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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.

Covetousness (hasad)

Covetousness (hasad) also causes conceit. A person with this immoderate feeling wishes that the blessings possessed by someone else leave that person and come to him. He wants others not to have them. He also refuses to listen to the righteous words of those whom he is jealous of. He does not want to ask and learn anything from them. Even though he knows their superiority, he treats them with conceit. Riyâ (hypocrisy, ostentation) also causes conceit. A person who has this habit treats strangers with conceit in the presence of his friends. But when he is alone with the stranger, he does not treat him with conceit. Islamic scholars should wear attirements which would become their honor and should act with dignity in order to protect themselves from the conceited people. For this reason, the great Islamic scholar, Imâm al-a’zam Abû Hanîfa ‘rahima-hullâhu ta’âlâ’ said that scholars should have a larger head cover and large sleeves in their gowns. Preachers will get rewards of worshipping if they beautify themselves with new and clean clothes. If they are not respected, then their words will not have any effect on others because ignorant people judge others by their attirements and appearances. They don’t understand the value of knowledge or virtues. Most people are not aware of their conceited behavior. Therefore, it is necessary for one to know the signs of conceit. When a conceited person enters a new place, he wants everyone there to stand up. This does not apply to a scholar who goes to some place to preach and knows that people there respect him. If he wishes for those people to stand up, that would not be conceit. In general, if a person wants himself to sit and others to stand, that would be conceit. Hadrat Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ’anh’ stated, “Anyone who wants to see what a person of Hell looks like should look at the person who himself sits but wishes others to stand.” The Ashâb-i-kirâm ‘ridwânullâhi ta’âlâ ’alaihim ajma’în’ loved Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ more than anything else in the world but they would not stand up when he joined them because they knew that Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ would not want them to stand up for him. However, when an Islamic scholar (’âlim) joins a group of Muslims, they should stand up in order to show respect for his knowledge. Yahyâ bin Qattân ‘rahima-hullâhu ta’âlâ’ had just completed the performance of a late afternoon (’asr) prayer and was sitting with his back against the minaret of the mosque, when some of the famous scholars of his time came along. One of them – 80 –

was Imâm Ahmad bin Hanbal ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’. They asked him questions about knowledge of Hadîth. He answered all their questions. They were all standing as he himself was sitting. He did not tell any of them to sit down, and none of them dared to sit down. Their conversation continued until the time of sunset. The general custom is that a younger scholar will be seated in a higher seat than an older ignorant man. A student should not start to speak before his teacher does, should not sit in his seat in his absence, and should not walk ahead of him on the street. If a person likes others to get up and stand up for him but knows that this wish and desire is not proper and wants to get rid of this wish, then his wish is considered a natural tendency, or it is a false sense inculcated by the devil. In either case, it is not a sin because the control is not in his hands. It happens despite his will. Another sign of conceit is an aversion to walking alone and a tendency towards being followed by someone walking behind, or a penchant for riding a horse with a number of pupils walking along beside the horse. Rasûlullah ‘salla-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ was going toward the “Baki” cemetery of the city of Medina. Some people saw him and started to walk behind him. Rasûlullah ‘salla- Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ stopped walking and commanded them to walk ahead of him and he followed them. When he was asked for the reason for his behavior he said, “I heard the sound of their steps. I required them to walk ahead of me in order to prevent an atom’s weight of conceit coming into my heart.” It is obvious that he would not have any conceit in his heart but this was a way of communication or teaching his Sahâba. According to Abuddardâ, ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’, when the number of people walking behind a conceited man increases, the conceited man’s spiritual distance from Allâhu ta’âlâ also increases. The following actions also indicate conceit: not to visit acquaintances or friends; a dislike for sitting with someone beside you; not to sit together with sick or ill people; not to do housework, not to do the shopping necessary for the household; a distaste for wearing something you have worn once, or an overall as you work. It is conceit as well to refuse a poor person’s invitation and to accept a rich one’s. The following actions are considered hypocrisy when done in the presence of others and conceit when done alone or in the presence of others: not providing necessities of one’s relatives and family members, not accepting the righteous warnings and arguing with those who – 81 –

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