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Why Religion?

Discover Islam


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It is enough to establish one’s truthfulness that one has not been heard telling even a single lie during one‘s whole life. However, if the person is a Prophet who has brought a universal system from God, people will expect him to offer explanations and to establish rules in all fields of life - theology, law, sociology, human psychology, economics, history, etc. - and to be proven to be truthful in all of them.

The explanations of God’s Messenger, upon him be peace and blessings, concerning theology - Divine Essence, Attributes and Names - are such that philosophers, religious scholars, and saints cannot compete with him. What, in fact, they can and should do, is to study his explanations and try to perceive the truths his words contain.

God’s Messenger dealt with, besides those pertaining to Divine Essence and Attributes, the most subtle matters of Destiny and man’s free will so ably and convincingly that without his account no one can obtain a true understanding of these matters.

What he reported concerning the past nations and previous Prophets have all been confirmed by historical research and the followers of previous Scriptures. Although he was unlettered, neither read a book nor was taught by any human, he established the most rational, practical and just rules in every field of life such that, as a result, a large portion of mankind have experienced true happiness for centuries under his banner. Indeed, the religion, the universal system of life that was revealed to him from God, continues to offer a unique alternative for the future of mankind in general, and the happy world of the future will be built upon its principles.

What I would like, however, to emphasize here, concerning his truthfulness, is that out of hundreds of his predictions, the vast majority have already come true, and the remainder will be proven when their time is due.

‘Umar reports that one day he, upon whom be peace, ascended the pulpit after the dawn prayer and spoke about almost everything from the creation of the world to the Last Day, including certain past events and what will befall mankind until that Day. These predictions, together, clearly demonstrate that his teacher was God, the All-Knowing, and that he did not speak on his own but always communicated what was revealed to him. Before giving specific examples of his predictions, I think it worthwhile to clarify a few points concerning knowledge of the Unseen.

Knowledge of the Unseen

The concept of the Unseen pertains to what is supra-sensory and metaphysical or even meta-cosmic. In this sense, the past, as well as the future and everything beyond ordinary human senses are all included in the concept of the Unseen, provided that some concrete indications have not been manifest. However, in a narrower sense of the concept, the Unseen pertains only to the future and what I intend here to concentrate on is the tidings God’s Messenger gave of certain future events.

The knowledge of the Unseen is, first of all, with God. This is evident from some Qur’anic verses, such as the following:

With Him are the keys of the Unseen, none knows them but He. He knows whatever is in the earth and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything wet, fresh or dry but is in a Manifest Record. (al-An‘am, 6.59)

Say, [O Muhammad]: ‘I do not tell you that with me are the treasures of God, nor that I know the Unseen, nor do I tell you that I am an angel. I but follow what is revealed to me’. Say: ‘Are the blind and the one who sees equal? Will you not then reflect’? (al-An‘am, 6.50)

Say: ‘I have no power over any benefit or harm to myself except as God wills. If I had the knowledge of the Unseen, I should increase good for myself and no evil should have touched me. I am but a warner and a bringer of glad tidings unto people who believe’. (al-A‘raf, 7.188)

These verses clearly state that the knowledge of the Unseen is with God. Does this, however, mean that no one can, by God’s leave, obtain any part of the knowledge of the Unseen?

In order to answer this question, we should consider the following points:

  • Everything man has, like health, knowledge, and power, essentially belongs to God and is, accordingly, from God. We have no power except that with which He has endowed us . We have no knowledge except what He has taught us or what He has enabled us to learn. Likewise, we see through His enabling us to see and hear through His enabling us to hear. Since this is so, the verses do not absolutely exclude man from possessing, by God’s leave, some knowledge of the Unseen.

  • The concept of the Unseen does not only relate to the future, it also relates to the past. The Qur’an presents the stories of past nations as the stories of the Unseen. Historical researches make us informed of the past.

  • Many people can, by God’s Will, get some glimpse of the future, partly or generally, in dreams or through some other ways which it is not proper to explain here.

  • The Qur’an, like the universe and man, is an organic entity, each verse being interrelated to the others. So, the first and foremost interpreter of the Qur’an is the Qur’an itself. In which case, the complete and true understanding of a verse depends on the understanding of other relevant verses. As a principle of creed, and as explicitly declared in the verses mentioned above, the knowledge of the Unseen, like power, seeing, and hearing, belongs to God. However, He reveals the knowledge of some of the Unseen to a Messenger whom He has chosen, as declared in the following verse:

[God alone is] the knower of the Unseen and He does not disclose His Unseen to anyone, except a Messenger whom He has chosen. (al-Jinn, 72.26-7)

God revealed to His Messenger many of His secrets and the Messenger informed his nation about some of them which they needed to know. The number of the predictions which he made and were reported in authentic books of Tradition exceeds three hundred. These predictions fall into three categories:

1. His predictions concerning his own time;

2. The predictions relating to events that would follow his departure from the world;

3. His miraculous explanations, which seem, at first sight, easy to make but can only be understood in conjunction with scientific developments.

In the following sections, some examples will be given from each category.

Recommended Reading:
Predictions of God's messenger concerning his own time

Last Updated on November 25, 2000