Good Actions and Noble Moral Traits
10:7:41 2023-11-23 221

Among the good actions are the following:

The cleanliness of body and dress, good humor and smile, respect for others, politeness of speech, visiting the sick, avoidance of haughtiness, and suspicion.

But those human traits, such as magnanimity, justice, keeping promises, trustworthiness, and manhood, which are considered as true human traits, are among noble moral traits. The important point is that attaining good moral actions is more or less possible for nearly everybody: every body can do so by doing the right things such as treating people justly and politely and visiting the sick and avoiding haughtiness.

But the attainment of the noble moral traits and superb human traits is extremely difficult. Not everybody can attain them. Only those individuals can attain such a status, who possess high souls and are in control of their selves, and who are in the habit of respecting human principles and obeying Allah.

The great Messengers of Allah, by using the sublime Islamic education, have attempted to encourage people to engage in ethical affairs. The Great Messenger of Islam (S) has said

   "The most excellent of people in faith are those who are the best in moral traits.”

On the other hand, the Great Messenger of Allah has mentioned that the reason of his prophetic mission was to perfect the ethical training.

Imam ‘Ali has said:

"Subdue your natures with beautiful actions and lead them toward noble moral traits”.

The narrator says: I asked Imam Sadiq (as) what the limit of good humor was. He answered:

"You should be gentle, speak pleasantly and meet your brethren with a cheerful face".

A man came to Imam Sadiq (as) and said: “O son of Allah's Messenger, let me know what the noble moral traits are”. Imam as-Sadiq (as) replied to him,

"Forgiving one who has wronged you, establishing ties with one who has severed relations with you, giving one who has deprived you, and speaking the truth even if it is against yourself.”

In his Sahifah al-Sajjadiyah, in the supplication Makarim Al-Akhlaq, "The noble moral traits," Imam ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn (as) invokes Allah by saying:

"O Allah, send your blessings to Muhammad and his offspring, and guide me so that I may counter with good advice whoever acts dishonestly towards me, so that I may make amends with whoever parts company with me, so that I may reward with generosity whoever deprives me, so that I may recompense with union whoever cuts himself off from me, so that I may oppose with excellent mention whoever slanders me, so that I may give thanks for good, and so that I may shut my eyes to evil."

The Great Messenger (S), who had been badly hurt by the Quraysh, forgave them when he conquered Mecca.

He allowed Abu Sufyan’s house to be a shelter for people.

In the Siffin war, when Mu’awiya had so inhumanly denied Imam ‘Ali’s army the water of the Euphrates, someone asked Imam ‘Ali to do the same to Mu'awiya’s army. But he answered, "We will not retaliate for a wrong; we will not deny them the use of water."

When an impolite shopkeeper poured trash over the head of malik al-Ashtar, an important officer in Imam ‘Ali’s army, Malik went to the mosque and prayed for him and forgave him.

When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin (as) was insulted by a relative, he went to his house telling him:

"If what you say is true, I ask Allah to forgive me. But if what you say is not true, then I ask Allah to forgive you."

The above-mentioned cases and similar events which are recorded from the Prophet and the Imams of Islam in their diaries are among the noble moral traits.

Thus, there are differences between good actions and noble moral traits.

Good actions are usually a means for material welfare, but noble moral traits are a way to the attainment of spiritual advancement. The former provides our lives with discipline; whereas the latter satisfies human sublime tendencies.

The former are in harmony with personal desires and legitimate self interest, but the latter deal with interest in others.

All Messengers and Imams of Islam completely enjoyed noble moral traits. But among their students there are few who are in possession of these assets. Anybody who possesses these assets should be thankful to Allah. Those who lack them should try to acquire them. In this regard Imam Sadiq (as) has said."

 “Allah distinguished His Messengers with noble moral traits. Thus, examine yourselves, if you possess them, be thankful to Allah for these precious assets and know that it is from good; if you lack them, then ask Allah and supplicate Him for them."

A person who possesses noble moral traits has an exalted soul and therefore performs good deeds not out of his material interest but rather for Allah.

Imam ‘Ali (as) says: "I am amazed when a Muslim goes to another Muslim for some help, but he is turned down.

"Even if he did not expect reward and did not fear the punishment, it would have been proper for him to hasten towards noble moral traits for they are of those things that lead toward the path of salvation."

A man from desert came up to the Messenger of Allah asking him, "O Messenger of Allah, sometimes a man fights for booty, sometimes for fame and sometimes for the recognition of his bravery; which one of these ways is right?"

The Prophet (S) answered:

 “The one who fights so that ‘..the word of Allah is the highest..’, (9:40) – he is on the path of Allah.”

This type of prayers is called "the prayers of free men" by Imam ‘Ali (as).

 “Some people worship Allah out of desire (for reward); that is the worship of traders. Some worship Allah out of fear (of punishment); that is the worship of slaves. But others worship Allah in gratitude (out of love for Him); that is the worship of free men”.

In some Islamic traditions the cases of noble moral traits are enumerated. For instance, in Ibn Bekir's tradition from Imam as-Sadiq (as) it is said:

I asked Imam as-Sadiq (as) what the noble moral traits were. He answered, "They are self–control, contentment, patience, thanking Allah, forbearance, modesty, generosity, bravery, possessing a sense of honor for what is sacred, righteousness, truthfulness, fulfilling the trust."

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