Imams Can See Al-Ghaib (the Unseen)


The Shia believe that their Infallible Imams posses knowledge of Al-Ghaib (the Unseen). Here is a quote from Lesson 23 on the popular Shia website,

“The Immaculate Imams can also make contact with the world of the unseen (Al-Ghaib) whenever necessary by seeking God’s aid and support and thereby gain access to knowledge they need.” (Source: )

So the Imams are believed to be able to see Al-Ghaib , even though the Quran clearly says:

“None knows Allah’s Al-Ghaib (Unseen realm) except those whom He chooses from among His messengers.” (Quran, 72:26)

In this verse, Allah categorically declares that only Messengers can see Al-Ghaib by the Grace of Allah. There is categorical exclusion of anyone else, and this is known to anyone who understands the Arabic. This puts the Shia in a dilemma. The Ahlus Sunnah has always accused the Shia of believing in false messengers (Dajjals), but the Shia have adamantly denied that their Imams are messengers. So we wonder then: how do the Shia respond to this Quranic verse without either admitting that they believe in false messengers after Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) or by admitting that they are commiting Kufr by believing that their Imams see Al-Ghaib? What a predicament for the Shia!

There is no way out for the Shia on this matter. According to the Quran, only messengers can see Al-Ghaib. This is clear evidence to the unbiased observor that the Shia believe in messengers after Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) since they say that their Imams see Al-Ghaib. The Shia simply do not call them by the name “messenger” or “prophet”, but rather they use the term “Imam” instead. However, other than the name, the Imam has all the same powers and prestige as a messenger or prophet. Denying the finality of Prophethood is Kufr since it violates this verse in the Quran:

“Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but the Messenger of Allah and the Last of Prophets. And Allah has knowledge of everything.” (Quran 33:40)

  • Al-Kafi

Let us examine what the Imams say in Al-Kafi, the most reliable of the four books of Shia Hadith:
عبدالله عليه السلام يقول : إني لاعلم ما في السماوات وأعلم ما في الارضين وأعلم ما في الجنة وأعلم ما في النار وأعلم ما كان وما يكون
Imam Abu Abdullah said: “I have a knowledge about what in the heavens and what is in the earth,what in the paradise and what is in the fire, and I know what was (before) and what is going to happen…”
The name of the chapter is simply shocking:
(باب)* (أن الائمة (عليهم السلام) إذا شاؤوا أن يعلموا علموا)
“If the Imam wants to know anything, he will know it”

According to the Shia, Imam Jafar said: “Whenever the Imam wishes to be informed of something, Allah informs him of it.” (Source: )

He further stated: “I swear by God that knowledge of the first things and the last things has been bestowed on us.” On hearing this utterance of the Imam, one of his companions asked him whether he had knowledge of Al-Ghaib (the Unseen). He answered:

“Woe upon you that you find it necessary to ask such a question. We are fully informed of each drop of sperm in the loins of men and the wombs of women. Woe upon you; open your eyes, and let your hearts perceive the truth! We are God’s proof, dwelling among His creation, but only the believer whose faith is as firm as the mountains of Tihamah has the ability to perceive this truth. I swear by God that if I wished I could inform you how many pebbles exist in the world, even though their number is constantly growing, by night and by day. I swear by God that after me you will rise up in enmity against each other until one group among you destroys the other.” (Source: )

Imam Baqir is reported to have said: “We have been given complete knowledge of the heavens and the earth.” (Source: )

  • The Quran

Once again, the Shia find no validation for their belief in the Quran, but rather the Quran rejects the idea that the Imams can know Al-Ghaib. According to the Quran, none save a few chosen Messengers can see Al-Ghaib, and even this is limited access as Allah pleases. Nobody save Allah and Allah alone knows “anything and everything” as the Shia claim their Imams do. Indeed, there were matters of Al-Ghaib that were not shared with Prophet Muhammad (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم), and this is mentioned in the Quran. For example, the knowledge of the Hour of the Day of Judgment was not given to the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم).

The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) repeatedly declared that he had limited knowledge and that only Allah knew all of Al-Ghaib. To cogitate that the Imams know all of Al-Ghaib is a blasphemy beyond bounds. Here are some verses in the Quran that refute the Shia belief:

“And with Him [Allah] are the keys of the Unseen (Ghaib); none knows them but He. ” (Quran, 6:59)

“Say (O Muhammed), ‘I am not different from other messengers. I have no idea what will happen to me or to you. I only follow whatis revealed to me. I am no more than a profound warner.’” (Quran, 46:9)

“Say (O Messenger): ‘I do not control any benefit or harm for my own soul except as Allah pleases; had I known the Unseen (Ghaib) I would have had much of good and no evil would have touched me; I am nothing but a warner and the giver of good news to a people who believe.’” (Quran, 7:188)

“Say (O Muhammed), ‘I do not say to you that I possess the treasures of Allah. Nor do I know the future. Nor do I say to you that I am an angel. I simply follow what is revealed to me.” (Quran, 6:50)

“Nor will Allah disclose to [any of] you the secrets of the Unseen (Ghaib), But He chooses of His Messengers (for the purpose) whom He pleases.” (Quran, 3:180)

The Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) only knew a limited amount of Al-Ghaib and only what Allah revealed to Him of it. It certainly was not an absolute knowledge of Al-Ghaib, which is something that only Allah and Allah alone knows because He is Al-Aalim (All-Knowing, Omniscient). In fact, Allah told His Messenger (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) that:

“These are announcements relating to the Unseen (Ghaib) which We reveal to you, you did not know them– neither you nor your people… (Quran, 11:49)

Surely, the Imams would be included in “neither you nor your people.”

Allah declares:

“And they say: ‘Why is not a sign sent to him from his Lord?’ Say [O Muhammad]: ‘The Unseen (Ghaib) is only for Allah; therefore wait– surely I too, with you am of those who wait.” (Quran, 10:20)

“Say: ‘No one in the heavens and the earth knows the Unseen (Ghaib) but Allah; and they do not know when they shall be raised.’” (Quran, 27:65)

“None knows Allah’s Al-Ghaib (Unseen realm) except those whom He chooses from among His messengers.” (Quran, 72:26)

Article Written By: Ibn al-Hashimi, | Email : ahlelbayt[a] | English Version