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Offline Reader Questions

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Salaam Alaikum
 
According to the quran, what is the difference between wisdom and knowledge?
 
Walaikum salaam.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: What is the Difference Between Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2012, 05:39:52 PM »
Salamun Alaikum

Many people have knowledge but don't have the wisdom to best apply it.
 
As I believe Charles Spurgeon once said,
 
"Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”

Knowledge on its own isn't enough to be wise. Judging by means of your knowledge (no matter how large or small) is wisdom and wisdom has varying degrees.
 
In 62:5, it was not as if some Jews didn’t have the knowledge with them. They did (in tomes of scripture) but they didn’t apply it. They were liked to an ass carrying books.

With respect to degrees of wisdom let us note an example in verse 21:79. Both great Prophets David and Solomom (pbut) had knowledge (ilm), wisdom, and judgment (hukma). But in this particular case, Prophet Solomon was given wider wisdom to make the right decision with the knowledge he possessed as expressed 'fafahamnaha' (We gave an understanding of it).

Also, the amount of knowledge one possesses is not directly proportional to wisdom. Many have been granted wisdom with the little knowledge they have. Some possess immense knowledge but have no wisdom when it comes to its applicability.
 
There are many examples of this in the Quran.
 
I hope that helps.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Reader Questions

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Re: What is the Difference Between Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2012, 05:42:32 PM »
Thanks, that makes sense but then what's the difference between understanding and wisdom?

Walaikum salaam

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: What is the Difference Between Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2012, 05:44:45 PM »
Salamun Alaikum.
 
'Fahm' as used in 21:79 is a term that refers to an understanding or knowing of a thing. So 'fahm' can be a component of wisdom (hikmah) and so there remains some linkage between the two.

However, just because one has understanding of certain matters, doesn't mean they have 'hikmah' which normally appeals to a wider, intuitive ability to be sound in judgment and be able to discern and interpret the knowledge one has.
 
Note in Surah Luqman (31), how Luqman uses his wisdom (31:12) whilst imparting his knowledge to his son. For example:
 
031.016
"O my son!" (said Luqman), "If there be (but) the weight of a mustard-seed and it were (hidden) in a rock, or (anywhere) in the heavens or on earth, Allah will bring it forth: for Allah understands the finest mysteries, (and) is well-acquainted (with them).
 
Note how Luqman translates knowledge of God's immense power, authority, intricate absolute knowledge and governance into a simple manner that his son could understand. That is wisdom (31:12)
 
I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Reader Questions

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Re: What is the Difference Between Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2012, 05:45:36 PM »
Salaam Alaikum
 
In order to have knowledge don't you need understanding? As you said earlier you can have knowledge without wisdom, I'm trying to figure out how they all fit. I know from experience that true knowledge comes after practice, so do you need wisdom to acquire knowledge?
 
Walaikum salaam

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: What is the Difference Between Knowledge, Wisdom and Understanding
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2012, 05:47:35 PM »
Salamun Alaikum.

Knowledge is its basic form is a collection of information, facts, data etc. You don't necessarily need ‘wisdom’ to acquire crude knowledge. A good memory and personal experience would do.

Therefore, knowledge is acquired through two main vehicles. Through some form of education / self learning and through personal experience. However, one’s personal experience doesn’t need to necessarily make them ‘wise’. There are people who have immense experience but lack basic wisdom of how to conduct their affairs effectively.

What you refer to as 'true knowledge' is in my humble view a reference to 'wisdom'. 'True knowledge' not only implies information, facts and data (knowledge) but also correct usage of that knowledge regardless of how it is acquired (learning or personal experience). It is an ‘understanding’ of how all the knowledge fits together (fahm) which are all components of wider wisdom.

So a crude equation would be

Wisdom (a) = Knowledge (b) + understanding (c)

Where:

(b) Knowledge = information, facts, data etc (acquired through learning / experience)
(c) Understanding = How the knowledge fits together

(b) and (c) can vary in degrees which will invariably affect (a).

I hope that helps, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell