If Allah needs to manifest something in His Knowledge, then this must have an implicit form at the level of Knowledge, before coming into physical manifestation. However, Allah has created the worlds based on the meanings He created in His Knowledge, as Allah is free to govern His Knowledge as He wishes to.
The worlds, which are inexistent in respect of their reality, have not been created in respect of the Acts of Allah but in respect of the Names of Allah. Hence, the whole of existence is present in His Knowledge.
Those, who fall into the misunderstanding that ‘knowledge is determined by manifestation’, try to view the top from the bottom. That is, they try to solve the mystery with the knowledge and light of Minor Sainthood (Wilayat Sughra). Minor Sainthood involves ‘ascension’ from the people to Allah, whereas Major Sainthood (Wilayat Kubra) involves the condescension of Allah to the level of the people.
In the sight of the Perfect Man, who maintains the knowledge and the excellence of divine disclosure at the station of eternity (BakaBillah), manifestation is determined by knowledge!
Contrary to this, based on the view of ascension in the sight of Minor Sainthood, knowledge is determined by manifestation, as in this view manifestation appears to be fixed.
When viewed from the level of Major Sainthood, the quintessence of disclosing the Knowledge of Allah (Nubuwwat), nothing exists anyway, other than the Absolute Essence (dhat). Hence, it is said that the Absolute Essence manifests, from nothing, the meanings He wishes to observe in the Knowledge from Himself, to Himself. Of course, here we are referring to the meanings of the Names of Allah, not the Acts of Allah.
Allah creates the meanings, and then discloses them through manifestation. At every instant, these manifested meanings interact with each other in accordance to their properties, and based on this, they perceive one another as the Acts of Allah. Although I said ‘every instant’, let’s remember that in reality there is only ‘one’ instant, as the whole of manifestation is the result of a single theophany, what the Sufi’s call One Theophany (Tajalli Wahid) or a Single Disclosure. All has begun and ended at the ‘point’; alif and the rest are just an illusion.
Pertaining to the level of knowledge, there are meanings of Names, which have come into existence though the act of creation, referred to by the verse:
“Indeed, Allah is Ghani from the worlds (in terms of His Absolute Essence, Allah is free from being conditioned and limited by the manifested compositions of His Names)!” (Quran 29:6)
The fact, that knowledge isn’t determined by manifestation, is evident in Allah’s Self-Sufficiency (Ghani) and Independence of the worlds and the meanings of the Names from which they derive. If knowledge was determined by creation, then the verse “Allah is free from need of the worlds” would be rendered obsolete, as this would suggest a form of dependency on the worlds.