One of the absurd beliefs of some of the Barelwis is that they hold that the Prophet Muhammad (blessings and peace be upon him) knew about the Qur’an before birth. Even before he was gifted with prophethood, and before he was even born, Barelwi Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan holds that he knew the entire Qur’an.
This beliefs goes against the Qur’an, Hadith and the consensus of the Muslim community and not a single classical scholar of the past ever held this opinion. Even the leader of the Barelwis, Mawlana Ahmad Raza Khan believes that at a later stage of the life of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), he was gifted the knowledge of what was and what will happen (ma kana wa ma yakun). This was mentioned in several works of his such as his al-Dawlat al-Makkiya.
Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan elobarates this view in his book Ja al-Haq, under the chapter of ilm al-ghayb, in the end under the sixth paragraph [fasl], where he tries to answer the arguments against the full knowledge of ilm al-ghayb, on p. 136 [Maktaba Islamiyya edition]:
“If the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) is not aware of all heavenly scriptures, so what is the point of expressing it and not expressing. The fact is that the Prophet knew the Qur’an from beginning, but he did not implement the Qur’anic commandments before their revelation. So, the first hadith of Bukhari says that Sayyidina Gabriel (may the peace of Allah be upon him), when appeared first time in Hira cave, said: iqra’ (read), he did not say: read so and so verse. ‘Read’ can be said only to one who already knows [so if it is said to a child, read, would that mean that child already knows?]. The Prophet replied: “I am not reader”, I am teacher, I have already learnt. The Qur’an is preserved in the Preserved Tablet (Lawh Mahfuz) and it is already in the memory of the Prophet. Before his birth, he was a prophet with Qur’an. How a nubuwwah (prophet-hood) without wahy (revelation)? Therefore, we will have to admit that he knew the Qur’an before his birth. Nowadays also, many children are born hafiz. Sayyidina Isa (may the peace of Allah be upon him) proclaimed just after birth: “He gave me Book.” It means that he already knew the book. Some prophets said: “And We gave him wisdom, while he was still a child”. The Prophet, just after his birth, prostrated and interceded for his Ummah, whereas prostration (sajdah) and intercession (shifa’ah) are Qur’anic commandments.”
We ask our Barelwi brethren: Is there any classical source for the above belief? Is there any scholar who held such a belief? The answer is clearly no!
One verse would be enough against this belief:
“And thus We have sent to you Ruh of Our command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith.” [42:52]
And to make it even more spicy, the author fabricates another belief that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) interceded for the Ummah right after his birth. TO justify this belief, one would distort all narrations about the biography of the Prophet, such as when he was visited by the angel Jibril. The whole text shows how great the Barelwis are in tampering the true Islamic understanding.
Right after this quote, he surprises the reader with another crazy quote:
“Ghaws Pak (Shaykh Abdul Qadir Jailani / may Allah have mercy on him) did not drink milk of his mother in the month of Ramadan. This is also Qur’anic commandment.”
We again ask our Barelwi brethren: has this point whether Abd al-Qadir Jilani drank milk in Ramadan or not any relevance to the topic of ilm al-ghayb? And how can this be seen as an Qur’anic commandment?
La hawla wa la quwwata illa billa!
Note: Abd al-Hayy Lucknawi explicitly refuted this belief in his book al-athar al-marfu’a:
One of them is what is mentioned by the sermonizers that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) knew the whole Qur’an and recited it from his birth. As far as his saying ‘I am not a reader’ in the response of Gabriel (may the peace of Allah be upon him) at the time of first revelation which is narrated by Sahih Bukhari and others, it means (according to these sermonizers): I (the Prophet) will not read with your order as I know it already and recite it regularly. This is no doubt fabrication rejected by the Qur’anic verses and Prophetic traditions. Also, they say that he was not illiterate; rather he was able to write and recite by nature. This is also opposed to the Qur’an, Sunnah and even the unanimity (Ijma) of the Ummah; therefore it has no significance in the eyes of the intelligentsia.”
Also, Mulla Ali Qari commented on this issue of knowing the ghayb when Sayyida Aisha was accused of adultery, in his book Mawdu’at al-Kabir.