Pearl of Wisdom
was asked by Muhammad b. Muslim about the situation of a man who becomes ritually impure (mujnib) during his journey, and has nothing but snow or ice at his disposal [and therefore cannot perform the obligatory bath to purify himself]. Imam (AS) replied, 'This is a situation of primary necessity, and I do not think that he should ever return to such a place where his religion is at stake.'
Imam Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq [as]
Ibid. v. 76, p. 222, no. 9
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"... and if you forgive them, then surely you are the Mighty, the Wise" (Quran, 5:118).
"Hakeem" is a superlative form, a form for the glorification of the One who has all the wisdom; hence, al-Hakeem is the very greatest in His wisdom.
Allah is the wisest in creating everything and in perfecting such a creation. His wisdom means His prior knowledge of everything and His bringing everything into existence most wisely and most perfectly.
Wisdom means: the best way of knowing something utilizing the very best of means. "Al-Hakeem" carries the same meaning as that of "al-`Aleem." Nobody knows Allah except Allah; therefore, al- Hakeem cannot be anyone but Allah: He knows the origins of all things through His eternal and perpetual knowledge which nobody can ever conceive as being liable to extinction.
"Al-Hakeem" may also mean His being holy, too Holy to do anything which does not beseem Him. In Surat al-Mominoon, Allah says, "What?! Did you then think that we had created you in vain and that you will not be returned to us?!" (Quran, 23:115).
Some scholars have said that al-Hakeem is equitable in His assessment, benevolent in His management of affairs, the One Who has determined the measure of everything, and the One whose wisdom is the very ultimate end, the One Who places everything in its right place. Nobody can really appreciate Allah's wisdom other than Allah Himself. Al-Hakeem is not free from seeking any self-interest, nor can anyone object to anything He does.
Al- Hakeem is adorned with wisdom, and wisdom knows the best of things through the best means. The best of everything is Allah; so, He is the Absolute al-Hakeem; He knows everything by the very best means of eternal and everlasting knowledge, the knowledge which nobody can conceive as ever coming to naught, nor can there be any doubt about it, and nobody can be described as such except Allah.
Some scholars say that wisdom means getting to know the truth for its own sake, and to know goodness in order to act upon it. A servant of Allah, though his portion of knowledge and potential may be little, such a shortcoming is evident in him when compared to Allah's knowledge and might and to the knowledge and ability of the angels. Yet whatever amount human beings have been given is quite significant by the token that Allah Himself has deemed it great when he said, "... and whoever is granted wisdom is indeed granted a great deal of goodness" (Quran, 2:269).
Abraham prayed his Lord for wisdom saying, "Lord! Grant me wisdom" (Quran, 26:83).
Allah said the following about David (Prophet David): "We granted him wisdom and a clear judgment" (Quran, 38:20).
Scholars have said that wisdom means knowledge. Knowledge may either know what can exist without our choice or doing, which is theoretical knowledge or it may be knowledge of what can happen by our choice and doing, which is practical knowledge. Theoretical knowledge may either be the means towards an end, or it may be an end by itself. The means, for example, may be the science of logic the deduction of which is determined by what concepts and assertions mankind can conceive in a way which does not permit except a very rare margin of error.
As regarding what is considered as the ultimate end, be informed that things may be classified into three categories: They may either comprise a form, or they actually are not supposed to exist in a certain form, or either case may be applicable to them. What is supposed to be in a form should either be in a particular one, and the science which researches such portion of what exists is called natural science or physics. What ought not to be a particular form and ought to be in some other form, the science that researches it is called the science of mathematics. As regarding the other category which is not supposed to be in a particular form at all, the science that researches it is called theology.
As regarding the third kind, the one which may be in a particular form or may not, the science researching it is called the inclusive science, and it is like the knowledge of the unit, the multiplicity, the causation, the deduction, the completion or the deficiency. All of this falls under the category of theoretical knowledge.
Practical knowledge may either be the researching of the conditions of man regarding his own body, which is called the science of physiology, or his conditions with members of his household, which is called the science of domestic management, or his conditions (ties to, relationship...) with the rest of the world, which is called political science.
The person who personified wisdom in his everyday conduct among people is the Messenger of Allah by the token of this verse of Surat Ali-`Imran: "Certainly Allah conferred a benefit upon the believers when He raised among them a Messenger from among themselves reciting to them His signs and purifying them and teaching them the Book and the wisdom although before then they were surely in manifest error" (Quran, 3:164).
The wisdom in as far as the servants of Allah are concerned is to say and to do what is right as much as it is humanly possible. Allah says in Surat al-Baqarah, "He grants wisdom to whomsoever He pleases, and whoever is granted wisdom is indeed granted a great deal of good and none but men of understanding mind" (Quran, 2:269).
A wise person among people is one who precisely calculates intricate things; he masters them and skillfully executes them. Wisdom is the greatest knowledge, and its greatness depends on the greatness of what is known, and surely there is nothing greater than Allah. Anyone who gets to know Allah is wise even if his share of all other secular branches of knowledge is most modest. The ratio of the wisdom of any of Allah's servants to that of Allah is like the ratio of such servant's knowledge to that of Allah, and what a vast difference it is! And what a vast distance it is between both norms of knowledge! Yet despite the huge gap between both matters, wisdom is regarded as the most precious of all types of knowledge and the most fruitful, and anyone who is endowed with wisdom is surely granted a great deal of good.
To derive a good conduct from the attribute al-Hakeem requires a servant of Allah to be wise, that is, to do his best in whatever good deeds he does, and that his condition is pleasing to others, that is, based on following the commandments of Allah and distancing himself from whatever He has enjoined us to be distant from. He takes extreme care in performing his religious obligations, distancing himself from following his own whims and desires, staying away from any doubtful matter.
The Messenger of Allah has said, "The apex of wisdom is fearing Allah." A wise person is one who indicts his own self and who learns about what will come after death. A feeble person is one who follows his own desires and still wants even more from Allah. The Messenger of Allah has made many wise statements in this regard. A Bedouin once came to the Messenger of Allah and asked him to teach him something good to say. He told him to say, "There is no god except Allah, the One and only God Who has no partner; Allah is Great, Greater than everything; Praise, a great deal indeed of Praise, is due to Allah; Glory to Allah, Lord of the Worlds; there is no power nor might except in Allah, the Honored One, the Wise." The Bedouin said, "All this is for my Lord; what about something for my own self?!" The Messenger of Allah taught him to say, "Lord! I invoke You to forgive me, to have mercy on me, to grant me guidance, to grant me good health, and to grant me an increase in sustenance."
As regarding what some people consider as having "wisdom," anyone who knows "everything" without knowing Allah is not worthy of being called wise because he has missed the knowledge of the best and the most significant of everything. One who knows Allah is a wise person even if his share of all other branches of knowledge is very shallow, even if he stutters or is unable to absorb them.
One who knows Allah is one whose speech will sound different from that of anyone else, one who seldom indulges in frivolous matters. On the contrary, his speech will be inclusive, and he does not seek any vanishing interest.