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  • Writer's pictureMaulana Wahiduddin Khan

The Prophet Of Wisdom

A CERTAIN journalist of my acquaintance has met all kinds of people during the decade he has worked in his profession. I put a question to him: “You have met many people. Whom did you find possessing 100% clarity of thought?” He pondered over this, then he replied: “I have not found anyone who has cent per cent clarity of thought.”

I said, “Clarity of thought is always the result of wisdom. When there is no wisdom there is no clarity of thought. It is, in fact, because of lack of wisdom that people do not think clearly.” Then I asked him, “What is wisdom?” When he could not give a clear answer, I gave him this definition: “Wisdom is the ability to discover the relevant by sorting out the irrelevant.”

If you consult the dictionary, you will find that there is no agreed upon definition of wisdom. People define wisdom differently. All available definitions of wisdom are vague and unspecific. For example, the Oxford dictionary defines wisdom as the quality of being wise, but the principle by adopting which, one can become a wise person, is not made clear in the dictionary.

Wisdom is accepted as the greatest quality of any human being. According to the Quran, the Prophet of Islam was the Prophet of ‘Hikmah’, that is, the Prophet of wisdom. There are several thousand of the Prophet’s sayings recorded in the books of Hadith, but I failed to find any specific academic definition in the printed Hadith literature.

Then I applied a practical method: if the Prophet of Islam was a prophet of wisdom, then we must find wisdom in his planning and activities. The American writer Dr. Michael Hart declared in his book, The 100,

“Out of all the hundred super achievers in history, Muhammad tops the list.”

He was a supremely successful person in the whole of human history. It is more than certain that he achieved such success by applying wisdom in his mission, as he was a wise person, as is declared by the Quran itself. Then I studied the activities of the Prophet and, from this angle, he does emerge as the most successful person in human history.

I analyzed all the known activities of the Prophet that led him to such heights of success. I discovered that, in all of his planning, he exercised the formula of patience (sabr).

He always adopted the formula of patience that is given thus in the Quran: Walrujza fahjur (74: 5). Here, ‘fahjur’ means avoid and ‘rujz’ means an undesirable aspect, in other words: avoid the unwanted aspect of things and plan on the basis of the available opportunities.

For example, let us take his planning when he was at Makkah, the site of the sacred Kabah which was built by Prophet Abraham about four thousand years ago. In the first quarter of the 7th century, when the Prophet started his mission in ancient Makkah, the Kabah was dominated by unbelievers.

The Prophet of Islam never reacted to this situation. He studied the situation and found that this assembly was a potential audience for his message. By addressing this gathering he was able to spread his mission all over Arabia. He applied wisdom to the situation and engaged in wise planning. He ignored the presence of religious practices which were opposite to his mission of monotheism and availed of the opportunity to further his mission.

There are many such cases of planning in the life of the Prophet. By studying these events, I discovered the academic definition of wisdom: “Wisdom is the ability to discover the relevant by sorting out the irrelevant.”

Such wisdom is applicable under all circumstances and, by adopting it, the followers of the Prophet can achieve super success in all situations including the modern international scene.

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