Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (damat barkatuhum) explains in a lecture I recently listened to,
“What’s the meaning of ‘Alam in the Arabic language? The word ‘Alam in the Arabic language is the name of something, which becomes the means for knowledge of another thing. Out of ‘Ilm comes the word ‘Alam into existence.
Now, ‘Alam is the name of something through which you find out about another thing – gaining it’s knowledge. So, the world has been given the name ‘Alam, because if someone’s gazes are correct and thoughts are correct then everything of this world grants you the knowledge of Allah’s Rahmat and Qudrat-e-Qabila.
Is ‘ayna ke khane me sab hi yaadain tereh
Is ‘ayna ke khane me tu jab tak rahaygah
Every atom in this universe is reminding one of Allah Jalla Jalaluhu. It offers a heinous imprint of Allah Tabarak wa Ta’ala’s Qudrat-e-Kamila and His Hikmat-e-Baliga. The human is unthankful and neglectful, that he passes all these things and sees them with his eyes, but pays no attention.”