Allah, the Almighty, said:

{He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good…} [al-Baqarah 2:269]

قَالَ اللهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ: "يُؤْتِي الْحِكْمَةَ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا"

Wisdom is to place everything where it belongs.442 It is of three levels:

الْحِكْمَةُ وَضْعُ الشَّيْءِ فِي مَوْضِعِهِ، وَهِيَ عَلَى ثَلَاثِ دَرَجَاتٍ.

The first level:

  1. to give everything its due right,443

  2. without exceeding its limit,444

  3. or advancing it before its time or delaying it after it445

الدَّرَجَةُ الْأُولَى:

  1. أَنْ تُعْطِيَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ حَقَّهُ

  2. وَلَا تَعُدِّيَهُ حَدَّهُ

  3. وَلَا تُعَجِّلَهُ عَنْ وَقْتِهِ وَلَا تُؤَخِّرَهُ عَنْهُ

The second level:

  1. to behold [the judiciousness of] Allah’s cause in His promises and threats

  2. to recognize His justice in His judgments

  3. to observe His graciousness in His withholding446

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّانِيَةُ:

  1. أَنْ تَشْهَدَ نَظَرَ اللَّهِ فِي وَعْدِهِ

  2. وَتَعْرِفَ عَدْلَهُ فِي حُكْمِهِ

  3. وَتَلْحَظَ بِرَّهُ فِي مَنْعِهِ

The third level:

  1. your exploration becomes guided by insight447

  2. your guidance is to the truth448

  3. your pointing is to the ultimate goal449

والدَّرَجَةُ الثَّالِثَةُ:

  1. أَنْ تَبْلُغَ فِي اسْتِدْلَالِكَ الْبَصِيرَةَ

  2. وَفِي إِرْشَادِكَ الْحَقِيقَةَ

  3. وَفِي إِشَارَتِكَ الْغَايَةَ

442 Wisdom is needed in both judgment and action. Wisdom in action is to do the right thing at the right time and place and in the right measure and form, thus placing it where it belongs. Where firmness is warranted, one is firm, and where leniency is warranted, one is lenient.
443 Knowing the importance and ranks of different deeds and prioritizing accordingly.
444 The two extremes of excessiveness and laxity are condemnable. Moderation is the way of this religion.
445 Doing the right thing at the wrong time may cause as much harm as doing the wrong thing. Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah be pleased with him) says in Madârij that the pillars of wisdom are knowledge, forbearance, and deliberation. Forbearance (ḥilm) rids us of emotionality, biases, and prejudices. One should try to attain these while imploring Allah to give them ḥikmah.
446 If you only knew His wisdom in withholding what you desire, you would be as grateful for His withholding as you are for His giving.
447 The quest for the truth not only requires cleverness or a sound intellect to examine the evidence, but also an unbiased and enlightened insight. There is a difference between the sophist and the philosopher. Also, philosophers may be biased, hasty, or arrogant and thus deprived of the blessings of Divine guidance. ‘Faqeeh’ may be used now to refer to someone who knows the technicalities of fiqh and memorizes the rulings without knowing their sources, contingencies, nuances, and purposes. In the past, one was not considered a faqeeh until they had mastered all that and acted upon their knowledge as well.
448 Ibn al-Qayyim says in Madârij that this could mean either your finding the truth when people guide you, or you guiding the people only to the truth.
449 The goal is Allah.

Manâzil as-Sâirin


Shaykhul-Islam Abu Isma‘il Abdullah ibn Muhammad al-Ansari al-Harawi (396-481H)

Translation and Footnotes


Hatem al-Haj