Allah is All-Knowing

Qur’an is a book of signs. It is the light, a book of guidance and a complete and perfect book in this regard. It is neither comprised of fairy tales nor is it a story book and if someone reads it as a story book, then they’re not going to enjoy . They will definitely be disappointed not to find gossip in it like who had how many wives and children, who’s having an affair with who, in which year such and such event happened and ages of different people etc.

It is alleged by some tricksters that Allah does not know everything according to Qur’an.[1] These tricksters make their claims based on the following verses of the Qur’an:

If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allah does not like the wrongdoers – And that Allah may purify the believers [through trials] and destroy the disbelievers. Or do you think that you will enter Paradise while Allah has not yet made evident those of you who fight in His cause and made evident those who are steadfast?[2]

Based on these verses of the Qur’an we do not find any issue at all. These are beautiful verses speaking of beautiful justice of Allah. Even though a person is known to Allah as sinful and disobedient, he is not punished by Allah until the evil is evident. There is even a saying of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) stating that the evil thoughts are not considered as sins until or unless they are put into practice.[3]

These verses of the Qur’an are twisted by the enemies of God Almighty to suit their desires of attacking the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In verse 140, the Arabic word يعلم (ya’lamu) literally translates as ‘to know’ however, this has been translated as to make evident’ in our quoted translation above (which is also a correct alternative) because the following verse makes the purpose clear behind this knowing and that is to purge those that are true in Faith and to deprive of blessing those that resist Faith.

Another point to note is that Allah mentions to make evident (or know literally as enemies of Islam call it) the believers and that Allah does not like the wrong doers. If Allah doesn’t know who the believers and the disbelievers are and if His knowledge depends on the outcome of the test He would give, then how did Allah classify a group of people as believers and a group as wrongdoers in the same verse? This is an absurdity claimed by the enemies of Islam and the same logic and common sense states that Allah knows the believers and wrongdoers in advance through His endless divine knowledge. This is an Arabic style of explanation and some translators have literally translated the word while others have translated the message behind the word. Even if we take the word and not the message, the context of the verses (in the same verse itself) proves that Allah is All-Knowing.

Enemies of Islam rely on tricks in their claims. Most of the claimants of such absurdities are Arabic speaking Islamophobes and yet they rely on translation tricks. For every verse, they rely on a different translation and when none of the translations suit their tricks, they then translate the verse(s) themselves.

It is important to note that for each verse that is worded in such a way by the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the same answer applies as quoted above and one should remember that when a certain group of people are to be known the people mentioned are already classified by Allah as either believers, disbelievers, hypocrites and so on and hence such a knowing does not indicate lack of knowledge but refers to making evident.

Similarly, there are verses in the Qur’an where Allah uses the words may be or it might be. People having chosen enmity with Allah feel that this also shows that Allah is not All-Knowing and guesses in a lot of cases. Here are a few examples:

Then would you possibly leave [out] some of what is revealed to you, or is your breast constrained by it because they say, “Why has there not been sent down to him a treasure or come with him an angel?” But you are only a warner. And Allah is Disposer of all things.[4]

And speak to him mildly, perhaps he may accept admonition or fear Allah.[5]

Perhaps you will kill yourself with grief because they do not believe.[6]

The verses mentioned need to be understood with the context of predestination briefly outlined below. These verses are like a sea of knowledge where one can dive into the beauty and knowledge and swim deep into them. Let’s take a look at this concept in a little detail:

But what they concealed before has [now] appeared to them. And even if they were returned, they would return to that which they were forbidden; and indeed, they are liars.[7]

Even though it is a question that does not indicate lack of knowledge or guess work but still for the sake of explanation, let’s take it as otherwise i.e. the way enemies of Islam are trying to interpret it because there are a few other verses with a similar perhaps or may be and they need to be explained. The verse presented here speaks of the Day of Judgement when the people to be sent to hell would request to be sent to earth again (Allah’s infinite knowledge knows the future) and Allah mentions that even if they were returned, they would return to that which they were forbidden; and indeed, they are liars. In the concept of destiny, Allah allows free will to mankind. He has allowed this free will which is in His complete infinite knowledge. Sending to earth or not would be the will of Allah and what mankind would do on earth is known to Allah but not forced by Allah on the people. Destiny is therefore, not helplessness. The underlined part can be divided into two parts; even if they were returned is only and only in the control of Allah whereas they would return to that which they were forbidden gives an idea of the knowledge of Allah over what mankind would do under their free will.

So the verses in question become easier to understand after this explanation. If Prophet Musa (عليه السلام) had spoken mildly to the Pharaoh, he could have accepted the truth. If first condition were to be followed, Allah had laid down the eventual result in the case of Pharaoh unless other unforeseen (to mankind) events occurred such as pressure of position, power, followers, advisers, palace guards and fellows, greed etc. Similarly for Qur’an 26:3, the first condition is allowed by Allah and its outcome has also been mentioned by Him. The first condition is taking stress and tension for those who refused the message of Islam and in reply to that Allah mentions that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) would die of grief if he allows himself to worry too much about those who disbelieve.

Enemies of Islam attempt to understand these verses from other enemies of Islam disguised as Muslims. This is a useless attempt by the Islamophobes and they need to come up with explanations of classical Islamic scholars or else keep quiet.

Apart from claiming that Allah has incomplete knowledge, the enemies of the Creator of the heavens and the earth also allege that Allah has incorrect knowledge. For this they cite the following:

Behold, thy LORD said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Will Thou place therein one who will make mischief and shed blood? Whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.”[8]

From this verse, enemies of Islam mockingly ask as to how the angels knew that man would shed blood. “I will create a vicegerent (Khalifa/representative) on earth.” Khalifa, apart from representative, also means a person who judges disputes that occur between people. Based on the simple meaning of the word, one would find no reason to question further.

Quoting this verse, enemies of God allege that the angels were correct and Allah was wrong. This is simply a straight forward problem in reading skills. When Allah said I know what ye know not, He was not rebutting the angels’ claim that the representative would shed blood and make mischief. In fact the question of angels was why Allah was creating another being! Allah does not answer their claim in this verse and just lets them know that Allah knows what they know not i.e. the purpose of the creation of man. The entire Qur’an is the answer to this question.

Silly questions and their short answers

In this section you will find a number of extremely foolish arguments from the enemies of Islam. Just because they are unwise and lack proper understanding skills, they believe that God Almighty is also like them (I seek refuge with Allah).

Then, even after that, your hearts were hardened and became as rocks, OR WORSE THAN ROCKS, for hardness. For indeed there are rocks from out which rivers gush, and indeed there are rocks which split asunder so that water floweth from them. And indeed there are rocks which fall down for the fear of Allah. Allah is not unaware of what ye do.[9]

Question: Which is it, did the hearts of the Israelites become hardened as rocks or was it worse than that? And how come Allah can’t tell us the exact condition of their hearts?

Answer: If Allah had described the exact condition of the heart in detail as He created it, no one would have understood it. Even if these missionaries go to a doctor to understand the condition of the heart, they would not understand even a tiny bit of it. The lesson or the message needs to be taken from this verse and not detailed irrelevant information. Following is more detailed explanation on the word, its meaning and usage.

Tabari gives the views of several anonymous Arabic experts about this use of ‘or (aw)’. One said, quoting other examples from the Qur’an — 37:147 and 34:24 — and poetry, that in these cases the speaker is well aware of which of the two things is true, though he says it in this way so as to create a feeling of vagueness in whoever is being addressed. Another said that this verse had an inclusive meaning, by which he meant that some of their hearts were callous like stones, and some were even more callous, giving as an example the sentence ‘I gave you only sweet things or sour things to eat’, meaning nothing but these two things. Another said it meant ‘and’, just as it would do in a negative sentence like “and obey not one of them, sinner or unbeliever” (76:24) and another, also quoting 37:147, said it meant ‘even harder’. Finally, another said that it meant ‘they were like stones, or harder in your case.’ Tabari says there are grounds in Arabic speech for all these views, although he prefers the interpretation he gave first, and those which preserve the basic meaning of aw signifying an alternative. He then gives reason for ashaddu being in the nominative.[10]

“and that God may know those who believe”; connected by the conjunction with an omitted cause; ‘we alternate them in order that such-and-such may take place, and in order that God may know’, suggesting that the cause thereof is not one only, and that the advantages which accrue therefrom to the Believers are unknowable. Or, the verb on which this final sentence depends may be omitted, to be supplied thus; ‘and in order that those who are firm in their faith might be distinguished from those who are on the margin we have done this’. The import of such phrases and their contrary is not God’s knowing or not knowing, but the establishment or the contrary of the thing already known by God by a demonstrative process. — Others say the meaning is, that He might know them with a knowledge whereon recompense would depend; and that is knowledge of a thing when already come to pass.[11]

After quoting some related Qur’anic passages, the missionaries state that the Qur’an does not identify Prophet Samuel by name. If such absurd logic is to be used, then questions could be asked as to who named him and then questions can develop until they never end. Qur’an should be read like a book of guidance and not as a story book. If one were to read the Qur’an as a fairy-tale assuming it to be a book that one already follows, then silly questions would never end. Another such question is as follows:

The (Brethren) sold him for a miserable price, for a FEW dirhams counted out: in such low estimation did they hold him![12]

Anti-Islamic missionaries mention that the exact price was twenty shekels of silver and argue that the Qur’an does not mention the price. Again if we try to be foolish like the questioners we can put forward never ending useless arguments such as why he was sold in Shekels and not in the Egyptian currency, what is the dollar equivalent to 20 shekels of that time etc.? These questions give us no benefit in knowledge; the important thing is that he was sold and that was a miserable act.

Enemies of Islam do not stop here. They continue to spill their ignorance even further. Based on the stay of Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) in prison, they allege that Allah did not mention the time of his stay in prison which is an irrelevant matter. If the years had been mentioned, then they would have asked how many months after the years or so and so years according to which calendar etc.? If there is a twist in the cannon, the questions will never stop and everything would appear as false.

Oh my comrades in prison! One of you will serve wine to his master. The other will be crucified; birds will peck the meat from his head! The matter, about which you sought my opinion has been clarified.[13]

Among the childish questions section, perhaps this is the least childish one but only if rules of context are to be ignored completely. History tells us that crucifixion was adopted several centuries later than either the Pharaoh who oppressed the Israelites or the Pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the time of Prophet Yusuf (عليه السلام) but the Qur’an tells us that Pharaoh threatened Prophet Musa (عليه السلام) with crucifixion. If we follow the context and see where the story is repeated again, we find the answers:

He said, “Did you believe in him without my permission? He must be your chief; the one who taught you magic. I will surely sever your hands and feet on alternate sides. I will crucify you on the palm trunks. You will find out which of us can inflict the worst retribution, and who outlasts whom.”[14]

It is a fallacy to interpret crucifixion as hanging on the cross only. The Qur’anic explanation for Salabu does not limit the crucifixion to the cross only; it can be on a pole, a stick or a tree etc.

There are countless points raised by the enemies of the truth that can be clubbed under the heading of Silly questions and their short answers and they would take endless amount of time and space. If the purpose of one is to find faults, then he/she would stoop to such a low level that they would never stop asking questions. If one has already decided that they are not going to believe in what they are going to read, then there is no point in reading. The purpose of the Qur’an is guidance. It is not a story book.

Indeed, Allah knows best.


[2] Qur’an 3:140-142

[3] Sahih Bukhari, book 63, Hadith 194

[4] Qur’an 11:12

[5] Qur’an 20:44

[6] Qur’an 26:3

[7] Qur’an 6:28

[8] Qur’an 2:30

[9] Qur’an 2:74

[10] Abu Ja‘far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari. The commentary on the Qur’an; being an abridged translation of Jami‘ al-bayan ‘an ta’wil ay al-Qur’an. Introduction and notes by J. Cooper; general editors, W.F. Madelung, A. Jones. London ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1987 pp.398-399

[11] Chrestomathia Baidawiana- The Commentary of El-Baidawi on Sura III Translated and Explained for the use of the Students of Arabic by D. S. Margoliouth , Luzac & Co. London 1894 p.96

[12] Qur’an 12:20

[13] Qur’an 12:41

[14] Qur’an 20:71

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