PROPHET 'HAZIR NAZIR' EVER WITNESSING AND PRESENT, POSSESSING UNSEEN KNOWLEDGE AND ALIVE IN HIS GRAVE
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There are some concepts which form the basis of much debate and belief amongst Muslims with regards the Prophet.
All manner of interpretations from Islamic secondary sources are cited to muster support for these doctrines and occasionally verses are also used from the Quran out of context and without any consistency.
Any doctrine, thought or position must find its root and must be filtered through the Quran for it to have any validity as a viable religious belief. Islamic doctrines should not originate externally and then find the odd Quranic verses for interpretive support but rather the whole doctrine must find clear provenance from the Quran.
THE PROPHET IS ‘HAZIR NAZIR’ (Present and Witnessing)
Many beliefs surround this doctrine. Some of them are:
The Holy Prophet whilst being present in one single place sees all the world as though he was looking at it in the palm of his hand
He hears all voices in his grave from all distances
The Prophet has exclusively been ever present spiritually since the start of creation and the Quran speaks to him to remind him as if he were present during all these historic events.
The Prophet views the action of his 'Ummah' (nation) good and bad whilst he resides in his grave and that he can travel to places of choice spiritually. At times, chairs are left out in mosque gatherings to receive him and prayers are directed through him as if he were actually listening.
The concept of Hazir Nazir is normally backed up with the following citation from the Quran.
“O Prophet! Lo! We have sent thee as a witness and a bringer of good tidings and a warner”
There are other beliefs that equally emanate from outside the scripture such as the Prophet possessing knowledge of the unseen other than what was revealed to him within the scripture which he has passed on via certain chosen companions and the belief that he hasn't actually died.
SO WHAT INFORMATION DOES THE QURAN PROVIDE WITH REGARDS THESE BELIEFS?
Firstly, if we consult Surah 4:41 we note that the cited verse above is not exclusive to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Prophets and messengers have always acted as witnesses against their people, their contemporaries and against those that despite the message reaching them with clarity, have rejected it. The Prophet in this capacity was no different from any other messenger who came as a witnesses to his own community and people.
THE PROPHET WAS NOT EVER PRESENT AT THE HISTORICAL EVENTS CITED AS A REMINDER TO PEOPLE
(1) The Prophet was not present when Prophet Joseph (pbuh) was conspired against
"This story which We have revealed to you is a tale of the unseen; for you were not there with them when they collectively conspired and schemed against him"
(2) Nor was the Prophet present when the Torah was given to Moses (pbuh)
“And you were not present on the western side of the mountain when We gave Moses the Law, nor did you witness that event”
(3) Nor was the Prophet present amongst the people of Midian
(4) Nor was the Prophet present when God called out to Prophet Moses (pbuh) at the Mount
Nor were you at the side of the (mountain of) Tur when We called out to Moses, but it is your Lord’s mercy that you are being given this information so that you may forewarn a nation to whom no Warner had come before you. Maybe they will take heed
(5) Nor was the Prophet present when the priests cast their pens and disputed over who should be charged with Mary's care.
The above verses make it clear that the Prophet had no knowledge of, nor did he ever witness past events. Rather, it was with the Lord's mercy that he was being informed of historical events so that he could convey them to his people.
PROPHET MUHAMMAD (pbuh) WOULD DIE JUST LIKE OTHERS WOULD DIE
“Muhammad is but a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) have passed away before him. Will it be that, when he dies or is slain, you will turn back on your heels? He who turns back does no hurt to God, and God will reward the thankful”
THE PROPHET HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE UNSEEN
“I do not say that I possess the treasures of God, nor do I say that I have knowledge of the unseen, nor do I claim to be an angel; nor do I say of those who are mean in your eyes, that God will not grant them any good. God knows best what is in their hearts for if I utter any thing like this, then I will indeed become a wrongdoer."
“Say: "I do not claim that I possess the treasures of God, or that I know the unseen nor do I claim that I am an angel. What I say is, that I follow only that which is revealed to me." Ask them: "Are the blind and the seeing alike? Why don't you think?"”
“Further tell them: "I have no power to acquire benefit or avert any harm from myself, only that happens which God wants. Had I possessed the knowledge of the unseen I would have acquired many benefits to myself; and no harm would have touched me. I am no more than a warner and bearer of good news for the true believers."
This is also true of other Prophets, for example, Prophet Jesus (pbuh) had no knowledge of what happened after his death.
"Never said I to them anything except what You (God) did command me to say to which is `Worship God my Lord and your Lord'; and I was a witness over them while I dwelt amongst them; when You (God) did take me up You were the Watcher over them and You are a Witness to all things"
It is clear that doctrines that emanate from outside the Quran become difficult to sustain when viewed through the lens of the scripture. The Quran should remain the ultimate filtering point to assess the truth. There is much wisdom in the following verses:
"No falsehood can approach it from before or behind it: it is sent down by One Full of Wisdom Worthy of all Praise"
"We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that you may judge between men, as guided by God: so be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust"
We know best what they say; and you are not one to overawe them by force. So admonish with the Quran such as fear My Warning!
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