CONTENTS

ETHICS OF ISLAM

Waqf Ikhlâs Publications No: 17

  1-Ethics Of Islam

  2-Preface

  3-Translator's Note

  4-Vices And Methods Of Cleansing One's Self From Them

  5-Disbelief (Kufr)

  6-Ignorance

  7-Greed For Wealth, Power, Ranks, Or Positions

  8-The Fear Of Being Accused Of Having Faults

  9-Love Of Being Praised

10-Innovations In Belief (Bidat Belief)

11-Following Desires Of The Soul (Nafs)

12-Imitative Belief (Taqlid)

13-Hypocrisy (Riya)

14-Worldly Ambitions (Tul-I Amal)

15-Using Forbidden Means To Obtain Worldlies (Tama)

16-Conceit (Kibr)

17-Value Of Knowledge And Scholars

18-Excessive Humility (Tazallul)

19-Self Love (Ucb)

20-Jealousy (Hasad)

21-Hatred (Hiqd)

22-Rejoicing At Another's Misfortune (Shamatat)

23-Seperation (Hijr)

24-Cowardice (Jubn)

25-Wrath (Tahawwur)

26-Breaking One's Promise (Gadr)

27-Perfidy (Hiyanat)

28-Not Keeping The Promise

29-Having Evil Opinion For Others (Su-I Zan)

30-Excessive Love For The Material Things

31-Postponing Doing Good Deeds (Taswif)

32-Loving Sinners (Fasiks)

33-Animosity Toward Scholars

34-Instigation (Fitna)

35-Comprimizing (Mudahana) And Managing (Mudara)

36-Obstinacy (Inad) And Having Pride (Mukabara)

37-Hypocrisy (Nifak)

38-Not Thinking Profoundly, Not Pondering

39-Cursing At Muslims

40-Giving Improper-Names To Muslims

41-Rejection Of Excuse

42-Making Wrong Interpretation Of The Qur'an

43-Insistence On Committing Forbidden (Haram) Actions

44-Backbiting (Gibat)

45-Not Performing Repentance (Tawba)

46-Second Part Of The Book

47-First Supplement To Preface

48-Second Supplement To The Preface

49-Knowledge Of Ethics And Teaching Of Morals In Islam

50-What Is A True Muslim Like?


ETHICS
OF
ISLAM

Alî bin Emrullah Muhammed Hâdimî

HAKÎKAT KÝTABEVÝ
Darüþþefaka Cad. No: 53 P.K. 35
34083-Fatih ÝSTANBUL
http://www.hakikatkitabevi.com
e-mail: bilgi@hakikatkitabevi.com
Tel: (90-212) 523 45 56 - 532 58 43
Fax: (90-212) 523 36 93
TURKEY
1998

 

 

A’ûdhu billâhi min esh-shaytân-ir-rajîm
Bism-Illâh-ir-Rahmân-ir-Rahîm.

Resûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’ stated: “When fasâd (mischief, instigation, disunion, tumult) runs rife among my Ummat (Muslims), a person who abides by my Sunnat will acquire blessings equal to the amount deserved by a hundred martyrs.” Scholars affiliated with any one of the four Madhhabs, (which are, namely, Hanafî, Mâlikî, Shâfi’î and Hanbalî,) are called Scholars of Ahl as-Sunna. The leader of the scholars of Ahl as-Sunna is al-Imâm al-a’zam Abû Hanîfa. These scholars recorded what they had heard from the Sahâba-i-kirâm, who, in their turn, had told them what they had heard from the Messenger of Allah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’.

The earth is populated by three groups of people today:

1– Disbelievers. These people say that they are not Muslims. Jews and Christians are in this group.

2– The Sunnî Muslims. These people exist with an ever-increasing population in every country.

3– (Hypocrites called) Munâfiqs. They say that they are Muslims. With respect to îmân and some acts of worship, they are not comparable to the Ahl as-Sunnat. They are not true Muslims.

 

 

ETHICS OF ISLAM

PREFACE

Let’s start the book by mentioning the name of Allah!
Name of Allah is the best refuge,
His blessings, can never be measured nor calculated,
He is the Lord who mercies much and loves to forgive!

Allahu ta’ala pities all human beings in the world. He creates and sends everyone the blessings they need. He also teaches them how to use these blessings to attain happiness of this and the next worlds. Imam ar-Rabbani, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, in his 259th letter informs us that those disbelievers who never heard of Islam will not be punished in the hell. They will be annihilated along with the animals after their Judgement. People who hear about Islam and ponder about it, and then accept it will be blessed with heaven. He gave a lifelong time-span for pondering. He forgives those who become believers after diving into disbelief and deviation by being deceived through their own souls, evil friends, harmful books, and foreign radio stations. He saves them from the infinite disasters. He does not show the path of salvation to tyrants, wicked and depraved persons. He lets them stay in the denial quicksand that they have fallen into and which they like and desire. In the next world, He will forgive whom He wishes among the believers who supposed to go to hell and will send them to heaven after they are punished in the hell for their sins. He is the only One who, creates all living beings, keeps them in existence at every moment, and protects them against fear and horror.

If anyone thanks and praises anyone else anytime and at any place for any reason, these thanks and praises are all due to Allahu ta’ala. Because He is the only One who creates and sends all kinds of blessings and goodness. If He would not remind, create, and give strength, no one could ever do any goodness or harm to anyone else. Only His desires come into existence. No one can do anything against His desire.

May our prayers and greetings be unto His beloved Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who is the most beautiful and highest of all human beings in all respects and be unto all of his progeny, relatives, and companions, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with them, who spread good morals and knowledge.

Muslims are required to learn “Islamic Knowledge.” It is divided into two branches, “Religious knowledge” and “Scientific knowledge.” The scientific knowledge is called “Wisdom” (Hikmat). Our Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “Wisdom is the lost property of a Muslim. He should pick it up wherever he may find it.” This hadith commands us to learn scientific knowledge. Essence of “Religious knowledge” is twenty subjects. Eight of them are the main knowledge, and the other twelve is the supplementary knowledge. One of the main knowledge is the “Knowledge of Ethics.”

[A Muslim who has good morals and advanced in the scientific knowledge of his time is called a civil or a progressive Muslim. Alternately, a person who is advanced in scientific knowledge and established basic industries but has poor morals is called tyrant, retrogressive, bandit or dictator. Those who are lagging behind the scientific knowledge and arts and have poor morals are called savages or vulgar people. Civilization means building cities and serving human beings. They can accomplish this through scientific knowledge, arts, and beautiful morals. In short, when the scientific knowledge and arts are accompanied with beautiful morals, it is called civilization. A civilized person uses scientific knowledge and arts for serving humanity. Alternately, tyrants use them for torturing. We can see that a true Muslim is a progressive person. Unbelievers are retrogressive, and miserable persons. It is apparent that civilization means constructing buildings and developing cities. This is only possible through science and technology. Advancement in technology is due to addition of new ideas to the ideas of the previous generations. People’s living in peace and comfort is only possible through ethics of Islam.]

Learning Islamic knowledge as much as necessary is an obligatory duty (Fard) for every Muslim. Islamic scholars have written many books on this subject. The following books on the subject of ethics are well known: Akhlaq an-Nasiri by Nasiruddin-i Muhammad Tusi, Akhlaq al-Jalali by Jalaluddin-i Muhammad Dawani and Akhlaq al-Muhsini by Husayn Vaiz-i Kashifi from Hirat. We translated the first chapter of this book from the book Barika written by Muhammad Hadimi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him. In the first chapter of this book we will deal with unacceptable poor morals rejected by Islam and their prescribed cures. Poor morals are due to maladies of the spiritual heart. They cause infinite death and destruction of the spiritual heart (Qalb) and the spirit (Ruh). In the second chapter of this book, we will describe the meaning of ethics (Akhlaq) and its varieties by taking from the beginning chapters of the book Akhlaq al-Alai written in Turkish by Ali bin Amrullah, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, who passed away in 979 Hijri, 1572 A.D. at Edirne/Turkey.

The uncorrupt youngsters who read this book will understand and appreciate that their ancestors were healthy persons with good morals. They were also industrious, civilized, and progressive persons. By learning the truth about their ancestors they will not be tricked by the lies and slanders of their enemies.

The name of the author of the book Akhlaq an-Nasiri was Muhammad bin Fahraddin Nasiruddin al-Tusi. He was born in Hijri 597 at the city of Tus (Mashhad) and passed away in Hijri 672 [1273 A.D.] at Baghdad. He belonged to Shi’ite section of the Muslims. He was one of the persons who was instrumental of Hulagu’s destruction of Baghdad and mass killings, e.g., hundreds of thousands of Muslims. He became the prime minister of Hulagu. He founded a new library that included 400,000 books and a planetarium and an Academy. He wrote many books.

Muhammad Jalaluddin-i Dawani, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, was born in 829 Hijri and passed away 908 Hijri [1503 A.D.] at Shiraz. He is one of the most profound among the Islamic scholars. He wrote many books. His book Akhlaq al-Alai is in Persian. Its eighth printing was accomplished in 1304 Hijri, 1882 A.D. at India. It has been translated into English.

Husayn bin Ali Vaiz-i Kashifi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, was a preacher in the city of Hirat. He passed away in Hijri 910, 1505 A.D. at Hirat.

Oh virtuous youngsters! Oh noble and dear children of those martyrs who spent their lives for learning and spreading beautiful moral teachings of Islam as well as sacrificed their lives for spreading the religion of Allah to all human beings! Do learn well the whole and correct Islamic religion and its beautiful ethics brought and dedicated to you for safekeeping by our honorable ancestors. Protect this holy safekeeping (Amanat) with all your might and power against the attacks of our enemies, i.e., those who attack our lives, properties, religion, and ethics and who are getting ready to take over our beautiful country! Strive hard by spreading this correct religion everywhere to save all human beings from infinite disasters. Let it be known that our religion orders us to have beautiful morals, mutual love for each other, respect for the elders and compassion for the youngsters, as well as, doing goodness to everyone irrespective of their religion or irreligion. Pay everyone’s due rights and wages! Do not violate laws of the land and do not oppose orders of the government! Pay your taxes on their due times! Never forget that Allahu ta’ala is the helper of the righteous people! Let us love and help each other so that Allahu ta’ala would also help us.

Islamic scholars say: “Allahu ta’ala created three things in humans: Intellect (Aql), spiritual heart (Qalb), and soul (Nafs). We can see none of them. We can understand their existence by observing their effects or the things done by them or by the information related to us by our religion. Intellect and soul are located at our brain and the spiritual heart is found over the biological heart that is in the left side of our chest. They are not made of matter and do not occupy space. Their existence in these places is similar to the existence of the electric in a light bulb or the magnetic field’s existence in an induction bobbin. Intellect tries to understand Islamic knowledge. It understands Islamic knowledge and its good and useful as well as evil and harmful variations or portions. The good and evil are discriminated in accordance with the divine law. The Intellect, which recognizes the divine law (Shari’at) and wants to obey it, is called “correctly thinking intellect,” (Aql al-salim). The people who have little intelligence and always make mistakes are called stupids or fools. The people who have no intelligence are called crazy. Correctly thinking intellect relates good things taught by the divine law to the spiritual heart. The spiritual heart decides to do these good things. It uses the action nerves, which come out of the brain and go to the organs, to give orders to the organs so that they carry out these good things. Assimilation of the desire of doing good or evil things into the spiritual heart is called ethics (Akhlaq). The soul is excessively fond of worldly pleasures. It does not think whether these are good, evil, useful or harmful. Its desires are not compatible with the divine law. Doing things that are forbidden by the divine law strengthens the soul. It would try to convince the spiritual heart to carry out the worst things. It deceives the spiritual heart by showing the evil and harmful things as good things. It strives to attain its pleasures by convincing the spiritual heart to carry out its desires. Strengthening spiritual heart and weakening the soul is necessary so that the soul will not be able to deceive the spiritual heart and that the spiritual heart will not become a evil natured one. Strengthening of the spiritual heart is similar to the strengthening of the intellect. The intellect is strengthened by studying and learning the knowledge of Islam. The heart is strengthened (cleansed) by carrying out the commandments ordered by divine law. Carrying out the commandments ordered by divine law requires sincerity (Ikhlas). Sincerity means carrying out the deeds because they are ordered by Allahu ta’ala and not expecting any other benefits by doing them. Having sincerity in the heart can only be accomplished by the spiritual heart’s mentioning the name of Allahu ta’ala often (making Dhikr of Allah through the Qalb). Accomplishing “Dhikr of Qalb” can only be possible by learning from a perfect Sufi master (Murshid al-Kamil-the Perfect Guide). It further requires emptying the spiritual heart from all worldly thoughts formed in the brain due to the sensory information coming from the organs. If no worldly thought left in the spiritual heart, it starts to do “Dhikr of Allah” automatically. It is similar to emptying the water from a battle. When one empties the water, the air automatically enters the battle. Protecting the spiritual heart from worldly thoughts could be accomplished through the spiritual heart’s benefiting (getting “Fayd” (Nur (light, spiritual luminance)) from the spiritual heart of the perfect Sufi master. The spiritual luminance (Fayd) flows from one spiritual heart to another by way of love. Death of the perfect spiritual guide or his being in a distance country does not stop the flow of spiritual luminance (Fayd). The perfect spiritual guide (Murshid al-kamil) is an “Ahl as-sunnat” scholar (Alim) who knows Islamic knowledge in depth and does all of his actions sincerely (with Ikhlas) according to this knowledge. Obeying to the divine law and getting spiritual luminance (Fayd) from the perfect guide (Murshid al-kamil) strengthens the spiritual heart and conversely weakens the soul. Thus, the soul (Nafs) does not want the spiritual heart’s obeying the divine law (Shari’at) or conversing (Sohbat) with the perfect spiritual guide (Murshid al-kamil) or reading the books written by the perfect spiritual guide. It wants spiritual heart to be irreligious and non-believer. Therefore, those who do not follow their intellect and instead follow their soul (Nafs) become irreligious. The soul (Nafs) does not die but when it is weakened, it cannot deceive the spiritual heart any longer.

  Mîlâdî                              Hijrî Shamsî                             Hijrî Kamarî
1998                                        1376                                         1418

 

TRANSLATOR’S NOTE

The Ethics of Islam is a very difficult subject. A person who wants to read and understand this book has to have certain background or prerequisites. Anyone who attended high school or college knows that one cannot take a course unless meets its prerequisites. Actually required prerequisites are very long for this book. Basically, one has to be quite learned about the Islamic religion. We employed various techniques and strived very hard to make the book readable by those who do not have the required prerequisites. Those who don’t have the background have to approach this book like taking a difficult course in the school. Getting a good grade from a difficult course requires lots of time (unquantifiable by us) and studying. Understanding and learning ethics of Islam also requires much time and studying. We can assure the reader that if you read this book like a novel, you will not gain anything. Knowing the difficulty involved, we have used simple words while constructing the sentences. When some words did not have corresponding English versions, sometimes, we added simplified explanatory phrases and used them instead. When certain words were repeated often, using their simplified explanations again and again was very difficult (e.g., Ahl al-bidat, Amr al-maruf, Fard, Halal, Haram, Wajib, Jaiz, Makruh, Tanzih al-Makruh, Tahrim al-Makruh and the like). We have put these simplified explanatory phrases at the beginning of the chapter as “Keywords” so that the reader may refer to it and we could use the keyword in the text. In other instances, certain terms were used in their original form, e.g., Sunnat, Hadith, Jihad, Fitna, Amr al-maruf or Nahy anil munkar. Another difficulty involves citing an action as permissible or forbidden or the like. During the past 1400 years of Islamic history, judgements were passed by the scholars or qualified judges of their times almost on every action of a person. This book also repeats various kinds of judgements after explaining an action or affair. These judgements are different from an ordinary judgement passed by a judge in the sense that these have connotations of bringing rewards or punishments in the next world. The reader must learn their meaning before advancing any further in the subject. A good strategy might be, reading the chapter once and then coming back and reading it again. The translator, where appropriate, added explanations within a curly parenthesis, e.g., {...}. Also, to make the subject matter easier for those who are familiar with Arabic, we have included Arabic terms along with their English versions.

 

ISLAMIC ETHICS
FIRST CHAPTER

The first chapter of the book explains forty of the most important vices and their remedies. All of the following information is translated from the first chapter of the famous Islamic book Barika written by Abu Sa’id Muhammad Hadimi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him. This book originally written in two volumes in Arabic was published in 1284 Hijri [1868 A.D]. in Istanbul and again was reproduced in 1411 Hijri [1991 A.D.] by Hakikat Bookstore. Muhammad Hadimi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, passed away in 1176 Hijri Qamari [1762 A.D.] in his birth place Hadim village of the city of Konya/Turkey.

VICES AND METHODS OF CLEANSING
ONE’S SELF FROM THEM

Things that harm men in this and in the next world are due to the vices. The essence of men’s spiritual loss is his having vices. Men’s avoidance of vices is called piety (Taqwa). Piety is the most precious of all worships. Decorating something requires that the thing first should be cleansed from all dirt and stain. Similarly, neither any reward (Thawab) will be given nor any benefit will occur for the worships unless the man who does those worships cleanses himself from the sin. The worst of all vices is disbelief (Kufr). The good deeds of a person who does not have belief will not bear any fruit for him in the hereafter. [A disbeliever who is killed due tyranny does not become a martyr and will not go to heaven.] The foundation of all virtues is piety. One should try hard to obtain piety and advise others to do the same. Living in this world peacefully with others and obtaining the best of eternal blessings could only be accomplished through having piety.

Vices cause disease at the heart or spirit. Any increase in this disease will cause the death [Kufr] of the spirit. Disbelief (Shirk), which is the worst of all the vices, is the deadly poison of the spirit. Some people who do not have belief claim: “My heart (spiritual) is clean. You look at my heart.” Their claim is no more than empty words. A dead heart cannot be clean.

There are many types of disbelief. The worst of all is the polytheism. Often, representing every element of a species or variety is done through pointing out to the biggest element of that species or variety. Similarly, the way the word “Shirk” is used in the verses of the Holy Qur’an and sayings of our Holy Prophet, i.e., “Hadiths”, it represents all sorts of disbelief. Allahu ta’ala, in the 48th and 116th verses of the Chapter Nisa of the Qur’an said that He will never forgive the polytheists (Mushriks). These verses point out that disbelievers will burn in the hell fire forever.

[“Shirk” means attributing partners to Allahu ta’ala. A person who does the attributing is called polytheis and the one who is attributed as resembling to Allahu ta’ala is called partner (Sharik). Believing that someone possesses one of the attributes of Divinity comes to mean making him partner (Sharik). The attributes possessed exclusively by Allahu ta’ala are called “Attributes of Divinity.” Some Divine attributes are the following: Existing eternally, creating, all-knowing, and healing the sick. Believing that a human being or sun or a cow or any other creature possesses a divine attribute and thus paying respect or begging to that being or creature is called worshiping to him or to that creature. Those things become an idol. Saying words that come to mean as paying respect to such persons or speaking respectfully in front of statues, pictures or graves of disbelievers assumed to be possessing divine attributes comes to mean worshiping and thus it is polytheism. If one believes that a person does not possess a divine attribute but instead he is a person loved by Allahu ta’ala or alternately if one believes that he has served his nation much and thus deserves respect, paying respect to his statues or pictures is not disbelief or polytheism. Nevertheless, since paying respect to picture of any person is forbidden (Haram), anyone doing so becomes a sinner (Fasik). If he does not pay attention to its being forbidden, he will become an apostate (Murtad) just like those who become apostates due slighting a prohibited action (Haram). Since those Jews and Christians who are not “Mushriks” do not believie in the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him, they are disbelievers. They are called “Disbelievers having a divine book.” Presently, most of the Christians are polytheists because they attribute divinity to prophet “Isa”, i.e., Jesus, peace be upon him. Those sects of the Christians who are in Barnabas and Arius Sects are “Disbelievers having a divine book” but they do not exist in our time anyway.]

Believing in “Bidats” and practicing them is the second worst disease of the spirit after disbelief (Shirk). Then comes not abstaining from sinning. A person who dies without making repentance for small or grave sins other then disbelief may be forgiven by Allahu ta’ala either through intercession (Shafa’at) or just by His Mercy. If the small sin is not forgiven then there will be punishment in the hell. Sins that involve violating rights of other human beings will not be forgiven easily. Most likely, people who commit them will be punished more severely. For example, not giving wife’s due money (Mahr) regarding the marriage contract or prohibiting human beings from learning their correct (Haqq) religion is the greatest gross violation of human rights. Rasulullah, peace be upon him, communicated the following, “A time will come such that people will not care whether they earn the money by permissible (Halal) means or not,” and “A time will come such that practicing Islam will be as difficult as holding a fire ball with bare hands.” Therefore, avoiding committing all prohibited actions (Harams) and strongly disliked actions (Tahrim al-Makruhs) is piety (Takwa). Not performing obligatory duties (Fards) and strongly recommended actions (Wajibs) are forbidden (Haram). According to some information, not peforming “Muakkad Sunnats,” i.e., those actions carried out by our Prophet regularly, without an excuse is strongly disliked (Tahrim al-makruh.) People who do not carry out orders of Islam with respect to belief (Itiqad), ethics (Akhlaq), and deeds (Amal) will be punished. Obviously, one must avoid doing things that will cause punishment. For example, not performing five daily “Salats” and women’s and girls’ not covering themselves is a grave sin. It would be a strong requirement for one to abstain from the grave sin by performing the five daily “Salats.” Nevertheless, in this book, we will not deal with the subject matter regarding the things that must not be avoided {i.e., performing the “Fard” should not be avoided or in other words it must be performed} instead we will communicate the things that should be avoided, i.e., prohibited actions and vices.

The things we should not do (prohibited actions) are carried out either by a particular organ or by the whole body. The following eight organs are very well known for committing sins: spiritual heart, ears, eyes, tongue, hands, stomach, sexual organs and feet. The spiritual heart (Qalb) is a spiritual substance blown upon the material heart of human beings. It is incorporeal, not made of matter, like the spirit. These organs themselves do not commit the sin. The sensing power of these organs does commit the sin. Anyone who wants to attain the happiness of this and the next worlds must stop these organs from committing sin. State of not committing sin has to become a natural state (Malaka, habit) of the spiritual heart. Anyone who can achieve this state is called Allah-fearing (Muttaqi) or pious person (Salih.) Such pious persons obtain the consent of Allahu ta’ala and become friend (Wali) of Allahu ta’ala. {“Wali” means close.} Even though, struggling and forcing one’s self into not doing the forbidden (Haram) actions is piety (Takwa), that is not enough to become a friend (Wali) of Allahu ta’ala. Becoming a friend (Wali) of Allahu ta’ala requires that the state of abstaining from sins has to become the natural or regular state or habit of the spiritual heart. This state can only be obtained through cleansing the spiritual heart. Cleansing the heart requires obedience to the rules of Islam. Islam has three parts: knowledge (Ilm), practice (Amal), and sincerity (Ikhlas). (1) Learning the knowledge that pertains the commandments, i.e., Fards, Wajibs, Sunnats, and forbidden actions (Harams and Makruhs), (2) carrying out these according to this knowledge, and (3) doing these only for the sake of Allahu ta’ala. The Qur’an al-karim orders and praises all these three parts. In this book, we will only communicate those sins that are to be abstained in order to cleanse the heart. They are called vices, unethical behavior, or immoral acts.

UNETHICAL BEHAVIOR OR IMMORALITY AND ITS REMEDY

A Muslim as a first priority should strive to cleanse his (spiritual) heart because heart is the leader of the body and all organs are under its command. Our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, once said: “There is a piece of meat in the human body. If this is good, all the organs will be good. If this is evil, all the organs will be evil. This piece of meat is the heart.” What is described in this hadith is not the physical heart but the spiritual heart that is located over the physical heart. The goodness of the meat, as referred above, means its cleansing from vices and its assimilation of good morals (virtues). The physical appearance of a human being is called creation (Halq). The powers or states that exist in the heart are called habits (Hulq). The vices of the heart are called “maladies of the heart” or unacceptable-morals (Akhlaq al-zamima). Their cure is a very difficult task. Correct treatment requires extremely sophisticated knowledge about the maladies and correct methodology to apply this knowledge. Habits are the faculties (Malakas) or states or desires of the heart. The powers of the spiritual hearts of human beings generate their beliefs, deeds, and conscious behaviors.

Changing or transforming the state of the heart from undesirable, unwanted, unacceptable-morals or habits to desirable good-habits is possible. Our Prophet, peace be upon him, once said, “Improve your morals (habits or character).” Islam does not order commandments that cannot be accomplished. Experiences also show that this is the case. [Experience is only one of the three true-knowledge-acquirement methods. The other two true-knowledge-acquirement-methods are understanding through calculation and information passed to us by our Prophet.] Human beings do not possess equal ability to correct their unacceptable deficient morals.

Origin or source or fountain of the ethics is the three powers of the human spirit. The first one is the power of understanding (comprehension) of the spirit. This is also called “Nutq” or intellect (Aql). The first and second powers of “Nutq” are theoretical knowledge (Hikmat al-nazari) and practical knowledge (Hikmat al-amali) respectively. Theoretical knowledge that exists in average proportions is called wisdom (Hikmat). Wisdom is the power that discriminates between virtue and vice; right and wrong; and good and evil. A character having more than average amounts of wisdom in its constitution is called a smart aleck (Jarbaza). This type of person tries to understand things beyond comprehension. For example, he tries to interpret verses of the Qur’an with hidden or metaphoric meanings (Mutashabih ayats) or talks about the fate and destiny or commits harmful acts like plotting or deceiving others. Alternately, the character that has less than necessary amounts of wisdom in its constitution is called foolishness (Baladat). This type of person cannot discriminate between vices and virtues. Intellect’s (Nutq, Aql) Practical knowledge which exists in average proportion is called justice (Adalat). Justice cannot be in excessive or fewer proportions.

The second power of the sources of the ethics is anger (Ghadab). It is the power of the animal spirit. This force repulses things that are not agreeable to its taste. When the human spirit subdues this animal power and provides an average proportion of this power then it is called bravery (Shajaat). He attempts to do useful things with it. For example, a Muslim’s saving a victim from his attackers or Muslims’ warring against a disbeliever army that is no more than double in numbers are good examples of bravery. A character having more than average amounts of anger in its constitution causes aggressive behavior (Tahawwur). A person having this habit gets angry fast. If this power exists less than average proportions, it is called cowardice (Jubn). A person having this character will not be able to attempt to do the necessary actions.

The third power of the human spirit is appetite (Shahwat). It is the animal spirit’s desires and wants with respect to things that it likes. When the human spirit subdues the animal spirit, it provides an average proportion of appetite called chastity (Iffat), or honor. A person who has chastity carries out those actions, which rise due to the needs of being human according to guidelines laid out by Islam and humanity. A character having excessive proportions of appetite in its constitution is called greed (Sharat) and debauchery (Fujur). A person having this character tries to acquire all of his desires and wants without regard to laws or others’ rights. When appetite is less than average proportions in one’s character, it causes a lazy character (Humud). A person having this character would not even try to attempt to get help for himself when he is sick or would not try to get things that are necessary for himself either because of his extreme sense of shame, fear or pride.

Afore said four average proportions namely, wisdom (Hikmat), justice (Adalat), chastity (Iffat) and bravery (Shajaat) are the essence of all virtues. When a human being obeys or submits to the wisdom, which is one of the three powers of the spirit, he overcomes the other two forces of the animal-spirit, i.e., self-assertion, anger (Ghadab) and appetite. One finds the happiness by joining these two forces with the average degrees of chastity and bravery. Instead, if one cannot obtain the average proportion of the theoretical knowledge of the intellect, i.e., if one cannot obtain wisdom, one deviates into two extremes, excessive or deficient proportions and the vices come into existence. Six habits that are in either excessive or deficient proportions are always harmful. Even, those four virtues that are in average proportions would be evil if they are done with evil intentions. For example, if wisdom is used to obtain worldly ranks or possessions, it becomes evil, e.g., if one becomes a religious leader to gather property and wealth, or if one performs fight (Jihad) or “Salat” prayer for boasting. Sacrificing some pleasures to obtain a worldly post or pleasure would be using chastity in a wrong way.

Each of the four main virtues is recognized by their attributes. For example, wisdom has seven attributes. Bravery and chastity each has eleven attributes.

REMEDY FOR THE VICES: A medicine that would be a common cure for all the vices is the recognition of the disease and things that are harmful to it, its cause, its opposite as well as effects of the medicine. After learning and recognizing the disease, the step of identifying the diseases at one’s self is important. He either recognizes the disease himself or would know through communication of a scholar (Alim) or a spiritual guide (Murshid). A believer (Mumin) is a mirror of another believer. Recognizing one’s own (spiritual) diseases, maladies, and deficiencies are very difficult-task. However, one may learn them by asking to a dependable friend. A dependable friend is a person who would protect him from all kinds of dangers and fears. Finding such a friend is very difficult. For that reason Imam ash-Shafi’i, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, said:

A dependable friend and the real medicine
Very difficult to find, do not waste your time!

Hadrat Umar, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, said:

My friend warned me about my shortcomings,
This is the wisdom of being a brother.

One may also recognize his deficiencies by being alert to the remarks of his enemies. Enemies look for a chance to bring up and talk about one’s deficiencies. Good friends usually do not see their friends’ faults. When someone asked to the famous Sufi master Ibrahim bin Athham, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, if he could tell him his mistakes and faults. He answered him by saying that he made him a friend to himself thereby he could not see any faults in him, and advised him to ask to others. Another way of recognizing one’s shortcomings is observing faults of others. When one observes faults of others, he should look at his own affairs to see if he has the same faults and if he has, he should try to get rid of them. This way of identifying vices is also a method for curing the vices and is the meaning of the following hadith, “A believer (Mumin) is a mirror of another believer.” In other words, he identifies his own faults when he sees those deficiencies in others. When Jesus (Isa), peace be upon him, was asked how he got his virtues, he answered: “I did not learn from anyone. I looked at the others; observed the things I did not like and I abstained doing the same. I also performed the things I liked.” When they asked famous doctor Lucman, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, how he learned his virtues, he answered by saying that he learned them from those who did not have any virtues. Furthermore, one may also become virtues by reading the life stories of the great companions, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with them, of our Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and the friend (Awliya) who lived in the centuries following the time our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

A person who has a vice should search for the reason (cause) of catching that vice. He should try to annihilate this cause and then try to get rid of it by doing its opposite. One should try very hard to do the opposite of the vice for getting rid of it. Because, getting rid of a vice is very difficult. The soul (Nafs) loves evil and ugly things.

Another useful medicine for getting rid of vices is to establish a method of retribution. For example, when one commits a vice, immediately afterwards, one should do some action one’s soul does not like. A good way of accomplishing this is to take an oath. Namely, one should take an oath to the effect that if one commits a vice, one will do extra goodness such as giving alms, fasting or performing “Salats.” Since one’s soul never likes to do extra prayers, one will stop committing vices. Another useful medicine is reading or listening from others about those vices which produce harmful results. Many hadiths inform us about the harms of vices. Some of them are:

1– “In the sight of Allahu ta’ala, there is no greater sin than vices.” Because, those who commit vices do not know that they are committing sin. Therefore, they do not repent for their sin so that their sins accumulate and increase many folds.

2– “The one sin which human beings commit without any hesitation or reservation is being a person with vices.”

3– “There is a repentance for every sort of sin but there is none for vices.”

4– “As hot water melts an ice cube, virtues with similar ease melt away the mistakes and errors. As vinegar destroys honey, vices destroy rewards (Thawabs) of good deeds with equal ease.”

Justice (Adalat), chastity (Iffat), bravery (Shajaat) and wisdom (Hikmat) that is not used with evil intentions are the fountain of all virtues. One should associate with pious (Salih) and good-natured persons in order to be a good-natured person or to protect his virtues. One’s nature (Akhlaq) would be similar to one’s friend’s nature. Nature is like a contagious disease. That means, it catches on fast. Therefore, one should not become friendly with evil-natured persons. It is reported that our Prophet, peace be upon him, once said, “One’s religious beliefs will be similar to his friend’s beliefs.” One should avoid, doing non-useful things, playing, making harmful jokes or arguing with others. One should learn knowledge and do useful deeds. One should not read books that harm one’s morals or which promotes sex or should not watch television programs or listen to the radio programs that promote destructive morals or arouses sexual desires. One should constantly remind oneself the benefits of virtues and harmful effects of the prohibited actions and the punishment they will incur in the hell. No one who runs after the possessions ever satisfied their endless desires. Nevertheless, those who wanted rank and worldly possessions to do good deeds with them lived comfortably and happily. Worldly ranks and possessions should not be one’s goals but instead should be vehicles to do goodness to others. Worldly ranks and possessions are like an ocean and many people are drawn in that ocean. Having the fear of Allahu ta’ala is the ship that one needs to survive in that ocean. Our Prophet, peace be upon him, once said, “One should live in the world not like a permanent resident but like a traveler, and should never forget that he will die!” Human beings will not live in this world forever. When one is absorbed with worldly pleasures, one’s troubles, worries and distress will increase. The following hadiths should never be forgotten:

1– “A slave of Allahu ta’ala who does not have much worships will have high grades in the hereafter if he has good morals.”

2– “The easiest and the most useful worship is to talk less and be a good-natured person.”

3– “A slave of Allahu ta’ala may have many worships but, his evil nature will deliver him into the depths of hell. Furthermore, will sometimes lead him into disbelief.”

4– It is reported that once the companions, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with them, communicated to Rasulullah, peace be upon him, that someone in the community was a very devout person. He was spending his days with fasting and his nights with praying but also had an evil nature. Rasulullah, peace be upon him, responded, “His state is not a good one. His destination will be hell fire.”

5– “I was sent to complement the virtues and to help the people so that they may assimilate these virtues.” The virtues also existed in the previously sent monotheistic religions. Islam was sent to complement those virtues. Since this religion exists with all the good commandments and habits, there is no need for another source to inform us regarding the virtues. Therefore, no other prophet will come after the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

6– “A good-natured person will acquire both worldly and next worldly happiness.” A person with virtues fulfills his obligations toward Allahu ta’ala and His creatures.

7– “Hell fire will not burn a person who has a good nature and has a beautiful physical appearance.”

8– “Being good-natured means to approach or establish close relationship with those who run away from you or to forgive those who oppresses you or to give away money or the like to those persons who are stingy toward you.” A good-natured person will do goodness to those who break up with him or he would forgive those who harm his honor or him physically or materially.

9– “Allahu ta’ala will fill the heart of a person with belief and trustworthiness if he treats others with soft manners while he is angry.” He will have no fear of anything. The best of all virtues is doing goodness to the one who treats you improperly. This behavior is the sign of maturity and it converts one’s enemies into friends. Imam al-Ghazali, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, says that he has read the following statements in the New Testament (Injil) which was revealed to Jesus (Isa), peace be upon him: “Do not respond ill treatment with ill treatment! Turn your left cheek to those who hit you on the right cheek! Give your pants to those who take away your overcoat!” [Our book Could not Answer informs us that the modified New Testament held by Christians today also includes the same teaching. Books inform us about the cruelties, oppression and torture of Muslims and Jews by Christians in Spain during the Spanish inquisitions, in India, in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Jerusalem as well as against each other by the Inquisition courts. Their uncivilized behavior proves that they are not following the true teachings of the New Testament.]

Every Muslim should get rid of vices residing in his heart and replace them with virtues. One cannot be a good-natured person by replacing a few vices with a few good ones. A Sufi path is the way that makes one to obtain this maturity, i.e., obtaining all virtues. [A path that cannot provide this maturity cannot be called a Sufi path. As it often happens, there are some pseudo practitioners in every field of endeavor. So, there are some in the field of knowledge and Sufi Path (Tariqat) who call themselves as spiritual guide (Shaikh). In reality, they know nothing about the real Islam and beautiful moral teachings of Islam. We should beware of these types and avoid their traps.]

Sixty vices are well known. We translated and included forty of them in forty sub chapters. A person who avoid these vices and do their opposites will be a virtues or good-natured person.

1– DISBELIEF (KUFR)

The worst of all the evils is not having belief in Allahu ta’ala or in others words to be an atheist. Not believing prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him, causes disbelief (Kufr). Angels, human beings and genies (Jinns) are ordered to have belief in things that are necessary to believe. Belief means accepting by heart all the commandments revealed to Muhammad, peace be upon him, by Allahu ta’ala and delivered by him to us and to repeat this belief through one’s tongue. Place for the belief is the spiritual heart (Qalb). The spiritual heart is a power that exists over the biological heart. If there is a necessitating circumstance for not repeating one’s belief through the tongue, like when one is threatened or when one is sick or not having tongue or one dies without having time to repeat it, then it will be forgiven. Believing by just imitating and without understanding is still considered as belief. Not understanding or not thinking about the existence of Allahu ta’ala is sin. Denying any one of the things that is necessary to believe would come to mean denying the whole thing. Acknowledging the totality of things to be believed without considering every individual item is still believing. Avoiding things considered as signs of disbelief by Islam is necessary in order to have belief. The following are signs of disbelief: taking things lightly about Islam or ridiculing or mocking or making fun of anything related to Qur’an, angels or any one of the prophets, peace be upon them. Meaning of denial is not to believe or acknowledge after hearing it. Having doubts about things that are necessary to believe would also come to mean disbelief.

There are three types of disbelief: 1)disbelief out of ignorance (Jahli), 2) disbelief by knowingly (Juhudi), and 3) disbelief by judgement (Hukmi).

1– Disbelief out of Ignorance (Kufr-i Jahli): This is the disbelief of those who did not think or hear about it. “Jahl” means ignorance. There are two types of ignorance.

a) simple ignorance. People having this ignorance know that they are ignorant. They do not have wrong belief. They are like animals because what differentiates humans from the animals is knowledge and understanding. These people are even lower than the animals because every animal is advanced in a special field which it is created for and it understands what is useful for itself and tries to acquire those. Furthermore, it also understands what is harmful for itself and keeps away from it. On the other hand, these ignorant people know that they do not know but they do not take any action to remedy their ignorance.

[Imam ar-Rabbani, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, says the following in the 259th letter of the first volume of his book Maktubat (Letters), “As I understand it, people who were raised in the mountains and never heard of any religion and were idol worshipers will neither go to hell nor heaven. After the resurrection, they will be questioned about their deeds and after paying necessary retribution and punishment for their wrong doings, they will be annihilated along with other animals. They will not stay in any station forever. It is very hard for me to say that Allahu ta’ala will punish those people in hell fire eternally because they could not find the right path or the true religion with their minds or intellect while we witness every day that most of the people daily make mistakes even on worldly affairs. Moreover, those children of disbelievers who die before reaching puberty will also be annihilated the way we mentioned earlier.

Another class of people who will neither go to hell nor heaven is the people who lived in the places and times of no Divine Guidance. Such is the case when long period passes after the life of a prophet and the religion brought by him is forgotten or changed by oppressive persons so that people could not know about the prophets or the true religion. Lastly, people who live in the disbelievers’ countries and unheard of Islam will neither go to hell nor heaven but will be annihilated.”]

Learning knowledge pertaining the things that everyone must believe is obligatory (Fard). Also, it is obligatory to learn, as much as necessary, the important ones among the obligatory and prohibited deeds. Not learning the essential knowledge is a grave sin. Furthermore, after learning them, not paying attention to them would cause disbelief. The remedy for ignorance is to work hard for learning it.

b) The second type of ignorance is the combined ignorance (Jahl al-murakkab) which comes to mean having the wrong and corrupt belief. The belief of the ancient Greek philosophers and the people among the seventy-two corrupt divisions (Bidat) of Muslims who lose their belief are of this type. This type of ignorance is worst than the first type. It is a disease that has no remedy. Jesus (Isa), peace be upon him, said, “I have reviewed the sensing powers of deaf-mutes and resurrected the dead bodies but I could not find remedy for the combined ignorance.” This type of people don’t consider themselves as ignorants. Instead, they hold themselves and their knowledge superior to others. They are not aware of their diseases so they do not seek remedy. Only those who are given Divine Assistance can come to their senses so to understand their disease and seek remedy for it.

2– Disbelief by knowingly (Kufr al-Juhudiya): People who are in this category choose disbelief by knowingly either because they are fond of worldly ranks or they are haughty or they are afraid that people will think of them in lowly terms when they switch to a new religion. For example, Pharaoh and his companions had this type of disbelief. While they were witnessing the miracles of Moses (Musa), peace be upon him, they preferred to stay in disbelief and said that they could not believe in someone who is a man just like themselves. They did not accept that a man just like themselves could be a Prophet. They supposed that a Prophet should be one of the angels. Nevertheless, they worshiped to Pharaoh who was just a man like themselves. Also, the Byzantine emperor Heracles preferred to stay in disbelief knowingly because he loved his kingship so much and thought that if he would change his religion, he would lose his kingship. Byzantine kings are called Emperor or Caesar. Persian kings are called Chosroes. Ethiopian kings are called Negus. Turkish kings are called Khan. Coptic or Gypsy kings are called Pharaoh. Egyptian kings are called “Aziz.” Hmyarite kings are called Tubba. One of the companions of our Prophet, Dihya, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, delivered a letter from prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to the Byzantine emperor Heracles in Damascus. He was invited to Islam with that letter. Just a day before he received the letter, he invited Abu Sufyan, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, who was the leader of the Meccan business caravan that was visiting Damascus then, to his mansion and asked him: I have heard that someone in Madina claiming to be a Prophet. Is he one of the nobles or one of the lower class? Is anyone before him also claimed to be a Prophet? Were any of his ancestors an Amir or Malik? {Titles given to a ruling person.} Are the people who join to his ranks belong to wealthy families or are they the poor and incompetent men? Is his call to the new religion making progress or not? Are any of those who join his religion later departing from it? Was he ever caught by lying or not keeping his promise? Was he winning or losing his wars? When Abu Sufyan, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, answered all of his questions, though he did not answer some of them correctly because of his disbelief and envy, Heracles said that all of those answers showed that he is a true Prophet. Abu Sufyan, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, told Heracles that he (Prophet Muhammad) told the people that he was taken from Makka to the Distant Mosque (Masjid al-Aksa) in Jerusalem over night. One of the persons who was in the presence of Heracles, after hearing this, joined the conversation and said that he was at the Distant Mosque in Jerusalem at that night and told them everything that he has witnessed that night. The following day Heracles received the companion of our prophet Dihya and let the letter be read and after that he told Dihya that he believed what was in the letter and that he believed in the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him. Nevertheless, he was afraid of telling this to his people. He told Dihya to take that letter to such a priest, gave his description, and said that he was a very knowledgeable person and he thinks that he would also believe what was in the letter. The priest after reading the letter immediately accepted the message and the invitation of the new faith, and invited people around him to this new faith. Yet people killed him instead. Dihya went back to Heracles and reported what has happened. Heracles answered that he knew this would happen and that is why he did not tell anyone about his acceptance of the new faith. He wrote a letter to Rasulullah, peace be upon him, and reported his belief. Later, he went to the Capitol city Hamus and there he was told that there was a letter from one of his servants informing the prophethood of Muhammad, peace be upon him, and his success story. He gathered the leading personalities of his community and let the letter be read to them, and then he told them that he has believed in his prophethood. All the people who gathered around him severely opposed and objected to that news. After observing the severity of the situation he understood that they would not believe, so, he apologized to them and told them that he was testing the strength of their attachment to their religion. People who were opposing him calmed down with his answers and prostrated to him and expressed their consent with him. Therefore, he, by knowingly, preferred disbelief to truth because of his love for the kingship. Later, he sent an army to the place known as Mute to fight with the Muslims. At that war many Muslims were martyred. When Rasulullah, peace be upon him, received the letter of Heracles, he said, “He is lying. He did not change his faith of Christianity.” The copy of the letter that was sent to Heracles was written in the hadith book Sahih al-Bukhari, and in the books Mawahib and Barika.

3– Disbelief by judgement (Kufr al-Hukmi). A person who says things or do deeds that are judged by Islam as signs of disbelief will become a disbeliever even though he really believes by heart and proclaims through his speech. Ridiculing, insulting or despising anything Islam holds valuable or precious causes disbelief. Anyone who says something which is not worthy of Allahu ta’ala becomes a disbeliever. For example, anyone who says the following phrases would become a disbeliever: Allahu ta’ala is looking down to us from the skies (Arsh); as you are oppressing me Allahu ta’ala is oppressing you; such and such a Muslim is like a Jew in my sight; while something is a lie, saying that Allahu ta’ala knows that it is the truth; to say things that would be insulting to angels; to say things that would be insulting to the Qur’an or even one letter of the Qur’an; not to believe in any part of the Qur’an whether it be a letter of the Qur’an; to recite the Qur’an by playing music; not to believe in the real “Taurah” or the original New Testament (Injil) or desecrate these original books; reciting Qur’an with wrong letters and claim that this is the original Qur’an; to say inappropriate things about the prophets; not to believe any one of the twenty-five prophets which are specifically mentioned in the Qur’an by name; not to like any one of the famous deeds which are done regularly by our prophet (Sunnats); to think of a man who helps others much, as, better or higher than the prophets; to say that prophets were needy people. Because, their neediness was by their own choice; believing in a person who declares himself as prophet. When one hears the hadith, “The area between my grave and my prayer station ‘Minbar’ is a garden which is part of the gardens of heaven,” to say that one does not see in that area nothing but praying rugs and the grave, is disbelief. Making fun of things, which will occur in the next world also causes disbelief. Not believing the punishments in the grave [by saying that they are not compatible with science] or at the gathering place after resurrection (Qiyamat) or making jokes of things that will happen after resurrection is also disbelief. Not believing that Allahu ta’ala will be seen in heaven (Jannat); to say that I do not want heaven but I want to see Allahu ta’ala also causes disbelief. Saying words which show one’s disbelief in Islam; saying that the scientific knowledge is better than religious knowledge; saying that there is no difference between praying “salat” or not praying “salat”; saying “I will not give obligatory almsgiving (Zakat)”; to say that interest (Riba) or oppression (Zulm) should have been permissible; giving property or money which was obtained by forbidden (Haram) means to the poor and expecting reward (Thawab) in the hereafter; the poor person (receiver) makes prayer (Dua) for the giver while he knows that the money was earned by forbidden means; to say that the method of comparison (Kiyas) used by Imam Azam Abu Hanifa, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, was not correct, all cause disbelief. Chapter “Araf”, 57th verse of the Qur’an says, “Allah sends the winds before the rain, which is His mercy (Rahmat), as a bearer of good news. Winds carry the heavy clouds. We water down the dead soil through waters from the clouds. We raise fruits from the soil through that rain. We will also raise the dead bodies out of their graves in the same manner.” This verse proves that comparison (Kiyas) was correct. This verse communicates a method of comparison. In this verse a controversial subject, e.g., raising of the dead bodies is compared with a non-controversial well-known subject, e.g., the rain and its effect on the soil. Since, everyone knows that Allahu ta’ala makes the rain and raise the grass from the soil. This verse proves through a comparison that the process of raising of the dead bodies at resurrection resembles to the process of raising of the green grass out of the dead soil.

Not accepting the knowledge communicated clearly by Islam or not showing respect to this knowledge or to Islamic scholars who bears this knowledge is also disbelief by judgement (Kufr al-Hukmi).

Anyone who desires to become a disbeliever will become one from that point of time when he intends to become a disbeliever. Anyone who wishes others to become disbelievers will himself become a disbeliever if he wants them become disbelievers because he himself likes the disbelief. He will not become a disbeliever if he wants them to become disbelievers because they are evil, oppressive persons and he wants them to be punished in hell fire because of their oppressive behaviors. A person will become a disbeliever if he says the words that cause disbelief knowingly and with his own desire. If he says these words by unknowingly, e.g., he does not know that saying these words will cause disbelief, according to the majority of scholars, he will still become a disbeliever. If while one is trying to say a word which does not cause disbelief but instead, mistakenly, says a word which will cause disbelief, he will not become a disbeliever.

Doing a disbelief causing deed knowingly results in disbelief. There are many scholars who say that it will still cause disbelief even one does not know that doing that deed will cause disbelief. Tieing the rope (Zunnar) around one’s belly or dressing things that are the sign of disbelief will cause one to become a disbeliever. {Priests tie a rope (Zunnar) around their belly and thus it is a sign of a disbeliever.} Using these during the war for disguising one’s self from the enemy or during the peace times to deceive tyrants, will not cause disbelief. But, if a businessman uses these to disguise himself in the disbelievers’ country, he will become a disbeliever. Using these to make jokes or to make others laugh will cause one to become a disbeliever, even though he might have correct belief. When disbelievers are celebrating their holy days, doing religious things that are practiced by them for that special day will cause disbelief. Also, giving those things, which are special for the religious holy day, to them as gifts will cause disbelief. {For example, during the Easter holy day of Christians, painting eggs and giving them as gift to Christian children would cause disbelief.} It is not a requirement for the soul (Nafs) to believe in order to become a Muslim. A Muslim may experience in his heart certain feelings like, things that cause disbelief. If he does not say those things through his tongue, it will show the strength of his belief. We should not call those who use things that cause disbelief, as disbelievers. If someone’s deeds or sayings could be interpreted 99 percent of the time as things cause disbelief and 1 percent of the time as things that will cause belief, this person cannot be called a disbeliever. We are ordered to have a good opinion (Husn al-zan) for other Muslims.

Statements which are made to show that one is a literary person or one is very knowledgeable or smart or just to amaze others or to make others laugh or to tease others may cause disbelief by judgement (Kufr al-hukmi). Saying certain things while one is in fury may also cause disbelief by judgement. For that reason, a human being should think the consequences before he opens his mouth or before he does some action. One should always maintain his life such that in every of his affairs the religion should take the first priority over other considerations. Also, one should never take any sin lightly. For example, upon committing a small sin, if one is reminded by others that he should repent for that small sin and if that person replies by saying that he did not do anything which would require repentance, or why should he repent for or similar phrases in that nature, his response would cause disbelief. If a girl was married to a Muslim before her puberty and if after reaching puberty she does not know what belief or Islam is all about or if she cannot explain these when she is asked, her marriage would be invalid because in order for a marriage to continue and be valid, one has to be a Muslim. While she was a child she was considered as a Muslim on her parents’ account because her parents were Muslims so was she. But when she reaches puberty, she is no longer considered as such. This also applies to boys similarly. When a person murders a Muslim or someone orders another to kill a Muslim, a person who witness this says that he has done a very good thing, he becomes a disbeliever. Saying that such and such person should be killed would cause disbelief if according to divine law that person should not be killed. Approving or confirming a wrongdoer such as a murderer, who killed or severely beaten an innocent person by saying that you did very good job. He already deserved that or similar phrases, causes disbelief. Showing Allahu ta’ala as a witness for a lie or wrongdoing would cause disbelief. For example, saying, “Allahu ta’ala knows, I love you more than my children”, causes disbelief. When a ranking person of the community sneezes, if a person who is present there responds by saying “Yarhamukallah” {All of us are ordered to say this phrase to a sneezing person.} and others who are also there react to this person by saying to him that he should not have said such things to a high ranking person, their sayings cause disbelief. Not taking orders of Islam seriously also causes disbelief. For example, not praying or fasting or not paying obligatory almsgiving (Zakat) because one does not consider them important things causes disbelief. Becoming hopeless of the mercy of Allahu ta’ala also causes disbelief.

Money, property or belongings that are not normally prohibited (Haram) but become prohibited later due to an external cause or reason are called “Haram li-gayrihi”, e.g., stolen things or things that are obtained by forbidden means. Calling them as permissible (Halal) do not cause disbelief. Things such as carcass, pigs, wine which are forbidden in essence are called “Haram li-aynihi”. Calling them as permissible causes disbelief. Calling any of the certainly known sins as permissible causes disbelief. Belittling or making mockery of things that are held respectable by Islam, i.e., “Azan”, mosque, fiqh-books also causes disbelief. [The call to prayer (Azan) which is heard from the radio or from the loud speaker is not the real “Azan.” It is a look alike of the real “Azan.” A look alike of something is different from the real one.] Performing prayers under the following conditions causes disbelief: while one knows that he does not have ablution (Wudu) or one knows that the time of “Salat” is not entered yet or while one knows that he is praying to a direction other than the direction of Mecca (Qibla). Calling someone a disbeliever to show his evil character would not cause disbelief. As it is written above, calling someone a disbeliever by wishing that he should become a disbeliever, causes disbelief. Committing sin would not cause disbelief but, slighting or not paying attention whether it is sin or not causes disbelief. Not believing that making prayers is necessary or abstaining from sin is necessary, causes disbelief. Believing that the tax collected from the people becomes property of the ruler (Sultan) also causes disbelief. According to “Sadr ul-Islam” it is permissible (Jaiz) to say that a friend (Awliya) of Allahu ta’ala could be seen at the same day and at the same hour in different places of the earth simultaneously. “Fiqh” books report that a man and a woman who live far apart, e.g., man lives in West, (for example in Spain) and woman lives in East (in India) may have children. According to great scholar Umar Nasrafi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, it is permissible {It can happen} that Allahu ta’ala gives supernatural manifestations (Karamat) to His beloved friends by changing the natural laws, and this statement is true. The questions like “what is Islam” or “what is belief” should not be directed to ignorant people. Instead, answers to these questions should be explained first and then should be asked if it was so. They should apply this procedure to man and woman who wants to get married before the marriage contract (Nikah) ceremony in order to understand if they possess belief. There are many things that cause disbelief, i.e., expressions and actions. When we see or hear these things, we should not call performers of these things as disbelievers or we should not think about them in evil terms (su-i zan) unless we certainly and clearly understand that they meant disbelief or that they meant belittling the sacred law.

If a Muslim willingly does some action or says something which is unanimously reported to cause disbelief, he becomes a disbeliever, i.e., he becomes an apostate (Murtad). All of his previous worships, good deeds and earned rewards (Thawabs) would perish. If he becomes Muslim again, if he is rich, he has to renew the pilgrimage (Hajj). But, it would not be necessary to repeat the “Salats,” “Fasting” or obligatory almsgiving (Zakat). Furthermore, the “Salat” prayers, which were not prayed on their due time and were due for repeating (Qada) before he became an apostate must be repeated for compensation (Qada). Becoming an apostate does not remove or cancel the previous sins. Marriage of an apostate becomes void. The children who were born during the interim time span of becoming an apostate and repenting and becoming Muslim again and renewing the marriage contract would be illegitimate children. The animals slaughtered by an apostate become carcasses and cannot be consumed. A person who becomes an apostate cannot become a Muslim again just by saying the word of “Shahadah” or by praying “Salats.” He must repent and renounce the deed which caused his apostasy. His denial of the deed which caused his apostasy comes to mean as his repentance. If he dies before making repentance, he will be punished in hell-fire forever. For all these reasons, we should be very much afraid of disbelief and thus speak very little. It is reported in one hadith, “Speak always useful things or else keep silent!” One should have a serious character and should not be a person who plays or jokes all the time. One should not do things that are not compatible with religion, reason or humanity. One should pray much and seek refuge in Allahu ta’ala so that he may be protected from disbelief. The following is reported in one hadith, “Be mindful and avoid ‘shirk’. ‘Shirk’ is more secret than the sound produced by the walk of an ant.” “Shirk” in this hadith means disbelief. When they asked how one could avoid such a secret disbelief (Shirk), it was told, “Read the following prayer (Dua): Allahumma inna na’uzu bika an-nushrika-bika shay’an na’lamuhu wa nastagfiruka lima la-na’lamuhu.” One should repeat this prayer often during the mornings and evenings. It is reported unanimously that disbelievers will never enter paradise and will be punished in hell-fire forever. If a disbeliever would live in the world forever, he would intend to live as a disbeliever forever. Therefore, he deserves punishment forever. Allahu ta’ala is the creator and owner of everything. He has a right to do anything He wishes. No one has a right to question Him why He does this or that. The owner of something can use that thing anyway he wishes and the method of utilization of the thing cannot be called as oppression. Allahu ta’ala communicates in the Qur’an that He is not an oppressor and He does not oppress any of His creatures.

[Allahu ta’ala has names (Asma al-husna) which are eternal like His Self. Some of these ninety-nine names are “Muntaqim” and another one is “Shadid-ul-ikab” and due to these two names He created the seven hells. He also has names like “Rahman”, “Rahim”, “Gaffar”, “Latif”, and “Rauf.” He created the eight heavens due to these names. He discriminated those things that would be a cause to go to heaven or hell in eternity. Because of His infinite mercy, He communicated these to His slaves. He repeatedly warned them by saying, “Do not perform actions which would take you to hell! Its fire is very strong. You cannot bear that fire!” He invited people to do the actions which would cause them to live in peace and happiness in this and in the next world and lead them to the eternal fruits of heaven. He gave wisdom, freedom of choice and will power to his human creatures so that they may use these to accept or reject His invitation. Allahu ta’ala did not decree in the eternal past that anyone should go to hell or that anyone should do such and such actions which would take them to hell. But, He knew in eternity who in their earthly lives will choose a way of life which would take them into heaven or who will take a path which would lead them to hell. His destiny (“Qada” and “Qadar”) is eternal as well as His knowledge (Ilm). In the Qur’an, He communicates that Abu Lahab will go to hell. This communication is not due to His Decree in the eternal past but it is because He knew in eternity that he would choose the path of hell.]

Having belief is very easy. It is necessary (Wajib) for everyone to think, observe and ponder about the existing order, balance and harmony between the created things and beings. The order that exists in an atom or in the solar system or everything in between and their relationships to each other clearly shows that these things do not exist by chance. They were created by an all knowing, all wise and all powerful Being. A person who possesses the ability to think clearly can see, when he studies the subjects like astronomy, science, biology and medicine taught in high schools and universities, that the created things have a creator. It is impossible for such a creator to have any kind of defect. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is His messenger. Whatever he communicated was revealed to him by the Creator. By this reasoning, he believes in Him. Moreover, when he learns that disbelievers or persons who die as disbelievers will stay in hell forever and believers will live among the blessings of heaven forever, he becomes a Muslim willingly and lovingly. [Ibrahim Haqqi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, from Erzurum/Turkey, (died 1195 A.D., 1781 Hijri at Si’rid/Turkey) states the following in his Turkish book Ma’rifatnama, at 9th chapter:

“Knowledge of science and astronomy and machinery and factories are based on experiments and intellectual activity. Therefore, by the passage of time new information proves that the old information was wrong. Old or new, wrong or right all scientific knowledge points out that the Universe was created out of nothing and that it is a necessity to believe in a Creator who has infinite knowledge and power.” Anyone who read the beautiful moral character and miracles of Muhammad, peace be upon him, understands that he is the Prophet.]

2– IGNORANCE

The second malady of the heart is ignorance. Various types of ignorance and their harm are already explained in the first section.

3– GREED FOR WEALTH, POWER, RANKS, OR POSITIONS

The third malady of the heart is the greed for wealth, property, or a leading position in the society. The following hadith enlightens us about this disease, which is called “Hubburriyasah”, its identification, and its cure:

1– “The harm done to a person’s spiritual state by greed of property or power is much greater than the harm done by two hungry wolves when they attack to a lamb flock.”

2– “Being pointed out ‘by finger’ by others because one attains to such a high position in worldly or in religious affairs is good enough harm for that person.” In other words, attaining such a position of distinction in worldly or in religious affairs may be very harmful for a man with respect to his worldly and other worldly affairs.

3– “Having a character in which one loves to be praised makes that person blind and deaf. He does not see his own faults and deficiencies any longer. He becomes deaf to constructive criticisms and does not listen to any advice.”

The three reasons why one wants to acqire property or a leading position or ranks in the social life are the following: The first reason: One wants to satisfy desires of the soul. The soul wants its desires to be satisfied by forbidden (Haram) means. The second reason: One wants to protect himself and others from tyranny of the oppressors. One wants to perform permissible (Mustahab) deeds, e.g., giving for charity or giving for doing goodness. One wants to perform permissible (Mubah) things, e.g., desiring to purhase good food and dresses. One wants to have a family and live in a good house in a good neighborhood. In short, one wants to pursue happiness in life or avoid things that will be an obstruction for doing the worships or in order to serve Muslims and Islam. Obtaining ranks or position in order to achieve above-mentioned desires is permissible (Jaiz) or even “mustahab.” with the following two conditions. The first condition is such that one should not commit things that are forbidden by Islam, e.g., mixing the truth with falsehood or hypocrisy. The second condition is such that one must not give up performing the Wajibs and Sunnats ordered by the religion. We have said that it would be permissible (Jaiz) or even “mustahab” above but things that lead to permissible things are also permissible. For example, performing things that are the causes or vehicles to obtain those permissible things would also be permissible. Allahu ta’ala, in Qur’an, while informing the attributes of good human beings said that they would desire to be leaders of the Muslims. Prophet Solomon (Sulaiman), peace be upon him, prayed Allahu ta’ala by saying, “O my Lord! Give me such a property that you will never give to anyone else.” That is, he wanted to be a leader and owner at the same time. The information passed to us from previous religions that are not rejected by Islamic scholars is also valuable information in our religion. It is reported in a hadith that our prophet said, “I would love and prefer to be a judge who practices within the bounds of righteousness and justice for one day than fighting (Jihad) for the cause of religion for an entire year.” And in another hadith he said, “One hour of just management of the affairs of the people is better than sixty years of voluntary (Nafila) prayers.” It is not permissible to capture a leading management position in the society by way of hypocrisy or by mixing right with wrong. It is not permissible even if it is done with good or pure intentions because committing forbidden actions or disliked actions (Makruhs) with good intention are not permissible. Even doing some forbidden things (Harams) with good intentions causes more sin. Having good intentions are valid and useful for performing worships. Some permissible (Mubah) or even obligatory worship can be a sin if the intention is not proper. It is obvious from the foregoing that those excuses of the sinners, who say, “you look at my heart! My heart is clean! Allahu ta’ala looks at the hearts!”, are wrong and harmful.

The third reason why one wants to acquire a ranking position in the society is the desires and pleasures of the soul. The soul derives pleasure from wealth, property as well as rank or a leading position. Even though it is not prohibited to satisfy desires of the soul which does not involve things contrary to Islam, it would still indicate a lesser degree of piety and zeal. There is a danger such that a person who acquires ranks to satisfy the desires of his soul might commit hypocrisy or compromise his religion (Mudahana) or act ostentatiously in order to win the hearts of his constituents. Even there are further dangers such as committing hypocrisy and mixing truth with falsehood, lying, or fraud. One should not do actions which involve mixing of forbidden and permissible things. This third reason of wanting to acquire a leading position or rank in the society, even though it is not forbidden, is not a virtue. Therefore, one should know its remedy and apply it. One, first, should think that the position is temporary and has many built-in dangers and harms. In order to protect oneself from fame and from becoming proud and contemptuous because one acquires the respect of the people, one should do actions which are permissible (Mubah, Jaiz) by the religion but would not be favorably received by the people. In the past, a leader (Amir) visited a person who runs away from worldly affairs (Zahid). When the “Zahid” perceived that the visiting leader and his crew wanted to receive his favor, he gave a dinner party for them. During the dinner, he ate the food in a fast and greedy fashion in order to give them a false impression, i.e., he is not a real “Zahid”. The visiting leader, seeing his disposition did not like him and thus left. The “Zahid” seeing that his tactic was successful said, “Alhamdulillah! My Lord saved me.” The best medicine which cures the desire of wanting to have a ranking position is seclusion (Uzlat). One should not engage in any unnecessary activity among the people other than the necessary actions which are imposed by the religion as well as the living necessity. This remedy was ordered in a hadith.

4– THE FEAR OF BEING ACCUSED OF HAVING FAULTS

The fourth of the maladies of the heart is to worry and become sad because of the ill treatment of the people, such as their ill criticism or gossip. The third reason which causes “Kufr al-juhudi” is being ashamed of the people and also being in fear of the people thinking that they will find him at fault and will gossip about him. This is the exact reason why Abu Talib stayed as disbeliever. Abu Talib is the father of Hadrat Ali, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, and the uncle of Rasulullah, peace be upon him. Abu Talib knew that Rasulullah was the prophet. He did not come into the circle of Muslims because he thought that people will blame him and talk ill of him. While Abu Talib was in the stage of death, Rasulullah, peace be upon him, went by him and told him, “O my uncle! Please say ‘la ilaha illallah’ so that I may intercede for you!” He replied, “O my brother’s son! I know you are telling the truth. But I don’t want people to say that I became Muslim because of the fear of death.” “Baidawi Tafsir —an interpretation of Qur’an—” says that the 56th verse of the Qasas chapter of the Qur’an which states, , “It is not in your hand to bring your dead ones into the circle of the saved!” was revealed upon this incident. According to a narration, the following is said took place: The leaders of the disbelievers of the Quraish clan came by Abu Talib and said following to him, “You are our leader! We obey your orders. But, we are afraid that after you pass away, the animosity between us and Muhammad will continue. Tell him not to talk ill of our religion.” Abu Talib called Rasulullah, peace be upon him, and related to him what they have said. And, upon understanding that Rasulullah will not make peace with them, he said some words which could be interpreted as he was ready to accept Islam and Muhammad, peace be upon him, upon hearing these told him that he should declare his belief. Abu Talib answered, “I would have loved to make you happy by declaring my belief if I would not be afraid of the people’s gossip and ill talk.” When he was taking his last few breaths, he said some words which was very difficult to hear. In order to hear what he was saying, Abdullah ibn Abbas approached him closely and said that he was declaring his belief. The issue of his belief is among the doubtful matters. According to “Ahl as-Sunnat scholars” he did not believe. Imam Azam Abu Hanifa, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, said that Abu Talib passed away as a disbeliever. Hadrat Ali, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, came to Rasulullah, peace be upon him, and told him, “Your uncle who was in the wrong path passed away!” Rasulullah, peace be upon him, replied, “Wash him, wrap him with special clothing ‘Kafan’ and than bury him! We will pray for him until we are prohibited to do so.” For a few days he did not come out of his house and prayed much for him. When the companions heard about this, they also started to pray for their relatives who passed away as disbelievers. Soon after, 113th verse of the Tawba chapter of Qur’an descended, saying, “Prophet and believers should not pray and ask forgiveness for these disbelievers even though they may be their relatives.” In one hadith, Rasulullah, peace be upon him, said, “On the day of Judgement, Abu Talib will be among the disbelievers who will have the least punishment. He will wear slippers made of fire and from the heat of these, his brains will boil up.”

As a remedy for this disease, one should think in the following manner: If their ill speaking reflects the truth, they are showing me my defects. I decided not to do these actions. By thinking this way one should feel comfortable about the ill talk and thank them. They informed Hasan al-Basri, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, that someone was backbiting him. Hasan sent a plate full of sweets to his backbiter with the following message: “I have heard that you were giving me your rewards. That is why I am sending you these sweets to thank you!” They told Imam Azam Abu Hanifa, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, that someone was backbiting him. Imam Azam sent a bag of gold coins to the backbiter and said, “If he increases the rewards that he is giving to us, we will likewise increase our gift of gold!” If ill talk is a lie and slander, it will harm the person who originates it. One who is slandered should think and comfort himself by saying to himself, “His rewards will be given to me and my sins will be given to him.” Slandering and carrying words between Muslims is worse than backbiting. [Please read the 2nd Volume, 123rd letter of the Maktubat-i Ma’sumiyya.]

5– LOVE OF BEING PRAISED

The fifth one of the maladies of the heart is the love of being praised and being exalted by others. The reason of wanting to be praised rests with the person’s self love and thinking of himself as good and superior. Being praised tastes very sweet to this type of person. A person having this malady should think that this is not a real superiority and goodness or even if one presumes as it is goodness, one should think that it is transitory. Broader coverage of this subject will be given later on while the subject matter conceit (Kibr) is explained (e.g., see section 12).

6– INNOVATIONS IN BELIEF (BIDAT BELIEF)

Sixth of the maladies of the heart is the belief of Bidat or in other words, one’s having the wrong, corrupt and deviated belief. Most of the Muslims suffer very much of this disastrous malady. The reason which leads one into this malady is one’s attempt to rationalize or reason in the matters which cannot be sensed through sense organs and which cannot be reached or comprehended through calculations and believing in the things that the reason errs and makes mistakes. Every Muslim should follow the teachings of either one of the two schools of thought (Madhhabs) with respect to faith, i.e., “Maturidi” or “Ash’ari”. Following the teachings of any one of them will protect or save a human being from the malady of innovations (Bidat belief). Because, the scholars of the “Ahl as-Sunnat” path adhered to the teachings of the Qur’an al-karem and hadith ash-sharifs when the matters to be decided were beyond the reach of mind. In other words, they utilized their intelligence and wisdom to search, find and understand the meanings included in the Qur’an and hadiths. They learned these meanings from the companions and in turn they learned them from the prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and recoreded them in their books.

[ A person will become a disbeliever if he does not believe or doubts about something which is clearly comminicated in the Qur’an or hadith ash-sharifs. Giving wrong meanings to commandments that are not clearly communicated and are doubtful would be “bidat.” One becomes an Ahl al-bidat if he belives in his wrong interpretation or understanding. Alternately if one rejects the commandments by saying such things, “How could this happen! This could not be! My mind does not accept that!”, he will become a disbeliver. If one asserts that a prohibited (haram) thing is permissible (halal) and if his statement is based on a verse of the Qur’an or on a hadith, he does not become a disbeliever but he becomes an “Ahl al-bidat.” Stating that the election of hadrat Abu Bakr and Hadrat Umar to the post of Caliphate was not right constitutes “bidat.” Alternately, going further and stating that they did not have rights to the post of Caliphate constitutes disbelief (Kufr).

Muhammad Shihristani, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, says in his book Milal and Nihal that the scholars of the “Hanafi” school of thought followed the teachings of imam Abu Mansur al-Maturidi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, with respect to faith (Itiqad). Because, Abu Mansur al-Maturidi was following the methodology (“usul” and “furu”) of imam Azam Abu Hanifa, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, the founder of the Hanafi school of thought. “Usul” means “Itiqad” belief. “Furu” means “Ahkam al-Shar’iyya” or rules that are based on Islamic laws. The scholars of “Maliki”, “Shafi’i” and “Hanbali” schools of thought followed the teachings of imam Abu Hasan al-Ash’ari, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, with respect to faith (Itiqad). Abu Hasan al-Ash’ari was following the “Shafi’i” school of thought. Imam al-Subki, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, who was one of the famous “Shafi’i” scholars says that he has studied the book of Abu Ja’far Tahawi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, who was one of the scholars of the Hanafi school of thought and noticed that it was almost the same as the teachings of the “Ash’ari school of thought in faith. They were departing from each other only in three points. Abdulwahhab Taj-ud-din al-Subki who was the son of imam abul Hasan Ali Subki, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, says that he has studied the books of the scholars of “Hanafi” school of thought in faith (Itiqad) and noticed that they were in disagreement with respect to “Shafi’i” school of thought in faith in thirteen points. But he says that their disagreements are on minor matters and do not take them out of the correct path. They do not dispute in essential matters. They both are in the correct (Haqq) path. Muhammad Hadimi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, in the 317th page of his book Barika says that he has studied the teachings of both “Maturidi” and “Ash’ari” schools of thought in faith and considered even the smallest of their disagreements and came up with 73 differences between the two schools of thought.

7– FOLLOWING DESIRES OF THE SOUL (NAFS)

The seventh of the maladies of the heart is to follow the appetite (Shahwat) or desires or pleasures of the soul. Ugliness of these types of actions of the soul is clearly communicated in the verses of the Qur’an. Furthermore, it is also communicated in the Qur’an that following desires of the soul causes one to depart from the path of Allahu ta’ala. Because, soul always wants to deny the existence of Allahu ta’ala and to be obstinate or to rebel against Him. Following the desires of soul in every matter amounts to worshiping the soul. Anyone who follows his soul either falls into disbelief or becomes follower of corrupt innovated worships or beliefs (Ahl al-bidat) or starts to commit forbidden actions. Abu Bakr Tamistani, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, says, “The fortune of not following desires of the soul is the biggest treasure of this world. Because, soul is the greatest of all veils between Allahu ta’ala and His slave”. Sahl bin Abdullah Tustari [died in 283 Hijri at Basra], may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, says, “The best of all worships is not to follow the desires of the soul.” Islam bin Yusuf Balhi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, once gave a gift to Hatam-ul-Esam, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, and seeing that Hatam accepted his gift, asked him if his acceptance of the gift would constitute following the desires of his soul. In reply, Hatam told him that by accepting his gift, he made himself lowly and made him superior. Furthermore, he said, “If I wouldn’t accept his gift, that would make myself superior and him lowly. And, my soul ‘nafs’ would’ve loved that!” Rasulullah, peace be upon him, at the end of a long hadith said, “Three causes lead a person to disaster: being stingy, following desires of the soul ‘nafs’, and being a conceited person.” Imam al-Ghazali, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, said that the veil which stops getting the help of Allahu ta’ala is self love (Ujb). In other words it is one’s not seeing his own imperfections and seeing his worships as worthy. Jesus (Isa), peace be upon him, said to his companions, “Oh my companions! The wind put out many lights. Similarly, self love ‘Ujb’ also destroys many worships and annihilates their rewards.”

It is reported that once Rasulullah, peace be upon him, said, “I am very much afraid that my followers will catch two vices. They are: following the desires of the soul and forgetting about death and running after the world.” Following desires of the soul prevents one from following the orders of Islam. Forgetting the death causes one to follow desires of his soul (nafs).

In another hadith, Rasulullah, peace be upon him, said, “The existence of wisdom in a person manifests itself by his control over his soul ‘nafs’ and by his preparation of the things that will be beneficial after death. The sign of stupidity is one’s following desires of his soul and then expecting forgiveness and mercy from Allahu ta’ala.” According to this hadith, following the desires of one’s soul (Nafs) and then expecting forgiveness and admittance to the heaven without repentance amounts to stupidity. Expecting something without doing any action which would produce that expected result is called wishful thinking (Tamanni). On the other hand, expecting something after doing actions that would produce the result is called hope or expectation (Raja). Wishful thinking leads one into laziness. Expectation on the other hand is the cause of work and production. Desires of the soul are called fancy (Hawa). The soul always loves and wants harmful things that exist in its nature. The following reflects this truth very clearly:

Always be on guard against your soul.
Never trust in your soul.
It is an enemy to you,
Greater than seventy devils!

The harm caused by following desires of the soul by committing forbidden actions and disliked actions (Makruhs) are very obvious. The soul’s wishes are all animal desires. But these animal desires are all related to the necessities of the daily affairs (Dunya). As long as a human being tries to satisfy these necessities, he will be delayed to prepare necessities of the hereafter. One important point should be noted by everyone is that the soul never satisfies with permissible things. As long as man satisfies all of its permissible desires, the soul will ask for more. If man keeps satisfying its demands in an increasing order, soul will keep asking more! It will never be satisfied and finally will lead 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 animal passions and pleasures.

[Imam ar-Rabbani, may Allahu ta’ala be well pleased with him, the great saint, comments on the present subject as follows, “The origin of all existing beings is Adam. Adam means nonexistence. While there were no existent in the existence besides Allahu ta’ala, He knew their existence in the nonexistent realm. In other words, things existed in His knowledge. Allahu ta’ala manifested to these Adams in His knowledge through His attributes thus caused the origin (asl) of these existent beings to become a reality. He then moved these origins (asl) 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’s contemplate about the image of an object in a mirror. The image that appears in the mirror is reflection of the light come from the object. The mirror is like Adam or nonexistence in the foregoing discussion. The spirit and spiritual heart of a human being is similar to the light. The mirror is similar to the body of a human being and brightness of the mirror is similar to the soul. The origin of the soul is nonexistence or Adam, and it has no relationship to the spirit or spiritual heart.” A person who follows desires of his soul always steps out of the bounds of Islam. Since animals do not possess wisdom and “Nafs”, they always use when they find things they are in need of. They only escape from things that hurt them physically. Islam neither prohibits utilization of vehicles that provide a comfortable and peaceful living, nor inhibits enjoying useful worldly pleasures. Islam orders Muslims to follow the guidelines set out by the religion and wisdom for acquiring and utilizing these things. The goal of Islam is the comfortable and peaceful living of human beings in this and in the next world. Accomplishing this goal rests with following the wisdom, and abstaining from the desires of the soul. If the wisdom was not created, human beings would always follow desires of the soul and fall into turmoil. If soul did not exist, human beings could not multiply and live a civilized life. Also, without soul, human beings could not obtain rewards of struggle (Jihad) against the soul. Furthermore, without a soul, human beings could not rise above the grades of angels. Our Prophet, peace be upon him, said, “If animals had known the knowledge you possess about the things that would happen in the life after death, you could not be able to find any meat to consume!” Animals would not be able to eat or drink, therefore, lose weight and perish because of their fear of the punishments in the hereafter. If human beings did not possess soul, similar to animals, they would neither be able to eat nor drink because of the fear of the punishment, and thus would not be able to live. Continuation of daily lives of human beings depend on their nafs’ ignorance (Gaflat) and low resistance toward the pleasures of the world (Dunya). The soul is like a double edge sword or it is like a medicine which possesses strong poisonous properties. Anyone who uses this medicine according to the prescription given by the doctor benefits from the useful properties of the medicine. Alternately, anyone who uses this medicine in an extreme fashion will perish because of the poisonous properties of the medicine. Islam does not prescribe destruction of the soul. On the contrary, it asks the soul be tamed so that it could be utilized for doing useful deeds.]

Two types of struggle (Jihad) against the soul is employed in order to prevent soul from transgressing against the guidelines set by Islam. The first one is called “Riyazat”. “Riyazat” is the resistance of a human being against the temptations of his soul. This is accomplished by utilizing two means, “Wara” and piety (Taqwa). “Taqwa” means not doing forbidden actions, or in other words it is a way of living such that one does not commit forbidden actions in his daily affairs. “Wara” is much more than piety. “Wara” in addition to piety requires that one should avoid utilizing permissible things beyond the bare necessities of life. The second type of struggle (Jihad) against the soul requires performing things that soul does not like. This is called “Mujahada.” All the worships are “Mujahada” because soul does not like to perform worships. These two types of struggles tame the soul and mature human beings and strengthen the spirits and lead one to the way of the sincere ones (Siddiqs), the martyrs (Shahids) and the pious (Salih). Allahu ta’ala is not in need of the worships of His creatures. Transgression of His creatures does not harm Him in any way. He ordered these aforementioned things in order to tame the soul and in order to make a struggle against the soul.

If human beings did not possess soul, they would not be humans any more and they would possess the quality of angelhood. But, human beings’ body is in need of many things. For example, it is necessary to eat, drink, sleep, and rest. There is no doubt that a cavalryman cannot survive without a horse. Therefore, he takes care of his horse. Similarly, a human being cannot function without a body. Thus, he must also take care of his body. Worships are accomplished through bodies. Once, someone told our Prophet, peace be upon him, that such and such a person was performing “Salat” worship continuously throughout the night without sleeping. He replied, “Most precious worships are the ones which are done on a continuous basis even if they are not much in quantity.” Worships which are done on a continuous basis cause a person to become a steady worshiper.

Performing worships means intending and following the orders of the divine law. The commandements and prohibitions given by Allahu ta’ala are called “Shari’at” or “Ahkam al-ilahiyya” or divine rules. Commandments are called “Farz” and prohibitions are called “Haram”. It is reported that our Prophet said, “Perform worships as much as you can endure. Worships performed with joy and pleasure are most valuable.” A well rested person can perform worships with joy and pleasure. Alternately, performing things while body or mind is tired cause boredom. One should do permissible things once in a while in order to regenerate a cheerful and restful attitude and get rid of tiredness. Imam al-Ghazali, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him, says, “The body gets tired and does not want to move when one is consumed in excessive worshiping. At such instances one should comfort the body by either sleeping or reading the life stories of pious Muslims or by permissible entertainment. Doing these actions is better than worshiping without real desire.” The purpose of worshipping is two folds. The first one is to make struggle “mujahada” in order to tame the soul. The second one is to comfort the heart and bring increased desire of love of Allahu ta’ala to the heart. In one hadith, Rasulullah, peace be upon him, said, “Salat worship protects one from committing lowly and ugly actions.” This protection can only be obtained by performing the “Salat” worship with strong desire and joy. Obtaining this strong desire and joy requires to satisfy the permissible desires of the soul as much as necessary. Following these guidelines would be obedience to Islam. Permissible things that promote other worships to be performed turn out to be worships themselves. For example, the hadith “The sleep of a scholar is better than the worship of an ignorant” is a good proof for our argument on this subject. Performing midnight prayer while one is sleepy is “maqruh.” One should pray it with joy after one gets rid of sleepiness. The prayers which are done in a sleepy condition would be improper.

[One should not be misguided by the above writings to suppose that one could quit performing worships because one is tired of performing them. That type of meaning is not intended and cannot be driven from these writings. The intended meaning is such that when one completely devotes one’s self to worships all the time, at some instance, due to prolonged worshipping, one’s soul might not be able to cope with such loads. Since one’s spirit is strong and controls the soul and still wants to continue worshiping, the soul cannot disobey the spirit and thus performs the worships without a real desire. Above-mentioned writings refer to such circumstances we have just described and say that one should not force the soul but instead should give it a break by postponing these extra supererogatory worships. Nowhere in these writings is there any indication to the effect that the performance of the worships can be stopped all together. Not performing obligatory worships without legitimate excuse constitutes grave sin and is forbidden and their performance at a later time becomes obligatory. Any obligatory worship such as “Five daily salat prayers” and fasting that is not performed during the prescribed time has to be performed at a later time. Not performing “Wajib prayers” at their due times also necessitates performing them at a later time, i.e. it becomes “Wajib” to perform them at a later time. One who does not perform Sunnats of our prophet will be missing their rewards. If one does not perform Sunnat of our prophet without any real excuse, he will not obtain the intercession (Shafa’at) peculiar to those Sunnats. Being tired or not having desire and joy of performing the worships cannot be legitimate excuses for postponing performance of the obligatory worships from their usual times. One cannot spare himself from the sin and punishment of not performing the obligatory worships on their due times. The books which teach tenets of faith states that not paying attention to the rules of divine law or, not heeding whether things are obligatory (Fard) or forbidden (Haram) causes disbelief. The enemies of Islam are trying to deceive Muslim youth and harm Islam from within by saying that one may not perform worships if one wishes to. Muslim youth, in order not to be deceived by these enemies, have no alternative but study the books written by “Ahl as-sunnat scholars” and learn the obligatory worships and the forbidden actions.]

8– IMITATIVE BELIEF (TAQLID)

The eight malady of the heart is to imitate others who are not known to one’s self closely. It is not permissible to follow teachings of someone only on the basis of his fame and celebrity or on the basis of intense propaganda which promotes his books or speeches without knowing whether he is known as an “Ahl as-sunnat scholar.” One will be ruined and led to spiritual disasters if one follows someone with respect to belief and worships without investigating him from dependable “Ahl as-sunnat sources.” One does not have to imitate anyone in order to be a Muslim or in order to understand the existence of Allahu ta’ala, His oneness, His power and His other attributes. Anyone who develops his mind to a level to understand knowledge of science can easily understand His existence and thus obtain belief by just contemplating. It is foolishness not to understand the existence of a creator while one sees His creation. Islam orders everyone to contemplate in this fashion and thus obtain belief. Pious persons (Salaf as-salihin) who lived in the first few centuries following the time of our Prophet conveyed us that we should believe by contamplating. Some of the deviated persons who belonged to one of the seventy-two deviated sects which sprint up after the fourth century of Islamic calendar said that one does not need to contemplate about the Creator when one sees His creation. Their deviant ideas do not carry any weight because the negative ideas generated by newcomers do not invalidate the unanimous teachings of the earlier scholars and pious Muslims. A correct belief which is acquired by just imitating parents or teachers is judged as valid even though the person who acquired in this fashion is considered a sinner on the account of his desertion of the necessary studies, i.e., his not studying and learning the scientific knowledge and thus not developing his mind to contemplate and understand the existence of Allahu ta’ala. Some others, contrarily, said that a person’s lack of scientific knowledge does not constitute sin if he is able to obtain belief from his parents or by reading books or by contemplating.

Everyone should select one of those scholars, who are at the level of making binding decisions (Ijtihad) regarding the religious issues, and imitate him in all of his affairs. “Ijtihad” means understanding the meaning of a vaguely defined information and making decisions in such circumstances where there are no clearly established commands (Nass) in the Qur’an or hadith with respect to the related circumstances. Verses of the Qur’an and hadiths are called “Nass.” The scholars who possess the qualifications to perform binding decisions are called “Mujtahid”. No Mujtahid was raised 400 years after the migration (Hijrat) of our prophet from the city of Mecca to the city of Madina. There was no need for the “Mujtahid either. Because, Allahu ta’ala and His messenger Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, already informed all of the decisions (Ahkam) or information which would be applicable to all kinds of life styles and all kinds of changes and circumstances in science and the like which would surface till the end of the world {Some people might think that how could this ever be possible. How could they ever write about things that would surface till the end of the world. The important point to understand is that they instituted general rules which could be used by future scholars to apply to newly surfaced problems of their times.} The “Mujtahids” understood this information and explained it to others. The scholars who came later on learned how these decisions and information can be applied to new circumstances and recorded them in interpretation (Tafsir) and religious law books (Fiqh). These types of scholars are called renewers (Mujaddid). They will exist till the end of the world. It is understood that those who propose the necessity of modifying the religion by adding new things to “Nass” are enemies of Islam. They assert phrases like, “Scientific medium has changed. We are facing new happenings. Religious men should gather and write new interpretations. New decisions (Ijtihad) should be performed” are enemies of Islam . They are disbelievers (Zindiqs). [Britons are the most harmful enemies of Islam. Please read the book Confessions of a British Spy which is published by Waqf Ikhlas.] While one is following one of the true four school of thought (Madhhab), as long as there is no necessity to follow another school of thought, one should adhere to the school of thought he has been following. But, if there is a difficulty regarding performing a specific case or if one cannot perform a deed according to his school of thought because of his own circumstances, in that instance, one can follow another school of thought in which it is permissible to do that specific case or deed. But there is a caveat in this. One is not allowed to collect the easy decisions (Talfik) of the four schools of thought in order to perform a deed or worship. Any deed or worship done in this manner would not be an acceptable (valid) worship. After the fourth century of Islamic calendar no capable person (Mutlaq Mujtahid) who can make independent religious decisions by utilizing comparative methodology (Kiyas) was raised. Thus, it would not be permissible to follow any scholar who lived after the fourth century of Islamic calendar or any “Madhhab” beyond the four established “Madhhabs”. In order to learn Islamic knowledge in accordance with one of the well known four school of thought (Madhhab) of the scholars who lived before the fourth century, one should read the religious law books advised unanimously by the scholars of that school of thaoght. One should not try to attempt to learn any religious knowledge from the books or speeches of those who are not confirmed by true “Ahl as-sunnat scholars”. It is not permissible to perform worships according to any arbitrary religious book in the market. One should not follow the books or speeches of persons that are not following “Ahl as-sunnat.” The following religious (Fatwa) books of the “Hanafi madhhab” are widely accepted and dependable: Kadihan, Haniyya, Hulasa, Bazzaziyya, Zahiriyya and [Ibn al-Abidin.] The book Muhtasar al-Khalil is written according to “Maliki madhhab”, the book Al Anwar li-a’mali abrar is written according to “Shafi’i madhhab”. The book Al fikh-u alal-madhhahib-il-arba’a is written according to four schools of thought (Madhhabs). All of these books are correct and dependable. The knowledge of worships and judgements (Ahkam) cannot be derived easily from the hadith books alone. “Ahkam” means things that are judged to be permissible (Halal) or prohibited (Haram). The best dependable hadith books are Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Muslim and other four hadith books which are called Kutub al-Sitta.

The most valuable book which explains sufism (Tariqat) is the Masnawi of the great sufi master Mawlana Jalal-ad-din Rumi, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him. [The most valuable book which explains both the “tariqat” and the “Shari’at” is the book Maktubat written by great sufi master imam ar-Rabbani, may Allahu ta’ala be pleased with him.]

It is not permissible (Jaiz) to perform worships according to the books or speeches of a person who appears to be a scholar or a religious man. One should read “Ilm al-hal” books that teach the basics of Islam which are narrated and translated from the above mentioned widely accepted and dependable books. One would be lead into disasters in this and the next life if one reads books (e.g. ilm al-hal or tafsir books) which are not narrated from the above mentioned valuable sources but instead written according to the self interpretation of its author.

The next grave sin after the disbelief is to have innovations in belief (Bidat Itiqad). The opposite of the corrupt bidat belief is the “Ahl as-sunnat wal Jama’at Belief”. The most valuable worship and the highest of all virtues after having belief in Allahu ta’ala is the possession of “Ahl as-sunnat belief”. The meaning of “Ahl as-sunnat” is as follows: One’s belief, words, worships, and every kinds of interactions with other human beings being has to be in accord with the ways (Sunnat) of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, and in accord with the ways taught unanimously by his companions (Ashab al-kiram) and the followers (Tabi’in) of the companions and their followers (Taba at-Tabi’in). One should learn their ways by reading the religious books (Fiqh and Ilm al-hal). The real Muslims are defined as the ones who follow their path. Many Muslims departed from the ways of these great people by following their own souls, their little intellect, their short sighted views as well as following the scientific information of their times instead of following the way of “Ahl as-sunnat” and became followers of the wrong path (Ahl al-Bidat).

 

                                                                                                     

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