Knowledge of the Unknown
Q: People in the sub-continent go to a person addressed by the title “Baba Ji”. This title refers to a person who is honest and respectable, loves Allah and talks to Him. Allah gives him knowledge about people living far away and things that will happen in the future. When people go to Baba Ji, they request him to pray for their better future. Women ask him to pray that they have children, or a baby boy, etc. Please comment
A: The first thing to remember in connection with this question is the fact that knowledge of the future belongs to Allah alone. There is simply no way that human beings can devise in order to get to know what will happen next year, next month, tomorrow or even one second from now. Fiction writers have imagined the invention of a time machine which enables people to travel through time. Exciting as this may sound, it will continue forever to belong to the realm of imagination. There is no way that we can learn any fact about the future unless Allah decides to give us that knowledge. It is important, therefore, to determine whether Allah normally imparts such knowledge to human beings. It is simple logic that if any person is favored with such knowledge, then the prophets, particularly Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon them all) would be the one to be so favored. We do not find in the history of any prophet anything to suggest that he was given such knowledge. The life of Prophet Muhammad has been documented in great detail. Things that he said or did have been elaborately reported and painstakingly verified. Nevertheless, there is no suggestion whatsoever that at any time did the Prophet have any knowledge of the future. On the contrary, there are numerous reports which suggest that when the Prophet sent an expedition to attack the enemies of Islam, he was always looking for news about them. He wanted to be sure of their fortune and their conduct. Allah could have certainly given him all the knowledge he wanted, but the Prophet always realized that he was only a human being, honored with Allah’s message. He had to wait for the news to be brought by its carrier. This means that if your Baba Ji has knowledge of the future, then he occupies a position with Allah which is higher than that of Prophet Muhammad. How else can we explain that a Baba Ji is favored with something that was not given even to Prophet Muhammad? You say that Baba Ji could also speak to Allah and Allah speaks to him. If we examine this claim in the light of the Qur’an, what do we find? There is a clear Qur’anic statement which says that there are only three ways in which Allah may decide to speak to human beings. That statement may be given in translation as follows: “It is not granted to any human being that Allah should speak to him except by revelation, or from behind a veil, or through a messenger sent and authorized by Him to make known His will. Exalted is He, and Wise.” (42;51). What this Qur’anic statement tells us is that Allah has chosen not to speak to any human being directly. He could speak to him from behind a veil, and the only case we know like that is the case of Moses, when Allah spoke to him directly from behind a veil. On the other hand, Allah may send him revelations, and these can be vouchsafed only to prophets. The third method is that Allah sends a messenger, i.e. an angel to give him whatever message Allah sends down to him. Again, this is an honor given to prophets. Now those Baba Jis in your part of the world claim to talk to Allah. May I ask: In what method?
The fact is that anyone who claims to receive special knowledge from Allah is an impostor. He is a liar because he claims to know something which Allah has chosen to keep to Himself. Note how these Baba Jis claim to know about people living far away. Do you not think that it is only convenient to their deception of simple-minded people that they make such a claim? Why do they not say that they know everything about people living in their community? If they make such a claim, their lies will soon be discovered. Hence, they prefer to claim knowledge that cannot be verified. This is the reason why they say they know about people far away. There is no doubt that such people acquire some reputation. This is enhanced when events turn out in a way which can be related to what they have claimed. Suppose that a Baba Ji tells a woman that she would soon be pregnant and give birth to a baby boy. The women might have been married for several years without getting pregnant. If she happens to conceive, either after medical treatment or just naturally, that Baba Ji will be quick to claim that it was through his prayer that the request was granted. If that woman then delivers a baby girl, the Baba Ji will not have much difficulty in over-riding such small inconvenience. He may claim that the woman mistook his reference, or he may put the blame on Allah’s door, saying that Allah had changed His mind after He had given him the news. What stupidity! Because these people are impostors who are never tired of lying and deceiving simple minded people, Islam forbids its followers from going to them, listening to what they say and having any trust in them. The Prophet says: “Anyone who goes to a fortune-teller has denied what has been revealed to Muhammad”.