Book and Wisdom (Kitab and Hikma)
“Wisdom / حكمة (Hikma)” is a recurrent word in the Qur’an.
“For this We sent a Messenger to you from among you to recite our Verses to you and purify you and teach you the Book and Wisdom حكمة (Hikma) and teach you things you did not know before.” (Qur’an 2:151)
Does “Book and Wisdom” in this verse refer to two different things? Bear in mind that the use of the Arabic for ‘and’, that is و (wa) is more casual and used sparingly in Arabic, whereas in translation to English, “and” is much heavier and can denote separation of the two subjects (an English comma can be more appropriate).
Looking at other verses, we find that the حكمة (Hikma) is used to refer to the Qur’an itself:
“This is part of the wisdom (Hikma / حكمة) Allah has revealed to you. Do not set up other god together with Allah and so be thrown into Hell, blamed and driven out.” (Qur’an 17:39)
“These are the verses of a Wise Book” (Qur’an 31:2)
“[Wives of the Prophet], Remember what is recited (yuthla / يطلى) in your houses of Allah’s Verses (ايات الله / ayaat Allah) and Wisdom (Hikma / حكمة), for Allah is All-Sublte, All-Aware.” (Qur’an 33:34)
In the above verse, how can “Wisdom (Hikma / حكمة)” be recited in their houses if it is not the Quran’s verses themselves? It is obviously referring to only the recitation of Quranic verses when Allah’s Verses and Wisdom (Hikma / حكمة) are being recited, i.e. ‘Book and Wisdom’ are referring to the Qur’an only. Thus, in 2:151, ‘Book and Wisdom’ does not mean two different things – rather one, the Qur’an. Again notice the use of the word ‘and’ in the above verse does not separate the two subjects i.e. (ايات الله / ayaat Allah) and Wisdom (Hikma / حكمة). This fact can be observed in the following verse as well:
“We sent our messengers with clear Revelations, and we sent down the Book and Balance so that people could uphold justice.”
“The Balance / الميزان” and “Book” are both referring to the Qur’an. Yet, it is expressed as “Book and Balance”, like “Book and Wisdom”.
حكمة (Hikma / Wisdom) referring to the Qur’an is verified by more verses of Allah:
“Remember, Allah’s blessing on you and the Book and Wisdom He has sent down to you to admonish you. Have fear of Allah and know that Allah has knowledge of all things.” (Qur’an 2:231)
The words “He sent down (Anzala / انزل)” as used in the above verse is used regularly in the Qur’an to refer to Allah’s verses being revealed. It is Quranically strange for Allah to use the words “sent down” to refer to ordinary words of the Prophet as he spoke day-to-day with one another. Thus, the ‘Book and Wisdom’ being sent down are referring to the Qur’an itself, Qur’an is both the Book and the Wisdom.
Other examples of “Book and Wisdom” in the Qur’an are the following:
“Remember when Allah made a covenant with the prophets ‘Now that We have given you a share of the Book and Wisdom, and then a messenger comes to you confirming what is with you, you must believe in him and help him.’ (Qur’an 3:81)
(Ibrahim said), ‘Our Lord, raise up among them a Messenger from them to recite Your verses to them and teach them the Book and Wisdom and purify them. You are the almighty, the All-Wise.’ (Qur’an 2:129)
“Or do they in fact envy other people for the bounty Allah has granted them? We gave the family of Ibrahim the Book and Wisdom, and We gave them an immense kingdom.” (Qur’an 4:54)
Lastly, as an additional point, the word Hikma / حكمةis also used in the Qur’an to refer to the insight possessed by all true believers. It can refer to such things as belief in the existence of Allah, the Day of Judgement and adherence to good deeds, one’s ability to use his or her conscience, pondering on Allah’s signs are just some of these:
“He gives wisdom to whoever He wills and whoever has been given wisdom has been given great good. But no one pays heed except the people of intelligence.” (Qur’an 2:269)
Books of Allah teaches mankind these qualities of a wise person. This may be the reason why the Qur’an and all previous Scriptures have been referred to by the word ‘Wisdom – Hikma / حكمة’