Wisdom is the ability to apply one’s knowledge correctly. It’s knowing when, how and where to say or do something. Knowledge is the collection of information in one’s mind. Wisdom is the ability to take that information and properly apply it.
How Islam Relates to Wisdom:
Wisdom is important, especially for those wishing to give da’wah because people are different and one must know the proper way to approach others if one wants to have a good effect or influence on them. For example, if someone is new to the deen, more tolerance and patience would be applied with them. They need the understanding and some leeway to grow. Someone who has been
They need the understanding and some leeway to grow. Someone who has been practicing for many years and is aware of more of the shariah would not be given such leeway because more and more is expected of him. For example, the story of the Bedouin Arab who asked Rasulallah (S) about the 5 pillars.
Narrated Talha bin ‘Ubaidullah:
A bedouin with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Messenger (s) and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (s)! Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards the prayers.” He replied: “You have to offer perfectly the five compulsory prayers in a day and night (24 hours), unless you want to pray Nawafil.” The bedouin further asked, “Inform me what Allah has made compulsory for me as regards fasting.” He replied, “You have to fast during the whole month of Ramadan, unless you want to fast more as Nawafil.” The bedouin further asked, “Tell me how much Zakat Allah has enjoined on me.” Thus, Allah’s Messenger (s) informed him about all the rules (i.e. fundamentals) of Islam. The bedouin then said, “By Him Who has honored you, I will neither perform any Nawafil nor will I decrease what Allah has enjoined on me. Allah’s Messenger (s) said, “If he is saying the truth, he will succeed (or he will be granted Paradise).
These 5 pillars are the basic level a person starts from. This is the foundation. And the Bedouin who typically isn’t exposed to that much knowledge wouldnt be asked for more than this. It’s not expected from him to know any better. However, for a scholar or a learned person, much more is expected of him. And of course, because of his knowledge, they would go beyond what is required for the rewards of Allah. They know the basics wouldn’t be enough. Out of gratitude, they would do more. Rasulallah (s) would pray exceptionally long salaat that others would be astonished.
“The Prophet (s) used to offer night prayers till his feet became swollen. Somebody said, to him, “Allah has forgiven you, your faults of the past and those to follow.” On that, he said, “Shouldn’t I be a thankful slave of Allah)?”
But this level of devotion was not forced on the people. Rasulallah was gentle and understanding of people’s situations and he was merciful to his people. When someone would make a mistake, someone that didn’t know any better he was patient with them. For example the story of the Bedouin.
“Anas Bin Maalik said: While we were in the masjid with the Messenger of Allaah, a Bedouin came; he then urinated in the masjid.”The Companions of the Messenger of Allaah said, “Mah Mah (An expression used to severly scold someone, to indicate the graveness of a matter).” The Messenger of Allaah said, “Do not put a halt to his urinating, but instead leave him.”They left him alone until he finished urinating. The Messenger of Allaah called him over and said to him, “Any kind of urine or filth is not suitable for these masjids. Instead they are only [appropriate] for the remembrance of Allaah, the Prayer, and the recitation of the Qur’aan,” or this is near to what the Messenger of Allaah said. He (saw) then issued an order to a man from the people, who then came with a bucket of water, which he poured over the [effected] area [of the masjid].
[Related by Muslim in his Saheeh, 285]
When the people around the Prophet got angry, the Prophet himself calmly explained to the Bedouin the etiquettes of the Masjid without yelling at the man or making him feel bad. His manner with the Bedouin made the Bedouin so happy that he invoked the mercy of Allah for the Prophet Muhammad(s)
When it comes to interactions with others Rasulallah (s) understood the people. When he would speak to a child, he would show compassion and respect for them. He would honor the young and the old. He would spend time with them. He would give others full attention when speaking to them. Younger children need the love of the elders and for them to hold high in esteem what they hold high in esteem. There was a young boy who was known to have a bird. Rasulallah even gave his little a bird a name for him. One day that bird died and the boy was found sitting looking sad. Rasulallah (s) sat with him in his sadness and would comfort him.
Rasulallah (s) was patient when it came to others. And sometimes its better to turn the page when things happen. And sometimes it better to understand a person than to try to change a person. When giving da’wah our job is not to change people. We are here to pass on a message and leave a positive influence on the lives of others. We are not meant to be a gaurd over them.
وَلَوْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ مَا أَشْرَكُوا ۗ وَمَا جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا ۖ وَمَا أَنْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِوَكِيلٍ
If it had been Allah’s plan, they would not have taken false gods: but We made thee not one to watch over their doings, nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs
What most people mistake in, is that they feel that when they give da’wah to someone, they can also be in control of them and get angry when they don’t accept the message. If they don’t accept the message, that is not our responsibility. Our responsibility is to deliver the message with wisdom. And if we are harboring resentful feelings in our hearts and feel judgemental towards others because they don’t accept our message, our message won’t have the same affect if were to be loving, open hearted and understanding. When others feel that you have their best interests in mind, they will lend an ear. But if they sense from you otherwise, if they sense an insincerity the message may not reach the hearts. They say what comes from the heart reaches the heart. Mercy brings forth the love of others. And it was the fact that Allah granted a merciful nature of Rasulallah that brought others close to him.
فَبِمَا رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ ۖ وَلَوْ كُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلِيظَ الْقَلْبِ لَانْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِكَ ۖ فَاعْفُ عَنْهُمْ وَاسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ وَشَاوِرْهُمْ فِي الْأَمْرِ ۖ فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
It was by the mercy of Allah that thou wast lenient with them (O Muhammad), for if thou hadst been stern and fierce of heart they would have dispersed from round about thee. So pardon them and ask forgiveness for them and consult with them upon the conduct of affairs. And when thou art resolved, then put thy trust in Allah. Lo! Allah loveth those who put their trust (in Him).
Wisdom is knowing when to leave something and not change it. Wisdom is accepting the way people are and instead of trying to change them, understanding them. Such would be the case with the wives of Rasulallah (s). They all loved him very much and it is known that with passionate love comes jealousy and possessiveness. It’s natural. We don’t want to lose the ones we love to others. Wisdom is accepting such insecurities and turning the page and showing forbearance. There was an incident with one of the wives of Rasulallah (s)
Umm-e-Salama – May Allah be pleased with her – narrated:
she brought food in a dish of her own to the Prophet – Peace be upon him – and his companions. Seeing that, Aisha came holding a tool and broke the dish out of jealousy. Understanding the situation, the Prophet took the two halves of the dish and he (sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam) said to his companions: Eat your food, it is just the jealousy of your mother, then the Prophet took the dish of Aisha and gave it to Um Salama and gave the dish of Um Salama to Aisha.
Rasulallah did not get angered. Rather, he honored Aisha and said, “It is from the jealousy of your mother” The situation was quickly resolved without anyone being reprimanded and the issue was done. Rasulallah (s) understood the jealousy of women. This is wisdom.
Rasulallah (s) reached the hearts of people because he was merciful and understanding of the people. He wouldn’t overburden others, rather he made things simple for the people. He knew people had weaknesses and he respected that. He would address others in the way they would love to be addressed. A person would feel that he loved them the most because of how well he treated them. Love breeds love. And with love comes emulation. And even hundreds of years later, he is still emulated.