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Ethics of Islam

Ethics of Islam is taken from the book Berîka by Muhammad Hâdimi. Immorality and ways to get rid of it; 40 depravities and cures to them; usefulness of ethics; what is a soul; strengths of a soul; Personalities emanating from wisdom, courage, chastity and justice are extensively explained.

him.” Abû Hurayra

him.” Abû Hurayra ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anh’ related the following event: We were sitting with Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sal-lam’. One of us got up and left. Someone among us made a commenting remark on why he had left. Thereupon Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ said, “You have backbitten your friend. You have eaten his flesh.” Âisha ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhâ’ related the following event: One day, in the presence of Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ I talked about a certain woman, saying that she was tall. The blessed Messenger of Allah expostulated: “Spit out whatever is in your mouth!” I spat out. A piece of meat came out of my mouth. Allâhu ta’âlâ has power to manifest attributes and specificities as material objects. Ghiybat means to mention a Muslim brother’s or a non-Muslim citizen’s (zimmî’s) fault in their absence and in a manner which would cause them to feel sadness if they heard it. Allâhu ta’âlâ sent the following revelation to Mûsâ (Moses) ‘alaihis-salâm’ “The gossipper who (repents and) makes tawba thereafter will be the last person to enter Paradise, whereas the gossipper who does not (repent and) make tawba for it will be the earliest resident of Hell.” Ibrâhîm Adham ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’, (a beloved slave of Allâhu ta’âlâ,) was invited to a dinner. During the meal an absentee, who must have been late for the reception, was criticized behind his back for his slowness. Thereupon Ibrâhîm Adham ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ said, “Ghiybat has been committed at this place,” and left outright. It is stated in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “If the person criticized (behind his back) possesses the fault ascribed to him, then ghiybat has been committed. Otherwise it is a case of buhtân (slander).” It is ghiybat to criticize a person (in his absence) for his religious faults such as negligence of (the obligatory five daily prayers called) namâz, consumption of wine, theft, talebearing; as well as for worldly defects such as deafness and squinteyedness. Criticism for religious faults is ghiybat if it is intended for vilification, and not if it is intended for the betterment of the person concerned. According to a narration, it is not ghiybat, either, if the criticism emanates from (the critizer’s) personal mercy. Nor would it be ghiybat to say, for instance, “There is a thief, (or a person who neglects his daily prayers, or a communist) in this village.” For, in this case, the accusation would not have been directed to a certain person. Supposing a person performs his daily prayers, fasts but also harms other people physically. For example, he specializes in – 160 –

attery, extortion or theft; or perpetrates verbal malefactions such as abusive oratory, calumny, backbiting, talebearing. Outright exposure of openly committed sins, harâms and bid’ats is not ghiybat. Nor is it sinful to report such offenders to the authorities for the purpose of helping them to prevent malefaction. When a person commits a harâm secretly from his father, a person who is wise to the act should report it to the father orally or by writing if he knows that the father would prevent his son if he knew about it. It would not be permissible to inform his father if one does not know for sure that he will stop him. Informing him in that case would cause animosity between them. If someone is harming others with his actions, informing others about him will not be backbiting because the intention is to protect others from his harm. Also, it would not be backbiting if one tells his harm to others because one pities and feels sorry for him. Exposing his harmful behavior for the purpose of making him look evil would be backbiting. In six instances telling shortcomings and faults of a person to others in his absence would not be backbiting. One tells it because one pities him and feels sorry for him. One tells others so that they may stop him. Telling in order to get a legal decision (fatwâ). Telling in order to protect others from his harm (sharr). If a shortcoming became a nickname of that person, one is forced to call him by his nick name in order to describe him. Telling his oppression, sin, “fisq” or bid’a which is commonly known. Telling others for a vindictive or derogatory motive would be ghiybat. To caution someone about a flaw in something they plan to buy does not mean to speak ill of the seller. And it is not ghiybat, either, to inform a man about the faults or defects of the girl he is planning to marry; it is a piece of advice. It is wâjib to inform a person about something he does not know. If a person commits acts of bid’at or perpetrates cruelty, it is ghiybat to inform others about his other faults if they are not overt. It is stated in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “It is not ghiybat to inform (others) about (the iniquities of) a person who has doffed the jilbâb of shame.” ‘Jilbâb’ is a wide headgear which women wear to cover their head. In this context, to ‘doff the jilbâb of shame’ means to ‘commit sins overtly.’ The hadîth-i-sherîf points out the fact that such people do not possess a sense of shame. According to Imâm Ghazâlî and some other Islamic scholars ‘rahima-humullâhu ta’âlâ’, “That it is ghiybat to expose an overt sinner’s or someone else’s fault, is not susceptible of the condition that there should be derogatory – 161 –

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