03 Nov The Positive or Affirmative Attributes.Part2
2. ‘Ilm (Knowledge)
On account of being related to everything the existence of which is either necessary, contingent or disallowed, Knowledge is the Attribute Whose area of comprehension is the broadest; it is also the origin of contingencies. Reminding us of this breadth, the manifest Qur’an declares:
With Him are the keys to the Unseen; none knowsthem but He. And He knows whatever is on land and in the sea; and not a leaf falls but He knows it; and neither is there a grain in the dark layers of earth, nor anything green or dry, but is (recorded) in a Manifest Book. (6:59)
Do you not consider that God knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth? There is not a secret counsel between three persons but He is the fourth among them, nor between five but He is the sixth among them, nor less than that, nor more, but He is with them wherever they may be. Thereafter, He will make them truly understand all that they do (and call them to account) on the Day of Resurrection. Surely God has full knowledge of everything. (58:7)
▪By reminding us of the infinite area of comprehension of Divine Knowledge, the Qur’an both stirs up our feelings of appreciation and admiration and calls us to self-possession and alertness.
Like other Attributes of Glory, the Divine Attribute of Knowledge never resembles the knowledge of angels, human beings, jinn, or spirit beings.
God’s Knowledge encompasses everything and nothing is outside this limitless, all-encompassing circle.
▪This Knowledge has also nothing to do with increase or decrease, development or perfection, or acquisition. Just as the Ultimate Truth knows Himself through this Knowledge that is inherent in Him, He also knows whatever has happened, whatever will happen, and whatever is disallowed to happen. However, God’s knowledge of what we call “contingent things or beings”—those whose external existence is not necessary, but possible—does not necessitate their existence. They owe their external existence to the Divine Will’s preference that they come into external existence to their remaining only in Knowledge; as a result of this preference the Divine Power brings them into existence.
▪Another point that indicates the broadness of the sphere which Divine Knowledge encompasses is the beauty, order, arrangement, harmony, wisdom, and observance of the maximum use and benefits that we observe throughout the universe. These are the outcomes of the determination of Knowledge and the truth-speaking witnesses of the All-Knowing, the All-Wise One. They originate from Him and proclaim Him most loudly.
God’s Knowledge relates to both eternity in the past and eternity in the future.
However, His Knowledge being pre-eternal does not require the pre-eternity of the contents of this Knowledge.
Knowledge is something, identification is something different, and the intermediary and ideal existence is different again, and the physical existence is completely different.
God Almighty has absolute knowledge and dominion of everything, large or small, particular or universal, material or immaterial, with their types of existence in all these stages or dimensions.
3. Sam‘a (Hearing)
Through His transcendent Attribute of Hearing, God Almighty listens to and hears all sounds and voices, whether they be hidden or in the open, inward or articulate, whispered or expressed out loud, and answers those that He wills to answer. In relation to God, there is no difference at all between inward sighs and lamentations or resounding wailings and cries. Also, His hearing millions of sounds or voices at the same instant does not prevent Him from hearing and answering millions of others. With whatever mouths billions of beings speak, He hears and answers all of them without the least confusion.
▪On numerous occasions, the Qur’an and the Sunna emphasize that God is the All-Hearing and the All-Seeing, but no explanations are offered concerning the nature of His hearing and seeing; rather the matter is referred to God Almighty, as are the other Attributes. Just as the true nature of the All-Holy Creator is beyond perception, so too are His Knowledge, Hearing, and Seeing or Sight imperceptible, and they will remain so.
We see with our eyes, hear with our ears, and speak with our mouth, whereas God does not need any such organs to see, hear, or speak. He is absolutely free and exempt from anything implying personification or comparison.