The Meaning of Wisdom
Hikmah linguistically: ahkama al-amr (he fastened a matter), he mastered it so it is controlled, and he prevented it from being corrupted. Hikmah is used to mean justice, knowledge, forbearance, prophecy, and other meanings. A person who is hakim is the one who is mutqin lil-umur (proficient in matters).  al-Nihayah, Ibn al-Athir (1/419); Mukhtar al-Sihah, al-Razi (p. 62); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (12/140-143); al-Qamus al-Muhit, al-Fayruzabadi (p. 1415); al-Mu`jam al-Wasit (1/19).
Hikmah technically: is a noun for putting a thing in its place well. It is doing what should be done, how it should be done, at the time it should be done.  Madarij al-Salikin, Ibn al-Qayyim (2/449). From the Usages and Meanings of Wisdom  Nadrat al-Na`im, authored by a number of researchers (5/1692).
Wisdom is used as a term for many different meanings. Among those are the following: Wisdom meaning the Sunnah and explaining legislation. Allah, exalted, says: “Remember what is recited in your houses of Allah’s revelations and wisdom, for Allah is all subtle, all aware.” al-Ahzab: 34. Wisdom meaning prophethood. Allah, exalted, says: “With Allah’s permission, they defeated them. Dawud killed Jalut, and Allah gave him sovereignty and wisdom and taught him what He pleased. If Allah did not drive some back by means of others the earth would be completely corrupt, but Allah is bountiful to all.” al-Baqarah: 251. Wisdom meaning understanding and rationality in accordance with the Law. Allah, exalted, says: “We endowed Luqman with wisdom: ‘Be thankful to Allah: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless - Allah is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.’” Luqman: 12. Wisdom in the Qur’an and Sunnah
❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Call to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good teaching. Argue with them in the most courteous way, for your Lord knows best who has strayed from His way and who is rightly guided. al-Nahl: 125. Meaning, with measured, correct statements.  Tafsir al-Qasimi (6/422).
❖ Allah, exalted, says: “He gives wisdom to whomever He wills. Whoever is given wisdom has truly been given much good, but only those with insight bear this in mind.” al-Baqarah: 269.
❖ Allah, exalted, says: “We endowed Luqman with wisdom: ‘Be thankful to Allah: whoever gives thanks benefits his own soul, and as for those who are thankless - Allah is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.’” Luqman: 12.
❖ Ibn Mas`ud, Allah be pleased with him, said: “I heard the Prophet ﷺ say: ‘Envy is unjustified but in two things: a man who has been given wealth and he spends it for the sake of truth, and a man who has been given wisdom so he judges in its accordance and teaches it.’”  Reported by al-Bukhari (1409) and Muslim (816).
❖ Malik ibn Sa`sa`ah, Allah be pleased with them both, said: “The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘While I was at the House in a state midway between sleep and wakefulness, a golden tray full of wisdom and faith was brought to me. I was cut open from the throat to the lower abdomen, then my belly was washed with Zamzam water, then filled with wisdom and faith.’”  Reported by al-Bukhari (3207) and this is his wording, and Muslim (164). Traditions of the Predecessors and Quotes from the Scholars on Wisdom
❖ Salman wrote to Abu al-Darda’: “Knowledge is like water springs, Allah benefits with it whomever He wills. The parable of wisdom that is not shared is like a body without a soul.”  Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (35811) and this is his wording, as well as al-Darami (557) similarly.
❖ `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz: “If you find that a man is lengthy in his silences and escapes the people then be close to him, for he is receiving wisdom.”  al-Tabsirah, Ibn al-Jawzi (289).
❖ al-Qurtubi said: “Hikmah (wisdom) is the verbal noun from ihkam, which is proficiency in a statement or a deed. Everything already mentioned is a type of wisdom which is the genus. The Book of Allah is wisdom, the Sunnah of our Prophet ﷺ is wisdom, and so is all of the aforementioned in detail. The origin of wisdom is that which prevents one from insolence. It is therefore said that knowledge is wisdom since one, through it, avoids insolence, which is every ugly deed…”  Tafsir al-Qurtubi (3/330). Types of Wisdom
Wisdom is of two types: The first: is wisdom in theory, which is to appreciate the deep realities of things, recognising results as caused by their causes, in creation and legislation, in terms of both divine decree and law. The second: is practical wisdom, which is placing a thing in its appropriate place.  Madarij al-Salikin, Ibn al-Qayyim (2/478). Levels of Wisdom
There are three stages to wisdom: Firstly: is that one gives each thing its due right without excess, at its due time without earliness or lateness. This stage has three pillars: knowledge, forbearance, and deliberation. The opposing ailments of these three are: ignorance, fury, and hastiness. Secondly: is that one sees Allah’s intention in His promises, His justice in His verdicts, and His benignity in his prohibitions. Meaning, that one appreciates the wisdom of Allah’s promise for the good-doers and admonishment of the evildoers. Through this, one will be able to truly know Allah’s justice in His legislative and cosmological wills. Thirdly: is that one attains insight in his evidencing, truth in his seeking guidance, and the besought in what is hinted towards.  Madarij al-Salikin, Ibn al-Qayyim (2/448-452) with adaptation. Benefits of Wisdom
It is a way to know Allah, honoured and majestic, which guarantees one reaches Him and attains proximity to Him. Then, the slave severs all ties but with Him, and seeks naught but Him. It is a characteristic of the prophets and righteous, the sign of pragmatic scholars, and a feature of reforming callers to Allah. Being right in speech, and steadfast in action. It elevates one in station and honours one, and improves his status among the people. It is a sign of its possessor’s sound intellect and his lofty character, which makes him close to the people, beloved to them. It protects one from committing evil and uttering it. It saves one from transgressing limits and harming others, and anything which would force one to seek forgiveness and pardon for. When asked about what wisdom prevents one from, Abu al-Qasim al-Junayd ibn Muhammad said: “It prevents one from committing anything which would force one to apologise for; and from every thing you know but others do not that, due to personal reservation, you do not mention to them.”  Hilyat al-Awliya’, Abu Nu`aym (13/261). Means to Acquiring Wisdom
Wisdom is of two types when it comes to acquisition:
❖ Intrinsic wisdom: which Allah gives to whomsoever He wishes, showing its favours to whomsoever He wants. The slave has no agency in this type of wisdom.  al-Ishraf fi Manazil al-Ashraf, Ibn Abi al-Dunya (p. 212).
❖ Acquired wisdom: which the slave may exercise means to gain by accomplishing its means and leaving off things that prevent its acquisition. In this way, it comes easy to him. It is possible to summarise the main factors which facilitate acquiring wisdom in the following points:
➢ Having understanding in the religion. It is from the abundant good which the verse mentions. Allah, exalted says: “He gives wisdom to whomever He wills. Whoever is given wisdom has truly been given much good, but only those with insight bear this in mind.” al-Baqarah: 269.  Hadhihi Akhlaquna Hin Nakun Mu’minin Haqqa, Mahmud al-Khaznadar (p. 122).
➢ Seeking the company of the righteous and mixing with them, benefitting from them.
➢ Genuine devotional worship to Allah, blessed and exalted, attaching oneself to Him, and avoiding sins.
➢ Ensuring lawful food, drink, clothing, and all of one’s affairs is a cause for attaining wisdom.
➢ Having abundant experience, learning from the school of life.
➢ Not relying on one's own opinion without consulting those of experience and expertise among one’s righteous companions. This hones one’s insight in judging outcomes.  al-Ra’id Durus fi al-tarbiyah wa al-Da`wah, Mazin al-Farih (3/44). Barriers to Acquiring Wisdom
Ibrahim al-Khawwas said: “Wisdom descends from heaven but does not reside in a heart that has any of these four qualities: attachment to the worldly life, worry about tomorrow, nosiness, and envy.”  Hilyat al-Awliya’, Abu Nu`aym al-Asfahani (10/326). Impetuousness in dealing with one’s affairs, leaving carefulness and deliberation when making a decision. Being short-sighted, not contemplating the consequences of actions. Not having insight which reflects the deep realities of a situation, leading one to take decisions based on the apparent only. Not making use of the counsel of the righteous, experts, and experienced. Not learning from others’ past experiences and not learning from their dealings with others. Insufficient research and reading in matters of the religion. Beneficial knowledge is that which saves in intense times. Examples Highlighting the Wisdom of the Prophets, Companions, and Righteous Predecessors
❖ Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “While two women had been with their two sons, a wolf came and made away with the child of one of them. One of them said to the other: ‘It is with your child that it ran away.’ The other one said: ‘It has run away with your child.’ They brought the matter to Dawud for judgement, and he gave a verdict in favour of the elder one. They then went to Sulayman ibn Dawud, peace be upon them both, and told him the story. He said: ‘Bring me a knife so that I may divide him up between the both of you.’ The younger one said: ‘No! Allah have mercy on you, he is her son.’ So he ruled in favour of the younger one.”  Reported by al-Bukhari (3427) and Muslim (1720), and this is his wording.
❖ `A’ishah, Allah be pleased with her, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ, asked him: “Did you encounter a day more intense upon you than Uhud?” The Prophet ﷺ replied: “Your people have truly troubled me, and the worst I received from them was on the day of `Aqabah, when I presented myself to Ibn `Abd Yalil ibn `Abd Kulal, but he did not acquiesce to my request. So I departed, overwhelmed with sorrow, and proceeded on until I found myself at Qarn al-Tha`alib. I lifted my head towards the sky to see a cloud shading me unexpectedly. I looked up and saw Jibril in it. He called me saying: ‘Allah has heard your people’s words to you, and how they responded to you. Allah has sent to you the Angel of the Mountains so that you may command him to do whatever you wish to these people.’ The Angel of the Mountains called and greeted me, and then said: ‘Muhammad, command what you wish. If you like, I will fold al-Akhshabayn over them.’” The Prophet ﷺ replied: “Rather, I hope that Allah will let them beget children who will worship Allah alone, associating none with Him.”  Reported by al-Bukhari (3231) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (1795).
❖ Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, Allah be pleased with him, proved his incredible wisdom in keeping the Companions firm when the Prophet ﷺ passed away. He affirmed Allah’s oneness then said: “To proceed: Whoever among you used to worship Muhammad ﷺ, then Muhammad ﷺ has died. Whoever among you worships Allah, then Allah is Ever Living, never dying. Allah, exalted, says: ‘Muhammad is only a messenger before whom many messengers have been and gone. If he died or was killed, would you revert to your old ways? If anyone did so, he would not harm Allah in the least. Allah will reward the grateful.’ Al `Imran: 144. By Allah, it was as if the people did not know Allah revealed such a verse until Abu Bakr recited it to them, Allah be pleased with him. They heard it from him, and everyone kept reciting it.”  Reported by al-Bukhari (1242).
❖ Sulayman ibn `Abd al-Malik performed Hajj with `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz, and they were afflicted with thunder and lightning so intense that the hearts almost escaped their chests. Sulayman looked at `Umar, laughing and saying: “Did you ever see the like of this night, or even heard of it?” He replied: “Commander of the Faithful, this is the sound of the mercy of Allah. What if you were to hear the sound of the punishment of Allah?!” He then said: “This is one-hundred-thousand dirham, give it in charity.” `Umar said: “Should I tell you of better than that, Commander of the Faithful?” He replied: “What is that?” He said: “People who followed you to speak of wrong-doings to them, but did not reach you.” Sulayman then sat and returned their rights.  Manaqib `Umar, ibn al-Jawzi (p. 52-53); Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, al-Dhahabi (5/121). Poetry about Wisdom
The poet said:
“If you are to utter something, then do so with wisdom -
Weigh and evaluate what you are to say before saying it.
Whoever does not weigh his statements has no intellect;
Speech that is weighed in balance is like a firm building.
If you find the paths of speech to be blameworthy ones, then
Beautify yourself with silence - you will be praised, unharmed.
When does one who is silent reach praiseworthy ends - always!
Yet, how often does one who utters reap the fruits of regret?!”  Mawarid al-Zam’an li-Durus al-Zaman, al-Salman (1/340-341).