The Name of Allaah العليم Al-‘Aleem (Part 12)
Allah’s Name العليم implies the attribute of العلم (Knowledge). Allah is attributed with having knowledge, and the creation also has knowledge. How can we single Allah out with this attribute? Last week’s post introduced us to the difference between Allah’s Knowledge and creation’s knowledge with evidences from the Qur’an. This week we look further into understanding where we stand with our deficient knowledge, and the reality of the creation’s knowledge.
What makes people become atheists, feel proud, reject Islam? They are deceived with the knowledge that they have, and the advancements that have been made in the field of technology.
c) The creation does not know anything except what Allah teaches them
Allah said regarding Dawoud عليه السلام in Surat al-Anbiya’ [21:80]:
“And We taught him the making of metal coats of mail (for battles), to protect you in your fighting. Are you then grateful?”
Allah said regarding both Dawoud and Sulaiman عليهما السلام in Surat an-Naml [27:15-16]:
“And indeed We gave knowledge to Dawoud (David) and Sulaiman (Solomon), and they both said: “All the praises and thanks be to Allah, Who has preferred us above many of His believing slaves!”
“And Sulaiman (Solomon) inherited (the knowledge of) Dawoud (David). He said: ‘O mankind! We have been taught the language of the birds, and on us have been bestowed all things. This, verily, is an evident grace (from Allah).’”
It is Allah that gave Sulaiman and Dawoud عليهما السلام knowledge.
And they thanked Allah for this knowledge.
Allah said regarding ‘Eesa عليه السلام in Surat al-Ma’idah [5:110]:
“(Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection). “O ‘Iesa (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary)! Remember My Favour to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh-ul-Qudus [Jibrael (Gabriel)] so that you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and when I taught you writing, Al-Hikmah (the power of understanding), the Taurat (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel); and when you made out of the clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My Permission, and you breathed into it, and it became a bird by My Permission, and you healed those born blind, and the lepers by My Permission, and when you brought forth the dead by My Permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from you (when they resolved to kill you) since you came unto them with clear proofs, and the disbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’ “
Allah taught all the Prophets and Messengers, and He taught all humans. Allah taught us the Qur’an through which is knowledge of everything we need to be successful in this life and the Hereafter.
In Surat ar-Rahman [55:1-2]:
“The Most Beneficent (Allah)!”
“Has taught (you mankind) the Quran (by His Mercy).”
Who taught us to hold and write with the pen? Allah. In Surat al-‘Alaq [96:4-5]:
“Who has taught (the writing) by the pen [the first person to write was Prophet Idrees (Enoch)].”
“Has taught man that which he knew not.”
All what we have of knowledge is taught to us by Allah and no one else. We have to thank Allah for this blessing.
But instead of praising Allah and thanking Allah for the blessing of knowledge, some people attribute their knowledge and intelligence to themselves, their classes, the teacher, etc. We talk about and praise everything except Allah.
Even if we do mention Allah for a second, we will talk about our intelligence, the means and precautions we took, the teacher we learnt from, etc. for one hour. This indicates that we are not thanking Allah for the blessing. Our hearts are filled with the means we took, and not Allah, Who helped us and made the means available to us. The person whose heart is filled with Allah will always talk about Allah; He will feel ashamed to talk about other than Allah.
Allah said in Surat az-Zumar [39:49]:
“When harm touches man, he calls to Us (for help), then when We have (rescued him from that harm and) changed it into a favor from Us, he says: ‘Only because of knowledge (that I possess) did I obtain it.’ Nay, it is only a trial, but most of them know not!”
“قال إنما أوتيته على علم”
He does not even say: “آتَانِي الله” (Allah gave me). He says: “أوتيت”, not even mentioning Allah.
“على علم” = Because of a knowledge I possess.
Man forgets Allah and just talks about his intelligence, experience, the means, the precautions, the university, etc. He talks about everything except Allah, as if he is the one who created his own ability and power to take the means; as if he brought everything, including the means, into existence.
“بل هي فتنة و لأكن أكثرهم لا يعلمون”
But this is just a test – will you think good about Allah or not? Will you thank Allah or not?
d) Our Knowledge in comparison to the Knowledge of Allah is very little, in spite of the abundant knowledge the children of Adam عليه السلام have acquired.
In Sahih al-Bukhari, it was narrated that some men came to the Prophet ﷺ and asked him about the soul in our bodies. Then Allah revealed in Surat al-Isra’ [17:85]:
“And they ask you (O Muhammad ﷺ) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit). Say: ‘The Ruh (the Spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.’”
Those who boast that they have Phd’s and other doctorates or degrees, do not even know about the nature of the soul which is between their two sides. They only know what Allah has told us; that it departs the body when we sleep and may or may not return, and at the time of death our eyes will follow the soul, and it will either reach the Illiyeen, or the gates of the heavens will be closed for it, then it will be returned to the body in the grave, and will be either in delight or torment. Do we know anything more than that?
We have to admit that our knowledge is nothing in comparison to the knowledge of Allah. In the story of Musa and Khidr عليهما السلام, when they embarked on the ship, a sparrow came and stood on the edge of the boat and dipped its beak once or twice in the sea. Al-Khidr said: “O Musa! My knowledge and your knowledge compared to Allah’s Knowledge is like the amount of water taken by this sparrow from the sea with its beak” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Do not be deceived by today’s smart technology. It is Allah Who is teaching us.
What should our attitude be if we really believe that Allah is the One teaching us? We should show humility to Allah and not be arrogant. The scholars said that the sign of a person of knowledge is that the more Allah teaches him, the more he shows humbleness. And the sign of the ignorant person is that the more Allah teaches him, the more he shows arrogance. Being humble should be the impact of our knowledge. We should not feel arrogance in our heart towards people.
The knowledge of the Prophets and all of creation in comparison to the Knowledge of Allah is nothing. Then what about our knowledge? “و ما أوتيتم من العلم إلا قليلا“ – And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little.
The words of Allah (كلمات الله) are either:
1) Legal Words, or
2) Universal Words
If all the oceans were ink to write the Words of Allah, and you brought 7 seas to increase it, and the trees of all the earth were pens; all of these would be exhausted, but the Words of Allah will never be exhausted. This shows us that we are nothing and our knowledge is nothing in comparison to Allah.
Comparing our knowledge to Allah is like comparing our ability with His ability, our wisdom with His wisdom. We can never be compared to Allah. We are weak, in need, incapable. And Allah is Perfect, and His Knowledge is Perfect.
The Prophet ﷺ said:
“…I cannot enumerate Your praise, You are as You have praised yourself.” [An-Nasaa’i]
In Salaat Al-Istikharah we say:
وَتَعْلَمُ وَلا أَعْلَمُ وَأَنْتَ عَلامُ الْغُيُوبِ
“…And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things….” [Al-Bukhari]
The more you show humility to Allah, the more He will teach you.
In Surat al-Baqarah [2:216]:
“Jihad (holy fighting in Allah’s Cause) is ordained for you (Muslims) though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.”
Allah is addressing the most knowledgeable nation, which is us, the Muslim nation.
“والله يعلم و أنتم لا تعلمون”
Look into your life and what you like and do not like of situations. Whatever you do not like is good for you. Allah knows, and you do not know. Any situation which is bothering you, disturbing you, upsetting you is good for you, because Allah knows and you do not know. This is what our belief should be.
Allah will say to the Messengers on the Day of Judgment, as mentioned in Surat al-Ma’idah [5:109]:
“On the Day when Allah will gather the Messengers together and say to them: “What was the response you received (from men to your teaching)? They will say: “We have no knowledge, verily, only You are the All-Knower of all that is hidden (or unseen, etc.).”
Why do they say this? This indicates their good manners, and that they know for sure that even the knowledge they have is nothing in comparison to Allah’s Knowledge,
“الغيوب” – This is mentioned in the plural. Allah knows all the unseen.
If you light a lamp on a sunny day, will it have any effect? This is like our knowledge in comparison to the Knowledge of Allah, and this is what the Messengers admitted. We have to admit in order to humble ourselves. When you humble yourself, Allah will give you more. But if you feel satisfied with the knowledge you have, and that you do not need to attend a course or study, it means that you are on the way of ignorance. We have to admit that we have no knowledge.
e) No deficiency, forgetfulness or ignorance befalls the Knowledge of Allah. However, we as humans are forgetful, ignorant of many things, and our knowledge is deficient.
Allah negated forgetfulness for Himself in Surat Maryam [19:64]:
“And we (angels) descend not except by the Command of your Lord (O Muhammad). To Him belongs what is before us and what is behind us, and what is between those two, and your Lord is never forgetful,”
f) Never does a knowledge of something occupy Allah from another knowledge
When Allah knows something, it does not mean that He is ignorant of something else. Unlike us, He knows everything and the affairs of everyone.
E.g. Hearing: Allah’s Hearing never occupies Him from hearing other things. For us humans, if two people speak at the same time, we cannot concentrate and hear them both clearly. As for Allah, if all of creation invoked Him at the same time, He hears them all equally, and knows what is in all their hearts equally. Never does the knowledge or hearing of some of them occupy Him from the knowledge or hearing of others.
In Surat an-Nahl [16:78]:
“And Allah has brought you out from the wombs of your mothers while you know nothing. And He gave you hearing, sight, and hearts that you might give thanks (to Allah).”
“لا تعلمون شيء”
Our knowledge is preceded with ignorance. We did not know, and Allah slowly taught us.
Allah has always been العليم and always will be العليم. Knowledge is a صفة ذاتية; an Essential Attribute of Allah. There has never come and will never come a stage where Allah does not know.
There are some sects that claim that Allah does not know about a thing except after it happens. Allah knows about everything even before it happens. And there are sects that claim that Allah knows generally and not in detail. They have forged a lie against Allah. Allah’s Knowledge is comprehensive and covers the details of every minute matter.
What happens to our knowledge? It is not permanent; we forget. Our knowledge is followed by forgetfulness. We are bound between ignorance and forgetfulness, whereas Allah’s Knowledge has always been perfect and will always be perfect. Allah is far above what people forge against Him.
Al-Khattabi said regarding the knowledge of the creation: “Even though the sons of Adam are attributed with knowledge, it is directed to certain knowledge, and they may have it in one state and not in another state. They may be afflicted with a sickness or an affliction which results in their ignorance after having knowledge, and forgetfulness after knowing.”
You cannot find anyone who has knowledge of everything. Even the scholars do not know worldly knowledge in detail, except what they need. Humans do not have the ability to comprehend the knowledge of everything. And Allah’s Knowledge is real and perfect.
It does not suit the deficient human to judge the actions of the One who is Perfect. If we admit that we are deficient in our knowledge, then how can we judge Allah Who is Perfect in His Knowledge and Attributes?
This is one way of making Da’wah to scientists and their likes, who are arrogant and disbelieve in the Creator because of their knowledge. You can use this approach in order to show them who they are in comparison to Allah.
Posted on April 15, 2017, in Allah's Names and Attributes, The Name of Allaah Al-'Aleem, Uncategorized and tagged Al Aleem, Allah's names, Knowledge of Allah, Knowledge of creation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.