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(2:108) – Would you question as Moses was questioned of old?

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Would ye question your Messenger as Moses was questioned of old? but whoever changeth from Faith to Unbelief, Hath strayed without doubt from the even way.

Under the commentary of Surah 5 verse 101
(O ye who believe! Ask not Questions about things which, if made plain to you, May cause you trouble. But of ye ask about things when the Quran is being revealed, they will be made plain to you, God will forgive those: For God is oft-forgiving, Most forbearing.)

Abdullah Yusuf Ali writes (Note 807):

“Many secrets are wisely hidden from us. If the future were known to us, we need not necessarily be happy. In many cases we should be miserable. If the inner meaning of some of the things we see before our eyes were disclosed to us, it might cause a lot of mischief. God’s message, in so far as it is necessary for shaping our conduct is plain and open to us. But there are many things too deep for us to understand, either individually or collectively. It would be foolish to pry into them, as some foolish people tried to do in the time of the Apostle. Where a matter is mentioned in the Quran, we can reverently ask for its meaning. That is not forbidden. But we should never pass the bounds of (1) our own capacity to understand (2) the time and occasion when we ask questions, and (3) the part of the Universal Plan which it is God’s purpose to reveal to us.” (The Holy Quran: Text, Translation and Commentary pg. 274)

In support of this ruling I cite a hadith and its interpretation by a renowned scholar:

The following excerpt is taken from “Maariful Hadith” by Maulana Manzoor Nomaani Volume 1 pg. 241-242:

‘It is related by Abu Zarr Ghifari (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “I see the things of the invisible world you do not see and hear the sounds [of the invisible world] you do not hear. The sky is shaking and it is appropriate that it shakes. By the Glorious One in whose power is my life! There is not even a space of four fingers in the heavens where an angel is not prostrating himself before the Almighty, with his forehead touching the ground. If you knew the things that are known to me, you would laugh little and weep much, and could not enjoy the bed with your spouses, and would go out into forests and deserts groaning and crying out to the Lord”. [After relating it] Abu Zarr said to us: “I wish I were a tree that was cut down”. (Musnad Ahmad, Tirmidhi and ibn i Majah)

Commenting on this hadith, Nomaani writes:

“Since man has been created to function as the Vicegerent of Allah on earth and he can discharge his duty properly only when he enjoys peace of mind in the world, the truth have not been revealed to him which would have ruined his composure and tranquility. For example, if the punishment of the grave and Hell was made known to us and we could see all the events of the Hereafter with our own eyes, we could not attend to the daily needs or even manage to live. But as the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was raised up for the fulfillment of a special mission, it was essential that these realities were revealed to him to a certain extent so that he could attain the certitude and assurance that was needed for his lofty work and position. Thus, certain truth beyond the sphere of human experience were made known to him, and, with it, Divine Providence ordained for his heart an extraordinary strength that enabled him to carry out the tremendous responsibilities of Messengership in a fitting manner and lead a balanced life that could serve as a model to mankind at all times.”

Narrated Abu Salama:

`Aisha said that the Prophet (ﷺ) said to her “O `Aisha’ This is Gabriel and he sends his (greetings) salutations to you.” `Aisha said, “Salutations (Greetings) to him, and Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be on him,” and addressing the Prophet (ﷺ) she said, “You see what I don’t see.”


Reference : Sahih al-Bukhari 3217
In-book reference : Book 59, Hadith 28
USC-MSA web (English) reference : Vol. 4, Book 54, Hadith 440
  (deprecated numbering scheme)

Noomani, Maulana Manzur. (2012). Maariful Hadith – Meaning and messages of the traditions/hadith. (pg. 241-242).

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (Surah 3 verse 7).

Yusuf Ali, Abdullah. Translation and Commentary of the Quran. (pg. 274). Microsoft Word – 005 Ma’ida.doc (

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