Chapter XVII - The Moral Conditions
Having briefly indicated the directions given by the Holy Koran in the first stage of reformation, we now come to the second. After it has given to the savage and the primitive such rules as are necessary for his guidance, it undertakes to teach him high morals. We shall, therefore, mention, as a specimen, only a few of the moral qualities upon which the Holy Koran has laid stress. All moral qualities fall under two heads:
(1) Those which enable man to abstain from inflicting injury upon his fellow-men, and
(2) Those which enable him to do good to others:
- a)to the first class belong the rules of conduct which direct the intentions and actions of man so that he may not injure the life, property, or honour of his fellow-beings by means of his tongue or hand or eye, or any other member of his body.
- b)The second class comprises all rules calculated to guide the intentions and actions of man in doing good to others by means of the faculties which God has granted him or in declaring the glory or honour of others or in forbearing from punishing an offender, or in punishing him in such a manner that the punishment turns to be a blessing for him.
The moral qualities which fall under the heading of abstaining from doing wrong or injuries are chiefly four in number. Each of these is designed by a single word in Arabic, the language of the Holy Koran, which is so rich in vocabulary that it supplies a different word for different human conceptions, manners and morals. First of all we shall consider the quality of ihsan (in Arabic). This word signifies the virtue which relates to the act of procreation in men and woman. A man or a woman is said to be ãÍÕäÉ ãÍÕä “muhsana” when he or she abstains from illegal intercourse and its preliminaries which bring disgrace and ruin upon the head of the sinners in the world and severe torture in the next. None is more wicked than the infamous villain who causes the loss of a wife to a husband and that of a mother to her children, and thus violently disturbs the peace of the whole household bringing ruin upon the head of both the guilty wife and the innocent husband and children.
The first thing to remember about this moral quality which we call chastity is that no one deserves credit from refraining from satisfying his carnal desires illegally if nature has not given him these desires. The expression “moral quality,” therefore, cannot be applied to the mere act of refraining from such a course unless nature has also granted him the capacity of committing the bad deed. It is refraining under such circumstances, i.e. against the power of passions which nature has placed in man, that deserves to be credited as a high moral quality. Nonage, impotence, emasculation or old age nullifies the existence of the moral quality we tern chastity, although refraining from the illegal act exists in these cases. But the fact is that in such cases it is a natural condition, and there is no resistance of passion, and, therefore, no propriety in the act. This is a distinction of importance between natural conditions and moral qualities. In the former there exists no tendency to go to the opposite direction, while in the latter there is a struggle between the good and evil passion, which necessitates the application of the reasoning faculty as well as the restrictions of the law together with a true sense of feeling that the Almighty God is aware of all human deeds. There is no doubt that children under the age of puberty and men who have lost the power upon which restrictions are to be imposed, cannot claim to possess a moral quality of so great a value, though their actions might resemble those of chaste men and woman. But their chastity, if it might at all be called chastity, is only a natural condition over which they have no control.
For this reason the Prophet announced that “He is not the true courageous who overcomes his enemies, but the most true is he who overcomes and controls his lower passion.” Again the tendency of the Muslim precepts is that no man should deserve God’s reward for acting in accordance with the ordinances of religion unless he was naturally capable of disobeying them.
The directions contained in the Holy Koran for attainment of the noble quality of chastity are given in the following ordinances:
“Ask (O Prophet) the believing men to lower their gaze (to strange women) and be modest. That is purer for them. (Let them know) that God is aware of all that they do.”
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands and husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women or their slaves or male attendants who lack vigour, or children who know naught of woman’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. Tell the believing men and women to observe these ordinances so that they might lead a successful life.”
The Holy Koran also instructs Muslims “Not to draw near unto fornication, but that they should keep aloof from occasions which give rise to such injurious ideas, and keep away from paths which might lead to commission of sin, for he who commits fornication does an extremely wicked deed, and it is an evil way (for it keeps back from attaining the desired perfection).”
In another verse , the Holy Koran directs those who cannot find a match to employ other means to preserve their continence such as fasting or taking light food or try to apply themselves to remembrance of the fear of God’s punishment to the evil-doers. Furthermore, the Koran states that some people (of the Christians) have devised methods of their own (for restraining themselves from sexual relations as by adopting celibacy or monasticism (and thus depreciating marriage), or by submitting themselves to castration, but all these methods have been invented by the people themselves and not decreed by God, and the results was that they could not observe these innovations as they ought to.
Here the Almighty God declares that He did not prescribe the method of castration, etc., for had these been among the commandments of the Almighty, the people would have to observe these rules and then the human race would long since have disappeared from the face of the earth. In addition to the immorality attaching to such evil practice, it is an objection against the Creator for having put such a power in man. Moreover, it can be easily seen that there is no merit in having been unable to do am act, and credit is due to him only who has to resist the evil tendency and to overcome the evil passions from fear of God. The person who has the energy in him to do so deserves a twofold credit, viz. For the application of the energy in the proper place and for refraining from applying it where there is no proper occasion for it. But the man who has lost it is not entitled to any of these. He is like a child and deserves no credit for refraining from what he has lost the power to do. There is no resistance, no overcoming and consequently no merit or glory.
The foregoing Koranic verses not only contain excellent teachings for the attainment of charity, but point out certain remedies for observing continence: Restraining from casting unrestrained looks upon strangers and refraining the ears from listening to love stories of stranger men and women exciting lust; avoiding every occasion where there may be fear of being involved in the wicked deed and, last of all, resorting to fasting or light food and constant remembrance of the fear of God’s punishment upon evil-doers and wicked transgressors.
Here we can confidently assert that teachings upon chastity, together with the remedies for continence, as contained in the Holy Koran, are a peculiarity of Islam. One point deserves special attention. The natural propensity of man, in which carnal appetite takes its root and over which man cannot have full control except by undergoing a thorough transformation, is that whenever there is occasion for it, it takes its object into serious and lamentable consequences. The divine in junction in this respect is, therefore, that it is unlawful for a Muslim to cast unnecessary free glances, whether with pure or impure looks, upon strange women. We must avoid every circumstance which may make us stumble at any time. Unrestrained looks are almost sure to lead to danger.
The word of God, therefore, restrains the lascivious desires of man and woman to avoid the very occasion where there is danger of the excitement of the passions.
This is the secret underlying the institution of the seclusion of women in Islam. It is sheer ignorance of the noble principles of that religion to take seclusion in the sense of shutting up women like prisoners in a goal. The object of seclusion is that both men and women should be restrained from intermingling freely and that members of the fair sex should not display their decoration and beauty freely to strangers.
It should further be borne in mind that “to restrain the looks,” in the Koranic verse, means, in the Arabic language of the Holy Book, the casting down of one’s eyes when the object of sight is not one which it is proper for a person to look at freely and not the refraining altogether of one’s looks on the proper occasions. The casting down of eyes on proper occasions in the first requirement of pure social life. This habit, without causing any serious disadvantages to man in his social relations, has the invaluable advantage of making him perfect in one of the highest morals, which we call chastity.
We come next to the second moral quality of refraining from injury which is called in Arabic ÃãÇäÉ i.e. honesty. This quality consists in not causing injury to others by cheating them or taking unlawful possession of their own properties. Honesty is naturally met with in man. An infant, free as it is from every bad habit, is averse to sucking the milk of a woman other than his mother, if it has not been entrusted to her when quite unconscious. This habit in the infant is rather the root from which grows the natural inclination to be honest, and which is later developed into the moral quality known to advanced civilization as “honesty.” The true principle of honesty is that there should be the same aversion to the dishonest taking of another’s property. In the child, however, this is not a moral quality but only a natural condition, in as much as it is not regulated by any principle or displayed on the proper occasion. The child has no choice in the matter. Unless there is a choice, the action of a moral being cannot be included under the category of moral conditions. The person who shows the inclination in obedience to the requirements of his nature, without considering the propriety of the occasion, cannot, in the strict sense of the word, be called an honest man. The person who does not distinctly observe the conditions which raise this natural inclination to the status of a moral quality cannot lay claim to it, although his action may, to outward appearances, resemble the action of a moral being which is done with all the requisites, at after a due consideration of its advisability. We cite illustration interpretation of a few verses from the Holy Koran bearing upon the subject.
“And if there are among you any owners of property who are weak of understanding, being minors or orphans, and have not sufficient prudence for the management of their affairs, you (i.e. the Muslims) should assume full control over their property as a Court of Wards, and do not make over to them that which God has placed with you as a means of support and as placed with you as a means of support and as a stock of trade, but assign them a portion of it such as is necessary for their maintenance and clothing, and speak to them words of kindness such as may sharpen their intellects and mature their understandings and train them for the business which is most suited for their capacities, giving them that full instruction in these respects. And test the orphans in whatever you instruct them so the you may be able to see if they have made and progress. And when they attain the age of maturity (for which the proper limit is eighteen) () and you perceive that they are able to manage their affairs well, release their property to them. And do not waste it profusely, nor consume hastily under the fear that they will shortly be of age to receive what belongs to them. If the guardian is well off, he should abstain entirely from taking remuneration from the orphan’s estate, but if he is poor he may take a reasonable remuneration. When you make over their property to them, do it in the presence of witnesses; and know well that God takes sufficient account of all your actions.”
“Let those who are guardians over orphans” property have the same fear in their minds as if they have (when died) left a weakly offspring behind them. Let them, then fear God and speak words of appropriate comfort” (IV – 5, 6, 9).
This which the Almighty God has preached is true honesty and faithfulness, and its various requisites are clearly set forth in the verses quoted above.
Elsewhere the Holy Koran teaches us:
“Not to consume each other’s wealth unjustly, nor offer it to judges as a bribe, so that with their aid ye might seize other men’s property dishonestly.” (II – 188).
And again we are instructed thus: “God enjoins upon you to give back faithfully any trust to its owner. God hates the unfaithful” (IV).
In another instance the Holy Koran gives the following instructions:
“Give just measure and be not of those who diminish. And weigh (things) with an exact and right balance. And defraud not the substance of any people, and do not act corruptly in the earth, making mischief. And guard yourselves against the punishment of God for all sorts of corruption.” (XXVI – 180 -183).
“And give to the orphans their property, and do not substitute worthless things for (their) good ones and do not devour their property (as an addition) to your property; this is surely a great crime.” (IV – 2).
These are comprehensive injunctions against all sorts of dishonest dealings, and every breach of trust comes within them. Separate offences are not enumerated in this chapter for a comprehensive list of them should have required much space; and even that it would have been very hard to set a limit to them. But it was the message of the Prophet of Islam to explain in full detail any and all ordinances referred to in the Koran; and Muslims are instructed by the Koran to obey the rules and abide by the explanations and instructions laid down by God’s Prophet whose sayings are to be treated by all believers as if they were God’s Himself. The Holy Koran says: “He who has obeyed the Prophet has in fact obeyed God.” And again the Koran teaches that the Prophet is charged with explaining and pointing out any precepts revealed to him.
We hope to publish later a separate volume, containing the various rules of conduct touching on all aspects of life and social affairs and democratic dealings, which the Prophet has laid down for the instruction of his followers.
Let us now turn to the third class of morals falling within the first division, namely the refraining from causing injury to others. This moral quality is that known as peacefulness. It consists in refraining from causing harm or injury of any sort to another person and thus living a peaceful life upon earth. Peacefulness is, no doubt, a blessing for humanity and must be valued for the great good which proceeds from it. The natural inclination, out of which this moral quality develops, is witnessed in the young of a human being in the form of attachment. A natural inclination towards submission and attachment so early witnessed in the young human is only the germ, out of which flows the high moral quality of peacefulness. It is plain that divested of reason man cannot realize peacefulness or hostility. It cannot be called a moral quality that which is not consciously resorted to upon a recommendation of reason.
The directions of the Holy Koran may be briefly noticed:
“Live peacefully with one another.”
“If they (the other party) incline to peace, do you also incline to it.”
“There is much good in coming to agreeable reconciliation, i.e. to live peacefully.”
“And the servants of the Compassionate (God) are those who walk peacefully upon earth.”
“And when they hear frivolous discourse which they fear might lead to some quarrel, they do not listen to it, but pass on with dignity, and do not pick up quarrels on trifling matters,” i.e. they do not take a hostile attitude so long as no material injury is caused to them. The guiding principle of peacefulness is that one should not be offended at the slightest opposition to one’s feelings. The word frivolous in the above teaching requires some explanation. A word or deed is to be frivolous when it causes no substantial loss material injury to its object, although it be said or done with a mischievous or bad intention. But if the injury is not trivial and causes material loss of life, property or honour, the Islamic moral quality required to meet this emergency is not peacefulness or meekness but forgiveness, which shall be treated later.
The Koran also teaches us to: “Repel the evil deed which is vain or frivolous with such a better answer, as to make the person between whom and ourselves there was enmity or discord to become as though he was a bosom friend” (XLI – 34).
In fine, the overlooking of trivial injuries is inculcated in the moral quality of peacefulness.
The fourth and last class of the negative morals is politeness or gentlemanliness. The preliminary stage of this quality as witnessed in the child, is cheerfulness. Before the child learns to speak, the cheerfulness of its face serves the same purpose as kind words in a grown-up man, but the propriety of the occasion is an essential condition in classing politeness as “a high moral quality.” The teachings of the Koran on this point are as follows:
“Speak gently and politely with one another.”
“Let not a folk deride another folk, who may be better than they, neither let women deride other women who may be better than they; neither defame one another, nor insult one another not even by calling him or her by nickname” (XLIX – 2).
“Avoid such suspicion, for some suspicions are surely sinful, neither backbite one another. Would any one of you love to eat the flesh of his brother, certainly not, ye abhor that : so abhor the other” (XLIX – 12).
“They are most honoured by God who are the best in conduct,” i.e. those who are most dutiful to God and are fraternally polite with one another” (XLIX – 13).
In these fine verses, the Almighty God enjoins upon the believers to lead a polite life, to defame not one another, to avoid entertaining frequent suspicions, not to traduce any person in his absence and to embrace the best conduct in our social life.
“Not to accuse any person of committing sinful deeds or crimes without having sure proof of his or her guilt” (XVII – 36), and “to walk not in the earth exultantly or arrogantly” (XVII – 37).
We now turn to the second heading of morals which relate to doing good to others as taught by the Holy Koran. The first of these morals is forgiveness. The person to whom a real injury has been caused has the right to redress by bringing the offender to law for punishment or himself dealing out some punishment to him, and, therefore, when he foregoes his right if redressing and forgives the offender he does him a real good. The Holy Koran contains the following injunction upon this point:
“Praised are they who restrain their anger and pardon the faults of others; and God love those who do good to other.” (III – 134).
“God loves those who shun transgression and indecencies, and whenever they get anger they forgive (him who caused their anger) (XLII – 37).
The Holy Koran also teaches that: “The recompense of an evil deed is punishment proportionate to it, but whoever forgives (the injury caused to him thereby) and amends, he shall have his reward from Allah (God)” : “Surely God does not love the wrongdoer” (XLII - 40).
Here is a golden Islamic rule for forgiveness of evil. The rule laid down is that evil must be requited by punishment proportionate to the amount of wrong committed. This is a very just and necessary restriction. But the verse furnishes a guiding rule as to the occasions of forgiveness. There is in Islam neither the one extreme of “tooth” for tooth” nor the opposite one of “turning the left cheek when the right is smitten” or “giving away the cloak to one who has already taken the coat of his brother.” Forgiveness in Islam is highly commended, but it is preached in such a manner as to make it not impracticable; it is the beautiful means that forgiveness may be exercised if it will mend the matter and do good to the wrong doer himself. The object is to “amend” whether it may be attained by giving proportional punishment or by exercising forgiveness. The course which is calculated to mend the matter should be adopted. The offender would under certain circumstances benefit by the forgiveness and mend his ways for the future. But on other occasions, forgiveness may produce the contrary effect and may embolden the culprit to do worse deeds. The word of God does not, therefore, enjoin that we should go on forgiving faults quite blindly. It requires us to consider and weigh the matter first and see what course is likely to lead to real good. As there are persons of vindictive nature that carry the spirit of revenge to excess, there are other who are ready to yield and are too prone to forgive on every occasion. Excess in mildness, like excess in vengeance, leads to harmful consequences. The mere giving up of a claim to requital from an offender, whatever the circumstances and however serious the nature of the offence done by an attack upon the honour or chastity, is far from being a great moral quality to which men should aspire. The mere presence of this quality in person, therefore, does not entitle him to real credit unless he shows by its use on the right occasion that he possesses it as a moral quality. The distinction between natural and moral qualities should be clearly brone in mind. The inborn or natural qualities of man are transformed into moral qualities when a person does, or refrain from doing, an act upon the right occasion and after due consideration of the good or evil that is likely to result from it. Many of the lower animals are quite harmless and do not resist when evil is done to them. A cow may be said to be innocent and a lamb meek, but to neither do we attribute the high moral qualities which man aspires after, for they are not gifted with reason and do not know right from wrong. It is only the occasion upon which anything is done that justifies or condemns a deed; and the wise and perfect Word of the Omniscient God has, therefore, imposed this condition upon every moral quality.
The second moral quality is that known as goodness, i.e. to do good to others, or, in other words, to do good for good which represents the justice in its simplest meaning. Then comes forward–towards the moral development – the higher quality of kindness, followed by the highest quality named tenderness. Thus in the Holy Koran, the Almighty God commands men to repay good for good and (if we can avail ourselves of an opportunity of doing more than mere justice), to do good for the sake of goodness, i.e. without having received any benefit and (if it befits the occasion) to bestow gifts with the natural tenderness of kindred. He forbids rudeness and abomination and wrongdoing (XVI – 90),
These commandments call attention to three stages in the doing of goodness. The lowest stage is that in which man does good to his benefactors only. Even an ordinary man who has the sense to appreciate the goodness of others can acquire this quality and do good in return for good. From this there is an advancement to the second stage in which man takes the initiative to do good to other. It consists in bestowing favours upon persons who cannot claim them as a right. This quality, excellent as it is, occupies a middle position. To it often attaches the infirmity that the doer expects thanks or prayers in return for the good he does, and the slightest opposition from the object of compassion is termed ungratefulness. He would fain have an acknowledgment of the benefit conferred and is let sometimes to take advantage of his position by laying upon him some burden, which the other could not have otherwise willingly borne. To remedy this effect, the Holy Koran has warned the doer of goodness saying, “Make not your alms or benefits void by reminding those whom you relieve of your obligation, and by injuring them” (II – 264). If there is no sincerity in the deed, alms are of no effect, being mere show. In brief, this is an infirmity attached to the noble deed of doing goodness to another that the doer is led sometimes to remind the person relieved of the obligation, or to boast of it. A third stage has, therefore, been taught by the Holy Word of God which is free from every imperfection. To attain this perfection man should not think of the goodness he has done, nor expect even an expression of thankfulness from the person upon whom the benefit is conferred.
The idea of doing good should proceed from sincere sympathy like that which is shown by the nearest relatives: by a mother, for instance, towards her children. This is the highest and the last stage of showing kindness to the creatures of God. Such sympathetic and sincere benefactors are highly praised by the Lord in the Koran where it states that: The servants of God (whom He loves) are those who on account of their love for God bestow their food on the needy wretch and the orphan and the bondsman, though longing for it themselves, and who say:
“we do not confer any obligation upon you, but our desire is that God may be pleased with us and we do it only for the sake of God, and this is a service for which we seek from you neither recompense nor thanks” (LXXVI – 8, 9);
“God loves those who, when they spend, are neither prodigal nor niggard and keep the mean” (XXV – 67);
“and those of whose property there is a due portion for those who beg and for those who are needy and outcast” (XXV – 19);
“ and those who spend in ease and in adversity” (III – 134);
“ you shall by no means attain goodness till you expend in the cause of your fellow-being out of that which you love” (III – 92);
“and give your kindred what they require in time of need and also to the poor and the wayfarer and do not squander wastefully” (XVII– 26).
This verse forbids prodigality and squandering away of wealth in luxury or in proper occasion. Therefore, any excess in the doing of that which would otherwise have been most beneficial is condemned by the law. Nor, it should be borne in mind, is the mere doing of good in any of the forms above mentioned a high moral quality of goodness unless attested to as much by the propriety of the occasion as by exercise of judgment.
In another verse the word of God enjoins upon the believers to “be good to the parents and to the kindred and to the orphans and to the poor and to the neighbours who are your relatives and to the neighbours who are strangers and the companions in a journey and to the wayfarer; and whatever you rightly possess (be they your servants or horses or other domestic animals)”, “this is what God loves you to do, and He does not love the vain boasters and the selfish and does not like those who are niggardly themselves and bid others to be niggards, and hide away what God of His bounty has given them, saying to the poor and the needy, “We have nothing to give you’” (IV – 36, 37).
Courage is a virtue resembling the instinct of bravery. The very young human being, when it lacks sufficient reason, is apt to display bravery and is ready to thrust its hand into the fire, because, having no knowledge of the consequences the instinctive quality is predominant in it, and its action is by no means a noble quality. The virtue which we call courage cannot be displayed but after a good deal of reasoning and reflection and a full consideration of the propriety of the act. The Holy Koran contains the following directions upon this point:
“The true brave are those who lose not their hearts but stand firmly and behave patiently under ills and hardships and in battles – those are they who are true (to themselves), and those are they who guard themselves against the displeasure of their Lord” (II – 177).
“They shall have a great reward from their Lord who do good to others and guard against evil; those who, when they are threatened with the mustering of people against them and are told to fear the forces gathering around to crush them, are not dispirited thereby” (III – 172 – 174).
This circumstance, on the other hand, increases the faith of true believers and they say; “God is sufficient protector and excellent guardian, since they were to fight in the cause of truth and in obedience to their Lord” (III – 173).
Therefore, the moral quality of courage, according to the teachings of Islam is not a mechanical movement depending upon passions and flowing in one direction only, but is utilized in two ways, viz,, with its aid the faithful resist and overcome the passions of the flesh, and besides they utilize it to resist the attacks of transgressors when it is advisable to do so in the cause of the truth.
The truly courageous do not display their bravery in an insolent manner and with a view to appear with ostentation to other men, but their only consideration is the pleasure of God who wishes them to resist evil by their courage and to be patient under hardships. All this leads to the conclusion that true courage takes its root in patience and steadfastness. The courageous man resists his passions and does not fly from danger like a coward, but before he takes any step he looks to the remote consequences of his action.
Between the daring dash of savage and the indomitable courage of a civilized man, there is this vast difference that the latter is prepared to meet real dangers but he reasons and reflects even in the fury and tumult of battle, before he proceeds to take the course best suited to avert the evil, while the former in obedience to an irresistible passion makes a violent assault in one direction only.
The next virtue, which is developed out of the natural conditions, is veracity. So long as there is no motive to tell a lie, man is naturally inclined to speak the truth. He is averse to lying from his very nature and hates the person who is proved to have told a plain lie. But this natural condition cannot claim our respect as one the noble moral qualities. Unless a man is purged of the low motives which bar him from truth, his veracity is questionable. For if he speaks the truth only in the matters in which truth produces no harm to himself and tells a lie or holds his tongue from the utterance of truth when his interest or property or honour is at stake, he can claim no superiority over the untruthful. In fact, no one speaks untruth without a motive, and there is no virtue in resorting to truth so long as there is no apprehension of harm the only circumstance which can serve as a test of truthfulness is the occasion when one’s life or honour or property is in danger. The Holy Koran contains the following injunctions on this subject:
“Shun ye the pollution of idols and shun ye the word of falsehood” (XXII – 30).
The shunning of idols and falsehood is enjoined in the same breath; it indicates that falsehood is an idol and the person who trusts to it – in like manner as the idolaters and the heathen used to do – does not trust in God for he bows in submission to an idol and does not worship God.
“The witnesses –among the true believers– shall not refuse to present themselves whenever – they are summoned to give witness; and conceal not true testimony, for he who conceals it has surely a wicked heart” (II – 283).
“When you speak a word or pronounce a judgment be true and just, though the person concerned be your relative.”
“Stand fast to truth and justice and let your testimony be only for the sake of God and speak not falsely, although the declaration of truth might be against your own interest or against your parents or your near relatives, such as your children.”(IV– 135).
“Let not hatred towards any person induce you to act unjustly against him” (V– 8).
“The truthful men and the truthful women shall find a rich reward”(XXXIII – 35).
“They are beloved and blessed who enjoin truth and patience upon each other” (III –3);
“and they who do not give false witness or those who sit in the company of liars” (XXXV – 72).
Another virtue which develops out of the natural condition of man is patience. Every one has more or less to suffer misfortunes, diseases and afflictions which are the common lot of humanity. Every one, too, has, after much sorrowing and suffering, to make his peace with the misfortune which befalls him. But such contentment is by no means a noble moral quality. It is a natural consequence of the continuance of affliction that weariness at last brings about conciliation. The first shock brings about depression of spirit, in quietude and wails of woe, but when the excitement of the moment is over, there is necessarily a reaction, for the extreme has been reached. But such disappointment and consequent contentment are both the result of natural inclination. It is only when the loss is received with total resignation to the will of God and in complete resignation to His predestination that the deed deserves to be closed under virtuous moral qualities. The word of God thus deals with that noble quality of patience.
“We shall prove you by afflicting you in some measure with fear, and hunger, and decrease of wealth and loss of lives, and fruits. Those who prove patient under such misfortunes are to be given good tidings of God’s reward – to those who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: “Surely we are God’s creatures and His charges, and, therefore, must return to the owner of the charge”’ (II – 155-156).
This is the true expression of a true Muslim. “We are God’s creatures and His charges and to Him must the charges return; we come from God and He is our goal, therefore no trial or misfortune can disturb the course of our life, which has a much higher aim than mere comfort.”
Another quality falling under the same category is sympathetical zeal. People of every nationality and religion are naturally endowed with the feeling of national sympathy, and in their zeal for the interest of their countrymen or co-religionists they do not hesitate to wrong others. Such sympathetic zeal, however, does not proceed out of moral feelings, but it is an instinctive passion and is witnessed even in lower animals especially ravens, of which the call of one brings together numerous others or in sheep in which case the crush of one though it be towards a precipice brings the whole flock to follow their example. To be classed as moral quality, it must be displayed in accordance with the principles of justice and equity and on the proper occasion. It is expressed that under this condition the word sympathy is to be used. The injunction of the Holy Koran on this point is as follows:
“Sympathy and co-operation are enjoined upon you towards deeds of goodness and piety, but you must not co-operate towards sinful or transgressive deeds.” (V– 2).
Again the Holy Word of God teaches every Muslim not “To be a pleader for the treacherous” (IV – 105). “And plead not on behalf of any people who deceive themselves; God does not love anyone who is treacherous and sinful” (IV – 107).
) ) According to Dr. “Imam” Abu Hanifa School of Jurisprudence, if at that age maturity of mind is not attained, the limit may be extended.