Combating the Evil Tendencies
By: Muhammad Baqir Qarashi
The evil tendencies that lie in the mental horizons stimulate to evil and sinning, and occlude against the straight path. If they are left free, they will overcome and appropriate the virtuous traits and noble morals by which the human beings differ from animals. Islam has posed the sound bases of uprooting and ceasing the activities of such evil tendencies so that mankind will be saved against vices and sins. Muslim ethicists have studied these tendencies on the light of the Quranic and prophetic texts.
Rage is the vilest mental defect that introduces the behavioral aberrance and irregularity.
Definition of rage:
Ethicists define rage as a psychical action due to which the blood in the heart is excited. Hence, it spreads in the arteries and reaches the top of the body and makes the brain as same as a cave in which fire is flared to blacken its sides and cause that little torch to extinguish. Thus, the face and eyes are reddened. They added that the blood, when tensed, makes a violent movement that fills the brain, as well as the other nerves, with darkening smokes. Such smokes screen the intellective illumination and enfeebles the actions of the brain; therefore, any admonition or advice will be invalid. Sometimes, coarseness and intensity may be added to the manners of the angry.
Other ethicists define rage as a firebrand of God’s flaming fire that prospects only the hearts, and lies in the bottom like the fire’s lying under ash. The zeal of religion takes it out from the believers’ hearts. The zeal of the screened arrogance and ignorance in the tyrants’ hearts has a connection to the Satan who said, “You created me from fire and created him from mud.”
These definitions reveal the vile factuality of this hateful tendency that usurps man’s equanimity and intellective components.
Reasons of rage:
The following are the reasons of rage:
- The intellective weakness and laxity, that occur due to sinking in boons and luxury. This brings about the influence of any affect.
- The mental sensation, that is aroused due to the feelings of insult, and the perception of the appearances without thinking or deliberateness.
- Disease and physical fatigue that consume the intellective powers.
- Engrossment in working and the continuation of staying up and engaging the mind with greed that sow the seeds of rage.
Disadvantages of rage:
Rage has many disadvantages that cause many risks. It is the most influential element of criminality and retorting. Rage has caused numerous misfortunes and opened many jails, gallows, and fire. It has also cut off the bonds of relations between kinsmen, fathers, sons, and friends. Tongues uttered insults and revilement because of rage that unveiled hatred and schadenfreude, and induced to beat and wound, and aroused the feelings of malice and enmity. An ethicist says, “Rage causes the mind to confuse, the body to thrill, the lips to shrink, the voice to hoarse, the breath to accelerate, the face to flare up, the veins to puff, the hands to shrivel, the nerves to confuse, the hear to pulse, the blood to boil, the mouth to froth, and the eyes to throw evil. When all these are noticed on the angry, it will be surely adjudged that the insane are sounder and nearer to bettering than the angry are. If the angry look in the mirror to see that disgusting mien, they will surely feel shameful and be embarrassed.”
At any rate, rage is one of the vilest the most injurious manners since it causes variable misfortunes and calamities and inflicts the greatest difficulties and dilemmas.
Warning against rage:
Islam has warned against rage, which is a nefarious quality. It has counted it as a danger and risk. Many narratives have been reported in this regard. The Prophet (s) said, “Rage corrupts faithfulness like the vinegar when rots honey.” He also regarded self-striving and self-possession in the states of rage as signs of heroism. He said, “The hero is not that who overcomes in fighting. The real hero is that who possesses himself in rage.” Imam Ali (a) said, “Fury is a sort of madness.” Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “My father used to say: Which matter is more intense than rage? In the states of rage, a man may kill the innocent, and slander the honorable matrons.” He also said, “He whoever lacks control on his rage, will not control his mind.” “Rage eliminates the minds of the wise.”
Islam has also added the pardon in the states of rage to the believers’ qualifications. God says:
And when they rage, they surely forgive.
Islam has warned Muslims against being submitted to rage that leads to disintegration and failing in this world and the Hereafter.
Ethicists refer to several means that protect against the evil of rage:
- The recall of vileness and remembering the bad results of rage that brings about problems and desolation.
- Considering the advantages of composure, such as the good reputation.
It is also recommended to remember that the angry disputants may be changed into close friends by means of self-possession and pardon. God says:
Repel evil with what is best, when lo! Be between whom and you was enmity would be as if he were a warm friend.
- Regarding God’s might, which is the most powerful. The revenge that is directed at the other party, especially when he is weak, is always less powerful than God’s. Aggression, however, overtakes the doom and negligence of God’s mercy.
- Remarking that rage is a sign of mind imperfection and psychic defect. The angry are estimated as same as the valueless idiot. This remark may guard the enraged from sticking such descriptions to themselves, since self-esteem and conservation of entity and reputation are personal matters.
- Remarking the defects and the diseases of nervous collapse and disorder that is originated from ire and rage.
- Remarking the physical state of the angry and the ill-spoken statements they would utter.
- Avoiding curiosity, inquisitiveness, and sycophancy.
- Hiding and devaluating the ill wording. God says:
And when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly.
- The observance of the physical health and cleanness, and practicing sports. In most cases, rage occurs to the diseased.
The Islamic education exerts all efforts for the sake of eliminating the ghost of fear to achieve tranquil and settled life.
Reasons of fear:
Islam has antagonized the several factors that originate fear, and called to release them. They are:
Fear of death:
Fear of death is a natural phenomenon. Man always avoids any circumstance that may cause danger, and tries to take any available means that keep the life and oppose termination. The adherence to the lifeline may cause humiliation and mortification. Islam has rejected humiliation and regarded it as a sort of self-weakness since fear of death will never postpone or change what God has prescribed to man, who definitely be led to death in the very limited time. God says:
And Allah does not respite a soul when its appointed term has come.
Any effort of respiting death is void. God says:
Every soul shall taste of death.
Whenever you are, death will overtake you, though you are in lofty towers.
Matters that prevent from performing the national duties, especially opposing the unjust rulers, will never change in any means the factuality of death that is imposed on everybody.
Fear for subsistence:
God the Elevated has entrusted man’s earnings to His will and volition. God grants whomever He wills. He says:
Allah makes abundant the means of subsistence for whom He pleases of His servants, and straitens them for whom he pleases.
Surely, Allah is the Bestower of sustenance, the Lord of Power, the Strong.
Seek the sustenance from Allah, serve Him, and be grateful to Him.
The holy Quran asserts this fact in many texts so that man will be released from the ill delusions that relate the sustenance and earnings to the creatures, not the Creator, so that they may be betaken as gods. God says:
Surely, they whom you serve besides Allah do not control for you any sustenance.
By means of such a creative education, Islam has canceled all of the sorts of fears that may prevent from delving in the various the aspects of sustenance, which is the most dangerous. Thus, it has committed the earnings to God, and vacated any role of the creatures in this process. This regulation paves the way of dignity, freedom, and honor so that people would not take any course to slavery and misfortune.
Fear of the coming:
The anticipation of coming problems is a natural phenomenon. Islam has released men from this bond and attached whatever inflicts people to God. God says:
Say: Nothing will afflict us save what Allah has ordained for us. He is our Patron, and on Allah let the believers rely.
Say: I do not control any benefit or harm for my own soul except as Allah pleases.
The individuals, who believe that they will be inflicted by matters that God has ordained, will surely live in tranquility and beatitude, away from anxiety, disorder, submission, and humiliation.
Islam has fought all of the factors and incentives of fear so that the whole horizons of life will be used thoroughly.
The factual incentives of fear:
Islam has emphasized on fear of God. God says:
But do not fear them and fear Me if you are believers.
That Allah might know who fears Him in secret.
God-fearing, when settled in the mind, will certainly prevent from committing crimes or sins, and prompts the good and virtuous doing.
Fear of disobedience:
Fear of disobedience and sins is the actual fear because it takes away from vices and forbidden matters, and warns the punishment of the Hereafter. God the Elevated mentions the pious believers who fear Him and escape from disobedience. He says:
Say, surely, I fear, if I disobey my Lord, the chastisement of a grievous day.
The Prophet said, “One must not fear other than his guilt.”
Before we commit a sin, we must remember and fear God, Who will punish in this world and the Hereafter.
Fear of the Resurrection Day:
Man should fear the terrors and difficulties of the Resurrection Day, by avoiding any matter that God has forbidden, and clinging to the precepts and obligations. The holy Quran exposes the horrifying terrors of the situation on the Resurrection Day. God says:
The day on which a man shall fly from his brother and his mother and his father and his spouse and his son. Every man of them shall on that day have an affair, which will occupy him.
Surely, the violence of the hour is a grievous thing. On the day when you shall see it, every woman giving such shall quit in confusion what she suckled, and every pregnant woman shall lay down her burden, and you shall see men intoxicated, and they shall not be intoxicated but the chastisement of Allah will be severe.
The Quran also exposes the horrible chastisement that the tyrants and murderers will encounter on that day. God says:
Lay hold on him then put a chain on him. Then cast him into the burning fire. Then thrust him into a chain the length of which is seventy cubits. Surely, he did not believe in Allah the Great. Nor did he urge the feeding of the poor. Therefore, he has not here today a true friend. Nor any food except the wrongdoers’ eats.
It is obligatory upon every individual, who possesses a mentality, to shun any sort of sinning, and to fear God. Naturally, such a high education will achieve a bright and pure mentality
Envy is the virulent disease that affected men all over history and caused many distresses and difficulties. Islam has warned against envy and reproached the envious and called for prompting against it.
Reality of envy:
The ill-favored envy* stands for the wish that the amenities were to lapse. In other words, the evil envy is the intendment of ruining and destroying. The desire of getting the same amenities of somebody else has nothing to do with envy. This is the emulation. In most cases, the feeling of obtaining others’ good qualities is being favorable since it encourages doing well. The Prophet said, “The faithful believer emulates, but does never envy.” Likewise, envy is different from the competition that stands for striving for copying others’ good deeds. It is the main incentive of the industrial and commercial progression. Islam has urged on competing with each other in the fields of good and benevolence. God says:
And for that let the aspirers aspire.
Warning against envy:
Islam has paid a great attention to protect Muslims against the insalubrious disease of envy because it causes social disunion and spreads enmity. It has also criticized and rebuked the envious.
Several Verses deny and malign the envious. God says:
Many of the followers of the Book wish that they could turn you back into unbelievers after your faith, out of envy from themselves.
Or do they envy the people for what Allah has given to them of His grace?
God also exposes the nature of envy. He says:
If good befalls you, it grieves them, and if an evil afflicts you, they rejoice at it.
The Prophetic texts are also filled up with many indications to the ill manner of envy. The Prophet (s) said, “Envy consumes the good deeds like fire when consumes wood.” “Poverty is about to be atheism, and envy is about to overcome God’s act.” “The malady of the past nations has crept to you. It is malice and envy, which is shaving. It shaves of religion, not hair. By the Prevailing of Mohammed’s soul, you will not be believers before you love each other. May I lead to a matter after which you will certainly love each other? Propagate salutation among you.”
Imam al-Baqir (a) said, “Man may convert to atheism when he commits an ill manner in case of rage. Envy surely consumes faith like fire when consume the wood.”
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “The plague of the religion are envy, self-esteem, and arrogance.”
Besides, there are many texts warning against envy, which is an epidemic that corrodes the entity and change the envious into victim of pains and infliction.
Incentives of envy:
Ethicists referred to a number of incentives that originate envy:
- The origin of envy is the mental evilness and avarice. It takes the souls to the bottoms. Such souls are annoyed when they notice God’s amenities and charities widespread over people, and rejoice when they notice distressed persons. This is the most evil sort of envy. The Prophet (s) said, “God’s amenities have enemies. They are those who envy people for receiving God’s charities.”
- Envy is originated from enmity and malice. The enemies and the malicious are pleased when they see others sink in grief and sorrow. They feel depressed as they notice them live in luxury.
- It is also originated from the desire of exceeding others. The bearers of such desires are dejected when others excel them, and think they will obtain comfort if they excel others.
- It is also originated from the anticipation of missing opportunities and interests. This feeling is generally stuck to craftsmen. It extends with the narrowness of the province. The big cities may lack this sort of envy because of the engrossment of crafts.
- It is also originated from arrogance and pride. The arrogant may fear of others’ excelling them if their elegance is increasing.
- It is also originated form contempt. The envious, who contempt others, wish the fading of others’ amenities. This sort comprises the atheists’ envying the prophets for being given the Lord’s mission exclusively. Those atheists used to say to the prophets, as the Quran exposes, “Your are naught but mortals like ourselves.” This envy also incites those atheists to accuse the prophets and apostles falsely. Anyhow, these accusations would change into the publicity of those apostles’ virtues and elevation.
Abu Temmam, the famed poet, referred to this meaning when he composed a couple of verses in which he asserted that God uses the tongue of the envious when He wills to arouse an unseen virtue.
Misfortunes of envy:
Numerous misfortunes and calamities are originated from envy. The envious may be inflicted by ceaseless grief and sorrow because they suffer if any amenity is granted to a mortal. God’s amenities, however, are incessant. Thus, the envious are in continual regret. Consequently, this will affect the physical health. Ibnul-Mutaz says, “Envy is the epidemic of the body.” A spiritualist says, “I have never seen such wrong people who are as same as the wronged. They consider the amenity as their calamity.” The envious are the rejecters of God’s act. In most cases, this may lead them to atheism and disbelief. Accordingly, the Prophet said, “Envy consumes the good deeds like fire when consumes wood.”
The reduction in the social ranks of the envious is one of the misfortunes involved. People usually abandon the envious, since they cause the rupture of relations in addition to other defects, such as fabrication, backbiting, tattling, perfidy, treason, calumny, killing, and larceny besides other sins and evil-doings.
Treatment of envy:
Ethicists have cited some treatments for this disease:
- The envious are prescribed of acceding to the ethics of Islam and considering God in every action since this precludes and trains on leaving this vile habit.
- The envious should regard that this ill quality is a perishing disease that results in falling in this world and failing in the Hereafter. The envious will surely leave this habit if they look curiously upon this fact. Self-love is one of the inveterate human qualities. Man will definitely avoid any matter that may lead to expiration. For the envious, when they esteem that envy will never harm the others, they will think of giving up this habit.
- Within the matters that help in quitting envy is looking to those who are in lower states, so that God’s graces and amenities will be realized. The Prophet said, “Looking to the more should be followed by looking to the less.”
The envious are prescribed of considering the results of envy that brings the ill manners as well as misadventures and vices.
Avidity is a mental vice that the Islamic education has tended to uproot and eradicate. Its source is the excessive engagement in the earthly affairs, the greedily coveting of collecting money and the complete negligence of death. The Prophet (s) referred to this phenomenon by saying, “Had son of Adam had two valleys of riches, he would have wished of obtaining a third. Nothing fills his interior but dust.” “Richness is not the abundance of items. It is the self-contentment.”
The Prophet (s) also warned against the excessive avidity. He said, “O people! Calm down in seeking your livelihood. Man will never obtain more than the decreed, and will never leave this world before receiving the decided.” Imam al-Hassan (a) said, “Avidity is the enemy of mentalities. Adam was expelled from the Paradise because of avidity.”
Avidity urges unheedingly on obtaining riches. Man is inconsiderate that earnings and sustenance are in God’s hand that He bestows to whomever He desires and prohibits from whomever He desires. Man’s excessive endeavors will never change anything of the limited sustenance. Ibn Zureiq the poet assures this meaning. He affirms that God had already distributed the individuals’ earnings; hence, it is nonsense to exert excessive efforts for gaining and profiting.
Avidity draws to many sufferings and pitfalls, seduces to strive and work hard, deprives of rest and settlement, and arouses grief and pains. The best way of getting rid of this ill manner is the contentment to God’s decree and contemplating that these riches will surely inherited by others. Hence, if the riches are ill-gotten, then the sin will be stuck to the collector while their benefits will be the inheritors’.
Parsimony is a vile quality and an ill manner. It is one of the fruits of adhering to the worldly affairs, as ethicists affirm.
Reality of parsimony:
For ethicists, parsimony is the stinginess in the situations of the necessary giving. It is the preference of abstinence in any matter. Imam al-Hassan (a), when was asked about the meaning of parsimony, expressed, “It is to consider any spending as a loss.” This is the most accurate definition of parsimony.
Warning against parsimony:
Islam has struggled and warned against this aspect. The Quran and the prophetic traditions refer to this topic in many texts. God says:
Those who are niggardly and bid people to be niggardly and hide what Allah has given to them out of His grace.
And let not those deem, who are niggardly in giving away that which Allah has granted them out of His grace, that it is good for them. Nay, it is worse for them. They shall have that whereof they were niggardly made to cleave to their necks on the resurrection day.
Many prophetic texts condemn parsimony.
The Prophet (s) said, “The parsimonious is remote from God and remote from the Paradise.” “Parsimony is a tree rooted in the hell-fire. Only the parsimonious will be in the hell-fire.” “Beware of niggardliness. It wiped out the past nations. As they responded to niggardliness, they killed each other, violated the forbidden, and cut off their relations.” “Niggardliness and faith do never combine in a Muslim’s heart.” Imam al-Hassan (a) said, “Parsimony comprises all of the vices and defects and weeds out the heart amiability.”
Many other texts warn Muslims against this evil trend that is the head of every lechery and blotch.
Protection against parsimony:
The best way of protecting against this disease is considering deliberately the bad consequence of adhering to it, especially after departing this world. Every man will be surely asked about the money he leaves in this world. Punishment will fall upon those who collect ill-gotten riches and those who collect the riches legally, but care for them excessively. Besides, the parsimonious are socially degraded and scorned. Sheik an-Naraqi says, “The best way of treating parsimony is dissecting its causes, which is the fond of riches. The reason is surely the fondness of the lusts that are gotten through money only. The excessive hope is another reason. If a man expects he will leave this life soon, he will never think of collecting money parsimoniously and saving it for the descendants.”
Malice is a vile tendency and a state of rage that may destroy and terminate since it is hidden in the minds. Islam cares for purifying the mentalities from the vices and evils of malice. The Prophet said, “The faithful believer should not be malicious.”
Envy is the source of malice that ruptures the relations, leads to animosity, and drives people into tremendous evils. Slander and schadenfreude are within the outcomes of malice. Malice may result in other bad consequences, such as mockery and other illegal matters that create dishonor and corrupt the religion. Disorder and depression usually affect the malicious since they live in incessant and unsettled grief, pains, and animosity.
Protection against malice:
- The malicious should consider that the internal animosity takes away from faithfulness and approached to the hypocrites and the deviants.
- The malicious should remark that malice brings about pains and suffering without gaining any profit.
- The malicious are advised of looking upon the courses of the great men of history whom were described of good behavior and virtuous moralities. Imam Ali (a) says, “If you overcome your enemy, you should consider pardoning him as the gratitude for the overcoming.”
People went on supplicating to God against the unknown larcener that thieved some dirhams of Abdullah bin Masud, the grand companion of the Prophet (s). Abdullah answered, “O Allah! If it was an exigent need that drove that man to thieve those dirhams, then I implore thee to bless him. If he thieved due to intending to commit a sin, then I implore thee to make it the last of his sins.”
A wise man said, “If you are told that somebody was reviling at you, you should answer: He must have been unaware of my defects totally, lest he would not utter only these words.”
Islam has warned against arrogance and self-conceit that create egoism and tyranny. They are also the indications of ignorance and pride. God said:
Do not attribute purity to your souls. He knows him best who guards against evil. Therefore, enter the gates of hell, to abide therein. So certainly evil is the dwelling place of the proud.
The Prophet said, “Three matters are annihilating. They are the obeyed niggardliness, the pursued fancy, and self-esteem.” “Arrogance consumes the good deeds like fire when consumes wood.” Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “Doom is the outcome of arrogance.”
Islam has antagonized the evil tendency of arrogance that is originated from ignorance, pride, and rashness.
Blights of arrogance:
Arrogance causes serious mental blights, the most notable of which are as follows:
- Arrogance generates pride, self-esteem, and precedence.
- It results in the oblivion of sinning and the abandonment of God and the Hereafter.
-It perverts the deeds that are offered purely to God. As he was asked about the arrogance that perverts the good deeds, Imam Musa (a) said, “Arrogance is of different classes. A class makes the ill deeds seem to be good and admiring. Another class secures, falsely, from God; hence, the bearers of such an arrogance think they do favor to God, while the truth is that God is doing favors to everybody.”
- It arouses self-esteem. The arrogant thinks of being guarded against God’s acts and punishment, and thinks he have many rights that are mandated upon God because he performs some rites.
-It leads to boasting and trespassing.
- It results in dictation and challenging the right.
Types of arrogance:
There are several types of arrogance. They are as follows:
- The vanity about richness and amenities. God said:
And he possessed much wealth; so, he said to his companion, while he disputed with him: I have greater wealth than you, and am mightier in followers.
As the Prophet (s) noticed a rich man roll his clothes while he was associating with a poor man, he said, “What! Do you anticipate that his poverty will affect you?”
- The vanity about the abundance of wealth and the power of the family. The holy Quran refers to this phenomenon. God says:
And they say: We have more wealth and children, and we shall not be punished.
- The vanity about power. The holy Quran exposes the story of the tribe of Ad who said, “Who is more powerful than we are?” This sort of vanity creates wars and seizure. The powers that are admired of their arms will tend to overcome the less powerful.
- The vanity about lineage and nationalities. Islam has antagonized such an ill quality and ruled of combating anyone that may call to it, because this racism disunites Muslims and promotes the variant trends. According to the Islamic viewpoint, Muslims should be one body of equal organs.
The vanity about ill opinions. God says:
What! Is he whose evil deed is made fairseeming to him so much so that he considers it good?
They think that they are well versed in skill of the work of hands.
This is the compound ignorance.
- The vanity about knowledge. The students may esteem themselves and despise others. This is the most influential disease that deconstructs knowledge and takes away from God. The Prophet said, “The blight of knowledge is self-complacency.”
- The vanity about deeds and worship. This sort of arrogance nullifies the worship and creates pride.
Protection against arrogance:
The best way of guarding against arrogance is the thorough self-consideration. Man is the target of various calamities and misfortunes especially when none can realize or predict the coming. After death, man will not be more than an obscure thing and a mass of valueless dust. What for should man be arrogant? Any consideration and judgment will remove the elements of arrogance and takes back to the right.
Ostentation is a serious sin. It indicates mental vices. The ostentatious do not have any relation with God. Islam has warned against exhibitionism and ordered Muslims of purifying themselves from its germs. The holy Quran, also, exposes and warns against ostentation. God says:
Surely, the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and He shall requite their deceit to them, and when they stand up to prayer, they stand up sluggishly. They do it only to be seen of men and do not remember Allah save a little.
Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord.
Woe to the praying ones who are unmindful of their prayers, who do good to be seen and withhold the necessaries of life.
The reports that deal with and warn against the ostentation are uninterrupted.
The Prophet (s) said, “The most dangerous thing that I warn you against is the minor polytheism… It is the ostentation. On the Resurrection Day, God will say to the ostentatious: I reward the servants for their deeds. Go to those whom you were showing in the world. Will they reward you?” “God will not admit any deed that possesses a bit of ostentation.”
Imam Ali (a) said, “Fear God exhaustively, and work for Him without seeking any reputation. He, whoever works for other than God, will be attached to those for whom he works.”
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “Dedicate your affairs to God’s sake. Do not make them for people’s sake. Whatever is intended to God, goes to God, and whatever is intended to people will never ascend to God.”
Imam ar-Rida (a) said, “You should work for other than ostentation or reputation. He, whoever works for other than God, will be attached to those for whom he works.
Ostentation is rebuked and considered as a sort of polytheism that never ascends to God.
Incentives of ostentation:
Incentives of ostentation are as follows:
- Showing off piety and virtuousness for winning people’s respect and veneration.
- Showing off for holding some religious positions, the terms of which are piety and religiousness, such as judiciary and imamate,
- Showing off for winning people’s confidence, and planning for embezzling their trusts, or the like.
Only those who sacrifice the Hereafter for worldly affairs may take the path of ostentation. The ostentatious individuals, in fact, worship others besides God, and dress piety as a means of achieving the narrow aims.
Ostentation invalidates worship:
Muslim Jurists affirm unanimously that ostentation invalidates the worship. There is no difference in the rule whether such a state of ostentation occurs in the first of the ritual, in the middle or in any part of it. Likewise, ostentation invalidates the rites even if it is intended in some parts that are out of the obligatory ritual. For instance, the prayer is invalid when the performer shows off by joining a collective prayer, or choosing a definite mosque, imam, time or place.
The actual worship is engaged in the sincerity to God. When ostentation occurs, the rituals will be invalid and should be repeated.
Treatment of ostentation:
Ethicists mention a number of matters that eliminate this virulent defect.
- The ostentatious should clear the incentives of ostentation, such as the fondness of praise and greediness in people’s amenities.
- The ostentatious should regard the blights and calamities that are resulted from ostentation, such as the corruption of the deeds and God’s scorn.
- The ostentatious should consider that people’s praise and confidence would not improve the livelihood, since sustenance is God’s concern, and that whoever seeks sustenance from other than God will gain nothing but humility and decline.
- The ostentatious should concern the grief and the lack of tranquility that affect them because of presuming people’s emotions and trends. They should also remark that nothing would please people who have contradicting opinions and tendencies. This will surely bring about the most intolerable suffering and heartache and deprive of any profit.
- The ostentatious should consider that God will sooner or later divulge the ill intendments and unveil the actuality in this world or in the Hereafter. Thus, no profit is gained from the deceptive efforts.
The ostentatious will surely get rid of their ill habits if they consider these treatments carefully.
Conceit is one of the mental defects that the Islamic education has treated and purified the mentalities from its germs.
Reality of conceit:
Ethicists mention that the reality of conceit is the minds resting to what accords the fancies confusedly and conceitedly. He is deceitful that whoever esteems his present or fated success. They also disclose that deceit is composed of two matters:
First: esteeming the vile as good.
Second: the fondness of lusts and rage.
Warning against conceit:
Islam has warned against conceit because it ruins the minds and causes sufferings and leads to commit the forbidden matters. God says:
Let not this world’s life deceive you, nor let the arch-deceiver deceive you in respect of Allah.
But you caused yourselves to fall into temptation, and you waited and doubted and vain desires deceived you till the threatened punishment of Allah cane, while the arch-deceiver deceive you about Allah.
The Prophet (s) said, “How excellent the sleep and the nature of the courteous are! They excel the staying up and the efforts of the idiot. A bit of piety and certitude is preferable to the conceited even if it is as much as this earth.”
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “The conceited people are poor in this world and grieved in the Hereafter. They sold the best for the worst. Do not be conceited by yourselves. Your riches and health may allure you, thinking you will persist. The long age, the children, and the associates will not save you. Your beauty, wish, and gaining the target may allure you, assuming your being sincere and true. Your remorse for delinquency in worship may allure you, while God realizes that your heart has the opposite. You may undertake excessively for adoration while God wants mere sincerity. You may take pride in your knowledge and lineage while you are unaware of the unseen damages. You may imagine that you supplicate to God while you are supplicating to someone else. You may think you are advising people while you intend your own interests. You may reproach yourself while you are actually praising.”
This saying indicates all of the incentives and causes of deceit. The Imam warned against all sides of conceit and called to purify the mentalities against its deviation and sins.
Protection against conceit:
The eradication of fondness of lusts and fancies is the best protective way against conceit. It is essential to cognize that we will leave this world to the world of the right. Looking upon these facts may take back to the straight path.
Mendacity is the origin of every vice and the source of every defect. It is a hateful quality. The honorable and the virtuous are remote from such an ill manner that Islam has opposed.
Censure of mendacity:
Islam has warned against this ill characteristic. God says:
Only they forge the lie who do not believe in Allah’s communications, and they are the liars.
So, He made hypocrisy to follow as a consequence into their hearts till the day when they shall meet Him because they failed to perform towards Allah what they had promised with Him and because they told lies.
The Prophet (s) said, “Beware of fabricating. It leads to licentiousness, which leads to the hell-fire.” “May I inform you of the grandest sin? It is polytheism and impiety to parents and telling lies.
Imam Ali (a) said, “The servants –of God- will not find the good taste of faithfulness before they quit intentional and unintentional fabrication.”
Imam Ali bin al-Hussein (a) said, “Beware of insignificant, influential, unintentional, and intentional lies. Fibs lead to fabrication.
Imam al-Baqir (a) said, “God the Praised has made locks for the vices. He made the consuming of intoxicants the keys of these locks. Mendacity is viler than consuming intoxicants.”
Imam al-Askari (a) said, “All of the vices were confined in a house the key of which is mendacity.”
Moreover, many other narratives forbid this evil quality and declare God’s punishment to those who commit this depravity.
Reasons of mendacity:
Many causes that are originated from self-weakness and disloyalty to God incite to commit mendacity. They are as follows:
- Fabricating lies for gaining a delusive profit or guarding against an anticipated damage. This anticipation is dictated by the soul, which is the incessantly demanding with evil.
- Fabricating lies for profiting by a good livelihood or approximating the profitable wealthy. The source of such mendacity is self-degradation and humiliation. The comic mendacity is also a repulsive feature. It stands for forging lies for the sake of making others laugh. This property drags to illegal matters without gaining any benefit.
- Fabricating lies for disturbing and wreaking the enemies. These matters incite to describe false questions and revile by inaccurate accusals.
- The most notable incentive of mendacity is the lack of piety and religiousness. Those who fear God never commit mendacity.
Mendacity may be an irremovable habit if it controls the mind. It is said that if suckling of mendacity is found sweet, it will be very difficult to wean. The mendacious are socially disrespected and any said lie will be naturally imputed to them.
Sorts of mendacity:
The sorts of mendacity are as follows:
- Forging lies against God and the Prophet. This stands for the intentional ascribing unsaid statements to God and the Prophet. Some of the companions, who merchandized with their religion and sold their Hereafter to Muawiya, such as Samara bin Jundub, Abu Hureira, and Amr bin al-As, purposed to forge lies against the Prophet. Muawiya bestowed them abundantly; therefore, they counterfeited the prophetic traditions and falsified the sayings of censuring the Prophet’s infallible household and praising others for gaining Muawiya’s gold and power. That was the most calamitous damage that Islam had to encounter, since such false reports corrupted Muslims’ doctrinal lives and deformed the religion’s signs and rulings. For Shias, forging lies against God and the Prophet invalidates the ritual fasting of the month of Ramadhan.
- Perjury, which wastes people’s property, honors, and souls. It is surely the most horrendous crime that eradicates justice and systems. The Prophet (s) said, “May I inform you of the grandest sins? They are polytheism, impiety to parents and –emphatically- perjury.” Perjury in insignificant or grand matters is indifferent. Judiciaries should chastise and distrust the perjurers.
- Mendacity for mocking people. This is also an ugly forbidden matter since it stands for abusing others. Islam, however, protected people’s dignities and forbade debasing and deriding them.
Mendacity brings about God’s ire and scorn, and causes the mendacious to lose lechery and the failing of justice and trustfulness.
Warrants of mendacity:
Islam has permitted mendacity in cases of attaining some social benefits when the way of telling the truth is blocked. These cases are as follows:
- Telling lies is permitted when it is intended for saving a Muslim from the unjust ruler’s fist. When a tyrant intends to kill, usurp, or dishonor a Muslim, it becomes obligatory to tell false things, if there is no other way, for saving that individual. In this case, “the vice of mendacity retreats because the obligation of salvation is effective,” as scholars of jurists affirm.
- Telling lies is permitted when it is intended for refitting ruptured relations. In case the reuniting of ruptured relations relies upon a fib or telling untrue things, it is not unacceptable to fib or invent a matter, provided that there is no other solution, that re-gathers the hearts of the adversary parties at odds and dislodges the spirits of rivalry and animosity. The Prophet (s) said, “He is not a liar that who makes peace between two rivalry parties when he says good wording or publicizes good deeds.” Abu Kahil reported: As two of the Prophet’s companions were engaged in discrepancy, I came to one of them and told, falsely, that the other party used to praise and applaud him. I went to the other party and did the same thing. Hence, I could make peace between them. Then, I considered that I had made peace between those two, but violated my own personality due to telling lies. I came to the Prophet (s) and cited the problem. “O Abu Kahil!” said the Prophet, “Make peace between people even by means of…” He referred to fabrication.
Islam has greatly concerned with making peace and reconciliation between discrepant parties, and preferred this process to the general rituals of prayers and fasting. Rivalry opens the door to evils, ruptures the united word, and spreads the spirits of animosity and contest among Muslims.
- Telling lies is permitted when it is intended for winning a battle. War depends upon trickery. If Muslims’ triumph and the foes’ defeat rely upon fabrication, it becomes obligatory to lie. The Prophet (s) said, “Every fabrication is forbidden except telling lies in wars, since wars depend upon trickery.”
- Telling lies is permitted when it is intended for reconciliation among the fellow wives. Polygamous husbands are required to deceive each wife that he loves her more than he loves the others, for relieving them and saving from rivalry and quarrels.
Unfortunately, people have opened the portals of mendacity as wide as possible. They have stuck to it so adhesively that they got used to it. Deceptive flattery, which is surely a sort of mendacity, has become a habit. For instance, when an individual tries to get rid of the embarrassment of breaching a promise, he may cite falsely an ailment as his excuse. Fathers also used to instruct their sons to tell those who visit them of their absence in order to avoid the visitors. These sorts of social hypocrisy have been prevalent nowadays that even some poets recommended of sticking to them in the social relations. This flattery is surely a social defect that is originated from cowardice, timidity, and lack of mental disciplining.
It is strange that some writers, especially the Orientals, have purposed to forge lies in their writings. For instance, the Islamic Encyclopedia Britannica is filled up with intrigues, inventions, and lies especially in matters pertaining to Islam and some leaders. We have referred to many examples of their forged lies that are intended defame Islam and wrong the Imams.
By the same token, the books of Dr. Ahmed Amin and Dr. Ahmed Shibli that are pertaining to Shias and some of their doctrinal beliefs are filled up, shamelessly, with lies and fabrications.
At any rate, people used to fabricate and lie. Indisputably, this deadly defect destroys all of the moral virtues. Degradation and collapse will be the inescapable fate of any nation that takes fabrication as a course.
Protection against mendacity:
The following are the ways of protection against mendacity:
- Deliberate concern of the ceaseless chastisement that God threatened the liars who gain nothing from mendacity.
- Considering the ordeals and distresses, the most important of which is the social degradation and distrust that is originated from mendacity.
- Avoiding associating with the evildoers, who do not refrain from forging lies, and clinging to the virtuous and the religious ones so that their deeds, habits, and morals may influence and help in uprooting the evil customs.
Educators are required to activate their notable roles for extirpating this malignant disease and saving the new generations by citing the terrible damages of mendacity that leads to degradation and ruin.
Backbiting is a lethal defect and evil that unveils envy, oppression, and lack of faith. Unfortunately, people hanged to the bad manner of backbiting that became a general custom and a fruit in which they have fun. They used to place each other on the table of slicing to reveal the flaws and imperfections of one another openly.
Reality of backbiting:
Backbiting stands for mentioning the others’ affairs that they detest, whether frankly, metonymically, indicatively, symbolically, or literally. It also comprises the mentioning of religious affairs, such as accusing of larceny, treason, negligence of prayers, impiety to parents, or the like, and worldly affairs, such as accusing of ill manners or loquacity or mocking the way of dressing or the like.
Illegality of backbiting:
Islam has banned backbiting since it arouses malice and animosity. God says:
And do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it.
Hence, God considers the backbitten as a brother, considers his honor as the flesh, and considers backbiting him, while he is unaware, as his death. God also says:
Surely, as for those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter. And Allah knows, while you do not know.
The Prophet (s) said, “Backbiting is more serious than fornication. God may forgive the fornicators if they repent, while He will not forgive the backbiter before the backbitten forgives.” “He whoever keeps on backbiting and unveiling his brother, will be kept on in hell-fire, and God will unveil his flaws before the creatures.” “Sessions in which backbiting is prevalent are ruining the religion. Prompt your hearings from listening to backbiting. The deliverer and the receiver are parties of the sin.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “He whoever declares what he notices and hears about his faithful brother, is with those who are intended in God’s saying:
Surely, as for those who love that scandal should circulate respecting those who believe, they shall have a grievous chastisement in this world and the hereafter.”
Backbiting is a grand sin for which God will chastise and interrogate on the Resurrection Day.
Incentives of backbiting:
Ethicists mention a number of incentives of backbiting. They are as follows:
- Mocking and ridiculing encourages backbiting others.
- Jocularity incites to backbite others.
- Faulting others and self-love causes backbiting.
- Associating, flattering, and consenting to individuals that are accustomed to exposing people’s defects cause backbiting.
- If it is expected that somebody will sooner or later backbite, this may lead to take initiative in backbiting him.
Backbiting is a sign of the ingenuity of mentalities that is irrelevant to virtue and morals.
Penance of backbiting:
The penance of backbiting is seeking the backbitten’s satisfaction and acquittal. Numerous narratives assert this indication. It is related that backbiting will not be forgiven unless the backbitten forgives. The Prophet (s) said, “Those against whom there is a complaint of honor or assets, should seek the acquittal before the coming of that day on which there will not be any dirham or dinar. On that day, the good deeds of the charged will be added to the complainants. If there is no good deed, the evils of the complainants will be added to the charged.”
Jurists have issued that the repentance due to which God forgives and pardons does not omit the chastisement of backbiting because it is people’s, not God’s, rights.
Protection against backbiting:
- A deliberate concern of the ceaseless chastisement that God has threatened the backbiters for debasing, dishonoring, and wronging the others, is a protective method against this malignant disease.
- The consideration of the worldly vices that are originated from backbiting, especially when it reaches the backbitten and arouses or increases animosity and may creates harm, insult, and aggression, may encourage avoiding backbiting.
- Removing and treating the incentives of backbiting will save against going on backbiting others.
Tattling is as evil element and a door to arousing sedition. It unveils ignobility and villainy.
Reality of Tattling:
Tattling stands for informing others of the ill wording that is said about them. It is a sort of divulging the secrets and exposing the screens. It comprises the conveyed words and deeds, whether they were acceptable or unacceptable. In other words, tattling stands for the broadcasting of any kept secret affair.
Censure of tattling:
The holy Quran censures the malevolent quality of tattling. God says:
And yield not to any mean swearer, defamer, going about in slander.
Woe to every slander, defamer.
The Prophet (s) said, “The most beloved of you to Allah are the best of moralities and the modest. They are those who like others’ company and others like them. The most hateful of you to Allah are those going in slander, driving wedges between the associates, and searching for the innocents’ flaws.” “For those who refer to a Muslim’s flaw for tattling, they will be in the hell-fire in the Hereafter.”
Imam al-Baqir (a) said, “The Paradise is interdicted from the backbiters and those going about in slander.”
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “Those who convey a deed of a Muslim for the purpose of debasing and dishonoring, God will dismiss them from His guardianship to the Satan’s. The Satan will reject them, too.”
Incentives of tattling:
- The will of stirring up discord, evil, and malice against the slandered causes tattling.
- The will of approximating and favoring those about whom a word was said, for obtaining their confidence, is another incentive of tattling.
- The will of rupturing relations and creating sedition between the slanderer and the slandered is another incentive of tattling.
Protection against tattling:
- A deliberate consideration of the sedition and the evil that is created from tattling may save against adhering to it. Tattling is a means of destroying and corruption that is possessed only by the faithless.
- Looking upon the chastisement that God will subject upon the tattlers, whose deeds reach to no profit at all, may remove this ill quality.
- Tattlers should regard that their deeds debase them, and make people distrust and belie them.
MOCKERY AND SARCASM
Islam has called to the mutual respect and esteem. According to the Islamic education, it is illicit to mock or debase others whether by words, deeds, or indication in order not to arouse animosity and discrepancy. God says:
O, you who believe! Let not one people laugh at another people perchance they may be better than they, nor let women laugh at other women, perchance they may better than they. And do not find fault with your own people nor call one another by nickname. Evil is a bad name after faith. And whoever does not turn, these it is that are the unjust.
Mockery, carping, and defamation bring on heart malice, rupture the bonds of mutual association, amiability and disobedience, and occasion God’s scorn. Mockers are surely wronging themselves and approaching God’s chastisement and castigation.
Schadenfreude stands for the enjoyment obtained from others’ troubles. It suggests ignobility and meanness. Experiments have shown that those who are enjoyed for others’ misfortunes would eventually be inflicted by similar misfortunes. Imam as-Sadiq (a) said, “He whoever expresses glee for others’ misfortunes will not leave this world before being inflicted by a misfortune.” Schadenfreude originates spites and animosity among people.
Islam has called to avoid garrulity and ill wording and the like matters since they waste time uselessly. More than one Quranic text refers to this ill manner. God says as He mentions some qualifications of the favorable servants:
And when they hear idle talk they turn aside from it and say: We shall have our deeds and you shall have your deeds. Peace be upon you, we do not desire the ignorant.
And when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly.
Garrulity comprises all of the sorts of idle talk that arouses lusts and corrupts moralities.
Islam has worked for disciplining and purifying the mentalities against defects and misfortunes, for saving people against the moral and mental blotches that lead to irregularity and deviation from the straight path.
The Islamic education solves the problems of the speculative elements that arouse dangerous sorts of psychic struggle. It also influences positively the general behavior, and elevates to high levels of the human culture and the sound cognizance that help in achieving the productive activities of developing the social life. In fact, the Islamic education is not devoted to disciplining and reforming the mentalities only. It aims at achieving social amendment and comprehensive guidance in all of the life aspects. Naturally, this nonesuch education will not achieve reformative and disciplinary predominance on the national maturity and composition unless it affects the mentalities, and finds a place in all of the fields of man’s behavior.