The effect of Quranic Moral Qualities on the Life of Man
Al-Azhar Magazine – December 1970
It is a well-known fact that a society consists of individuals. If these individuals are good, the whole community will be good. The Quran praised the Prophet Muhammad as having a sublime character, for thus Allah said :
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ۬
“And lo!thou art of a tremendous nature.” (68:4 )
The term ‘sublime or great’ with which the character of Prophet is credited indicates that in his personality are combined all virtues such as honesty, justice, kindness, patience, courage, fulfilment of promises, support of the weak, hospitality to guests, and magnanimity etc. It was the Quran which prepared this nobility of character, as is clear from the numerous verses.
The enjoinment of a virtue implies the prohibition of its antithesis and vice versa. For instance, the prohibition of falsehood, hypocrisy, lie, perjury is implied in the enjoinment of truthfulness, as the prohibition of injustice, libel, backbiting and dishonesty is implied in the enjoinment of justice. But the Quran called every vice by its name in order to shut the door of false pretexts in the face of the ignorance and the misinterpretation. Habits have a great effect on the physical, moral and behavioural aspects of private and social life of man. According to psychologists one can get rid of a bad habit only when one abandons it irrevocably.
Man is most anxious about everything relating to his personal interest. He is not actuated in most cases by the dictates of reason and logic. But reason is not always sufficient to control instincts being unable to distinguish between right and wrong in all cases. Hence the need for guiding the reason in this respect. This guidance can only be given by Divine revelation. The Holy Quran does not simply enumerate some moralities and ethical qualities; but it further gives man the teachings as to how he can get to acquire these moral qualities.
The directions of the Quran lead man to the springs from which moral distinctions flow. The moralities enjoined by Quran upon its followers seek to produce the complete man in his every day social life. The Quranic moral qualities aim at making harmony and balance between the physical, moral and spiritual conditions of man. The Moral qualities directed by the Quran enable him to abstain from inflicting injury upon his fellow men and to do good to others.
We should have a clear notion of the following moral qualities set forth by the Holy Quran in explicit terms:
These are three stages in the doing of goodness: the First stage is that in which man does good to his benefactors only; to repay good for more justice. Second stage is that in which he takes the initiative to do good to others who cannot claim it as a right. In this stage he may, expect thanks for acknowledgement in returnfor the good he does. In the third stage he should not think of the goodness he has done nor expect any thankfulness or acknowledgement.
The Holy Quran commands people to do good for the sake of goodness, without expecting any benefit or thanks from the person upon whom the benefit is conferred. This is the highest stage of goodness. The Quran says:
وَيُطۡعِمُونَ ٱلطَّعَامَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ مِسۡكِينً۬ا وَيَتِيمً۬ا وَأَسِيرًا (٨) إِنَّمَا نُطۡعِمُكُمۡ لِوَجۡهِ ٱللَّهِ لَا نُرِيدُ مِنكُمۡ جَزَآءً۬ وَلَا شُكُورًا (٩)
“And feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan and the prisoner, for love of Him, (.(Saying): We feed you, for the sake of Allah only. We wish for no reward nor thanks from you;” (76: 8-9)
The Quran enjoined charity for the sole purpose of seeking Allah’s pleasure and Grace. The practice of generosity and liberality for the sake of ostentation or any recompenses, diverts charity into the base aim which gives rise to envy and disputes between the rich and the poor. The Quran aims at sublimating this tendency into a nobler aim.
Holy Quran gives comprehensive injunctions against all sorts of dishonest dealings, and every breach of trust. The quality of honesty consists on not causing injustice to others by cheating them or taking unlawful possession of their own things. The true honesty and its various requisites are clearly set forth in the following Quranic verses:
وَلَا تَقۡرَبُواْ مَالَ ٱلۡيَتِيمِ إِلَّا بِٱلَّتِى هِىَ أَحۡسَنُ حَتَّىٰ يَبۡلُغَ أَشُدَّهُ ۥۚ وَأَوۡفُواْ بِٱلۡعَهۡدِۖ إِنَّ ٱلۡعَهۡدَ كَانَ مَسۡـُٔولاً۬
“Come not near the wealth of the orphan save with that which is better till he come to strength; and keep the covenant. Lo! of the covenant it will be asked. ” (17:34)
فَأَنۢبَتۡنَا فِيہَا حَبًّ۬ا
“And cause the grain to grow therein” (8:27)
Courage is a virtue which is resembled in those who do not lose their hearts but stand firmly and behave patiently under hardships and in battle field. The quality of courage is not a movement in an insolent manner or in a vain display. The courageous man resists his passions and does not fly from danger like a coward, but he takes any step to resist evil in the violent battlefield. The true faith in God increases the instinct of bravery in the way of truth and justice.
This is one of the highest moral qualities preached by the Holy Quran. It enjoins upon the believers to lead a polite social life. The preliminarystages of this quality are to avoid defaming one another, and not traduce any person in his absence, not to deride others,not to insult anyone, to avoid suspicions and even not call one by his nickname. The following verses of the Quran refer to the essential conditions of the life of a true believer:
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ لَايَسۡخَرۡ قَوۡمٌ۬ مِّن قَوۡمٍ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَكُونُواْ خَيۡرً۬ا مِّنۡہُمۡ وَلَانِسَآءٌ۬ مِّن نِّسَآءٍ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيۡرً۬ا مِّنۡہُنَّۖ وَلَاتَلۡمِزُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡ وَلَاتَنَابَزُواْ بِٱلۡأَلۡقَـٰبِۖ بِئۡسَ ٱلِٱسۡمُ ٱلۡفُسُوقُ بَعۡدَ ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنِ ۚ وَمَن لَّمۡ يَتُبۡ فَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلظَّـٰلِمُونَ
“O ye who believe! Let not a folk deride a folk who may be better than they (are), not let women (deride) women who may be better than they are; neither defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. Bad is the name of lewdness after faith. And whoso turneth not in repentance, such are evil-doers.” (49: 11)
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱجۡتَنِبُواْ كَثِيرً۬ا مِّنَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِنَّ بَعۡضَ ٱلظَّنِّ إِثۡمٌ۬ ۖ وَلَا تَجَسَّسُواْ وَلَا يَغۡتَب بَّعۡضُكُم بَعۡضًا ۚ أَيُحِبُّ أَحَدُڪُمۡ أَن يَأۡڪُلَ لَحۡمَ أَخِيهِ مَيۡتً۬ا فَكَرِهۡتُمُوهُ ۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ تَوَّابٌ۬ رَّحِيمٌ۬
“O ye who believe! Shun much suspicion; for lo! some suspicion is a crime. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you love to eat the flesh of his dead brother? Ye abhor that (so abhor the other)! And keep your duty (to Allah). Lo! Allah is Relenting, Merciful. “
These Quranic verses refer, in clear terms, to the fact that the habits of mockery, defame, calling others by nicknames, backbiting, watching other’s private affairs and deriding, are contrary to the exigencies of “True faith in God” as it is clear from the prelude of the verses these habits will weaken the noble aim of Quranic moral system, namely. To foster love sympathy and to purify hearts from envy and hate. It was for this reason that the Quran called the doers of these sins as ‘oppressors or evil doers’.
Patience would be considered as a true moral quality only when it be performed with total submission to the Will of God, and in complete freedom of action. The Holy quran refers to this noble quality as follows:
يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ ٱسۡتَعِينُواْ بِٱلصَّبۡرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِۚإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ
“O ye who believe! Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. Lo! Allah is with the steadfast. ”
With the help of the patience the true believer resists and overcomes, first the passions of the body, and then the attacks of transgressors.
The Quran commended this noble quality in several occasions. The objective of the forgiveness or proportional punishment is aimed the fault and improve the condition of the wrongdoer. From this point we can understand there is in Islam neither the one extreme side. The mre presence of this quality in a person does not entitled him to credit unless he shows by its use on the right occasions that he possess it as a moral quality. In a society of this mode where the Quranic moral qualities at honesty, sincerity, justice, keeping promise, patience, politeness, goodness forgiveness there is complete absence of jealousy and hatred but there is a real sense of equality and brotherhood. The moral qualities recommended by the Holy Quran, effected at once the life of the wild children of the Arabian desert, and enabled them to become an advanced and civilised society in a short period.