Justice and Sincerity
Justice is the master of virtues and the course to peace. Islam has glorified justice and encouraged it through numerous texts of the Quran and the Sunna:
"Allah commands (people) to maintain justice, kindness, and proper relations with their relatives. (16:90)"
"Be just in your words, even if the party involved is one of your relatives. (6:152)" "Allah commands you to return that which had been entrusted to you to the rightful owners. Be just when passing judgment among people. (4:58)"
As he was asked about the codes of the religion completely, Imam as-Sejjad (a) said: "They are to say the right, judge with justice, and fulfill the pledge." 149
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Justice is more delicious than honey, softer than butter, and more sweet-smelling than musk." 150
Imam ar-Rida (a) said: "The application of justice and charity is sign of the continuance of graces." 151
Forms of Justice
(1) Man's justice towards God:
This is the brightest form, the highest concept, and the title of credibility of justice. How is it possible for anyone to fulfill the obligations of God so justly since God is the All-benefactor Whose graces are innumerable and favors are incalculable? It is impossible to achieve justice towards the Lord Who is absolutely Self-Sufficient except through confessing of shortcoming.
Justice towards God stands for the believing in Him, being sincere with Him, believing in His messengers and representatives, and responding to the necessities, such as the love for Him, having the honor of worshipping Him,persisting on the obedience to Him, and being away from the acts of disobedience to Him.
(2) Man's justice towards the society:
This form of justice can be achieved by observing the individuals' rights, refraining from maltreating them, dealing with them through noble traits, and courtesy, and sympathizing the poor as well as the other matters of social justice.
In the holy Quran, God summarizes the factuality of the public justice by saying:
"Allah commands (people) to maintain justice, kindness, and proper relations with their relatives. He forbids them to commit indecency, sin, and rebellion. Allah gives you advice so that perhaps you will take heed. (16:90)"
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) depicted the course of the social justice so briefly and eloquently: "My son, make yourself the measure for dealings between you and others. Thus, you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself. Do not oppress as you do not like to be oppressed. Do good to others, as you would like good to be done to you. Regard bad for yourself whatever you regard bad for others. Accept that (treatment) from others, which you would like others to accept from you. Do not talk about what you do not know even though what you know be very little. Do not say to others what you do not like to be said to you."
(3) Justice towards the dead:
The alive should be just towards the dead who departed this life leaving fortunes and gaining nothing in their everlasting journey except a few yards of clothes and narrow spans of the inside of the earth. It is just for the alive to feel sympathetic to the dead and reward them equitably by implementing their wills, defraying their debts, doing charitable and righteous deeds for their sake, and seeking God's forgiveness to them.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "The dead feels happy for seeking Allah's mercy and forgiveness for him in the same way as the alive feels happy for the presents gifted to him."
"As for Muslims who do a charitable deed for the sake of a dead, Allah will double their rewards and will reward the dead for that deed, too." 152
(4) Justice of the rulers:
Because of their being the leaders of people and the guardians of nation, the rulers are the worthiest of being characterized by justice. On that account, the rulers' justice represents the highest concept of justice and the most influential. Through the rulers' justice, security is achieved, peace predominates, luxury prevails, and the subjects become happy.
Advantages of Justice
The sound souls are created on the nature of the love for justice and hate for wronging. Over the existence on this earth, all human beings agreed unanimously, despite their different trends and courses, on glorifying justice. Furthermore, they have gone on praising its virtues and dedicating themselves to the doing of justice. It is then the secret of the existence of nations and the symbol of virtues. Only was it because the loss of justice, the great powers collapsed and the glorious civilizations reduced to rubble.
The The Ahl ul-Bayt (a) were high examples of justice. Their deeds and words were immortal lessons that light for humanity the courses of justice, right, and guidance:
In his final disease, the Prophet (s) asked people to retaliate upon him if he had made mistake with any of them intentionally or unintentionally. Suwada ibn Qays said: "God's Messenger, once, you were riding your she-camel and having a cane in the hand when I received you after you had been in Ta'if. As you were trying to beat your riding animal with your cane, you hit my belly." The Prophet (s) ordered him to retaliate. "Show me your belly," asked Suwada, and the Prophet did. "May I put my mouth on your belly, God's Messenger?" asked Suwada. The Prophet permitted, and Suwada said: "I seek the guard of the Prophet's place of retaliation against fire of Hell."
The Prophet then asked him to retaliate or forgive. "I will certainly forgive, God's Messenger," said Suwada. The Prophet prayed: "Allah, forgive Suwada ibn Qays, for he forgave You Prophet Mohammed." 153
Abu Saeed al-Khidri narrated the following:
A Bedouin asked the Prophet (s) importunately to defray the debt that he owed him. The companions interfered and reproached the Bedouin, saying, "Woe is you. Do you know to whom are you addressing?" "I am only demanding with my right," said the Bedouin. The Prophet (s) said to his companions: "You should have been with the right party." He then summoned Khawla bint Qays and asked her to loan him some dates and promised he would repay her when his share would come to his hand. She did, and the Prophet (s) gave the Bedouin his due in full after he had invited him to a meal. The Bedouin said: "You have given the due in full. God may give you your due in full." The Prophet commented: "Those who give the due in full are the best of people. Woe to the nation whose individuals do not give the weak his due in full."
It is said that the Bedouin embraced Islam after he had seen the high morality of the Prophet, and said: "God's Messenger, I have never seen such a fair individual." 154
Thus was Amir ul-Mu'minin Ali (a). Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated the following.
When he hold the position of caliphate, Ali (a) scaled the mimbar and said: "All praise and thanks be to Allah. I will not seize a single dirham from your shares so long as a single bunch of my dates in Yathrib is available. Be sure. Do you think I will prefer you to myself?" Aqil 155 stood up and said: "This means that you will put me and the black ones of Medina on the same level, does it not?" The Imam (a) asked him to sit down, and said, "You have no preference to the black ones of Medina except by means of a virtue in Islam or piety." 156
The following narration in recorded by Ibn Hagar in his book titled 'As-Sawaaiq ul-Muhriqa' page 79:
(Ibn Asakir narrated that) Aqil asked Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) to give him some money because he was poor. The Imam told him to wait until his share of the public treasury would come out. As Aqil insisted, the Imam asked a man to take Aqil to the market and lead him to the locks of the stores so that he would unlock and take from them. "Do you want me to be thief?" asked Aqil. The Imam (a) said: "And do you want me to be thief as you ask me to give you the shares of Muslims?" Aqil then threatened he would join Muawiya.
As soon as Aqil asked him, Muawiya gave him one hundred thousand dirhams and asked him to take the mimbar and tell people his story with his brother.
Aqil ascended the mimbar and said: "People, when I tried to make Ali give up his religion, he refused and preferred his religion to me. But when I asked Muawiya to prefer me to his religion, he did." 157
Ibn Abbas narrated the following:
I, once, visited Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) and found him repairing one of his old slippers. As he finished, he added it to the other and asked me to evaluate. "It is valueless," I answered. As he insisted, I said: "They may be half a dirham." He (a) commented: "By Allah I swear, these slippers are favorable for me to my leadership to you unless I constitute the right or reject the wrong." 158
On another occasion, Imam Ali (a) said: "By Allah, I would rather pass a night in wakefulness on the thorns of as-Sadan (a plant having sharp prickles) or be driven in chains as a prisoner than meet Allah and His Messenger on the Day of Judgment as an oppressor over any person or a usurper of anything out of worldly wealth. And how can I oppress any one for (the sake of a life) that is fast moving towards destruction and is to remain under the earth for a long time." 159
Terminologically, injustice is to put a thing in an inappropriate place. Polytheism, hence, is grave injustice, because it is replaced with monotheism. Conventionally, injustice stands for the seizure of rights, and the words and deeds of hostility against others, such as revilement, backbiting, confiscation of property, crimes of beating or murder, and the like forms of wrongdoings.
Injustice, however, is one of the bad characteristics that are deep-rooted in most of the mentalities. All over history, humankind suffered various kinds of tragedies that made life seem depressing. It therefore is the comprehensive of sins, source of evils, and incentive of corruption. God says:
"The unjust will certainly have no happiness. (6:21)"
"Allah does not guide the unjust. (6:144)"
"Allah does not love the unjust. (3:57)"
"The unjust will face a painful punishment. (14:22)"
"We destroyed certain generations who lived before you because of their injustice. (10:13)"
"Do not think that Allah is unaware of what the unjust people do. (14:42)"
"(On the Day of Judgment) to redeem oneself of one's injustice, one would gladly spend the wealth of the whole earth if it were possible. On seeing the torment one will try to hide his regret. They will all judged fairly and no wrong will be done to them. (10:54)"
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "By Allah, even if I am given all the domains of the seven (stars) with all that exists under the skies in order that I may disobey Allah to the extent of snatching one grain of barley from an ant, I would not do it. For me, your world is lighter than the leaf in the mouth of a locust that is chewing it. What has Ali to do with bounties that will pass away and pleasures that will not last?"
Abu Bassir narrated the following:
Two parties of litigation filed their case before Imam as-Sadiq (a). After he had listened to both of them, the Imam spoke: "It is quite true that he who seizes something by wrong means is not seizing goodness. Certainly, the oppressed party seizes from the religion of the wronging party more than that which the wronging party seizes from the oppressed party's property. He who does evil to people should not show loathing towards the evil that is done to him. As a matter of fact, man will harvest nothing but that which he sowed. No one will harvest sweetness from the bitter, and no one will harvest bitterness from the sweet."
These words of the Imam (a) made the two parties settle their litigation before they left him. 160
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "He who seizes his brother's property wrongfully will consume a flame of fire on the Day of Resurrection." 161
"As for him who wrongs others, Allah will cause him, his descendants, or the descendants of his descendants to be wronged by absolute persons."
When the Imam was asked how it is acceptable for God to cause somebody to wrong the descendants of the wrongdoer, he referred to God's saying:
"Those who are concerned about the welfare of their own children after their death should have fear of Allah and guide them properly. (4:9)"
To punish sons for their fathers' crimes is restricted only to those who accept and welcome their fathers' wrongdoings so that they would inherit such usurped properties. To punish such sons is a reproach that discourages the wrongdoers from aggressions out of their care for their dear sons. It is also a good tiding for the oppressed individuals that their oppressors will be punished eventually.
The Prophet (s) said: "For anyone who begins his day without having the intent to oppress anybody, Allah will forgive his sins -that he committed against his Lord-."
Forms of Injustice
Self-wronging is the negligence of the obedience to God. Therein, disappointment and humility will be the result:
I swear) By the soul and that (Power) which designed it and inspired it with knowledge of evil and piety, those who purify their souls will certainly have everlasting happiness and those who corrupt their souls will certainly be deprived (of happiness) (91:10)."
(2) Injustice towards the Family
Injustice towards the family occurs when the paterfamilias neglects to apply the true Islamic education to them, overlooks to guide them to virtue, uses excessive severity and violence, and prevents them from having the necessities of good livelihood. Such matters cause material and ethical shortcomings to the family members.
(3) Injustice towards the Relatives
This form of injustice occurs when the relatives are deserted, disappointed in misfortunes, and deprived of feelings of kindness. Such matters bring about enmity and disregard of relations.
(4) Injustice towards the Society
This form of injustice occurs when the individuals of a society are treated proudly, their rights are neglected, dignities are disrespected, and interests are disregarded. Such behaviors cause social corruption. The most hideous forms of social injustice is wronging the weak individuals who lack the ability to defend themselves and have no weapon other than complaining and supplicating to the All-merciful Just Lord.
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "When my father was dying, he hanged me to his chest and said: son, I command you with the matter that my father said to me that his father had commanded him with when he was dying. I command you to beware of wronging him who has no supporter against you except Allah." 162
(5) Injustice of the Rulers
This sort of injustice is the gravest.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) narrated: "Allah ordered, by revelation, one of the prophets to go to the absolute ruler of that kingdom and say to him: I have not appointed you for shedding their blood and seizing their property. I only appointed you for responding to the cries of the oppressed people. Even if they are atheists, I will not neglect the oppressions that the wronged people encounter."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) related on the authority of his fathers that the Prophet (s) said: "On the Day of Resurrection, Hell will speak to three categories of people: the rulers, the reciters, and the wealthy. It will say to the ruler: 'Allah gave you authority, but you did not rule justly.' Hell, then, will swallow him in the same way as birds swallow grains of sesame.
To the reciter, Hell will say: 'You adorned yourself before people but fought against Allah by committing the acts of disobedience to him.' Hell, then, will swallow him.
To the wealthy, Hell will say: 'Allah showered you with abundant worldly wealth, but when He asked you for a loan, you refused out of your stinginess.' Hell, then, will swallow him." 163
The previous threat is not restricted only to the wrongdoers; it also includes those who join the oppressors, those who accede to their deeds, and those who contribute in their evildoings. All these are partners in the sin and the punishment:
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "The wrongdoer, his supporter, and the one who accepts his deed are partners (of the same crime)."
To stand by the oppressed people and protect them from inequity is one of the best acts of obedience to God that leave nice traces and good marks on the spiritual and material existence of humankind.
Imam al-Kadhim (a) said to Ibn Yaqttin164 : "Guarantee for me one thing and I will guarantee for you three things: guarantee for me that you will settle the need of anyone of our adherents that you meet in the center of caliphate and I guarantee for you that you shall not encounter the strike of swords, you shall not be under the ceiling of any cell, and poverty shall never visit your house." 165
Abu al-Hasan (a) said: "There are certain disciples of Allah who accompany the rulers for guarding Allah's disciples. (According to another report,) Those are the ones whom Allah will save from Hell." 166
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "The expiation of holding governmental authorities is to settle the needs of the friends." 167
A man asked Imam as-Sadiq (a) to write a message to an-Nejashi, the treasury official of al-Ahwaz and Persia, to cancel the debts that he owed his office, since an-Nejashi was Shiite. The Imam did, and the man carried that message to an-Nejashi and handed it over to him when they were alone. In that message, the Imam (a) wrote: "In the Name of Allah the Compassionate the Merciful. Please your brother and Allah will please you."
As he read the message, an-Nejashi kissed and put it between his eyes and asked the man about his need. "I owe your office ten thousand dirhams," said the man. An-Nejashi asked his secretary to cancel the debt and record ten thousand dirhams that the man would have the next year. He then took out ten thousand dirhams and gave to the man and asked, "Have I pleased you?" "Yes, you have," answered the man. An-Nejashi took another bag of ten thousand dirhams and gave to the man and asked, "Have I pleased you?" "Yes, you certainly have," said the man. An-Nejashi went on giving that man everything, including a riding animal, a bondmaiden, and a servant, and asking whether he had pleased him until it was the turn of the rug on which he was sitting. He also asked the man to provide all his needs so that he would settle them.
The man came to Imam as-Sadiq (a) and told him of the whole story. The Imam was highly delighted. "Son of God's Messenger," asked the man, "Are you pleased by that which an-Nejashi had done to me?" The Imam answered: "Yes, indeed, by Allah. His deed has also pleased Allah and His Messenger." 168
Bad Consequences of Injustice
To deem ugly and deny injustice is a natural quality of humankind. The free spirits refute injustice and exert all efforts for fighting against it. Commonness of injustice is the most dangerous epidemic on societies, since it causes social collapse. To overlook acts of injustice encourages the oppressors to go beyond the limits in aggression and criminality. It also enjoins the oppressed people to revenge themselves upon others. Such being the case, disorder will be common. All this will certainly produce dissolution of nations as well as loss of security and luxury.
Treatment of Injustice
It is very difficult to treat from injustice and pull up its roots. At any rate, it may be possible to ease the sharpness of injustice by:
1. Keeping in mind the virtues of justice and nice influence, such as spread of peace, amicability, and comfort,
2. Learning lessons from the disadvantages and mental and material damages of injustice,
3. Strengthening the religious restraint by means of educating the conscience and the feelings of the values and purposeful concepts of faith, and
4. Studying the examples of the despots who suffered the evilest consequences because of their tyranny and injustice.
It is narrated that a Kurdish celebrity, once, was invited to a banquet of a prince. As he noticed two grilled partridges on the banquet, he smiled. The prince asked him for a reason. He narrated: "When I was in the vigor of my youth, I waylaid a merchant. When I was about to kill him, he begged me, but, uselessly. When he despaired, he turned to two partridges that were on a mountain and asked them to be the witnesses on that crime. Now, I remembered that situation when my eyes fell on these two grilled partridges."
As the man finished, the prince said: "Yes, the two partridges testified on your crime." He then ordered to behead that man. 169
It is also narrated that, one night, Abdul-Melik ibn Marwan -the Umayyad caliph- could not sleep; therefore, he summoned a storyteller who told the following story:
"An owl in Mosul asked the hand of the daughter of an owl in Basra for her son. The owl of Basra stipulated that the dowry should be one hundred ruined villages. 'Well,' answered the owl of Mosul, 'I cannot do so now. But if God perpetuates our governor for only one more year, I will easily do it.'" Abdul-Melik was highly affected by this story. Since early morning, he dedicated all his efforts to repealing the injustice that befell some people, judging justly between individuals, and inspecting his officials' deeds. 170
Sincerity stands for purifying one's deeds from blemishes of ostentation in order to make them purely intended to God Who says:
whoever desires to meet his Lord should strive righteously and should worship no one besides Him. (18:110)"
"Worship Allah and be devoted to His religion. The religion of Allah is certainly pure. (39:2-3)"
"They were only commanded to worship Allah, be uprightly devoted to His religion, steadfast in prayer and pay the zakat. This is truly the eternal religion (98:5)."
The Prophet (s) said: "As for anyone who works to Allah sincerely for forty days, Allah will make the springs of wisdom come out of his heart and tongue." 171
"Man cannot be full knowledgeable before he considers people as camels with regard to relation with Allah, and considers himself the meanest." 172
Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: "This world is wholly ignorance except the situations of knowledge. Knowledge is wholly ignorance except that which is practiced. All the practices are showiness except those which are done heartily. Sincerity, likewise, is insecure before the end result is realized." 173
Imam al-Jawad (a) said: "Sincerity is the best worship." 174
Values of deeds vary according to their purposes. The measure of decency and acceptance of deeds depends upon the nobility of purpose and purity from blemishes of cheating, defraud, and hypocrisy. In view of the Islamic Sharia, the only incentive is the intention that stirs the deed. Whenever such an intention is heartily provided to God and purified from the blemishes of showiness, it will be honored by the acceptance of God. Conversely, if cheating and showiness is mixed with the intention, the wrath and refusal of God will befall it. On that account, sincerity is the cornerstone of the beliefs and the factual stipulation that is specified for the validity of deeds. Sincerity, also, frees from inducements and deceptions of the Devil:
He(the shaitan)said, `By Your Glory, I shall seduce all of them (children of Adam) except Your sincere servants among them' (38:82-3)."
Obstacles of Sincerity
Since sincerity is the brilliant lodestar that shows the courses of true obedience and honest worship of God, the Devil has used all snares for inducing people through a great variety of deceptive expectations, such as fondness of reputation and wealth, attainment of glory, and seeking for material desires. Sometimes, the devilish inspirations may come in the form of soft, deceptive whispering. Accordingly, one may practice acts of obedience to God with the intention of sincerity, but if he examines them closely, he will find them mixed with showiness. This is in fact one of the most dangerous slips that nobody can evade except the genuine disciples.
It is related that a man said: "For thirty years, I used to offer my prayers collectively in the mosque in the first row. One day, I was late because of something and I had to join the second row. As soon as I stopped, I felt embarrassed. Only then, I discovered that my previous prayers had been my source of pleasure."
It is also narrated that a worshipper used to fast for forty years without letting anyone, including his relatives, notice so. He used to take his food to give it as alms in his way to the market so that his family member think that he would have his food in the market and the people in the market think that he had his food at home.
How to Obtain Sincerity?
The most important incentive of showiness is to attract people's admirations and obtain their satisfaction. As a matter of fact, the obtainment of people's satisfaction is an unattainable purpose, because people are unable to satisfy themselves; therefore, they cannot be satisfied with others. The only One Whose satisfaction should be sought is God Who possesses the reins of the affairs completely and can do everything. Hence, the true men of reason should direct towards Him and obey Him completely heartily. Showiness and cheating cannot continue for a long time. They are soon revealed before everybody, and the showy will soon become the subject of loathing and disrespect.
It is narrated that a man from the Israelites decided to worship God so that people would praise him. For a long period, he observed an excessive worship to God, but every individual who passed by him realized that he was ostentatious. One day, he said to himself that he had tired himself and wasted his lifetime for nothing; hence, he should work heartily from now on. As he did, every individual who passed by him was admired by his worship and said that he was pious man.
Showiness stands for seeking high rank and respect of people by flaunting charity: "The hypocrites try to deceive Allah but He, in fact,deceives them. They stand up in prayer lazily just to show that they pray, but, in truth they remember Allah very little. (4:142)"
"Whoever desires to meet his Lord should strive righteously and should worship no one besides Him. (18:110)"
"… Like the one who spends his property to show off and who has no faith in Allah or belief in the Day of Judgment. (2:264)"
The Prophet (s) said: "A time will come upon people in which their intentions will be evil and their appearances will be deceiving-all out of their greediness for the worldly pleasures. Their deeds will not be heartily intended for the sake of Allah. Their religion will be showiness. They will not feel fearful at all. Then, Allah will inflict upon them with such harsh punishment that they will not be responded even if they pray for Him like the drowned." 175
The Prophet (s) said: "(On the Day of Resurrection,) some people will be taken to Hell. The Lord will order Malik 176 to tell Hell not to burn those individuals' feet, because they used them for walking to the mosques, not to burn their faces, because they used to perform the (ritual) ablution so perfectly, not to burn their hands, because they used to raise them in supplications, and not to burn their tongues, because they used to recite the Quran very frequently. Then, the angel in charge of Hell will ask them about their manners. They will answer: We used to do all these things not for the sake of Allah. Hence, we were told to take the rewards of our deeds from those for whom we used to do." 177
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Any form of showiness is polytheism. Certainly, he who does something for the sake of people should take the reward from people, but whoever does purely for the sake of Allah will take his reward from Allah." 178
"As for anyone who keeps secret a good deed, Allah will sooner or later reveal a good reputation for him. As for him who keeps secret an evil, Allah will sooner or later reveal an ill reputation for him." 179
Categories of Showiness
1. Showiness of the Belief:
This category of showiness stands for pretending faith and concealing disbelief. It is hypocrisy, which is the most serious and the gravest danger on Muslims.
2. Showiness of Acts of Worship
This category stands for practicing acts of worship openly before people so as to show them, while the same acts of worship are neglected in seclusions. As example of this category is to offer prayers openly, show the signs of fasting, prolong the gestures of the prayer, recite in a distinguishable way, frequent to the mosques, witness the collective prayers incessantly, and practice similar acts pretentiously. The showy, in this case, is considered as more sinful than the neglector of worship because he does so out of his disregarding God and trying to deceive people.
3. Practical Showiness
Under this category lie the pretence of being pious, having the beard unshaved, branding the forehead as a sign of frequent prostration, dressing hard clothes, and the like false appearances of ascetics.
4. Verbal Showiness
Under this category lie the false declamation of wisdom, pretence of enjoining good and forbidding evil, and mentioning the divine reward and punishment.
Incentives of Showiness
(1) Fondness of high rank is the most important incentive of showiness.
(2) The anticipation of criticism is a reason that pushes man to pretend to show acts of worship and charity in order to avoid censure.
(3) Greed is a strong incentive urging showiness.
(4) The criminals try to dress themselves with false appearances of piety so as to cover up themselves.
For the purpose of completing this discussion, it is suitable to refer to some facts:
Scholars have had different opinions regarding the preference of the concealment or exposure of the acts of obedience. In abstract, deeds are subject to intentions, and each will be rewarded according to his intention. Thus, there is no difference between concealed or open showiness. Likewise, the semi-showiness does not differ, whether it is hidden or shown. In definite situations, it is preferable for those who cannot stand their showiness, because of its intense incentives in their inner selves, to conceal it. On the other hand, if one's deed is purified from blemishes of showiness and intended for a good purpose, such as enjoining charity, it is, in this case, preferable to show the appearances of piety.
In case sincerity is heartily intended in the acts of worship, it is inoffensive to show people such appearances and to be pleased by them provided that the source of such pleasure is the expectation of God's favor.
Once, Imam al-Baqir (a) was asked whether it is acceptable to be pleased by showing one's good deeds before others. He answered: "This is not unacceptable. As a matter of fact, every single individual likes that Allah reveals his good deeds before others provided that such good deeds are not intended for showing off."
Since the Devil uses all trickeries for inducing people so as to prevent them from going on in the plans of charity and obedience, it is necessary to beware of him. The Devil urges to neglect the acts of worship. If he fails in this regard, he induces eagerly to show off. If he fails in this regard too, he casts in minds the idea that they are showing off and that all the deeds are mixed with showiness. Such being the case, it is necessary to reject the devilish inspirations and pay no attention to the inducements and insinuations of the Devil. The true sincere, however, cannot be cheated by such ill inspirations.
On the authority of his fathers, Imam as-Sadiq narrated that the Prophet (s) said: "If the Shaitan inspires you, during your prayers, that you are showing off, you should then offer your prayers as long as you like unless the time of another obligatory prayer begins. The same thing is said about any other act that is done for sake of the life to come. But if the act was for a worldly benefit, you should then rest yourselves." 180
Disadvantages of Showiness
Showiness, being mere cheating and deception, is undesirable manner indicating self-humbleness. The fickle and the deviant take showiness for achieving their goals without feeling embarrassed. The showy, however, commits two grand sins: he first challenges God because he prefers the servants to their Lord and, second, cheats people by means of hypocrisy and pretence. Regarding his impudence and foolhardiness, the showy looks like an individual stopping before a great king showing false loyalty, while he, in the meantime, is cheating that king by courting the bondmaidens or flirting with the servants. It is very appropriate for that king to punish such an individual so harshly for his disparagement and ridicule. The showy deserves a harsher punishment, because he disparages God and cheats His servants. Moreover, care is the share of the showy in the end: as he flatters for gaining the impossible; that is the content of all people, he gains nothing but disappointment.
In truth, ill-heartedness very soon floats on the surface to show the reality. Referring to this fact, the Prophet (s) said:
"As for anyone who keeps something in the mind, Allah will dress him with that thing. If it is good, the dress will be good, but if it is bad, the dress, likewise, will be bad." 181
Treatment of Showiness
Practical Treatment of Showiness:
(1) To challenge the Devil and frustrate his trickeries and insinuations by using logical method of self-satisfaction.
(2) To reject the devilish inspirations of showiness completely by relying upon sincerity.
(3) To avoid the fields and appearances of showiness by concealing the acts of worship until self-confidence and sincerity are gained.
Within the anecdotes of showiness, it is narrated that a Bedouin, as he entered a mosque, was highly admired by the prayer offered by a person. 'I was highly admired by your prayer,' said the Bedouin. 'What is more, I am fasting,' said that person, 'the prayer of the fasting people are rewarded doubly.' The Bedouin then handed the reins of his camel to that person as a trust because he had something to do for a while. As the Bedouin left, that person took the camel and ran away. As he was back, the Bedouin did not find his camel or that person. He searched for him for a long time, but uselessly. He then left showing his grief for his camel that he lost because of that man's showiness.
It is also narrated that Ali (a) threatened the Bedouin who did not offer his prayer properly with the stick 182 that he had in the hand. The man repeated his prayer and, when he finished, asked whether this one had been better than the previous. 'No,' answered Ali, 'the first one was better, because it was offered for the sake of God, while this one was offered out of fear of the stick.'
Conceit stands for self-importance for a good trait or a noble quality, such as knowledge, wealth, high rank, or righteous deed. The difference between conceit and arrogance is that the previous is to regard oneself highly important without the feeling of being proud, while arrogance is conceit plus feeling of pride. Conceit, however, is a detestable manner implying self-humbleness, narrow-mindedness, and impudence:
"Do not consider yourselves very great. Allah knows best who is the most righteous person (53:32)."
The Prophet (s) said: "Allah knew that sin is better for the believer than self-conceit; lest, He will never let the believers commit sins." 183
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "Three things are exterminating: to regard the deeds are very much, to neglect the sins, and to be conceited." 184
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "The conceited shall perish."185
"Eblis the cursed said to his troops, 'If only I could impose three things upon son of Adam, I would not care for whatever he would do then, because his deeds will not be accepted: to regard his deeds as very much, neglect his sins, and be controlled by conceit.'" 186
"A knowledgeable man asked the worshipper about his prayers. 'How can a person like me be asked about his prayers?' said the worshipper. 'How about your weeping (out of fear of God)?' asked the knowledgeable man. 'I weep so heavily that my tears flow on my cheeks,' answered the worshipper. The knowledgeable commented, 'To laugh while you are truly fearful of God is surely better than weeping while you are conceited. No single item of the deeds of the conceited will be raised (i.e. accepted).'"
One of the Imams (a) narrated that two men; a worshipper and sinful, entered a mosque. When they went out, the sinful was faithful and the worshipper sinful. The worshipper offered the rites of worship while he was conceited; therefore, his mind was engaged in his conceit. The sinful offered the acts of worship because he was regretful for his sins; therefore, he was seeking God's forgiveness as he remembered his sins. 187
It is worth mentioning that the discommended conceit is to consider the good deed as very much. To feel pleased for the good deed along with modesty for sake of God-this is not included with the discommended conceit.
Disadvantages of Conceit
Conceit causes selfishness and vanity, which are the causes of people's detestation and humiliation. It turns one's eyes away from noticing his own defects. The conceited forgets his sins and causes himself many damages, since negligence of sins stops against repentance to God and exposes to His wrath.
Treatment of Conceit
Because conceit and arrogance are of the same origin, though they differ in trend, their treatment is the same. It is important for the self-conceited to realize that all virtues that arouse in himself conceit are the graces of God that He grants to whom He wills. Hence, He should be shown gratitude for them.
In the field of avoiding self-conceit, it is related that one of the righteous people, once, left his house after midnight for visiting one of the holy shrines and offering the rites there. In his way, he was controlled by conceit and thought that he was in his way for offering rites of worship in such a cold hour while others were enjoying warmth and sleep in their houses. Meanwhile, he saw one of the hawkers who was selling round rape. He pushed himself towards him and asked how much he would earn from that job. 'Two or three dirhams,' said the hawker. The man then thought with himself, 'Why should I be so conceited? The value of my sleepless and wandering in such an hour is only two or three dirhams.'