They will never compass anything of Allaah’s Knowledge except that which He wills – Shaykh Uthaymeen | Dr. Saleh as-Saleh

Bismillaah

The following is excerpted from the Shaykh Uthaymeen’s explanation of Aayatul-Kursi, Translated by Dr. Saleh as-Saleh rahimahullaah

[Six]: In the sixth statement, Allaah (تعالى) said:

وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ
And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills.
[Qur’aan, Aayatul-Kursi , Surah Al-Baqarah 2:255]

The pronoun of the verb { يُحِيطُونَ } “compass” refers to either all that is in the heavens and the earth or to the letter haa’ (ـهـ) in Allaah’s saying:

{ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ ] “What happens to them [the creatures] in the future and what happened to them in the past.” In the latter case, the meaning would be “Those who Allaah knows what happens to them in the future and what happened to them in the past, will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He Wills.”

In this statement, Allaah (تعالى) makes clear the perfection of His knowledge and the imperfection of the creature’s knowledge.

And thus, He (تعالى) compares His Attributes to that of His ‘ibaad in order that His perfection and the imperfection of the creatures become clearly evident. This is also clear in His saying:

كُلُّ مَنْ عَلَيْهَا فَانٍ
وَيَبْقَىٰ وَجْهُ رَبِّكَ ذُو الْجَلَالِ وَالْإِكْرَامِ

Whatsoever on it (the earth) will perish. And the Face of your Rabb, full of Majesty and Honour will abide forever. [Qur’aan, Soorat Ar-Rahmaan (55:26-27)].

As far as the word ‘ilm (knowledge) in His saying:

عِلْمِهِ ]
His Knowledge,”

it is an infinitive (verbal noun) denoting either

(a) the ‘ilm of His thaat (Essence) and sifaat (Attributes), or
(b) His ma’loom (What Allaah Knows).

Accordingly, the meaning of the aayah: {وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلَّا بِمَا شَاءَ} “And they will never compass anything of His Knowledge except that which He wills“, means either

(a) that we do not know anything about Allaah, His thaat, and His sifaat except that which He willed for us to know, or

(b) that we do not know of what Allaah knows except that which He willed to be known.

The aayah implies both meanings, and both are correct since we do not know of Allaah’s thaat or sifaat except that which He willed for us to know. Indeed, He is the One Who made it known to us that He ascended upon the ‘arsh (Throne); and He is the One Who taught us on the tongue of His Messenger [Muhammad صَلَّى اللّٰهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّم] that He descends to the lowest heaven [in the last third of the night]; and this is the case with the rest of His sifaat: We have no knowledge of them except that He wills. Similarly, what Allaah knows regarding what is in the heavens and what is on the earth, our knowledge thereof is restricted to that which He willed for us to know. After all, He is the One Who informed us of the existence of the angels in the heavens and that there are seven heavens. So it is with respect to the rest of what Allaah knows, we are aware of that which He willed for us to know.

Even that which He has made known, many of us are unaware of it; the knowledge thereof are attained only if He wills. In the human being, there are many things which people [i.e. scientists] are not yet fully aware of. They gradually attained the knowledge that they knew not before. So, the aayah comprises both of the meanings discussed above.

Thus we do not know anything of what Allaah knows even that which concerns ourselves except that which He wills, and that we do not compass anything about Allaah’s thaat and sifaat except that which He wills. Therefore, whatever Allaah wills for His creatures to know, whether in relation to His thaat, sifaat, asmaa’ (Names), or Actions; or with respect to His creation or His legal ways which He revealed to His Messengers, then He (تعالى) will make it known for them.

Source : From the eBook: Tafseer Ayatul-Kursi – By Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-’Uthaymeen (rahimahullah). With Related Points of Benefit From the Shaykh’s Commentary on Imaam ibn Taymeeyah’s Sharhul ’Aqeedatil-Waasitiyyah, Prepared by Dr. Saleh As-Saleh (rahimahullah)

Related Link: https://abdurrahman.org/asma-wa-sifaat-com/