Noble character: the adornment of the traveler

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Noble character: the adornment of the traveler

(Collection of articles)

 

Published on December 8, 2010

 

Every one walking in the W[s1] ay of Allah The Almighty has an adornment that beautifies his deeds, such as patterning after the noble mannersof the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and abiding by the commands of Allah. In our previous article, we talked about the train of blessings, i.e. seeking religious knowledge. Yet, a believer seeking knowledge should be of a nobl character since the progress of the nation [s2] will only be achieved through the noble manners of Muslims who follow the morals of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

"Verily, seeking religious knowledge and dedicatedly studying the verses of the Glorious Book and the Sunnah of the noble Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) greatly influence the conduct of the Da'iya [a person inviting others to the way of Allah] as well as his inward and outward traits. Allah The Almighty only raises the ranks of the eminent scholars because of their pure hearts and souls which are griped by the verses of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the master of the Messengers (peace and blessings be upon him).

 

Allah The Almighty says:

“Allah The Almighty will exalt in degree those of you who believe, and those who have been granted knowledge”(Al-Mujadilah: 11)[1]."   

 

Good morals to be observed   

"The development of good morals is the main goal that encompasses the aspects of the behavioral and moral education. While other goals are but branches of it. The Shari‘ah [s3] [Islamic law] urges for good morals and absolutely prohibits evil doing. Allah The Almighty mentioned aspects of good manners, and aspects of bad ones, and left other aspects to be judged according to people’s conventions that vary according to time and place.

High chivalry is considered a good moral; even it relates to justice and acceptance of one’s testimony and relating the Sunnah. Similarly, generosity is a noble characteristic as agreed by those of intellect."[2]

 

 

 

 

Ranks are raised according to one's conduct:

Allah The Almighty raises the rank of those who travel in His way according to the degree of their morality and ethics. Allah The Almighty singled out with high ranks those who were given knowledge and faith. Even, it is they who Allah The Almighty quoted their witness in His saying:

“Allah bears witness that La ilaha illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), and the angels, and those having knowledge (also give this witness); (He is always) maintaining His creation in Justice. La ilah illa Huwa (none has the right to be worshipped but He), the All-Mighty, the All-Wise”(Al-‘Imran: 18).

Allah The Almighty also tells people of knowledge are the ones who consider what was revealed to the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) to be the truth. Allah The Almighty says:

“And those who have been given knowledge see that what is revealed to you (O Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him) from your Lord is the truth, and guides to the Path of the Exalted in Might, Owner of all praise” (Saba’: 6).

 

This proves that seeking religious knowledge and acting upon its rulings raises one’s ranks. Allah The Almighty says:

 “We raise whom We will in degrees”(Al-An‘aam: 83).

 

Zayd ibn Aslam (may Allah have mercy on him) said that high ranks are attained through knowledge.

One’s rank and degree is raised according to how much one actually abides by knowledge and faith. There are many people who complete reading the entire Qur'an once or twice a day; others who stand along the night for voluntary prayers; and others who do not break their fasting, yet there are other people who – in spite of their performing acts of worship less than them – are more estimated by people. For example, Karz ibn Wabrah and ibn Tariq (may Allah have mercy on them) recite the whole Qur'an ninetieth time per month, yet Ibn al-Musayyib, Ibn Sirin, al-Hasan (may Allah have mercy upon them) and others are more estimated in degree.

Similarly, you can notice that there are many of those who wear wool, renounce worldly pleasures and lead an ascetic life, and yet there are other scholars who are less knowledgeable than them but are more estimated and adored by people. This is due to the power and purity of their inner souls which are void of worldly desires.

They gained this rank due to their firm belief in what was revealed to the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) their love to him, and their conviction that the religion is for Allah The Almighty Alone. Verily, the hearts that have the highest rank in faith are those who fully rejoice at what was brought by the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) Allah The Almighty says:

 

“Those to whom We have given the Book rejoice at what has been revealed unto you (i.e. the Quran)”( Ar-Ra‘d: 36).

“Say: "In the Bounty of Allah, and in His Mercy therein let them rejoice. That is better than what (the wealth) they amass”(Yunus: 58).

 

In his collection of Fatwas[3], ibn Taymiya said: "What is meant by “the Bounty of Allah The Almighty, and His Mercy” is the Quran and faith. They are the best thing to rejoice at. On the contrary, not rejoicing at them means wronging oneself. If one’s heart firmly believes that Allah The Almighty suffices His Slaves and that He is Merciful and Kind to them, then the heart should love Allah The Almighty more than anything else. One’s heart continues to rise in ranks according to one’s progress in this knowledge."

It should, therefore, be known that the honor and virtue of knowledge could only be gained by those who have been brought up and purified by this knowledge until they became inwardly and outwardly abiding by the outward and inward teachings of Shari‘ah. [s4] Hence, it is worthy to mention that the honor and virtue of knowledge is only granted to the person who abides by the its teachings [i.e. Shari'ah] in both his inward and outward deeds. Based on this, adhering to good morals is the only way to benefit from knowledge. Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak may Allah have mercy upon him, [s5] stated: “One's rank is not raised due to a type of knowledge he masters, unless he crowns his knowledge with noble manners.”[4]

 

The Fifth Fortress

When knowledge seekers neglected the etiquette of seekingknowledge, there appeared their fragile commitment, and intellectual, behavioral and ethical deviations. This is because such etiquette is in fact the fortress of commitment and faith. If the fortress is left, Satan aims to spoil the next, and so on, until demolishing the bonds of faith one after the other.

 

Al-Hijjawy (may Allah have mercy on him) stated: “The likeness of such faith is that of a town that has five fortresses: the first is of gold, the second is of silver, the third is of iron, the fourth is of bricks, and the fifth is of adobe. If the people of the fort continue to guard the adobe fort, the enemy cannot penetrate the second fort, but if they neglect it, the enemy dares to attack the second fort and then the third one until ruining all the fortresses. The same applies to faith that has five fortresses: certainty, sincerity, and then performing the obligatory acts of worship, then Al-Sunan (supererogatory acts of worship), and then observing the Islamic etiquettes. As long as one preserves the etiquettes of Islam, Satan cannot dare to mislead them. On the contrary, if one abandons the etiquettes, Satan dares to attack the Sunnan, and then the obligatory acts of worship, and then the sincerity, and then certainty.”[5]

 

 

Noble character is Part of Prophethood
Noble manners reflects one’s real commitment. This is why it is a part of Prophethood. Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them) narrated that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Verily, righteousness, graceful appearance and moderation are one part out of twenty-five parts of Prophethood.”[6]

 

 

 

 

Guidance of the Righteous Predecessors:

Our Righteous commanded observing noble morals more than seeking knowledge. Abu ‘Abdullah Al-Balkhy stated: “Nobel morals takes precedence over seeking knowledge.”

Al-Ahnaf ibn Qays said: “good manners enlightens one’s insight as much as fire enlightens one’s sight.” Ibn Sirin (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: They (i.e. the Companions) would learn guidance (i.e. the manner and conduct of the Prophet) in the same way they would learn knowledge. one of them commended  his child: O dear son, it is dearer to me to learn one chapter on good manners than learing seventy chapters of knowledge."

Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “learning the biographies of scholars is dearer to me than learning much fiqh [jurisprudence], since the first is concerned with god manners.”

Al-Hasan al-Basry (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “One would spend two or four years disciplining himself.”

Ibn al-Mubarak (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “I spent thirty years to perfect my manners and spent twenty years in seeking knowledge.”[7]

Al-Qasmy (may Allah have mercy upon him ) said: “Disciplining oneself is praised by everyone; it adorns one everywhere, and it is one’s biography after one’s death. Anyone who contemplates the reality of life, will learn that one’s need to discipline oneself is one of the most significant needs. If men are measured according to their deeds, deeds are but the outcome of good morals. Knowledge is a tool run by good manners.”

 

Apparent good conduct the reflection of inwardpurity

Any traveler in the way of Allah should know that apparent good conduct reflects one’s inward purity, the movements of body organs are the fruits of the thoughts, the good morals are the refinement of noble ones, polite souls, and high-end knowledge.

 

Man is a composite of a body realized by eye sight, and a a soul that can be recognized through insight. Each one of them has an image and a shape; either ugly or beautiful. Allah The Almighty endowed man with nothing better than one’s intellect and good manners which are the source of life. One should better lose one’s life before losing them.”[8]

 

Imam Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “One’s politeness shows one’s happiness and prosperity, whereas one’s bad manners leads to loss. One can gain goodness both in this life and in the Hereafter through politeness, whereas bad manners deprive one of goodness in them both. Consider how observing politeness with one’s parents saved one from being imprisoned in the cave when the roc blocked its mouth. Consider how neglecting one’s mother for being busy with prayer led one to be humiliated where people destroyed his hermitage, hit him and accused him of fornication.”[9]

Consider the conditions of every wretched and arrogant person to find that it is bad manners that led them to deprivation.

Consider how Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him) was polite with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when he left his place in prayer as Imam for the Prophet to lead the prayer, where he said: "It is not for Ibn Abu Quhaafah to pray in front of the Messenger of Allah."[10]Such politeness made him deserving to be the Imam and Caliph of Muslims after the Prophet's death. When Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) left his place for the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and the Prophet pointed to him to remain in his place, and he proceed forward for each step he moved backward. Allah The Almighty knows best.”[11]

To conclude, it is no wonder that you can see that scholars dedicate complete volumes on explaining the etiquette of Shari‘ah as follows:

  • Al-Adab Al-Hameedah wal Akhlaaq Al-Nafeesah” by Ibn Jareer At-Tabary.
  • “Jaami‘ biyaan Al-‘Ilm Wa Fadlih”by Ibn ‘Abd Al-Barr.
  • Al-Adaab Al-Shar‘iyyah wal Masaalih Al-Mar‘iyyah” by Muflih Al-Hanbaly.
  • Adab Al-Duniyah wal Deen” by Al-Mawardy.
  • Libaab Al-Adaab” by the righteous emir Usaamah ibn Munqidh.
  • Ghidha’' Al-Albaab Sharh Manzhoomat Al-Adaab” by Al-Saffarini.
  • “Risaalata Al-Adab Al-Kabeer was Sagheer”by Ibn Al-Muqafa` as well as many other books.

In our next article, if Allah The Almighty wills, we will mention some of the good manners that the knowledge seeker should be adorned with.

 

References:

- Madaarij Al-Salikeen, by Ibn Al-Qayyim.

- Tarbiyat Ash-Shabaab; Al-Ahdaaf wal Wasaa’l, by Mohammed Ad-Duwaysh.
- Jawaami‘ Al-Adab fi Akhlaaq Al-Anjaab, Al Qaasimy.
- Wa Qul Rabbi Zidnee ‘Ilma, by Hishaam Mustafa ‘Abdel `Aziz.
- Adab Al-Sami` wal-Mutakallim, by Ibn Jamaa‘ah.
- Ghidhaa’ al-Albaab, by Al-Saffarini.

- Majmou‘ Fatawa, by Ibn Taymiyyah.
 
Excerpted from: Islam memo.

 
 

 

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[1][Quoted from Wa Qul Rabbi Zidnee ‘Ilma (My Lord! Increase me in knowledge) by Hishaam Mustafa `Abdul-`Aziz, p 69).
[2](Tarbiyat Ash-Shabaab; Al-Ahdaaf wal Wasaa’l ‘Educating Youth, objectives and means’, by Mohammed Duwaysh, p. (142-143), in a nutshell).

[3]Vol.3, p. 399.

[4]Ghidhaa’ al-Albaab(Nourishments of minds) by Al-Saffarini, 1/ 27.

 

[5]Ghidhaa’ al-Albaab(Nourishments of minds) by Al-Saffarini, 1/ 37.

[6]Al-Albaany ranked it as a Hasan (good) Hadeeth in the Saheeh Hadeeths of Sunan Abu Dawud (4776).
 

[7]Adab Al-Sami` wal-Mutakallim (morals of the listener and the speaker), by Ibn Jamaa‘ah 1/51.
[8]Jawaami‘ Al-Adab fi Akhlaaq Al-Anjaab (Collection of the morals of elegant ), Al Qaasimy, p. 3.

 

[9]Madaarij As-Salikeen (Ranks of the Travelers), by Ibn Al-Qayyim, 2/391-392.

[10]Related by Al-Bukhari and Muslim.

[11]Madaarij As-Salikeen (Ranks of the Travelers), by Ibn Al-Qayyim, 2/391-392.


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 [s1]Do not use upper case with common words.  We just say the way of Allah.

 [s2]Use the expression Muslim community to refer to the word "ummah" and not nation because it is too general.

 [s3]Please use the term [Islamic law] at the first appearance of the words shari'ah and then use it throughout the text to keep consistency.

 [s4]I retranslated this part due to poor style and repletion.

 [s5]It is not recommended to add this phrase as long as it is not mentioned in the original text.

 

 

 

 

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