This word has multiple meanings depending on the context of its usage:

  1. A title and attribute of Allah meaning ‘All-Knowing’ or ‘Omniscient.’. It shares the same Arabic root as the word ‘ilm (knowledge). 

2. A person of knowledge. It is also a general term for Muslim scholars. Whatever the title a scholar uses – Sheikh, Moulana, etc. – they are recognized as being a scholar/ʿĀlim.