Which term means the opposite of knowledge?

According to the Islamic methodologists, the opposite of  Ilm علم (knowledge) is Jahl (ignorance). Ignorance is of 2 types. There can be:

1. Simple ignorance- which is the absence of knowledge or to simply not know) or,

2. Multi-layered ignorance- wherein one has a perception opposite of the reality of a certain thing or meaning.

For example, if the question was asked, “What is the capital city of Egypt?”

  • Knowledge, or  Ilm علم, would be to answer, “The capital city of Egypt is Cairo.”

  • Simple Ignorance would be to say, “I don’t know what the capital of Egypt is.”

  • Complex ignorance would be to answer: Alexandria is the capital of Egypt. 

Ignorance also has degrees, or levels, which are:

1. Al Yaqeen (Certainty): This level combines comprehensive authentic knowledge of something and certainty of belief in it. So, again, referring back to the aforementioned example, certainty would be to answer: No doubt, Cairo is the ONLY capital city of Egypt.

2. Al Dhan (Assumption): In this level, one chooses the most likely conclusion over the less likely. So, for example, to answer: The Capital of Egypt is either Cairo or Alexandria, but most likely it is Cairo.

3. Al Shak (Doubt): At this level, the lack of knowledge causes an inability to choose any conclusion, and must progress to either assumption or certainty, or regress to illusion. For example, to answer: Either Cairo or Alexandria is the Capital of Palestine, but I can’t be sure one way or another.

4. Al Wahm (Illusion): Is choosing the less likely conclusion over the more likely conclusion, based on some preconceived idea or notion. Such as to answer: Either Alexandria or Cairo is the Capital of Egypt, and I would assume it is Alexandria.