The Name of Allah Al-‘Aleem العليم (Part 14)

Allah particularized Himself with the knowledge of the unseen, and He informed us that no one knows it except Him. We have to single Allah out with the attribute of the Knowledge of the unseen – علم الغيب .

When people see that their dreams are coming true all the time, they think they know the unseen, not knowing that they are whispering from the Shaytan as a test from Allah. Do they believe they know what is going to happen in the future? Or do they believe that no one knows about the future except Allah? The influence of people’s dreams might even persuade them to the extent that they say that their dreams never fail them. If you think you know the future you have committed Shirk.

Even the jinn do not know the unseen. In Surat as-Saba [34:14]:

“Then when We decreed death for him [Sulaiman (Solomon)], nothing informed them (jinn) of his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his stick, so when he fell down, the Jinn saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment.”

When the worm of the earth ate Sulaiman عليه اسلام ‘s stick, he fell from it. The Jinn then came to know the truth:

“فلما خَر تبينت الجن أن لو كانوا يعلمون الغيب ما لبثوا في العذاب المهين”

“So when he fell down, the Jinn saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment” – This indicates that even the Jinn do not know the unseen. Subsequently, those who seek help from the Jinn and go to fortune tellers and soothsayers are doing something wrong. No one knows the unseen except Allah.

In Surat al-Jinn [72:9-10], Allah said on the tongue of the Jinn:

“‘And verily, we used to sit there in stations, to (steal) a hearing, but any who listens now will find a flaming fire watching him in ambush.”

“And we know not whether evil is intended for those on earth, or whether their Lord intends for them a Right Path.”

The Jinn were sitting in positions near the heavens, in order to listen to the news of the heavens. Then, they were prevented from hearing. The Jinn say that they do not know if this event is because Allah wills good for the people of the earth or something evil. It is clearly mentioned in the Qur’an that the Jinn do not know, but there are still some Muslims who go to fortunetellers, soothsayers, and palm readers, thinking that these means can tell them about the unseen.

The Connection between the Name العليم and the belief in the Day of Judgment.

In Surat Fatir [35:31-37]:

“And what We have inspired in you [O Muhammad (ﷺ)], of the Book (the Qur’an), it is the (very) truth [that you (Muhammad) and your followers must act on its instructions], confirming that which was (revealed) before it. Verily! Allah is indeed All-Aware, and All-Seer of His slaves.”

Allah mentions the revealing of His Book to the Prophet (ﷺ), which is all truth. But what happened to the people?

“Then We gave the Book the Qur’an) for inheritance to such of Our slaves whom We chose (the followers of Muhammad). Of them are some who wrong their own selves, and of them are some who follow a middle course, and of them are some who are, by Allah’s Leave, foremost in good deeds. That (inheritance of the Qur’an), that is indeed a great grace.”

After Allah gave the Qur’an as inheritance to the slaves He chose, they divided into three categories of people:

1) Those who wrong themselves (by committing sins).

2) Those who follow a moderate course; who do what is obligatory, but no more than that.

3) Those who are foremost; who not only do the obligatory but the recommendable.

Allah then mentions the recompense of these three categories:

“‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) will they enter, therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments there will be of silk (i.e. in Paradise).”

After Allah mentioned the three categories, He said “جنات عدن يدخلونها”

The Scholars called the واو in “يدخلونها” the “واو السعادة” (The Waw of Happiness), because all three categories are believers and all three will enter Paradise. This gives us hope; do not despair in the Mercy of Allah. But also, do not persist in sin, because there are different degrees in Jannah.

After Allah mentioned the recompense of the three, He said in verses 36-37:

“But those who disbelieve, (in the Oneness of Allah – Islamic Monotheism) for them will be the Fire of Hell. Neither it will have a complete killing effect on them so that they die, nor shall its torment be lightened for them. Thus do We requite every disbeliever!”

“Therein they will cry: “Our Lord! Bring us out, we shall do righteous good deeds, not (the evil deeds) that we used to do.” (Allah will reply): “Did We not give you lives long enough, so that whosoever would receive admonition, – could receive it? And the warner came to you. So taste you (the evil of your deeds). For the Zalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.) there is no helper.”

All three will enter Paradise, and only the disbelievers will enter Hellfire.

Then, after Allah mentioned these categories of people and their recompense in the Hereafter, He mentioned verse 38.

“Verily, Allah is the All-Knower of the unseen of the heavens and the earth. Verily! He is the All-Knower of that is in the breasts.”

What is the connection?

Shaikh As-Sa’di رحمه الله said in his Tafseer:

لما ذكر تعالى جزاء أهل الدارين و ذكر أعمال الفريقين، أخبر تعالى عن سعة علمه تعالى و اطلاعه على غيب السماوات و الأرض التي غابت عن أبصار الخلق و عن علمهم، و أنه عالم بالسرائر و ما تنطوي عليه الصدور من الخير و الشر و الزكاء و غيره، فيعطي كلا ما يستحقه و ينزل كل أحد منزلته

After Allah mentioned the recompense of the people of the two abodes (Paradise and Hell), and the deeds of the two parties, He informed us about His vast Knowledge and Awareness of the unseen of the heavens and earth; which He has made hidden from the sight of the creation and has made hidden from their knowledge. He is the All-Knower of the secrets and what the breasts conceal of good and evil, and purity and besides that. Accordingly, He will give everyone what he deserves and put everyone in the place that suits him

E.g. in Surat al Ghafir [40:17-20]:

“This Day shall every person be recompensed for what he earned. No injustice (shall be done to anybody). Truly, Allah is Swift in reckoning.”

We believe that there is no injustice on that day; Allah is swift in taking account.

“And warn them [O Muhammad (ﷺ)] of the Day that is drawing near (i.e. the Day of Resurrection), when the hearts will be choking the throats, and they can neither return them (hearts) to their chests nor can they throw them out. There will be no friend, nor an intercessor for the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), who could be given heed to.”

الآزفة  Al-Azeefah, the Day which is drawing close -The day the hearts will be choking the throats. Out of severe horror, it will neither go back to its place nor come out. But Allah will give safety and security to the believers on that day. Those who will be afraid are the disbelievers and those who transgressed against themselves.

Those who have transgressed and did wrong will have no close friend or intercessor who can offer them help on that day.

In verses 19-20:

“Allah knows the fraud of the eyes, and all that the breasts conceal.”

“And Allah judges with truth, while those to whom they invoke besides Him, cannot judge anything. Certainly, Allah! He is the All-Hearer, the All-Seer.”

Allah knows the fraud of the eyes and what the breasts conceal – The fraud of the eyes is the quick movement of the eye to something that is unlawful. Accordingly, Allah will judge with truth on the Day of Judgment.

There are many verses in the Qur’an where Allah mentions His Knowledge along with recompense and judgment on the Day of Judgment. When we read this, it should increase our faith. Allah knows everything we do in this life, and He will recompense us for it on the Day of Judgment.

Connection between the Name Al-‘Aleem العليم and Belief in the Qadar (pre-ordainment):

The Name Al-‘Aleem should also increase our belief in the Qadar (Pre-ordainment). This is an issue which is still not clear for many Muslims. They either deny it or are still thinking bad about Allah. Many groups have deviated with regards to the matter of the Qadar.

Al-Qadar in Arabic is derived from the word Taqdeer-تقدير   which means estimation or determination. It is to put something in a place according to your will.

In Islamic Terminology it has two meanings:

1) The Will of Allah (إرادة الله)

2) The Decreed Ordainments which Allah decreed before the creations of the heavens and the earth.

The Qadar has four ranks:

a) Knowledge (العلم)

Allah knows everything in advance; what happened in the past, what is happening now, what will happen in the future. He knows about things that cannot possibly happen and how they would be if they happened. He knows about the unseen and the consequence of the matters. This is the Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah. Allah knows everything in advance, in detail and in general. Nothing is hidden from Him.

This is based on the verse in Surat al-Qamar [54:49]:

“Verily, We have created all things with Qadar (Divine Preordainments of all things before their creation, as written in the Book of Decrees Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz).”

We believe that Allah’s Knowledge is an essential attribute – صفة ذاتية; it is never separate from Allah. He has always been attributed with knowledge and always will be. His Knowledge is neither preceded with ignorance nor followed with forgetfulness. His Knowledge does not change, nor does it increase with the occurrence of the matter. When something happens we come to know. There are people who believe that Allah does not know things except after they happen. But the belief – Aqeedah of Ahlus-Sunnah is that Allah’s Knowledge is perfect. He already knows everything that is going to happen until the Day of Judgment.

b) Writing (الكتابة)

Allah wrote what He knows in the Preserved Tablet.

Evidence: Surat al-Hajj [22:70]:

“Know you not that Allah knows all that is in heaven and on earth? Verily, it is (all) in the Book (Al-Lauh Al-Mahfuz). Verily! That is easy for Allah.”

The above two ranks are before the creation and the occurrence of the Qadar.

The remaining two ranks occur now:

c) The Will (المشيئة)

d) Creation (الخلق)

Everything that befalls now is according to the Will of Allah, according to what He decreed before.

i) There is something called Eradah إرادة and something called Mashi-ah مشيئة. In English they both are translated as “will”.

Allah says, “والله يفعل ما يريد” and He said, “والله يفعل ما يشاء“. It is not the same, there is a difference. There is a difference between Eradah إرادة and Mashi-ah مشيئة.

ii) Eradah الإرادة is broader than Mashi-ah مشيئة. The Mashi-ah مشيئة is a part of the Eradah إرادة.

iii) There are two kinds of Eradah إرادة of Allah:

iv) الإرادة الشرعية (Legal Will)

v) الإرادة الكونيه (Universal Will); what Allah decreed to happen in the universe by His word كن فيكن

The Differences between the Legal Will of Allaah and His Universal Will:

 Legal Will (الإرادة الشرعية)   Universal Will (الإرادة الكونية) 
 It may occur and it may not  It will definitely occur 
 Allah loves what He has ordained of legal ordainments   Allah may love what He ordains or may not
 E.g. Tawheed, Dutifulness to Parents, Obedience to Him, etc.
Not all people do the above, although Allah loves it. It is مقصود لذاته;
Allah loves it because there is good in it.
E.g. The Creation of Iblees, The Creation of Evil, Killing, etc.
Allah does not love evil, but it happens. It is مقصود لغيره; Allah ordains
it because there is a good purpose behind it

Allah does not like Iblees but created him so that we can repent, struggle against ourselves, etc. If there was no Iblees people would not repent, struggle, seek refuge, etc. There is something good behind the creation of Iblees, therefore Allah willed his creation.

Note: Whenever you see the word “والله يحب” (Allah loves) in the Qur’an, it refers to the إرادة شرعية, because Allah loves it. Also the word “Qada’ ” – “قضى” appears in the Qur’an, which is another word for إرادة.

Some examples:

1) In Surat al-Isra’ [17:4]:

“And We decreed for the Children of Israel in the Scripture, that indeed you would do mischief on the earth twice and you will become tyrants and extremely arrogant!”

The will referred to in this verse is the universal will إرادة كونية because Allah does not like mischief in the land, but He allowed it to happen.

2) In Surat al-Isra’ [17:23]:

“And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him. And that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, nor shout at them but address them in terms of honor.”

The will referred to here is the legal will- إرادة شرعية because Allah loves the aforementioned.

Sometimes we have both universal كونية and legal شرعية wills together. If something Allah loves happens, it is both كونية and شرعية. E.g. the Faith of Abu Bakr.

3) Surat al-Baqarah [2:185]:

“The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadan i.e. is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. Allah intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allah [i.e. to say Takbir (Allahu-Akbar; Allah is the Most Great) on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadan and Shawwal] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.”

Allah loves ease, and Allah’s laws are all easy and it happened, so it is both إرادة شرعية and إرادة كونية.


Universal Will – Allah does not love it but wills it to happen.  رادة كونية – تقع و لا يحبه الله (فقط)

Legal Will – Allah loves it but does not will it to happen.   إرادة شرعية – يحبها و لا تقع (فقط)

Universal and Legal Will – Allah loves it and wills it to happen at the same time.

إوادة شرعية كونية – يحبها و يقع

What is the purpose behind understanding all of the aforementioned?

i) Allah mentioned it in the Qur’an. We sometimes read Yasha’ يشاء and other times Yureed يريد.

ii) We have to understand that Allah does not love evil, but He wills it. Why is that? Because there is a good purpose behind it.

iii) Evil is not attributed to Allah because all of Allah’s Actions are good.

Whatever Allah ordains is good, even if it appears evil. He does not ordain anything but there is some good behind it. There are people who know this and there are people who are ignorant. This is the Aqeedah we ought to have.

E.g. what is happening in the Muslim World of killings. There is great wisdom behind it. If the innocent believers died on belief, their end will be Paradise. Through these trials, the hypocrites are distinguished from the believers; the liars are distinguished from the truthful. When there were no calamities, the hypocrites were mixed with the believers, but Allah revealed their secrets through this calamity. Also, the disbelievers increase in sin through this calamity, so they deserve the severe punishment of Allah. And when Allah takes them, they will never be released from His grasp.

iv) The Qadar – decree could be good or evil, but with regards to the Actions of Allah, they are all good, because it complies with the great wisdom of Allah.

E.g. Allah decreed upon you the loss of a child, job or deportation from the country. There is all good behind it, although it appears evil. The believer knows that there is something good behind all of Allah’s Actions, which he may come to know sooner or later. He deals with Allah with good thinking – حسن الظن

The Prophet () said in an opening supplication:

والخير كله في يديك، والشرّ ليس إليك

“All goodness is in Your Hands and evil is not attributed to You.” [Muslim]

There is nothing that happens in the heavens or the earth except it happens with the Will of Allah. Nothing happens in the dominion of Allah that He does not will.

Do not think that anything that happens is independent of the will of Allah. Allah wills everything that is happening. No one can do anything out of the will of Allah. We have to repeat this Aqeedah repeatedly to ourselves, because there are fruits we will gain if we believe in this.

In the next post in sha Allaah, we will continue with the 4th rank of the Decree – Qadar, the creation. The Decree is a very important topic, so if you have any doubts, unclear points or questions, do not hesitate to contact us any time.

About Enlightenment into Islam Center

The Enlightenment into Islam Center is a community of sisters who aim to please Allah by seeking knowledge and calling the people (Muslims as well as non-Muslims) to Tawheed and obedience to Allah by spreading the true knowledge of Islam based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

Posted on May 17, 2017, in Allah's Names and Attributes, The Name of Allaah Al-'Aleem and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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