, the likes of it are not regarded as knowledge of the ghayb according to the ‘ulama, since it is acquired by the erection of evidences that point to it.  

Yes, disclosure of some of His (Most High) knowledge and revealing some of His secrets (ghuyub) is possible and has occurred with regard to some of the servants, but this is by way of a partial presentation (al-’ard al-juz’i) only, and it is not encompassment of the principles of ghayb and universal knowledge at all. If this partial disclosure occurred to [an individual] other than the Prophets (upon them prayers and peace) one cannot be certain about his integrity, safety and protection from the machinations of Satan, delusions of the self, etc. When it occurred to the Prophets (Allah’s Prayers and His peace on them), its integrity, and safety from the interference of Satan, confusions of the self and all that removes its authority, is certain.  

Thus, Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) does not reveal, i.e. does not empower, any with his ghayb whereby the possibility of error or delusion effectively does not come into contact with it, except one He has chosen as a Messenger [i.e. according to Qur’an 72:26-7]. Hence, He empowers the Messenger with whatever He wills from His ghayb, and He has not left any from among men and jinn that are able to corrupt him or prevent the establishment of his signs, “… for indeed a band of watchers (from the angels) march before him and behind him, that He may know that they have (truly) brought and delivered the Messages of their Lord: and He surrounds all that are with them, and takes account of every single thing” (Qur’an 72:27-8).  

From this account, the distinction between the revelation (wahy) of the Prophets and the unveilings (kushuf) of the Saints becomes clear, [as does the fact] that the knowledge of the five matters mentioned in the hadith of the chapter is specific to Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He). This specificity does not necessitate by its mention the negation of the specificity of other knowledge besides these, for indeed it is possible that the specification recited [in the verse] is for [general] benefit, or due to the particular circumstance in the revelation of the verse. And Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) knows best what is right.  

(Fath al-Mulhim vol. 1 pp. 462-3)  




  1. In a muttasil exception, the exception is from the same category as that from which it is excluded. In this case, therefore, the knowledge that is disclosed is from the same category of ghayb, if the exception is believed to be muttasil

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