Ethics In Islam

Qualities of Good Conduct


            In the first installment of this Series, entitled "Virtue and Conduct" you have read about the significance of ethical virtues and good conduct. In it we had mentioned that the ethical virtues are those noble God-given qualities with which Allaah the Creator of the Universe adorn His Prophets. All these qualities of ethics and conduct we have received as a gift from the ethical virtues and good conduct of the great guide from Allaah, Hazrat Muhammad (Sal-lal-laa-hu 'alai-hi wa aa-li-hi wa-sal-lam).

            The Kind Prophet taught, through his sacred verdicts and good conduct, the basic injunctions of Islam such as Salaat, Fast, Zakaat, Hajj etc. He also during his pious life in this world, through his good, kind behaviour and conversation taught and trained people in piety and purity, grace and modesty, patience and steadfastness, truth and trust, justice and fairplay, mercy and kindness, pardon and forgiveness and other ethical virtues.

            Hazrat Anas (razi-yal-laa-hu 'an-hu) was 10 years of age when the Kind Prophet migrated to Madina. His mother, on the arrival of the Prophet in Madina, gave her son, Hazrat Anas, in the service of the Prophet. Hazrat Anas reported that he was for 10 years in the service of the Prophet and during this period he experienced the noble behaviour of the Prophet. Never an occasion arose when he uttered a single word in pain or anger. If Hazrat Anas did any work of his own accord, the Prophet did not object to it or question him. Even when the Prophet ordered him to do some work, which he failed to do, the Prophet neither rebuked him nor called him to do some work, which he failed to do, the Prophet neither rebuked him nor called his explanation for not doing that work.

            The Kind Prophet said:

"Don't give to your servants such works which may be beyond their control and
if you ever do then you shall personally extend your hand of help."

            He also said:

"One who does not have pity on mankind, is not pitied by Allaah."

            The Kind Prophet commanded:

"You have pity on man on the Earth, Allaah will have pity on you."

            A great Companion of the Prophet, Hazrat Jarir bin Abdullah, reported the Kind Prophet as saying:

"One who lacks kindness is devoid of goodness and welfare."

            He also said:

"One who possesses (the following) three virtues, Allaah will cover him under His Mercy and
admit him to Paradise - to be courteous to the weak; to be kind to the parents and
to confer favour upon slave."

            Here is specially, the mention of three good deeds. One is that a weak man deserves our sympathy and help; therefore, we should be courteous and kind to him and extend all possible help within our means. This is a great ethical and social responsibility of man which is neglected and, therefore, we observe in our every day life that a strong man generally acts against the above instructions.

            The second deed which has been stressed is that of good and kind treatment with parents. The Qur'aan clearly instructs on this subject in the following words:

"Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attains old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say; 'My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in my childhood.'" (S. 17: 23 and 24).

            The third deed is to confer favour and benevolence upon servants or slaves. Islam strictly ordains that the slaves or servants are human beings. Though they are not equal in rights, yet they are to be given a humane treatment and clothe and feed on equal standard.

This is the ethical teaching of the Kind Prophet. He himself was an embodiment of the ethical virtues. The Qur'aan says:

"You have indeed in the Messenger of Allaah a beautiful pattern of conduct..." (S. 33:21).

What he preached he practised as a man, so that the people should know that the ethical principles of Islam are practicable.

            Once the Kind Prophet went to a grain shop. He thrusted his hand in the heap of grain lying on the ground to judge the quality of the grain inside the heap. He found that the corn which was visible to the buyers was dry while the corn which was hidden from their sight was wet. He presently declared:

"He who resorted to fraud is not from us."

This is the teaching of the Prophet to the traders and business people who either do not know this tradition or ignore it for their nominal tangible gains. This dishonest practice is not only injurious, ethically and financially, but disastrous.

            The Kind Prophet said:

"An honest, trustful trader will be with the Prophet and Truthful devotees of Allaah on the Day of Judgement."

            From another tradition, we are informed of other ethical responsibilities which fall on us as human beings. The Kind Prophet said:

"Three (types of) men will neither be looked with kindness nor made pure from sin by Allaah on the Day of Judgement; but they will be put to grievous torment. One who, after conferring a favour on a man, sets it forth and taunts him; one who sells his goods on false oaths; and the aged fornicator (i.e., if they did not repent for their sinful deeds and abstain from them, They would be deprived of the vision of Allaah and would be thrown in Hell on the Day of Judgment)."

(The End)





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