15 Nov The Ethics of Decent Behavior in Islam (Adab al-Muasharat).Part2
The best adab, the best morals, those which will never become outdated, are those taught in the Qur’an and applied in the life of Prophet Muhammad, the Best of Creation. God, Who created the universe in the most perfect order and the human
“of the best stature as the perfect pattern of creation” (Tin 95:4),
has created humankind to act as His vicegerents on earth. He has given humankind superiority over all other creatures and made them His representatives on earth. Through His Messengers God has shown humankind the path to felicity, and, by making His commandments known to us, He has taught us to discern good from bad and right from wrong. God has created all things perfectly, and has instructed humanity in the ways of goodness that we should follow. This is why the adab and morality which God taught us will always be the best and most correct. The person who has lived these morals the best is Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. In a Qur’anic verse God says of the Prophet,
“You are surely of asublime character and do act by a sublime pattern of conduct” (68:4).
God’s Messenger said of himself “I was sent to perfect good character.” He exhorted his community to apply the morality and ethics in the Qur’an which he put into practice.
As with everything, our example in good morals is Prophet Muhammad, the Best of Creation:
“Assuredly you have in God’s Messenger an excellentexample to follow for whoever looks forward to God and the Last Day, and remembers and mentions God much” (Ahzab 33:21).
God’s Messenger called on us to pursue morality, and he said, “Two qualities are never coupled in a believer: Stinginess and corrupt morality.”
Another time, he said to Muadh ibn Jabal, “O Muadh, be of good morals toward people!”
The Messenger of God taught that good morality will weigh heaviest in the scales for a believer on the Day of Judgment; those with an evil disposition will be condemned. He also told another Companion that people with good morality would be dealt with (rewarded) as if they had worshipped and fasted constantly.
When Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was performing salat, after saying the opening takbir he would sometimes recite the prayer that has the following meaning:
“My prayer, my worship, my living and my dying are for God, the Lord of the worlds. No associate has He, I have thus been commanded. And I am the first and foremost of those who submit to Him. O God, guide me to the best deeds and the best morality. There is none other than You who can lead me to the best. Save me from evil deeds and conduct; there is none other than You who can save us from immorality.”
When the Prophet was asked what it was that caused most people to be sent to Hell, he replied, “The mouth and the genitals.” When they asked him what brought most people to Heaven, he said, “Taqwa (God-consciousness and fear of God) and good morals!”
Here it may be helpful to go into detail about the term taqwa.
Generally, this word is used in one of two ways:
The first broad meaning is “to beware of and avoid everything which is harmful for the eternal life of one’s soul,” or, more importantly, “to eschew associating partners to God, which is the cause of spending eternity in Hell.” The highest point of taqwa is to keep oneself pure of anything that could put a distance between one’s soul and God, to turn to God with one’s entire being, and to take refuge in God with one’s whole spirit. A Qur’anic verse indicates this state:
“O you who have attained faith! Be conscious of God with all the consciousness that is due to Him…” (Al Imran 3:102).
The second specific meaning is absolutely and unequivocally
“to guard oneself against any sin which may be cause for the abandonment of good deeds or which may lead one away from salvation.” The verse, “Those who avoid the major sins and indecent, shameful deeds, only falling into small fault,—surely your Lord is of extensive forgiveness” (Najm 53:32),
focuses on this meaning of taqwa—that is the avoidance of major sins.
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