Perfection in the Light of Morals
Imam Sadiq (a.s.): It is your duty to adorn yourselves with the favours of morality as the Glorious God likes it and to keep away from immorality as the Almighty Allah is against it.
Man is a being that has the best ability to reach the peak of perfection. It is an entity that has begun its upward journey from nothing or point of zero or nothingness and which moves ahead toward the point of endlessness and never will its journey toward perfection stop should he keep moving on its route.
Islam is the highest school of training which nourishes noble virtues and precious qualities in man and similarly, the spirit of faith strengthens the sense of awareness and accountability in his character. For this reason, at no point it is possible that man can, during his life times, afford to neglect this great training even for a moment.
There are some people who did not appreciate that high status humanity and considered the perfection of man as limited. But we believe that all the existence of the world is travelling toward an endless perfection.
As man is a social being, his perfection also takes shape in the midst of the society along with the group of people. And it is essential for the perfection of man this society should have regular law and order rules so that people may be able to conduct their affairs in the light of and with respect for those rules and regulations and prevent bad and undesirable incidents and, similarly, fix the boundaries of responsibility.
Yes, if the human society is reformed the members of that society can attain their final goal. And if the society gets corrupted, obviously, people will not reach perfection. And it must be understood that one does not reach perfection unless and until he proceeds on the path of Divine Guidance brought by the Prophets of Allah.
Hence it is must to follow the moral orders and commandments of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and his pure and guiltless progeny.
Therefore, in this part also we describe some of the virtue which enable man to reach perfection from the view point of the Holy Quran and Hadith so that by the blessings of the Quran and the words of the great Prophet and his pious progeny we may gain admonition for ourselves and also for you dear readers. After a review and analysis and examination we will conclude that only such persons can in the light of the divine laws, reach human perfection and attain their goal.
It is hoped that these moral lessons will prove effect for our character building and will help us in our journeys toward perfection and toward God.
Ghairat or self-respect is a virtue for which the man-making religion of Islam has much emphasised and the guiltless Imams have always talked about it. Religiosity of every Muslim also demands that, besides ones relatives like wife, children… Ghairat or support and backing based on self-respect must be extended to the Islamic state and its laws especially regarding or with respect to the pitiable condition of world Muslims as almost everywhere complaints against the oppressions of the imperialism are rising calling for help form the Islamic Republic of Iran. Thy have emphasised it as our Islamic duty and have never neglected this matter.
Yes, it is now our duty to Islam and defend the Islamic revolution with the power of our wealth and lives and to export it the revolution to all the points of the world where they feel thirst for it, that is for the truth and justice. It is incumbent upon us all to defend this Islamic revolution with total courage and self-respect till death. We should never be like those who have made Islam a means of satisfying their greed and passion, Rather we should fight with such persons even if they are our close relatives and they should be excommunicated because the Holy Quran commands: O you who believe! Do not take your fathers and your brothers for guardians if they love unbelief more than belief; and whoever of you takes them for a guardian, these it is that are the unjust. Say: If your fathers and your sons and your brethren and your mates and your kinsfolk and property which you have acquired, and the slackness of trade which you fear and dwellings which you like, are dearer to you than Allah and His Apostle and striving in His way, then wait till Allah brings about His command: and Allah does not guide the transgressing people.
Anyway, everything should be sacrificed for Islam and Quran. But it is very sorrowful that there are some who, despite claiming to be Muslims, have become so much negligent that they conspire even with the enemies. This group of Muslims should imitate that courageous and heroic woman from Isfahan who says:
I like to take up a gun in my hand to fire the first shot on the heart of my son who has turned a hypocrite and has be come disloyal to the beloved Imam and to the dishonest to the martyr-nourishing nation of Iran.
Yes, truly, a Muslim must be like this and not like the one who justifies the dishonest behaviour of his son and defends him because what Islam tells us is that: In case your children turn disloyal and dishonest they must no more be considered as members of the family. Hence Allah asserts regarding the son of Apostle Nuh (a.s.): Surely he is not of your family.
Words of Religious Leaders about Ghairat
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: Verily Almighty Allah is zealous and loves every zealous person and it is for His zeal that He has prohibited shamelessness open or hidden.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) also has said: Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was zealous and I am more zealous than him. If a believer has no zeal or self-respect Allah ruins his position, rubs his nose on earth makes him defamed.
Addressing the Iraqi people Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) says: O People of Iraq! Do you not feel ashamed when your women mix up with male mobs in the streets and markets?
Some Rules for preventing Corruption
In order to prevent shamelessness and turmoil in society Islam has framed laws and rules for the society. Some of them are:
Ali (a.s.) has said: Do not mount women on saddled animals as it provides preliminaries of sin.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said: Women should not walk in the middle of the roads. Rather they should walk by its sides
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said: One of the promises obtained by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) from women was that: they would not ravel or settle with men in isolation.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said: One who has faith in Allah and the Hereafter should not sleep in a place where he can hear the breathing of a female stranger.
Abu Baseer says: I asked Imam Sadiq (a.s.): How if a woman walks on the road and man looks at her from behind? The Hazrat replied: Do you like that someone looks at your wife in this way? I said: No. Then desire for others what you desire for yourself.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said: If a man’s eye gets injured by an arrow while peeping into the house of others there is no compensation.
Yes, God and His Apostle love self-respecting and zealous person s. Many narrations have been recorded in this matter from the innocent Imams (a.s.). They have given much importance to the problem of Ghairat. Of course, here it must be remembered that Islam has strictly prohibited unnecessary harshness and misplaced suspicion and has taken into consideration only those things that have been prohibited by Islam. It is obvious that suspicion and undue harshness has torn apart sweet relations in many families. That is why Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) says to his son Imam Hasan (a.s.):
Beware of misplaced zeal and undue strictness as this attitude drags pious women from the right path to wrong lanes.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) has said: Paradise has been denied prohibited to a shameless man who has no self-respect.
Truly, this deserves deep thought, as family affairs are very fine and delicate. So undue harshness may perhaps result in corruption and destruction.
Is Ghairat a Must for Women Also?
It is obvious that only Islam has given so much importance to the issue of Ghairat zeal, self-respect, jealousy and only within the frame of the Shariah, can Islam moot it. It is also clear that Muslim women also have some duties and responsibilities in the frame of Islamic laws that much be adhered to. For example, if a man behaves in an un-Islamic manner his wife should, in response to her Islamic Ghairat prevent him.
But it is seen that many women show opposition to and fight against their husbands if they take second or … wide. Now, if the husband has taken into account and managed to abide by the rules framed by Islam in this connection, and goes for second marriage, and if the wife opposes him then, she has not only not acted according to Ghairat but has shown her jealousy or envy. This is the interpretation of Imam Sadiq (a.s.) who says: Ghairat of woman is Hasad.
Similarly he has said at another place: Verily, Allah has ordained compulsory Jihad for men and also a jihad for women. The jihad of men is to sacrifice his wealth and life in the path of God until finally they attain martyrdom and the jihad of women is to show patience and tolerance in course of life to tolerate trouble misbehaviour of their husbands who act with Ghairat!
For dear readers, we divide the subject of favourable opinion in some kinds:
1 – Having good opinion about god of the universe.
2 – Favourable opinion in respect of the Islamic ruler.
3 – Having good opinion about Muslims.
As regards the first it can be said, with pressure, that if man does not have a good opinion about the Lord of the Universe, he looks with an angry eye toward everything in this world and always remains in a state of sorrow and anxiety and fear. Consequently corruption of morale envelopes his entire life and for getting out of this condition of internal grief and continuous burning, he, like polytheists, turns into a believer in a god of good and a god of bad or evil.
It is obvious that a Monotheist believes in one God and has faith that the Lord of the universe is all-knowing and Just and also that the working of the universe is aimful not aimless always experiences peace of mind and remains pleased with whatever Almighty Allah has destined for him, because, he knows that He is Merciful and that He wishes good of the faithful and that He puts them to trials to make them wise and perfect.
Therefore, there are many narrations from the Holy Imams (a.s.) wherein it is said that: We want nothing except Your pleasure. Masoom (a.s.) is reported to have said: Having good opinion about the only Lord creator is that you should not have any hope except from Him and must not be afraid of anything but your sins.
And regarding the second issue: A nation which elects a leader having Islamic virtues and conditions must always be obedient to him and also his well-wisher because only such nation can achieve prosperity and happiness.
The Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.s.) says in this regard: I stand surely for entrance to Paradise for the one who assures me five things! It was asked what those things were and he replied:
1 – Having good opinion about the Almighty Allah, 2 – Well-wishing for the Apostle of Allah, 3 – Favourable opinion about the Book of Allah, 4 – Having good opinion about the Religion of Allah and 5 – Wishing well for the Islamic society.
Similarly it is recorded from Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.): The heart of a faithful always has three things: 1 – Sincerity in deed, 2 – Well-wishing for Muslim leaders and 3 – Remaining attached with the Muslim society.
The third problem – Misgiving about men
If the Islamic society, rather a human society adopts the Islamic laws and programmes, one of which is having good opinion, many disputes, rumours, hasty and undue decisions, doubtful news, falsities … all of which rise from misgivings may be wiped out. Otherwise, the society will continue to suffer chaos and no one will be safe from others misgiving and all will be restless.
After concluding this them, we now invite your attention toward the verses and narrations about misgiving:
1 – O you who believe! Avoid most of the suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sun, and do not spy…
2 – And follow not that of which you have not the knowledge; surely the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these, shall be questioned about that.
3 – And most of them do not follow anything but conjecture; surely conjecture will not avail author against the truth…
Traditions regarding Conjecture
Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) said: Have a good opinion about whatever is done by your brother-in-Faith and do not entertain misgiving in his word until you get a good place and carrier for him.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Try to find a good excuse and cause for any of your brothers’ deeds. If you cannot find try again.
Similarly The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said: Keep away from conjecture as conjecture is the worst lie
Somebody asked Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.); What is the distance between truth and falsehood. He replied placing his four hand fingers between his eye and ear: Whatever your eye saw is true and most of what you ear heard is untrue.
Wash whatever you hear like water and do not speak what you have not seen, that is, be like a mirror.
Evil Consequences of Conjecture
Amirul Mo-mineen (a.s.) said: O People! The one who sees tranquillity, steadfastness in religion and correct behaviour in his brother-in-Faith must not listen to talks spoken against him. Beware sometimes firing misses its target conjecture is not reality. A false word will eventually be rejected even if repeated increasingly because God is All-hearing and All-knowing. Also know that the distance between true and false is not more than four fingers. Then he placed his four fingers between his eye and ear and said: It is false when you say I heard and it is true when you say I saw.
In conclusion it can be said that consequences of conjecture means:
1 – Conjecture is a calamity that endangers the honour of the honourable and the servants of the society and the religion.
2 – Misgiving makes the market of rumourmongers flourish.
3 – Conjecture causes destruction of friendly and warn relations within family and market and office and workshop and everywhere and at all times.
4 – Suspicion encroaches upon the rights of the members of a society.
5 – Unfavourable guessing results in spying upon people’s lives.
Ways of Curing This Dangerous Disease
This deadly disease can be remedied in two ways:
1 – First man must recognise the disease and always keep in mind its evil effects.
2 – He should try all must endeavour so that the noble Islamic culture rules over him and the society so that we remember that Allah is always watching and protecting us and that He is Omniscient, Allah-seeing and All-knowing; that He is aware of even our thoughts and imaginations: He knows the stealthy looks and that which the breasts conceal.
Then it must be realised that every spoken word and every taken step is being recorded and that it will have to be accounted for in the supreme court of Allah and that the Day will come when all of us will have to answer for all of our misplaced deeds and decisions and imaginations before Allah.
Some Essential Advice
A – Husn-e-Zann (having favourable opinion) is correct when the society is not corrupt or polluted. Ali (a.s.) says: When honesty and goodness is well spread in the society, it is oppression unjust to have a bad opinion about a person whose defects are not obvious. Of course when evil and immorality and corruption overtakes a society, having good opinion about one can prove deceptive.
B – Husn-e-Zann does not encircle un-Islamic militiamen or un-Islamic organisations because their designs and their foundations for working are based on secret and underground and they work for the destruction of Islam and Muslims.
B – One must keep distance from excessive favourable opinion, especially in money matters and in affairs that are in dispute among people because sometimes it can cause allegation and false accusation. In this connection Imam Sajjad (a.s.) has said: Excessive favourable opinion attracts allegation.
C – What is meant by conjecture is baseless belief and decision and it does not include tendency of heart or inclination of mind and hence it is not a doubt.
Pardon and Tolerance
Pardon or forgiveness and connivance or tolerance is one of the prominent virtues of the faithful. Many verses and narrations are found on this subject. Some of them are being discussed here. After this we will mention its good consequences and instances so that we may understand how lucky are those who have this virtue.
Those who spend benevolently in ease as well as in adversity, and those who restrain their anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good to others.
The word Ka za ma used in this ayat means closing of the mouth of a water bag made of leather that is full. The allusion here is to one who is full of anger and yet restrains from hitting back, and Ghaiz is a state of mind in which man becomes furious and extra-ordinarily excited because of unpleasant happenings.
The Holy Quran, talking about the prominent virtue of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says: Thus it is due to mercy from Allah that you deal with them gently, and had you been rough, hard hearted, they would certainly have dispersed from around you; pardon them therefore and ask pardon for them, and take counsel with them in the affair; so when you have decided, then place your trust in Allah; surely Allah loves those who trust.
Take to forgiveness and enjoin good and turn aside from the ignorant.
Explain this verse Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: In the Holy Quran, no other verse is more comprehensive than this one in the matter of morality and so commentators have further commentated on this statement of the Imam that this verse covers graceful morals being the same as Aql (reason), Iffat (modesty) and Shahwat (zeal). According to this meaning the virtue of reason called Hikmat is in the phrase wamur bil urf (enjoin the good) as it orders good deeds and decent acts. The gracefulness of heart against the rising of passion is seen in the phrase.
And the servants of the Beneficent God are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said: Behold! O people I inform you about the best morals of man in this world and the Hereafter. Forgiving the one who oppressed you, rejoining relation with one who broke it off and doing good to one who did bad for you and to gift one who deprived you.
Also Imam Sadiq as. has said: Three virtues are the best virtues of this world and of the Hereafter:
Pardoning the one who oppressed you
Joining with one who separated from you
Self-control when confronted with an unwise person .
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said: It is essential for you to connive and forgive because pardoning increases for you nothing bout honour and forgive one-another so that Allah may love you.
Again the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said: Allah has never loved a man with ignorance nor has He ever dishonoured an ignorant person.
Imam Baqir (a.s.) has said: One who restrains oneself from anger while being able to act angrily is the one whose heart is filled with peace faith by God on the Day of Judgement.
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: Allah will give large eyed houri in marriage to one who has three virtues:
Who suppresses his anger and fury
Stands firm in the path of God and under swords and shows tolerance
Does not wish to take forbidden wealth falling in his hands.
And the character of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and of the Holy Imams (a.s.) was indeed such. The Prophets general pardon granted on the day of conquest of Mecca and its like by Amirul Mo-mineen following his victory in the war of Basra are witness to this. Interested people may refer history books.
Here one question may arise why pardon and connivance has been praised so much in the verses and the tradition?
The answer: As anger is the fountainhead of most of the great sins and the state of anger is the most dangerous state for man when if the fury is not brought under control wisdom goes away and the angry man becomes almost lunatic. Then he is liable to make serious and dangerous mistakes which attract evil consequences accompanied by ransom, atonement and finally Divine torture or chastisement:
Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: One who suppresses his fury despite being able to retaliate, Good will fill his heart with His pleasure on the Day of Judgement.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) also says: Allah fills the heart of a person with faith and peace who controls himself from acting on his fury despite being able to retaliate.
This tradition tells us that suppressing of anger has an extraordinary effect on spiritual perfection and on the strengthening of Faith. Yet it should be remembered that suppression of anger gives much benefits. But sometimes only this much does not suffice to root out the enmity from a heart. For this important result it is necessary that suppression of anger must be accompanied by pardon and gift. This is what enables a man to attain high status and hence, doing good to one who has done bad to one is the desired precious virtue as testified by verse 134 of Surah Aale Imran Holy Quran and conniving at the evil behaviour of others was the way of the innocent Imams while dealing with their ill-wishers.
Does not pardoning an oppressor strengthen him? Or does not this deed encourage him to continue his injustice? And, similarly, does not forgiving a foe generate a sort of negative effect in the oppressed ones?
The reply to these questions is that there is a difference in the relation of pardon and connivance with establishment of a right and so also regarding war with the oppressor. It is one of the Islamic commands: Neither oppress others nor be oppressed by others.
And the leader of the pious Imam Ali (a.s.) has said: in his will to his sons: Be an enemy of the oppressor and a helper of the oppressed.
So, if Islam orders pardoning and connivance, it also asks to fight and struggle. Proofs of both have been produced above from verses and narrations. That is why it is said that verses of the Holy Quran explain one another: Al Quraanu yufassiru bazuhu bazan.
Perhaps some unintelligent persons may think that the two orders about pardoning and fighting are contradictory, But attention to the said verses and hadiths must make all understand that the occasions for forgiving and the circumstances for fighting are also different.
The explanation is that pardon and connivance refers to a state when and where one is able to overcome the enemy who is completely defeated and there is no fear of his rising up and when it is likely that pardoning him would give him a chance to improve so that he may review his behaviour.
We see a number of such circumstances in Islamic history. In this connection there also is a hadith: When you get victory over the enemy, consider pardoning him as a kind of thanksgiving for the said victory.
But when there still is a danger of the enemy’s getting up or pardon is likely to encourage him in his enmity or make him happy for his oppressive attitude, Islam not only does not permit pardoning, rather it orders a fight till final victory. Such was the way of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the sinless Imam (a.s.)
Another occasion for forgiving and conniving is related to personal and family rights wherein pardon and connivance has been given preference to vengeance that can destroy the organisation of family and society.
On whose part pardon and Connivance Is More Beneficent?
Naturally pardon and connivance is good on the part of all. Yet it is all the more so in the case of leaders and preachers as they have more encounters with prejudiced, ignorant, obstinate, unaware and uncivilised people and they are many a time subjected to abuse and stoning. In such circumstances the weapon for victory is pardon and convince, and kindness them and not quarrelling because, in case of the unwise ignorant, tolerance and courage and connivance is the best way which can enlighten them and dampen their fury and root out their enmity and prejudice. How nicely has the Holy Quran, addressed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in this matter: Take to forgiveness and enjoin good, and turn aside from the ignorant.