Allah KNOWs…

Last week, Ustaadh Adam showed us the difference between Ism Sifah, Ism Fa’il, and Ism Mubaalaghah in the Quran. Using Tanzil, he pulled up the ayaat that contained each form of the word.


Ism Sifah

Ism Sifah can be in the form of فعيل, فعول, فَعِلٌ, فَعَلٌ but the most common form is فَعِيلٌ. It generally has the quality of permanence and is generally an inherent quality. It’s usually used as an adjective. The search on the word عَليم  pulled up 161 ayaat. In this example, the word is عَلِيم is generally translated as ‘Knowing‘, but in meaning, it also implies that Allah is all encompassing in His knowledge, meaning He is all Knowing, and that this characteristic is permanent and inherent, which means He is Always All Knowing.
Al Baqarah 2:29
Sahih International

It is He who created for you all of that which is on the earth. Then He directed Himself to the heaven, [His being above all creation], and made them seven heavens, and He is Knowing of all things.

Al Baqarah 2:32
Sahih International

They said, “Exalted are You; we have no knowledge except what You have taught us. Indeed, it is You who is the Knowing, the Wise.”

Al Baqarah 2:95
Sahih International

But they will never wish for it, ever, because of what their hands have put forth. And Allah is Knowing of the wrongdoers.

Al Baqarah 2:181
Sahih International

Then whoever alters the bequest after he has heard it – the sin is only upon those who have altered it. Indeed, Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

Aali Imran 3:115
Sahih International

And whatever good they do – never will it be removed from them. And Allah is Knowing of the righteous.

Ism Fa’il

Ism Fa’il has the form فاعل such as خاطِب, كاتِب, سائِق and it carries the meaning of ‘doer‘. In this particular example, the word searched was عَالِم. The searched pulled up these results, which are 18 in total, but we’re only looking at the ones regarding Allah as ‘The Knower‘, so we’re only looking at 13 of them.

What we noted in all of these ayaat below, the word عالِم is used with الغَيْبِ و الشَّهادة thus translated as ‘Knower of the unseen the witnessed‘.

An’aam 6:73

Sahih International

And it is He who created the heavens and earth in truth. And the day He says, “Be,” and it is, His word is the truth. And His is the dominion [on] the Day the Horn is blown. [He is] Knower of the unseen and the witnessed; and He is the Wise, the Acquainted.

Taubah 9:94
Sahih International

They will make excuses to you when you have returned to them. Say, “Make no excuse – never will we believe you. Allah has already informed us of your news. And Allah will observe your deeds, and [so will] His Messenger; then you will be taken back to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do.”

Taubah 9:105
Sahih International

And say, “Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do.”

Ra’d 13:9
Sahih International

[He is] Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, the Grand, the Exalted.

Muminoon 23:92
Sahih International

[He is] Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, so high is He above what they associate [with Him].

Ism Mubaalaghah

Ism Mubaalaghah is kind of like a hyperbole of Ism Sifah, in that whatever Ism Sifah denotes, Ism Mubaalaghah magnifies or intensifies it. It can come in the form of فَعُول, فَعَّال, فَعْلاَن. Ism Mubaalaghah, compared to Ism Sifah, is not permanent, and it’s not necessary inherent either. In terms of meaning it can be a description of something such as a career (in which a person does a certain thing a lot, and with great intensity). For example, a liar, كاذِب when taken to the Ism Mubaalaghah form, كَذَّاب , translates to an incessant liar. In this particular example, the form of Ism Mubaalaghah in discussion is عَلاَّم.  The search pulled up 4 results.
Al Maaidah 5:109
Sahih International

[Be warned of] the Day when Allah will assemble the messengers and say, “What was the response you received?” They will say, “We have no knowledge. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen

Al Maaidah 5:116
Sahih International

And [beware the Day] when Allah will say, “O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as deities besides Allah ?'” He will say, “Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, You would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within Yourself. Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen.

Taubah 9:78
Sahih International

Did they not know that Allah knows their secrets and their private conversations and that Allah is the Knower of the unseen?

Saba 34:48
Sahih International

Say, “Indeed, my Lord projects the truth. Knower of the unseen.”

In each of these 4 ayaat, the word عَلاَّم comes with the word الغُيُوب and are translated as Knower of the unseen. If we look at the English translations, it seems as if ism Mubaalaghah and Ism Fa’il are the same thing, since both are translated as Knower of the unseen (and the witnessed in Ism Fa’il). However, it’s worth noting that in the instances where Ism Mubaalaghah is used, the form for ‘unseen’ is plural (الغُيُوب) whereas in the usage with Ism Fa’il, it’s the singular form (الغَيْب). Allah doesn’t use a word without reason. So how do these then differ in meaning? There has to be a difference.
When the singular (الغَيب) is used, it means that Allah is knowing of the entire unseen, ALL of it, as a whole. He knows everything that is in the unseen. When the plural (الغُيُوب) is used, it means that Allah knows not just the entire unseen, but He also knows EVERY detail of the unseen as well, even the minute details. For example, not only does Allah know what is going on in all the graves of people who have died, He also knows who each and everyone of them are, including their individual history, how they died, when they died, and how they are faring, and how they will fare and when they will end up. That is just part of the whole world of the unseen. Imagine this applied to the entire world of the unseen!
On top of that, Ism Sifah (عَلِيم) implies that this is not a one time thing. Allah knows everything (not just the unseen), ALL the time!

2 thoughts on “Allah KNOWs…

  1. Pingback: Difference between Ism Sifah, Ism Fa’il and Ism Mubalagha – Motivated Sisters

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