‘ÂLIM - عَالِم
Literally: Who knows. Who possesses ‘ilm. Learned. Erudite. Knowledgeable. A doctor of a science. Hoja. Scholar.
بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
وَمَنْ يُؤْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ اُوتِىَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا1
[This Word consists of a brief comparison between the sacred hikmah of Al-Qur'an Al-Hakîm and the hikmah of philosophy, and a concise summary of the instruction of tarbiyyah which Qur'anic hikmah gives to man in his personal life and social life, and an indication of the Qur'an's superiority to other Ilahî words (kalimât), and to all speech. There are Four Principles in this Word.]
Look through the telescope of the following story which is in the form of a comparison, and see the difference between Qur'anic hikmah and the hikmah of science:
One time, a renowned Ruler who was both religious and a fine craftsman wanted to write Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm in a script worthy of the sacredness in its meaning and the miraculousness in its words, so that its marvel-displaying stature would be arrayed in wondrous apparel. Thus that Embroiderer, therefore, wrote the Qur'an in a truly wonderful fashion. He used all his precious jewels in its writing. In order to indicate the great variety of its haqiqahs, he wrote some of its embodied letters in diamond and emerald, and some in pearl and agate, and other sorts in brilliant and coral, while others he inscribed with silver and gold. He adorned and embroidered it in such a way that everyone, those who knew how to read and those who did not, was full of admiration and astonishment when they beheld it. Especially in the view of the people of haqiqah, since the outer beauty was an indication of the brilliant beauty and striking adornment in its meaning, it became a truly precious antique. Then the Ruler showed the artistically made and bejewelled Qur'an to a foreign philosopher and to a Muslim ‘âlim. In order to test them and for reward, he commanded them: "Each of you write a work about the hikmah of this!" First the philosopher, then the ‘âlim composed a book about it. However, the philosopher's book discussed only the embroideries of the letters and their relationships and conditions, and the properties of the jewels, and described them. It did not touch on their meaning at all, for the foreign man did not know to read the Arabic script. He did not even know that the embellished Qur'an was a book, a written piece, expressing a meaning. He rather looked on it as an embroidered antique. He did not know any Arabic, but he was a very good engineer, and he described things very aptly, and he was a skilful chemist, and an ingenious jeweller. So this man wrote his work according to those crafts.
As for the Muslim ‘âlim, when he looked at it, he understood that it was Al-Kitâb Al-Mubîn, Al-Qur’an Al-Hakîm. This haqq-loving person neither attached importance to the external adornments nor busied himself with the embroideries of the letters. He became preoccupied with something that was a million times higher, more elevated, more subtle, more noble, more beneficial, and more comprehensive than the matters with which the other man had busied himself. For discussing the sacred haqiqahs and nûrs of the mysteries beneath the veil of the embroideries, he wrote a beautiful noble tafsir. Then the two of them took their works and presented them to the Illustrious Ruler. That Ruler first took the philosopher's work. He looked at it and saw that the self-centred one who performs ‘ibâdah to nature had worked very hard, but had written nothing of true hikmah. He had understood nothing of its meaning. Indeed, he had confused it and been disrespectful towards it, ill-mannered even. For supposing that Qur’an, which is the source of haqiqah, to be a meaningless embroidery, he had insulted it as being valueless in regard to meaning. So the Ruler who has hikmah hit him over the head with his work and expelled him from his presence.
Then he looked at the work of the other, the haqq-loving ‘âlim who investigates minutely, and saw that it was an extremely fine and beneficial tafsir, a book composed with utmost hikmah in a manner of a murshid. "Congratulations! Bârakâllah!", he said. Thus, hikmah is this and they call those who possess it ‘âlim and hakîm. As for the other man, he was a craftsman who had exceeded his mark. Then in reward for the ‘âlim's work, he commanded that in return for each letter ten gold pieces should be given to him from his inexhaustible treasury.
If you have understood the comparison, now look and see the face of haqiqah:
The ornamented Qur'an is this artistically fashioned universe, and the Ruler is the Pre-Eternal Hakîm. Those two men, one is the foreigner who represents ‘ilm of philosophy and its philosophers, and the other, the Qur'an and its students.
Yes, Al-Qur'an Al-Hakîm is a most elevated mufassir and a most eloquent translator of the Mighty Qur'an of the Universe. Yes, it is the Furqân which instructs man and the jinn concerning the takwînî âyahs inscribed by the pen of Qoudrah on the pages of the universe and on the leaves of time. It regards beings, each of which is a meaningful letter through the point of view of ma’nâ al-harfî, that is, it looks at them on account of their Sâni’. It says, "How beautifully they have been made! How exquisitely they point to their Sâni’s beauty (jamâl)!", thus showing the universe's true beauty. But the philosophy which they call ‘ilm of hikmah has plunged into the decorations of the letters of beings and into their relationships, and has become bewildered; it has confused the way of haqiqah. While the letters of this mighty book should be looked through ma’nâ al-harfî, that is, on account of Allah, it does not do this; it looks at beings through ma’nâ al-ismî. That is, it looks at beings on account of beings, and discusses them in that way. Instead of saying, "How beautifully they have been made," it says "How beautiful they are," and makes them ugly. In doing this it insults the universe and made it complain about it. Indeed, philosophy without religion is a sophistry without haqiqah and an insult to the universe.” The Twelfth Word
1 (And he who has been given hikmah has been given great khayr.)