Chapter 6: Knowledge (ILM)


Ilm Ek Lazawal Daulat Hai

{Knowledge (ilm) an indestructible (everlasting) Asset}

Ilm Ek Bey Missal Taqat Hai

{Knowledge (ilm) an incomparable Power} 

Contents hide


  • The conceptual definitions of knowledge (ilm) in the prevailing worldly sense as well as in the light of the holy Quran have been highlighted.
  • The philosophical and scientific inability to explain the initiation process of the creations out of ‘Nothing’ has been highlighted.
  • The obligation to contemplate has been highlighted.
  • The Command to ‘Contemplate’ being mankind’s superiority over others has been revisited.
  • Definitions and categories of the knowledge (ilm) have been looked at and an arguably acceptable definition of the same has been arrived at.
  • The concept of the three Pillars of knowledge (ilm) has been brought forward.
  • The Quranic description of knowledge (ilm) has been highlighted while prevailing concepts of knowledge have been examined simultaneously.
  • The concept of knowledge (ilm) is shown to be the dividing line between Shias and some other Muslim faiths.
  • The concept of the spirit (Ruh: created by Allah’s decree ‘Kun-fa-Yakun’) and its interaction with intellect (another creation of ‘Kun-fa-Yakun’) has been highlighted.
  • The creation of the universe being Allah’s decree {‘Be & it Is’ (Kun-fa-Yakun)} being an ( Amr-e-Rabbi) has been compared with the creation of mankind.
  • Both these creations, though entirely different in terms of scale but carrying matching ingenuity and complexity, have been paired together as a food for thought.
  • The ‘Divine Order’ on the earth, with the reappearance of the (Twelfth Imam), has been viewed from a different perspective. The same is identified as a logical necessity toward fulfilment of the key milestone of the journey of Adam to the earth leading to the final proceedings before the inevitable ‘Qiamat’ (the Day of Judgement).
  • The Quranic verses concerning knowledge (Ilm) and all associated terms connected with knowledge have been highlighted, subject wise, making it easier to track and understand. 
  • The contentious (inter-sectarian) issues in the light of knowledge (ilm) have been highlighted. 

1. Foreword: 

> ” Did not a space of time pass over man when he was not anything worth mentioning?”

(Dahr-76: 01) 

The physical world existed long before man was ever heard of or mentioned while the evolution of life therein continued in its ‘Natural form’: 

” Musa said: Our Lord is He who gave to everything its (natural) form, and then guided it aright”

(Taha-20: 50)

> ” Firawn said: What then is the state of the former generations?”

(Taha-20: 51)

> ” The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a book. My Lord does not err, nor does He forget”

(Taha-20: 52)

> ” He is the first and He is the last, the manifest and hidden, and He has knowledge of everything”

(Hadid-57: 03) 

The introduction of the faculty of intellect in the two legged specie, sometimes referred to as ‘homo-erect’ around (60.000-20,000 BC), arguably coinciding with the arrival of Adam on earth, set the stage with respect to what we call history of ‘Intellectual Development’ or the ‘Evolution’ of ‘Homo-Sapiens’. 

1.1 Defining Knowledge (ilm):

Allah insists on the use of the faculty of intellect bestowed by Him on man, to be resorted to, for ‘Observing, Evaluating, Assessing and Analysing with Reasoning and Arriving at Conclusions’. The results of such exercise as a whole, including all details contained therein, may be termed as knowledge (ilm). The knowledge, therefore, is the sum total of all the results of the collected information and experience.The same points to a single source of knowledge (ilm), power and glory which is none other but Allah. Allah does not accept the faith of those who follow him without thinking, and only with imitation

> ” It is not for any soul to believe except by Allah’s permission, while He lays uncleanliness (of infidelity) on those who do not contemplate”

(Yunus-10: 100) 

In other words, the potential to think about the Universe and the creations using intellect bestowed on human beings is obligatory. Accordingly, to seek knowledge (ilm) and using it, is a necessity and a duty. The obligation to contemplate is the characteristic that stands out as Adams’s superiority over Iblis. The demonstrated potential, both in spiritual and physical sense put together, convinced the angels concerning the superiority of Adam and to prostrate to him as commanded by Allah. The knowledge (ilm) is one of the attributes of Allah. The same, with respect to the entire universe inclusive of mankind, is best defined as a byproduct of the intellect, bestowed by Allah on Adam. He is the owner of all the encompassing knowledge (ilm) and it’s only and the absolute source. Allah’s gift of the intellect to the mankind (Adam), which resulted in the acquisition of the knowledge (ilm) and its use, makes it singularly different from all other creations. 

> “And verily, We shall recount their whole story with knowledge, for We were never absent (at any time or place)”

(Araf-7: 07) 
1.2 Categorising Knowledge (ilm):

Knowledge with respect to the children of Adam can be grouped under various titles. Such categorisations, not difficult to discover as a common occurrence on the electronic media and extensively dealt with by the religious scholars and published literature. Nevertheless, with respect to this write-up, without entering into any debate, knowledge (ilm) is classified into three categories described below:

1.2.1 Revelation based Knowledge (ilm)

Knowledge conveyed by Allah’s books with Quran being the final and ultimate revelation.

1.2.2 Knowledge imparted by Allah directly (ilm-e-ladunni)

This category includes knowledge (ilm) bestowed on the Prophets, Messengers and Imams directly by Allah. The acquisition of (ilm-e-laduni) discards use of any earthly entity in any form.

1.2.3: Intellect based Knowledge (ilm)

Knowledge physically acquired using intellect and/or imaparted through regular or irregular teaching: besides, reading, observations, experiences or any other source: can be grouped into the category of the worldly acquired knowledge as we know it today. This category is as defined under (para 1.1) above. 

1.3 Literature Review of other Classification and Definitions

Other definitions of knowledge (ilm) in use in the western world and those summarised by Franz Rosenthal could be tracked (Source: Wikipedia), if required. In the holy book (Qur’an) the word ‘alim has occurred in 140 places, while al-‘ilm in 27. In all, the total number of verses in which ‘ilm or its derivatives and associated words are used is 704. The aids of knowledge such as book, pen, ink etc. amount to almost the same number. Qalam occurs in two places, al-kitab in 230 verses, among which al-kitab for al-Quran occurs in 81 verses. Other words associated with writing occur in 319 verses (Source: Wikipedia). 

1.4 Quranic insistence on use of Intellect and Knowledge (ilm)

Shia Muslims differ from others as they place insistence on the faculty of intellect, being an obligation imposed by Allah:

(Reference:Yunus-10: 100).

1.4.1 Dividing Line between Shia (Fiqh) & Others

The result of this deep bias in support of the knowledge (ilm) amongst Shias is the source of the fundamental difference between them and other Muslims. Much of the research work concerning the knowledge (ilm), therefore, emanates from the Shia sources.

(i) The reason for the same lies in the deep rooted bias towards Ali Ibne Abu Talib, as a whole, which culminated in disregard of Ghadir Khum Covenant: (Reference: Maidah – 5: 1, 3 ,7 & 67 : Ahzab -33 : 33).

(ii) In terms of reference and context, many of the Quranic verses concerning the knowledge (ilm), lead to Ali Ibne Abu Talib, directly or indirectly. The extent of the embedded connection therein, is undeniable and impossible to refute. A few non-Shia sources, seem to have ignored the subject, thereby avoiding it as far as possible. The indicated strategy explains the dearth of output from certain non-Shia sources on intellect, knowledge (ilm) and associated subjects. 

2. Quranic verses concerning Knowledge (ilm):

A subject-wise arrangement of the Quranic verses follows. Only those verses have been cited which include word knowledge (ilm) or any of its derivatives in any form. The corresponding explanatory notes provide additional information wherever required. 

2.1 Allah’s Knowledge (ilm) and Creations

> ” He is the first and He is the last, the manifest and hidden, and He has knowledge of everything”

(Hadid-57: 03)

> ” Musa said: Our Lord is He who gave to everything its (natural) form, and then guided it aright”

(Taha-20: 50)


(i) The reference to the natural form is inline with present day theories of evolution

> ” Firawn said: What then is the state of the former generations”?

(Taha-20: 51) 

” The knowledge thereof is with my Lord in a book. My Lord does not err, nor does He forget”

(Taha-20: 52) 

> ” It is He who created for you all that is in the earth, and then directed (His command) to the heavens and made seven (or several) heavens; and He knows all things”

(Baqarah-2: 29)


(i) Sab-a is used (in addition to denote number of seven) to say seven or more or many

(ii) Insistence is on Allah’s knowledge of everything

> ” (He is) the cleaver of the dawn, and He has made the night for rest, and the Sun and the Moon for reckoning. This is the measuring of the almighty , the all-knowing Lord”

(Anam-6: 97)

> ” And He it is who made the stars for you that you may be guided by (observing) them in the darkness of the land and the sea. Indeed have We made plain the signs for a people who know”

(Anam-6: 98)

> : Allah is He who created several heavens and as many earths. His commandments are sent down among them so that you may know that Allah has power over all things. Allah encompasses everything in (His) knowledge”

(Talaq-65: 12)


(i) There are as many earths as heavens

(ii) Allah’s knowledge (ilm) is all encompassing

> ” Originator of the heavens and the earth! How could He have a child, when He has no spouse? He created all things, and He has knowledge of all things”

(Anam-6: 102)

> ” Allah is the light of heavens and the earth. The similitude of His light is as a niche wherein is a lamp. The lamp is in a glass. The glass is as if it were a shining star, lit from a blessed tree, the olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil glows forth (of itself), though fire did not touch it, light upon light. Allah guides unto His light whomsoever He wills; and sets forth parables for people. Allah is aware of all things”

(Nur-24: 35)


(i) Allah is the inconceivable absolute who has created the light. Light is His manifestation. It is not His being.

(ii) If applied to any individual the niche is power of expression and the ‘house’ (in which the niche is situated) is the body.

(iiI) If applied to the group of Ahlul Bayt and the prophets, the niche in the house is the Holy Prophet.

(iv) ‘Light-upon-light (Nur-un-ala-Nur)’ refers to the Holy Prophet and Ahlul Bayt (Ahzab-33: 33)

> ” O people! if you are in doubt about being raised to life again, then (remember) that verily We created you from dust, then a drop of sperm, then from a clot, then from a lump of flesh, formed and unformed, that We may manifest to you (Our power). We cause what We will to stay in the womb till an appointed term, then We bring you forth as infants, then (We bring you up) in order that you reach your maturity. And of you is he who dies, and of you is he who is brought back to the feeblest old age so that after knowing he knows not anything. You behold the earth all withered, but when We send down rain upon it, it bestirs itself, swells, and brings forth every kind of attractive herbage”

(Hajj-22: 05) 

> ” Do you not see that Allah has made serviceable to you whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth, and has completed his favours, both apparent and hidden, on you? Yet among people is he who disputes concerning Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening book”

(Luqman-31: 20)


(i) ‘Completion of favours’ refer to covenant with Allah at the Ghadir Khum (Ma-idah-5: 1,3, 7& 67)

> ” Say (O Muhammad): Do you teach Allah about your religion? Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Allah is aware of all things”

(Hujurat-49: 16)

> ” As to those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, save the accidentally committed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness.He is best aware of you (from the time) when He produced you from the earth and when you are embryos in the wombs of your mother; so do not assert purity for yourselves. He knows best him who safeguards himself against evil with full awareness of (His) laws”

(Najm-53: 32) 
2.2 Allah’s Perfect all Encompassing Knowledge (Ilm)

> ” They said: Glory be to You (O Lord) ! We have no knowledge save what You have taught us. Verily You (alone) are the all knowing, the all wise”

(Baqarah-2: 32) 

> ” And their Prophet said to them: Verily, Allah has raised Talut for you (to be) a king (over you). They said: How can he hold kingship over us when we have greater right to kingship than he does, and he has not been granted an abundance of wealth? He said: Verily, Allah has chosen him over you. and has increased him abundantly in knowledge and physique. And Allah grants His kingdom to whomever He pleases; and Allah is omniscient, all knowing”

(Baqarah-2: 247)


(i) In presence of a divine legislator and judge (Prophet), executor (king) can also be appointed.

(ii) Sovereignty belongs to Allah alone and so does the appointment of an executor to assist the Prophet.

(iii) The reaction of the people to the divine appointment of the executor can be favourable or unfavourable. However, peoples choice, if in contradiction to Allah’s commandment, carries no weightage.

(iv) The Prophet (Samuel) had no right to appoint the king (executor)

> ” And (when) his people disputed with him, he said: Do you dispute with me about Allah while indeed He has guided me? I do not fear what you associate with Him, save anything that my Lord wills.My Lord comprehends everything in His knowledge. Will you not then be mindful?”

(Anam-6: 81)

> ” Then certainly We relate to them (recount their whole story) with knowledge, for We were never absent (at any time or place)”

(Araf-7: 07)

> ” Allah has created you, and then He takes your souls; and among you is he who is brought back to the lowest (state of) age, so that he knows nothing after (having had) knowledge; verily Allah is all-knowing , all-powerful’

(Nahl-16: 70)

> ” When We change one sign for another sign – and Allah knows best what He sends down – they say: You (O Muhammad) are a forger! No! Most of them do not know”

(Nahl-16: 101)

> ” Verily your God is only Allah; there is no god but He; He comprehends all things in (His) knowledge”

(Taha-20: 98)

> ” We made Sulayman understand the case, and to each of them We gave wisdom and knowledge; and We subdued the mountains and birds to sing Our praises with Dawud; and We were the doers”

(Anbiya-21: 79)

> ” And to Sulayman (We subdued) the violently blowing winds, which blew at his command towards the land which We had blessed. We have knowledge of all things”

(Anbiya-21 :81)

> ” Beware! Verily whatsoever is in the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. He surely knows what state you are in; and on the day they are returned to Him, He will inform them what they used to do. Allah is aware of everything”

(Nur-24: 64)

> ” We gave Daud and Sulayman knowledge, and they both said: Praise be to Allah, who has preferred us above many of His believing servants”

(Naml-27: 15)

> ” Allah increases the sustenance of which-ever of His servants He wills, and straitens it for whom He wills. Verily Allah is certainly cognizant (has full knowledge) of all things”

(Ankabut-29: 62)

> ” Whether you manifest a thing or you hide it, verily Allah is aware of (has full knowledge of) everything”

(Ahzab-33: 54)

> ” Allah created you from dust, then from sperm, then He made you pairs (man and woman). Neither does a female conceives nor give birth without His knowledge. Neither does the old grow older nor is one’s life diminished but is (recorded) in a book. Verily it is easy for Allah”

(Fatir-35: 11)

> ” And so are among men, beasts and cattle, in like manner, diverse colours. Those only of His servants endued with knowledge, fear Allah. Verily Allah is all-mighty, oft-forgiving”

(Fatir-35: 28)

> ” Say (O Muhammad): He will give them life who created them for the first time. He has the absolute knowledge of all creations”

(Yasin-36: 79) 

> ” Say (O Muhammad): Do you teach Allah about your religion? Allah knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is in the earth. Allah is aware of all things”

(Hujurat-49: 16)

> ” As to those who avoid great sins and shameful deeds, save the accidentally committed, your Lord is vast in forgiveness.He is best aware of you (from the time) when He produced you from the earth and when you are embryos in the wombs of your mother; so do not assert purity for yourselves. He knows best him who safeguards himself against evil with full awareness of (His) laws”

(Najm-53: 32)

> “Do you not see that Allah knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth? No three (persons) hold secret counsel but He is the fourth among them, nor between five but He is the sixth; neither fever not more but He is with them wheresoever they be. On the day of judgement He will inform them what they did. Verily Allah knows all things”

(Mujadilah-58: 07)

> ” He knows whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth and whatsoever you conceal and whatsoever so you make known. Allah is the knower of whatsoever is in the breasts”

(Taghabun-64: 04) 
2.3 Arrival of the knowledge:The Holy Prophet Era

> ” And the Jews will not be pleased with you, nor the Christians, until you follow their creed, Say (O Muhammad): Guidance from Allah is the true (guidance), And if you follow their whims after the knowledge that has come to you, you will have no protector from Allah nor helper”

(Baqarah-2: 120)

> ” And even if you bring to those who have been given the book every sign, they would not follow your Qiblah, nor can you be a follower of their Qiblah- nor are they the followers of each others Qiblah. And if you follow their desires, after the knowledge that has come to you, then you shall most surely be among the unjust”

(Baqarah-2: 145)

> ” And say to him who disputes you therein after the knowledge has come (O Muhammad): Come, let us summon our sons and your sons, and our women and your women, and ourselves and your selves, and let us humbly pray and invoke the curse of Allah on the liar”!

(Imran-3: 61)

> ” But Allah Himself bear witness that what He he has sent down to you (O Muhammad) He sent down with His knowledge; and the angels bear witness, and Allah is sufficient as witness”

(Nisa-4: 166)

> ” Indeed We have brought to them a book, which We expound with knowledge, a guidance and a mercy for a people who believe”

(Araf-7: 52)

> ” Thus We have sent it (Quran), as an authority (judgement of authority) in Arabic, and if you follow their (vain) desires after what has come to you of the knowledge, you will have no guardian or protector against Allah”

(Rad-13: 37) 
2.4 The firmly Rooted in Knowledge-The Men of Understanding-He who has Knowledge of the Book

> ” He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are decisive verses (fundamental or of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical (have several possible meaning), but those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part which is allegorical seeking discord (to suit their selfish motives by searching for its hidden interpretation), but no one knows its (hidden) interpretation except Allah, and those who are firmly rooted in knowledge (Rasekhoona-fil-ilm); they say: We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none heeds (this: the Message) except men of understanding (Ulil-bab)”

(Imran-3: 07)


(i) The Aya-al-Tathir (Ahzab-33: 33) confirms that only the thoroughly purified Muhammad and Ale-Muhammad are the (Rasekhoona-fil-ilm)

> ” But the well grounded in knowledge amongst them, and the believers (who) believe in what has been sent down to you and what has been sent down before you, and the establishers of salat, and the givers of zakat, and the believers in Allah and the last day; these are the people whom We shall give a great recompense”

(Nisa-4: 162)


(i) The thoroughly purified Muhammad and Ale-Muhammad are the (Rasikhuna-fil-Ilm)

> ” Allah (Himself) bears witness that there is no God but He, and (so do) the angels and those who are endowed with knowledge (Ulul Ilm), (and that He is) the maintainer of equity-there is no god but He, the almighty, the all wise”

(Imran-3: 18)


(i) ‘ulul ilm’ Endowed with knowledge refers to the holy Prophet and Ali Ibna Abu Talib followed by the thoroughly purified (Ahll Bayt) including their twelve imams in continuity.

> ” Those who disbelieve say: You are not the messenger sent (by Allah). Say: (O Muhammad): Allah is sufficient as witness between me and you, and he who has the knowledge of the book”

(Rad-13: 43)


(i) ‘ He who has knowledge of the book’ refers to Ali Ibn Abu Talib.

> ” Then on the day of resurrection, He will disgrace them and say: Where are my (so-called) partners about whom you used to dispute? Those who have been given the knowledge will say: Verily today disgrace and evil are upon the infidels”

(Nahl-16: 27)


(i) ‘Those who have been given knowledge’ (Utul ilm) refers to thoroughly purified (Ahzab-33: 33) and (Raskhuna fil ilm) as in ( Imran-3: 7 & 18: Nisa – 4: 162)

> ” Say (O Muhammad) Believe in it or do not believe; verily when it is recited to those who were given (have already been given) the knowledge before hand, they fall down on their faces in prostration”

(Bani-Isra-il: 107)


(i) ‘Utul ilm’ refers to (Rasekhoon-fil-ilm), thoroughly purified by Allah himself (Imran-3: 7&18 : Nisa – 4:162:Bani Isra-il-17: 107: Ahzab-33: 33)

> ” And those who have been given knowledge may know that it (Quran) is the truth from your Lord, so that they may believe in it and their hearts may humbly submit to it, and verily Allah guides those, who believe, to a right path”

(Hajj-22: 54)


(i) ‘Those who have been given knowledge’ (Utul ilm) refers to thoroughly purified (Ahzab-33: 33)

> ” One who had knowledge of the book said: I will bring it to you in the twinkling of an eye. When (Sulayman) saw it placed before him, he said: This is by the grace of my Lord that he may test me whether I am grateful or I am ungrateful; and whoever is grateful, verily he is grateful for himself, and whoever is ungrateful, then verily my Lord is self-sufficient, bountiful”

(Naml-27: 40)


(i) The person with knowledge of book refers to Ali Ibna Abu Talib who in accordance with Allah’s plan, helped all Prophets (concealed from view) and the Holy Prophet (in person)

> ” Nay, it (the Quran) is (itself) self-evident ‘signs’ in the breasts of those who have been granted knowledge, and none contradicted Our sign save the unjust”

(Ankabut-29: 49)


(i) ‘Those who have been granted knowledge’ (Utul ilm) refers to purified (Ahzab-33: 33)

> ” Those who have been given knowledge and the faith will say: Verily you have tarried, according to the decree of Allah till the day of resurrection, so this is the day of resurrection, but you did not know”

(Rum-30: 56)


(i) ‘Those who have been given the knowledge and the faith’ refers to the thoroughly purified (Ahzab-33: 33)

> “Those who have been given knowledge see (realise) what has been sent down to you from your Lord is the truth, and it guides to the path of the mighty, the owner of the praise”

(Saba-34: 06)


(i) ‘Those who have been given knowledge’ (Utul ilm) refers to the thoroughly purified by Allah ( Ahlul Bayt:Ahzab-33: 33). 

> “Among them are those who listen to you, until, when they go forth from you they say to those who have been given knowledge: What was that he said just now. These are they whose hearts Allah has sealed, and they follow their vain desire”:

(Muhammad-47: 16)


(i) ‘Utul ilm’: those given knowledge): Refers to Ahlul Bayt inclusive of the twelve Holy Imams (Ahzab-33: 33)

(ii) On the authority of Imam Ali: ‘Those who have been given knowledge’ refers to us.

> ” O you who believe, when it is said to you: ‘Make room in (your) assemblies then do make room’: Allah will give you more room. When it is said to you: ‘Rise, then rise’: Allah will exalt those of you who believe and those who have been granted knowledge, to high ranks. Allah is aware of what you do”

(Mujadilah-58 : 11)


(i) ‘Those granted knowledge (Utul ilm): thoroughly purified by Allah: (Ahlul Bayt inclusive of their twelve Imams : Ahzab-33: 33)’. 

2.5 Allah’s Knowledge and Commands about Prohibitions or Otherwise

> ” What is your objection to eating that (meat) over which name of Allah has been mentioned, while He has indeed made plain to you what He has forbidden to you, unless you are compelled to it? Verily many lead (others) astray by their vain desires without knowledge. Verily your Lord knows best the transgressors”

(Anam-6: 120)

> ” Indeed lost are those who slay their children foolishly (and) without knowledge, and forbid what Allah has given them, (by) forging lies against Allah. Indeed they have gone astray, and are not guided”

(Anam-6: 141)

> ” Do not pursue that of which you have no knowledge. Verily the ear, the eyes and the heart, each shall be questioned (on the day of reckoning)”

(Bani-Isra-il-17: 36)

> ” Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but a messenger of Allah, and the seal of prophet, Allah is the knower of all things”

(Ahzab-33: 40)


(i) While child adoption is ‘way of convenience’ but the same could not be classified as equivalent to the blood relationship

> ” O you who believe, when believing women come over to you as refugees, then examine them. Allah knows best as to their faith. If you find that they are believing women do not send them back to disbelievers. They are not lawful to them, nor are they (disbelievers) lawful for them (believing women). Give them what they have spent. There is no blame on you if you marry them when you pay them their dowries. Do not hold to (marriage) ties with disbelieving women. Ask for what you have spent, and let them ask for what they have spent. This is the decree of Allah which He enforces among you. Allah is all-knowing all-wise”

(Mumtahinah-60: 10)

> ” No affliction befalls save by Allah’s leave. Whosoever believes in Allah, He guides his heart. Verily Allah knows everything”

(Taghabun-64: 11) 
2.6 The Knowledge of the Final Hour

> ” They ask you about the (final) hour; ‘ When is its fixed time’? Say: ‘ Only my Lord has the knowledge. None shall manifest it at its time but He. Heavy shall it be in the heavens and earth. It shall not come to you but suddenly’. They ask you as if you were solicitous about it. Say: ‘Knowledge thereof is with Allah only’. But most people do not know” 

(Araf-7: 187)

> ” Verily Allah! With Him is the knowledge of the hour. He sends down the rain and He knows what is in the wombs. No soul knows what it shall earn tomorrow and no soul knows in which land it shall die. Verily Allah is all-knowing, all-aware”

(Luqman-31: 34)

> ” People ask you about the hour (of judgement). Say: The knowledge of it is with Allah only. What will make you know? The hour may be close at hand”

(Ahzab-33: 63)

> ” To Him alone is referred the knowledge of the hour (of reckoning). No fruit comes out of its covering, no female conceives or give birth, but with His knowledge. On the day when He shall call to them: Where are (those whom you made) My partners? They shall say: We declare to you that there is no witness from among us”

(HA MIM-41: 47)


> Aayat 41 (HA MIM) also referred to as Fusillat.

> ” Blessed is He whose is the kingdom of heavens and earth and whatsoever is between them, and with Him is the knowledge of the hour (of reckoning), and to Him you shall all be returned”

(Zukhruf-43: 85)

> ” He said: the knowledge (of when it will come) is only with Allah. I only convey to you what I have been sent with, but I see you are a people in the ignorance”

(Ahqaf-46: 23)

> ” Say: Allah alone has the knowledge I am only an open warner”

(Mulk-67: 26) 
2.7 Schisms after Knowledge had been Granted

> ” And indeed We settled the children of Israil in a safe settlement, and provided them with good things (for their sustenance); but they did not differ (fell into schisms) until the knowledge had come to them. Verily Your Lord will judge between them on the day of resurrection concerning that wherein they used to differ”

(Yunus-10: 93)

> ” They were not divided until after the knowledge had come to them, through rivalry among themselves. Had not word gone from your Lord (giving them respite) for an appointed time, the matter would surely have been decided between them. Verily, those who were made inheritors of the book after them are certainly in disquieting doubt about it”

(Shura-42: 14)

> ” We gave them clear arguments of the affair (true religion), and they did not differ until the knowledge had come to them, through rivalry among themselves. Verily your Lord will judge between them on the day of reckoning in what they used to differ”

(Jathiyah-45: 17)

> ” Nay, they belied that which they did not comprehend with the knowledge thereof, and whose explanation did not come to them. Even so did those before them deny. Then see what was the end of unjust”!

(Yunus-10: 39) 

> ” He (Allah) said: O Nuh, verily he is not of your family; verily his conduct is other than righteous, therefore ask not of Me that of which you have no knowledge; verily I admonish you lest you may be among the ignorant”

(Hud-11: 46)

> ” He said: O my Lord! Verily I seek refuge with You from asking You of that of which I have no knowledge. And unless You forgive me and have mercy on me, I shall be of the losers”

(Hud-11: 47) 
2.8 Knowledge Recipients

> ” And when he reached the prime of life (full manhood), We gave him authority (prophet-hood) and knowledge; and thus do We recompense those who do good”

(Yusuf-12: 22)

> ” And when they entered as their father had enjoined, it did not avail them aught against (plan of Allah); but (it was) a desire in Yaqub’s soul which he satisfied; and verily, he was endued with knowledge, for We had taught him; but most people do not know”

(Yusuf-12: 68)

> ” Then he began (the search) with their sacks before the sack of his brother, then he produced it from his brother’s sack. Thus did We plan for Yusuf. He could not detain his brother under the law of the king unless Allah so willed. We raise to degrees (of wisdom) whom We please; and over every possessor of knowledge (all endued with knowledge) is the all-knowing (Lord)”

(Yusuf-12: 76) 

> ” We gave Daud and Sulayman knowledge, and they both said: Praise be to Allah, who has preferred us above many of His believing servants”:

(Naml-27: 15) 

> ” We made Sulayman understand the case, and to each of them We gave wisdom and knowledge; and We subdued the mountains and birds to sing Our praises with Dawud; and We were the doers”:

(Anbiya-21: 79)

> ” And to Sulayman (We subdued) the violently blowing winds, which blew at his command towards the land which We had blessed. We have knowledge of all things”

(Anbiya-21 :81)

> ” (When they did not eat); Then he felt afraid of them. They said : ‘Have no fear’: and gave him glad tidings of a son endowed with knowledge”

(Dhariyat-51: 28)

> ” Taught him the supreme in power”

(Najm-53: 05)


(i) It is Allah who taught the Holy Prophet and from no mortal created being he received any kind of knowledge.

> ” That is the farthest limit of their knowledge. Verily, your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path and He knows best who has been rightly guided”:

(Najm-53: 30) 
2.9 The Knowledge of Spirit (Ruh)

> ” They ask you (O Muhammad) about the spirit (Ruh). Say: The spirit (Ruh) is from the command of my Lord, and you have been given the knowledge but a little”

(Bani Isra-il-17: 85)


(i) In simple words Allah’s decree (Amr-Rabbi); resulting in an infinitely massive scale creation which is called ‘Universe’; whereas at a miniature scale it is represented by the ‘Human being’. Both being the result of Allah’s command ‘Be & It Is’ (Kun-fa-Yukun). While the scale of the two creations is infinitely different, both carry matching innovation in terms of complexity. No wonder all the angels prostrated to Adam on Allah’s command on seeing a glimpse of the same. 

2.9.1 Quranic references concerning spirit (Ruh)

(i) Isa is a word of Allah which He conveyed to Maryam, and a spirit (proceeding) from Him: (Nisa-4: 171)

(ii) The spirit which comes down in the night of qadr with the angels: (Qadr-97: 04)

(iii) The spirit which will stand with the angels on the day of resurrection (Naba-78: 38)

(iv) The spirit sent to Maryam which appeared before her as a man (Maryam-19: 17)

(v) The life or spirit breathed into Adam: (Hijr-15: 29)

(vi) Aided Isa with the holy spirit: (Baqarah-2: 87 & 253)

(vii) Allah strengthened Isa with the holy spirit: (Ma-idah-5: 110) 

> “Say (O Muhammad to the disbelievers): The holy spirit (Jabrail) has brought it down (to you) from your Lord with truth>>>”


(viii) He sends down the angels with spirit (revelation) by His (decree): (Nahl-16: 02)

(ix) Allah breathed His spirit into Marayam: (Anbiya-21: 91)

(x) With it came down the trusted spirit: (Shura-26: 193)

(xi) Then gave him proper shape and breathed into him His spirit: (Sajdah-32:09)

(xii) And when I have made him and have breathed into him of My spirit: (Sad-38: 72)

(xiii) We breathed into her Our spirit: (Tahrim-66; 12) 

> ” The exalter of the ranks, the Lord of the Arsh. He sends the spirit by His command to whomsoever He wills of His servants, that he may warn (men) of the day of meeting”

(Mumin-40: 15)


(i) Refers (Mumin-40: 15 & Shura-42: 52) to light of divine attention proceeding from Allah’s command which cast over upon whomsoever of His servants (His prophet or messenger) He wills 

> ” Thus did We reveal to you Our guidance by Our command . You did not know what the book was, nor the faith, but We made a light by which We guide whomsoever We will of Our servants. Verily you guide to the right path”

(Shura-42: 52)


(i) Whatever Allah willed Holy Prophet put it into practice.

(ii) Whatever the Holy Prophet said or did was as directed by Allah.

(iii) The Holy Prophet did not learn anything from any mortal but was taught and educated by Allah. 

2.10 Asking Allah for Increase in Knowledge

> High above all is Allah, the king, the truth. Do not hasten with the Quran before its revelation is completed to you; and say: O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge”

(Taha-20: 114) 
2.11 Taking Pride in Contemporary Knowledge

> ” For when their messengers came to them with clear proofs, they exulted in the knowledge which was with them, and what they used to mock encompassed them”

(Mumin-40: 83)


(i) Ayat-40 (Al Mumin also referred as Ghafir)

(ii) The verse refers to those who exult (take pride) of their contemporary knowledge (understanding) of some of the laws governing the creation of the Universe. They remain oblivious to the fact that they are merely discovering only some of the details of the laws made by Allah. 

2.12 Power of Pen (Qalam)

> ” Nun. By the pen and by what they write”:

(Q:alam-68: 01)


(i) ‘Nun’ is an abbreviated letter

(ii) If ‘Nun’ is taken as ink or ink-holder, it would make appropriate link with ‘Pen’ mentioned above

(iii) The combination accounts for, utilisation of intellect leading to knowledge (Ilm) and wisdom, which had always been, and presently is, the most important tool of dominance and power in all ages 

(iv) Embedded therein is superpower of (IT and Computers) in the modern era which surely shall be superseded by hitherto unknown frontiers of knowledge (ilm) yet to be discovered. 

2.13 IQRA: Read, Write, Proclaim and Impart Knowledge (Ilm):

> ” Read (O Muhammad) in the name of your Lord who created (all things)” : (Alaq-96: 01)

> ” He created man from a clot” : (Alaq-96: 02)

> ” Recite (O Muhammad) ! Your Lord is the most honourable” : (Alaq-96: 03)

> ” Who taught (to write) with the pen” : (Alaq-96: 04)

> ” (He) taught man what he did not know” : : (Alaq-96: 05)


(i) Read the name of your Lord is the actual meaning (Alaq-96: 01)

(ii) All that which has been said in connection of the revelation of first five verses of of this surah (Alaq-96: 01-05), as the first revelation, are based upon conjecture; and form the root cause of all derogatory charges levelled against the holy Prophet by the enemies of Islam.

(iii) The pronouncement of (Iqra) read, write and proclaim: (Alaq-96: 01-04) implies that the holy Prophet knew all the names of Allah which carry the essence of creation and legislation

(iv) The holy Prophet was commanded to read or recite what he already knew: (Alaq-96: 01). It was beginning of the gradual revelation that followed as commanded by Allah.

(v) AR RAHMAN: (Rahman-55: 01)

> ” (It is He who) who taught the Quran (to Muhammad)” : (Rahman-55: 02)

> ” He created man” : (Rahman-55: 03)

> ” He taught him expression” : (Rahman-55: 04)


(i) The holy Prophet was taught and tutored by Allah himself: (Najm-53: 01-05 & Rahman-55: 01-04)

(ii) The holy Prophet was in the divine care all the time and was fully alive to the task of preaching and conveying since his birth.

(iii) The holy Prophet was chosen for his task when Adam was not even created 

> ” That, verily, it is an Honorable Quran” : (Waqi-ah-56: 77)

>” In a hidden book” : (Waqi-ah-56: 78)

> ” Which none can touch save the (thoroughly) purified”: : (Waqi-ah-56: 79)


(i) Only thoroughly purified by Allah himself (Ahlul Bayt) inclusive of their twelve Imams: (Ahzab-33: 33) have the access to the true (meanings /explanations /understanding) of the Quran.

> ” It is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds”

(Waqi-ah-56: 80) 
2.14 The Prevailing of Abundance granted by Allah to the holy Prophet

Unbounded grace, wisdom, knowledge, mercy, goodness, spiritual power and abundance of progeny guaranteed to the Holy Prophet by Allah. The simultaneous dearth of the same were also decreed by Allah in respect of the enemies of of the holy Prophet: (Kawthar-108: 01-03) 

> ” Verily We have given you (O Muhammad) kawthar (abundance)”

(Kawthar-108: 01)


(i) Kawthar is the stream of super excellence exclusively belonging to the Holy Prophet. Ali who will distribute water from it is referred to as Saqi al Kawthar.

(ii) Kawthar also means abundance of descendants which was given to the Holy Prophet through Ali and Fatimah.

> ” So pray to your Lord and offer sacrifice”

(Kawthar-108: 02)


(i) In gratitude of the grant of ‘abundance’, the Holy Prophet and the (Ahlul Bayt) offered highest standard of devotion in prayers and in giving everything they had culminating in the great sacrifice of Hussayn at Karbala.

> ” Verily, it is your enemy whose line (progeny) shall be cut off”

(Kawthar-108: 03)


(i) When the Holy Prophet’s son, Tahir, born to Khdijah al Kubra, died, Amr bin As and Hakam bin As taunted the Holy Prophet by calling him abtar (tail-less).

(ii) This surah was revealed to guarantee abundance of everything including knowledge (ilm), wisdom and thoroughly purified progeny to the Holy Prophet and his (Ahlul Bayt): (Ahzab-33: 33)

(iii) Where as the enemies of the Holy Prophet {being tail-less:abtar in terms of progeny as well knowledge (Ilm) and wisdom} shall continue to remain so. Accordingly, the enemies of the holy Prophet, in line with the divine prophecy, are lost in oblivion ever since; particularly, after rejection of the Ghadir Khum covenant with Allah. 

3. Discussion

While knowledge in the existing sense is regarded as the awareness of the laws of the creations and evolution along with associated corollaries pertaining to the happenings and practices concerning the entire universe inclusive of all its entities with respect to past, present and future. Included therein is the contemporary knowledge pertaining to all the known branches and faculties of modern day science, management, social as well as communication norms, skills,tools, etc. In spite of everything, the missing links stand out:

  • Missing links in the ‘Big Bang’ theories
  • Missing Links in the theory of evolution

Albert Einstein confessions such as: “Universe and human stupidity are infinite” and ‘Non-existence of God can not be proven’ and similar comments by many other distinguished personalities in, either jovial and non-serious, or exhausted and somber moods alike, is a kind of surrender. Thereby, insurmountable intellect and knowledge limitations, with respect to the understanding of the same, implicitly recognised. Out of all this, a single observation stands out; i.e the ignorance of mankind is nowhere near the finishing line and it shall never be. 

> “And verily, We shall recount their whole story with knowledge, for We were never absent (at any time or place)”

(Araf-7: 07) 

Allah’s decree ( Amr-e-Rabbi) based on ‘Be & it Is’ (Kun-fa-Yakun) which is one of Allah’s attributes, explains creation of the universe and mankind. Both these creations, though entirely different in terms of scale, carry matching ingenuity and complexity. It may also be concluded that both these creations tend to be infinite (in mathematical terminology: limiting to infinity), which Albert Einstein seems to have deciphered, though jokingly. It also follows that potential for acquisition of the knowledge in mankind tends to be infinite without ever achieving the limit. Those with elementary knowledge of calculus would understand this statement. Once Allah’s decree (Kun-fa-Yakun) mentioned above is understood and accepted, all the missing links in understanding the phenomenon of the creations, experienced by the researchers, automatically fall in place.

3.1 The Intellect, Knowledge (ilm) & It’s Ownership:

(i) Allah is the author, source and the sole owner of the intellect and the knowledge.

(ii) He bestows it on whomsoever He wills to the extent and form as willed by Him.

(iii) Allah bestowed (intellect) on mankind being the source for accumulation of the knowledge based on the following three sources:

  • Allah’s Books Quran being the last.
  • ilm-e-ladunni
  • Intellect based knowledge
3.2 Failures of Contemporary Knowledge: 
  • All the contemporary knowledge put together fails to satisfactorily come up to answer any of the undermentioned aspects:
  • How the initiation of any scientific or evolutionary process is possible in the state of ‘Nothingness’?
  • How the extension of the universe is possible into ‘Nothingness’?
  • What is the origin of the intellect?
  • How does the transfer of intellect take place?
  • How does mankind acquire intellect?
  • What is the objective of creation?
  • What is the objective of the evolution of the creations?
  • The objective of creations, if any, assigned by whom?
  • How does mankind acquire humanitarian instincts?
  • The humanitarian instincts origin and who is the author of the same?

Referring to Allah’s declarations, commands and concepts: answers to the above are easily forthcoming.

  • The transfer of intellect to mankind is through spirit (Ruh) which is defined as Allah’s decree (Amr-e-Rabbi) based on ‘Be & it Is’ (Kun-fa-Yakun) which is one of Allah’s attributes.
  • The objective of the entire range of creations is none but to follow the divine destiny, willingly or unwillingly, within the allotted degrees of freedom.
  • The acquisition of humanitarian as well as evil instincts, which appear simultaneously among those creations that have been given a choice (to seek their own way of consuming the allotted duration of their life cycles).
  • Being the owner of the free will, such creations, stand accountable for their conduct, culminating in rewards or punishments on the day of resurrection.
3.3 Common Code of Conduct and Ethics?

With full recourse to the entire formidable existing knowledge base and tools, arriving at an equitable code of conduct & ethics for mankind: successfully addressing all kinds of sensitivities and enjoying universal (interfaith & intersectarian) acceptance: had always been and shall remain beyond achievement. The same issue, under Allah’s divine order and justice, stands automatically resolved.

3.4 The Code for Existence under the ‘Divine Order’:

Allah’s divine order extensively covered by the holy Quran, lays down the rules for the entire range of subjects. While glorifying Allah’s all encompassing knowledge (ilm), covering hidden and manifest issues, the divine commands make it easy to remain on a straight path, without ever straying. The recourse to the same could be ensured by sticking to the holy Quran and the chosen (Ahlul Bayt) inclusive of their twelve Imams.

3.5 The Divine Order & the twelfth Imam: 

Allah has provided necessary guidance along with unobstructed opportunities to the children of Adam to establish the ‘Divine Rule’ at their own free will and accord:

(i) They have been tested as being the owner of unchallenged power as well as being absolutely oppressed entity: leading in number game as well as being an insignificant minority: being leaders in intellect as well as knowledge and possessors of illiteracy in the true sense: in war and in peace: as victors and losers: enjoying the riches and languishing in poverty.

(ii) The failure of the children of Adam, to establish the desired divine order voluntarily, under any or all circumstances, with the exception of brief periods in the life time of a few prophets, may give them an argument on the day of resurrection such as follows: 

  • ‘O our Lord we admit to all our shortcomings and failures and you alone is the knower of everything. The only submission we have is that the Shaytanic forces which you associated to us were so powerful; and the lust for the glittering wordly acquisitions was so dominating; that we lost ourselves to the irresistible. The same summed up as trying to turn an ‘Impossible’ entity into a ‘Possibility’. The failure of the vast majority, spread over all generations, in meeting your challenge, stands as a confirmation of the same’. 
  • The reappearance of the last of the Imams, shall physically demonstrate the establishment of the true ‘Divine Order’ by overcoming all obstacles and leaving no room for any argument such as the one above. The same which had been commanded by Allah all along, ever since the appearance of Adam on the scene, through all His prophets, messengers and imams alike.
  • The recognition and the need for the existence and reappearance of the twelfth Imam and associated establishment of the true ‘Divine Order’ under his command is a logical necessity not fully understood and accepted by all the faithfuls. While the existence of the twelfth Imam is an unshakeable belief for the Shias, other faiths need to contemplate on this issue. 

4. Conclusions:

The overall status and the scenario of the faithfuls with respect to knowledge (ilm) is not very encouraging. The past and contemporary understanding of the inter-sectarian issues is fraught with differences of serious nature. These issues which plagued the sectarian harmony between the faithful for the past fourteen centuries or so, do not show any signs of resolution.

4.1 Ownership of Intellect & Knowledge (ilm):
  • The boundless and all encompassing Knowledge (ilm) belongs to Allah alone being its sole owner. 
  • The imparting of knowledge to His creations had been a three dimensional affair as decreed by Allah:

(i) Allah’s books culminating in the holy (Quran)

(ii) Direct devolution of knowledge (ilm-e-Ladunni) to the messengers, prophets, imams for the onward education of mankind as and when commanded by Allah.

(iii) Bestowing intellect on mankind to use it for the accumulation of knowledge (ilm) by observing, discovering, accumulating, imparting and subsequently utilising the same as the third dimensional source.

4.2 Contentious Issues:

(i) Whereas Shia sources consider use of intellect as a compulsion towards discharging individual responsibility as a faithful, other schools of thought do not concur with this concept.

(ii) The acquisition of the true knowledge (ilm), contained in the Quran, also requires recourse to the oft emphasised Quranic source i.e.the holy Prophet and his (Ahlul Bayt) inclusive of their twelve Imams. Non-Shia sources do not support this concept in its entirety.

(iii) Numerous Quranic references concerning (Rasikhuna-fil-ilm), (Utul-Ilm), (Ulil Ilm), thoroughly purified, he who had knowledge of the book, none but those who had capability to understand and explain Quran correctly, etc are not supported in the same sense by the non-Shia sources.

(iv) On the authority of the holy Prophet: I am the ‘City of Knowledge and Ali is its Entrance (Gate)’ and numerous other citations: for Shias, Ali Ibna Abu Talib, is revered, infallible Imam and foundation of the faith (Din) followed by Imams of (Ahlul Bayt) in continuation.

(v) The faithfuls’ covenant with Allah at Ghadir Khum had always been disputed by non-Shia sources and continues to be a source of serious dimension.

(vi) As for Shias, Knowledge (Ilm) is synonymous with the holy Prophet followed by Ali Ibne Abu Talib and subsequent Imams who carry (Ilm-e-Ladunni). According, they continue to be the only true and lasting source of the knowledge (ilm). The only authority competent to truly explain the holy Quran.

4.3 The Abundance & the holy Prophet:

Abundance for the holy Prophet and his (Ahlul Bayt) in all respects, including knowledge (ilm), has been decreed by Allah as confirmed by the holy Quran. (Kawthar-108: 01-03). The final fulfilment of Allah’s promise remains linked to the arrival of the twelfth Imam.

4.4 The Intellect and Spirit (Ruh) Inter-relationship:

(i) The transfer of intellect to mankind is through the spirit (Ruh), defined as Allah’s decree (Amr-e-Rabbi) based on ‘Be & it Is’ (Kun-fa-Yakun), which is one of Allah’s attributes. 

(ii) The other example of Allah’s decree: ‘Be & it Is’ (Kun-fa-Yakun) being an ( Amr-e-Rabbi), is the creation of the universe itself. Both these creations, though entirely different in terms of scale, carry matching ingenuity and complexity

4.5 The holy Prophet & Read, Write Proclamation:

Allah’s command to read, write and proclaim; lays emphasis on the (ilm-e-Ladunni) bestowed on the holy Prophet and his (Ahlul Bayt). For Shias, the Holy Prophet was blessed with unlimited knowledge (ilm); whereas other Muslims regard him as incapable of writing and reading.

4.6 The Humble Submission:

Any or all endeavours pertaining to Knowledge (ilm), need to be closed with humble submission to Allah for forgiveness, and the Quranic prayer to be blessed with ‘Increase in Knowledge (ilm)’.