Ḥilm or “Judiciousness”:A Contribution to the Study of Islamic Ethics

in Studia Islamica
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Ḥilm or “Judiciousness”:A Contribution to the Study of Islamic Ethics

in Studia Islamica




Ibid. p. 19 (no. 3).


Ibid. pp. 20-1 (no. 4) again after Abū Hurayra. This saying seems to be not much recorded but does appear in the compendious Kāmil fī ḍuʿafāʾ al-rijāl by Ibn ʿAdī al-Jurjānī d. 365/976) man ibtadāʾ asāmī-him wāṣil no. 8566 after ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿUmar.


Ibid. p. 21 (no. 5). Cf. p. 62 (no. 92): “The ornament of man is Islam the ornament of Islam is intelligence the ornament of intelligence is judiciousness the ornament of judiciousness is restraint the ornament of restraint is thoughtfulness and reflection the ornament of thoughtfulness is to be patient (taṣabbur) and the ornament of being patient is to pause and consider what constitutes obedience and what constitutes disobedience”. Cf. also Ibn Ḥibbān Rawḍat al-ʿUqalāʾ p. 140: “The intelligent man when he is angered and goes into a rage should remember how much judiciousness God has shown him even while he insistently continues to transgress (cf. intihāk) and to violate what ought to be inviolable (cf. tuʿaddī-hi ḥurumāti-hi); then having done this (thumma) he should himself behave with judiciousness [. . .]”.


Ibid. p. 29 (no. 15); cf. Ibn Ḥibbān Rawḍat al-ʿUqalāʾ p. 138. It is worth noting that al-ḥalīm is a Name while the same cannot be said of the derivatives of the root ʿql.


Ibid. pp. 48-49 (no. 55) after Ibn ʿAbbās (d. 68/686). The saying is also reported by al-Ṭabarānī Makārim al-Akhlāq chap. Faḍl al-rifq wa-l-ḥilm wa-l-anāt Beirut Dār al-Kutub al-‘Ilmiyya 1421/2000 p. 322 no. 30 (this work annotated by Aḥmad Shams al-Dīn appears in fine pp. 309-95 of a homonymous text by Ibn Abī l-Dunyā ed. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir Aḥmad ʿAtā). And in more or less similar terms the saying appears in the Musnad of Abū Bakr al-Bazzār (d. 292/904-5) Al-Baḥr al-Zakhkhārbaqiyya musnad Anas no. 1978.


Ibid. p. 58 (no. 75). This little-known saying appears in Al-Āthār li-Abī Yūsufbāb al-ṭalāq no. 924 after Yaʿqūb b. Ibrāhīm (d. 182/798). Cf. also p. 52 (no. 58): “Do not mix (lā tujālis) your judiciousness with the foolish and do not mix your foolishness with the judicious.


Ibid. p. 28 (no. 14). In a very similar vein Ibn Ḥibbān Rawḍat al-ʿUqalāʾ p. 140 who adds that “nothing is more discordant than the absence of knowledge in an intelligent person (ʿadam al-ʿilm fī l-āqil)”; elsewhere this author records that “a man once wrote to his brother: judiciousness is the clothing of knowledge do not undress yourself utterly” ibid. p. 139.


Ibid. pp. 26-7 (no. 10 cf. no. 11). According to the author “make yourselves masters” (kūnū rabbāniyyīn)” in Cor 3 79 is also an inducement to judiciousness (cf. p. 26 no. 9). On the counterpointing of jahl and ḥilm in Cor 25 63 and also according to the commentaries of al-Ṭabarī and al-Zamakhsharī in Cor 28 55 cf. William E. Shepard “Ignorance” eq vol. ii pp. 487-8.


Ibid. p. 27 (no. 12).


Ibid. p. 40 (no. 39).


Ibn ḤibbānRawḍat al-ʿUqalāʾ p. 137 explains that “nothing marries better with another thing than forgiveness (ʿafw) with power (maqdira)” and that “the best judiciousness is that which comes from he who has the power to revenge himself (al-muqtadir ʿalā al-intiqām). This aspect of ḥilm while present in Arab and Muslim literature generally and homiletic texts particularly seems to have been ignored by the classical lexicographers who as Pellat notes (see Ḥilm) “make no reference to the pardoning of offences whilst in the modern period (as probably for many centuries) the word ḥilm generally connotes the qualities associated with patience leniency understanding”.


Ibid. pp. 23-4 (no. 7) after Abū Hurayra.


Ibid. pp. 49-51 (no. 56). The author also references this saying in his Madārat al-Nās cf. ed. Muḥammad Khayr Ramaḍān Yūsuf Beirut Dār al-Ḥazm 1418/1998 pp. 29-30 no. 11.


Ibid. pp. 29-30 (no. 16) a saying of Aktham b. Ṣayfī of the Tamīm tribe known as al-ḥakīm for his sagacity; according to the sources Aktham b. Ṣayfī himself converted immediately on meeting the Prophet and encouraged his people to do likewise.


Ibid. p. 141.


Ibid. pp. 35-6 (no. 28).


Ibid. p. 45 (no. 49).


Ibid. p. 56-7 (no. 71). Among the many works of this author one relatively sizeable is entirely dedicated to silence: Al-Ṣamt wa-ādāb al-lisān ed. Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir Aḥmad ʿAṭā Beirut Muʾassasat al-Kutub al-thaqāfiyya 1409/1988.


Ibid. pp. 139-40.


Ibid. pp. 36-7 (no. 30).


Ibid. p. 37 (no. 31). The author also records the following saying attributed to the Prophet’s grandson ʿAlī b. al-Ḥasan (d. 50/670): “Seignory (suʾdud) is patience (ṣabr) in the face of humiliation (dhull) ibid. p. 60 (no. 81) words that form part of an extended citation apocalyptic in tone quoted in a work entitled Al-Sunan al-Wārida fī l-Fitan by ʿUthmān b. Saʿīd al-Dānī (d. 444/1052) in which however the term dhull is entirely without any positive shading.


Ibid. pp. 37-8 (no. 33).


Ibid. pp. 59-60 (no. 79).


Ibid. p. 364.


Ibid. pp. 363-4.


Cf. generally George Hourani“Ethical Presuppositions of the Qurʾān” in Reason and Tradition in Islamic EthicsCambridge University Press 1985 pp. 23-48 particularly p. 24; and Bichr Farès L’honneur chez les arabes avant l’Islam: Étude de sociologie Paris Adrien Maisonneuve 1932 pp. 55-6.

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