Part Three :islamic Ethics and Etiquettes
Islam emphasises exceedingly on human ethics, and attaches significant importance to social etiquettes, to the extent that Allah’s messenger, peace be upon him and his pure family, identified the aim of his mission as the completion, perfection and globalisation of noble morality saying, “Indeed I have been sent to complete the noble morals”234.
And when Allah Almighty wants to praise His beloved Prophet, peace be upon him and his pure family, He praises him by pointing to his noble morals saying, .and surely you are of a mighty morality.235.
And when He wishes to remind the Muslim Ommah of the great mercy that have been gifted to them, He reminds them of the most significant attributes of this mercy, which is the Prophet’s lenient manners and morals saying, [addressing the Prophet Muhammad] .it is by Allah’ mercy that you are gentle to them.236.
These, and many other texts in this respect, point to the importance of ethics and etiquettes – akhlaq & adab – in Islam, and the extent of their requirement in a Muslim individual, such that when the Wise Qur’an mentions some of the rulings of punishment, the sacred book follows them with the mention of forgiveness, and accompanies them with moral/ethical rulings, and considers forgiveness in them as being “closer to piety”237.
234 Mostadrak al-Wasa>’el, vol.11, p187 235 The Qur’an, The Pen, (68):4 236 The Qur’an, The House of Emran (3):159 237 In reference to such verses as 2:237.
The Pillars of Morals and Etiquettes
Islam made religion and piety the axis of ethics and etiquettes, and identified four pillars for ethics and two for etiquettes, and invited the Muslims to them and instructed them to adorn themselves with them.
Ethics and their four Pillars
The four pillars of ethics are:
Purity of the heart and the honesty of intention; On the significance and vitality of the purity of the heart and its wellbeing, and the honesty of intention and its sincerity Allah Almighty declares; .the day when neither wealth nor sons shall profit, except for him who comes to Allah with a sound heart.238 that is pure from polytheism, disbelief, and from the unethical manners.
Beaming and smiling face;
In the hadith it is reported, “The believer has his happiness and contentment upon his face and his sorrow in his heart”239. “The one who is beaming and smiling gains [Allah’s] love and enters Paradise, and the frown-faced is distanced from Allah and enters the Fire”.240
- Beautiful and nice speech;
238 The Qur’an, The Poets (26): 88-89
239 Nahj al-Bala>ghah, p533, hadith #333; al-Ka>fi, vol.2, p226, Mostadrak al- Wasa’el, vol.8, p452
240 al-Ka>fi, vol.2, p103, Wasa’el al-Shi‘ah, vol.12, p160, Mostadrak al-Wasa>’el, vol.8, p453
Almighty Allah says, .and ye speak kindly to people.241, and Amir al-Mo’mineen peace be upon him said, “I dislike it for ye to utter profanities”242.
- Good dealing and beautiful living with the people; Almighty Allah says; .keep to forgiveness, bid to what is honourable, turn away from the ignorant.243, and the Almighty says; .and when the ignorant address them they say ‘Peace’.244.
The Two Pillars of Etiquettes
As to the two pillars of etiquettes, they are: 1. Personal etiquettes, which are related to one’s personal life such as the etiquettes of eating, drinking, while asleep and awake, of wearing and housing, while travelling and at home, of sickness and health, and suchlike that Islam has taught the best of. Adhering to these etiquettes brings one closer to every good and health, and distances one from every evil and undesirable, rendering one happy and praiseworthy.
- Social etiquettes, which are related to one’s social life such as the etiquettes of living with the parents, the spouse and the offspring, relative, friends and neighbours, the student and the teacher, and with all the people – but rather with all beings, of which Islam has brought the best teachings in these respects, the implementing of which guarantees safety and peace, security and stability, harmony and understanding, affection and kindness between all people, and all mankind.
241 The Qur’an, The Heifer (2): 83 242 Nahj al-Bala>ghah, p323, hadith #206, Bih}a>r al-Anwa>r, vol.32, p561 243 The Qur’an, The Heights (7): 199 244 The Qur’an, The Criterion (25): 63
Distinctions of the Islamic Society
The Islamic society is the society that adheres to the human ethics and social etiquettes that Islam has brought forward, and so it is distinguished from other societies by the following issues:
- The Islamic society has a characteristic other than that of the society we see today. For it enjoys – after the faith in Allah and the Day of Resurrection – from the Islamic ethics and etiquettes, which regulate the behaviour [of the individual] to the extent that no other earthly system can.
And thus the very lofty and sublime human values will become widespread throughout the society, whereas today’s world speaks of mankind in terms of a mechanical tool, robbing him of all values of good and goodness. Furthermore, in an Islamic society psychological complexities and many of current problems will be extinct, while on the other hand confidence and sociability will prevail, and love and affection will reign in both individual and social terms.
- Life, in all its aspects and dimensions, will blossom and prosper under the just Islamic system, and thus the country will be revitalised, houses built, the land farmed, the industries developed, trades expand, the wealth grows, and the people will be enriched in an environment wherein there is no wronging or oppression, no terror or violence, no restrictions or conditions, no prison or torture, no suffering or poverty.
It was for this reason that development, progress, love, and confidence were commonplace when Islam was practically implemented, something that the world today cannot find despite the substantial increase in the means and facilities.
- Every member of the Islamic society is a manifestation of Islam and its teachings through his words and actions, caring for every member of his community and his nation and being responsible for them, promotes virtue and prohibits vice, invites to Islam and calls for a single universal Islamic government .with wisdom and good advice, and reason. for that .in the best manner.245.
Islam and Ethics are Twins
The essence of Islam and the reality of the Islamic religion is the essence of the human moral ethics, and the reality of the lofty and sublime social etiquettes. They are twins that may not separate, rather they are one truth for one reality, since there is nothing that morality encourages that Islam does not enjoin to, and nothing that the etiquettes promote that Islam does not encourage and invite to.
So all laws and tenets of Islam and its lofty teachings, ranging from acts of worship to transactions and suchlike are founded on lofty ethical bases, and firm pillars of etiquettes, and as an outline we shall mention briefly some of those that Islam has commanded as obligatory, prohibited as forbidden, or warned as ethically undesirable, or encouraged and called for amongst the etiquettes and morally ethical. We will see that all of them are in harmony with the human nature, concords with his soul and his spiritual values, but even with his body and materialism . . . while being in the loftiest moral level, and highest peak of human etiquettes.
Almighty Allah states, .Surely Allah bids to justice and good doing and giving to kinsmen.246, therefore it is mandatory for the Muslim individual to learn the obligatory duties and to act upon them, and we shall mention some of them here:
Believe in Allah, His messenger and the Authorities
• To have faith in Allah and the Day of Resurrection • To have certainty in Allah and the Day of Resurrection 245 The Qur’an, The Bee (16): 125 246 The Qur’an, The Bee (16): 90
• To devote entirely to Almighty Allah
• To worship Allah
• To rely on and entrust Allah in [all] affairs
• Seeking the means to attain closeness to Allah247
• Seeking the favour of Allah248
• Remembrance of Allah under every circumstance
• Humility of the heart and fear from Allah
• To abstain from Allah’s prohibition
• To be content by Allah’s decree
• To speak of Allah’s bounty
• To think about Allah’s bounties and His benefits
• To submit to Allah, and to exalt and glorify Him (i.e. to consider Him free from any false attributes)
• To race to Allah’s forgiveness
• To have good opinion of Allah
• To rule by what Allah has revealed
• To return to Allah through repentance
• To call to the way of Allah
• To heed to Allah’s call and His messenger’s
• To consider prohibited that that Allah and His messenger have prohibited
• To refrain from what Allah and His messenger have prohibited
• To obey Allah, His messenger and the awliya>’ peace be upon them
• To adhere to what the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt have brought forth
247 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 5:35.
248 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 62:10.
• To visit [the shrines of] the prophet and the imams from his Ahl al-Bayt
• To love Allah and His devotees
• To disassociate from the enemies of Allah and the enemies of His devotees.
Acts of worship and related issues
• To keep the prayers, acts of worship, covenants, and the things deposited in trust
• Night prayers, reciting the Qur’an, worship at night time (after midnight)
• To be in sequence with the imam of the congregational prayers
• To wear beautiful apparel at places of prayer249
• Fasting the month of Ramadan
• To perform Hajj
• To pay Khums
• To give Zakah
• To give the due of the crop
To be kind to the parents and relatives
• To thank Allah and the parents
• To be kind and gentle to the parents
• To keep company with the parents and relatives in goodness
• To be kind to kinsfolk
• To love the kinsfolk
249 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 7:31.
• To learn the principles and practices of religion, os}ool and furoo‘ [issues one is required to know in order to be able act according to Islam in all circumstances, and fulfil his duties accordingly], as well as ethics and etiquettes
• Thorough learning in religion
• Seeking knowledge in general
• To learn from admonitions, and other’s fates and experiences
• Listening to the wise Qur’an250 Avoiding evil
• To avoid signing and music
• To avoid worshiping other than Allah
• To avoid thinking bad of others
• To destroy matters of corruption
• To prohibit evil
• To repel evil
• To destroy deviation
• To marry
• To give the wife her dues and her mahr
• To stay with the wife overnight
• To live with the wife cordially
• To care for the children
• To educate and raise the children
• To protect one’s chastity
• To lower one’ gaze
250 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 7:204
• To have a fervour or a sense of honour [with respect to one’s wife, etc.]
• For a woman to wear hijab in the presence of non-mah}ram men
• Giving the wealth/property of the orphan [back to them when appropriate]
• To give back the things deposited in trust
• To bear witness [sincerely]
• To give back the right of the people, and the right of Allah
• To seek forgiveness from the person whose been wronged
• To compensate what one has damaged/destroyed
Resilience and perseverance
• To uphold the religion and to practice it
• To remain steadfast in [all] matters
• To keep to the truth
• To keep striving Virtues
• To regret [committing] a sin
• To repent
• To seek forgiveness
• To persevere
• To be with the truthful
• To advise the believer and support
• To have good and true intention
• To be truthful in speech
• To have beautiful speech
• To disseminate the truth
• To judge by the truth
• To guide the people to the truth
• To facilitate reconciliation between people
• Feeding the hungry
• To make room [for others] in assemblies251
• To give in the way of Allah
• Seeking sustenance
• Halal earning
• Weighing with correct measure252
• To protect oneself and the family from [the punishment of] hellfire253
• To take precaution [in one’s behaviour in every aspect]254
• To seek permission when entering [others’] house 255
• To give greeting
• To reply back to a greeting or a letter
• To incline to peace256
• To enjoin good and virtue
• To adhere and be enjoined to good and virtue
• To denounce innovators
• To defend the religion and the self
• To show one’s despise to those who commit sin
• To give the wage of the breast-feeder
251 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 58:11.
252 in all aspects of life, i.e. not having double standards.
253 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 66:6.
254 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 4:71, 102.
255 i.e. to respect others’ privacy, as referred to in the Qur’anic verse 24:27-28.
256 In reference to the Qur’anic verse 8:61.
The Prohibited Conducts
Almighty Allah states, .Say: “Come, I will recite to ye what your Lord has forbidden to ye”.258
Just as it is compulsory for the Muslim individual to learn his or her obligatory duties and act upon them, it is also mandatory to learn the prohibited matters and refrain from them, and henceforth we list here most of the prohibited matters that are of common cause for concern:
• Not to believe in Allah.
• To consider individuals or things as partners of Allah.
• To believe that Allah has children.
• Praying, prostrating or kneeling for something other than Allah.
• To consider oneself above the worship of Allah.
• To become unconcerned about the wrath of Allah.
• To abandon the practice of remembrance of Allah.
• To protest against Allah on fate and destination.
• Disputing with Allah, Allah’s messenger, the Ahl al-Bayt peace be up on them, and the maraje’ who follow their teachings, on the decrees of the shari’ah rulings.
• To cause difficulties for the Prophet, (S).
• Swearing to disassociate oneself from Allah, the prophets, the Imams and Islam.
• Lying against Allah, the Prophet, or Imams.
• To deny one of the principles of religion
• To deny any aspect of the holy Qur’an or the laws of Shari’ah.
257 e.g. to leave one’s country when one’s life or religion is in danger.
258 The Qur’an: The Cattle (6): 151
• Blasphemy, especially, in the house of Allah.
• To become hopeless of the mercy of Allah.
• To deny the hereafter
• To deny miracles.
Shari’ah & Religion
• Not to comply with the laws of the Shari’ah.
• Not learning the basic principles of beliefs and the details of the rules of the religion.
• Not teaching the principles and rules of religion to those who are ignorant of them, when they are seen acting or practicing something, which is wrong.
• Innovating in (the laws and practices of) religion.
• Declaring the lawful as unlawful.
• Declaring the unlawful as lawful.
• Giving judgement not in accordance with Allah’s orders.
• To rebel against the Imam (leader) who is just and qualified259.
• Denying what is due to Allah (e.g. Khums, Zaka>h).
• Refusing to pay religious taxes such as Khums, Zakah, or other obligatory dues.
• Delaying one’s dues.
• Not exercising taqiyyah when in danger.260
• Migrating to places where one’s religion would be endangered.
259 By qualified, it is meant he who meets all the criteria prescribed by Islam for a fit leader. It is only in the case of such a leader or imam that rebelling against is h}ara>m or prohibited.
260 Taqiyyah literally means to ‘guard’ or ‘protect’. A Muslim must exercise all means within his disposal to protect his life when threatened. One example of taqiyyah is not to disclose one’s belief under certain dangerous circumstances in order to protect one’s life.
• Friendship with the enemies of religion in the absence of an urgent necessity.
• Swearing in general, especially towards Allah, the prophets, the Imams, Islam, Qur’an, and other sacred things.
• To mislead people away from the path of Allah.
• Not practicing the principle of “Enjoining Good and Forbidding Evil”.
• To break an obligatory fast such as that due to a vow or fast during Ramad}a>n, without good reason.
• Not fasting for that missed during the month of Ramadan before the commencement of the next month of Ramadan.
• To delay a prayer until its time is over.
• To discontinue an (ongoing) obligatory prayer.
• To abandon obligatory prayers.
• To abandon any other obligation.
• To delay performing Hajj from the year it becomes obligatory.
• Rejecting the orders of the scholars in their Shari’ah verdicts.
• Accepting payment for religious obligations that have to be carried out.
• Not taking part in Jihad.
• Fleeing from battlefield.
• Selling arms to the disbelievers who wage war against the Muslims.
• Touching the holy Qur’an without formal purification, Wud}u.
• Selling the holy Qur’an.
• Making the mosque unclean.
• Working to destroy mosques.
• Preventing people from going to mosques.
• Going to or staying in mosques while in a state of Jonob.261
• The above individuals passing through the two grand mosques in Makkah and Medina.
• To violate the sanctity of the holy Ka’bah or any other one the holy sites.
• Animosity towards believers.
• To defame a believer.
• To disgrace a believer.
• To hurt or abuse a believer.
• To threat or terrorise a believer.
• To make fun of the believers.
• To ridicule or demean the Muslims.
• To defame a believer in poetry etc.
• Abandoning the believers.
261 An individual is said to be in a state of jonob after sexual intercourse (or ejaculation), and therefore an obligatory Ghusl bathing is required to attain a spiritual purity as well as personal hygiene. Similarly a Ghusl bathing is also mandatory after the occurrence of menses or childbirth.
• To publicise someone’s secrets without his consent.
• Hoarding goods needed by the public.
• To falsely suspect others and act up on it.
• To falsely accuse people.
• Not to answer the sala>m greeting.
• Looking for others’ shortcomings.
• Swearing at, beating, wounding or amputating someone’s limb(s).
• Detaining someone for no reason.
• Unlawful killing.
• Denying the rights of people that are due to them.
• Usurping the wealth or property of an orphan.
• Seizing and confiscating others’ property, possession, or wealth.
• Reporting about individuals to oppressors.
• Confining a woman or young people for indecent acts.
• Obstructing the road of Muslims.
• Muslim woman not wearing Hijab in public.
• For Muslim women to wear anything, in terms of cosmetics, perfume, clothing, etc. which would attract the attention of ‘non-mah}ram’ men. [A ‘non-mah}ram’ man is any adult male whom a woman must wear h}ija>b from, and this includes all adult male cousins, brothers-in-law, etc. as well all non-relative male. Editor]
• ‘Non-mah}ram’ man and woman kissing one another.
• Kissing a person with lust, except for spouses.
• Touching the body of non-mah}rams, male or female respectively.
• Touching others with lust, except one’s spouse.
• Women shaking hands with ‘non-mah}ram’ men (and vice versa).
• Looking at a non-mah}ram woman (or man respectively) with lust.262
• Looking at boys (or girls) or mah}ram relatives with lust.
• Going to mixed swimming pools, schools, clubs.
• Going to schools that would lead one to corruption.
• Looking at the private parts of others, (except for the spouses).
• To reveal one’s private parts in the presence of others.
• Accusing someone of adultery or homosexuality.
• Proposing marriage to a married woman or to a woman during the Eddah period (of four months after divorce or after becoming a widow).
• False marriage (e.g. forcing either of the two parties to marry, or the marriage of a Muslim and an atheist, Ka > fir, (excluding People of the Book, i.e. Jews and Christian.)) • To marry one’s mah}ram relatives, or relatives by marriage, or by breast-feeding.263
262 It is haram for a man to look at a Muslim woman who does not wear h}ija>b, even if without lust.
263 mah}ram relatives, in the case of the male, are those such as his mother, sisters, nieces, and aunts. [In the case of the female, the mah}ram relatives are her father, brothers, nephews, and uncles.] Marriage is not allowed between mah}ram relatives and therefore a woman does not wear h}ija>b from her mah}ram relatives. Non-mah}ram relatives are those such as cousins, brothers- or sisters-in-law, etc.