Islamic Ethics Rules
Arrogance is a mental state causing self-admiration and haughtiness against others in words or deeds. It is censured and dispraised in many texts in the Quran and Sunna:
"Do not scornfully turn your face away from people. Do not walk around puffed-up with pride; Allah does not love arrogant and boastful people (31:18)."
"Do not walk proudly on the earth; your feet cannot tear apart the earth nor are you as tall as the mountains (17:37)."
"He does not love the proud ones (16:23)."
"Is not hell the dwelling of the arrogant ones? (39:60)"
The Prophet (s) said: "The most favorable of you and the nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the most well-mannered and the most modest. The remotest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the bigmouth and the proud." 77
As he passed by some people, the Prophet (s) asked them about the reason of their gathering. They answered that they were gathering on an insane epileptic person. He (s) commented: "This is not insane. He is afflicted with a disease. May I tell you about the true insane?" "Yes, you may," they answered. He said: "The true insane is he who walks swaggeringly, looks to his sides, moves his shoulders through his sides, and hopes for Paradise of Allah while he acts disobediently to Him. His evil cannot be trusted and good is not expected from him. That is the true insane and this one is inflicted with a disease." 78
While a wealthy man with a clean garment was sitting with the Prophet (s), a poor man with dirty garment came and sat next to the wealthy who pulled his garment. The Prophet (s) said to the wealthy: "Have you been afraid that his poverty would inflict you?" "No, I have not," answered the man. "Have you been afraid that he would soil your garment?" asked the Prophet. "No, I have not," answered the man. "Why did you then do so?" asked the Prophet. "God's Messenger," said the man, "I have a companion who shows me my evildoings as righteous and my righteous ones as evildoings. As penance, I offer the half of my fortune to this man."
The poor man refused this offer and answered the wealthy who asked him about the reason, "Well, I refuse because I am afraid I will be inflicted with the same feeling of arrogance that you had."
In one of his sermons, Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "You should take a lesson from what Allah did with Satan; namely He nullified his great acts and extensive efforts on account of the vanity of one moment, although Satan had worshipped Allah for six thousand years-whether by the reckoning of this world or of the next world is not known. Who now can remain safe from Allah after Satan by committing a similar disobedience? None at all. Allah cannot let a human being enter Paradise if he does the same thing for which Allah turned out from it an angel… and seek Allah's protection from the dangers of vanity, as you seek His protection from calamities. Certainly, if Allah were to allow anyone to indulge in pride, He would have allowed it to his selected prophets and vicegerents. But Allah, the Sublime, disliked vanity for them and liked humbleness for them." 79
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: In the heavens, there are two angels whose mission is to oversee the servants. They advance him who behaves modestly, and humiliate him who behaves proudly."80
"Any behavior of arrogance or haughtiness is inevitably the result of the feeling of humility in the mentality of the arrogant or the haughty." 81
A quarrel broke out between Salman al-Farsi 82 and a man who addressed to him: "Who are you and what are you?" Salman answered: "The first of you and me is a dirty sperm. The last of you and me is a stinking carrion. On the Day of Resurrection, the scales will be maintained. Those whose good deeds will weigh heavier on the scale will be the true noble men, but those whose good deeds will be lighter on the scale, will be the true inglorious." 83
Disadvantages of Arrogance
Arrogance surrounds with a ring of vanity and pride and inflicts with the fondness of selfishness and showiness to the degree that nothing will satisfy the arrogant except false flattery and fake praise. The arrogant, then, can no longer see his defects and shortcomings, care about self-discipline, or remedy his flaws. The result will be that he becomes the target of criticism and the subject of malice and revulsion. Furthermore, the arrogant is the remotest from the right and justice. The arrogant, too, excites people's malice and loathing in such a way that nobody else can do.
Incentives of Arrogance
Self-esteem is one of the incentives of arrogance, which occurs only when one feels that he bears abundant knowledge, high position, big fortune, or the like stimulants of selfishness.
It may also be arisen from enmity, envy, or pride that may urge to challenge the ideal individuals for belittling their qualities of honor and daring them through various sorts of verbal and active practices.
Levels of Arrogance
Levels of arrogance vary according to the intensity of its signs.
The first level is that which is treated with modesty without allowing its signs and disadvantages to appear.
The second level is that when arrogance grows and allows its signs to appear through vain behaviors with people.
The third level is that in which arrogance prevails so aggravatingly causing megalomania and excessive fondness of high rank and showiness. Hence, you see the affected ones go on referring to their merits and disparaging others. This is in fact the worst level of arrogance.
This stands for the abstention from believing in Him and the vanity against obeying Him. This is definitely the worst kind of atheism and the most hideous sort of arrogance.
(2) Arrogance against the prophets: This stands for the vanity against believing and submitting to them. Though the two are very close to each other, this sort is, to some extent, less horrible than the first.
(3) Arrogance against people: This is achieved by showing contempt against people and regarding one's being too far above them in words and deeds. Arrogance against the scholars-by regarding oneself too high for asking them or seeking their knowledge, is a subclass of arrogance against people.
Treatment of Arrogance
The arrogant should recognize his reality: his origin is a dirty sperm and his end is stinky carrion. Between these two, man is weak and feeble. Hunger and thirst exhaust him, ailment and sickness overcome him, poverty and harm afflict him, and death and wear will inevitably befall him. Man cannot provide benefits and cannot save himself from misfortunes:
"There is the life hereafter which We have prepared for those who do not want to impose their superiority over the others in the land nor commit evil therein. The happy end certainly belongs to the pious ones. (28:83)"
Hence, the best people are the most well-mannered, helpful, pious, and righteous.
Man should keep in mind the advantages of modesty as well as the disadvantages of arrogance. He should also remember the words of praise that were said about modesty and these of dispraise that were said about arrogance. It is said: "For people of reason, modesty with ignorance and stinginess is better than arrogance with mannerism and openhanded. Modesty, then, is such a great good feature covering two bad qualities, and arrogance is such a bad quality screening two good traits." 84
Satisfaction is to please oneself with the minimal necessities that meet the needs and to neglect everything additional. It is a noble trait revealing dignity and high moral standard:
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said to the man who complained about his increasing greed: "If you think it is fortunate for you to have only what suffices you, then you will be sufficed with the least needs of this world. If you think it is not sufficient for you to have the minimum needs of this world, then all the worldly pleasures will not suffice you." 85
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "Beware of aspiring after that who is higher than you are. You should regard sufficient for you what Allah said to His Prophet: 'Do not be admired by their fortunes or sons.' 'Do not extend your eyes to the pleasures of the worldly life which We had given as enjoyment to some of them.' If you are afflicted with such feelings, you should then remember the lifestyle of the Prophet (s). His food was barley, sweets were the dates, and firewood was the leaves of date-palm trees if found. 86
"He who satisfies himself with that which Allah has given to him is surely the richest of people." 87
The satisfied is surely the richest of people because richness, in reality, is not to need for people. The satisfied is content and convinced with that which God has given to him; therefore, he does not need people and does not ask anyone except God.
It was related that when Galen, the famous Greek physician, was dead, people found in his pocket a sheet of paper with the following script:
"Everything that you earn moderately is for the good of your body. Everything that you give as alms is for the good of your spirit. Everything that you leave behind you is for the good of others. The charitable is alive even if he is taken to the other abode. The wrongdoer is dead even if he is in this world. Satisfaction covers the defects. Moderation increases the much amount. For son of Adam, there is nothing more helpful than trust in God." 88
Advantages of Satisfaction
Satisfaction has a remarkable influence on the individuals' lives. It achieves physical and mental relaxation, and breathes the spirits of honor, disdain, and chastity. The satisfied is in fact happier, more tranquil, and meeker than the greedy. Furthermore, satisfaction supplies with spiritual awakening and discerning, and urges to ready for the life to come, practice righteous deeds, and gain the incentives of happiness.
It is related that al-Khalil ibn Ahmed al-Farahidi 89 was suffering starvation among the poor people of Basra while others were benefiting by the profits of his writing works. Once, Sulaiman ibn Ali the Abbasid summoned him to attend in al-Ahwaz for teaching his son. Al-Khalil served the messenger of Sulaiman few pieces of dry bread and said: "You can eat this because I do not have anything else. As long as I can find such pieces of bread, I am not in need for Sulaiman."
When the messenger asked al-Khalil for an answer for Sulaiman, the latter said -as poetic verses--: "Tell Sulaiman that I am not in need for him since I am rich but without possessing any fortune. The true poverty lies in one's spirit, not in the scarce of money. The true richness, as well, lies in one's spirit, not in the abundance of fortune. Sustenance is measured and already decided. Weakness will not decrease the sustenance, and frequent movements will not increase it." 90
Othman ibn Affan, once, sent a bag of dirhams to Abu Tharr and told the slave who would carry them that he would be manumitted if Abu Tharr would accept it. Abu Tharr, however, did not accept that present in spite of the slave's importunate insistence. "Please," said the slave, "accept it, for I will be manumitted if you do." Abu Tharr answered: "But I will be enslaved if I do!" 91
Deoganes al-Kelbi was one of the famous wise men of Greece. He was so ascetic. He did not possess anything and did not live in a house. Alexander, once, summoned him. He said to the messenger of Alexander: "Tell him: the same thing that prevented you from coming to me has prevented me from coming to you. You did not come to me because you are not in need for me out of your power, and I will not come to you because I am not in need for you out of my satisfaction." 92
Al-Mansour, the Abbasid caliph, wrote a missive to Abu Abdullah as-Sadiq (a): "Why do you not visit us like the others?" The Imam answered: "We do not have any worldly pleasure that we anticipate you to stop, nor do you have any matter of the world to come for us that we expect to gain from you, nor are you enjoying bliss on which we should congratulate you, nor are you suffering a misfortune for which we should console you." Al-Mansour wrote: "You may accompany us so that you will advise us." The Imam answered: "He who seeks the worldly pleasures will not advise you, and he who seeks the world to come will not accompany you." 93
Greed is the excess fondness of money and fortune. It is one of the bad manners that draw to various evils and sins.
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "Know with certainty that you cannot achieve your desire and cannot exceed your destined life. You are on the track of those before you. Therefore, be humble in seeking and moderate in earning because often seeking leads to deprivation. Every seeker of livelihood does not get it, nor is everyone who is moderate in seeking deprived." 94
Imam al-Hasan (a) said: "People's perdition lies in three things: arrogance, greed, and envy. Arrogance is the perdition of the religion. Because of arrogance, Eblis 95 was cursed. Greed is the enemy of the soul. Because of greed, Adam was dismissed from Paradise. Envy is the pioneer of evil. Because of envy, Cain killed Abel -the two sons of Adam--."
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "In his love for the world, the greedy is like the silkworm: the more it wraps in its cocoon, the less it has of escaping from it, until it dies of grief." 96
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "If son of Adam were to possess two valleys of gold and silver, he would long for a third. Son of Adam, your stomach is but an ocean or a valley that cannot be filled in with anything except dust." 97
"The destruction that the fondness of fortune leaves on a man is more effective than the deed of two ravenous wolves that attack a shepherdless herd-one from the front and the other from the back. The Muslim's honor, however, lies in his religiosity." 98
Disadvantages of Greed
Greed enslaves man and causes him grief. The greedy cares only for collecting fortunes without stopping at any limit. Whenever he achieves a goal, he works for achieving another and, so, he becomes the slave of avidity until death strikes him. He, also, exerts laborious efforts for collecting riches, but he is the less beneficiary. He tires for gaining fortunes, but death comes unexpectedly upon him to deprive him of enjoying that fortune. The heirs, then, enjoy his fortune so easefully. Furthermore, greed takes to the slips of sinful matters that produce problematic situations in the world to come. It also hinders from doing charity.
Treatment of Greed
It is necessary to keep in mind the disadvantages and the worldly and religious inconveniences of greed and to remember that man will be interrogated about the legally gotten pleasures of this world, punished for the illegally gotten, and blamed for the suspicious.
It is necessary to ponder over the aforementioned virtues of satisfaction, contemplating the life accounts of the great personalities, such as the prophets, their successors, and the saints, especially in the field of asceticism.
It is advisable to avoid looking enviously to the richer ones and those who enjoy false luxuries of this world, and to consider the less rich.
It is necessary to achieve living moderation, for it is the most important factor that contributes in alleviating the tension of greed.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "I guarantee for the moderate that he will not see poverty."
Generosity is the opposite of stinginess. It stands for offering money, food, or any other lawful gaining out of one's free will. It is in fact the worthiest nature. As a sign of the unprecedented virtue of generosity is that you see every precious and appreciable thing is described as generous. For example, God says:
"This is a generous Quran (56:77)."
"A generous messenger came to them (44:17)."
"…And corn-fields and generous mansions (44:26)."
The The Ahl ul-Bayt (a) therefore praised generosity laudably:
Imam as-Sadiq related that the Prophet (s) said:
"The best men in view of faith is the most openhanded." 99
"The generous is close to Allah, close to people, and close to Paradise. The stingy is remote from Allah, remote from people, and close to Hell." 100
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "A generous young man who is plunging in sins is favorable, in the sight of Allah, to a niggardly old man who plunges in worship." 101
"Spend and be sure that Allah will recompense you. Any male or female servant -of Allah-who behaves stingily in a field that pleases Allah will surely spend many folds in a field that displeases Him." 102
Advantages of Generosity
A society cannot feel happy or tranquil unless its individuals feel the spirit of mutual sympathy and harmonize with each other in feelings and senses. Such being the case, the society will be just like a compact building. Mutual sympathy has a bright picture that shines with beauty and brilliance. Undoubtedly, the noblest, most beautiful, and most everlasting picture of mutual sympathy is the feelings of the wealthy individuals for the poor. Such feelings will surely ease the pains of poverty.
By the application of this noble humane principal, (namely, the principals of mutual sympathy) the poor will bear the feelings of amicability towards the wealthy, and this will help the community live happily.
From this cause, the Islamic Sharia has called for openhandedness and sympathy with the poor, and condemned the societies whose individuals suffer starvation and deprivation without finding any one who extends the hand of help towards them. It has also regarded the wealthy who do not help the poor as being very far-off Islam.
The Prophet (s) said: "He who begins his day without caring for the affairs of the Muslims is not a Muslim."
"He who passes a night satiated while his neighbor is hungry has never believed in me. On the Day of Resurrection, Allah shall not look at the inhabitants of a village one of whose individuals is hungry." 103
Fields of Generosity
Virtues of generosity vary according to its fields. The noblest virtue of generosity, however, is carrying out the obligations of the Sharia, such as the zakat, 104 khums, 105 and the like.
The Prophet (s) said: "The most generous is he who fulfills that which Allah has deemed obligatory upon him." 106
Then comes the second criterion of generosity, which is the settlement of the dependants' needs. In addition to its being obligatory in the sight of both the Sharia and traditions, this matter is very important because, naturally, a man's family members are the worthiest of his charity and kindness.
Some individuals may behave abnormally in this regard. They may ignore this genuine natural principal and go on conferring generously on the strangers for seeking reputation, while they behave stingily with their family members who, such being the case, will live in neediness and suffer poverty. Such irregular behaviors are originated from meanness and foolishness.
Imam al-Kadhim (a) said: "Man's dependants are his prisoners. Anyone upon whom Allah confers with graces should be generous towards his prisoners. If he does not, he will soon be deprived of these graces." 107
Imam ar-Rida (a) said: "Man should save the requirements of his family members' lives, so that they will not hope were he dead." 108
It is a big mistake to deprive the relatives of such emotions and pour them on the foreigners, because such behavior is regarded as barefaced disgrace that arouses the relatives' hatred and deprives of their sympathy. The true generous should begin with the nearest and the most beneficiary in his endowments, such as friends, neighbors, and people of virtue, because such classes are worthier of being treated generously.
Incentives of Generosity
The incentives of generosity vary according to individuals and reasons of openhandedness. The noblest incentive in this regard is that which is offered for the sake of God. The incentive may be the desire for gaining praise and glory and, in this case, the generous is regarded as the merchant who bargains with his generosity. The incentive may, also, be the desire for gaining something or being saved from a fearful harm. These two matters encourage generosity.
Love plays the greatest role in the encouragement on openhandedness for attracting and drawing the emotions of the beloved.
It is worth mentioning that the results and fruits of generosity will not be sweet unless it is freed from the reproachful reminding of the favor, the blemishes of procrastination, and the appearances of exaggeration.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Favors are worthless unless they are disregarded, veiled, and provided immediately. If you disregard your favors, you will surely revere the one to whom you have done that favor. If you cover up the favors that you do, you will surely accomplish your deeds. If you offer your favor as soon as possible, you will surely give it pleasantly; otherwise, you will destroy and give unpleasantly." 109
Altruism is the noblest concept of generosity. Not everyone can adorn himself with this trait, because it is dedicated to the few ideal persons whom are characterized by openhandedness and who attained the climax of generosity as they gave liberally while they are in urgent need. They therefore preferred charity to the settlement of their needs. The holy Quran praises the virtues of such persons:
"They give preference to them over themselves - even concerning the things that they themselves urgently need (59:9)."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "The best almsgiving is that which is given by the needy. Allah says: They give preference to them over themselves - even concerning the things that they themselves urgently need (59:9)." 110
The Prophet (s) was the highest example of altruism:
Jabir ibn Abdullah said: The Prophet (s) had never refused anyone's request.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: In al-Jirana, the Prophet (s) distributed the treasury among people. He gave every single individual who asked from him. As people crowded around him, they pushed him until he had to lean on a tree that scratched his back. People kept on pushing him until they took him away from that tree and his garment was hanged to one of its branches. He was shouting: "People, let me have my garment! By Allah I swear, even if I have treasures as many as the trees of Tuhama, I will distribute among you. You shall never find me coward or stingy." 111
The Prophet (s) used to prefer the poor to himself. He used to give them his food while he suffered hunger to the degree that he, once, tied the stone of hunger on his stomach so as to share the pains of hunger with the poor.
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "The Prophet (s) had never eaten his fill for three consecutive days since Allah gave him the Divine Mission." 112
The The Ahl ul-Bayt (a) were copies of the Prophet in the fields of generosity and altruism.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: Ali was the most similar to the Prophet. He used to eat bread with oil and serve people with bread and meat. 113
The following holy Verse was revealed for Ali and his family: "They feed the destitute, orphans, and captives for the love of Allah, saying: We only feed you for the sake of Allah and we do not want any reward or thanks from you (76:9)."
The disciples of The The Ahl ul-Bayt have unanimously agreed that the previous holy Verse was revealed for Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan, and al-Hussein (a). Moreover, a good deal of ulema of other sects have also asserted so.
Interpreting Sura of al-Insan, az-Zamakhshari records the following narration in his book titled Tafsir ul-Keshaf:
Ibn Abbas narrated:
The Prophet (s), with some of his companions, visited al-Hasan and al-Hussein who were sick. They suggested that Imam Ali should vow a three-day fasting if they would recover their health. The Imam, as well as their mother Fatima and Fudda their bondwoman implemented that suggestion. When al-Hasan and al-Hussein were healed, the group fasted. The Imam had no food at that time; therefore, he had to borrow three measures of barley from Shimon the Jew. In the first day, Fatima (a) milled and baked one of these measures. In the very time of breaking fast, a poor man knocked their door and said: "Peace be upon you; the family of Mohammed. I am a poor Muslim. Serve me with food and God may serve you from the food of Paradise." The Imam gave him his share. The others pursued him and gave their shares. They passed that night without eating anything. On the second day of their fasting, an orphan complaining hunger knocked their door in the time of breaking fast. They offered their shares and passed the second night without having anything except water. On the third day and in the very time of breaking fast, a prisoner complaining hunger knocked their door asking for some food. They all offered him their shares before having anything of it.
On the fourth day, Imam Ali took al-Hasan and al-Hussein to the Prophet while they were trembling because of hunger. "I am very touched for what I see," said the Prophet who walked with them to their house. There, he saw Fatima standing in her place of prayer while her belly was stuck to her back and her eyes were deep-set. He was affected by such a view. In the meantime, the Archangel Gabriel descended and said: "Mohammed, enjoy it. Allah may please you in connection to your household." He then recited the Sura. 114
Stinginess stands for the abstention from giving in situations of generosity. It is the opposite of generosity and among the mean features that cause humility, hatred, and disgrace. Islam has censured and warned the Muslims strongly against stinginess:
"It is you who are asked to spend for the cause of Allah, but some of you behave in a niggardly way. Whoever behaves miserly does so against his own soul. Allah is Self-sufficient and you are poor (47:38)."
"The stingy ones who try to make others stingy or those who hide the favors that Allah has bestowed on them. We have prepared a humiliating torment for the disbelievers (4:37)."
"Those who are avaricious of the favors that Allah has given them should not think that this is good for them. Avarice is evil and whatever they are avaricious about will be tied to their necks on the Day of Judgment (3:180)."
Imam as-Sadiq narrated on the authority of his fathers that Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) once heard a man saying that stinginess is less forgivable than wronging. The Imam commented: "No, this is a lie. A wrong man may repent, seek Allah's forgiveness, and correct his mistakes. But when one behaves in a stingy mood, he will not defray the zakat and almsgiving, will not regard his relatives, will not receive the guests hospitably, and will not spend his fortune in the cause of Allah and in the fields of charity. Paradise is forbidden for the stingy." 115
"I wonder at the stingy who speeds towards the very destitution from which he wants to run away and misses the very ease of life which he covets. Consequently, he passes his life like the destitute, but will have to render an account in the next world like the rich." 116
Disadvantages of Stinginess
Stinginess causes malice and hatred of the close as well as the foreigners. The closest individuals of the stingy may hope were he dead, because he deprives them of his fortune and they expect greedily to inherit him. Besides, the stingy is the most tiring: he exerts all efforts for collecting fortunes, but he does not enjoy them, because he very soon leaves all the fortunes to the heirs. Hence, "he passes his life in this world like the destitute, but will have to render an account in the next world like the rich."
Forms of Stinginess
All forms of stinginess are abominable; yet, there is a variance among them. The most sinful form of stinginess is the refusal to defray the financial obligations that God has imposed upon Muslims for organizing their economical lives. Thus, the defects of stinginess vary among persons and states. For example, the stinginess of the wealthy is worse than that of the poor, and to behave stingily with the dependants, relatives, friends, and guests is uglier than it is with the foreigners.
Treatment of Stinginess:
The advantages and disadvantages of stinginess should be kept in mind, because this may decrease the vehemence of stinginess. If this is not useful, the stingy should prompt himself to openhandedness for the desire of gaining good reputation. If a man feels at ease with openhandedness, he will discipline himself with sincerity and will like for himself to spend in the cause of God.
There are definite motives of stinginess. The treatment, then, is related to such motives. To stop these motives is to remove the effects.
The strongest motive of stinginess is fear of poverty, which is one of the evil inspirations of the Devil so as to prevent generosity. By its wise and unparalleled style, the holy Quran decides that stinginess is useless, but it brings about bankruptcy and deprivation:
"It is you who are asked to spend for the cause of Allah, but some of you behave in a niggardly way. Whoever behaves miserly does so against his own soul. Allah is Self-sufficient and you are poor (47:38)."
The holy Quran also decides that everything that is given or spent out of generosity will not go in vain; yet, God the All-generous will compensate for it:
"Whatever thing you spend, He exceeds it with reward, and He is the best of Sustainers. (34:39)"
The holy Quran continues to enjoin openhandedness, confirming that he who spends for God's sake is lending God Who will repay him many folds out of His extensive kindness:
"Spending money for the cause of Allah is as the seed from which seven ears may grow, each bearing one hundred grains. Allah gives in multiples to those whom He wants. Allah is Munificent and All-knowing. (2:261)"
The holy Quran addresses a horrible threat against those whom are enslaved by stinginess:
"Those who horde gold and silver and do not spend (anything out of it) for the cause of Allah, should know that their recompense will be a painful torment on the Day of Judgment and that their treasures will be heated by the fire of hell and pressed against their foreheads, sides and back with this remark: "These are your own treasures which you hoarded for yourselves. See for yourselves what they feel like." (9:34-5)"
Among the other incentives of stinginess is fathers' excessive care for the future of their sons. Such fathers will not spend their fortunes so as to save them for their sons, believing that such fortunes will protect their sons from poverty. Such an emotion, which is deep-rooted in man's mentality, cannot be harmful or excessive if it is moderate, reasonable, and away from negligence and exaggeration. Nevertheless, it is unfit for people of reason to feel such an emotion so exaggerative. The holy Quran warns fathers against the prevalence of this emotion over them so that they will not be seduced by the love for their sons:
"Know that your possessions and children are a temptation for you and that Allah has the greatest reward for the righteous ones. (8:28)"
The best word in this regard is the following missive of Amir ul-Mu'minin (a):
"So then, the worldly collection, which is between your hands, was possessed before you and will be possessed by others after you. You are only hording for one of two men: a man who will use that fortune in the acts of obedience to Allah, and this fortune that you suffered unhappiness until you collected it will be the source of happiness for such an individual. The other man is that who will use the fortune that you collected in the fields of disobedience to Allah, and your hording will cause him unhappiness. None of these two men is worthy of being preferred to yourself or being burdened on your back; therefore, you should hope Allah's mercy for the past and hope Allah's sustenance for the remaining." 117
Regarding God's saying, "That is how God will show them their regrettable deeds (2:167)," Imam as-Sadiq (a) said:
"The intendeds in the previous Verse are those who do not spend their fortunes in the ways of Allah and then die to leave them to others who will use them either in fields of obedience or disobedience to Allah. If the heirs use these fortunes in fields of obedience to Allah, those who collected them stingily will see them accounted with the good deeds of those heirs and, therefore, they will feel regretful for them. If the heirs use such fortunes in the fields of disobedience to Allah, the collectors will be regarded as assistants of those disobedient heirs." 118
There are groups of people who love money maniacally for its being money, without considering it as the means to a pleasure in this world or the world to come. Such groups find their pleasures only in hording money and, then, they behave towards it extremely stingily.
This sort of love is considered as mania that causes unhappiness and perdition. Money is not the purpose; yet, it is only the means used for livelihood and the Hereafter. Money that is used for any other means is useless:
"Since wealth does not necessarily guarantee everlasting happiness, then why do you not show kindness to the orphans, or urge one another to feed the destitute? Why do you take away the inheritance of others indiscriminately and why do you have an excessive love of riches? When the earth is crushed into small pieces and (when you find yourself) in the presence of your Lord and the rows and rows of angels, your greed for riches will certainly be of no avail to you. On that day, hell will be brought closer and the human being will come to his senses, but this will be of no avail to him. He will say, "Would that I had done some good deeds for this life." On that day, the punishment of Allah and His detention will be unparalleled. And His bonds will be such as none other can bind. (89: 17-26)"
"In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful: Woe to every slanderer and backbiter who collects and hoards wealth, thinking that his property will make him live forever. By no means! They will be thrown into hutamah. Would that you knew what hutamah is! It is a fierce fire created by Allah to penetrate into the hearts. It will engulf them in its long columns of flames. (104)"
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "This world is only termination, suffering, raids, and lessons. As a form of its termination is that, you see that the bows of time are strung, its arrows are put to use, its spears are not missing the target, and its wounds are incurable. It hits the healthy with ailment and hits the alive with death. As a form of the suffering of this world is, that man gathers while he will not have what he gathers and builds but he will not reside in what he builds. Then he leaves to Allah without being able to carry the wealth or use his building. As a form of the raids of this world is that, you imminently see the lucky change into unlucky and the unlucky change into lucky. Between the two, there is nothing more than the luxury that vanished and the misery that befell. As a form of the lessons of this world is that a man becomes very near to achieve his expectation but suddenly death captures him." 119
Chastity is the abstention from whatever is unallowable and unsuitable, such as excessive food and carnal appetites. It is among the noblest traits and highest features that indicate elevation of faith, self-honoring, and dignity:
The Prophet (s) said: "The two hollow things-the stomach and the genitals, are the main reasons beyond my umma's 120 being in Hell." 121
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "The best worship in the sight of Allah is the chastity of the stomach and the genitals." 122
A man said to Imam al-Baqir (a) that his practices of worship were weak and his prayers and days of fasting were few; however, he hope he would eat and copulate only in legal ways. The Imam answered: "No jihad is better than the chastity of the stomach and the genitals." 123
Reality of Chastity
Chastity does not mean to deprive oneself of the legal desires of food and sex. It only represents the moderation in the use of such desires. As a matter of fact, negligence and excess are always harmful to humankind. The excessive desires for food and sex cause gross dangers to which we will refer in our discussion of gluttony. Shortage in such desires also causes deprivation of the life enjoyments and legal pleasures. It also causes bodily weakness as well as feebleness of energies and morale.
The Sought Moderation
It is difficult to identify the moderation in the desires for food and sex because of the different needs and energies of individuals. Moderation of an individual may be considered as exaggeration or shortage for another. The relative moderation is to have only the quantity that is sufficient, away from greed and fill. The best criterion in this regard is that which was stated by Amir ul-Mu'minin:
"Son! May I instruct you four words after which you will no longer need medicine? Do not eat unless you are hungry. Stop eating while you are still hungry. Chew food deliberately. Before sleeping, go to toilet. You will not need medicine if you follow."
"In the holy Quran, there is a Verse gathering the whole matter of medicine. It is: "Eat and drink but do not be excessive." (7:31) 124
Advantages of Chastity
Chastity achieves happiness on both levels of individuals and communities. It beautifies man, raises him above gluttony, guards him against flattery to the mean ones, and enjoins him to gain the means of living and desires of life through legal ways.
Gluttony is the opposite of chastity. It stands for the excessive desires for food and sex. It is a mean tendency indicating self-feebleness, greedy nature, and slavery of instincts.
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "He who wants to survive, yet no one will survive forever, should ease his back -from the burdens of debts-, have the food as early as possible, and reduce copulation with women." 125
Once, Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) ate some dates, drank water, and then beat on his stomach with his hand and said: "Away with him who lets his stomach cause him to be in Hell." He then recited the poetic verse:
Whenever you respond to the desires of your stomach and genitals, they both will give nothing but the extreme dispraise. 126
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Gluttony is the source of every malady except fever, which appears to the body." 127
"The sated stomach overdoes." 128
"Allah hates the overeating." 129
Abu al-Hasan (a) said: "If people have moderate food, their bodies will be healthy." 130
Disadvantages of Gluttony
It is not unacceptable to say that gluttony, charms of the falsities of life, and attraction of luxury and lavish expenditure have been the main elements of retardation. All these elements have taken the nations into corruption. Overeating, for example, has many bad results. Modern medicine has proved that most of the diseases, curls, lines on the skins that deform the attractive lineaments of men and women, accumulation of fats, deepness of eyes, exhausting powers, and ailed mentalities-the reason of all these defects is the continuous gluttony and the fatty foods. It has been also proved that overeating exhausts the stomach and creates various sorts of healthy troubles, such as arteriosclerosis, angina pectoris, hypertension, and diabetes.
The sexual gluttony also causes similar defects, such as impotence of the public health, disappearance of nervous power, and vanishing of vitality.
Treatment of Gluttony
(1) It is necessary for the overeater to keep in mind the advantages of chastity and ponder over the disadvantages of gluttony.
(2) It is necessary for the overeater to try his best to train himself on moderate food. The protective and remedial constitution of health is the moderation of food and the avoidance of overeating. This constitution is summarized in the holy Verse:
"Eat and drink but do not be excessive." (7:31)
The treatment of the sexual gluttony is as follows:
(1) Keeping in mind the dangers of sexual excess and moral and material corruptions.
(2) Striving the stimulatives of sexual desires, such as looking at the beauties of women, mixing of the sexes, excessive sexual imagination, and daydreams.
FAITHFULNESS AND BREACH
Faithfulness is the fulfillment of the deposited rights. It is the opposite of breach and one of the noblest traits and most dignified qualities that achieve admiration and success.
The opposite of faithfulness is breach, which stands for the seizure and usurpation of rights. It is one of the meanest qualities and nastiest manners that cause indignity, failure, and disappointment.
Therefore, reports and traditions urged faithfulness and warned against breach:
"Allah commands you to return that which had been entrusted to you to the rightful owners. Be just when passing judgment among people. Allah's advice is the most noble. (4:58)"
"Believers, do not be dishonest to Allah and the Messengers or knowingly abuse your trust. (8:27)"
The Prophet (s) said: "My umma will be kept in goodness so long as they do not breach the trusts of each other, keep on fulfilling their trusts, and defray the zakat; otherwise, they will be inflicted with famine and harsh years of draught." 131
"The fulfillment of the trusts brings sustenance, while treachery causes poverty." 132
"He who breaches the trust is not one of us."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Do not be deceived by their very much offering of prayers and observance of fasting. In fact, prayers and fasting have become habits that they feel desolate if they omit them. You should test them by their truthfulness and fulfillment of trusts." 133
"Abide by God-fearing and fulfillment of the trusts of them who deposit things with you. If the killer of Ali ibn Abi Talib deposits with me a trust, I will surely keep it for him." 134
Advantages of Faithfulness and Disadvantages of Breach
Faithfulness plays a great role in the lives of nations. It is the system of their deeds, the support of their affairs, the title of their nobility, and the way to their moral and material development. The faithful individuals win the others' admiration, trust, love, and confidence. Besides, such individuals will win shares in people's fortunes and profits. This fact is applicable to all nations whose lives cannot advance without the surroundings of confidence. Through faithfulness, the Arabs could control the reins of economy and keys of industry and commerce that brought abundant profits. Unfortunately, Muslims, thereafter, neglected faithfulness; therefore, they failed and were disappointed.
Thus, breach of trusts is one of the major reasons of failure. It is a serious factor causing mutual mistrust, enmity, and fear. Such factor results in social corruption, loose of ties, waste of interests, and dissipation of energies.
Forms of Breach
There are many forms of breach that vary in the scope of its cruelty, crimes, and results. The evilest form is trahison that is committed by the thinkers and writers who violate the sacred facts of science by means of distortion and misrepresentation. The divulgement of Muslims' secrets is another form of breach. A third one is the breach of the deposits. To confiscate such deposits is surely a double crime of breach, larceny, and usurpation. There are many other repulsive forms of breach that injure both the individuals and communities, such as trickery, cheating, deficient measurements, fraud, and dishonesty.
The pre-Islamic era was a stage of tragedies in the various mental and material fields. Moral dissolution and disorder were the most horrible tragedies that caused people to practice natures of beasts, law of jungle, disagreement, fighting, killing, usurpation, and declamation of revenge and retaliation.
When the dawn of Islam rose to spread its lights over humankind, it could, through its immortal principles and unparalleled constitution, stop these tragedies and cut off these combats. Then, it changed these ignorant herds into "the best nation that ever existed among humanity." Faith replaced atheism, order replaced disorder, knowledge replaced ignorance, peace replaced war, and mercy replaced retaliation.
Thus, these concepts faded away and were replaced by the new Islamic principles. The Prophet (s) began to establish that ideal nation whose individuals were unique in order, morals, and perfection. As they progressed under the pennon of the holy Quran and the leadership of the Prophet (s), Muslims flew in the horizons of generosity until they could achieve the principle of fraternity in such a method that could not be achieved by any other code. Moreover, the ties of belief became stronger than those of kinship, and, likewise, the bonds of faith exalted over the tribal and national bonds. Muslims, hence, became a united nation of compact lineup, high edifice, and fluttering pennon:
"People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you. Allah is All-knowing and All-aware (49:13)."
The holy Quran went on implanting the concepts of spiritual fraternity in the mentalities through numerous Verses compacted by a remarkable and wise style. The Quran, once, legislates fraternity as a law that should be applied by Muslims:
"Believers are each other's brothers. Restore peace among your brothers. Have fear of Allah so that perhaps you will receive mercy (49:10)."
On another occasion, the Quran confirms the law of fraternity and warns against factors of disagreement, reminding of the grace of the Islamic fraternity and harmony after long periods of disagreement and fighting:
"All of you united hold fast to the rope of Allah, and recall how He favored you when your hostility to each other had torn you apart. He united your hearts in one faith and through His grace you became brothers (3:103)."
In abstract, Islam has exerted all efforts for strengthening the spiritual fraternity among Muslims and protecting it against trends of disagreement and separation through the constitution of the social ties.
As a model, we provide the following:
The Islamic constitution of the social ties took Muslims' emotions and feelings far above the slavery of the tribal sectarianism to guide them to the noblest aim; namely, the obedience to God and the seeking of His satisfaction. Love, hate, giving, deprivation, support, and disappointment-all these should be for the sake of God. Such being the case, the handles of fraternity will become firmer and Muslims will become the like of the well-established building each part of which strengthens the other.
The Prophet (s) said: "The mutual love of the believers that is intended sincerely for the sake of Allah is one of the greatest classes of faith. He who loves, hates, gives, deprives-all for the sake of Allah is surely one of the choices of Allah." 136
Imam as-Sejjad (a) said: "When Allah will gather the past and the late generations on the Day of Resurrection, a caller that everybody will hear will cry out on those who loved each other for the sake of Allah. A few people will stand up. They will be sent to Paradise without being rendered to judgment. In their way to Paradise, the angels will meet and ask them. 'We are going to our abodes in Paradise without being rendered to judgment,' they will answer. As the angels ask them about their class, they will answer, 'We loved each other for the sake of Allah.' As the angels ask them about their deeds due to which they have gained such a rank, they will answer, 'We loved and hated for the sake of Allah.'
The angels then will say: Very well is the reward of the doers of charity." 137
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "If you want to know whether you are to the good or not, you should test your heart: if it loves the people of obedience to Allah and hates the people of disobedient to Him, you are then to the good and Allah loves you. If your heart hates the people of the obedience to Allah and loves the people of the disobedience to Him, you are then not to the good and Allah hates you. Certainly, man will be attached to the one whom he loved." 138
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "On the Day of Resurrection, those who love each other purely for the sake of Allah will be on luminous stages; the light of their faces, bodies, stages, and everything will be shining so that shining will be their distinctive feature and everybody will point to them and say those loved each other for the sake of Allah." 139
"He who does not love or hate for the sake of the religion is not Muslim." 140
The Islamic constitution of the social ties enjoined Muslims to adhere to the factors of coalition, dignity, and luxury, such as exhorting each other to the right, helping each other in fields of piety, supporting each other for the achievement of justice, and joining the forces in the economical fields of life. According to the Islamic Sharia, all Muslims are one family whose matters of happiness and unhappiness are the same. The constitution of such a family is:
"Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are stern to the disbelievers yet kind among themselves. (48:29)"
And The slogan is -the saying of the Prophet (s):
"He who begins his day without caring for the affairs of the Muslims is not a Muslim."
The Islamic constitution of the social ties warned Muslims against all factors of separation, hostility, obscenity, backbiting, talebearing, breach, and cheating as well as all other matters that arouse seditions and rancor. The Muslims' principal in this point is the Prophet's saying:
"The true believer is only he whom Muslims can trust in regard with their estates and souls. The true Muslim is only he whom Muslims are saved from his hand -physical harm- and tongue- verbal harm-. The true Muhajir141 -emigrant- is that who deserts the sins." 142
The Islamic constitution of the social ties granted the opportunities of improving friendly relations between Muslims, such as exchanging visits, frequenting religious circles, and witnessing Islamic gatherings such as collective prayers, hajj, 143 and the like.
Sectarianism stands for supporting one's people, family, or homeland on bases in violation of the law, right, and justice. Islam has fought against sectarianism and warned Muslims from its vices.
The Prophet (s) said: "Whoever has the least amount of fanaticism in his heart shall be raised by Allah on the Day of Resurrection together with the pagan Arabs of the pre-Islamic times." 144
"By means of Islam, Allah eradicated the fanaticism of the pre-Islamic times and the taking pride in fathers. Certainly, all people belong to Adam who was created from dust. The best of you in the sight of Allah is the most pious." 145
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "As for him who behaves fanatically, Allah will bind him with a fire band." 146
Imam al-Baqir (a) narrated:
Salman al-Farsi -the Persian- and Omar were among some companions who began mentioning their tribes and lineages proudly. Omar asked Salman: "What is your tribe?" Salman answered: "I am Salman the son of God's servant. I was astray, but God guided me through Mohammed. I was poor, but God made me rich through Mohammed. I was slave, but God set me free through Mohammed. This is my lineage, Omar."
As he was told of the previous discussion, the Prophet (s) commented: "People of Koreish! A man's lineage is his religion, personality is his moralities, and origin is his intellect. Allah says: People, We have created you all male and female and have made you nations and tribes so that you would recognize each other. The most honorable among you in the sight of Allah is the most pious of you (49:13)."
He (s) turned to Salman and said: "Salman! No one of those is preferable to you by any means except piety. You are preferable to him whom you are more pious than he is." 147
The best evidence on the credibility of Islam in its denial of the confessional feud and deciding faith and piety to be the criterion of preference is the fact that Abu Lahab who was the real Arab and the uncle of the Prophet (s) was declared as disbeliever and that he would be punished and tortured in Hell because of his atheism:
"May the hands of Abu Lahab perish! May he too perish! His property and worldly gains will be of no help to him. He will suffer in a blazing fire. (111:1-4)"
Salman, on the other hand, was Persian and away from Arabism, but the Prophet (s) granted him that immortal medal of honor:
"Salman is one of us-The The Ahl ul-Bayt."
This was for nothing other than his high faith, genuine honesty, and wholehearted devotion to God and His Messenger.
Reality of Sectarianism
The dispraised sectarianism against which Islam has warned is supporting one another in fields of wrongness and taking pride in the non-Islamic values.
Conversely, there is the fanaticism for the right as well as the support of one another on achieving the public interests of Islam, such like defending the religion, guarding the Islamic homeland, and protecting Muslims' dignities, souls, and fortunes. This sort of fanaticism is praised since it results in uniting the aims and efforts and achieving dignity and poise for Muslims.
Imam as-Sejjad (a) said: "The fanaticism for which one is offended is to prefer the evil individuals of one's clan to the righteous people of another. To love one's clan is not a sort of fanaticism, which is to support one's people on evildoings." 148
Calamities of Sectarianism
A survey into the Islamic history, as well as the reasons of the collapse of Muslims, proves that the confessional feuds were the main reason that resulted in the disagreement, disunity, and crumbling of Muslims and their powers that led to such a gloomy destiny. Muslims were humiliated only when the disuniting tendencies of fanaticism found grounds in their mentalities and caused their handles of mutual affection to be broken and their ties of fraternity to be split up. Hence, they became the example of retardation, separation, and humbleness after they had been the symbol of superiority, cohesion, and pride. They did not take heed of God's saying:
"All of you united hold fast to the rope of Allah, and recall how He favored you when your hostility to each other had torn you apart. He united your hearts in one faith and through His grace, you became brothers. You were on the verge of falling headlong into the abyss of fire, but Allah saved you. (3:103)"