There Are Two Principal Kinds Of Wisdom


There are two principal kinds of wisdom: 'Aql-i salim, 'Aql-i saqim. Both of these are forms of wisdom. The wisdom which is selim never goes wrong and never errs. It never does anything to necessitate repentance. It does not make mistakes in the things it considers. It always follows the course of actions that are good and that turn out good. It thinks properly, and finds the right way. Its deeds are always correct. This wisdom existed in Prophets only. They were successful in every activity they had started. They would not do anything that would make them repent or that would harm them. The one which is close to theirs is the wisdom of the Sahaba [1], of the Tabi'un [2], of the Taba-i tabi'un, and of the religious imams. Theirs was a wisdom that was suitable for the rules of the Shari'at [3]. For this reason, Islam spread far and wide in their times; the number of Muslims increased. He who knows history well will see this fact very clearly.

The wisdom that is saqim is quite the opposite. It errs in its acts and thoughts, which always incur sorrow, repentance, harm and trouble.

Between these two kinds of wisdom there are numerous grades. It should not go without saying that as Believers have religious wisdom and worldly wisdom, unbelievers also have religious wisdom and worldly wisdom. As an unbeliever's worldly wisdom is superior to his religious wisdom, so a Believer's wisdom to comprehend matters pertaining to the Hereafter is superior to his wisdom to comprehend worldly affairs. But this state is not perpetual. The world is transient. The wisdom which is useful in transient affairs could not be more valuable than the wisdom which is useful in continuous, everlasting matters.

[1] Sahaba: if a Muslim has seen the Prophet, or talked to him, at least once when the Prophet was alive, he is called Sahabi. Plural form of Sahabi is Sahaba or As'hab. The word Sahaba-i kiram includes all those great people each of whom has seen the Prophet at least once. The lowest of the Sahaba is much higher than the highest of other Muslims. If a person has not seen the Prophet but has seen or talked to one of the Sahaba at least once, he is called Tabi'. Its plural form is Tabi'in. In other words, the Tabi'in are the successors of the Sahaba. If a person has not seen any of the Sahaba but has seen at least one of the Tabi'in, he is called Taba'i Tabi'in. The Sahaba, the Tabi'in and the Taba'i tabi'in altogether are called the Salaf-i salihin (the early savants).
[2] Tabi'un (al-i'zam): most of those Muslims who had not seen the Prophet ('alaihi 's-salam) but saw (one of) as-Sahabat al-kiram; so their successors. Successors of as-Sahabat al-kiram.
[3] Shari'at: (pl. of Shari'a) i) rules and commandments as a whole of the religion. ii) religion.