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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.

Couplet: Scholars who

Couplet: Scholars who practice what they know, will not suffer grievous punishment, Attaining the blessings of Jannat, that is the supreme success! Knowledge of ethics is the branch teaching the cleanliness of spiritual heart (qalb) and soul (rûh). It is similar to the knowledge of medicine’s being the science of hygiene for the body. Vices are diseases of the spiritual heart and soul. Evil deeds are symptoms and signs of these diseases. The knowledge of ethics is a much honored, valuable and necessary knowledge. Vices infesting the spiritual heart and soul can be weeded out only with this knowledge. It is this sole knowledge which runs the gamut of invigorating and healing the spiritual heart and soul with good moral qualities, embellishing the hearts and souls thereby invigorated and healed with even more beautiful moral qualities, and establishing a permanent state of purity in the hearts and souls habituated to an ever-improving acquisition of better and more refined perfections. [Spiritual heart and soul are two distinct entities although they look very much alike. In this book, when the soul is mentioned alone it should be understood that we mean both of them.] Does one’s character change? Is it possible for a human being to give up his character and acquire another one? There are several differing opinions but they can mainly be categorized in three groups: 1– Character never changes because it is an entity a human being is not capable of changing. 2– Character is of two kinds: the first one is created at birth and cannot be changed. The second one consists of habits which are acquired later. This acquired character can be altered or changed. 3– Character in its entirety is acquired after birth and can be changed by external influences. The majority of Islamic scholars are unanimous on the third theory. Divine laws (sharî’ats) which prophets brought prove that this third theory is correct. The student-training methods instituted by religious scholars and masters of Tasawwuf function under the light of the third notion. – 180 –

According to what suitable nature do human beings come into this world? This is another question so far unsolved. The opinion of the majority of scholars is that human beings are born suitable for goodness and making progress. Later, evil habits are adopted in consequence of indulgence in the desires of the nafs, lexity in learning good morals, and evil company. It is stated in a hadîth-isherîf: “Every individual person is created in a nature suitable for Islam. Later, however, they are made Christians, Jews or atheists by their parents.” Couplet: You are corrupting yourself with your own hand Although the Creator created you beautifully. According to some scholars, the human soul came to this world as an impure entity. The soul itself was clean but once it united with the body, physical necessities of the body degenerated it. However, those whom Allâhu ta’âlâ chooses to save and decrees goodness will not remain impure as they were born; they will return to goodness. Some other scholars said that the soul is neither good nor evil from birth. It is in a neutral state. It can turn either way. A person who learns goodness will attain happiness and maturity. They said that a person who associates with evil people and learns vices and ugly things will be a wretched and evil person. Galen [1] said, “Spiritually, there are three groups of mankind. The first group are good people, and the second group are evil ones. In the third group are people who are neither good nor evil by creation. These people may later join either of the opposite groups. Few people have a good creation. A good majority of people are evil by creation and always tend to do evils. The number of people who are good or evil depending on the people they live among, occupies a medial position between those of the former two groups.” According to this theory, few people can change their habits. [Being quite unaware of the heart, Greek philosophers dealt only with the soul, and some Muslim writers of literature on ethics followed their example.] According to the majority of scholars, everyone’s habits can change. No one’s nature will stay the way it was created. If [1] Claudius Galen [130-200 A.D.], Greek physician and physiologist. – 181 –

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