Use & Abuse of the word Hikma by the Quran Only Religion.

 

“He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding.”  (Qur’an 2:269)

Questions:

1 Is there anything internal in the above verse that even remotely suggests that it is a reference to the Qur’an?

2 Are adherents of the  ‘Qur’an only religion‘  seriously going to contend that Allah has only given wisdom to Quranist who understand their particular approach to the Qur’an?

3 Are adherents ‘Qur’an only religion‘ advocate’s seriously going to contend that Allah has not given wisdom to people who are not Muslims?

 hikma– understood as ‘wisdom’ or ‘discernment’ has been used and abused by both the traditionalist and the various ‘Qur’an Only‘ sects.

The traditionalist will try and conflate the term hikma to only mean ‘the sunnah’ of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

They are partially correct, but the term is a bit more nuanced.  They will end up taking this term hikma and than conflating it with sunnah, such that it now is in reference to all the deeds, actions, and sayings of the Blessed Messenger (saw).

That is simply not true. I believe it was Imam Al Shafi’i (may Allah have mercy on him) who was among the first to make this assertion. (May Allah have mercy on him and on us.)

The ‘Qur’an Only Religion’ in their rush to refute any authority other than their own individual interpretations of the Qur’an say that hikma is in reference to only the Qur’an.

They are partially correct as well, but it is not the whole picture.

Now certainty it would be correct to say that the Qur’an is hikma. However, the inverse is not true.

To say that every instance of the word hikma refers to the Qu’ran is simply not true. This is where we begin to understand the nuanced meaning and application of the term hikma.

“And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom (hikma) the Law and the Gospel.” (Qur’an 3:48)

It would certainly be odd if we understood this to be, “And Allah will teach him the Book, and the Qur’an and the Law and the Gospel.”

Does anyone think that Jesus (as) taught the Qur’an?

It would also be odd if we understood this to be, “And Allah will teach him the Book, and the words, deeds, sayings of Prophet Muhammed, the Law, and the Gospel.”

However, notice something in the text above in 3:48

Quranist will use as an argument that things mentioned in conjunction with one another do not necessarily mean that they are separate.

For example:

“And We had already given Moses and Aaron the criterion and a light and a reminder for the righteous.”  (Qur’an  21:48)

So here in this context, the Torah is being described as a criterion and a light and a reminder. These are three descriptions of the Torah, not three separate sources of guidance.

Whereas we also have an example of three mentioned together that are not the same. In the following verse is mentioned Allah [swt], the angels and all mankind. These three do not equate to being the same.

“Surely those who disbelieve and die while they are disbelievers, these it is on whom is the curse of Allah and the angels and all mankind.” (Qur’an  2:168)

So in what context is the grammar being used in the verse relating to Jesus?

“And Allah will teach him the Book and Wisdom (hikma) the Law and the Gospel.” (Qur’an 3:48)

Jesus is being taught the Book, the Hikma, the Law, and the Gospel.  

The Arabic transliteration is: wayu’allimuhu l-kitaba wal-hik’mata wal-tawrwata wal-injila.

The Law and the Book and the Gospel are not the same things.  It stands to reason that given the grammar of this verse from a perfect All-Knowing being, that the hikma is a reference to something distinct from the Gospel in a way that the Torah is distinct from the Gospel.

“And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, “I have come to you with wisdom (hikma) and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me.” (Qur’an 43:63)

How odd would that be if we understood it to be,

“And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, “I have come to you with words, deeds, and sayings of Prophet Muhammed and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me.”

It would also certainly be odd if we understood it as:

“And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, “I have come to you with the Qur’an and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me.”

“And remember the verses of Allah and the wisdom (Prophet’s sayings) which are recited in your houses, surely, Allah is Courteous, Well-Acquainted.” (Qur’an 33:34)

Some adherents of the Qur’an Only Religion have argued that wisdom here must be Qur’an because the prophetic sayings cannot be considered as being ‘recited‘. They believe that ‘recited’ is only a reference to the Qur’an.

The Qur’an refutes this point.

“And they followed instead what the devils had recited during the reign of Solomon.” (Quran 2:102)

The Arabic yut’lā – can also mean recounted or rehearsed.

I wanted to make this entrance very brief insh’Allah. The reason this entrance is very brief is because is a huge misunderstanding of the Qur’an by adherents of the ‘Qur’an only religion’.

If they really looked at the Qur’an, reflected upon it they would not have fallen into such an egregious error.

Hikma is discernment.  It is the ability to discern.  It is penetrating understanding or insight.  The Blessed Messenger (saw) was granted hikma.

Thus when we hear of the term hikma in relationship to the revelation, we can understand it to mean his exposition of the Qur’an.

Hikma in this particular instance-  does not mean the way he walked, what he wore, and what he ate.

Hikma does mean that Allah (swt) granted him penetrating insights into the Qur’an.

This is obvious from the following verse:

And obey Allah and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away, then Our Messenger is responsible only for conveying the message clearly. (Quran 64:12)

It is obvious that the use of hikma would be to know how to employ the  Qur’an on issues that are not explicitly mentioned by the Qur’an.

How to relate the Qur’an to context.

An example:

“And marry not women whom your fathers married, except what has already passed; indeed it was shameful and most hateful, and an evil way.” (Qur’an 4:22)

This also applies equally to a woman a man’s father has married contractually and to women he has had intercourse with outside of marriage.

Who knows how Qur’an Only Muslims deal with this?  They are in open rebellion to the idea that anything is an authority outside of the text of the Qur’an. Even though Allah (swt) has said:

“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best way and best in result. (Qur’an 4:59)

Although the Qur’an is not clear on this point. So this is a case of hikma –or discernment.  Or other jurists may call it analogical reasoning. 

The life of the Blessed Prophet (saw) is an example of how Muslims should interact with the world around them.

The hikma that has become mass transmitted sunnah of the Muslims prior to the civil war, is his understanding of the Qur’an in all matters.

“He gives wisdom to whom He wills, and whoever has been given wisdom has certainly been given much good. And none will remember except those of understanding.”  (Qur’an 2:269)

So it is a failure of insight for the adherents of the  ‘Qur’an only religion‘ to not see that the word hikma was given to the Blessed Messenger (saw) as penetrating insights.

The reason why the adherents  ‘Qur’an only religion’ are very uncomfortable with this is due to the fact of their very strained interpretations that the Qur’an ‘explains everything in detail’ -which to them leaves no room for expositions, interpretations, or sources of guidance outside of it.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

7 responses to “Use & Abuse of the word Hikma by the Quran Only Religion.

  1. Pingback: “The Necessity of the Hadith in Islam” – by Emad Hamdeh a Critical Review. (part 2) | primaquran

  2. Abdullah

    Salaam Alaykum my brother in Islam,

    I wish you good health and may Allah bless you and your family.

    I just wanted to say that I may have gone a little hard on you in the other forum: “Salaat in the Qur’an is NOT Ritual prayer?”. If I have offended, or hurt you in any way I apologize. What I was trying to emphasize was not related to the topic so I thought I’d bring it up here instead InshaAllah.

    Now, the topic was about Wisdom. Most Muslims that I know insist that this word is the deeds and the actions of the Prophet Muhammad (AS). And as you mentioned in this article, it was Imam Shafi’i who suggested this idea. I partially agree with what you’re saying in your article. For example. I have NO DOUBT that prophet Muhammad (AS) was a man with wisdom and may have taught his companions words and deeds of wisdom. However, how can we truly know that what we find in the hadeeth literature is authentic? That’s the question! Since the majority of the hadeeth literature is known as Ahad (lone ranger) and also known to be Zanni (Speculative, guess work, doubtful). Personally, I just can’t come to grips with this and refuse to follow something which is Zanni! Why would I want to follow Zanni while the Qur’an is Qati (Certain knowledge)?

    Coming back to Wisdom. I am not saying that ‘wisdom = Qur’an’ in a literal sense like in mathematical terms. What I mean is that wisdom is an ATTRIBUTE of Allah’s revealed Books. For example, Allah says:

    “And (remember) when Allah took the Covenant of the Prophets (annabiyyeena), saying: “Take whatever I gave you from the Book (kitabin) and Hikmah (wahikmatin) (understanding of the Laws of Allah, etc.)”, {3:81}

    Allah has granted Wisdom to ALL His Prophets! So, let’s ponder over this. When the arabic ‘WA’ is used, it doesn’t always mean something additional. Take the following verse:

    “And We had already given Moses and Aaron the criterion (alfurqana) and a light (waDiyaa’an) and a reminder (wathikran) for the righteous”. {21:48}

    Surely, this cannot be referring to 3 different things! It’s obviously referring to the Torah which was given to Moses (AS) and that the Criterion, the Light, and the Reminder were attributes of the Torah. I don’t know how else we can look at this verse.

    Have a look at this Verse:
    “There has come to you from Allah a light (noorun) and a clear Book (kitabun Mubeen). By which Allah guides (Yahdee bihi) those who pursue His pleasure to the ways of peace and brings them out from darknesses into the light, by His permission, and guides them to a straight path (siratin mustaqeem)”. {5:15-16}

    Allah says that He’s sent a Light and a Clear Book! Then He says ‘YAHDEE BIHI’ which translates to ‘with it’ (singular). He didn’t say with THEM He guides. So, the Light and the Book are referring to the same thing!

    You said:

    “”“And when Jesus brought clear proofs, he said, “I have come to you with the Qur’an and to make clear to you some of that over which you differ, so fear Allah and obey me.””

    It would be very silly to suggest that the ‘Wisdom’ during the time of Eisa (AS) was the Qur’an when it wasn’t revealed until over 600 years later! The wisdom was part of the revelation given to that Prophet at the time. Consider the following verse:

    “He grants Hikmah (alhikmata) to whom He pleases, and he, to whom Hikmah (alhikmata) is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember (will receive admonition) except men of understanding (olool-albaab)”. {2:269}

    Brother, have you ever wondered who are these ‘men of understanding’?? The arabic reads ‘Olool-albaab’ and says none remember or receive admonition except these people. Well, look no further brother because the Qur’an tells us exactly who they are:

    “It is He who has sent down to you, [O Muhammad], the Book; in it are verses [that are] precise – they are the foundation of the Book – and others unspecific. As for those in whose hearts is deviation [from truth], they will follow that of it which is unspecific, seeking discord and seeking an interpretation [suitable to them]. And no one knows its [true] interpretation except Allah. But those firm in knowledge say, “We believe in it. All [of it] is from our Lord.” And no one will be reminded except those of understanding (olool-albaab)”. {3:7}

    “[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses (liyaddabbaroo ayatihi) and that those of understanding would be reminded (olooal-albab)”. {38:29}

    “Who listen to speech (alqawla) and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding (oloo al-albab).

    The Verses above tell us that the people of understanding are those who:

    – Believe in the Qur’an and say: “All of it is from Our Lord”.
    – Listen to the Qur’an.
    – Reflect on its Verses.
    – Follow the best of it.

    These are the ones whom Allah grants Wisdom. Therefore, it all refers to the Qur’an! The consistency of this Book is mind blowing!

    Take a look at these Verses:

    “This is what We recite to you, [O Muhammad], of [Our] verses (ayati) and the precise [and wise] message (waththikrilhakeem)”. {3:58}

    “Alif, Lam, Ra. These are the verses of the wise Book. (tilka ayatulkitabilhakeem)”. {10:1}

    “Ya-seen. By the wise Qur’an. (Walqur-anilhakeem)”. {36:1-2}

    “That is from what your Lord has revealed to you (awha ilayka), [O Muhammad], of wisdom (mina alhikmati)”. {17:39}

    Please note: Verse 17:39 above uses the word ‘Thaalika’ which means ‘That’. The verses before this one warns us to never make partners with Allah, to be good to parents, give relatives their right, not to pursue that of which you have no knowledge, etc. So, it is the Qur’anic verses that are the Wisdom revealed to His prophet (AS).

    Lastly, please have a careful read of the following verse:

    “And remember what is recited (yutla) in your houses of the verses of Allah (ayatillahi) and wisdom (walhikmati). Indeed, Allah is ever Subtle and Acquainted [with all things]”. {33:34}

    This verse is referring to the wives of the Prophet (AS). I really don’t understand how you can RECITE (Yutla) the wisdom if it’s not the Qur’an? For example, did Aisha (RA) recite the sayings of the Prophet in a melodious voice in her home?? That would be very strange indeed! The wisdom mentioned here is an attribute of the Qur’an.

    To conclude, despite our differences of opinion brother I still have the utmost respect for you and the great work you’ve done with this website over the years. May Allah bless and reward you brother.

    Until next time…. Salaam!

    Abdullah

    • walakum salaam wr wb, No worries I also felt I may have been harsh in my initial tearing down of the arguments that you and your side put up.

      So do not worry the points that you raised and other “Quran only” Muslims were easily dismissed.

      Until than. Walakum saalam!

    • Salam Abdullah,

      I realized when looking through this article that you had made some points , some of them seemingly looked good but on second look are fallacious.

      I’ll point them out.

      “He grants Hikmah (alhikmata) to whom He pleases, and he, to whom Hikmah (alhikmata) is granted, is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember (will receive admonition) except men of understanding (olool-albaab)”. {2:269}

      1 Is there anything internal in this verse that suggests that this is the Qur’an?
      2 Is it your belief that no one else on this planet, unless they are a Quranist who has your particular understanding of the Qur’an, has been given wisdom? Especially in light of the fact that Allah [swt] says that he gives wisdom to ‘whomever he pleases’?

      This is certainly a strained interpretation my friend.

      You said:

      “Allah has granted Wisdom to ALL His Prophets! So, let’s ponder over this. When the arabic ‘WA’ is used, it doesn’t always mean something additional. Take the following verse:

      “And We had already given Moses and Aaron the criterion (alfurqana) and a light (waDiyaa’an) and a reminder (wathikran) for the righteous”. {21:48}

      Indeed but as you yourself have stated, ‘it doesn’t always mean something additional’

      An example of it being something additional is:

      “Those who reject Faith, and die rejecting,- on them is Allah’s curse, and the curse of angels, and of all mankind.” –

      Allah, angels, and mankind are not equated as being identical even though the use of ‘WA’ is present.

      Whereas we have to think about and all-knowing creator using the most precise of words to communicate to us.

      So for example, if you go back to the Arabic text in Holy Qur’an 3:48 it does not allow you to make the argument you are making, in this context.

      ayu’allimuhu l-kitaba wal-hik’mata wal-tawrwata wal-injila

      wal-hik’mata-the wisdom wal-tawrawata-the taurah- wal-injila-the gospel.

      We cannot in the way this is laid out grammatically equate the torah with the injil, and thus you cannot equate the hikma here with the torah or the injil. It is a reference to something additional.

      Also, I am curious when you said:

      “Who listen to speech (alqawla) and follow the best of it. Those are the ones Allah has guided, and those are people of understanding (oloo al-albab).” [Holy Qur’an 39:18]

      1 What makes you think when looking at the text that this unequivocally is a reference to the Qur’an itself?

      2 What do you feel is the ‘best of it’?

      3 If the Qur’an has parts that are the ‘best of it’ does this suggest that some of Allah’s speech is better than other aspects of his speech?

      4 What internal mechanism do you use to say this is ‘the best of it’ and this is not?

      May Allah [swt] guide to that which is beloved to Allah [swt]

  3. Excellent! Unfortunately it is because of this distortion of the meaning of hikma is what made me kind of aversed towards imam al-shafie until today (still), (and his attitude towards ahad hadith).
    I don’t think it is hard for anyone to simply understand that hikma= wisdom. Easy as abc. Even in my language (malay), ‘hikmah’ means wisdom.
    Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s