The Ethical Codes of Islam
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."
Imam al-Baqir (a) said: "Three things are exterminating: to regard the deeds are very much, to neglect the sins, and to be conceited."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "The conceited shall perish."
"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.'"
"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."
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."
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."
The Prophet (s) said: "(On the Day of Resurrection,) some people will be taken to Hell. The Lord will order Malik 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."
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."
"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."
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."
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."
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 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.'
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."
"Man cannot be full knowledgeable before he considers people as camels with regard to relation with Allah, and considers himself the meanest."
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."
Imam al-Jawad (a) said: "Sincerity is the best worship."
Virtue of Sincerity
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.
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."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Justice is more delicious than honey, softer than butter, and more sweet-smelling than musk."
Imam ar-Rida (a) said: "The application of justice and charity is sign of the continuance of graces."
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."
(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.
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."
(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."
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 Yaqttin: "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."
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."
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "The expiation of holding governmental authorities is to settle the needs of the friends."
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."
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.
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.
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."
"The fulfillment of the trusts brings sustenance, while treachery causes poverty."
"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."
"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."
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 treason 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.
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."
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.
Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: "Gluttony is the source of every malady except fever, which appears to the body."
"The sated stomach overdoes."
"Allah hates the overeating."
Abu al-Hasan (a) said: "If people have moderate food, their bodies will be healthy."
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 simulative of sexual desires, such as looking at the beauties of women, mixing of the sexes, excessive sexual imagination, and daydreams.