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Understanding Hikmat-o-Ilm

Ilm, The knowledge

The importance of Knowledge can be understood through various Quranic verses and traditions. For example “Allah will exalt those of you who believe, and those who are given knowledge, in high degrees” (58:11).

For our understanding we can describe it as the raw material required for obtaining finished products. In computer terms we can say that it is the raw data that is required as an input to deliver any kind of processed information (output). As we know, raw data is absolutely necessary for processing but it is not the ONLY thing essential. On getting the raw data we need to have proper formulas/software to process the data. If the software used to process the data is not up to the mark then we may have negative results. Hence, we even see some of the highly knowledgeable Ulemas manipulating and misinterpreting Islamic teachings.

There are numerous benefits of knowledge out of which are:

  1. Knowledge is necessary to basically know the right and the wrong.
  2. To understand the implications of the right and the wrong.
  3. To understand the external subject so as to implement a particular theory on it.
  4. To understand the significance of ‘the right’ and degradation of ‘the wrong’.

Aql is the capacity for a person to process the data. Through this processing a person also comes to understand the difference between ‘the right’ and ‘the wrong’.

Hikmat, The Wisdom 

Hikmat may be mostly considered as something different from knowledge and not a part thereof. But it can also be considered a part of knowledge (though a different aspect) based on the context.

It is named as Hikmat because it prevents a person from ignorance.

“and whoever is granted wisdom, he indeed is given a great good and none but men of understanding mind” (2:269)

It can be explained in terms of the example used in case of ‘knowledge’ above, as the software/formula/coding used to process the raw data (knowledge in this case). This ‘kind of processing’ is basically responsible for the ‘kind of processed information/output’. Here it is important to note that hikmat is not any kind of processing capability but it is the positive capability only and not the negative one. Though in case of software’s there can be negative ones as well but hikmat cannot be negative, it is always a positive one.

Ilm is the raw data – knowledge – possessed by a person. Though there are other meanings of Ilm like manifesting/showing – H.Quran Kahf-12, Ale Imran-140, Hadid-25, Jinn-28 OR proof/reasoning Kahf-4&5, Haj-3, Luqman-15, Anaam-100, here we are more concerned with the first meaning -Knowledge.

Hikmat is the mannerism of the soul reached after processing of the Ilm through Aql. Through this mannerism a person understands the Haq, avoids wrong and performs an act with precision.

After comparing lot of traditions we may conclude that Hikmaah or Hikmat is the most significant of all these.


Keep Exploring Wisdom!


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