Questions on the Prophet’s Knowledge of the Ghayb (Unseen)

At the time of the Battle of Ahzab or the battle of the Trench, the Prophet went down to hit a rock with his pick, whereupon he said: “Bismillah” and shattered one third of the rock. Then he exclaimed: “Allahu akbar! I have been given the keys of Syria. By Allah, verily I can see her red palaces right from where I stand.” Then he said: “Bismillah,” and shattered another third and exclaimed: “Allahu akbar! I have been given the keys of Persia. By Allah, I can see her cities and her white palace right from where I stand.” Then he said: “Bismillah” and shattered the remainder of the rock and exclaimed: “Allahu akbar! I have been given the keys of Yemen. By Allah, I can see the gates of San`a’ right from where I stand.”10

6. Another version of the above is related from Salman al-Farisi. Ibn Hisham relates it in his Sira through Ibn Ishaq thus:

Salman al-Farisi said: “I was digging in one corner of the trench at which time one rock gave me difficulty. Allah’s Messenger came near me and saw my difficulty as I was digging. He came down and took the pick from my hands. Then he struck and a great spark flashed under the pick. He struck again and another spark flashed. He struck a third time and a third spark flashed. I said to him: My father and mother (be ransomed) for you, O Messenger of Allah! What is that I saw flashing under the pick as you were striking? He said: Did you see this, O Salman? I said: Yes! He said: The first time, Allah opened Yemen [in the South] for me; the second time, He opened the North (al-Sham) and the West(al-Maghrib) for me; and the third time, he opened the East (al-Mashriq).”11

7. The above two narrations are confirmed by Abu Hurayra’s words related by Ibn Hisham in his Sira directly after the above narration:

Ibn Ishaq said: A reliable source narrated to me that Abu Hurayra used to say, when these countries were conquered in the time of `Umar and in the time of `Uthman and after `Uthman: “Conquer what comes within your sight. By the One in Whose hand lies Abu Hurayra’s soul, you do not conquer any city nor will you conquer any city until the Day of resurrection except that Allah the Exalted gave Muhammad its keys beforehand.”12

8. A further confirmation of the above is the hadith in Muslim:

The earth was collected together for me so that I was shown its Easts and Wests. And the kingdom of my Community will reach to the extent that it was brought together for me.

9. A further confirmation is the hadith in Bukhari:

Narrated Asma’ bint Abu Bakr: I came to ‘Aisha during the solar eclipse. The people were standing (offering prayer) and she too, was standing and offering prayer. I asked, “What is wrong with the people?” She pointed towards the sky with her hand and said, Subhan Allah!” I asked her, “Is there a sign?” She nodded with her head meaning, yes. When Allah’s Apostle finished (the prayer), he glorified and praised Allah and said, “There is not anything that I have not seen before but I have seen now at this place of mine, even Paradise and Hell. It has been revealed to me that you people will be put to trial nearly like the trial of Ad-Dajjal, in your graves. As for the true believer or a Muslim (the sub-narrator is not sure as to which of the two (words Asma’ had said) he will say, ‘Muhammad came with clear signs from Allah, and we responded to him (accepted his teachings) and believed (what he said)’ It will be said (to him) ‘Sleep in peace; we have known that you were a true believer who believed with certainty.’ As for a hypocrite or a doubtful person, (the sub-narrator is not sure as to which word Asma’ said) he will say, ‘I do not know, but I heard the people saying something and so I said the same.’” (Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 92, Number 390)

10. A further confirmation of the above is the hadith of Hudhayfa in Bukhari and Muslim:

The Messenger of Allah gave us an address in which he did not leave out anything that would happen until the Last Hour came. Whoever remembered it remembered it and whoever forgot it forgot it. Many companions of mine have known it. When any of it came to pass, I would recognize it and remember it as a man remembers the face of a man who has gone away and which he recognizes when he sees him again.” Then Hudhayfa said: “I do not know whether my companions may have forgotten or pretended to forget [i.e. to prevent fitna], but Allah’s Messenger did not leave out the instigator of a single disaster that was going to happen until the end of the world. There were more than three hundred of them. He named them for us, each with his own name, the name of this father and his tribe.

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