The word Hakeem comes from the root letters ḥā kāf meem and it has the following classical Arabic connotations:
– to prevent or restrain from wrongdoing or corruption,
– to be wise, knowing the true nature of things,
– to pass judgment, to decide, pass a verdict
One is knowing, and the other is acting with this knowledge. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala is both the All-Knowing and the All-Wise—He possesses all the knowledge, and as an-Nabulsi states, He “does the proper thing in the proper way in the proper place and the proper time.”
Different Meanings of Allah’s Name: Al-Hakeem
✦ Someone Well-Experienced and Perfect. 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.”
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 Allah is Hakeem (All Wise) that He creates all things in perfect faultless measurements.
Consider your human body: The blood that runs through your veins and arteries contains an accurate amount of salt, 0.78%. If this 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.
✦ Possessor of Best Knowledge. “Al-Hikmah” (Wisdom) is to possess the best knowledge; and Allah’s divine knowledge is infinite, while man’s human knowledge is limited. Allah’s knowing 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.
✦ Perfect Timing. Allah 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.
“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 subhanahu wa ta`ala says, “He (Allah) grants wisdom to whomsoever He pleases; and he who is granted wisdom is indeed granted abundant good.” (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 subhanahu wa ta’ala 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 fore-ordainment and divine decree.
This Divine Name “Al-Hakeem” (the All Wise) is one of Allah’s Names that can be adopted by human beings. 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 Allah, Al-Hakeem, and His messenger, salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And the more believing a person is, the wiser he/she is. Moreover, Allah’s messenger was the wisest of all mankind because he was the nearest and most devoted to Allah, the fountain of all wisdom. Indeed, the more devoted and committed we are, the wiser and more rightly guided.
Living by Allah’s Name: Al-Hakeem
Humility. When Abu Bakr radhiAllahu `anhu was praised, he would pray: “O Allah! You know me more than I know myself; and I know myself more than they know me. O Allah! Make me better than they say, forgive me what they do not know about me, and do not take me to account for that which they say about me.” (Ibn Atheer)
We all know our faults better than others, and there are some faults that we do not notice that Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala knows. It is important to keep ourselves grounded, that no matter how good we become, Allah is All-Knowing and we can always improve. It is important to always attribute the good to Allah because truly all good is from Him. And as we know, whoever is grateful, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala increases them in favor.
اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِنِي فِيمَنْ هَدَيْتَ ، وَعَافِنِي فِيمَنْ عَافَيْتَ ، وَتَوَلَّنِي فِيمَنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ ، وَبَارِكْ لِي فِيمَا أَعْطَيْتَ ، وَقِنِي شَرَّ مَا قَضَيْتَ ،إِنَّكَ تَقْضِي وَلَا يُقْضَى عَلَيْكَ ، إِنَّهُ لَا يَذِلُّ مَنْ وَالَيْتَ ، وَلَا يَعِزُّ مَنْ عَادَيْتَ ، تَبَارَكْتَ رَبَّـنَا وَتَعَالَيْتَ
O Allah, guide me along with those whom You have guided, pardon me along with those whom You have pardoned, be an ally to me along with those whom You are an ally to and bless for me that which You have bestowed, protect me from the evil You have decreed. Indeed, You decree and none can decree over You. For surely, he whom you show allegiance to is never abased and he whom You take as an enemy is never honoured and mighty. O our Lord, Blessed and Exalted are You. (Qunoot-ul-Witr)