God’s Name Al-Hakeem (The All Wise)

By Muhammad Ratib An-Nabulsi

[Decision of all issues and matters belongs only to Allah, the Lord, who knows everything, who is most gracious, and who is all wise.]

In the Quran, Allah says: “And whosoever is granted wisdom is indeed granted abundant good.” (Al-Baqarah 2; 269).

All of Allah’s attributes can be summed up in three main notions, namely that He exists, that He is one: in His own self, attributes and acts, and that He is perfect, which is the nearest in meaning to God’s name Hakeem (The All Wise).

However, the name “Al-Hakeem” is one of some of Allah’s divine Names that are nearer than others to human beings; and the nearest of all of His names to human beings are “The Lord”. To this, the Lord, Allah, All Mighty, says: (So wait patiently for your Lord’s Decision, for verily you are under Our Eyes; and glorify the Praises of your Lord when you get up from sleep)
(At-Tur 52; 48)

This shows clearly that decision of all issues and matters belongs only to Allah, the Lord, who knows everything, who is most gracious, and who is all wise.

How God is Al-Hakeem (The All Wise)?

1- The Arabic word “Hakeem” means “someone who is well experienced and whose work is perfect, i.e. faultless”. For example, if a carpenter fails to cut a piece of wood accurately, his work is not satisfactory enough. In this case, we could say, “If his calculations were accurate, his work would be perfect and faultless.” And the more accurate calculations are, the better and more faultless work is.

Expensive machines are usually perfect and faultless, while bad cheap ones are full of faults and defects. In fact, accuracy and faultlessness are essential elements in good machines. This is what makes them more valuable and more expensive.

“Al-Hakeem” (The All Wise) is He Who is far above doing things that should not be done; He does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time.

For that the word “Hakeem” means “someone who does his work most accurately and perfectly, because he knows how to calculate, measure and design perfectly well.” And God is Hakeem (All Wise) that He creates all things in perfect faultless measurements: (Verily, We (i.e. Allah) have created all things with due measurements) (Al-Qamar 54; 49)

Consider your human body: The blood that runs through your veins and arteries contains a very accurate amount of salt, 0,78%. If this very accurate amount of salt decreased, blood corpuscles would shrink and cause immediate death. If it increased, the corpuscles would burst and also cause immediate death. Who has made the ratio of salt in the human blood fixed? It is Allah, most bounteous, who makes the kidneys maintain such fixed ratio of salt in the blood! Also, there are 2.5 billion types of tissues in the world. This means that only one human being in the whole world has a type of tissue similar to yours.

(He (Allah) has created everything and has measured it exactly according to its due measurements) (Al-Furqan 25; 2)

Thus, “Al-Hakeem” is He Who perfects all the things that He creates: (It is He (Allah) Who has created seven heavens, one above another; you can see no fault in the creation of the Most Gracious. Then, look again: can you see any rifts?) (Al-Mulk 67; 3)

Consider creation of an ant, a fly, an elephant, a galaxy, an atom, or any other creature! They are all perfect, and they bespeak the creator’s absolute divine wisdom: (It is He (Allah) Who made everything that He has created perfect, and began the creation of man from clay)
(As-Sajdah 32; 7)

(Then, a person will know what he has sent forward and left behind. O man! What has made you careless about your Lord, the Most Generous, Who created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion? In whatever shape He willed, He put you together) (Al-Infitar 82; 5-8)

(Verily, We created man in the best stature.) (At-Tin 95; 4)

2- “Al-Hikmah” (Wisdom) is to possess the best knowledge; and Allah’s divine knowledge is infinite, while man’s human knowledge is limited. To this effect, Allah, the All-Wise, says: (And over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing) (Yusuf 12; 76)

3- “Al-Hakeem” (All Wise) is attributed to the omniscient, Allah, Whose divine knowledge is infinite, all-embracing and free from all kinds of ignorance, imperfection or defect. No human being can ever claim to have acquired all knowledge or experience, not even doctors, engineers or scientists. They often make mistakes. But Allah, alone, is the one who is the omniscient. That is why Imam Al-Ghazali says, “No one knows Allah except Allah (Himself).”

4- “Al-Hakeem” (The All Wise) is He Who is far above doing things that should not be done. Put it differently, He does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time. For human beings, a wise person is someone who does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time. Such is a “Hakeem” (a wise person).

5- God is Hakeem (All-Wise) that all things in the world happen only by His divine will and if He wills that something should happen, it happens. Allah’s divine will is associated with His absolute divine wisdom that whatever He wills will inevitably come to pass and that His divine wisdom is associated with absolute good.

No leaf of a tree could ever fall down except by Allah’s absolute divine will and wisdom. Too many seemingly evil things turn out good in the end; and in Allah’s kingdom, there is no injustice, in the real sense of the word. Even unjust tyrannical rulers or leaders are, as it is said, Allah’s sword in the earth; He retaliates by them and then He retaliates from them.

6- Allah is infinitely pre-existent; and He is one and only. No existence is like His infinite divine existence. He is absolute and perfect, and hence, He is all wise. Thus, if you ask, “Where is Allah?” your question means that He does not exist. Nay! Allah is pre-existent. To this, He says: (Think not that Allah is unaware of that which the wrong-doers do. Nay! He only gives them respite up to a Day when the eyes will stare in horror) (Ibrahim 14; 42)

7- Moreover, there is no other dominator of the whole universe except Allah. This is Islamic monotheism: in the whole existence, there is only one hand that controls everything, namely the Hand of Allah, the irresistible, the omnipotent, the all-wise, the all-powerful, who is Free to honor or dishonor, give or withhold, provide or deprive, exalt or disparage.

(And Allah is Ever All Mighty, All Wise) (Al-Fath 48; 19)

(Allah is Ever All-Sufficient, All Wise) (An-Nisa’ 4; 130)

(Verily, your Lord is All-Knowing, All Wise) (Yusuf 12; 6)

Al-Hakeem (The All-Wise) in the Quran:

The word “Hakeem” (The All Wise) is mentioned thirty-three times in the Quran with different denotations. Some of them are: (And if all the he sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), yet Allah’s Words would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah All Mighty, All Wise) (Luqman 31; 27)

(Alif Lam Ra: A Book, the Verses thereof are perfected and then elaborated from the Him (Allah), Who is All Wise, Well-Acquainted (with all things)) (Hud 11; 1)

(And had it not been for the Grace of Allah and His Mercy on you, and (had it not been that) Allah is All-Pardoning, All-Wise) (An-Nur 24; 10)

(Falsehood cannot come to it (the Quran) from before it or behind it; (it is) sent down by the All Wise One, the One Worthy of all Praise (Allah)) (Fussilat 41; 42)

(And Allah is All-Knowing, All Wise) (Al-Mumtahanah 60; 10)

1- Allah’s book the Quran is described as being “Hakeem” (i.e. a Book full of wisdom”. To this effect, Allah, the All Wise, says: (Alif Lam Ra’: Such are the Verses of the Book, “Al-Hakeem” (i.e. full of wisdom)) (Yunus 10; 1)

(Ya Seen. By the Quran, “Al-Hakeem” i.e. full of wisdom!) (Ya-Sin 36; 1)

(Our Lord! Send among them a Messenger from among them who shall recite unto them Your Verses and instruct them in the Book (the Quran) and wisdom (Prophetic Sunnah) and purify them. Verily, You are the All Mighty, the All Wise) (Al-Baqarah 2; 129)

2- Scholars of Quranic interpretation hold that whenever the word “Hikmah” (i.e. wisdom) comes together with the Quran, it means prophetic Sunnah and tradition, because the Prophet’s Hadith and Tradition are the best interpreters of the Holy Quran: (Verily, Allah conferred a great Favor upon believers when He sent to them a Messenger from among themselves, reciting unto them His Verses (the Quran), purifying them, and instructing them (in) the Book (the Quran) and wisdom (Prophetic Sunnah), while before that they had been in manifest error) (Al Imran 3; 164)

3- Also, “Al-Hikmah” (wisdom) should be used in the call for Allah and His religion. To this effect Allah says: (Invite to the Way of your Lord with wisdom and fair preaching and argue with them in a way that is better. Verily, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are rightly guided) (An-Nahl 16; 125)

“Al-Hakeem” (All Wise) is attributed to the omniscient, Allah, Whose divine knowledge is infinite, all-embracing and free from all kinds of ignorance, imperfection or defect.

4- “Al-Hikmah” (wisdom) can also be granted to people. If Allah gave you the best woman in the world, but did not give you wisdom, you would make the worst woman of her. If He gave you enormous wealth, but did not give you wisdom, you would soon waste it and make of it a source of sorrow and regret for you on the Day of Judgment. If He gave you good health, but did not give you wisdom, you would use your health in trivialities and foolish things. And if He gave you good children, but did not give you wisdom, your own children would be the cause of your entering hell-fire.

In other words, if you lack wisdom, everything leads you to endless sorrows and losses on the day of resurrection. That is why Allah says: (He (Allah) grants wisdom to whomsoever He pleases; and he who is granted wisdom is indeed granted abundant good. But none remember except those possessed of understanding) (Al-Baqarah 2; 269)

Man’s Share of Al-Hikmah (Wisdom)

Allah’s Divine Name “Al-Hakeem” (the All-Wise) is nearest to human beings. Sometimes, man sees or meets things that he does not like, i.e. unpleasant things, as Allah sometimes afflicts man with things that seem to be unpleasant to him, i.e. things that he does not like. However, it is most unwise and ignorant of man to get angry or discontented with his Lord; it is wise for man, under all circumstances, to be contented with his Lord, and with His foreordainment and divine decree.

This Divine Name “Al-Hakeem” (The All Wise) is one of Allah’s Names that can be adopted by human beings, according to the saying that goes, “Adopt Allah’s Names and Attributes”. In other words, a true believer should be wise. And, as a true believer, he should derive his wisdom from his knowledge of Allah. Let’s have the following example: If you have a very complicated and sophisticated machine, and you have the operation instructions, it is wise to follow such instructions because they come from the manufacturer. This is very clear and easy. If you read and understand Allah’s book the Quran, prophetic Sunnah and tradition, and if you commit yourself to Allah and His messenger’s commands, then, you are a wise person.

Hence, you are wise when you follow the commands of God, All Wise, and His messenger, peace be upon him. And the more believing a person is, the wiser he/she is. Moreover, Allah’s messenger, Muhammad, peace be upon him, was the wisest of all mankind because he was the nearest and most devoted to Allah, the fountain of all wisdom: (Verily, it is not the eyes that grow blind, but it is the hearts, which are in the breasts, that do (grow blind)) (Al-Hajj, 22:46)

In this context Allah also says (But whosoever turns away from My Reminder: verily, for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up, on the Day of Resurrection, blind. He will say: ‘O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight (before)?’ He (Allah) will say: ‘Like this: Our Signs did come to you, but you disregarded them, and so, this Day, you shall be disregarded) (Ta-Ha 20; 124-126)

Indeed, the more devoted and committed we are, the wiser and more rightly guided.

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