Category Archives: Akhlaq
Imam Ja’ffer (as) has said to his companion al-Hussain ibn Mukhtar:
“One amongst you says “I am the ghareeb”, yet the true ghareeb (stranger) is one who is present in the lands of shirk.”
When analyzing this dictum, experts have put great emphasis on the word ghareeb, and what it means in this context. The term “ghareeb” is defined as: to be an alien amongst others, be it in regards to being a foreigner, or in this case an individual who does not belong amongst the people. From this definition, a few questions may arise upon contemplation.
Recently, I was reading an interesting article concerning God’s Divine justice (link here) by the late scholar Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari. The article has been translated by Dr. Hamid Algar, a notable professor, and thus captured my interest as I was familiar with his translations. Among other issues, the article deals with the issue of why God must be just and raises quite a few interesting premises to provide evidence for this claim. This post however, concerns itself not with God’s justice, rather, with man’s own justice unto himself. There is one particular passage within the article that details the reason as to why God is just. This same passage can be inferred from to derive meaning pertinent to man’s own justice unto himself and is quoted below.
“…Justice is the basis of God’s acts, both in the ordering of the universe and in the establishing of laws. Just as human acts can be weighed according to the criteria of good and bad, the acts of the Creator are also subject to the same criteria. Since the logic of reason determines that justice is inherently praiseworthy and injustice inherently reprehensible, an object of worship whose characteristics include infinite intelligence and spirit, will never undertake an act that reason regards as impermissible.”
Akhlaq is the Arabic term which refers to the practice of morality, ethics, virtue and manners. It is the plural of “khulq” which relates to disposition (malakah). Furthermore, it is a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character. Manners are of two types; Husn al Khulq (good manners) and Su al Khulq (bad manners). Good manners ultimately signify the completion of one’s faith and closeness to Allah. On the other hand, partaking in Su al Khulq will negatively affect a person in this world and the hereafter. Imam Ali (as) has said, “O Believer! This knowledge and good manners are the value of your soul so strive to learn them, for however much your knowledge and good manners increase, so will your value and worth accordingly” (Mishkat al-Anwar, p 135).