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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.


PART TWO FIRST CHAPTER Islam’s ethical science is studied in three categories, which can be understood only after learning preliminary subsciences. In this book of ours we shall touch upon three sections of the entire matter, enlarging only on the first section. PREFACE Learning ethical science depends on one’s desire to do so. Enforcement is inutile. Every optional (ihtiyârî) action can be achieved in two stages of preliminary knowledge acquisitions. First, the essence of the matter should be understood. Second, first-hand knowledge should be acquired as to what will be obtained by doing it. There is yet a third, in which it has become a popular method to acquire some preliminary information which will help learn a certain science. We will follow this method and explain the three branches of the subject in the preface, attaching two additional sections. FIRST STAGE: Ethics of Islam is divided into three categories, 1– The knowledge of ethics, (’ilm al-akhlâq), deals with invariable personal behaviour, which is good or bad, depending not on whether a person is alone or with others, but on his character. For example, a person who has a gentle nature, or who is generous, or who has a sense of shame, is so he is alone as well as when he is with others. The knowledge of ethics teaches us these personal traits which never change. 2– The second category of ethics deals with a person’s behaviour towards his family members in his home. This is called manners of family management (tadbîr al-manzil). 3– The third category of knowledge of ethics teaches a person’s social responsibilities, codifies behavioral principles, and instructs on how to be useful to others. It is called siyâsat-i- – 176 –

medîna, or social manners. As is stated in the book Akhlâq-i-Nâsirî, by Nasîr-ud-dîn Muhammad Tûsî, when a person does something, whether it is good or evil, it is for a reason. This reason is either something natural, or a commandment or law. What he does on account of his nature is an outcome of his mind, thought and experience. His doings of this sort do not change with time, nor are they dependable on his social environment. The second kind of reason, a law or a commandment, either issues from a common thought shared by a community or by an entire nation, in which case it is termed a rusûm or an ’âdat (custom); or it has been posited by a scholarly, authoritative or experienced person, such as a prophet, a Walî, a monarch, or a dictator. If it is a commandment of Allâhu ta’âlâ, which is communicated by prophets ‘alaihim-us-salawât-uwat-taslîmât’ and explained by Awliyâ or by Islamic scholars, it can be of one of the following three groups: The first group consists of commandments which are to be observed by every individual person. They are called ahkâm (rules), or ’ibâdât (worships). The second group subsumes social and business transactions such as munâkahât, i.e. matters of marriage, and mu’âmalât, i.e. matters such as selling and buying. In the third group are commandments encompassing countries and societies and pertaining to legal and political matters (hudûd). Science dealing with these three groups of commandments and rules is termed Fiqh. Learnings pertaining to matters of fiqh, as well as principles regulating those matters and their execution, change with time and depend on the country and the nation wherein they are to be practised. Allâhu ta’âlâ is the sole authority to dictate the change. The abrogations and changes which Allâhu ta’âlâ made in the past dispensations throughout history were in this group of commandments. For instance, the time in which Âdam ‘alaihis-salâm’ lived required a proliferation of mankind. It was therefore canonically legal and permissible for a man to marry his sister. As its necessity was obviated with the increase of population in process of time, so was the canonical law allowing it revoked. SECOND STAGE: In this section we will explain the usefulness and application of the knowledge of ethics. When a person studies his environment, such as the earth and the skies, or contemplates the balance and order in the universe, – 177 –

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