DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider delivered at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town.
We now enter part 7 of Dua Makarimul Akhlaaq of Imam Sajjad (as) wherein he says;
اللّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى مُحَمَّدٍ وَآلِهِ
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family,
وَسَدِّدْنِي لاَنْ أُعارِضَ مَنْ غَشَّنِي بِالنُّصْحِ
Give me the grace that I can counter one who is dishonest to me with good advice”
The Holy Imam (as) had previously asked Allah (swt) for the ability to triumph over the oppressors, but now appears to be asking for the exact opposite!
What this specific section of the dua is teaching us is that when one has been wronged in their personal engagements, they should forgive. When injustices occur to others, those who possess the highest degree of the noble ethical traits are courageous in standing up to the perpetrators.
The essence of the message of the Imam (as) is that when one is individually oppressed – they excuse – while they defend the rights of the public when they are violated.
Imam Sajjad (as) first request in this light is the following:
وَسَدِّدْنِي لاَنْ أُعارِضَ مَنْ غَشَّنِي بِالنُّصْحِ
“Give me the grace that I can counter one who is dishonest to me with good advice”.
The deeper meaning of this supplication lies in the understanding of the word “Ghash.” Ghash is a word that is used extensively in Islamic law, and means to deceive an individual. This deception, however, is a contradiction between the apparent and what the physical reality actually is. This form of dishonesty is considered a sin from a legislative perspective, but also has esoteric dimensions can that can be delved into at a later stage.
GHASH IN THE BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT
The most classical example of Ghash is in the business world in which the defects of the product are concealed from the consumer. This fraudulent behaviour has been condemned in the narrations of the Ahlulbait (as) to the extent that the Messenger (SAW) has said: “Whoever deceived a Muslim in selling or buying is not part of Islam.”
Ghash is seen in such negative light that on the day of resurrection, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) has said that these individuals will not be raised with the Muslims.
Similarly, the consumer has the responsibility not to deceive the business owners. It is narrated that Imam Musa al Kadthim (as) had seen some coins that were laying in front of him. The Imam (as) then destroyed a coin that was a counterfeit, and instructed his follower to dispose of it in such a manner that it cannot be found by anyone. This shows the seriousness with which the Imams of the Ahlulbait (as) showed towards deception in the dealings with the public.
CONSULTATION AND ADVICE
Ghash in this scenario is to provide false advice to individuals in order for one’s own personal benefit.
Imam Ali (as) has been reported to have said: “If someone deceives the Muslims in a consultation, then I have nothing to do with them.”
An example of the Imam’s words can be seen in marriage consultations that take place on a regular basis. When a family has been consulted about whether or not a young man is suitable for marriage, they praise him while in reality he is continuously causing problems for the society at large which they are aware of.
Sometimes one gives the wrong advice to an individual in order to remain favoured by that person. This according to Islamic law is also considered Ghash, and is therefore a sin. Imam Ali (as) in regards to this has said: “The bitterness of sincere advice is better than the sweetness of deception.”
Although we may enjoy to be praised on a regular basis, the Imam (as) is teaching us to prefer to listen to our flaws so that we continue to traverse the path towards moral perfection.
What Imam Zainul Abideen (as) is therefore praying for is the ability to provide beneficial advice to those who have wronged him, and not harbour malice in his heart towards them. The emphasis of these requests of the Imam (as) is in his own personal interactions – but when deception takes rife in the ummah – it ought to be fought against.
INTOLERABLE FORMS OF DECEPTION
According to the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (SAW), there are three forms of deception that are unacceptable according to both personal and public ethical standards.
The first is that of pretending to be sincere in your intentions with Allah (swt).
Many a time we think we can show off our worship to Allah (swt) thinking it is of the best quality, while in reality those forms of worship are mere physical movements of the material body.
The second form of deception that is rejected is providing false advice to the leaders of the Muslim ummah.
Although leaders are to be obeyed under all circumstances, they at times can also deviate from the true path and therefore assistance from the people is also required. What the Prophet (SAW) is teaching us is that by providing incorrect guidance to the leaders, the ummah will be set for failure.
When we extend this wise sentiment of the Prophet (SAW) to today’s time, we see that our communities are making this exact mistake! An excellent example is that of Saudi Arabia, a monarchy that shamelessly establishes ties with the enemies of Islam.
With over thousands of people killed in Yemen as a result of Saudi bombardment, they remain a country that is still praised on the pulpits of Friday khutbahs. Despite the fact that even secular journalists are able to identify the corruption present within the Saudi system of governance, our leaders fail to do so.
It is therefore the responsibility of Muslims to sincerely attempt to change the mindsets of these leaders as a negligent attitude in this regard will impede the progress of the ummah as a whole.
The third and final stage of ghash that is impermissible is to promote disunity within the ummah.
While this is similar to the previous level of deception, this is focussed towards creating false rumours about other Muslims.
The beliefs of the school of the Ahlulbait (as) have numerously been distorted by so called leaders in order to create disunity amongst Muslims, and ghash of this kind is condemned in the tradition of the Prophet (SAW).
The underlying problem of this type of deception spoken by the Prophet (SAW) is a lack of true leadership.
Unfortunately, we have built this culture of calling any individual that externally appears religious as a Sheikh. Despite the fact that this individual may fulfil his religious obligations, he lacks proper Islamic understanding – yet now he stands as the leader and exemplar for an entire community.
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