Updated: Jul 9
Hikma is derived from the word “ihkam” which means “perfection”. There are different definitions of hikma and some of them are; the Sunnah, prophetic treatise, understanding of the religion, good advice, halal and haram, exactness of speech, and beneficial knowledge. All meanings are interrelated because they lead to perfection. The Quran, Sunnah and what is emitted from them are all hikma.
Wisdom is having the foresight to categorize things into their various perspectives and use them efficiently without emitting negative consequences. Wisdom is one of the greatest gifts given to humans from Allah.
“He gives wisdom to whom he wills and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given abundant good” (Q2:269).
Bare knowledge does not mean wisdom. Wisdom is when one puts the knowledge into best practice to create the best outcome. Wisdom helps us solve problems, have a better life, creates short routes, rectify issues and live a successful life.
“Science is organised knowledge, wisdom is organised life” (Immanuel Kant, 1803).
The Quran teaches us wisdom through the prophets. Words of wisdom was also demonstrated to us through a man pious person named Lukman. Although he was not a prophet, he was so wise that a whole chapter was revealed in his name. Wisdom are insights that one gets in making judgement, ability to grasp problems, put them in the respective buckets, solve issues and take the best decision. The goal of hikmah is to prevent foolishness and stupidity and encourage wiseness.
Concept of wisdom:
Allah exercises his wisdom by judging decrees, posing hardship/granting ease in the best possible manner, time and place. He is Al-Hakeem: His books, Angels, Prophets, dominion and everything is in accordance to his wisdom. His actions, commands and prohibitions are all in the wisest manner. Allah uses both his wisdom and knowledge in a very wise way to inflict trials and tribulations in testing our faiths.
From an individual perspective, one exercises his wisdom by wearing his thinking cap, switching on his power of reasoning and brilliance in submission to Allah. Actions that lead to obeying Allah are surely based on hikma and vice versa. A wise person knows how to determine what is beneficial and harmful to him in this life and the hereafter while a foolish person chases his dreams and desires in the dunya forgetting the akhira. Whatever happens to us whether good or bad we should have trust in Allah and believe that there’s wisdom behind it. The Quran itself had been referred to as the book of wisdom. So when ever calamities befall us we should remind ourselves on the wisdom behind Allah’s creations. People who know the Quran but don’t act accordingly are called unwise scholars. They cannot have wisdom as servants if they don’t obey Allah.
From the prophet hood perspective, they studied the divine books and taught it to us and made it clear that everything was created with wisdom and told us to act in accordance to those books otherwise our creation will be baseless. The wisdom is the prophet hood is established as the prophets learnt and taught us while human beings get their wisdom directly from God.
The concept of wisdom is summarized as follows; the word “wise” has been used to describe the Quran severally and Allah told the Prophet (s) that the book is filled with wisdom and proved to us that the person delivering this book is his messenger and whoever follows and obeys Al-Hakeem will be wise so this means we should make the Quran our best friend, ponder on it, understand it and teach it. A lot of people take their health for granted and some use their wealth recklessly, wisdom entails using the bounties given to us by Allah wisely and in a manner to please him. Humans who submit their free will to Allah fully by using their intelligence and insights are the wise ones and worthy of forgiving in Allah’s sight. Power of wisdom stops us from committing sins and guides us to the straight path. It widens our spectrum in life. It enables us to use the right words and avoid the wrong ones.
Importance of wisdom in giving Da’awah
The Prophet(S) incorporated wisdom in all his actions especially in the area of Da’awah because a large volume of people embraced Islam as a result of wisdom granted to the prophet by Allah.
“Invite to the way of your lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching and argue with them in a way that is better” (Q16:125).
I. When the angel opened up the prophet’s chest, he washed it with zamzam and filed up his chest with wisdom and Eman. This signifies the importance of wisdom. Hikma in the area of da’awah might mean: delivering the truth with evidence from sharia in a tolerant and polite manner or establish fair preaching by warning against falsehood while showing the straight path. This method works best for people who are on the wrong path due to ignorance. Other times hikma involves debating with them just to point out the truth and not be appear victorious. This is best applied to the enemies of Islam.
II. Wisdom in Da’awah means the caller is able to estimate things properly. Knowing not to do da’awah on unethical transaction dealings when these same people cannot even perform wudu. Knowing what to discuss with the appropriate segment of people.
III. Wisdom gives the caller the insight to assess the type of people he is giving da’awah to, their attitude, and level of knowledge, experience and even their culture.
IV. Wisdom enables the caller to strategize various ways (style) in giving da’awah. He uses his knowledge to make the call and not ignorance.
V. Wisdom gives the caller the ability to prioritize the items to be discussed according to need.
VI. Wisdom makes one come down to the level of the people he is calling, explaining in the manner and language they can easily comprehend.
Examples of wisdom from the prophet (pbuh).
I. The prophet(s) and his companions won the battle of badr and had captured 70 prisoners. In place of setting them free, the prophet was filled with wisdom and instructed that each one of them teach 10 children of the Ansar. The led to the emerging of the first school in history of Islam.
II. There was a time the unbelievers put idols in ka’abah but he spent 13 years without confronting them. Rather, he used insight to make it a source of attracting pilgrims and he used that opportunity to do da’awah.
III. When the prophet (s) and thousands of his companions were leaving mecca to medina they couldn’t pass the narrow way. They were initially moving horizontally but he asked them to arrange themselves vertically which led them to cross the way swiftly.
IV. The incidence with the Bedouin that urinated in the mosque. The prophet (s) did not shout on him, rather he ordered them to bring bucked of water and he poured it over. This kind treatment made him speak to his entire tribe and they came to meet the Prophet (s) and embraced Islam.
V. The fact that zakat and Salah were revealed gradually in stages shows that wisdom has been incorporated signifying that one should not expect changes to happen at the blink of an eye.
VI. The Bedouin said may Allah have mercy on me and the prophet (s) only and not on others, the prophet(s) corrected him in a nice manner.
VII. A man wore a gold ring, the prophet(s) removed it and threw it out saying he’s wearing the hell-fire. This shows that he became stricter here because it is a serious matter. So he used his wisdom appropriately. You become strict if there is a need for it.
VIII. The case of Barirah reporting to Nana Aisha of not paying her installments (slave making an unethical deal with his owner). The prophet responded by saying what is wrong with men? Because he didn’t want to mention names so that the person does not feel ridiculed.
IX. A man that had intercourse with his wife came to the prophet(s) really worried and the Prophet(s) saw a man passing by with the basket of dates and he told the man to give it in charity since he was not able to do the first few options the prophet (s) prescribed.
The prophet’s entire life was filed with wisdom. The Sahaba followed his way and spread their knowledge with wisdom. Muslims nowadays do not follow the footsteps of the Prophet(s) because placing a loud speaker close to the mosque alone brings serious quarrel between us. We have to shun violence because it destroys wisdom. We have to delegate our sayings and actions in the most efficient manner, in the right place, at the right time. We can become masters of cases if we sit and think deeply on how to change our ways and apply wisdom. It is for the betterment of the Muslim ummah as a whole. Wisdom in da’awah is beyond being soft spoken but ability to put things in the right perspectives and knowing when to play your cards; such as knowing where and when to debate and whether to be harsh or soft spoken in a particular scenario.
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