The nineteenth name we will be discussing and learning about is ‘Al-‘Aleem’ – The All-Knowing, The Omniscient, The Certain-Knowing.
Al-‘Aleem is the One who comprehends everything; the One who is intuitively aware of all things, even before they happen. The One who knows with certainty; the One whose knowledge of past, present and future is deeply rooted and complete in all respects. The One from whom no knowledge is concealed; the One who is aware of the complete details of all matters. The Omniscient One.
Allah calls Himself Al-‘Aleem on more than 150 occasions in the Quran. The word ‘‘Aleem’ comes from the root ‘‘ayn-laam-meem‘, which points to four main meanings.
- The first main meaning is to have knowledge and be aware and certain
- The second is to gather information
- The third main meaning is to have deep knowledge of minute details
- The fourth main meaning is to act according to knowledge
So, how can we live by this name?
1) Know that He knows all and obey His commands
Firmly believe that Allah ﷻ knows all things, then stick to His divine commands and know that they are the best for you. Al-‘Aleem says ‘And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.’ [Quran, 50:16] Know that He sees you while you’re alone and when you’re in the company of others. He knows the secrets that lie deep within your hearts, He knows of every thought that passes through your mind. Know that you are never alone and that Allah sees all, He knows when injustice is done towards you. He knows everything there is to know, and He does not forget. He hears your every laugh and every cry, He knows exactly what goes on in your life. Turn to Him when you are unsure and unaware, when the minute details of things confuse you and you find yourself restless, unable to make sense of a situation due to a lack of knowledge, ask Him to allow your heart to rest easy knowing that He is in charge and that He knows everything that you do not, ask Him to fill your mind with reassurance knowing that He will never do what isn’t best for you. We may not know everything, we may have fears of the unknown but rest assured, Allah knows; and that should be enough. Know that He knows all and allow this to fill you with peace but also use this to make sure you do not disobey His command, always strive for your actions to pull you closer to Him and not push you away.
2) Desire to learn
Be eager to increase your knowledge, especially Islamic knowledge, since Allah loves knowledge and those who possess it just as He dislikes ignorance and those who are wilfully ignorant. Be patient and persevere in seeking beneficial knowledge, and recognise 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? At the same time accept that there’s knowledge that He did not reveal to creation. ‘Turn your regard (to ask): What is in the heavens and on Earth?’ [Quran, 10:101] Learn about the world around you with the niyyah (intention) to appreciate Allah’s creative power and wisdom even more so that it is an act of worship. Refine your intentions to make all you learn into an act of worship, study about this world, His creation, the way in which things work. Educate yourself on topics both related to the deen and dunya, learn and call upon Al-‘Aleem to increase you in knowledge and make it beneficial; use what you have been taught to do good and work towards sharing what you have gained and maximising the benefit from the knowledge you have gained.
3) Be humble
Let Allah’s perfect and detailed knowledge humble you. This is why it is said: the one who knows the most about Allah fears Him the most. Knowledge is a quality that we naturally admire in people; let the amazing ‘ilm of your Creator increase your love and admiration for Him. Humble yourself and reflect upon the wisdom with which the world around you works, at the details that keep things going. Know that no matter how much we know, Allah will always know more. 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, as Musa ‘alayhi salam said to Fir’awn: ‘My Lord never errs, nor does He forget.’ [Quran, 20:52] Reflect upon His creation, starting with the human body which is much more advanced than any machine; at every cell that makes you, we don’t know the functions of them all, but Allah does. 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] Be humbled by His greatness, and ask Him to increase you in understanding, knowledge and gratitude.
4) 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. Remind yourself of this to get closer to Him, especially during trials. Always do what you can to make things work out the way you would like them to but at the end of the day Allah will only allow what is best for you to actually happen. We plan and Allah plans and His plan is always better for us. He has knowledge that we do not and will always do what is best for us even if we do not understand at the time. He knows everything, all that has happened, is happening and will happen, allow this fact to reassure yourself that things are not going wrong, they are always playing in your favour in the long run.
5) Do dhikr with this name
بِسـمِ اللهِ الذي لا يَضُـرُّ مَعَ اسمِـهِ شَيءٌ في الأرْضِ وَلا في السّمـاءِ وَهـوَ السّمـيعُ العَلـيم ‘
Bismillāhi ‘l-ladhī lā yaḍurru ma`a-smihi shay’un fil-‘arḍi wa lā fis-samā’ wa huwas-Samī `ul-`Alīm. In the Name of Allah, Who with His Name nothing can cause harm in the earth nor in the heavens, and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.’ The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘Whoever recites it three times in the morning will not be afflicted by any calamity before evening, and whoever recites it three times in the evening will not be overtaken by any calamity before morning.’ [Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Ahmad]
Call upon Allah, Al-‘Aleem, knowing we know nothing but what He teaches us. Ask Him to 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 Him and staying away from what displeases Him. Ask Him to make us contemplate ourselves and the creation around us, and assist us in accepting His decree at all times. May Allah shower His peace upon you all, answer your prayers and may He guide our every step. May He protect us and our loved ones and allow us to enter His kingdom of Jannah with them. May He purify our intentions and increase us in imaan. Ameen.
JazakAllah khayr for taking the time to read this, I pray it has benefitted you – please share this with anyone who you think may benefit as well and thank you all for reading this far. May Allah bless you all immensely and please keep the people of Palestine in your duas.
References: information in this post was collated from understandquran.com and the beautiful names of Allah series on wahiduddin.net.