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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.

and the soul have two

and the soul have two powers. The first one is the power of comprehension (quwwat al-’âlima or mudrika). This power has been called as reason and knowledge (’aql, nutq). Qalb and rûh understand things that can be understood by reasoning via this power. The second is the power that causes things to happen -causative power- (quwwat al-’âmila). Each power has two aspects. The first aspect of the power of comprehension, which is identified as reason, is called theoretical knowledge (hikmat al-nazarî), and the second aspect is called practical knowledge (hikmat al-’amalî). The first aspect of the causative power (quwwat al-’âmila) is appetite (shahwat), a force which desires pleasurable and pleasant things. The second aspect of the causative power is (ghadab), a force which is prone to keep the person away from things it does not like. These four powers generate various actions and deeds. If the actions and deeds are reasonable, fine, and free from inadequacy and excess, the habit which performs these actions is called virtue (fazîlat). The habit which performs actions that are excessive or inadequate is called vice (razâlat). If theoretical knowledge is properly developed, that habit is called wisdom (hikmat). If the second power that is the practical knowledge is rightly developed, that habit is called justice (’adl). If the spiritual heart’s and soul’s causative power appetite is properly developed, that habit is called chastity or temperance. If ghadab is properly developed, that habit is called courage (shajâ’at). These four habits are the essence of all good deeds. Justice cannot be in excess or inadequate, but the other three can be excessive or inadequate. If they are, it is called vice. If theoretical knowledge is in excess, it is called loquacity (jarbaza). If it is inadequate, it is called stupidity (balâdat). As we have stated earlier, justice cannot be in excessive or deficient proportions; yet it does have an antonym, which is called tyranny (zulm). The chastity which is in excessive proportions is called debauchery (fujûr). If it is inadequate, it is called laziness (humûd). Excessive proportion of courage is called rashness (tahawwur) while deficient proportion is called cowardice (jubn). These definitions of kinds of habits have been borrowed from the book Ihyâ-ul-’ulûm-ud-dîn, by Hadrat Imâm Ghazâlî. They are also written in the book Hadîqat-un-nadiyya, by Abd-ul-ghanî Nablusî (d. 1143 [1731 A.D.], Damascus). The latter book is in Arabic and was reproduced by offset process by Hakîkat Kitâbevi, Istanbul. According to some scholars, having a right – 208 –

combination of chastity, wisdom, and bravery gives rise to justice. A person who possesses a habit of loquacity (jarbaza) utilizes his mind, a power of his soul, for trickery, backbiting, and clowning. A person who possesses a habit of stupidity cannot understand reality or differentiate between good and evil. A person who possesses a habit of rashness (tahawwur) puts himself into danger by trying to fight against an enemy too powerful for him. A person who is a coward does not have patience and endurance, and therefore cannot protect his rights. A person who has a habit of debauchery, commits actions that are disliked (makrûh) in religion or forbidden (harâm) actions in eating, drinking and marriage, and derives pleasure from ugly and despicable deeds. A person who has a habit of laziness neglects the permissible pleasures and drives, which results either in his own destruction or extinction of his family tree. The above mentioned four main habits (virtues) are the essence of all other virtues held by human beings. Everyone boasts having these four main virtues. Even those who boast with their ancestors’ nobility are referring to the fact that their ancestors had these four main virtues. SECOND SECTION We will explain the subcategories of the four main habits in this section. The characters which spring up from the four main habits are so numerous that it is almost impossible to tally them, let alone explain them. We will mention only some of the wellknown ones which are covered by Islamic scholars who are specialists in the study of ethics. Seven virtues spring up from wisdom (hikmat). 1– The first is intellect. It is a faculty, a habit (malaka). Through the help of this, one deduces unknown things from the known ones. One can pool together the proofs and then reach a conclusion about the researched topic. Developing this faculty requires studying the subject which teaches how to arrive at a conclusion about unknown facts by analogy from the known ones, in addition to an ability to solve problems of mathematics and geometry. Human beings possess varying degrees of intelligence. The highest degree of intelligence is called genius. Intelligence is – 209 –

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