Author: Saeed bin Wahf al-Qahtani

Source: Al-Hikmah Fid-Da”wah Ilallaah (translator: Faheem Umri)

Say, This is my way.  I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me (must also invite other to Allah) with sure knowledge. Chapter 12, Verse 108

Invite to the way of your Lord i.e. Islam with wisdom, and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Chapter 16, Verse 125.

And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better. Chapter 29, Verse 46.


Dawah to Allah with Sure Knowledge and Certainty to be achieved through:

  1. Wisdom
  2. Beautiful preaching
  3. Best Arguments

Importance of the topic and the reasons for its selection

  1. Allah has described different ways of giving Dawah, and the foremost way mentioned is wisdom in the ayah Invite to the way of your Lord i.e. Islam with wisdom, and beautiful preachings, and argue with them in a way that is better Chapter 16, verse 125.
  2. By the study of the seerah (life history) of Messenger of Allah, we come to know that the prophet upheld the wisdom in all matters generally and more so in Dawah. This resulted in people entering Islam in large numbers by the mercy of Allah who filled the Prophet’s heart with Imaan (faith) and Hikmah (wisdom).
    Abu Darr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrates that that the messenger of Allah said, the roof of my house was opened when I was in Makkah. Gabriel descended, opened my chest, and washed it with Zamzam, then brought a golden utensil full of wisdom and imaan, and he poured it into my chest.(Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim).
    All these show the greatness and importance of Hikmah in Dawah. Allah says in Chapter 2, Verse 269 and he unto whom wisdom is given, truly he has received good in abundance.  The sahaaba (may Allah be pleased with them) followed the footsteps of the Messenger of Allah in giving dawah with wisdom, and this resulted in the spread of Islam far and wide during their time. People entered into the fold of Islam in large numbers, the actual number which only Allah knows. After the companions of the Prophet, came the Tabi’oon (Muslims who studied under the Sahaaba), who also followed the same way of giving Dawah with wisdom. The first three generations who are called as the Salafus Saalih (Righteous predecessors) continued to move in this direction of giving Dawah with Hikmah and Allah made Islam and its people triumphant and made shirk humiliated.
  3. There are some people who think that wisdom is restricted to just being soft-spoken, forgiving, loving, being kind, tolerating, and so forth.  These are all the deficient meanings of the hikmah.
    • Hikmah means to employ softness and politeness, toleration and forgiveness, and explanation of the truth with knowledge, practice, and belief on the basis of proofs and evidences.
    • Sometimes Hikmah means to employ beautiful preaching, exhorting towards the truth and warning against the falsehood. This way is suitable for all those who have the ability to accept the truth and acknowledge it, but are in falsehood out of ignorance and/or pursuit of their whims and fancies.
    • Sometimes Hikmah involves arguing and debating in a way that is better, with exemplary moral characters, soft speech, and by providing authentic evidences and logic and refuting the falsehood in a suitable and reasonable manner. The intention behind this should be to clarify the truth and lead the people towards the true path seeking their Hidayah (guidance), not to gain any victory or fame by applying this method. This way is to be utilized for all those who show staunch enmity and hatred.
  4. Wisdom enables the Daee (caller) to correctly and appropriately estimate the things and he does not call the people towards abstinence and severance from the world when the people are in need of defense for their creed and their towns.  He does not impart the principles and regulations of business transactions to the people when they are in dire need of knowing the rules of wudu and salaah.
  5. Wisdom/hikmah makes a Daee to ponder over and consider the situation, the nature, attitude and manners of Mad’oo (the people who are called).
  6. Daee does not overburden the Mad’oo and does not place obligations upon them unless making their hearts prepared to undertake them.
  7. He uses different styles and approaches and attracts them according to their suitability. He calls to Allah with knowledge as opposed to ignorance.
  8. He addresses the things that are more important and sets the priorities right.
  9. He teaches them what they require using words and phrases which are easily understood by them and addresses them according to their comprehension level.
  10. He fulfills their necessities as the situation demands.

By these ways, he enters the heart of the people through the widest of the doors and their hearts are opened towards him, and they see him as full of concern for their goodness and wellbeing. These can be accomplished through calling towards Allah with Hikmah, which is the only way for success in Dawah.

It is imperative that all the sayings, actions, thoughts, and planning should be full of wisdom and in accordance with correctness. Hikmah makes the Daee do things at their appropriate times and leads him in making efforts to know what benefits him and befits him. It makes him take an easier route to reach the goal.



Hikmah has a few linguistic meanings. Among those are:

  1. It is used as an allusion for justice, knowledge, tolerance, Prophethood, Al-Quran, and Al-Injeel.
    Root Meaning: ‘Ahkama al amra’, meaning making something perfect.
  2. Hikmah is defined as knowing the best things through best knowledge.  The man who makes sophisticated and delicate things perfect is called as ‘hakeem’.
  3. Al-Hakeem: The person who makes things perfect. It is said of the man who is perfect “Qad ahkamathu-tajaarib” meaning “experience had made the man perfect”
  4. Hikmah also means reaching the truth with the help of knowledge and reasoning.
  5. Al-Hakeem also means the one who prevents corruption. That is why rein or bridle is named ‘hakamatul lijaam’ because the rein prevents the horse from running and going in wrong direction and being refractory. Hikmah is derived from this meaning of ‘hakamah” which prevents a person from immorality.
  6. Al-Hukmu means to prevent from oppression.

The most prominent element we see in the meanings of ‘Hikmah’ and its implications is ‘prevention/prohibition’.  Hence the word hikmah is used in several meanings which consist in them the element of ‘prevention’

Therefore, the word justice prevents oppression, tolerance prevents anger, and knowledge prevents ignorance. It is the same case with the word Prophethood, because the Prophets prevent the people from worshipping others besides Allah and prevent them from falling into sins. The Quran, the Injeel and all other religious scriptures are meant to prevent people from falling into shirk and sins.


The scholars have mentioned the meaning of hikmah mentioned in the Quran and hadeeth — the word himkah has appeared in the Quran in 19 places — and the scholars have different sayings about it.  Some said, Hikmah means Prophethood, some said it means Quran and its understanding with regard to its abrogation, it’s clear and allegorical verses, former and latter, halal and haram and so forth. Some said, it means correctness of speech and action. Some said, seeking the truth and following it.  Some said, it is the beneficial knowledge and good deeds (ilm un-naafi and amalussaalih), yet some said, it is the fear of Allah while others said it means Sunnah and some are of the opinion that it is knowledge and acting upon it. A person is not named as ‘hakeem’ unless he combines both the knowledge and actions.  It is also said that hikmah means to place the things in their proper place. Some said it is giving the right answer swiftly.

There are 29 sayings about the definition of hikmah, but all of those are close to each other in their meanings of hikmah because the word hikmah is derived from ‘ihkaam’ which means perfection i.e. perfection in speech and action. Therefore, the Book of Allah is hikmah, the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah is hikmah and whatever elaborated on the Quran and Sunnah is hikmah.  The essence of hikmah is that it prevents from stupidity and imprudence.  Sometimes knowledge is referred to as hikmah because it prevents from silliness and thoughtlessness.

If we ponder over the word hikmah, we find that it encompasses all the meanings and implications given by the scholars in its definition i.e. the correctness in speech and action and placing everything in its appropriate place.

There are two types of Hikmah mentioned in the Quran.  One is called as ‘mufrada’, which means solitary i.e. the word hikmah occurring as a single word.  The other one is “maqroonatun bilkitab’ i.e. the word hikmah occurring in combination with The Book.

Examples of the word hikmah occurring as a single word are found in verses like Invite to the way of your Lord i.e. Islam with wisdom, and beautiful preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better.” (Chapter 16, Verse 125) and and he unto whom wisdom is given, truly he has received good in abundance (Chapter 2, Verse 269) and And verily We gave Luqman wisdom, saying: Give thanks unto Allah; and whosoever giveth thanks, he giveth thanks for (the good of) his soul. And whosoever refuseth Lo! Allah is Absolute, Owner of Praise” (Chapter 31, Verse 12).  This kind of hikmah we found in abundance in the Quran which fits all the definitions of hikmah given by the scholars mentioned above.

The hikmah that comes in conjunction with al-Kitab i.e. The Book, it means ‘Sunnah,’ consisting of Messenger of Allah’s sayings, actions, approvals, and his seerah as we see in the following verses:

Chapter 2, Verse 129 Our Lord! And raise up in their midst a messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Thy revelations, and shall instruct them in the Book and in wisdom (hikmah) and shall make them grow.  Lo! Thou, only Thou, art the Mighty,Wise.

Chapter 2, Verse 321 and remember Allah”s grace upon you and that which He hath revealed unto you of the Book and of wisdom (hikmah), whereby He doth exhort you.  Observe your duty to Allah and know that Allah is Aware of all things.

Chapter 3, Verse 164 Allah verily hath shown grace to the believers by sending unto them a messenger of their own who reciteth unto them His revelations, and causeth them to grow, and teacheth them the Book and wisdom (hikmah); although before (he came to them ) they were in flagrant error.

Chapter 62, Verse 2 He it is Who hath sent among the unlettered ones a messenger of their own, to recite unto them His revelations and to make them grow, and to teach them the Book and Wisdom, though heretofore they were indeed in error manifest.

Among the scholars who interpreted the meaning of hikmah that comes along with The Book as Sunnah are Imam Shafi and Imam Ibn-Qayyim.


If we contemplate, we see that there is a deep connection between the literal and shariah terminologic meaning. They both include the beneficial knowledge, good and perfect deeds which are the essence of the principles of hikmah. So, the comprehensive definition is The correctness of sayings, deeds, and aqeedah with placing the things in their appropriate places perfectly and efficiently. Allah knows best.

By this definition, it becomes crystal-clear that hikmah in dawah is not restricted to soft speech, persuasion, tolerance, leniency, overlooking, etc. rather it is perfection and efficiency of affairs by handling the things appropriately in their relevant perspectives like debating when it is appropriate to debate in a best way, to be strict and harsh when required. This is what hikmah is in reality!

Whoever wants the practical evidence in this matter let him see it in the way of the Messenger of Allah and his behavior towards different kinds of people.  He is the one whom Allah has bestowed him with wisdom to the degree which He has not given to anybody else!!

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