Q. This is in response to the newsletter regarding 2012. Please educate me on this topic. You said we as Muslims do not believe in fortune telling, palmists, etc. but what about our Prophets? Were they not telling us about the future? Did not Prophet Noah (AS) foretell the coming of the great flood? Did not our own Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) warn us of the last days? Can we not see all these signs? In these modern times when we do not have the Prophets are we not to believe in science? If we lived in the time of Prophet Noah (AS) and he foretold the coming of the flood would we have believed? Something will happen if not on 12/21/2012 we should be warned that the day of Qiyamat is approaching.
A. Prophets were messengers who were chosen by Allah to deliver a message to mankind. Each came at a different time and called his nation/community to the right path. In delivering this message, Allah communicated with these Prophets and revealed scriptures containing guidance in every aspect of man’s life. Prophets did not claim to know the unseen nor did they claim to know the future. They also did not pry in matters that were yet to come, nor did they invent ways and means of predicting and knowing these matters.
They all believed (just as they have preached) that Allah alone knows the future and the unseen. In this regard, the Holy Quran is filled with many verses that clearly established the fact that Allah alone knows what will come in the future, and He alone Has the knowledge of the unseen.
In this regard, the Holy Quran states in Sura Al An’am verse 59.
And with Him are the keys of the Ghaib (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in (or on) 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 fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record.
In another verse, it states:-
Say: “None in the heavens and the earth knows the Ghaib (unseen) except Allâh, nor can they perceive when they shall be resurrected.” (An Naml verse 65)
Again, in Sura Luqman verse 34, it states:-
Verily, Allah! With Him (Alone) is the knowledge of the Hour, He sends down the rain, and knows that which is in the wombs. No person knows what he will earn tomorrow, and no person knows in what land he will die. Verily, Allah is All- Knower, All- Aware (of all things).
In this manner, there are over forty- nine verses of the Holy Quran that firmly establishes the fact that Allah alone Has the knowledge of all unseen matters, past present and future. The Quran has also established the fact that no prophet made any claim that he knew the unseen, or he had knowledge of the future events. Regarding this, we see that the Prophet (SAS) was ordered to tell the people, ‘I do not tell you that with me are the treasures of Allah and I do not tell you that I possess knowledge of the unseen’. (Sura Al Am(6) verse 50).
In another verse, the Prophet (SAS) said to the people, ‘If I had the knowledge of the unseen (future events), I would have secured for myself an abundance of wealth, and no harm would have touched me’ (Sura Al A’raf(7) verse 188).
The Holy Quran also records the statements of many of the other prophets that it was the same message they give to their people. With respect to the Prophets information about future events, this was totally based on revealations which came to them from Allah. On their own, they claimed no knowledge of such events. However, when they were told by Allah about future occurrences etc., they simply informed their people and their community. About this, the Prophet (SAS) clearly told his people, ‘I only follow what is revealed to me’. Prophet Noah (AS) foretold of the coming of the flood because Allah informed him that He (Allah) will send it as a punishment to those who disbelieved. He was also commanded to tell his people about it. This was not based on Prophet Noah’s independent knowledge of this event, nor was it on account of a science which he developed or a soothsayer that he asked, in order to get this knowledge. It was nothing except a clear revelation from Allah which he communicated to his people.
In the same manner, our Prophet (SAS) warned us about the last days and he gave many signs which we are witnessing today. However, this was based totally upon the knowledge which he got from Allah, and it was not upon his own personal and independent knowledge.
In these modern times, where there are no prophets, we are not allowed to pry into the future. We have not been asked by Allah to develop a science to gain knowledge of the future events, and we have been prohibited from speculating about the future. The Holy Prophet (SAS) has given us sufficient information about many signs of the hour of judgment and we should take heed. These were prophecies that were totally based upon the knowledge and revealations which Allah gave to the Prophet (SAS). Hence, we attribute knowledge of the Unseen/future to Allah alone and not to the Prophet (SAS) or any other prophet.
Regarding a science which claims to tell of the future/unseen events, this has been totally condemned in Islam, and those who go to people who claim to have such knowledge are also condemned in Islam. In this regard, the Holy Prophet (SAS) is reported to have said, ‘the one who approaches a soothsayer and consults him about any matter, his prayers shall not be accepted for forty days’.(Muslim)
There are many other traditions that show that those who claim to have knowledge of the future/ unseen are committing an act of shirk (polytheism), and those who visit them are also involved in the act of shirk. Similarly to believe and give credit to the influence of Planets or Zodiac signs are all acts of shirk. In a hadith reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim, the Prophet (SAS) mentioned that a person who says that rainfall is caused and brought by a certain star is one who has denounced Allah and brought faith in the stars. (Bukhari & Muslim). In another tradition, the Prophet (SAS) is reported to have said, ‘An astrologer is a soothsayer, a soothsayer, is a magician, and a magician is a disbeliever’. (Razeen).
Based on these, as well as other traditions, it is established in the Shariah if Islam that all the different means that people use in trying to get information on future events are totally haram on Islam. This includes, ‘horoscopes’, ‘soothsayers’, ‘fortune-tellers’, ‘using a crystal ball’, ‘using special cards or books’, ‘palmistry’ or even claiming that one has a special gift of knowing the future/unseen. The prohibition also includes the act of seeking help from the external forces like that of jinns and spirits in order to know the future events.
In short, all those who lay a claim of having knowledge of future events are in reality rivals of Allah who are trying to make a claim of a thing which belongs to Allah alone.
Muslims are therefore totally prohibited from getting involved in any of these activities or even visiting people who make such claims. In addition, they are prohibited from having beliefs on the truth of these affairs.
With respect to 2012, Allah alone Has the knowledge of what will happen or if anything would happen at all. The knowledge of when the world will end is only with Allah, and no one, not even a prophet or an angel has the authority to make such a proclamation. In this regard, the Holy Quran states, Sura Ahzab (33) verse 63:-
People ask you concerning the Hour, say: “The knowledge of it is with Allah only. What do you know? It may be that the Hour is near!”
As for the world coming to an end, this will definitely happen. However, the time and hour is known only to Allah. As Muslims, we must continue to do our duties to Allah and prepare for the hereafter.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan