By: Sayyid Mehdi Moosavi
One of the moral issues that are very important to human social life is the subject of stable moral values and the institutionalization of man’s God-given values. This article deals with the factors of ‘Moral Variations’. These factors are: “Instinctive reactions, financial, of course material loss, and lack of certain benefits.”
As long as they live in normal situations, most people have acceptable morals; while they are vulnerable in the face of mental disturbances and dispositional changes.
Like those confronting wrath-inciting factors, they get enraged and lose their control, and are defeated by the destructive power of anger without the least logical resistance through moderating and channeling their great wrath. But after having been enraged, they return to their own normal state.
It is at first very difficult and almost unbearable to keep a balanced status and moral stability, but after practice it will gradually become easy.
Imam Sajjad (AS) frequently used to say “I appreciate and look affectionately upon the man who fights against his anger with patience.” (Usul Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 112)
It has been said in another tradition of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (SAW) that: “The best way towards Allah’s closeness is (drinking) two draughts:
a) a draught of wrath (when) swallowed by patience and forbearance;
b) a draught of affliction also confronted by patience...” (Usul Kafi, Vol. 2, p. 110)
Sometimes sticking to moral principles leads to the tolerance of loss and sudden unexpected occurrences, and in many cases these losses in turn may result in a person ignoring moral values in order to safeguard against possible hurt which may come his way.
For example, although truthfulness and honesty are considered to be sublime attributes of perfection, they may place one in trouble or in terrible situations or financial losses. Some observe honesty as long as it is not threatening to them.
Other examples are the principles of justice and equity in judgment and giving truthful evidence. Despite being among the most glorious of honors and human dignity, the said principle, at the same time, may be considered as one of the most dangerous slips made by human beings. Many people speak highly of these principles, while when called upon to act on them, may act differently depending on if the results may not be to their liking. Imam Ali (AS) says: “In word, seeking the truth is amongst the most common of affairs; while in action it is of the most difficult.” (Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 216)
Most people follow moral values and determine religious benefits and praiseworthy qualities only as long as they are beneficial to them. People are the servants of their own worldly gains. They aren’t men of righteousness. They are religious when it benefits them.
For example, benevolence is one of the best qualities of human perfection. It is derived from a high-elevated human soul. It is also a sign of philanthropy and sacrifice. If they can gain no financial advantages from benevolence, some people will not indulge in it. They will not give up their right.
There is a unique and glorious story in the Holy Qur’an about the Divine People of the House (Ahl ul-Bayt) ; the story in which they faced indigents, orphans and captives. God in the holy Qur’an quotes the Ahl ul Bayt’s word that, “We only feed you for Allah’s sake: we desire from you neither reward nor thanks.” (Surah Insan, verse 9)
Also in the words and speeches of the Ahl ul-Bayt (AS) it is advised to obey moral principles without worldly benefits both in family relations and in relations with others. Unfortunately, some people behave ostentatiously and hypocritically.
An obvious example of this difference of morality in different situations is in associations outside of the family, where people are cheerful and sociable; but at within the household they are irascible and hot-tempered. Mostly, such people are more cruel and hot-tempered than people with balanced personalities. This may be because, regarding certain considerations, the prior group has to fight against its wrath stimulations when outside, but release these piled up emotions when at home and free from encumbrances.
The basis of the duality is that they respect this social status and popularity as well as the benefits which they may gain from it; obviously such a factor does not exist (or is rare) making it unnecessary to obey the moral principles within family relationships.
Now let’s take a look at Islam’s advise for improving qualities and removing spiritual and moral abnormalities:
- Always regarding Allah and his various qualities;
- Ignoring materialistic considerations and the world; and
- Regarding spiritual reward and the life hereafter .
The above-mentioned factors are considered most effective in spiritual training.
According to Imam as-Sadiq’s (AS): “One who feigns goodness while he/she hides her bad qualities, will not get any benefits (from Allah),”
Is it not true that if he/she takes a long look at his/her self, surely they will find that he/she isn’t on the right path; and that reality is something different. According to Allah’s words, “Man is aware of his states.” Whenever man’s inner self is in order, his outward appearance will be automatically in order, too.” (Amali Sheikh Mofid, p.125)
Translated by: Katayoon Rajabi Rad.