Wisdom is a truth which is taught by all Prophets.1 This is especially true in the case of our Prophet (S) who has put wisdom on his instructive agenda:
"وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمْ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ"289
"…and teaches them the Book and the wisdom."
The holy Qur’an defines wisdom as the greatest divine asset, and emphasizes:
"وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِيَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا 290"
"…and whoever is granted wisdom, he, in deed, is given a great good."
Finally, wisdom is introduced as the light of any wise and pious person’s heart: a heart with no wisdom is deprived of divine light:
“Wisdom is the light of every heart”. 2
""اِنَّ الحِكْمَةَ نُورُ كُلِّ قَلْب
It is for this very reason that Imam ‘Ali (as) orders his son to illuminate his heart with wisdom. With regards to the special role of wisdom in Islam, it is necessary to delve into the truth behind wisdom and its consequences:
Hikmah or wisdom originally means "to arrive at rightousness by knowledge and reasoning." In the same way that a horse is made tame by giving it a bridle (hakamah), man, too, by acquiring wisdom and by arriving at the right through knowledge and reasoning, is saved from wrong-doing.3
Although in some traditions the word wisdom (hikmah) is interpreted to mean "knowledge in religion" and in some other traditions it is taken to mean "understanding," and still in others it is taken to mean "knowledge about Imams," with regards to the fact that the word "hikmah" in the Qur’an is used for Luqman, who was not a prophet,4
"وَلَقَدْ آتَيْنَا لُقْمَانَ الْحِكْمَةَ"294
"…and certainly we gave wisdom to Luqman"
And because of the fact that the Prophet (S) was appointed to call people to Islam through wisdom, good exhortation, and appropriate debate,5 and it was not possible to invite people to Islam only through verses of Qur’an (without using wisdom and reasoning), and also due to the fact that the Qur’an on several occasions used the word "hikmah" after the word kitab (Book), this word it taken by some to mean tradition, and by others philosophy or commandments or reasoning.6 We conclude that "hikmah" does not mean the above interpretations singly; rather, each one of those interpretations defines only one aspect of the word. Thus hikmah could mean: Any kind of realistic knowledge and insight which can lead man in the dimensions of theoretical and practical philosophy, either through inspiration, ascetism and piety, or through the justification of the philosophy of commandments or the commandments themselves, or in the dimensions of theoretical or practical philosophy.
As we said, "hikmah is the realistic insight which in the theoretical and practical philosophy is a guide for man." Naturally, a person who has such great a capital enjoys the sublime human traits and is a perfect human being.
But in the Qur’an and in the Islamic traditions some characteristics are emphasized, some of which follow:
1. Hikmah is the source for salvation, steadiness and tranquility.7
2. Hikmah is the light for insight, scale for piety, and the result of honesty.8
3. Hikmah causes a man to fear God.9
4. Hikmah is a means to take advice from the events.10
5. Hikmah causes us not to have interest in this world.11
6. Hikmah is to accompany righteousness and to obey the rightful person.12
7. Hikmah is a guide to religion, it considers the slave more significant than the free one, the poor more excellent than the rich and the small more important than the elderly, and the miserable more significant than the kings.13
8. Hikmah is a means of protecting man from committing sins; it is an agent for human salvation.
9. The hakim (the wise man) is a person who is strong in the face of events; he is a guide to people. Regarding this the Great Prophet (S) tells Imam ‘Ali (as): "If you become a means for God to lead one of His obedient believers, then it is better for you than anything on which the sun shines from east to west.14
10. The hakim is a dignitary in the eyes of people.15
11. The hakim cures the poor and endows virtues.16
12. The hakim compensates bad behaviors with good ones17
13. The hakim does not quarrel with superiors and does not belittle his inferiors; he does not give away what he does not own. His tongue is in harmony with his heart, and his speech is not in opposition with his action; he does not say anything on the issues which he does not have information about. He will not desert his responsibilities when he is in a plight.18
14. The hakim obeys his superiors, respects his equals, and uses justice with his inferiors.19
15. The hakim is more elegant than others in personality, more patient in forgiveness, and more speedy in pardoning and more open in ethics.20
16. The hakim is impatient to add up to his Hikmah.21
17. The hakim does not ask ungenerous people for help.22
18. The hakim does not take delight in the praising of an ignorant person.23
19. If he has to treat a person he does not like, the hakim will tolerate him.24
20. The hakim knows himself.25
21. The hakim is near to the position of prophethood.26
Since the creation and Divine affairs are based on the principle of cause and effect, God's generosity is dependent on the capacity of the receiver. This is because God is "the most generous of the generous ones" and He is not jealous.27
Thus, some people such as Luqman are given wisdom because of their existence structure and excellent morals and their humane feelings. Some others, however, are deprived of it because they lack the fundamental requirements. The following factors are significant to possess wisdom:
God-wariness is a kind of spiritual God-fearing state in man's soul that forces him to stay away from committing sins and to carry out his tasks. It has different characteristics, one of which is "realistic insight and wisdom".
The Holy Qur’an says:
"يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَتَّقُوا اللَّهَ يَجْعَلْ لَكُمْ فُرْقَانًا"
"O you who believe! If you are careful of your duty to Allah, He will grant you a distinction."28
As you see, the evolution of the power to distinguish right from wrong, which is called "the realistic insight and wisdom," is, according to Qur’an, the result of God-wariness.
And from the verse 282, Surah al-Baqarah “…and be careful of your duty to Allah, Allah teaches you" we can realize that God-wariness has a deep effect in our recognition and in the increase of our learning and knowledge.
The cause and effect relation of God-wariness and wisdom may also be understood from the Prophet's statement:
"جَاهِدُوا اَنفُسَكُم عَلى اَهوائِكُم تَحِلَّ قُلُوبَكُم الحِكْمَةُ"
"Struggle against your whims and wishes so that wisdom may enter your hearts."
Abul Fath Bosti, the poet and writer of the fourth century in one of his poems emphasizes the close relation of God-wariness and wisdom in the following words:
“There are two things which have taken milk from one breast: wisdom and God-wariness. There are also two things which live in one place, they are: wealth and aggression”.29
In Bihar al-Anwar, al-Majlisi mentions: "Luqman was asked by somebody if he was a slave of such and such a family. He answered that he was. Then he was asked what factors gave him the status he had then. He answered: “Honesty in speech, returning the deposits people had with me, leaving aside what did not concern me, lowering my gaze, controlling my tongue and not eating illegally-obtained food. One who does not do these things is below me and one who does more than this is superior to me. And one who acts on these, is like me."30
By sincerity is meant "not to associate any god with Allah, and to carry out one's duties for His pleasure, and not for fear of punishment or to attain His rewards31, and not for fear of other people's praise or blame."32 Sincerity has numerous benefits and advantages. One of them is the evolution and growth of wisdom in the sincere believer's heart and his alertness towards affairs. In the books of traditions, there is one tradition reported from the Prophet (S) in different shapes:
"Anybody who purifies himself,33 - or his actions,34 or his faith35 or his worship - for God, for 40 days, God will let him be aware of his pains and their remedies and let the springs of wisdom flow from his heart to his tongue:
"مَنْ اَخلَصَ لله اَربَعِينَ صَبَاحاً ظَهَرَت ـ جَرَت ـ يَنَابِيعُ الحِكْمَةِ مِن قَلبِهِ اِلى لِسَانِه" 326
Imam ‘Ali (as) has stated:
عِندَ تَحقُقِ الاِخلاَصِ تَستَنِيرُ البَصَائِرُ
"When sincerity is achieved, insights become clearly apparent"36
The reason why God-wariness and sincerity increase realism in man and let him know the truth behind the affairs is that: A sin acts like dust and black smoke. In the same way that in a space full of dirt and smoke it is impossible to see properly, the thought space of sinners and unbelief acts in the same manner.37
As long as this pollution of sins lingers above us, we may not see the truth. But when, through God-wariness and sincerity, this dust and dirt become extinct and thought space become clear, the bride of reality manifests herself and man can get the truth and the springs of wisdom will flow from his heart towards his tongue. Imam Sadiq (as) has said:
"لَولا اَنَّ الشَّياطِينَ يَحُومُونَ حَولَ قُلُوبِ بَنِي آدَمَ لَنَظَرُوا اِلى مَلَكُوتِ السَّمواتِ"
"If the Satans did not hover above men's hearts, they would see the Heaven's kingdom"38
Regarding this, the Prophet (S) says:
"لَولا تَكْثِيرٌ في كَلامِكُم وَتَمرِيجٌ في قُلُوبِكُم لَرَأيتُم مَا أرَى وَسَمِعتُم مَا أسْمَعُ"
"If it were not for your excessive speech and the disorder in your hearts, you would see what I see and you would hear what I hear."39
In describing the traits of the devotees of God, Imam ‘Ali (as) emphasizes this truth: "Such a devotee enlivened his intellect and killed (the desires of) his soul until his large body became slender and his coarseness became fine. An illuminating light shone in his existence, making the way clear for him and taking him on the (divine) path. The doors (on the path) propelled him to the door of safety and the abode of permanence. With the tranquility of his body, his feet stood firm in the station of peace and ease, because of that in which he had employed his heart and pleased His Lord”.40
Among the factors of evolution of wisdom in man are the pious morals and eating little. Regarding this, the Prophet (S) sermonized Abu Dharr by saying: "Anybody in this world who adopted piety, God has implanted the tree of wisdom in his heart; and God made his tongue eloquent and made him aware of the faults of this world and remedies to its calamities and sent him from here to the Hereafter"41 And God, on the night of ascension to heaven exhorting the Prophet, said, "When My obedient subject keeps his stomach empty, and keeps his tongue, I will teach him wisdom."42
On the contrary, lack of piety, lack of sincerity, too much interest in the world, gluttony, haughtiness, anger and indulging in lust, take away man’s ability to enjoy wisdom. Regarding this, Imam ‘Ali (as) has said, "Gluttony spoils wisdom and hinders cleverness."43 Elsewhere he has also said, "Wisdom does not arrive unless man stops committing sins. Lust and wisdom do not match."44
Elsewhere Imam ‘Ali (as) has said, as well: "A man defeated by anger and lust will not enjoy wisdom."45
In short: When man's heart is lit with piety and is irrigated by ethical virtues, it will enjoy the sweet fruit of knowledge and wisdom. If man's heart is contaminated with sins, it will lack insight and wisdom46 as Imam Hadi (as) has said.
Since wisdom is the most delicate and the greatest capital of life here and in the Hereafter, it is crucial that people in acquiring it put forth lots of attempt. It might be that acquiring wisdom could be hard or the person possessing it is not descent.
Imam ‘Ali (as) has said:
"خُذ الحِكمَةَ اَنّى كَانَت فَاِنَّ الحِكْمَةَ ضَالَّةُ كُلِّ مُؤمِن"
"Take wisdom from wherever it may be, for wisdom is the lost property of every believer."47
He has also said,
"الحِكمَةُ ضَالَّةُ كُلِّ مُؤمِنٍ فَخُذْهَا وَلَو مِن اَفْوَاهِ المُنافِقِ"
"Wisdom is the lost property of every believer; take it, even if it be from the mouths of hypocrites.”48
He has said as well,
"خُذ الحِكْمَةَ مِمَّن اَتاكَ بِهَا وَانظُر اِلى مَا قَالَ وَلا تَنظُر اِلى مَن قَالَ"
"Receive wisdom from anybody who offers it to you. Look at what one said, not at who said it."49
He has, as well, said,
"الحِكْمَةُ ضَالَّةُ المُؤمِن فَاطلبُوهَا وَلَو عِندَ المُشْرِكِ تَكُونُوا اَحَقَّ بِهَا وَاهلَهَا"
"Wisdom is the lost property of every believer; so seek it, even from the polytheist, for you are more entitled to it and worthy of it.”50
The Prophet (S) has said,
"الحِكْمَةُ ضَالَّةُ المُؤمِنِ فَحَيثُ وَجَدَها فَهُوَ اَحَقُّ بِها"
"Wisdom is the lost property of the believer. Wherever he can find it, he is more worthy of it".51
He also has said:
"الحِكْمَةُ ضَالَّةُ المُؤمِنِ يَأخُذُهَا حَيثُ وَجَدَها"
"Wisdom is the lost property of the believer. He should take it wherever he finds it."52
As we observe in the above expressions, the leaders of religion have interpreted wisdom as "the lost property of a believer." It is clear, when a man has lost something, he will look everywhere for it and even will endanger his life if that item is worthwhile. Wherever he sees it, he will take it.
In the same way, Hikmah (wisdom) is the reception of truth and realistic insight. Since this is the most complex issue and the dissension of the 72 sects occurs because they have not found out the truth, and because of this they are among those who have gone astray, we should ask God in each prayer to keep us on the right path and as the Prophet (S) has said: “O my Lord, make me know things as they are (i.e. the realities of things)!” And in this way we ask God to let us find our lost property.
The historians are not unanimous as to the status of Luqman. Was he a Prophet? When did he live? Nobody knows for sure. Most of the historians are of the belief that Luqman was a ugly-looking man from Nubia (in the Northern part of Sudan between Ethiopia and Egypt), living at the time of the Prophet David. Because of his noble thoughts, God gave him highest degree of wisdom. It is narrated from the Prophet (S) who said, "I rightfully say Luqman was not a Prophet, but he was a thoughtful obedient servant of God. He had strong faith and certainty. He loved God and God loved him, too. That is why he received the asset of wisdom from God. Luqman was sleeping when suddenly heard: ‘O Luqman, do you want to be God’s representative on earth so that you may judge among people’?
Luqman replied: ‘If God gives me option, I will not accept such a huge responsibility. But if He orders me to do so, I will whole-heartedly accept because I know if I accept such a task, He will help me not to go astray.’
The angels, whom he couldn’t see, asked Luqman: Why?
He answered: “It is the most hazardous job to judge between people. For a judge it is a formidable job. If a person is protected by God, he is saved and if he does not go the right path, he will lose the way to paradise.
A person who is ashamed here but raises his head in the Hereafter is better than a person who keeps his head high here, but is ashamed in the Hereafter. A man who sells the Hereafter for this world will have neither here nor there”.
The angels were surprised at Luqman’s reasoning. Luqman said this and fell asleep. God put the light of wisdom in his heart. When he awoke, he started talking wisely. He helped David with his wisdom. David told him, "I envy you Luqman. Now you have passed your test"53
Thus, because of Luqman’s obedience to God, he received the treasure of wisdom. God named one of the Surahs of Qur’an after him. In that surah God put some of Luqman’s advice to his children. One of which is the following:
"واِذ قال لقمانُ لإبنه وهو يَعِظُهُ يا بُنيَّ لا تُشرِك بالله اِنَّ الشِّركَ لظُلمٌ عَظِيم"
“And when Luqman said to his son while he admonished him: O my son! do not associate aught with Allah; most surely polytheism is a grievous iniquity” [Qur’an 31:13]
يَا بُنَيَّ إِنَّهَا إِنْ تَكُ مِثْقَالَ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ فَتَكُنْ فِي صَخْرَةٍ أَوْ فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ أَوْ فِي الْأَرْضِ يَأْتِ بِهَا اللَّهُ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَطِيفٌ خَبِيرٌ. يَا بُنَيَّ أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَانْهَ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ وَاصْبِرْ عَلَىٰ مَا أَصَابَكَ ۖ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ مِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ. وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ. وَاقْصِدْ فِي مَشْيِكَ وَاغْضُضْ مِنْ صَوْتِكَ ۚ إِنَّ أَنْكَرَ الْأَصْوَاتِ لَصَوْتُ الْحَمِيرِ
“O my son! Surely if it is the very weight of the grain of a mustard-seed, even though it is in (the heart of) rock, or (high above) in the heaven or (deep down) in the earth, Allah will bring it to light; Surely Allah is Knower of subtleties, Aware.
O my son! Keep up prayer and enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and bear patiently that which befalls you; surely these acts require courage. And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster. And pursue the right course in your going about and lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voices is braying of the asses” [Qur’an 31:16-18].
Although there are ample references to Luqman's wisdom in the books and in the poems of the past poets, we will present here some aspects of his wisdom as narrated in the books of traditions:
a) “O my son! Do not let your heart be concerned with people's pleasure, and their praise or blame. A person will attain nothing from that although he may make the utmost efforts in it.” His son said, “Father, what does this mean? I would like to see some examples of it in words or deeds.” Luqman replied: “Let us go out”. They went out together with one animal to ride on. Luqman rode on the animal leaving his son to walk behind him. They passed a group of people who said: “This old man is hard-hearted, with little compassion. He rides the animal although he is stronger than the boy, and he makes the boy walk behind him! This is an evil arrangement!”
Luqman told his son: “Did you hear them, and their censure of my riding and your walking”? He said: “Yes, I did”.
Then Luqman told his son: “Now you ride, my son, and I will walk”. So the son rode the animal and Luqman walked. They passed another group of people who said: “An evil father and an evil son! The father has not trained his son. The son rides while the father walks behind him, whereas the father is more worthy of respect and of riding the animal. As for the son, he has been disrespectful to his father because of this. Therefore, both of them are wrong-doers”!
Luqman asked his son: “Did you hear”? He replied: “Yes”.
Then Luqman said: “Let us both ride on the animal”. They both mounted the animal and passed by a group of people who said: “There is no mercy in the hearts of these two riders and God will not bless them. They are breaking the back of the animal by overloading it. It was better for one of them to walk and one to ride”.
Luqman asked his son: “Did you hear”? He said: “Yes”.
Then Luqman said: "Let us both dismount and let the animal walk without a rider”. They drove the animal on before them while they walked. They passed a group of people who said: “How strange these two are! They have an animal, but they walk”. They blamed these two for that, just as others had blamed them previously. Then Luqman said to his son: “Can you make people pleased with you? Thus, do not pay any attention to them; rather, occupy yourself with God's pleasure. That will be a source of prosperity both here and in the Hereafter".54
b) My son! I learned seven thousand pieces of wisdom. You memorize only four of them and you may enter the paradise with me. Strengthen your ship since the sea ahead of you is deep; lighten the load of your sins since you have a rough course ahead of you; increase your provisions since you have a long journey; have sincerity in your actions since the accountant is sharp."55
c) My son! If you doubt death, take sleep away from yourself; you will not be able to do that. If you doubt the Day of Resurrection, take wakefulness away from yourself; and you cannot do this. When you think over these issues, you will understand that your soul is in the hand of One other than you. Sleep is only in the same position as death and awakening after sleep is like resurrection after death.56
d) My son! The world is a deep sea in which an immense number of people are drowned. Use your faith in God as your ship in this sea; let trust in God be your sails; let your provision be God-wariness; if you cross this sea safely, it is because of God's Mercy, and if you are destroyed, it is because of your own sins.57
e) O my son! Be fearful of God to such an extent that if you go before Him on the Day of Judgment with all the good that jinn and men have performed, you still fear He may punish you; and hope from God to such an extent that if you come before Him on the Day of Judgment having committed the sins of all jinn and men, you still hope that He will forgive you.58
f) O my son! Everything has a sign by which it is recognized:
For religion there are three signs: knowledge, faith and acting on it.
For faith there are three signs: faith in God, His Books and His Prophets.
For a scholar there are three signs: knowledge of God, of what He has made obligatory and what He dislikes.
For one who labours (according to God’s commands) there are three signs: prayer, fasting and zakat (statutory Islamic levy on specified items to be used for Muslims' welfare).
For a Mutakallif (a person who is not qualified for a job, but accepts it anyway) there are three signs: he quarrels with his superiors: he tells things he does not know; and he tries to do something he is not qualified for.
For a wrongdoer there are three signs: He wrongs his superiors through disobedience; he wrongs his inferiors through overcoming them, and he aids other wrongdoers.
For the sinner there are three signs: he is treacherous, he lies, and he acts in opposition to his words.
For a hypocrite there are three signs: his tongue contradicts his heart, his heart contradicts his actions and his outer self contradicts his inner self.
For an envious person there are three signs: He backbites in one's absence, flatters in one's presence and rejoices in the misfortunes of others.
For a squanderer there are three signs: He sells things that are not his; wears what is not his, and eats what is not his.
For a lazy person there are three signs: He procrastinates affairs so much that he is neglectful; he is neglectful until he is wasteful and he is wasteful until he sins.
For a heedless one there are three signs: negligence, diversion and forgetfulness.59
g) My son! Be aware when you are stand before God tomorrow you will be asked about three things:
About your youth and in what you wore it out;
About your life, in what you spent it;
About your wealth, how you earned it and in what you spent it. So make yourself ready for such a day and prepare yourself for the answers.
Do not regret what you have lost in this world, because if you have little, it will not last, and if you have much, it is vulnerable. Therefore be vigilant and strive in your work and draw aside the curtain of negligence and perform the heavenly duties and renew repentance in your heart and get ready to depart this life before death comes to you and before there is a space between you and what you wish to do.60
h) My son! Do not postpone repentance because death will arrive unexpectedly; Do not rejoice at death; do not make fun of one afflicted, and do not refuse to do a good deed.
My son! Be trustworthy so that you may live free of need. Adopt God-wariness as a trade, profits will come to you without capital. When you sin, pay alms since it purifies the consequences of it.
My son! Exhortation is difficult for a foolish person, in the same way that mountain-climbing is difficult for the old.
My son! Do not be sorry for a person whom you have wronged; but be sorry for evil you have commited against yourself. When your power induces you to wrong others, do not forget God's power over you.
My son! Learn from the learned what you do not know and teach people what you know.61
My son! Fall on your knees in front of the scholars for the acquisition of knowledge and learning. Do not quarrel with them. Let your world be a means to gain the Hereafter for you. But do not put this world aside completely because you will then be dependent on others. And do not care for this world to the degree that you ruin the Hereafter.
My son! If you get educated in your childhood, you will benefit from it at adulthood. And anyone who decides to learn will put forth the energy necessary. And anybody who wants education will try for it and will tolerate the hardships.62
My son! Make a thousand friends, and a thousand is little; but do not make one enemy, for one is too much.63
My son! Avoid being depressed, bad-tempered and impatient, because man can not rely on himself with these traits; be patient in your works; in helping your brethren, be strong and treat people amicably.64
i) Luqman was once asked: “Who are the worst people”? He answered: “Those who do not care that people consider them to be evil-doers”. Then Luqman was told: “How ugly is your face”! He replied: “Are you finding fault with the painting or the painter”?65 [By painter is meant the Creator].
j) Luqman's master told him: “Slaughter a sheep and bring me its two best parts”. So he brought him the heart and the tongue (of the sheep).
Luqman' master told him another day: “Go slaughter a sheep and bring me its two worst parts. Luqman once again brought the tongue and the heart.
Luqman's master asked: How can the heart and tongue be the best and the worst parts at the same time? He answered:
"انَّهُمَا اَطيَبُ شَيئٍ اِذَا طَابَا وَاخبَثُ شَيئٍ اِذَا خَبُثا"
“They are the best if they are good, and they are the worst, if they are bad”.66
k) There are three things which are only recognized at three times: a patient man is only recognized at the time of anger; a brave man is only recognized at war; and you do not recognize your brother except when you need him.67
l) There are three things the possession of which will entail a perfect faith: A person who does not neglect God's pleasure when he is satisfied and happy; he who does not disregard justice at the time of anger; and he who does not take what he does not deserve at the time of his power. When you want to make friends with anybody, make him angry at first. If he did not disregard justice at the time of anger, then take him as a friend; or else, leave him.68
m) There are four things which a person should perform personally although he is a prince or a dignitary: rising to show respect to his father, entertaining the guest, sitting on a horse, and helping the world.69
We will end this section by reporting a tradition from Imam Sadiq (as) which is an answer to Hammad's question about Luqman and his wisdom:
Imam Sadiq (as) said, "I swear by God that God gave Luqman wisdom not for his wealth, or family or strength or beauty. He was given wisdom because he was strong in worshipping God, God-fearing, silent, tranquil, with profound insight, a deep thinker, keen-sighted and in no need of admonition. He never slept during the day. Nobody saw him answering the call of nature or bathing because of his extreme modesty. He never laughed at anything for fear of sinning. He was never angry and never joked with anyone. He did not rejoice at anything he received of this world and did not grieve over anything of this world. He married women and had many children most of whom died in their childhood, but he did not weep for any one of them.
He never passed by two people who were arguing or fighting without reconciling them, and he did not leave them until they had made peace with one another He never heard any speech that he liked without asking for its explanation and about who said it. He would frequently sit in the company of scholars and the wise ones. He would come upon the judges and kings; he would pity the judges for what they were afflicted with and have mercy on the kings and rulers for their beguilement from God, and their being content with that. He used to learn things which made him defeat his desires and with it would guard himself from Satan. He would treat his heart with contemplation and coax his soul with admonition. He did not enter into any matter that did not concern him. It was for these reasons that God gave him wisdom..."70