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The All-Knower Of The Unseen And Seen
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The All-Knower Of The Unseen And Seen
 
Muhammad Mitwaly Ash-Sha'rawy
 
 

Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, is the Sole All-Knower of the Unseen and Seen. Some people may wonder why the word ‘Seen’ was stated here, when what is intended by it is the present world? We say that it is stated to negate the false belief that because Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, is unseen to us He only knows the Unseen. That Allah, Whose Majesty reigns supreme, is unaware of the present world we live, but the truth is that Allah possesses the two worlds, the Unseen and Seen. Its statement thus closes the door on wrong interpretation and reasoning. Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, masters the Unknown and is omniscient of whatever happens in worldly life. Nothing whatsoever escapes His Knowledge in the heavens or in the earth.

 

On the other hand, ‘The All-Knower of the Unseen’ signifies that Allah knows all that is hidden from us, and as aforesaid, we know but little, very little about the universe. Therefore, the Name, ‘The All-Knower of the Unseen’ commands an absolute knowledge mastered by Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, for whatever is hidden from us is known by Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He.

 

The universe is hidden from us, but Allah is the All-Knower of it. The world of the jinn is also hidden from us, but nothing of it escapes the Knowledge of Allah, The Exalted and Ever-Majestic. The world of the angels is hidden from us, but Allah, The Omniscient, knows it entirely and whatever descends unto land or ascends to heaven are both obscure to us, but Allah, Whose Majesty reigns supreme, possesses them all. Also, the Barzakh [the grave as the barrier or the intermediate realm that separates between this world and the other world from the time of death till the time of Resurrection] world, Doomsday, Judgment, the Hereafter, Paradise and Hellfire all are hidden from us but Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, is the All-Knower of them all.

 

The infinite Knowledge of Allah

 

What will follow the Day of Judgment is hidden from us but Allah knows it all. What occurs in the depths of the earth is hidden from us but Allah knows it all. The fruit that will sprout after a thousand years is hidden from us but Allah knows all about it. The human that will be born hours before the Day of Judgment is hidden from us but Allah knows all about him. The leaf that will fall after hundreds or thousands of years is hidden from us but Allah knows all about it. All world events that will take place are hidden from us but Allah knows them all.

 

Let us recite the noble Qur’anic verses in which The Truth, praise be to Him, says (what means):

 

“No calamity befalls on the earth or in yourselves but is inscribed in the Book of Decrees (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfūz), before We bring it into existence. Verily, that is easy for Allāh. In order that you may not be sad over matters that you fail to get, nor rejoice because of that which has been given to you. And Allāh likes not prideful boasters.” (Al-Hadīd, 57: 22-23)

 

Through these Qur’anic verses Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, wanted to free the believers from anxiety and restlessness because they afflict the body with deadly diseases. For the believers to lead a good blessed life, Allah, be ever gloried His Majesty and Might, commanded them neither to be grieved over matters they failed to get, nor rejoice because of what has been given them, since all are the decreed Destines of Allah with a wisdom hidden behind. For the matters they failed to get might be an evil that Allah has warded off, and the gains they got might be unfavorable to them, so they should not rejoice because of them.

 

Let us start from the beginning, before creating the universe Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, possessed absolute knowledge of all its events. Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, designed the purpose of everything, as one must assign the goal before starting the realization.

 

For instance, if we want to construct a building, do we just go ahead and build it? Or do we bring the architects and ask them to construct us a building? Of course not! But first we have to design it, as the structure differs according to the purpose of its use. If we wanted to build a house it would definitely differs from constructing a factory or the headquarters of a company. So, first comes the purpose, then after assigning it follows the execution.

 

The life of this world…an abode of trial

 

The purpose of worldly life lies in being an abode of trial where Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, tries His servants in obeying Him. We have already stated that everything Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has created has a will.

 

Some have chosen once and for all, have chosen to be subjected as the sun, the mountains, the seas; in fact, the entire universe save mankind and the jinn, whereas, some have preferred to have choices.

 

So, there are those who have exercised their discretion once and chose to be subjected, because they do not trust themselves if given the freedom of showing obedience to Allah, they would honor and fulfill the trust or not; whereas others were misled by their reasoning power and accepted to submit to Allah willingly and not by subjection.

 

But neither the choosers of subjection nor those who preferred to have a free will escaped the Knowledge of Allah. Indeed, Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, is The Omniscient of all that happened or would happen before it happens. Recite the noble Qur’anic verses in which Allah, be ever gloried His Majesty and Might, says (what means):

 

“And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: ‘Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.’” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 30)

 

Did Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, when informing the angels about the creation of Ādam (peace be upon him), address these words after He created Ādam or before it? Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, says (what means):

 

“So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul which I created for him, then fall (you) down prostrating yourselves unto him.” (Al-Hijr, 15: 29)

 

Allah, The Exalted and Ever-Majestic, ordered the angels to prostrate themselves before creating Ādam (peace be upon him) and after informing them that He would place mankind generations after generations on earth. Hence, Ādam is intrinsically created to make the land fruitful, inhabit it and have children till the Day of Resurrection befalls. The knowledge of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, fully encompassed the creation of the universe and the purpose behind it, that of Ādam and the purpose behind him, and all that would render the fulfillment of such purpose possible. Thus, The Almighty, praise be to Him, created the water, the plants and the animals to ensure the survival of Ādam and his offspring on land till the Day of Resurrection.

 

The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

 

“Say (O Muhammad SAW): ‘Do you verily disbelieve in Him Who created the earth in two Days and you set up rivals (in worship) with Him? That is the Lord of the ‘Alamīn (mankind, jinns and all that exists). He placed therein (i.e. the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four Days equal (i.e. all these four ‘days’ were equal in the length of time), for all those who ask (about its creation).’” (Fussilat, 41: 9-10)

 

If we contemplated these two noble Qur’anic verses we would realize that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, measured on the Day of Creation the sustenance needed on the earth. Allah, The Exalted and Ever-Majestic, knew beforehand all that would live on the earth till the Day of Resurrection from humans, animals, insects and plants; fully and precisely knew them, arranging to every species the sustenance it would need till the Day of Resurrection befalls.

 

All is eternally encompassed within the Knowledge of Allah, Blessed and Exalted be He, before creating the earth; all the species of the universe till the day the earth ceases to be and be destroyed. All is arranged for them; the sustenance they will need for survival.

 

Everything with Him is in due proportion

 

To create such sustenance Allah possessed absolute infinite knowledge of it to create it, for Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, is The Creator before there exists a creation. He originated and created in the name of being The Creator; the Divine Attribute existed since eternity and then came the creation, same as all the Divine Attributes of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, are eternal. For Allah is The Most Merciful before there exist those who deserve mercy. He is The Provider before there exist those who need provision, so are all the Divine Attributes of Allah, The Exalted and Ever-Majestic.

 

Now we resume reciting the noble verses in which The Almighty says (what mean):

 

“Then He Istawā (rose over) towards the heaven when it was smoke, and said to it and to the earth: ‘Come both of you willingly or unwillingly.’ They both said: ‘We come, willingly.’ Then He completed and finished from their creation (as) seven heavens in two Days and He made in each heaven its affair.” (Fussilat, 41: 11-12)

 

We thus learn from the noble verses that Allah, The Exalted and Ever-Majestic, has inspired in each heaven its affair; that is, ordained the events He willed to pass in each till the heavens and earth cease to exist, which bespeaks an absolute knowledge of all that will happen in them till they vanish.

 

Since Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, is The Creator of the heavens and earth, He, Whose Majesty reigns supreme, is their Maintainer until arrives their appointed term. Meaning, that He keeps them from vanishing until they receive the Command to vanish.

 

Nothing is haphazard

 

Through the aforementioned noble verses we realize that The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, is All-Knowing of the secrets of the entire universe before its creation, because He measured, before creation, the things that must continue to exist till the universe ceases to be.

 

To approximate the picture to the minds: on constructing a building and after specifying its purpose, we have to design for it what the architects call (a maquette), a model including all the fine details on whose bases the building will be constructed. Without such details execution will not be possible for nothing is done haphazardly. In sum, first there must be some visualization of the thing so that its execution agrees with its designed purpose.

 

If the architect that supervises the work is a skilled one, the maquette he makes will include the finest details, which he cares to exhibit and pinpoint, and then comes the construction matching his plans and designs. When the Maker is the All-Knower of the Unseen, Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, nothing will escape His Knowledge, however slight it might be, and the realization perfectly matches what Allah, praise be to Him, willed to be without the slightest bit of difference.

 

When reciting the noble Qur’anic verse in which The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

 

“And nothing is hidden from your Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom (or small ant) on the earth or in the heaven. Not what is less than that or what is greater than that but is (written) in a Clear Record.” (Yūnus, 10: 61)

 

You would see that the revelation of this noble verse caused no conflict between the Noble Qur’an and science, as just recently the scientists have discovered that the atom is the smallest composing unit of matter that does not undergo fission. After the scientific revolution man became able to cause atomic fission and explosion, so they claimed that the Noble Qur’an came into conflict with science, because Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has stated the atom based on being the minutest component of a matter.

 

We simply say to them that they did not understand the Noble Qur’an, because Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means), Not what is less than that,’ and ‘less than’ signifies that there are two degrees of comparison: little and less, with the atomic fission we reached the ‘less than’ stage. But new horizons in science may uncover what surpasses the atomic fission discovered so far.

 

We must clarify that point because having no indication of the discovery of the atomic fission in the Noble Qur’an would be inconsistent with the fact that Allah, praise be to Him, is the All-Knower of the Unseen. And certainly nothing whatsoever in this universe escape the Knowledge of Almighty Allah, however slight it might be.

 

Recite in Surat Luqmān the noble Qur’anic verse in which The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

 

“O my son! If it be (anything) equal to the weight of a grain of mustard seed, and though it be in a rock, or in the heavens or in the earth, Allāh will bring it forth. Verily, Allāh is Subtle (in bringing out that grain), Well­Aware (of its place).” (Luqmān, 31: 16)

 

The mustard seed is a grain highly minute and light in weight. In order to understand the parable that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, set forth for us in the Noble Qur’an, we have to imagine the size of a mustard seed compared with that of the heavens and earth to grasp the precision of the knowledge that The All-knower possesses. Even that minute grain and its whereabouts in this prodigious universe! Also, to learn for sure that nothing whatsoever escapes the Infinite Knowledge of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him.

 

Preexistent…in the Knowledge of Allah

 

Allah, be ever gloried His Majesty and Might, created Paradise and Hellfire, as well as the Hereafter and the Day of Judgment. All fully exist in His Knowledge, as we have said in a precise maquette that comprises the finest details. Before creation, Allah, The Exalted and Ever-Majestic, arranged the delights awaiting the inhabitants of Paradise and destined them to be, and the torments awaiting the inhabitants of Hellfire and destined them to be. If Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has not revealed them to us from the world unseen to that seen, they do preexist in His Realms with their full details. We need to meditate on the Qur’anic verse in which The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

 

“Verily, His Command, when He intends a thing, is only that He says to it, ‘Be!’ and it is!” (Yā­-Sīn, 36: 82)

 

We have to carefully contemplate His saying (what means), That He says to it,’ which signifies that it fully and eternally preexists in the Knowledge of Allah and when Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wills to bring it forth to the world of mankind or to our present world, He says to it ‘Be’, which denotes that He says to a thing He has, ‘Be’, whereby it comes forth from the world unseen to the world seen.

 

Allah, be ever gloried His Majesty and Might, having mercy on our minds, gives us in the Noble Qur’an more than one verse elucidating the meaning of the Unseen; for every unseen matter Almighty Allah brings a perceivable image that approximates its concept to the minds.

 

For instance, the creation of man is unknown to us; none of us has witnessed his creation or that of another, but Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, told us how creation took place. Allah, The Exalted and Ever-Majestic, said that man was created from dust, turned to clay, then turned to altered black smooth mud, then turned to sounding clay, just like pottery clay, and finally breathed into man the soul He created for him.

 

If we took a handful of dust and added water to it, it would become clay, and if we left it to allow its element to interact it would become altered black smooth mud similar to that used by mankind in their industries, and finally it would dry into sounding clay.

 

That is the process of creation hidden from us. But Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, wants to approximate that meaning to us, therefore He made death a demonstrating proof of the creation process. For death annuls life; that is to say, when life exists, Allah ends it by death. And the destruction of a thing happens contrarily to its construction. 

 

For instance, if we wanted to erect a building we would start by constructing the first floor but if we wanted to destroy it we would start by the last floor! Similarly, when traveling to Alexandria, your last destination would be Alexandria. But if you wanted to return, your first place of departure would be Alexandria.

 

Creation… life…. and death

 

We certainly know nothing about the creation of life because we were not there at the time of creation, but we witness death each and every singly day. Death ends life; therefore it occurs contrarily to it.

 

The first to leave the body at death is the last to enter it in life, which is the soul. The soul is the last to enter man’s body at creation to endow man with life and it is the first to leave it at the death hour. Afterwards, begins the stages of death contrarily to the process of creation. The body hardens and becomes as sounding clay, just like pottery clay, then it decomposes and becomes as altered black smooth mud. Afterwards, water evaporates from the body and clay turns to dust and returns to earth once more, dust just as it has started.

 

Thus, we see that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, out of mercifulness towards His servants sets forth examples that approximate the Unseen to our minds and we must acquire whatever knowledge related to the Unseen from Allah and adopt no other doctrine save that of Allah, all praise and glory be to Him. He Alone is The Omniscient and solely the One Capable of giving us the true picture as we have the Unseen veiled before us.

 

There is a number of Qur’anic verses that approximate the meaning of ‘The All-Knower of the Unseen,’ that boundless meaning that we have to profoundly reflect on. Recite that Qur’anic verse in which The Truth, Blessed and Exalted be He, says (what means):

 

“(The learned men) refer to Him (Alone) the knowledge of the Hour. No fruit comes out of its sheath, nor does a female conceive (within her womb), nor brings forth (young), except by His Knowledge.” (Fussilat, 41: 47)

 

 And the Qur’anic verse where The Almighty says (what means):

 

“And no aged man is granted a length of life, nor is a part cut off from his life (or another man's life), but is in a Book (Al­Lauh Al­Mahfūz) Surely, that is easy for Allāh.” (Fātir, 35: 11)

 

And the Qur’anic verse where The Most Exalted says (what means):

 

“What you (O Muslims) cut down of the palm-trees (of the enemy), or you left them standing on their stems, it was by Leave of Allāh.” (Al-Hashr, 59: 5)

 

We can thus see that many verses in the Noble Qur’an explain the meaning of ‘The All-Knower of the Unseen’ and if Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has set forth examples of things we see, we have to learn that before actually perceiving such things they were invisible to us.

 

The present world

 

When moving to the present world, that is the seen world, we must bear in mind that Allah is The All-Knowing of everything in this present world, even what revolves in our minds and hearts and we conceal it and whisper to none. Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, says (what means):

 

“And know that Allāh knows what is in your minds, so fear Him.” (Al-Baqarah, 2: 235)

 

To have the picture approximated to our minds, imagine how countless souls exist in the same breath within the entire universe, and the thoughts revolving in every mind in the same breath, Allah, all praise be to Him, fully knows them all. Moreover, He knows the secrets of every soul since the time of Ādam (peace be upon him) up to now and knows what secrets will revolve in every soul till the Day of Resurrection.

 

Recite the Qur’anic verse in which The Truth, be ever gloried His Majesty and Might, says (what means):

 

“Have you not seen that Allāh knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is on the earth? There is no Najwa (secret counsel) of three, but He is their fourth (with His Knowledge, while He Himself is over the Throne, over the seventh heaven), nor of five but He is their sixth (with His Knowledge), not of less than that or more, but He is with them (with His Knowledge) wheresoever they may be.” (Al-Mujādilah, 58: 7)

 

This noble Qur’anic verse offers us another meaning; every group of people sitting anywhere, whether on a plane, in a submarine, in a car, over a mountain or a hill or in whatever place in this world, Allah is with them, hearing what they say, what they speak and whisper. Every word is recorded, every word the tongue utters is to earn a reward or incur punishment.

 

This infinite knowledge that encompasses every soul in this world belongs only to Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, The All-Knower of the Unseen.

 

We delve further when meditating the Qur’anic verse in which The Almighty says (what means):

 

“And if you (O Muhammad SAW) speak (the invocation) aloud, then verily, He knows the secret and that which is yet more hidden.” (Tā­-Hā, 20: 7)

 

We know what a secret is; it is something kept hidden that someone may impart to another. It can be shared by two and remain hidden from a third. But what is the thing beyond the secret? It is what is kept unvoiced within the hearts.

 

It is related that once a teacher wanted to test his students, so he handed each of them a cock and a knife and said that he wanted everyone of them to go to a place where nobody would see him, slaughter the cock and then return. All the students returned after each of them had slaughtered his cock, except for one student. When the teacher asked the student why he did not slaughter the cock, he simply answered that he did not find a place where Allah does not see him.

 

We thank Allah Who guided us in revealing some meanings of the Qur’anic Statement of The Truth, all praise and glory be to Him, saying (what means), ‘The All-Knower of the unseen and seen,’ that shoreless meaning that no mind whatsoever can ever grasp. We hope that Allah, all praise and glory be to Him, has led us to what is conducive to prosperity and has guided us in what we have said.

 

Verily, Allah is The Guide to the Straight Path.

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