of Hikmah .. Wisdom
Sadullah Khan is the Director of Islamic Center of Irvine. He has presented lectures on Islamic Civilization at California State University at Dominguez Hills. He is a frequent lecturer for the Academy of Judaic, Christian and Islamic Studies at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles). He is also an advisor to the Chancellor's Committee on Religion Ethics and Values at UCLA and serves as Director of Muslim Affairs at USC (University of Southern California).
You can watch his lectures on Empowerment and Hadith of the Day at IslamiTV
Wisdom has been defined as ...
Hikmah (denoting 'wisdom') is a positive term used repeatedly in the Quran as a characteristic of the righteous [Quran 2:251; Quran 4:54; Quran 5:110], as a quality of those who truly understand [Quran 31:12].
Hikmah (Wisdom), 'Aql (Mind)
At times the word hikmah is interchanged with 'aql; as evidenced in the saying of Sayedna 'Ali, the tongue of a wise person is behind the heart and the heart of a fool is behind the tongue.
Hikmah & 'Ilm
Though 'ilm (knowledge) may open the doorways to hikmah, but hikmah is distinct from 'ilm. Knowledge and information provides means for enlightenment ; Remember Allah's Blessings and the (truthful information) sent through the Book and the wisdom it provides by which you may be enlightened. [Quran 2:23]
Though 'book knowledge' enhances the potential for wisdom; wisdom is often attained by learning in other ways; By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and Third by experience, which is the bitterest. [Ancient Chinese philosopher, Confucius]
Virtue & Wisdom
Ethics is the branch of philosophy which attempts to understand the nature of morality; to define that which is right from that which is wrong. Ancient Roman orator, Cicero said; "The function of wisdom is to discriminate between good and evil." The Ancient Greek philosopher, Plato, suggested that the four cardinal virtues are wisdom, courage, self-control and justice.
In Islam, wisdom is always linked to virtue. "You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the capacity for hearing, sight, and the intellect, and you are responsible for using them effectively. You shall not walk with arrogance on earth - you cannot bore through the earth, nor can you be as tall as the mountains. All impropriety is condemned by your Lord. This is of the wisdom inspired to you by your Lord. You shall not set up another object of worship beside God, lest you end up in hell; blamed and defeated." [Quran 17:36-39]
Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq stated that the cardinal virtues to live by are ... piety, contentment, patience, gratitude, humility, modesty, generosity, courage, enthusiasm, benevolence, truthfulness and trustworthiness.
Wise ones have said that the height of wisdom is to proportion our wants to our possessions, our ambitions to our capacities, our emotions to our conscience and our deeds to our values it is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err. [Gandhi]
The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are really a wise man. [Ancient Greek playwright, Euripides]
Wisdom is a bounteous thing that is invaluable, and Allah reminds us in the Quran:
Whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted something tremendously beneficial; but none reflect except people of insight. [Quran 2:269]
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