Chapter One, Part 1

Chapter One: Qur’anic Evidences and Proofs

The Noble Qur’an is that complete and final message which has been made the source of guidance for the children of Adam till the Resurrection. The One Who sent it down, the Wise, the Aware, Himself, introduced it in its introduction with these words: “Alif Lam Mim. That is the Book in which is no doubt; a guidance for the conscious.” (2:1-2) In another place, it states regarding the reason for its revelation: “A Book We sent down in order that you [O Muhammad] take mankind out from the darknesses into light.” (14:1) In another place, it described the objective of revelation as follows: “And We have not sent unto you the Book except that you make clear to them that in which they differed, and a mercy and guidance for the believing folk.” (16:64)

Thus, now the Qur’an is that Lordly Speech and Heavenly Document which can settle all our disagreements and disputes, and now the salvation of the inhabitants of the world depends on it, and that is the storehouse and centre of guidance. Its recipient, the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), announced in clear terms: “Whoever seeks guidance in other than it, Allah will lead him astray. It is the firm rope of Allah. It is the Wise Remembrance. And it is the Straight Path.” Thus, if today, any individual of the Muslim ummah were to have doubts regarding any matter, before everything else, he should look for its solution from the Pure Qur’an. Then if the answer is found in this Holy Book of the Lord, then belief and faith should be based on that, as this decision was the decision of the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and disobedience to Him is man’s greatest misfortune. “Verily, this [Qur’an] is a decisive word, and it is not a joke.” (Qur’an 86:13-14)

Anyhow, man’s felicity depends on making one’s beliefs and theories subservient to the Qur’an, and to be ready to sacrifice one’s life for every allusion therein; and not make it subservient to oneself, and not make heretical distortions therein and weak interpretations in order to make its clear statements concur with one’s own beliefs, as this is way of the people of desires and those who earned [Allah’s] anger.

Thus, if our faith is sound, for us, even a weak indication of the Wise Qur’an should be sufficient. But Allah, the Knower of the Unseen, knows which things are more important, and which issue needs more explanation and clarification. He knew that at some point this fitnah of ‘ilm al-ghayb will arise in this ummah. This is why He expressed completely clear and explicit statements in His Holy Book in this respect, and did not overlook the explanation and clarification of any small detail with respect to it, such that I can say with certainty that if the treatises of the Ahl al-Bid‘ah and their clear statements and claims were not in front of us, then (by the Lord!) it would have been difficult to believe that any person after adopting faith in the Qur’an and accepting it as a Lordly Book and Divine Document could possibly hold this belief.

[poem]

But in just the same way the Mu‘tazilah and Murji’ah, Khawarij and Rawafid, despite claiming to have faith in the Qur’an, opposed the Qur’an, in the same way, in this issue too, one group while negligent of the clear statements of the Qur’an, followed their conjectures and assumptions, and to make their hearts content, they manipulated the meaning of the Qur’anic texts, and forced meanings on them according to their whims. But in reality this deception of theirs is only to themselves. “They beguile none save themselves, but they perceive not.” (Qur’an 2:9) Those people who knowingly oppose the Wise Qur’an, we entrust their affair to Allah, but those simple Muslims who were contaminated by the deception of the innovators, and due to unawareness they believed that this ghaybiyyah belief is in accordance with the teaching of Islam, before them I will first present the Noble Qur’an to declare a decision [on this matter]. After that, as was promised earlier, from the prophetic hadiths, narrations of the companions, and statements of the Salaf, further light will be shed on this matter.

Although I have proposed that for the comfort of the people of faith even one verse, rather a weak allusion, of the Mighty Qur’an is sufficient; but since here the intent is to exhaust the issue and complete the argument fully against the people of falsehood, this is why, if Allah Allmighty wills, in this place, I will present such copious evidence from the Noble Qur’an in this respect that before this in no single matter of disagreement was so many proofs presented.

And Allah has charge over guidance and in His hand are the reins of verification.

 

Answering a Doubt

It is possible that here some unsophisticated persons will entertain this doubt that even the proponents of ‘ilm al-ghayb present Qur’anic verses, and even they claim that whatever we say is the teaching of the Qur’an, so how can it be known which of the two groups is right and which is wrong? This is why, I first would like to submit that there is no doubt that the Pure Qur’an was always under the scrutiny of even the people of falsehood. Even the Mu‘tazilah and Khawarij presented Qur’anic verses to prove their beliefs, and even the Nawasib and Rawafid drew evidence from the verses of this very Qur’an, and today Qadiyani and Chakralwi also fill their breaths with support from it. However, I say with complete confidence and full certainty that if there is sound understanding and a fair analysis, no room will remain for the claims of the people of falsehood in the Glorious Qur’an. It is not silent and quiet, rather, it is a speaking book whose quality is such: “Falsehood cannot come at it from before it or behind it; a revelation from the Wise, the Owner of Praise.” (41:42) However, yes, there is no cure to this misfortune and wretchedness that some ungodly persons by changing its meanings they try to prove their false beliefs, and in order to deceive the fickle commoners they say “this from Allah!”

Yet, those who seek truth can easily distinguish between falsehood and truth, strong and weak. May Allah send blessings on our predecessors! In order to save the ummah from those who would seek to corrupt them, they determined such principles by which can be known which exegesis of the Qur’an is acceptable and which is unacceptable.

Although separate and detailed books have been written on this topic, as I wish to be brief here, I will present a selection from a passage written by ‘Umdat al-Mufassirin Hafiz al-Hadith ‘Allamah ‘Imad al-Din Ibn Kathir al-Dimashqi. He wrote in the introduction to his Tafsir:

فإن قال قائل فما أحسن طرق التفسير 

فالجواب إن أصح الطرق في ذلك أن يفسر القرآن بالقرآن فما أجمل في مكان فإنه قد فسر في موضع آخر فإن أعياك ذلك فعليك بالسنة فإنها شارحة للقرآن وموضحة له
….
وحينئذ إذا لم نجد التفسير في القرآن ولا في السنة رجعنا في ذلك إلى أقوال الصحابة فإنهم أدرى بذلك لما شاهدوا من القرائن والأحوال التي اختصوا بها ولما لهم من الفهم التام والعلم الصحيح والعمل الصالح لا سيما علماؤهم وكبراؤهم كالأئمة الأربعة والخلفاء الراشدين والأئمة المهديين وعبد الله بن مسعود رضي الله عنه .
….
ومنهم الحبر البحر عبد الله بن عباس ابن عم رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وترجمان القرآن ببركة دعاء رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم له حيث قالاللهم فقهه في الدين وعلمه التأويل

“If a speaker asked: what is the best method of tafsir? The answer is that the most authentic method in this is that the Qur’an is explained by the Qur’an as that which is abbreviated in one place is expanded on in another place. If this defeats you then adhere to the Sunnah for indeed that explains the Qur’an and clarifies it….And then when we do not find an explanation in the Qur’an or the Sunnah, we refer in this to the statements of the Sahabah for they are the most knowledgeable in this due to what they saw of the conditions specific to it and due to their complete understanding and sound knowledge and good practice; especially their scholars and leaders like the four Imams and rightly guided caliphs and the guided Imams, and ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud…and from them is the oceanic scholar, ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, the cousin of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), and the interpreter of the Qur’an by the blessing of the supplication of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), when he said: ‘O Allah! give him understanding in religion and teach him [correct] interpretation.’”

The summary of this passage is that:

  1. The best method of tafsir is to first search for the explanation of the Qur’an from the Qur’an itself, because if in this Divine Speech, one matter is summarised in one place, it would probably be elaborated in another place. (Thus, some early and late ‘ulama composed separate and large works on the topic of ‘tafsir of the Qur’an with the Qur’an.’ Hafiz Ibn Kathir himself followed this rule, that he would first explain Qur’anic verses by other verses, and this is what made hisTafsir superior to many other Tafsirs)
  2. If the explanation of a verse does not emerge from the Qur’an itself, the hadith must be resorted to, because that explains and clarifies the Qur’an, and the Glorious Qur’an stated the following about the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace): “He teaches them the Book and Wisdom,” and in another place: “And We sent down to you the remembrance that you may explain to man what was revealed to them.” Thus, the Qur’an has again and again repeated the reality that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) is the teacher and expositor of the Divine Book. Thus, if the explanation of any verse is established from him, that must be accepted.
  3. And assuming we are unsuccessful in this too, and the explanation of a verse was neither found in the Qur’an, nor in the prophetic hadiths, then we will look at the statements of the Sahabah. Thus, at the third level, that explanation is deserving of confidence and trust, which is established from any Sahabi, particularly those noble Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them) who maintain a distinct position in the understanding of the Qur’an, like the respected rightly guided caliphs, Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud, Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b, Mu‘adh ibn Jabal, Salim, Zayd ibn Thabit and others (Allah be pleased with them all). Thus, if the explanation of any verse is established from them, reliance will be on them, after the explanation of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace), because those revered ones read the Glorious Qur’an lesson by lesson to the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and the climate in which the Qur’an was revealed was before their very eyes. And these revered personalities maintained full knowledge of those events regarding which the Glorious Qur’an was revealed, and along with this, Allah Almighty bestowed on them a special gift in understanding the religion and religious laws because by means of them the Divine Religion was spread to all regions of the world. Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud (Allah Almighty be pleased with him) said a comprehensive statement about this group: “They were the best of this ummah; the most righteous of them in [their] hearts; the deepest of them in knowledge; the least of them in affectation. Allah chose them for the companionship of His Prophet and to establish His religion. So recognise for them their superiority, and follow in their footsteps, and hold to what you are able from their characteristics and their conducts, for verily, they were upon the upright guidance.” Anyhow, the third level of authoritative tafsir is that which is established from the noble Sahabah. These three levels are agreed-upon by the majority of this ummah.
  4. After them, there is disagreement regarding the tafsir of the scholars from the Tabi‘in, which Hafiz Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) verified after the abovementioned words as follows: “If they agree on something, there is no doubt it is a proof, but if they disagree, the opinion of one of them is not a proof against the opinion of another, nor [is it a proof] for those after them, so recourse is taken in that to the language of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, and the generality of the language of the Arabs and the statements of the Sahabah on that.”
  5. The fifth level is the explanations of those imams who have spent their lives travelling in this path, and wrote Tafsirs while keeping the abovementioned four principles in mind. Thus, if these respected ones are agreed on a particular explanation, then after the explanation of the Sahabah and Tabi‘in, their explanations are also worthy of acceptance, and in the situation where there is disagreement, based on the evidences one will be given preference. From this category of Tafsirs are the following which I have before me at this time: Tafsir Ibn JarirTafsir Ibn KathirTafsir Ma‘alim al-TanzilTafsir Lubab al-Ta’wil(Khazin), Tafsir MadarikTafsir Abu al-Su‘udal-Tafsir al-KabirTafsir al-Siraj al-Muniral-Tafsir al-BaydawiTafsir al-JalalaynTafsir Jami‘ al-BayanTafsir Ruh al-Ma‘ani and al-Tafsir al-Nishapuri. Those hadiths and statements of Sahabah which will be quoted in the explanations of the verses, most of them are extracted from al-Durr al-ManthurKanz al-‘UmmalMusnad AhmadFath al-Bari and other widely-circulating books of hadiths and hadith-commentaries.

For seekers of truth, in order to correctly understand the explanation of the Pure Qur’an, there are these five principles, for the correctness and authoritativeness of which no proof is needed. The proofs I will extract from the verses of the Qur’an will be based on these principles. Whichever verse I present to establish my claim I will not give an explanation of it from myself; rather, for this work as far as possible I will only cite the Wise Qur’an, hadiths of the Noble Prophet, explanations of the Sahabah and Tabi‘in and statements of the imams of tafsir. Thus, I will only be a translator and a compiler rather than an author.

[poem]

Now, I will turn to the original objective, and will present the decision of the Glorious Qur’an regarding the issue of ‘ilm al-ghayb. Allah is asked for help and on Him is reliance.

 

First Verse

اِنّ السّاعَةَ آتيةُ اَكادُ اُخْفِيها لِتُجْزٰى كُلُّ نَفْسٍ بِما تسْعىٰ

“Verily the [Final] Hour is coming – I was about to conceal it – so every soul is recompensed for what it strove.” (Qur’an 20: 15)

[after quoting the Persian translations of Sa‘di al-Shirazi and Shah Wali Allah, and the Urdu translation of Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Dihlawi]

The upshot of these translations which are accepted as authoritative by the scholars is that in order to mete out the reward or punishment that people deserve, certainly a time of Resurrection will come, and I wish to keep its specific time hidden.

It is clearly understood from this verse that it is the intent of Allah Almighty that the exact time of Resurrection will remain hidden from all His slaves, and none of them will be informed about it. Furthermore, in approximately fifteen different places of the Glorious Qur’an this reality was announced in various styles, that none besides Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) knows the time of Resurrection. All those verses are a commentary of this noble verse which is why ‘Umdat al-Mufassirin Hafiz Ibn Kathir in the explanation of this verse quoted several other [similar] verses. But since I intend to present all those verses separately as proof later, there is no need to include them here. Readers should be aware that the verses which will be enumerated later regarding the knowledge of the Resurrection are each a commentary of the other. Furthermore, those hadiths which were said in explanation to these verses, I will quote them after presenting all of the verses. So right away, I will present the statements of the revered Sahabah, Tabi‘in and imams of tafsir with respect to this verse.

The Statements of the Sahabah (Allah be pleased with them), Tabi‘in (Allah be pleased with them) and Imams of Tafsir Regarding the Explanation of this Verse

The Jurist of the Nation, our master, Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud (Allah Almighty be pleased with him), who was certainly truthful in this claim of his, said:

وَاللَّهِ الَّذِي لَا إِلَهَ غَيْرُهُ مَا أُنْزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا أَنَا أَعْلَمُ أَيْنَ أُنْزِلَتْ وَلَا أُنْزِلَتْ آيَةٌ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا أَنَا أَعْلَمُ فِيمَ أُنْزِلَتْ وَلَوْ أَعْلَمُ أَحَدًا أَعْلَمَ مِنِّي بِكِتَابِ اللَّهِ تُبَلِّغُهُ الْإِبِلُ لَرَكِبْتُ إِلَيْهِ

“By Allah, besides Whom there is no deity. No chapter was revealed in the Book of Allah except I know where it was revealed, and no verse from the Book of Allah was revealed except I know in what it was revealed, and if I were to know of any more learned than me in the Book of Allah where camels could take me, I would ride to him.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

And the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had such high estimation of him in the knowledge of Qur’an that in the list of the teachers of the Qur’an, he mentioned his name first, and encouraged the ummah to take knowledge of Qur’an from him; thus, he said:

خُذُوا الْقُرْآنَ مِنْ أَرْبَعَةٍ مِنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍفَبَدَأَ بِهِ وَسَالِمٍ مَوْلَى أَبِي حُذَيْفَةَ وَمُعَاذِ بْنِ جَبَلٍ وَأُبَيِّ بْنِ كَعْبٍ

“Take the Qur’an from four: ‘Abd Allah, Salim the freed-slave of Hudhayfah, Mu’adh ibn Jabal and Ubayy ibn Ka’b.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Anyhow, it is transmitted from that ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud who attained this distinction in the knowledge of Qur’an, that his [variant] reading of this noble verse was as follows:

اِنّ السّاعَةَ آتيةُ اَكادُ اُخْفِيها مِن نَّفْسي

Verily the [Final] Hour is coming – I was about to conceal it from Myself.” (al-Durr al-Manthur 4:294, Ibn Kathir, 6:229, Jami‘ al-Bayan p. 259)

And along with the transmission of this reading, it is also related from him in the explanation and clarification of this verse:

يقول: أكتمها من الخلائق حتى لو استطعت أن أكتمها من نفسي لفعلت

“Allah says: I conceal it from all creatures, such that if I was able to hide it from Myself, I would do so.” (al-Durr al-Mantur 4:294, Ibn Kathir, 6:229)

And the reading of the most well-versed in the recitation of the Qur’an from this ummah (aqra’ al-ummah), Hazrat Ubayy ibn Ka‘b (Allah be pleased with him), was the same as that of Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud (Allah be pleased with him). See al-Durr al-ManthurIbn Kathir and Jami‘ al-Bayan. And based on the correct opinion, the least level of such anomalous readings (qira’ah shadhdhah) is that (just like an insertion in hadith [mudraj fi l-hadith]) it is regarded as a tafsir. Thus, it must at least be accepted that the meaning of the verse according to Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud and Hazrat Ubayy ibn Ka‘b is that mentioned above.

Furthermore, the oceanic scholar of the ummah (habr al-ummah), Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them), who was especially prayed for by the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) for understanding of the Qur’an, also explained this verse in the following words:

قال اكاد اخفيها من نفسي

“He said: ‘I was about to hide it from Myself.’” (Narrated by Ibn Jarir with his chain from Sa‘id ibn Jubayr from Ibn ‘Abbas – Tafsir Ibn Jarir 6:98; also narrated by Sa‘id ibn Mansur, ‘Abd ibn Humayd, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abi Hatim from Ibn ‘Abbas, Allah be pleased with him – al-Durr al-Manthur 4:294)

Anyhow, according to these three prominent Sahabah who acquired knowledge of the Qur’an directly from the recipient of the Qur’an (Allah bless him and grant him peace), the meaning of this verse is:

“Allah Almighty wished to keep the time of the Resurrection hidden to such a degree that if it was possible, He would have hidden it from Himself, thus He will never reveal this knowledge to any creation.”

Removal of a Doubt

It is possible a short-sighted, deficient-of-understanding person, will entertain this doubt that it is something impossible for anything to be hidden from Allah Almighty, so to say that the explanation of this verse is “I was about to hide it from Myself” is not possible. This is why, here I feel it is appropriate to quote that statement of Imam al-Mufassirin Hafiz al-Hadith Abu Ja‘far Ibn Jarir al-Tabari (Allah have mercy on him) which he wrote to remove this doubt:

وأما وجه صحة القول فـي ذلك، فهو أن الله تعالـى ذكره خاطب بـالقرآن العرب علـى ما يعرفونه من كلامهم وجرى به خطابهم بـينهم فلـما كان معروفـاً فـي كلامهم أن يقول أحدهم إذا أراد الـمبـالغة فـي الـخبر عن إخفـائه شيئاً هو له مسرّ: قد كدت أن أخفـي هذا الأمر عن نفسي من شدّة استسراري به، ولو قدرت أخفـيه عن نفسي أخفـيته، خاطبهم علـى حسب ما قد جرى به استعمالهم فـي ذلك من الكلام بـينهم، وما قد عرفوه فـي منطقهم

“As for the explanation of the validity of this view on this matter, it is that Allah, Mighty is His Mention, addressed the Arabs with the Qur’an according to what they recognise from their speech, and according to the patterns of their conversations. So since it was known in their speech that one of them says when he wishes to exaggerate in a report about his concealment of something that is secret to him: ‘I almost hid this matter from myself, because of how secretly I kept it, and if I was able to hide it from myself I would hide it,’ He addressed them according to the pattern of their usage of this sentence in their conversations and what they know from their language.” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir 6:99)

Thus, the meaning that emerges from this verse is that Allah Almighty does not wish to reveal the time of the Resurrection to anyone besides Himself.

This is why in one instance, Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah Almighty be pleased with him) used only the following words in explaining this verse:

ان الساعة آتية اكاد اخفيها يقول لا اظهر عليها احدا غيري

“‘Verily, the Hour is to come – I almost concealed it.’ He is saying: ‘I will not reveal it to any besides Me.” (Narrated by Ibn Jarir with his chain from ‘Ali ibn Talhah from Ibn ‘Abbas – Tafsir Ibn Jarir 6:98, and Ibn Abi Hatim also transmitted it as mentioned in al-Durr al-Manthir 4:294 and Ibn Kathir 6:229)

Furthermore, on the explanation of this verse, these words are also transmitted from Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah Almighty be pleased with him):

ان الساعة آتية اكاد اخفيها قال لا تاتيكم الا بغتة

“‘Verily, the Hour is to come – I almost concealed it.’ He said: ‘It will not come to you but unexpectedly.’” (Ibn Jarir narrated it with his chain to Ibn ‘Abbas – Tafsir Ibn Jarir6:98)

Although the wording of these two commentaries of Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them) is different to the first commentary, yet, in reality the difference is only in the wording and expression, as the meaning is one and the same, that: Allah Almighty wishes to keep the specific time of the Resurrection hidden, and does not want anyone to be aware of it.

Hazrat Qatadah, who was an imam of tafsir from the Tabi‘in, expressed this meaning in the following way:

وهي فـي بعض القراءة: «أخفـيها من نفسي». ولعمري لقد أخفـاها الله من الـملائكة الـمقرّبـين، ومن الأنبـياء الـمرسلـين

“In one reading it is: ‘I conceal it from Myself.’ And by my life! Indeed Allah has concealed it from the Angels brought near and from the Prophets that were sent.” (Ibn Jarir transmitted it from Sa‘id from Qatadah – Tafsir Ibn Jarir 6:98, and ‘Abd al-Razzaq, Ibn al-Mundhir and Ibn Abi Hatim also transmitted it – al-Durr al-Manthur4:294 and Ibn Kathir 6:229).

And al-Suddi al-Kabir (Allah be pleased with him) who was also from the imams of the mufassirin amongst the Tabi‘i said in explanation of this verse:

ليس من اهل السموٰت والارض احد الا اقد اخفى الله عنه علم الساعة

“There is not from the inhabitants of the heavens and the earth anyone but Allah has hidden from him the knowledge of the Hour.” (Ibn Abi Hatim transmitted it from al-Suddi – al-Durr al-Manthur 4:294, Ibn Kathir 6:229)

Similarly, the tafsir of “I wished to conceal it from Myself” was also transmitted from the mufassirin of the Tabi‘in, like Mujahid, Abu Salih, Sa‘id ibn Jubayr and others (as summarised in Tafsir Ibn Kathir 6:229 and detailed in Tafsir Ibn Jarir 6:99). And since the majority of the Sahabah and Tabi‘in preferred this tafsir, the later imams of tafsiralso gave it preference. Thus, Imam Abu Ja‘far ibn Jarir al-Tabari while discussing this verse, said:

يقول تعالـى ذكره: إن الساعة التـي يبعث الله فـيها الـخلائق من قبورهم لـموقـف القـيامة جائية { أكادُ أُخْفِـيها } فعلـى ضمّ الألف من أخفـيها قراءة جميع قرّاء أمصار الإسلام، بـمعنى: أكاد أخفـيها من نفسي، لئلا يطلع علـيها أحد، وبذلك جاء تأويـل أكثر أهل العلـم

“He, Exalted is His Mention, says that the Hour in which Allah will raise the creatures from their graves for the place of resurrection is to comeI was about to conceal it…with the meaning, I was about to conceal it from Myself, so no one becomes aware of it. And this was the interpretation of the majority of the people of knowledge.” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir 6:98)

Then towards the end, he gave further credence to this tafsir:

وإنـما اخترنا هذا القول علـى غيره من الأقوال لـموافقة أقوال أهل العلـم من الصحابة والتابعين، إذ كنا لا نستـجيز الـخلاف علـيهم، فـيـما استفـاض القول به منهموجاء عنهم مـجيئاً يقطع العذر

“We only chose this opinion over other than it from the opinions due to [its] agreement with the statements of the people of knowledge from the Sahabah and Tabi‘in, as we do not consider it allowable to differ with them in that which the opinion from them is mass-transmitted and comes from them through a route which cuts off all excuse [to choose a different interpretation].” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir 6:98)

Similarly, Hafiz Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) after quoting the abovementioned narrations from Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas‘ud, Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, Mujahid, Abu Salih, Suddi and Qatadah (Allah be pleased with them all), by presenting verses of the Noble Qur’an gave support to this tafsir and preferred it over others. Thus, he said:

“This is like His, Exalted is He, statement: ‘Say: None in the heavens and earth know ghayb besides Allah.’ (27:65) and He said: ‘It is heavy in the heavens and earth, it will not come to you but suddenly.’ (7:187), i.e. its knowledge is heavy for the inhabitants of the heavens and earth.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 6:230)

Thus, it is as though the Hafiz (Allah have mercy on him) by specifying [the meaning of the verse] in light of the Clear Book, stated that the correct and preferred tafsir of the verse is that which was transmitted from the Noble Sahabah and great Tabi‘in, and the Mighty Qur’an itself supports it.

Furthermore, Imam Muhyi al-Sunnah Abu Muhammad Husayn ibn Mas‘ud al-Baghawi (Allah have mercy on him) also in his Tafsir Ma‘alim al-Tanzil, after confirming that it is the commentary of the majority of the mufassirin, gave preference to it. Thus, he said:

وأكثر المفسرين قالوا: معناه: أكاد أخفيها من نفسي، وكذلك هو في مصحف أُبّي بن كعب، وعبد الله بن مسعود: أكاد أخفيها من نفسي فكيف يعلمها مخلوقوفي بعض القراءات: فكيف أظهرها لكم. وذكر ذلك على عادة العرب إذا بالغوا في كتمان الشيء يقولون: كتمت سرَّك من نفسي، أي: أخفيته غايةَ الإِخفاء، والله عز اسمه لا يخفى عليه شيء

“The majority of the exegetes said its meaning is I almost concealed it from Myself, and such is found in the mushaf of Ubayy ibn Ka’b and ‘Abd Allah ibn Mas’ud: I almost conceal it from Myself – so how is it possible for creation to know it? In one reading is found [after ‘I almost conceal it from Myself’]: ‘So, how can I reveal it to you?’ He stated this according to the norm of the Arabs when they exaggerate in concealing something they say: ‘I concealed your secret from myself,’ i.e. I hid it to the utmost degree of hiding. And Allah, His Name be Exalted, nothing is hidden to Him.” (Tafsir Ma‘alim al-Tanzil on the margins of Khazin 4:215)

And ‘Allamah ‘Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim better known as Khazin also preferred this commentary in his Tafsir Lubab al-Ta’wil. Thus, he said:

قال أكثر المفسرين: معناه أكاد أخفيها من نفسي فكيف يعلمها مخلوق وكيف أظهرها لكم، ذكر ذلك على عادة العرب إذا بالغوا في الكتمان للشيء يقولون كتمت سرك في نفسي, أي أخفيته غاية الإخفاء، والله تعالى لا يخفى عليه شيء

“The majority of the exegetes said its meaning is I almost concealed it from Myself, so how is it possible for creation to know it, and how can I reveal it to you? He stated this according to the norm of the Arabs when they exaggerate in concealing something they say: ‘I concealed your secret from myself,’ i.e. I hid it to the utmost degree of hiding. And Allah Almighty, nothing is hidden to Him.” (Tafsir Khazin 4:215)

In al-Khatib al-Shirbini’s Tafsir al-Siraj al-Munir this exact same passage of Khazin is written (al-Siraj al-Munir, Indian Edition, 3:452)

‘Allamah Mu‘in ibn Safi wrote in his short but comprehensive and authoritative Tafsir Jami‘ al-Bayan:

اكاد اخفيها من نفسي اي وقتها فهو مبالغة فى الاخفاء

“‘I almost hid it’ from Myself, i.e. its time – thus, it is a hyperbole in terms of [the degree of] hiddenness.” (Tafsir Jami‘ al-Bayan p. 259)

Till here the esteemed Sahabah, Tabi‘in and imams of tafsir that were mentioned, all have explained the verse of Surah Taha as “I almost concealed it from Myself,” and according to them this is a rhetorical expression for a hyperbole of concealing [something], and according to all of them, the meaning of the verse is that: Allah Almighty wishes to keep the time of Resurrection concealed to such a degree that if it was possible, He would have concealed it from Himself, so after this no one can gain this knowledge.

In the explanation of this verse there are other opinions from some mufassirin which also support us, but since in terms of evidence and strength they are not of the same level, here I will only present them briefly:

One opinion is that “I almost” (akadu) is in the meaning of “I intend” (uridu). In this case, the meaning of the verse will be that the time of Resurrection is coming, and I wish to keep it concealed and I do not intend to reveal it to anyone. Akhfash preferred this opinion (as mentioned in Ma‘alim al-Tanzil 4:215 and al-Madarik 3:39), and al-Baydawi also first presented this opinion before all others (Baydawi, 2:32) and ‘Allamah Mu‘in ibn Safi also quoted this opinion as one possible interpretation (Jami‘ al-Bayan p. 259).

It was transmitted from Hazrat Hasan al-Basri that he said in explaining this verse:

إن اكاد من اللة واجب فمعنى قوله تعالى اكاد اخفيها اي انا اخفيها عن الخلق

“Indeed, ‘I almost’ with respect to Allah is necessary, so the meaning of His – Exalted is He – statement, ‘I almost hid it’ is: ‘I hid it from creation.’” (al-Siraj al-Munir  p. 252 and al-Tafsir al-Kabir 6:15)

From this tafsir of al-Hasan al-Basri it is also understood that Allah Almighty will keep the time of Resurrection hidden from creation.

Some mufassirin regarded “I almost” as merely a complement clause (silah). According to them too the meaning of the verse is the same (al-Baghawi related it in al-Ma‘alim4:215 and al-Fakhr al-Razi in al-Kabir 6:15 without ascribing it to a particular person).

Furthermore, another tafsir of this verse that “I almost concealed it” means: “I nearly hid it such that I did not [even] say it is to come due to my intense desire to conceal it.” (al-Baydawi 2:32 narrated it in his Tafsir and al-Nasafi in al-Madarik 3:39 and Mu‘in ibn Safi in Jami‘ al-Bayan, p. 259) Based on this explanation, the meaning of the verse will be that Allah Almighty said that I wished to keep the time of Resurrection so hidden that if it were not against the requirement of the best interests [of creation], I would not even have said it is coming.

Another tafsir that has been related of “I almost concealed it” is “I almost made it manifest.” (al-Baydawi related it 2:32 and al-Razi 6:15 and al-Mu‘in ibn Safi p. 259) In this case, the meaning of the verse will be that the Resurrection is nearly approaching, and I will make it manifest very soon, meaning, it will come soon. This is just as He said in another place “the Hour draws near” (54:1) and “The reckoning of man draws near” (21:1) However, this tafsir is weak because the well known meaning of “conceal” (ikhfa) is to keep hidden, and there is no evidence of the meaning of “make manifest” in the usage of the Arabs. Hence, this last opinion is very weak, rather, according to the statement of Imam Ibn Jarir al-Tabari absolutely baseless. Yet, it is not in contradiction to our claim, and at best it is silent on it.

Anyhow, according to the very first tafsir from the great Sahabah and Tabi‘in, and the four other tafsirs, the import of the verse is: Allah Almighty never intends to give the knowledge of the specific time of the Resurrection to anyone besides Himself, and will never give it.

Thus, in this verse, the interpretation of [dividing unseen knowledge into] intrinsic and granted will not work [as the verse clearly negates its bestowal], and nor can it be said that after the revelation of this verse, the knowledge of the time of the Resurrection was given to the Holy Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam). Rather, saying this will equate to denial of this noble verse. Allah protect us from that.

 

Second Verse

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ أَيَّانَ مُرْسَاهَا قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ رَبِّي لاَ يُجَلِّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَا إِلاَّ هُوَ ثَقُلَتْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالأَرْضِ لاَ تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلاَّ بَغْتَةً يَسْأَلُونَكَ كَأَنَّكَ حَفِيٌّ عَنْهَا قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ اللّهِ وَلَـكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

“They ask you about the Hour, when is its establishment? Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord. None reveals it at its time except Him. It is burdensome in the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you but suddenly. They ask you as though you are aware of it. Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not know.” (7:187)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

It is narrated from Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah Almighty be pleased with them) in al-Durr al-Manthur with reference to Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Jarir and Abu al-Shaykh that some Jews (Hamal ibn Abi Qushayr and Samuel ibn Zayd) asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) about the time of the Resurrection and on that occasion this verse was revealed. Furthermore, in al-Durr al-Manthur it is narrated from Hazrat Qatadah with reference to Ibn Jarir that this question came from the Quraysh of Makkah, and in response to this the verse was revealed. (al-Durr al-Mantur, 150-1)

Anyhow, regardless of where the question came from, it is agreed-upon that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was asked about the Resurrection, when will it come? In response to this [question], the verse was revealed, which announces this reality repeatedly and continually that the knowledge of the specific time of the Resurrection is from the unique qualities of the Creator Almighty, and only He knows when the Resurrection will be.

Although this meaning of the verse, and thus the proof for our contention, is completely obvious and is not in need of any explanation and clarification, nonetheless, since I have decided that in the tafsir of verses I will only present the sayings of the earlier exegetes,  here too I will quote their words.

Imam al-Hadith wa l-Tafsir Ibn Jarir al-Tabari narrates under this verse with his chain to Habr al-Ummah Tarjuman al-Qur’an Hazrat ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with them):

 قال ابن عبـاس: لـما سأل الناس مـحمداً صلى الله عليه وسلم عن الساعة سألوه سؤال قوم كأنهم يرون أن مـحمداً حفـي بهم، فأوحى الله إلـيه: إنـما علـمها عنده، استأثر بعلـمها، فلـم يُطْلِع علـيها ملَكاً ولا رسولاً

“Ibn ‘Abbas said: When the people asked Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) about the Hour, they asked him the question of a people as though they believed that Muhammad was extremely friendly with them. So Allah revealed to him: ‘Its knowledge is only with Him.’ He has taken exclusive possession (yasta’thiru) of its knowledge. Thus He will not reveal it to an angel or a messenger.” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir 9:88; also transmitted by Ibn Ishaq and Abu al-Shaykh as mentioned in al-Durr al-Manthur 3:151; Imam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad al-Khazin also mentioned it 2:525)

And the same Imam Ibn Jarir under this verse narrated with his chain from Qatadah the Tabi‘i:

عن قتادة: { قُلْ إنَّـمَا عِلْـمُها عِنْد ربّـي لا يُجَلِّـيها لِوقْتِها إلاَّ هُوَ } يقول: علـمها عند الله، هو يجلـيها لوقتها، لا يعلـم ذلك إلاَّ الله

“’Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord. None reveals it at its time except Him.’ He is saying: ‘Its knowledge is with Allah. He manifests it at its time. None knows it but Allah.’” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir 9:87; Ibn Abi Hatim also transmitted it as mentioned in al-Durr al-Manthur 3:150)

Also, he narrated under this verse with his chain from the imam of tafsir, al-Suddi (Allah have mercy on him):

عن السديّ، قوله: { ثَقُلَتْ فـي السَّمَواتِ والأرْضِ } يقول: خفـيت فـي السموات والأرض، فلـم يعلـم قـيامها متـى تقوم مَلك مقرَّب ولا نبـيّ مرسل

“His statement: ‘It is burdensome in the heavens and earth.’ He is saying: ‘It is hidden in the heavens and earth. Thus an angel brought near and a prophet sent does not know its establisment, when it will occur.’” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir 9:88; Abu al-Shaykh also transmitted it as mentioned in al-Durr al-Manthur 3:150, and al-Razi also mentioned it in al-Kabir 4:331)

After these exegetical words from the generation of the Sahabah and Tabi‘in, the clear statements of the imams of exegesis should also be noted. Imam Abu Ja‘far al-Tabari wrote in the explanation of this noble verse:

وأما قوله: { قُلْ إنَّـما عِلْـمُها عِنْد ربّـي لا يُجَلِّـيها لِوقْتِها إلاَّ هُو } فإنه أمر من الله نبـيه مـحمداً صلى الله عليه وسلم بأن يجيب سائلـيه عن الساعة بأنه لا يعلـم وقت قـيامها إلاَّ الله الذي يعلـم الغيب، وأنه لا يظهرها لوقتها ولا يعلـمها غيره جلّ ذكره

“As for His saying: ‘Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord. None reveals it at its time except Him.’ Indeed it is a command from Allah to His Prophet Muhammad (Allah bless him and grant him peace) to answer those who ask him about the Hour that none besides Allah Who knows the ghayb knows the time of its establishment, and that He will not reveal its time, and none knows it besides Him.”

Then, towards the end of his commentary on the verse, he wrote, further clarifying this meaning:

وأما قوله: { قُلْ إنَّـمَا عِلْـمُها عِنْدَ اللّهِ } فإن معناه: قل يا مـحمد لسائلـيك عن وقت الساعة وحين مـجيئها: لا علـم لـي بذلك، ولا يعلـم به إلاَّ الله الذي يعلـم غيب السموات والأرض. { وَلكِنَّ أكْثَرَ النَّاسِ لا يَعْلَـمونَ } يقول: ولكن أكثر الناس لا يعلـمون أن ذلك لا يعلـمه إلاَّ الله، بل يحسبون أن علـم ذلك يوجد عند بعض خـلقه

“As for His saying: ‘Say its knowledge is only with my Lord.’ Its meaning is: Say O Muhammad to those who ask you about the time of the Hour and when is its commencement: I have no knowledge of this, and none knows it but Allah Who knows the ghayb of the heavens and the earth. ‘But most people do not know.’ He says: But most people do not know that none knows it but Allah, rather they think that its knowledge is available to some of His creation.” (Tafsir Ibn Jarir 9:88)

This ignorant group who were at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an from the Quraysh or Jews, unfortunately today are present amongst the claimants to Islam, and they don’t just think, but have surety, that even some of Allah’s creatures know  the time of Resurrection, and those Muslims who refuse to take part in this ignorance and to be a partner in this misguifance, they regard them as misguided and irreligious! How strange!

‘Imad al-Mufassirin Imam al-Muhaddithin Hafiz Ibn Kathir al-Dimashqi, under the tafsirof this verse, after narrating the hadiths and reports, said with some enthusiasm and force:

فهذا النبي الأمي سيد الرسل وخاتمهم محمد صلوات الله عليه وسلامه نبي الرحمة ونبي التوبة ونبي الملحمة والعاقب والمقفى والحاشر الذي تحشر الناس على قدميه، مع قوله فيما ثبت عنه في الصحيح من حديث أنس وسهل بن سعد رضي الله عنهما: ” بعثت أنا والساعة كهاتين “ وقرن بين أصبعيه السبابة والتي تليها، ومع هذا كله، قد أمره الله أن يرد علم وقت الساعة إليه إذا سئل عنها، فقال: { قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ

“Thus, this unlettered prophet, the master of the messengers, their seal, Muhammad (Allah’s blessings and His peace be upon him), the Prophet of Mercy, the Prophet of Repentance, the Prophet of War, the last, the end, the gatherer at whose feet the people will gather, despite what is established from him in the Sahih in the hadith of Anas and Sahl ibn Sa’d (Allah be pleased with them): ‘I was sent, I and the Hour, like these’ and he joined between his index and middle finger, and despite all this, Allah commanded Him to refer the knowledge of the time of the Hour to Him when he is asked about it, and He said: ‘Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not know.’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 4:274-5)

‘Allamah ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Khazin, after quoting the abovementioned reason for revelation, commented on the verse in this way:

…يسألونك عن الساعة يعني عن خبر القيامة
{ قل } أي قل لهم يا محمد { إنما علمها عند ربي } أي لا يعلم الوقت الذي تقوم فيه إلا الله استأثر الله بعلمها فلم يطلع عليه أحد
 { لا يجليها لوقتها إلا هو }
 { ثقلت في السموات والأرض } يعني ثقل أمرها وخفي علمها على أهل السموات والأرض فكل شيء خفي فهو ثقيل شديد
 { لا تأتيكم إلا بغتة } يعني فجأة على حين غفلة من الخلق
{ يسألونك كأنك حفي عنها }
 { قل } يعني يا محمد { إنما علمها عند الله } يعني استأثر الله بعلمها فلا يعلم متى الساعة إلا الله عز وجل
….
 { ولكن أكثر الناس لا يعلمون } يعني لا يعملون أن علمها عند الله وأنه استأثر بعلم ذلك حتى لا يسألوا عنه

“They ask you about the Hour,’ meaning about the news of the Resurrection. ‘Say’ i.e. say to them O Muhammad ‘Its knowledge is only with my Lord’ i.e. none knows the time in which it will occur besides Allah Who has taken exclusive possession of its knowledge so will not reveal it to anyone. ‘None reveals it at its time except Him. It is burdensome in the heavens and the earth.’ meaning, its matter is weighty and its knowledge is hidden to the inhabitants of the heavens and earth, for everything that is hidden is very weighty. ‘It will not come to you but suddenly,’ meaning, unexpectedly when there is heedlessness from creation. ‘They ask you as though you are aware of it. Say’ meaning O Muhammad ‘Its knowledge is only with Allah,’ meaning, Allah has taken exclusive possession of its knowledge so none besides Allah Great and Glorious knows when is the Hour, ‘but most people do not know’ meaning do not know that its knowledge is with Allah and He has taken exclusive possession of its knowledge so that they do not ask about it.” (Tafsir Khazin 2:265)

Imam Baghawi wrote a very similar content in Ma‘alim al-Tanzil (Tafsir Ma‘alim al-Tanzil 2:325), and after mentioning the reason for revelation, al-Khatib al-Shirbini comments on the verse as follows:

قل} لهم يا محمد {إنما علمها} أي: متى تكون {عند ربي} أي: لا يعلم الوقت الذي تقوم فيه الساعة إلا الله تعالى استأثر الله تعالى بعلمها، فلم يطلع عليه أحداً من خلقه، ولهذا لما سأل جبريل عليه السلام رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقال: متى الساعة، فقال عليه الصلاة والسلام: «ما المسؤول عنها بأعلم من السائل

“‘Say’ to them O Muhammad, ‘its knowledge’ i.e. when it will be ‘is only with my Lord’ i.e. none besides Allah Almighty knows the time in which the Hour will commence. Allah Almighty has taken exclusive possession of its knowledge. He will not reveal it to any of His creation. This is why when Jibril (upon him peace) asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace), and said ‘when is the Hour?’ he (upon him blessing and peace) said ‘the one asked about it is not more knowledgeable [about it] than the questioner.’” (Tafsir al-Siraj al-Munir 1:544)

After explaining the link with the previous verses and the reason for revelation, Imam al-Razi (Allah have mercy on him) said in the explanation of the verse:

{ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبِّي } أي لا يعلم الوقت الذي فيه يحصل قيام القيامة إلا الله سبحانه ونظيره قوله سبحانه:
{ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُ عِلْمُ ٱلسَّاعَةِ }
[لقمان: 34] وقوله:
{ إِنَّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ ءاتِيَةٌ لاَ رَيْبَ فِيهَا }
[الحج: 7] وقوله:
{ إِنَّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ ءاتِيَةٌ أَكَادُ أُخْفِيهَا }
[طه: 15] ولما سأل جبريل رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وقال: متى الساعة فقال عليه السلام: ” ليس المسؤول عنها بأعلم من السائل

“Meaning, none knows the time in which the Resurrection will be established besides Allah Glorified is He. Its equivalent is His, Glorified is He, saying: ‘Verily, Allah, with Him is the knowledge of the Hour.’ (31:34), and His saying: ‘Verily the Hour is coming, of which there is no doubt.’ (22:7) and His saying: ‘Verily the Hour is coming – I almost concealed it.’ (20:15) And when Jibril asked the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace): ‘When is the Hour?’ He (upon him peace) said: ‘The one asked about it is not more learned than the questioner.’” (al-Tafsir al-Kabir 4:329)

‘Allamah al-Nasafi al-Hanafi wrote in his short but authoritative Tafsir:

  { قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبّي } أي علم وقت إرسائها عنده قد استأثر به لم يخبر به أحداً من ملك مقرب ولا نبي مرسل ليكون ذلك أدعى إلى الطاعة وأزجر عن المعصية كما أخفى الأجل الخاص وهو وقت الموت لذلك { لاَ يُجَلّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَا إِلاَّ هُوَ } لا يظهر أمرها لا يكشف خفاء علمها إلا هو وحده { ثَقُلَتْ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوٰتِ وَٱللأَرْضِ } أي كل من أهلها من الملائكة والثقلين أهمه شأن الساعة، ويتمنى أن يتجلى له علمها وشق عليه خفاؤها، وثقل عليه أو ثقلت فيها لأن أهلها يخافون شدائدها وأهوالها { لاَ تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلاَّ بَغْتَةً } فجأة على غفلة منكم { يسئلونك كأنّك خفيٌّ عنها } كأنك عالم بها … { قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ } … { وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ } أنه المختص بالعلم بها

“’Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord’ i.e. the knowledge of its establishment is with Him. Indeed He has taken exclusive possession of it and will inform no one of it, neither an angel brought near or a prophet sent, so that is more demanding of obedience and more severe against sin, just as He hid the specific appointed time, the time of death, for that reason. ‘None reveals it at its time except Him.’ No one reveals its matter and exposes its hidden knowledge except He alone. ‘It is burdensome in the heavens and the earth.’ i.e. all of their inhabitants are concerned with the matter of the Hour, and hopes that its knowledge will become manifest to him and its concealment is difficult for him, and is burdensome for him, or it is burdensome in them because their inhabitants fear its horrors. ‘It will not come to you but suddenly.’ unexpectedly when you are heedless. ‘They ask you as though you are aware of it,’ as though you know of it…’Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not know’ that He alone has knowledge of it.” (Tafsir Madarik al-Tanzil 2:68)

Qadi Baydawi wrote in his Tafsir Anwar al-Tanzil:

{ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِنْدَ رَبّي } استأثر به لم يطلع عليه ملكاً مقرباً ولا نبياً مرسلاً. { وَلاَ يُجَلّيهَا لِوَقْتِهَا } لا يظهر أمرها في وقتها. { إِلاَّ هُوَ } والمعنى أن الخفاء بها مستمر على غيره إلى وقت وقوعها
 { ثَقُلَتْ فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَاتِ وَٱلأَرْضِ } عظمت على أهلها من الملائكة والثقلين لهولها، وكأنه إشارة إلى الحكمة في إخفائها
 { يَسْـئَلُونَكَ كَأَنَّكَ حَفِىٌّ عَنْهَا } عالم بها
….
{ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ } كرره لتكرير يسألونك لما نيط به من هذه الزيادة وللمبالغة. { وَلَـٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ } أن علمها عند الله لم يؤته أحداً من خلقه

“’Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord.’ He took exclusive possession of it, so will not disclose it to an angel brought close or a prophet sent. ‘None reveals it at its time’ none reveals its matter in its time, ‘except He’ the meaning is that the concealment of it will remain for other than Him till the time of its occurrence… ‘It is burdensome in the heavens and the earth,’ it is difficult on their inhabitants from the angels and the two weighty beings (man and jinn), and it is as though this is an indication of the wisdom in its being hidden… ‘They ask you as though you are aware of it,’ have knowledge of it…‘Say: its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not know’ that its knowledge is with Allah and He will not give it to any of His creation.” (al-Tafsir al-Baydawi p. 267)

In Tafsir al-Jalalayn the commentary of this verse is as follows:

{ يَسْأَلُونَكَ } أي أهل مكة { عَنِ ٱلسَّاعَةِ } القيامة { أَيَّانَ } متى { مُرْسَٰهَا قُلْ } لهم { إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا } متى تكون { عِنْدَ رَبِّي لاَ يُجَلِّيهَا } يظهرها { لِوَقْتِهَآ } اللام بمعنى (في) { إِلاَّ هُوَ ثَقُلَتْ } عظمت { فِي ٱلسَّمَٰوَاتِ وٱلأَرْضِ } على أهلهما لهولها { لاَ تَأْتِيكُمْ إِلاَّ بَغْتَةً } فجأة { يَسْئَلُونَكَ كأَنَّكَ حَفِيٌّ } مبالغ في السؤال { عَنْهَا } حتى علمتها { قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ } تأكيد { وَلَٰكِنَّ أَكْثَرَ ٱلنَّاسِ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ } أن علمها عنده تعالى

“They, that is the people of Mecca, will question you about the Hour, the Resurrection, when it shall come to pass. Say, to them: ‘The knowledge of, when, it, shall be, is only with my Lord. He alone shall reveal it, manifest it, at its proper time. It weighs heavily, tremendously, in the heavens and the earth, upon their inhabitants, because of its awesomeness. It will not come on you save all of a sudden’. They will question you, as if you were preoccupied with, obsessed with inquiring about, it, such that you have come to acquire knowledge of it. Say: ‘Knowledge of it is only with Allah, but most people do not know’, that knowledge of it lies with Allah, exalted is He.” (Jalalayn p. 143)

And ‘Allamah Mu‘in ibn Safi in commenting on this verse, writes:

“‘They ask you about the Hour, when is its establishment?’ When it will be and at what time it will be established. ‘Say its knowledge is only with my Lord, none reveals it at its time except Him,’ i.e. none reveals its affair at its time except Him, i.e. it remains concealed until the time of its occurrence. ‘It is burdensome in the heavens and the earth. It will not come to you but suddenly. They ask you as though you are aware of it,’ have knowledge of it. [In explanation of the word hafi:] The one who is hafi on something, asks excessively about it, and asking excessively about something leads to its knowledge, and hafi was used here with the intended meaning of ‘knower’; or [it means:] it is as though you excessively asked about it until you knew it; or ‘of it’ is connected to ‘they ask you’ i.e. they ask you about it as though you are friendly with them, from hafawah, meaning, friendliness, as the Quraysh would say: ‘O Muhammad! There is a [familial] relationship between us and you, so tell us in secret when is the Hour’; and ‘as though’ (ka’anna) is in the place of an adverbial phrase, meaning, making your condition similar to the condition of one who is friendly. ‘Say its knowledge is only with my Lord,’ He will not disclose it to anyone, He repeated it for emphasis. ‘But most people do not know’ that its knowledge is exclusive to Allah Almighty.” (Tafsir Jami‘ al-Bayan p. 143, summarised)

And ‘Allamah Abu al-Su‘ud (Allah have mercy on him) wrote in the commentary of “Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord”:

ومعنى كونِه عنده تعالى خاصة أنه تعالى قد استأثر به بحيث لم يخبِرْ به أحداً من ملك مقرّبٍ أو نبـيٍّ مرسل

“The meaning of it being with Him, Exalted is He, is that He, Exalted is He, has taken exclusive possession if it, so will not inform anyone from an angel brought close or a prophet sent

Then in the commentary of “None reveals it at its time except Him”:

والمعنى لا يَكِشفُ عنها ولا يُظهر للناس أمرَها الذي تسألونني عنه إلا هو بالذات من غير أن يُشعِرَ به أحداً من المخلوقين فيتوسّط في إظهاره لهم لكن لا بأن يُخبرَهم بوقتها قبل مجيئِه كما هو المسؤولُ بل بأن يُقيمَها فيشاهدوها عِياناً كما يفصح عنه التجليةُ المُنبئةُ عن الكشف التامِّ المزيلِ للإبهام بالكلية، وقوله تعالى: { لِوَقْتِهَا } أي في وقتها، قيْدٌ للتجلية بعد ورودِ الاستثناء عليها لا قبلَه كأنه قيل: لا يجلّيها إلا هو في وقتها إلا أنه قُدّم على الاستثناء للتنبـيه من أول الأمرِ على أن تجليتَها ليست بطريق الإخبارِ بوقتها، بل بإظهار عينِها في وقتها الذي يسألون عنه

“The meaning is none exposes its matter or reveals it to people which you ask me about but He Himself without any of creation being aware of it, so He is the medium by which it is revealed to them, but not by His informing them of its time before its occurrence as is the question, but by establishing it so they witness it with their eyes, as is understood by the word ‘manifest’ which is an expression about complete exposure which removes ambiguity totally; and His, Exalted is He, saying: ‘at its time’ meaning in its time, a restriction for the manifestation, after the intrusion of the exception, not before it, as though it was said ‘None reveals it besides Him at its time,’ but the exception was put before to notify immediately that the manifestation is not by means of giving information about its time, rather by manifesting its reality at its time which they ask about.” (4:542, summarised)

Then, in the commentary of the last part of the verse, “They ask you as though you are aware of it”:

“The meaning is: as though you are happy with asking about it and you desire it, although you dislike it because it infringes on the sanctity of the unseen knowledge of which Allah has taken exclusive knowledge. ‘Say: its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not know,’ i.e. do not know what was mentioned of the exclusiveness of its knowledge to Him (Exalted is He), so some of them deny it completely so do not know anything of what was mentioned at all, and some of them known it will definitely happen and claim that you are aware of its time so they ask you about it due to ignorance.” (Tafsir Abu al-Su‘ud, 5:544, 545, summarised)

It is unfortunate that this ignorant group today is found amongst the claimants to Islam, which [for them] is not only a thought or idea, but with a lofty call they openly announce that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) certainly had knowledge of the specific time of Resurrection.

Readers have now read the sayings of the Sahabah and Tabi‘in and the statements of the imams of exegesis regarding the noble verse, after which there is no need to prove the verse proves our contention, but here, it is worthy of noting for those who possess insight that although I presented this verse as one proof, this verse is in reality several separate evidences for us, and every part of this verse is a bright evidence of our claim:

The first part of the verse, “They ask you about the Hour, when is its establishment? Say: Its knowledge is only with my Lord,”  is a separate proof.

The second part, “None reveals it at its time except Him” is a second evidence, the meaning of which is according to the clear statements of the exegetes (‘Allamah Abu al-Su‘ud, ‘Allamah Mu‘in ibn Safi, Qadi Baydawi) that the Lord will Himself reveal it at the time of its occurrence, and before its occurrence it will remain hidden.

Similarly, the third part, “It is burdensome in the heavens and the earth,” according to most mufassirin, the meaning of “burdensome” is “hidden” as has preceded.

Similarly, the fourth part, “It will not come to you but suddenly,” is also a separate proof, as it means the creation will not be aware of it before it happens.

Similarly the fifth part, “They ask you as though you are aware of it” is a separate proof, as hafiyyun ‘anha has been explained as “aware of it” as stated by many exegetes.

The sixth part, “Its knowledge is only with Allah, but most people do not know” is also a separate proof which announces very clearly that the knowledge of the time of Resurrection is exclusive to Allah Almighty.

Anyhow, this verse, six times, announces in different styles and ways, the reality that the knowledge of the time of Resurrection is exclusive to Allah Almighty and no heavenly or earthly creature is aware of it. Thus, after knowing this, whoever believes that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace) or any other creation also knows the specific time of Resurrection, he has certainly opposed the Qur’an and Allah (Exalted is His Majesty).

And Allah guides whoever He wills to the straight path.

 

Third Verse

 يَسْأَلُكَ النَّاسُ عَنِ السَّاعَةِ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ اللَّهِ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ السَّاعَةَ تَكُونُ قَرِيبًا

“The people ask you about the Hour. Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah. And what will make you know, perhaps the Hour is near?” (33:63)

[after quoting the translations of Shah Wali Allah and Shah ‘Abd al-Qadir]

Since the meaning of this verse is similar to the previous verse, I will be very brief in quoting the passages of the mufassirin.

Hafiz Ibn Kathir (Allah have mercy on him) wrote in commenting on this verse:

يقول تعالى مخبراً لرسوله صلوات الله وسلامه عليه: أنه لا علم له بالساعة، وإن سأله الناس عن ذلك، وأرشده أن يرد علمها إلى الله عز وجل؛ كما قال الله تعالى في سورة الأعراف، وهي مكية، وهذه مدنية، فاستمر الحال في رد علمها إلى الذي يقيمها، لكن أخبره أنها قريبة بقوله: { وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ لَعَلَّ ٱلسَّاعَةَ تَكُونُ قَرِيباً }

“He, Exalted is He, says, informing His Messenger, Allah’s blessings and peace be upon him, that he has no knowledge of the Hour even if people ask him about it, and He instructed him to refer its knowledge to Allah, Great and Glorious, just as He, Exalted is He, said in Surah al-A’raf which is Meccan, and this is Medinan, so the situation remained upon referring its knowledge to the One Who will establish it. But He informed him that it is close with His statement: ‘What will make you know, perhaps the Hour is near?’” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir 8:135)

Imam ‘Ali ibn Muhammad Khazin wrote in Tafsir Lubab al-Ta’wil:

{ يسألك الناس عن الساعة } قيل إن المشركين كانوا يسألون رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، عن وقت قيام الساعة استعجالاً على سبيل الهزء وكان اليهود يسألونه عن الساعة امتحاناً، لأن الله تعالى عمى عليهم علم وقتها في التوراة فأمر الله تعالى نبيه صلى الله عليه وسلم أن يجيبهم بقوله { قل إنما علمها عند الله } يعني إن الله تعالى قد استأثر به ولم يطلع عليه نبياً ولا ملكاً

“’The people ask you about the Hour.’ It was said that the idolaters would ask the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and grant him peace, about the time of the establishment of the Hour, to hasten [its coming] by way of mockery, and the Jews would ask him about the Hour to test [him] because Allah Almighty hid its time from them in the Torah, so Allah Almighty ordered His Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him peace, to answer them with His saying: ‘Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah.’ Meaning, that Allah Almighty has taken exclusive possession of it, and will not reveal it to a prophet or angel.” (Tafsir Khazin 5:228)

Imam Muhyi al-Din al-Baghawi (Allah have mercy on him) said in Ma‘alim al-Tanzil:

{ يَسْـئَلُكَ ٱلنَّاسُ عَنِ ٱلسَّاعَةِ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ } ، أي: أيُّ شيء يعلمك أمر الساعة، ومتى يكون قيامها؟ أي: أنت لا تعرفه

“’The people ask you about the Hour. Say: Its knowledge is only with Allah. What will make you know?’ I.e. what thing will make you know the matter of the Hour, and when its establishment will be? You do not know it.” (Ma‘alim Hashiyah Khazin 5:228)

Al-Khatib al-Shirbini wrote the same words in this place (al-Siraj al-Munir 3:272)

And Imam Fakhr al-Din al-Razi (upon him mercy) said:

قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ } لا يتبين لكم، فإن الله أخفاها لحكمة

“‘Say its knowledge is only with my Lord’ it will not become manifest to you for indeed Allah concealed it for a purpose.” (al-Tafsir al-Kabir 6:537)

And Qadi Baydawi said in Anwar al-Tanzil:

 { قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ } لم يطلع عليه ملكاً ولا نبياً

“’Say its knowledge is only with Allah’ He will not disclose it to an angel or a prophet.” (Baydawi 2:170)

And ‘Allamah Mu‘in ibn Safi (Allah have mercy on him) said in his Tafsir:

قل انما علمها عند الله لم يطلع عليه احدا

““’Say its knowledge is only with Allah’ He will not disclose it to anyone.” (Jami‘ al-Bayan p. 356)

‘Allamah Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli (Allah have mercy on him) wrote in the commentary of this verse:

{ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا يُدْرِيكَ } يعلمك بها؟ أي أنت لا تعلمها

“’Say its knowledge is only with Allah. What will make you know?’ Make you know of it? I.e. you do not know it.” (Jalalayn p. 356)

And ‘Allamah Abu al-Su‘ud (Allah have mercy on him) said in the commentary of “Say its knowledge is only with Allah”:

{ قُلْ إِنَّمَا عِلْمُهَا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ } لا يُطلعُ عليهِ ملكاً مقرَّباً ولا نبَّـياً مُرسلاً

He will not reveal it to a close angel or a prophet sent.” (Tafsir Abu al-Su‘ud7:352)

‘Allamah al-Nasafi al-Hanafi used the exact same words in his Tafsir al-Madarik(3:240). Furthermore, these two exegetes (‘Allamah Abu al-Su‘ud and ‘Allamah al-Nasafi) also clearly stated in this context that Allah Almighty kept the knowledge of Resurrection hidden in all heavenly books sent before the Mighty Qur’an. But, which new unknown revelation has come to the Ahl al-Bid‘ah from which they came to know that Allah Almighty has given this knowledge to others? “They are following nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire, while guidance from their Lord has surely reached them.” (53:23)