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.
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).