chapter  XVIII
2 Pages

On having consultation with learned and experienced men

I Holding consultations on affairs is a sign of sound judgment, high intelligence and foresight. Every person has some knowledge and in every branch of knowledge one knows more and another less. One may have knowledge and never have put it into practice or tested it; another possesses the knowledge, and has also used it and tried it. For example one may have read in medical books the cure of a certain pain or sickness and know by heart the names of all the specific medicines, but no more; while another knows all the medicines and has used them in the treatment of that condition and tried them many times. Never will the first be on a level with the second. Likewise a man who has travelled widely and seen the world and experienced heat and cold and been in the midst of affairs is not to be compared with one who has never made journeys, seen countries, participated in events, or only to a limited extent. Thus it has been said that one ought to take counsel with

the wise, the old and the experienced. Further, some people have sharper wits and quicker perception of affairs; others have duller intellects. The wise have said, 'The counsel of one man is like the strength of one man, the counsel of two persons is as the strength of two, and the counsel of ten is as the strength of ten.' Of course ten men are physically stronger than one; likewise ten men in counsel are stronger than two or three or five. Everybody in the world agrees that there has never been any mortal wiser than The Prophet (upon him be prayers and greeting); and with all the wisdom that he had - for he could see behind him as well as in front; and the skies and the earth, the tablet and the pen, the throne and seat [of God], paradise and hell and all things in between were revealed to him, and Gabriel (upon him be peace) often used to visit him, bringing inspiration ar.d giving news of things past and things to come - in spite of all this perfection, in spite of all his miracles, God (be He exalted) said to him [in the Qur'an 3. 153], 'Consult them in affairs.' (' 0 Muhammad, when you are going to do any work or when you are confronted with an important matter, confer with your companions.') Since God commanded him to seek advice and even he needed counsel, it is obvious that nobody can do without it.