Creed of Abu Hanifah(rah) regarding Unseen or Ilm e Ghayb

Assalam Walaikum Wa Rehmat Ullahi Wa Bara Katu Hu.

InshAllah in this brief topic i will quote the Creed of Imam Abu Hanifah (rah) regarding Knowledge of Unseen.

Tafsir-e-Madarak of Imam Nafsi (rah) (710 H), He writes under Surah Luqman Verse 34, the incident of Imam Abu Hanifah (rah).

ورأى المنصور في منامه صورة ملك الموت وسأله عن مدة عمره فأشار بأصابعه الخمس فعبرها المعبرون بخمس سنوات وبخمسة أشهر وبخمسة أيام فقال أبو حنيفة رضي الله عنه: هو إشارة إلى هذه الآية، فإن هذه العلوم الخمسة لا يعلمها إلا الله

“(Caliph) Mansoor saw the face of Malik-Al Maut (i.e Angel of Death) and asked about the duration of his age, Malik Al-Maut give indication with his 5 fingers, Amongst the Interpreters (i.e of the Dreams) some of them told 5 years, some told 5 months and some took it as 5 days, Imam Abu Hanifah RadiAllahuAnhu said the indication of Malik-Al Maut was related to this ayat (i.e Surah Luqman Verse 34) Because these 5 Knowledge is only known by Allah and none else.”

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One question arises here, If Allah is the Only who knows the Unseen, then why does need to confine only knowledge of these 5 things?. When there are so many things of which knowledge is only Known by Allah swt and none else. It is wrong to interpret that there is any one shared with him except knowledge of these 5 things.

Because knowledge of also other things are specifically known by him Only,

As Allah says in the Quran Surah Yunus Chapter 10 Verse 61:

“Nor is hidden from thy Lord (so much as) the weight of an atom on the earth or in heaven. And not the least and not the greatest of these things but are recorded in a clear record.”

The main answer is that Abu Hanifah (rah) refereed to the Ayat of Surah Luqman Verse 34 :

And it was revealed during the incident which was specified to only these 5 questions,

Imam Qurtubi (rah) writes in his Tafsir-e-Qurtubi:

إن هذه الآية نزلت في رجل من أهل البادية اسمه الوارث بن عمرو بن حارثة، أتى النبيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إن امرأتي حبلى فأخبرني ماذا تلد، وبلادنا جدبة فأخبرني متى ينزل الغيث، وقد علمتُ متى وُلدت فأخبرني متى أموت، وقد علمت ما عملت اليوم فأخبرني ماذا أعمل غداً، وأخبرني متى تقوم الساعة؟ فأنزل الله تعالى هذه الآية؛ ذكره القُشَيْرِي والماوَرْدِيّ
“This ayat was revealed regarding the question of a man from Village, His name was Waris bin Umaro bin Harisa, He came to Prophet (s) and said, My wife is pregnant tell me to whom she give birth, And my area is afflicted with drought tell me when will rain come down?, I know on which date i was born, tell me when i will die?And I know what i earned today but tell me what i will earn tomorrow and when will Qayamat come? So Allah revealed this Ayat. It is reported by Quraishi and Mawirdi.”

This incident is reported by Imam Tabari (rah) in this Tafsir (with Mursal chain) :

حدثنـي مـحمد بن عمرو، قال: ثنا أبو عاصم، قال: ثنا عيسى وحدثنـي الـحارث، قال: ثنا الـحسن قال: ثنا ورقاء جميعاً، عن ابن أبـي نـجيح، عن مـجاهد { إنَّ اللّهَ عِنْدَهُ عِلْـمُ السَّاعَةِ } قال: جاء رجل قال قال أبو جعفر: أحسبه أنا، قال إلـى النبـيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فقال: إنَّ امرأتـي حُبلـى، فأخبرنـي ماذا تلد؟ وبلادنا مـحل جدبة، فأخبرنـي متـى ينزل الغيث؟ وقد علـمت متـى وَلدت، فأخبرنـي متـى أموت، فأنزل الله: { إنَّ اللّهَ عِنْدَهُ عِلْـمُ السَّاعَةِ، وَيُنَزّلُ الغَيْثَ… }

This is also mentioned in Tafsir Al-Khazan (725 H) and Allama Alusi Hanafi in his Tafsir.

الآية نزلت في الحارث بن عمرو بن حارثة بن حفصة من أهل البادية أتى النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فسأله عن الساعة ووقتها وقال إن أرضنا أجدبت فقل لي متى ينزل الغيث وتركت امرأتي حبلى فمتى تلد ولقد علمت أين ولدت فبأي أرض أموت فأنزل الله هذه الآية


Allama Alusi Hanafi (rah) further explains it beautifully :

والذي ينبغي أن يعلم أن كل غيب لا يعلمه إلا الله عز وجل وليس المغيبات محصورة بهذه الخمس وإنما خصت بالذكر لوقوع السؤال عنها أو لأنها كثيراً ما تشتاق النفوس إلى العلم بها

The knowledge of all the Unseen is only known by Almighty Allah alone. The knowledge of his Unseen cannot be limited to these 5 things, keeping this creed is most important. Now the question what was the reason that to limit the knowledge(i.e of Unseen) of Almighty to these 5 things, It is because the question was asked regarding these things or because a person naturally wanted to know the answer of these questions.

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