Allah calls Himself Al-‘Aleem— The All-Knowing, The Omniscient— on more than 150 occasions in the Quran. Al-‘Aleem knows the tiniest of details of all things hidden and manifest. His Knowledge is complete and perfect and comprehends the past, present, and future. Al-‘Aleem has recorded the properties of everything in a book that is with Him!
‘Aleem comes from the root ‘ayn-laam-meem, which refers to the attribute of having knowledge, of being aware, and of acting according to knowledge, and it appears 854 times in the Quran in 14 derived forms.
Examples of these forms are ‘ilm (knowledge), ‘alima (to know) , ‘allama (to teach) and ‘aalemeen (the worlds).
Allah’s name Al-‘Aleem is the intense form of ‘alim (knower); Allah is the All-Knowing. The name Al-`Allam is the most intense form of the word; it appears four times in the Quran and it points out to the perfection and totality of Allah’s knowledge.
No Ignorance, No Learning, No Forgetting!
Allah’s knowledge can’t be compared to any other knowledge in creation. Our knowledge is preceded by ignorance and we gain knowledge by learning. Also we forget! How many times have you studied something only to forget it the day after?
Allah’s ‘Ilm is neither acquired through learning nor preceded by ignorance; nothing in the heavens or on Earth escapes His notice. Al-‘Aleem says: There falls not a leaf but He knows it, nor a grain in the darkness of the Earth, nor anything green nor withered but it is all in a clear book.” [Quran, 6:59]
His Knowledge isn’t followed by forgetfulness. Musa ‘alayhi salam said to Fir’awn:My Lord never errs, nor does He forget. [Quran, 20:52]
The Laws of the Universe
Our knowledge is only derived from the laws that Allah Al-‘Aleem made for the universe we live in. He determined the properties and components of things around us, for example iron expanding when hot and the technology to keep an airplane in the sky.
It is Allah Al-‘Aleem, Who gave these things their qualities; it is He Who has made the cosmic laws that confine us. Great is the difference between us just “discovering” the relationships among existing things and the creation of these things from nothing by The All-Knowing. The whole universe is a huge demonstration of Allah’s ultimate knowledge.
What is the Most Honorable Knowledge?
We know of disciplines of knowledge such as physics, chemistry, math, medicine, engineering, physiology, etc, and we know Allah. The first kind of knowledge has to do with things created by Allah, while the other has to do with Allah, the creator, Himself. That’s why the most honorable knowledge is to know Allah, His beautiful divine names and attributes, His religion, etc. And the way to this knowledge is through studying the Quraan and the Sunnah!
How Can You Live by This Name?
1. Stick to the commands of Al-‘Aleem.
If you know that Allah knows all things secret and open, that He sees you both while you’re alone and when you’re in other people’s company, that He knows all of your secret thoughts and intentions, all your wishes, hopes, and desires, if you firmly believe that Allah (swt) knows all things, then stick to His divine commands and know that they are the best for you!
2. Be humble.
When you recognize something of the vastness of Allah’s knowledge it should inspire you to be humble. Be cautious about your actions.This is why it is said: the one who knows the most about Allah fears Him the most. Your awareness of the amazing ‘Ilm of Allah should also inspire you with love and admiration for Him, since knowledge is a quality that we naturally admire.
3. Desire to learn.
Be eager to increase your knowledge, especially Islamic knowledge, since Allah loves knowledge and those who possess it, just as He hates ignorance and those who are wilfully ignorant. We should be patient and persevere in seeking beneficial knowledge and recognize that learning is a form of worship! How else can you know what Allah wants from you? How else can you do what pleases Him and avoid what He dislikes?
4. Acquire knowledge of the world.
Learn about the world around you to appreciate Allah’s creative power and wisdom even more! Say: Turn your regard (to ask): What is in the heavens and on Earth? [Quran, 10:101]
5. Contemplate yourself!
The human body is much more advanced than any machine out there. Aren’t you amazed when you know that in your brain there are 140 billion cells whose function is not known yet? It is from Allah’s generosity that He gave us the ability to think and to reason and that He gave us a natural hunger to learn. And within your own selves, do you not turn your regard? [Quran, 51:21]
6. Accept what is decreed for you.
Knowing Al-‘Aleem makes your heart able to accept what He decreed for you, because you know He designed your destiny by His knowledge and wisdom. Whatever pain, stress, disappointment, and injustice you go through, Allah knows! Your faith that Allah is all-knowing brings you closer to Him and makes you feel his presence more strongly.
7. Ask Al-‘Aleem to increase your knowledge!
Allah Al-‘Aleem loves those who seek knowledge and teaches you to offer Him the following prayer: Rabbee zidnee ‘ilma. [Quran, 20:114] (My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.)
8. Do dhikr with this name.
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: “Anyone who says three times in the evening:
بسم الله الذي لا يضر مع اسمه شيء في الأرض ولا في السماء وهو السميع العليم
(Bismillahi Lladhi la yadurru ma`a smihi shay’un fi’l ardi wa la fi’s sama’i wa huwa’s Sami`ul `Aleem”, in the Name of Allah, with whose Name nothing on earth or in the sky can harm. And He is the All-Hearing and All-Knowing) nothing will harm them until the morning, and anyone who says it three times in the morning, nothing will harm them until the evening.” [Ahmad]
Wallahu ta’alaa ‘alem.
O Allah, Al-‘Aleem, we know nothing but what You teach us. Instil in us eagerness to learn, guide us to the best knowledge, increase our knowledge and make us benefit from it, and guide us to act upon our ‘ilm by doing what pleases You and staying away from what displeases You. Make us contemplate ourselves and the creations around us and assist us in accepting your decree at all times, ameen!
The Understand Quran Academy Team
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