The Name of Allah Al-‘Aleem العليم [Part 1]
The Noble Name of Allah العليم is mentioned in more than 150 positions in the Qur’an which indicates its importance in our lives.
This Name is one of the 99 Names of Allah.
It was narrated by Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet ﷺ said:
“Allah has ninety nine Names, one hundred minus one, whoever أحصاها will enter Paradise”
“أحصاها”, as Ibn AlQayyim mentioned, is to:
- Know the Name from the Qur’an and the Sunnah
- Learn the meaning of the Name
- Worship Allah by this Name. And this is by calling Allah by these Names.
Allah says in Surah Al-A’raf, Verse 180:
وَلِلَّهِ الْأَسْمَاءُ الْحُسْنَىٰ فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا الَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِي أَسْمَائِهِ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.
دعاء is of three types:
- دعاء المسألة – Supplication of Asking
- دعاء الثناء – Supplication of Praise
- دعاء العبادة – Supplication of Worship
This means that this Name should affect your state, your behavior, your attitude, your heart, your way of thinking. Whatever you do should be an impact of your belief in that particular Name of Allah.
- Memorize the Name
In order for a Name to be considered one of the 99 Names of Allah, there are certain conditions that it should fulfill, as Ibn Taymiyah رحمه الله mentioned. Of them, is that:
1) The Name should be mentioned in the Qur’an and Sunnah
2) The Name should not be restricted. There should be at least one position in the Qur’an where this Name is not joined with something else.
E.g. “عالم الغيب و الشهادة”
This is mentioned around 14 times in the Qur’an, but is “عالم” one of the Names of Allah? Because it is only restricted to the unseen and the seen in the Qur’an, some Scholars do not consider it one of the 99 Names of Allah.
E.g. “علام الغيوب”
This is mentioned in 4 verses in the Qur’an. The Name “علام” has never come alone. Therefore it is not considered one of the 99 Names of Allah.
The Name of Allah “العليم” has been mentioned in the Qur’an alone, for example: “والله عليم حكيم”. Therefore, العليم is one of the 99 Names of Allah.
3) The Name should come in the noun form
4) The Name should imply a beautiful, perfect attribute
The Name of Allah العليم implies the Attribute of العلم (Knowledge).
Some Positions in which the Name of Allah العليم is Mentioned in the Qur’an:
1) Surah Ar-Rum, Verse 54:
اللَّهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن ضَعْفٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ ضَعْفٍ قُوَّةً ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ ضَعْفًا وَشَيْبَةً ۚ يَخْلُقُ مَا يَشَاءُ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَلِيمُ الْقَدِيرُ
Allah is He Who created you in (a state of) weakness, then gave you strength after weakness, then after strength gave (you) weakness and grey hair. He creates what He wills. And it is He Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Powerful (i.e. Able to do all things).
In this verse Allah connected His خلق (Creation) with His Ability and Knowledge. The first thing we learn from this verse, without going to a tafseer book, is that Allah did not Create anything except that He knows about it.
2) Surah An-Nisa, Verse 69-70:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا
And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqun (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe in them, like Abu Bakr As-Siddiq), the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!
ذَٰلِكَ الْفَضْلُ مِنَ اللَّهِ ۚ وَكَفَىٰ بِاللَّهِ عَلِيمًا
Such is the Bounty from Allah, and Allah is Sufficient as All-Knower.
Allah knows who deserves that companionship, and Allah is sufficient as a Knower.
3) Surah Ya-Sin, Verse 38:
وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ
And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, the All-Knowing.
4) Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 181:
فَمَن بَدَّلَهُ بَعْدَمَا سَمِعَهُ فَإِنَّمَا إِثْمُهُ عَلَى الَّذِينَ يُبَدِّلُونَهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ
Then whoever changes the bequest after hearing it, the sin shall be on those who make the change. Truly, Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.
Allah threatens those who change the will after hearing it.
The Meaning of the Name العليم
The Scholars go through the entire Qur’an, find the positions where the Name and its impacts are mentioned, compile them, and come out with a summary.
The meaning of the Name is very important to know, as it based on this meaning that we build our faith, thus so it affects our behaviour and actions.
1) As-Sa’di (رحمه الله)
Shaikh as-Sa’dee (Rahimahulaah) said:
Al-‘Aleem is the One Whose Knowledge encompasses all the apparent and hidden matters, the open and the secret, all those things that must necessarily occur, all the things that are impossible to occur and all things that can possibly occur, of the affairs of the whole creation (of the upper world and lower world), of the past, the present and the future. There is absolutely nothing that is hidden from him.
2) Shaikh Abdur-Razzaq Al-Badr (حفظه الله)
Shaikh Abdur-Razzaq Al-Badr (حفظه الله) said:
Al-‘Aleem is whose Knowledge encompasses (comprehends) the apparent and hidden matters, the secrets and the pen. He Whose Knowledge encompasses the upper world and the lower world, the affairs of the creation, the past, the present and the future; nothing is hidden from Him. He knows what used to be and what will be, and knows what will not be how it will be (its state if it occurs). He surrounds all things in (His) Knowledge and keeps count of all things (i.e. He knows the exact number of everything).
The Impact of your belief in the Name of Allah العليم / How to Worship Allah according to His Name العليم?
- Single Allah out with perfection in that Name
If you ask anyone the meaning of the Name of Allah العليم, they would tell you that it means the All-Knower. Although the meaning is very clear, its impact is very weak in our lives.
Allah’s Name العليم implies the Attribute of العلم (Knowledge). العلم is something common between Allah and His creation; Allah has Knowledge, and people have knowledge. Our faith is weak because we see the knowledge of people and do not see the Knowledge of Allah. We do not single Allah out with perfect, complete, and comprehensive Knowledge, and negate it from everyone else. People go to magicians, fortune tellers and read horoscopes because they lack Tawheed in the Name of Allah العليم.
“إحاط علمه” – Allah’s Knowledge encompasses
There is a big difference between saying someone knows, and that someones knowledge encompasses everything. Nothing escapes the Knowledge of Allah.
Everything in this life has something apparent (ظاهر) and something hidden (باطن). Allah does not just know the outer appearance of matters, but He encompasses even what is inside.
2. Take care of your heart and its actions
Allah does not look at our physiques, He looks at our hearts and deeds (which are based on what is established in our heart).
Surah Al-Hadid, 13-14:
يَوْمَ يَقُولُ الْمُنَافِقُونَ وَالْمُنَافِقَاتُ لِلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا انظُرُونَا نَقْتَبِسْ مِن نُّورِكُمْ قِيلَ ارْجِعُوا وَرَاءَكُمْ فَالْتَمِسُوا نُورًا فَضُرِبَ بَيْنَهُم بِسُورٍ لَّهُ بَابٌ بَاطِنُهُ فِيهِ الرَّحْمَةُ وَظَاهِرُهُ مِن قِبَلِهِ الْعَذَابُ
On the Day when the hypocrites men and women will say to the believers: “Wait for us! Let us get something from your light!” It will be said: “Go back to your rear! Then seek a light!” So a wall will be put up between them, with a gate therein. Inside it will be mercy, and outside it will be torment.
يُنَادُونَهُمْ أَلَمْ نَكُن مَّعَكُمْ ۖ قَالُوا بَلَىٰ وَلَٰكِنَّكُمْ فَتَنتُمْ أَنفُسَكُمْ وَتَرَبَّصْتُمْ وَارْتَبْتُمْ وَغَرَّتْكُمُ الْأَمَانِيُّ حَتَّىٰ جَاءَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَغَرَّكُم بِاللَّهِ الْغَرُورُ
(The hypocrites) will call the believers: “Were we not with you?” The believers will reply: “Yes! But you led yourselves into temptations, you looked forward for our destruction; you doubted (in Faith); and you were deceived by false desires, till the Command of Allah came to pass. And the chief deceiver (Satan) deceived you in respect of Allah.
This indicates that the hypocrites were mixed with the believers in this life, to the extent that no one could distinguish between the two. Even the hypocrites themselves did not realise that they were hypocrites. This is how serious this matter is.
The hypocrites will come on the Day of Judgement, walking with the believers, until Allah extinguishes their light. At that moment they will realise they were hypocrites and not believers.
This is exactly like the three people who will enter Hell-fire first.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“The first of people against whom judgement will be pronounced on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who died a martyr. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognise them. [ The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I fought for you until I died a martyr. He will say: You have lied – you did but fight that it might be said [of you]: He is courageous. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.
[Another] will be a man who has studied [religious] knowledge and has taught it and who used to recite the Qur’an. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognise them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I studied [religious] knowledge and I taught it and I recited the Qur’an for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but study [religious] knowledge that it might be said [of you]: He is learned. And you recited the Qur’an that it might be said [of you]: He is a reciter. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.
[Another] will be a man whom Allah had made rich and to whom He had given all kinds of wealth. He will be brought and Allah will make known to him His favours and he will recognise them. [The Almighty] will say: And what did you do about them? He will say: I left no path [untrodden] in which You like money to be spent without spending in it for Your sake. He will say: You have lied – you did but do so that it might be said [of you]: He is open-handed. And so it was said. Then he will be ordered to be dragged along on his face until he is cast into Hell-fire.”
Surah Az-Zumar, Verse 47:
وَلَوْ أَنَّ لِلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوا مَا فِي الْأَرْضِ جَمِيعًا وَمِثْلَهُ مَعَهُ لَافْتَدَوْا بِهِ مِن سُوءِ الْعَذَابِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۚ وَبَدَا لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يَكُونُوا يَحْتَسِبُونَ
And those who did wrong (the polytheists and disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah), if they had all that is in earth and therewith as much again, they verily, would offer it to ransom themselves therewith on the Day of Resurrection from the evil torment, and there will become apparent to them from Allah, what they had not been reckoning.
They never thought that this would be their situation on the Day of Judgement. Their reality will be exposed to them, a reality which they never perceived when they were alive.
Allah, out of His Mercy, makes us go through situations which show us the reality of what is in our heart. But there are people who ignore and neglect it; they do not see themselves as mistaken. They blame everyone except themselves. When one lives his life always attributing good to himself, Allah will seal this persons heart, until he dies on that state.
The greatest goal (المقصود الأعظم) we should seek when studying the Name of Allah العليم is reformation of our heart.
Posted on November 20, 2016, in Allah's Names and Attributes, The Name of Allaah Al-'Aleem and tagged Allah's name, islam, Islamic Knowledge, Islamic Studies, Names of Allah, religion. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.