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By Franz Rosenthal

In wisdom successful, Franz Rosenthal observes that the Islamic civilization is one who is largely characterised through wisdom ('ilm), for ''ilm is a type of innovations that experience ruled Islam and given Muslim civilization its certain form and complexion.

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Vice versa, terms that expressed ideas which he did not consider vital elements f his preaching tend to appear low down on the scale in the tabulation of words. The correctness of this observation is in a way conÀrmed by the low frequency of certain terms which were to play important roles in Islam later on. They do occur in the Qurxân and, in fact, were often propelled into their important roles on the basis of their occurrence in Qurxânic passages. But they were of no special concern to Mu˜ammad during his lifetime.

22:17 f. Cf. al-Wâqidî, Maghâzî, ed. M. Jones, 654 f. (London 1966); a¢-”abarî, Annales, ed. M. J. de Goeje and others, I, 1577–80 (Leiden 1879–1901). 41 CHAPTER TWO THE REVELATION OF KNOWLEDGE The uncertainties which bothered us in the preceding chapter disappear as soon as we approach the Qurxân. Here we have indeed “the full light of history,” at least as far as the concept of knowledge is concerned. However, even history’s fullest light falls concentrated only upon a few small spots and usually leaves most areas dimly lit by some weak and widely diffused light.

In this case, {ilm, and not {alam, is clearly meant. However, it is {alam/{alâmah which is adduced by the Imâm al-Æaramayn al-Juwaynî in explaining that {alam is called {alam because it is an indication set up to indicate the existence of the owner of the {alam. Likewise, the world with its substances, accidents, parts, and particles is a sign indicating the existence of the Lord, the owner of the world, cf. his Luma{ al-adillah, ed. Fawqîyah Æusayn Ma˜mûd, 76 (Cairo 1385/1965). The view expounded by ar-Râghib al-IÉfahânî is not quite clear.

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