Dhati and Ata’i


Dispute over Dhati (intrinsic) and ‘Ata’i (granted) ‘Ilm al-ghayb

By ‘Allama Sarfaraz Khan Safdar

Wherever in the Qur’an and hadiths it occurs that the Holy Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said:

‘I do not know ghayb’ or ‘I am not aware’,

Our opponents (including their A’la Hadhrat and so-called mujaddid of the present century Molwi Ahmad Rada Khan, Molwi Hashmat ‘Ali Khan, Molwi Na’im al-Din Muradabadi, Molwi Muhammad Salih, Molwi Muhammad ‘Azim, Molwi Muhammad ‘Umar Icharwi and Mufti Ahmad Yar Khan, etc.) present this widespread misconception that he did not know the ghayb personally and independently, rather he is granted the knowledge of ghayb by Allah. Thus, they say that they are not of the view that he has personal and self-acquired knowledge of ghayb, rather he possesses the gifted knowledge of ghayb, while the attribute of Allah is not gifted but it is His exclusive attribute; therefore believing in gifted ghayb for anyone else other than Allah is neither polytheism nor associating partner in any attribute of Allah… Molwi Muhammad ‘Umar writes, “As far as the saying, ‘I do not know ghayb’ then he was made to say these words so any cross-grained individual doesn’t reach a conclusion that he knew ghayb personally, and because one who has a personal (zaati) possession he only can make a claim of possessing a thing.” (Miqyas Hanafiyyat, p.302)

Now we would like to ask few questions to the proponents of this notion:

[1] Whether the existence of the Prophet (Allah blesses him and give him peace) was his own and self-acquired? If it was not his own but gifted, so why did he not deny his existence saying: ‘I have no existence’.

[2] Whether his prophethood was personal or gifted by Allah? If it was not personal, and certainly it was not, then why did he not deny his prophethood? Allah forbid! Since, according to Molwi Muhammad ‘Umar, ‘one who has personal possession [and not granted] he only can make a claim of possessing a thing’.

[3] Whether he got the Qur’an by himself or was he gifted by Allah? If he did not get by himself, which is the fact, then why did he not deny the knowledge of the Qur’an and why did he not say that he was not given the Qur’an? Allah forbid!

[4] Whether he acquired the knowledge of the hadiths and Shari’ah personally, if not and surely not, then why did he not deny it? The line of differentiation should be clearly seen.

[5] When his personality in itself gifted, can there be any possibility based on proofs for any of his qualities to be self-acquired. When there is no possibility even, it is useless to differentiate between self-acquired and gifted; since self-acquired knowledge of even an atom cannot be achieved to anyone, this is agreed upon by all Muslims and even by our opponents; so what is the use of taking this matter in between.

[6] If someone says that he personally admits Allah as God and Creator of the universe, but I believe in Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as gifted God and Creator of the universe, will he will remain Muslim? If yes, how? If not, then why he was labelled as kafir when he did not ascribe the personal attribute of Allah for the blessed Prophet?

[7] If someone says that he believes in the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) as independent prophet having a Shari’ah, but he believes that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani (who is in fact from amongst the thirty liar Dajjals) as subordinate prophet without a Shari’ah, and that his prophethood is the reflection of the prophethood of him, will such a person remain Muslim? The opponents have to deliberate and address the questions and to decide whether they will side with the truth or just raise their voices in tune with falsehood.

As far as the words dhaati (personal) and ‘ata’i (gifted),  that have occurred in the texts of the elders (akabir),are concerned, they never meant that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not know the entire unseen (kul ghayb) personally and per se, but he knew every unseen (kul mughibat) as gift and directed revelation (from Allah), rather they, according to their understanding, adopted the middle way between the negative and positive verses and traditions that the negation of the all-encompassing knowledge of particles and details is related to personal knowledge. While the affirmation that is related to partial ikhbar al-ghayb, anba’ al-ghayb (news of ghayb) is associated with gifted knowledge [and not ‘ilm al-ghayb].

Whereas, at this point, overlooking the difference of zaati and ‘ata’i, it can be reconciled by noticing the difference of total (kulli) and partial (juz’i), or the difference of ‘ilm al-ghayb and anbaal-ghayb or the difference between detailed knowledge and knowledge of some news. The research scholars have reconciled in the same way, as the readers of this book are well aware of it. So, many of those who make a difference between zaati and ‘ata’i, they clearly write that ‘ilm al-ghayb is an exclusive attribute of Allah and the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) did not have ‘ilm al-ghayb, the references to which we have quoted fully in the previous chapter.

Izalat al-Rayb ‘an ‘Aqidah ‘Ilm al-Ghayb, p. 114-116 — Maktabah Safdariyyah.

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