Ilm (Arabic)

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‘Ilm (Arabic : علم "knowledge") is the Islamic term for knowledge. [1]


Meaning of knowledge


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word knowledge refers to "Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject."

"In this work on the concept of knowledge, Franz Rosenthal collected a number of definitions of 'ilm, organizing them according to what he saw as their essential elements (admitting that the list was ahistorical and did not necessarily conform to categories the medieval Muslim scholars themselves would have used). Among these definitions, we find the following: Knowledge is the process of knowing, and identical with the knower and the known.

Knowledge is that through which one knows.

  1. Knowledge is that through which the essence is knowing.
  2. Knowledge is that through which the knower is knowing.
  3. Knowledge is that which necessitates for him in whom it subsists the name of knower.
  4. Knowledge is that which necessitates that he in whom it subsists is knowing.
  5. Knowledge is that which necessitates that he in whom it resides (mahall) is knowing.
  6. Knowledge stands for ( 'ibarah 'an) the object known ( 'al-ma lum).
  7. Knowledge is but the concepts known ( 'al-ma ani al-ma luma).
  8. Knowledge is the mentally existing object." [1]

Islamic meaning

Knowledge in the Western world means information about something, divine or corporeal, while In Islamic point of view 'ilm is an all-embracing term covering theory, action and education, it is not confined to the acquisition of knowledge only, but also embraces socio-political and moral requires insight, commitment to the goals of Islam and for the believers to act upon their belief. [2] Also it is reported in hadith that "Knowledge is not extensive learning. Rather, it is a light that God casts in the heart of whomever He wills." [3]

Shiism and knowledge

Doctrine about necessity of acquiring knowledge

In other words, humans have to think about the universe with reason and intellect, a faculty bestowed us by Allah. Since that there is more insistence on the faculty of intellect among Shia, even evaluating the claims of someone who claims prophecy is on the shoulder of intellect. [4] [5]

Ilm in Islam

In Qur'an

In the 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-Qur'an occurs in 81 verses. Other words associated with writing occur in 319 verses.

In Hadith

Various leading Hadith books have specific chapters based on Ilm or knowledge.

Related Research Articles

The following list consists of notable concepts that are derived from Islamic and associated culturual traditions, which are expressed as words in Arabic or Persian language. The main purpose of this list is to disambiguate multiple spellings, to make note of spellings no longer in use for these concepts, to define the concept in one or two lines, to make it easy for one to find and pin down specific concepts, and to provide a guide to unique concepts of Islam all in one place.

Tawhid Islams central monotheistic concept of a single, indivisible God

Tawhid is the indivisible oneness concept of monotheism in Islam. Tawhid is the religion's central and single most important concept, upon which a Muslim's entire religious adherence rests. It unequivocally holds that God as per Islam is One and Single.

Muhammad al-Baqir Fifth of the Twelve Shia Imams

Muhammad al-Baqir full name Muhammad bin 'Ali bin al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib, also known as Abu Ja'far or simply al-Baqir (677-733) was the fifth Imam in Shia Islam, succeeding his father Zayn al-Abidin and succeeded by his son Ja'far al-Sadiq. His mother, Fatima Umm abdallah, was the daughter of the second Shia imam, Hasan ibn Ali. So he was the first Imam descended from both grandsons of Muhammad: Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali.

<i>Tafsir</i> Exegesis of the Quran

Tafsir refers to exegesis, usually of the Quran. An author of a tafsir is a mufassir. A Quranic tafsir attempts to provide elucidation, explanation, interpretation, context or commentary for clear understanding and conviction of God's will.

Naskh (نسخ) is an Arabic word usually translated as "abrogation". In Islamic legal exegesis (tafsir), naskh is a theory developed to resolve contradictory rulings of Islamic revelation by superseding or canceling the earlier revelation. In the widely recognized and "classic" form of naskh, an Islamic regulation/ruling (hukm) is abrogated in favor of another, but the text the hukm is based on is not eliminated.

Imamate in Twelver doctrine

Imāmah means "leadership" and is a concept in Twelver theology. The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, in the Twelver branch of Shia Islam. According to Twelver theology, the successors to Muhammad are infallible human beings, who rule justly over the community and maintain and interpret sharia and undertake the esoteric interpretation of the Quran. The words and deeds of Muhammad and the Imams guide the community. For this, the Imams must be free from error and sin and chosen by divine decree—nass—through the Prophet.

Fana (Sufism) Annihilation of self in Sufism

Fanaa in Sufism is the "passing away" or "annihilation". Fana means "to die before one dies", a concept highlighted by famous notable Persian mystics such as Rumi and later by Sultan Bahoo. There is controversy around what Fana exactly is, with some Sufis defining it as the annihilation of the human ego before God, whereby the self becomes an instrument of God's plan in the world (Baqaa). Other Sufis interpret it as breaking down of the individual ego and a recognition of the fundamental unity of God, creation, and the individual self. Persons having entered this enlightened state obtain awareness of the intrinsic unity (Tawhid) between Allah and all that exists, including the individual's mind.

<i>Bihar al-Anwar</i>

Bihar al-Anwar is a comprehensive collection of traditions (ahadith) compiled by Shia scholar Mohammad-Baqer Majlesi, known as Allama Majlisi. It is a hadith collection as the secondary source used beside the four books. Bihar al-Anwar which a compendium of Hadiths, historical subjects and commentaries on many Qur'anic verses, completed between 1106 AH and 1110 AH.

The Akhbaris are minority, unorthodox Twelver Shia Muslims who reject the use of reasoning in deriving verdicts, and believe in Quran and Hadith.

Nūr (Islam)

Nūr may refer to the "Light of God". The word "nūr'" is Arabic for "heatless light", and has been passed on to many other languages. It is often used in the Quran, notably in a verse that states has been the subject of much discussion. Many classical commentators on the Quran considered that this should be taken metaphorically, as in the sense that God illuminates the world with understanding, rather than literally. The first and foremost to representatively stand to the concept of Nur Muhammad being the quintessence of everything was Sayyid Abdul Qadir Gilani, who described this idea in his book Sirr ul Asrar. This concept was then preached by his disciples. One of Sayyid Abdul Qadir Gilani´s disciples was the Andalusian scholar Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi, who categorized nūr into different levels of understanding from the most profound to the most mundane. Shias believe nūr, in the sense of inner esoteric understanding, is inherited through the Imams, who in turn communicate it to the people.

Tawassul is an Arabic word originated from wa-sa-la- wasilat. The wasilah is a means by which a person, goal or objective is approached, attained or achieved. In another version of the meaning of tawassul in another text: Tawassul is an Arabic word that comes from a verbal noun, wasilah, which according to Ibn Manzur in Lisān al-'Arab means "a station of King, a rank, or act of devotion". In other words, it refers to a position of power due to one's proximity to the king or sovereign. While the tawassul or tawassulan is the use of wasilah for this purpose. In religious contexts, the tawassul is the use of a wasilah to arrive at or obtain favour of Allah.

Ismah Incorruptible innocence, immunity from sin, or moral infallibility in Islamic theology

‘Iṣmah or ‘Isma is the concept of incorruptible innocence, immunity from sin, or moral infallibility in Islamic theology, and which is especially prominent in Shia Islam. In Shia theology, ismah is characteristic of prophets, imams, and angels. When attributed to human beings, ismah means "the ability of avoiding acts of disobedience, in spite of having the power to commit them". Along with a pure constitution, excellent qualities, firmness against opponents, and tranquility (as-Sakinah), ismah is a divine grace bestowed by God.

Qadar is the concept of divine destiny in Islam. It is one of Islam's six articles of faith, along with belief in the Oneness of Allah, the Revealed Books, the Prophets of Islam, the Day of Resurrection and Angels. This concept has also been mentioned in the Quran as the "Decree" of Allah.

Islamic attitudes towards science

Muslim scholars have developed a spectrum of viewpoints on science within the context of Islam. The Quran and Islam allows for much interpretation when it comes to science. Scientists of medieval Muslim civilization contributed to the new discoveries of science. From the eighth to fifteenth century, Muslim mathematicians and astronomers furthered the development of almost all areas of mathematics. At the same time, concerns have been raised about the lack of scientific literacy in parts of the modern Muslim world.

God in Islam Islamic conception of God

In Islam, God is the absolute one, the all-powerful and all-knowing ruler of the universe, and the creator of everything in existence. Islam emphasizes that God is strictly singular ; unique ; inherently One ; and also all-merciful and omnipotent. No human eyes can see God until the Day of Judgement. God doesn't depend on anything. God has no parents and no children.According to Islam, God is neither a material nor a spiritual being. According to Islamic teachings, beyond the Throne (al-ʾArsh) and according to the Quran, "No vision can grasp Him, but His grasp is over all vision: He is above all comprehension, yet is acquainted with all things."

Shia view of the Quran

The Shia view of the Qur'an differs from the Sunni view, but the majority of both groups believe that the text is identical. While some Shia disputed the canonical validity of the Uthmanic codex, the Shia Imams always rejected the idea of alteration of Qur'an's text. Only seven Shia scholars have believed in omissions in the Uthmanic codex.


Kashf "unveiling" is a Sufi concept dealing with knowledge of the heart rather than of the intellect. Kashf describes the state of experiencing a personal divine revelation after ascending through spiritual struggles, and uncovering the heart in order to allow divine truths to pour into it. Kashf is etymologically related to mukashafa “disclosure”/ “divine irradiation of the essence”, which connotes "gain[ing] familiarity with things unseen behind the veils". For those who have purified their hearts, and who come to know the Divine Names and Attributes to the fullest of their individual capacities, the veils in front of the purely spiritual realms are opened slightly, and they begin to gain familiarity with the unseen. In Sufism, an even further revelatory capacity exists by which the Divine mysteries become readily apparent to the seeker through the light of knowledge of God. This is called tajalli "manifestation".

Badā' is a Shia Islamic concept regarding the Will of God. It refers to God revealing his will about a decision, wherein the people thought his will had already been made on that issue, as the Shia believe that God has knowledge of the ultimate outcome.

Al-Jafr is a mystical Twelver Shi'ite holy book compiled, according to Shi'ite belief, by Ali and inherited by him from Muhammad, with others being Al-Jamia and the Book of Fatimah. Al-Jafr is considered to be composed of two skin boxes in which were kept various books of the past Prophets and the books inherited from Muhammad, Ali and Fatimah to the rest of Ahl al-Bayt, with each new Imam receiving them from his dying predecessor Imam, as well as the armour and weapons of Muhammad.

<i>Kitab al-Tawhid</i>

Kitab al-Tawhid, is the main Sunni theological book, and the primary source of the Maturidi school of thought; written by the Hanafi scholar Abu Mansur al-Maturidi.


  1. 1 2 Fudge, Bruce (7 April 2011). Qur'anic Hermeneutics: Al-Tabrisi and the Craft of Commentary (Routledge Studies in the Qur'an). United Kingdom: Routledge. p. 60. ISBN   0415782007.
  3. Bihar-ul-Anwar, p. 225, Vol. 1.
  4. Allamah Muhammad Rida Al Muzaffar (1989). The faith of Shia Islam. Ansariyan Qum. p. 1.