2. THE TWO CATEGORIES OF KNOWLEDGE
In its abstract sense, there are two kinds of Knowledge (or learning); the one which is taught in Madrasahs, school, colleges and universities (in the progressive order). For a lay-man as well as for the majority of the populace this is what constitutes the knowledge and it is believed to be sufficient to satisfy our material quest and urge in this behalf.
However, there is yet another branch of knowledge which is taught and acquired directly or straightaway through the divine agency, with the functional audio-visual aids, such as books, papers, pens or such-like paraphernalia, needing neither the teaching institutes, such as schools, colleges, universities, etc. nor the professional teachers and degree holders. This is the transcendental or divine sector of knowledge, which in Quranic terminology is known as "I`lm-i-Ghayb" or the "Knowledge of the Unseen" 7 and which constitutes one of the fundamental tenets of Islamic belief. In fact, the belief and unbelief in the Unseen (Ghayb) is the distinguishing mark of a person being a Muslim or a Heathen. 8
This is the branch of knowledge which is super human in nature surpassing the human intellect as also the five proverbial senses on their own. The Knowledge of the Unseen (I`lm-i-Ghayb) is superior to and dominant over all other knowledge in any field of human activity, defying all methods of imparting and receiving education and knowledge. This is essentially an emblem of Divine Grace bestowed upon the chosen servants of Allah, like the gentle blissful rain showered upon the hearts and minds of the esteemed recipients on earth.
7. Surah Kah`f: Verse 65
8. Surah Baqarah: Verse 3
3. VERSES OF THE QURAN PERTAINING TO I`LM-I-GHAYB
There are many verses in the Holy Quran in which there is mentioned or reference to I`lm-i-Ghayb (The Knowledge of Unseen). It is clear from these verses that this I`lm-i-Ghayb pertain and belong to Almighty Allah alone.
The following verses of the Holy Quran corroborates this proposition:-
A. "With Him are the Keys of the Unseen; the treasure that none knows but He." 9
B. "I know the secrets of the heaven and earth." 10
C. "Say: O Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam)! The Unseen isfor Allah". 11
D. "The Holy Prophet (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) is asked todeclare: Say, I tell you not that the Treasures of Allah are with me, nor do know on my own, what is hidden (In the Unseen)." 12
From these verses, it is learnt that the Knowledge of the Unseen (I`lm-i-Ghayb) belongs as His most exclusive supreme prerogative to Allah the Almighty. None on his own, can know the Unseen (Ghayb) unless bestowed by Almighty Allah as a grace (and not as a matter of right to claim).
A little probe into these verses would reveal that while even the minutest part of the Ghayb remains in the Divine Authority, it is not to be said anywhere that Allah the Almighty does not grant this knowledge even to anyone among his servants nor that the treasure of the Ghayb remain un-bestowed and unshared by anyone else. This the prime point of consideration on which the Ummah must devote thoughtful attention to avoid any pitfalls in assuming or imbibing any self-founded notions of I`lm-i-Ghayb.
This point is stressed again and again in the Holy Quran:
A. "He (Allah the Almighty) alone is the Knower of the Unseen; He does not make anyone acquainted with the mysteries except the apostle whom He has chosen." 13
B. "Allah will not disclose to you the secret of the unknown, but He chooses of His apostles whom He pleases." 14
9. Surah An`am: Verse 59
10. Surah Baqarah: Verse 33
11. Surah Yunus: Verse 20
12. Surah Hud: Verse 31
13. Surah Jinn: Verse 26
14. Surah Ale Imran: Verse 179