Ramadaan 1438 series: DUA OF MAKARIMUL AKHLAQ – SUPPLICATION FOR NOBLE MORAL CHARACTER
By Mowlana Syed Aftab Haider on 8 June 2017 at the Ahlul Bait (a.s) Islamic Centre, Ottery, Cape Town
We continue with our discussion on the second part of Dua Makarimul Akhlaq.
وَأَجْرِ لِلنَّاسِ عَلَى يَدَيَّ الْخَيْرَ، وَلا تَمْحَقْهُ بِالْمَنِّ،
“Let good flow out from my hands upon the people and efface it not by my making them feel obliged!”
وَهَبْ لِي مَعَالِيَ الأَخْلاَقِ، وَاعْصِمْنِي مِنَ الْفَخْرِ.
“Give me the highest moral traits and preserve me from vainglory!”
MAKING PEOPLE FEEL OBLIGED ERASES GOOD DEEDS
In Arabic “minna” is when you do a favour to someone and then boast about it and remind them about him.
The Quran and Ahlul Bait (a.s) say that this action wipes out your good deed as one should never remind people of the good you did for them.
In Surah Baqarah, Verse 264 we read:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ لاَ تُبْطِلُواْ صَدَقَاتِكُم بِالْمَنِّ وَالأذَى كَالَّذِي يُنفِقُ مَالَهُ رِئَاء النَّاسِ وَلاَ يُؤْمِنُ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ فَمَثَلُهُ كَمَثَلِ صَفْوَانٍ عَلَيْهِ تُرَابٌ فَأَصَابَهُ وَابِلٌ فَتَرَكَهُ صَلْدًا لاَّ يَقْدِرُونَ عَلَى شَيْءٍ مِّمَّا كَسَبُواْ وَاللّهُ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ
“O’ you who have Faith! do not nullify your charities by reproach and injury, like the one who spends his property to be seen by people, and does not believe in Allah and the last Day; so his likeness is as the likeness of a rock whereon is (a little) soil, then a heavy rain falls upon it and leaves it just a bare stone. They shall not be able to gain anything of what they have earned; and Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.”
The problem with this attitude is :
– when mentioning you did something good for a person, it shows that you did not do it solely for the pleasure of Allah as you clearly did it to have some power over the person; and
– it compromises the dignity of a believer.
When reaching out to someone who was in need and then you announce it, you have humiliated him. This is a very big sin and the reward of the good deed disappears.
Thus verse 263 says:
قَوْلٌ مَّعْرُوفٌ وَمَغْفِرَةٌ خَيْرٌ مِّن صَدَقَةٍ يَتْبَعُهَا أَذًى
“A kind word and forgiveness is better than a charity that is followed by injury”.
DESIRING THE HIGHEST MORAL TRAITS
The Imam then asks “and grant me the highest moral traits”.
The Imam is asking for something which is not just good akhlaq but its highest level as this is the purpose of the mission of Prophets as Prophet Muhammad (sawa) is reported to have said:
“I have been sent to complete/perfect the highest levels of akhlaq”.
What is Ethics and Morality?
Many hadith speaks about aspects of Ethics like truthfulness, being trustworthy, being gentle, etc – these are all examples of good akhlaq.
But Akhlaq itself is an inner quality within yourself which is the source of these expressions.
As previously stated “khalq” refers to our physical features which is how Allah created us. It should be noted that we have no control over this outward feature of ours.
“Khulq” on the other hand refers to our inner features and we have been given control over this to beautify it or to make it ugly. Akhlaq is plural of Khulq.
The interpreter of Sahiffah Sajjadiyyah thus says that real Akhlaq in the form of real pure nature is inside you and expresses itself in form of chastity, truthfulness, etc and refraining from backbite, lies, etc
Thus Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s) is asking to reform his inner nature and to make it beautiful!
PRESERVATION FROM PRIDE
The Imam then says “And preserve/protect me from pride/vainglory”.
Pride is when you think that you are better than others due to a quality that you have or maybe don’t have. So what about if you actually don’t have that supposed quality?
Prophet (sawa) said: “Verily Allah revealed to me to tell you to be humble until nobody should have pride over others.”
In the days of jahili society, pride was a big issue including having pride in one’s lineage and tribe. They were also proud of having large families and many children which is not a source of pride these days in our societies.
The 5th Imam Baqir (a.s) says: “On the day of the conquer Makka Prophet Muhammad (sawa) said:
“O people whoever is listening should convey this message to those who are not here – through Islam, Allah has removed from you the pride of jahiliyyah and being proud due to your tribes or forefathers. Oh people! know that you are from Adam and Adam is from clay. Today the best among you is the one with more taqwa and devoted to Allah.”
Aqaba ibn Bashier Asadi says that he said to Imam Baqir (a.s), “I am Aqaba ibn Bashier from the tribe of Asad and in my nation from my father’s side I am a pure race”. Imam Baqir (a.s) said to him “do not try to make us obliged by mentioning your family tree. Almighty Allah through Imaan has caused “high people” to become “low” and how many “low” people by your criteria have been raised to a very “high” status.”
No one has virtue except through taqwa.
Today we might not have the tribal issues referred to above, but we still have the issue of arrogance due to wealth and even knowledge. Real knowledge does not come from a University degree but is a “a light which Allah enlightens in heart of whomsoever He wants to enlighten”.
These days we tend to classify ourselves as a “professional” class and “working” class where people with knowledge sometimes looks at others with contempt. Almighty Allah knows who is a real aalim and knows who is a real jaahil. If knowledge does not make you humble, its not knowledge and the same goes for wealth and position in society.
To be continued…………..