Sometimes realities are greater than what we have imagined. So many times knowledge beyond those realities can open new doors on us. Wisdom is one of these matters.

We are all aware with the definition of wisdom and we find it to be one of the greatest blessings Allah (SWT) has blessed us with. But we often attribute wisdom only with discerning truth from falsity only in theoretical matters. However, if we research the teachings of our religion, we will reach deeper insights on this concept.

The Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT) have recognized wisdom not only as a strong tool in the path of insight and knowledge, but also as an applicable tool in practical matters. Also, they have considered people’s use of this blessing much effective in way of living and practice of people.

So how does a person who benefits from this blessing live?  Can we escalate our wisdom to the best of its ability?  What matters can hinder such wisdom?

Imam Kadhim (PBUH) has talked about this issue in a narrative in which he addresses Hisham ibn Hakam (1). A part of the Hadith is as follows,

“O Hisham ibn Hakam! Verily Allah (SWT) has completed His arguments on people through their wisdom

. O’ Hisham! Allah (SWT) has reproached those who do not think by saying, ‘For the worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are the deaf and the dumb, those who understand not (2)”.

Hisham! Allah (SWT) has not sent His Prophets (PBUT) to the people for any purpose but for them to become wise by His help. So the person who best accepts this invitation of Allah (SWT) is the one that knows Allah (SWT) the best, and the most knowledgeable of Allah’s (SWT) affairs amongst people is the wisest of them. And the wisest of them has the best status in this world and the hereafter.

Hisham! The small act of the wise person is accepted and multiplied, while the many acts of him who is ignorant and worships his desires are not accepted.

Hisham! Luqman has told his son, ‘Be humble towards truth so that you be the most wise amongst people…  O son! The world is a deep sea where many have drowned; your ship in this sea must be piety, its load must be faith, its sail must be trust in Allah, its captain must be wisdom, its guide must be knowledge, and its rudder must be patience.’

Hisham! The wise leave the unnecessary matters of the world, let alone the sins, even though leaving the unnecessary matters of the world is a virtue and not sinning is obligatory. 

Hisham! Amir al-Mu’minin (PBUH) has said, ‘Allah (SWT) has not been worshiped by anything better than wisdom. And wisdom is not complete without the following components: people are safe from his harm, and hopeful to his help; he gives from the extra of his wealth and keeps his unnecessary words to himself; his wealth is enough for his life and cannot get enough of knowledge; he loves the humbleness in the path of Allah (SWT) more than honor in a path empty of Allah (SWT); he gives great value to the small kindness of others, and he sees his own great kindness very small; and he sees all people better than himself and himself the worst. And this is the bottom line.

Hisham! Whoever wants to feel fulfilled without money, and have a heart without jealousy, and a healthy faith, must humbly ask Allah (SWT) to accomplish his wisdom. Because whoever has wisdom will be satisfied by what suffices him, and whoever is content with the minimum wealth required in this life will have no needs, whereas he who is not content with what he has will never be free from want.

Hisham! Whoever does the following three things has helped his desire ruin his wisdom: he who darkens his wisdom with long term dreams; he who replaces his wise words with useless words; and he who extinguishes the power of learning a lesson with his lust. Such a person has ruined his wisdom with his desire and he has ruined both his life in this world and in the next. 

Hisham!  Everyone sees the stars, but only those who know the movements and paths of the stars can find their way (on the ground). As such, everyone can learn wisdom, but no one will be guided by his wisdom except those who practice that wisdom.”

(Selection taken from “Usul Kafi, The Book of Knowledge and Ignorance”, by Scholar Muhammad ibn Ya’qub Kulaini)

Footnotes:

1. Hisham ibn Hakam was one of the special companions of Imam Sadiq and Imam Kadhim (PBUH).

2. The Holy Quran (8:21-22)

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