Imam’s (peace be upon him) knowledge encompasses this world as well as the Hereafter

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عُبَيْدَةُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ بِشْرٍ الْخَثْعَمِيُّ وَ عَبْدُ اللهِ بْنُ بَشِيرٍ سَمِعُوا اَبَا عَبْدِ اللهِؑ يَقُولُ اِنِّي لَاَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَ اَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْاَرَضِينَ وَ اَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْجَنَّةِ وَ اَعْلَمُ مَا فِي النَّارِ وَ اَعْلَمُ مَا كَانَ وَ مَا يَكُونُ ثُمَّ مَكَثَ هُنَيْئَةً فَرَاَى اَنَّ ذٰلِكَ كَبُرَ عَلَى مَنْ سَمِعَهُ فَقَالَ عَلِمْتُ مِنْ كِتَابِ اللهِ اَنَّ اللهَ يَقُولُ فِيهِ تِبْيَانُ كُلِّ شَيْ‏ءٍ

Ubaidah Ibn Abdillah Ibn Bishr al-Khath’ami and Abdullah Ibn Basheer report that they heard Imam Abu Abdillah (al-Sadeq a.s.) say, ‘By Allah! Verily, I know what is in the skies and what is in the earth and what is in the Paradise and what is in Hell and what was (in the past) and what will be (in the future) till the Day of Judgment’.”

Then, he (peace be upon him) paused for a while and saw that this was difficult for the people (to digest) who were listening; so he (peace be upon him) elaborated, ‘I know this from the Book of Allah; I look at it like this (and he opened his palm)’ and said, ‘Surely, Allah says, ‘We have sent down the book in which is the explanation of all things’.”

Notes:

1)    The term ‘skies’ is used extensively in the Quranic verses or traditions, which clearly state that there are seven skies. The second sky encompasses the first, the third encompasses the second and so on till the seventh sky which encompasses the sixth one. 

2)    The same applies for the earth as well.

3)    Such a statement would astonish people even today despite the advance of technology and in the era of Google, then one can only imagine the bewilderment of the audience then.

References:

1.    Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 26, p. 111, H. 8

2.    Basaaer al-Darjaat, p. 128, Chapter 6, H. 5

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