Acquire wisdom (DW#594)

And whosoever is granted wisdom has been granted much good. Quran 2:269

Reflection: This verse from Sura Baqara (the Cow) tells us that the attainment of wisdom is worthy in the eyes of Allah.

Hikma, or wisdom is quite different from the simple accumulation of knowledge. Today, we have a lot of information at our finger tips. Google can answer many questions for us and give us many facts in a split second. While it is worthwhile to acquire knowledge and learn facts (and a highly recommended act of worship in Islam), this by itself will not lead to a happy, useful or worthwhile existence. Or to salvation.

The facts and knowledge that we learn must be reflected upon, tried tested and practiced – in other words reflected upon, engaged with, and applied to gain insight beyond the apparent and the mundane. Only upon such engagement with acquired knowledge can our lives be transformed for good and we can be said to "be wise".

How: There is, of course, no simple formula for acquiring wisdom. Often it is the challenging times in our lives and reflecting on them in hindsight, with self-awareness and without blame, that can lead to self-growth and increase wisdom. When we suffer the consequences of our actions, we often realize too late that practicing what we knew to be true may have led to a different result.

Nevertheless, here are a few ways the wise behave:

1) Have a wider perspective. Consider the long term rather than be short-sighted
2) Recognize the impact of your actions, on yourself, on others and on the wider community
3) Live with purpose and intentionality rather than drifting through life
4) Recognize that you have choice in every situation – even if you do not like the choices
5) Resist the impulse to act on every whim, desire and impulse. The wise pause before taking action and consider the consequences
6) And, most importantly, as the Holy Prophet (saw) said: God consciousness is the beginning of wisdom


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