19. YA ‘ALIM

The All-Knowing

Exalted and Glorious

And He is the All-Knowing of everything. (2:29)
Allah is the All-Hearer, All-Knower. (3:34)
Whatever good you spend, Allah knows it well.  (3:92)
And whatever good they do, nothing will be rejected of them; for Allah knows well those who are pious.  (3:115)
Thus does Allah make clear to you (His Law) lest you go astray.  And Allah is the All-Knower of everything. (4:176)
We raise whom We will in degrees.  Certainly, your Lord is All-Wise, All-Knowing.  (6:83)
The chiefs of the people of Pharaoh said, “This is indeed a well-versed sorcerer.”  (7:109)
Others are made to await Allah’s Decree, whether He will punish them or forgive them.  And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise. (9:106)
Verily, He is the All-Knower of the innermost secrets of the breasts.  (11:5)
They said, “Do not be afraid! We give you glad tidings of a son possessing much knowledge and wisdom.”  (15:53)

In the verses of the Holy Qur’an in which this name, which is an attribute of Allah, is mentioned, His knowledge is manifested completely in all respects and encompasses the knowledge of everything that exists.  He knows the secrets in the heart of man, and He knows what he utters with his tongue.  He Alone knew what was secret and what was hidden in the case of the Pharaoh and the sorcerers.

He who recites this name 100 times, his heart will be luminous, revealing the divine light.

Al-‘Alim is the One Who knows the details of affairs, the intricacies of things, and the hidden things of the hearts and the souls.  Nothing is hidden from His knowledge, not even an atom’s worth.  His knowledge encompasses everything, so do not be deluded by His beautiful veiling, and be ashamed of yourself before Him in the open and in secret.

From: The Meanings of the Names of Our Lord by Shaykh Muhammad Sa’id al-Jamal ar-Rifa’i Head of the Higher Sufi Council in Jerusalem and the Holy Land Teacher at the Dome of the Rock (al-Aqsa)


He is the one who knows all.  He knows what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen from the beginning to the end.  All existence is present at all times in the knowledge of al-‘Alim.  Nothing can be left out, no one can hide from him.  All existence exists by His creation, within the limitations of the conditions He has created; it knows as much as Allah has permitted it to know.  Yet there is no limit to Allah’s knowledge.

Human knowledge is derived from things that exist, while existence is derived from Allah’s infinite knowledge.  In comparison to what we know of this creation, what we do not know is infinite.  This world of ours is like our very own house.  For these millions of years we have inhabited it, yet we still do not know what is hidden in the closets, in the attic, and in the basement.  Sometimes we are like someone who is dying of hunger and has a treasure buried a foot under him.  Our knowledge stays on the surface of very few things.  When we attempt to look under the surface, we see our impotence.  And what about the future?  We do not know what is going to happen to us in the next moment.  What is this human life in comparison to the infinite past and the infinite future?  It is a blink of an eye.  How much can we see?  Happy is he who can see that he cannot see.

Indeed Allah bestows upon us all sorts of blessings, and perfections commensurate to us.  He taught us His Names, and what is right and what is wrong.  But our life is limited.  Our power is limited.  Our knowledge is limited.  We are limited.  Try to feel the unlimited perfection, the unlimited knowledge of Allah, the Knower of all, and seek His pleasure.  Eternal salvation is contained within all that.

‘Abd al-‘Alim is the one who is given wisdom without learning anything from anyone, without studying or thinking, through the purity and light out of which we were created.  The knowledge that ‘Abd al-‘Alim receives is called ‘Irfan: to know Allah the All-Knowing.  But people can know only the attributes and actions of Allah.  Only Allah knows the Essence of Allah.  ‘Abd al-‘Alim knows the real Reality and the true Truth.

If one recites ya ‘Alim 100 times after one’s prayers, one may be able to see certain things which escaped one’s notice until then.  If one makes a habit of reciting this Name 150 times daily, one’s mind and understanding may improve.

 From: The Name & the Named by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti