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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.

world. For, the nafs is

world. For, the nafs is the greatest of all veils between Allâhu ta’âlâ and His slave”. Sahl bin Abdullah Tustarî [d. in 283 Hijrî in Basra] ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ says, “The best of all worships is not to follow the desires of the nafs.” Islâm bin Yûsuf Balhî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ once gave a gift to Hatam-ul-Esam ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ When Hatam accepted the gift the people around him asked him if his accepting the gift would not mean to follow the desires of his nafs. In reply, Hatam told them that by accepting his gift he made himself lowly and made him superior, and he added, “If I didn’t accept his gift, that would make myself superior and him lowly. And, my ‘nafs’ would love that!” Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ at the end of a long hadîth said, “Three causes lead a person to disaster: being stingy, following the desires of the nafs, and being a conceited person.” Imâm al-Ghazâlî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ said that the veil which prevents you from receiving the help of Allâhu ta’âlâ is self love (’ujb). In other words it is one’s not seeing one’s own imperfections and seeing one’s worships as worthy. Îsâ (Jesus) ‘alaihis-salâm’ said to his apostles, “Oh my apostles! The wind has extinguished many a light. Likewise, ’ujb (self-love) destroys many acts of worship and eliminates their thawâb.” It is reported that once Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ said, “I am very much afraid that my Ummat (Muslims) will catch two vices. They are: following the desires of the nafs and forgetting about death and running after the world.” Following the desires of the nafs prevents one from obeying the commandments of Islam. To forget death causes one to follow the desires of one’s nafs. In another hadîth, Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ said, “The existence of wisdom in a person manifests itself by his control over his ‘nafs’ and by his preparation of the things that will be beneficial after death. The sign of idiocy is one’s following the desires of one’s nafs and then expecting forgiveness and mercy from Allâhu ta’âlâ.” According to this hadîth, following the desires of one’s nafs and then expecting forgiveness and admittance to Paradise without repentance is symptomatic of idiocy. Expecting something without taking the actions which would produce that expected result is called wishful thinking (tamannî). On the other hand, expecting something after taking the actions that would produce the result is called hope or expectation (rajâ). Wishful thinking leads one into laziness. Expectation on the other hand is the cause of work and – 38 –

production. Desires of the nafs are called fancy (hawâ). The nafs always loves and wishes harmful things; this evil tendency is inherent in its nature. The following stanza reflects this truth very clearly: Always be on guard against your nafs. Never trust your nafs. It is an enemy to you, Worse than seventy devils! The harm caused by following the desires of the nafs by committing forbidden actions and disliked actions (makrûhs) is very obvious. The nafs’s wishes are all bestial desires. And these bestial desires are all related to mundane necessities. As long as a person tries to satisfy these necessities, he will be delayed to prepare necessities of the Hereafter. One important point that should be noted by everyone is that the nafs will never content itself with (the enjoyments which Islam permits and calls) mubâhs. As long as a person satisfies all of its permissible desires, the nafs will ask for more. If a person keeps satisfying its demands in an increasing pattern, the nafs will keep asking for more! It will never be satisfied and finally will coax man into forbidden things. Furthermore, utilizing permissible things in excess causes grief, suffering and diseases. A person who uses permissible things in excess will become a selfish and base person who always thinks of his bestial passions and pleasures. [Imâm ar-Rabbânî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ a great Walî, comments on the present subject as follows: “The origin of all existing beings is Adam. Adam means nonexistence. While nothing, except Allâhu ta’âlâ, existed, He knew their existence in nonexistence. In other words, things existed in His knowledge. Allâhu ta’âlâ made His Attributes reflect on these Adams in His knowledge and thus made the origin (asl) of these existent beings become a reality. Then He moved these origins (asl), which were in His Knowledge, into the external realm. Thus existences came into being. Present existence materialized out of nonexistence through the manifestations of His Attributes. It is similar to the case of an apple seed’s being the origin of an apple. In order to understand the nature of human beings, let us contemplate about the image of an object in a mirror. The image that appears in the mirror is a reflection of the light coming from the object. The mirror is like Adam or nonexistence. The soul and spiritual heart of a human being are similar to the light. The mirror is similar to – 39 –

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