The Name of Allah Al-‘Aleem العليم (Part 16)

Shaikh Abdur-Razzaq al-Badr حفظه الله mentioned the virtues of knowing the Names of Allah in his book Fiqh Al-Asmaa.

أن الله سبحانه يحب أسماءه و صفاته و يحب ظهور آثارها في خلقه، وهذا من لوازم كماله فهو وتر يحب الوتر، جميل يحب الجمال، عليم يحب العلماء، جواد يحب الأجواد، قويّ و المؤمن القوي أحب إليه من المؤمن الضعيف، حيي يحب أهل الحياء، تواب يحب التوابين، شكور يحب الشاكرين، صادق يحب الصادقين، محسن يحب المحسنين، رحيم يحب الرحماء، و إنما يرحم من عباده الرحماء، ستير يحب من يستر على عباده، عفوّ يحب من يعفو عنهم، بر يحب البر و أهله، عدل يحب العدل، و يجازي عباده بحسب وجود هذه الصفات وجوداً و عدماً. وهذا باب واسع يدل على شرف هذا العلم و فضله.

Allah loves His Names and His Attributes; He loves them ( the impacts) to be shown on His creation. Because Allaah is Perfect, this entails perfect knowledge. Accordingly, He is Witr and He loves Witr, He is Beautiful and loves beauty, He is Knowledgeable and loves the knowledgeable people, He is Jawwaad and He loves Generosity, He is Strong and the strong believer is more beloved to Him than the weak believer, He is Modest and loves the people of modesty, He is At-Tawwab and loves the repentant, He is Ash-Shakoor and loves the grateful, He is Truthful and loves the truthful, He is Muhsin and loves the good-doers, He is Merciful and loves those who show mercy – and He shows mercy to His slaves who are merciful to others, He is As-Sitteer and loves those who conceal the defects of His slaves, He is Pardoning and loves those who pardon others, He is Barr and loves Birr and its people, He is Just and loves justice, And He recompenses His slaves in accordance to the amount of presence or absence of these attributes. And this is a vast door which points to the nobility of this knowledge and its virtues.

“عليم يحب العلماء”Allah is Al-‘Aleem and He loves the knowledgeable people.

Upon knowing this, one should take care of knowing the meaning of each Name, and also check if one is attributed with its impact. Allah recompenses His servants according to how much His Names and Attributes have an impact in their lives. He will reward one according to how merciful he is, how learned he is, etc. If your share in that impact of the attribute is more, your reward will be more.

Allah is Al-‘Aleem and loves the knowledgeable العلماء. How diligent are you in learning and seeking knowledge for the sake of Allah? It is according to that, that Allah will reward you.

The Name العليم Al-‘Aleem in Surat al-Baqarah

The Name العليم is mentioned more than one hundred fifty times in the Qur’an.  In Surat al-Baqarah alone, it is mentioned twenty-one times, which implies we should take care of studying it.

Surat al-Baqarah begins with the story of Adam (عليه السلام).

 In verses 30-33:

“And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place (mankind) generations after generations on earth.” They said: “Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, – while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You.” He (Allah) said: “I know that which you do not know.”

“قالوا أتجعل فيها من يفسد فيها و يسفك الدماء و نحن نسبح بحمدك و نقدس لك” – When the Angel asked this statement, they did not ask out of envy or in a way of dispute. They asked about the wisdom, because they had a prior knowledge that a creation of this kind would make mischief on earth.

Allah replied: “قال إني أعلم ما لا تعلمون”

It is as if Allah is saying: I know the benefit of putting such a creation on earth. The benefit outweighs the harm which they will cause. I will make among them Prophets, Messengers, Righteous People, Martyrs, Scholars who implement their knowledge, etc. I know what you do not know. Another meaning could be: I know what Iblees is concealing in his heart. Allah wants to show the virtue of Adam (عليه السلام) over the angels.

 Verse 31:

“And He taught Adam all the names (of everything), then He showed them to the angels and said, “Tell Me the names of these if you are truthful.”

The superiority was knowledge – علم. It is Allah that taught Adam (عليه السلام)

Verse 32:

“They (angels) said: “Glory be to You, we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Verily, it is You, the All-Knower, the All-Wise.”

Many lessons can be derived from this verse:

“سبحانك لا علم لنا إلا ما علمتنا” – Allah is free from any deficiency and the angels affirm perfection to Him; no creature can acquire any part of Allah’s knowledge except by the permission of Allah. No one can know anything except what Allah teaches Him. No one will be able to learn or acquire any knowledge, except what Allah wants. One should not blame anyone for not understanding, or say it is beyond his level.

Allah is the One who teaches you. He is the One who opens your heart and mind to understand. Whenever the gate of knowledge is closed for you and it is difficult for you to understand, it means that Allah has not yet permitted you to learn or understand. The teacher is just a tool through which Allah teaches you. The relationship is directly between you and Allah. If Allah permits you to learn, it will be made easy for you. If He does not, even if you bring Ibn Baaz in front of you, there will be no way to understand. Therefore, ask Allah to make it easy for you to understand.

“إنك أنت العليم الحكيم”Allah knows who deserves to obtain knowledge and who does not. He knows everything about a person. He will not give knowledge to a person who does not deserve it, because He is All-Wise الحكيم, and He will not deprive a person who deserves it, because He is All-Wise الحكيم. If you are grateful, Allah will increase you in knowledge.

Allah says in Surat Ibrahim [14:7]:

“And (remember) when your Lord proclaimed: “If you give thanks (by accepting Faith and worshipping none but Allah), I will give you more (of My Blessings), but if you are thankless (i.e. disbelievers), verily! My Punishment is indeed severe.”

If you see that the gate of knowledge is open for you, you must know that Allah has specifically meant to give you this great blessing. Thus, you should show more humility to Allah.

The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

مَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ بِهِ خَيْرًا يُفَقِّهْهُ فِي الدِّينِ، وَاللَّهُ الْمُعْطِي وَأَنَا الْقَاسِمُ، وَلاَ تَزَالُ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةُ ظَاهِرِينَ عَلَى مَنْ خَالَفَهُمْ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ وَهُمْ ظَاهِرُونَ

“If Allah wants to do good for somebody, he makes him comprehend the Religion (i.e. Islam), and Allah is the Giver and I am Al-Qasim (i.e. the distributor), and this (Muslim) nation will remain victorious over their opponents till Allah’s Order comes, and they will still be victorious.” [Al-Bukhari]

المعطي  Al Mu’tee means Allah is the True Giver. None can give what He withholds, nor can anyone withhold what He gives. If Allah wills knowledge for someone, no one can withhold it from him no matter what he does. And if Allah withholds it, no one can give it to him no matter what he does. The impact of this is having hope in Allah alone and no one else. One should show humility to Allah, as Ibn Taymiyah used to do. Whenever he did not understand anything, he would put his cheek on the dust and humiliate himself saying, “يا معلم آدم و إبراهيم علمني” (O’ the one who taught Adam and Ibrahim عليهما السلام, teach me!)

We need to ask Allah for knowledge by showing humility, and not coming to Islamic study circles with pride or self sufficiency. These feelings deprive a person of knowledge. We do not want this knowledge to be taken away from us. Allah gives those who He knows deserve it, and may take it away from those He knows do not deserve it. Allah is the One who teaches us and no one else.

We should always thank Allah for every piece of information we acquire, so that Allah will increase us more.

Verse 33:

“He said: “O Adam! Inform them of their names,” and when he had informed them of their names, He said: “Did I not tell you that I know the Ghaib (unseen) in the heavens and the earth, and I know what you reveal and what you have been concealing?”

Allah knows the wisdom of putting a successor on earth, and He knows what Iblees was concealing in his heart.

In the story of Talut (Saul) in Surat Baqarah, (2:246):

“Have you not thought about the group of the Children of Israel after (the time of) Musa (Moses)? When they said to a Prophet of theirs, “Appoint for us a king and we will fight in Allah’s Way.” He said, “Would you then refrain from fighting, if fighting was prescribed for you?” They said, “Why should we not fight in Allah’s Way while we have been driven out of our homes and our children (families have been taken as captives)?” But when fighting was ordered for them, they turned away, all except a few of them. And Allah is All-Aware of the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers).”

After Musa (عليه السلام) died, Allah sent Prophets one after the other to the Bani Israeel. For a long time there was no Prophet and the Bani Israeel (people of Israel) indulged in committing sins, innovation and differing among themselves until they divided themselves into sects. Allah made other Kings overpower them, and their Tabut (tranquility, peace, and reassurance) was taken and they suffered a lot. Then Allah sent them a Prophet whom they asked to appoint a King, in order that they could fight under his leadership against their enemy. When Allah sent a King for them, most of them retreated, which indicated that they were not truthful.

Allah chose for them Talut as a king.

In verse 257:

“And their Prophet (Samuel) said to them, “Indeed Allah has appointed Talut (Saul) as a king over you.” They said, “How can he be a king over us when we are better fitted than him for the kingdom, and he has not been given enough wealth.” He said: “Verily, Allah has chosen him above you and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and stature. And Allah grants His Kingdom to whom He wills. And Allah is All-Sufficient for His creatures’ needs, All-Knower.”

إن الله اصطفاه عليكم وزاده بسطة في العلم و الجسم” – Talut was not a descendant of a king and he was poor. But Allah chose him for his knowledge and physical strength. And this should be the description of any leader who has people under him.

والله يؤتي ملكه من يشاء” – Allah chooses whomever He wills to be kings

والله واسع عليم” – Allah knows who deserves to be a king and who does not. And the true king with Allah is he who has knowledge.

Allah knows who deserves to be honored with knowledge and who does not. Allah elevates those who have knowledge and loves those who have knowledge.

When they went to fight Jalut, Dawud (عليه السلام), who was not a Prophet at that time, was among the soldiers of Talut. Ibn Kathir (رحمه الله) mentioned that Talut promised to give his daughter in marriage and a share in kingship to whoever killed Jalut. And Dawud (عليه السلام) killed Jalut.

In verse 251:

“So they routed them by Allah’s Leave and Dawud (David) killed Jalut (Goliath), and Allah gave him [Dawud (David)] the kingdom [after the death of Talut (Saul) and Samuel] and Al-Hikmah (Prophethood), and taught him of that which He willed. And if Allah did not check one set of people by means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allah is full of Bounty to the ‘Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists).”

و علمه مما يشاء” – The best thing that Allah gives those whom he chooses among His creation is Knowledge. Knowledge is a special provision from Allah, which He does not give to just anyone. You should feel the honor that Allah chose you to acquire knowledge from amongst all the people in society. Allah particularized you with knowledge, so you should show more gratitude and humility, so that He will increase you in it.

At the end of the Surah, verse 282:

“O you who believe! When you contract a debt for a fixed period, write it down. Let a scribe write it down in justice between you. Let not the scribe refuse to write as Allah has taught him, so let him write. Let him (the debtor) who incurs the liability dictate, and he must fear Allah, his Lord, and diminish not anything of what he owes. But if the debtor is of poor understanding, or weak, or is unable himself to dictate, then let his guardian dictate in justice. And get two witnesses out of your own men. And if there are not two men (available), then a man and two women, such as you agree for witnesses, so that if one of them (two women) errs, the other can remind her. And the witnesses should not refuse when they are called on (for evidence). You should not become weary to write it (your contract), whether it be small or big, for its fixed term, that is more just with Allah; more solid as evidence, and more convenient to prevent doubts among yourselves, save when it is a present trade which you carry out on the spot among yourselves, then there is no sin on you if you do not write it down. But take witnesses whenever you make a commercial contract. Let neither scribe nor witness suffer any harm, but if you do (such harm), it would be wickedness in you. So be afraid of Allah; and Allah teaches you. And Allah is the All-Knower of each and everything.”

وتقوا الله و يعلمكم الله” – Some scholars say that from this verse, it is clear that Allah gives knowledge according to the level of Taqwa you have; that is, how much you try to please Allah by acting upon His Commands and avoiding sins.

Allah is the One who teaches; we have to take the means of acquiring knowledge from Allah. Allah teaches the humans by sending Prophets and Messengers; the true teachers who taught us about Allah, i.e. what He loves, what He hates, about this life, about the Day of Judgment, etc.

The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophet (ﷺ).

The Prophet (ﷺ) said,”Indeed, the scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets, for the Prophets do not leave behind a dinar or a dirham for inheritance, but rather, they leave behind knowledge. So whoever takes hold of it has acquired a large share (i.e. of inheritance).[Abu Dawud]

Knowledge is better than wealth.

Allah commanded us in Surat al-A’raf [7:180]:

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.

ولله الاسماء الحسنى” – To Allah belongs the Most Beautiful Names.

فادعوه بها” – Allah commands us to call Him by them.

Call unto Allah by His Names either by:

1) دعاء العبادة – (Du’aa Ibadah) Worshipping Allah by this Name

All what we have discussed is of this type.

2) دعاء المسأله – (Du’aa Masalah ) Invoking Allah by this Name

There are many supplications which contain the Name Al-‘Aleem and the attribute of ‘Ilm العلم (knowledge).


a.“O Allah, by Your Knowledge of the unseen and by Your Power over creation, let me live if You know that life is good for me, and let me die if You know that death is good for me. O Allah, I ask You to grant me Taqwa (fear) of You in private and in public. I ask You for the word of truth in times of contentment and anger. I ask You for moderation in wealth and in poverty. I ask You for blessings never ceasing and the coolness of my eye (i.e. pleasure) that never ends. I ask You for pleasure after Your judgment and I ask You for a life of coolness after death. I ask You for the delight of gazing upon Your Face and the joy of meeting You without any harm or misleading trials befalling me. O Allah, dress us with the beauty of faith, and make us guides who are upon (correct) guidance.” (An-Nasaa’i, 3/54)

“اللهم بعلمك الغيب و قدرتك على الخلق أحيني ما علمت الحياة خيرا لي و توفني إذا علمت الوفاة خيرا لي” – O Allah, by Your knowledge of the unseen and Your power over creation, let me live if you know that life is good for me, and let me die if you know that death is good for me.

Allah knows the unseen. He knows what is good for you and what is not good for you. He knows if being alive is better for you, or if death is better for you. Never wish for death, rather invoke with this supplication.

 bThe Prophet (ﷺ) said, “O Shaddad bin Aws! If you see the people amassing gold and silver, then say these statements a lot:

“و أسالك من خير ما تعلم و أعوذبك من شر ما تعلم و أستغفرك لم تعلم إنك آنت العلام الغيوب”


“O Allah! I ask You to grant me steadfastness and consistency in all my affairs; and I ask You for the resolve to adhere to the path of guidance. O Allah! I beg of You those things that entitle one to deserve Your mercy and Your forgiveness; I worship You well [attentively]; and I beseech You to grant me a pure heart and a truthful tongue; and I beg You for all the goodness that You know of; and I seek refuge in You from all the evils that You know of; I ask forgiveness of You from all that You know of; verily, You are the knower of all the secrets and hidden mysteries.” [Ahmad (17155), al-Tirmidhi (3407) and al-Nasaa’i (1304) ]

And I ask You for all the goodness that you Know, and I seek refuge in You from all the evils that You know; I ask forgiveness of You from all that You know; Verily, You are the All-Knower of the Unseen. – We may commit sins ignorantly and unknowingly. But Allah Knows. We must ask Allah to forgive us for what He knows and we do not know. He knows the minor sins and the major sins we commit.

3 ) The Du’aa for Distress

On the authority of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (Radia-Allahu ‘anhu): The Prophet (Salla- Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “No servant has ever said when met with sorrow, grief or worry:

‘O Allah, I am Your servant, son of Your servant, son of Your maidservant, my forelock is in Your hand (i.e. You have total mastery over), Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’an the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety’” except that Allah will remove his sadness grief and worry, and he will replace it with happiness.’ [Recorded by Imam Ahmad; Sahih ibn Hibban; and other than them]

They (the companions) said, “O Messenger of Allah! It befits us that we learn these words.” He said, “Yes, it befits the one who hears them to learn.”

4 ) The Du’aa of Istikharah (Du’aa seeking consultation from Allah)

O Allah, I seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and I seek ability by virtue of Your power, and I ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, I have none. And You know, I know not. You are the Knower of hidden things. O Allah, if in Your Knowledge, this matter (then it should be mentioned by name) is good for me both in this world and in the Hereafter (or in my religion, my livelihood and my affairs (or for me both in this world and the next), then turn me away from it, [and turn it away from me], and ordain for me the good wherever it may be and make me pleased with it. [Bukhari]

“اللهم إني أستخيرك بعلمك” – O Allah, I seek Your guidance by virtue of Your Knowledge.

“و تعلم و لا أعلم” – And You Know, and I do not know.

You are consulting Allah because He knows and you do not. So be pleased with whatever Allah decrees for you after that. You are invoking Allah with His Attribute of Knowledge, so then why must you be unhappy after consulting Allah? 

Most of time we supplicate without paying heed to what we are saying or understanding the words we utter.

May Allah benefit us of what we have read. Aameen.

Download the compiled lecture on the Name of Allah: Al-‘Aleem  العليم (all 16 lectures in one PDF file)


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 26, 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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