Bad Morals to Stay Away From

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Part 1 Description:  Two lessons will explain a variety of bad morals in Islamic ethics to stay away from in order to be better human beings...

Part 1

Description: Two lessons will explain a variety of bad morals in Islamic ethics to stay away from in order to be better human beings.
Objectives
·       To learn about 10 bad morals according to the teachings of Islam

Introduction

Bad-Morals-to-Stay-Away-From-(part-1-of-2).jpgAs we know there are many reports from Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, stressing the excellence of having good manners.  Part of good manners is knowing and giving up bad morals like:

1.   Cheating

Cheating and deception are despicable characteristics that are beneath a decent person.  The Prophet said:
“Whoever bears arms against us is not one of us, and whoever cheats us is not one of us.”[1]
Islam views cheating and deception as heinous sins, a source of shame to the one guilty of committing them, both in this world and the next.  The Prophet did not merely denounce them by excluding them from the Muslim community in this world, he also announced that on the Day of Judgment:
“Every traitor will have a banner on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said: This is the betrayer of so-and-so.”[2]

2.   Bribery

Bribery means giving money to someone through whom a person takes something that he has no right to.  For example, bribing a judge to get a verdict in your favor, or bribing an official to give you preference over others or to get other favors like allotment of a contract etc.
Bribery is a big sin in Islam.  Allah says:
“And eat up not one another’s property unjustly, nor give bribery to the rulers that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully.” (Quran 2:188)
Allah’s Messenger cursed the one who bribes and the one who takes bribe.[3]

3.   Jealousy

Jealousy is among the most destructive emotions or feeling which a man may have towards his fellow human being.  It causes him to wish evil for others and to be happy when misfortune befalls them.  The Prophet warned against envy by comparing it to fire that completely burns wood.
Jealousy is a disease and it causes impurity to the heart.  When Allah’s Messenger was asked who are the best of people? He replied: “The one with a clean heart and truthful tongue.” They asked: “We understand a truthful tongue, but what does a clean heart mean?“ He answered: “It is the heart of one that is pious, pure, and is free of sin, transgressions, hatred and jealousy.”[4]

4.   Backbiting and slander

Allah says:
“And spy not, neither backbite one another.  Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting).” (Quran 49:12)
Abu Dharr once asked the Prophet Muhammad, “O Messenger of Allah, what is backbiting?” He replied,  “It is to mention about your brother that which he detests.” Abu Dharr said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if that which is mentioned of him should actually be in him?” He replied, “Know that when you mention that which is in him, you have backbitten him, and when you mention that which is not in him, then you have slandered him.”

5.   Gossiping

Gossip is dangerous and harmful; it can destroy the fabric and morality of a society.  People spread gossip for many reasons such as to feel superior (they feel better if someone is worse off than them), out of jealousy, to fit in the group, for attention (they become center of attention for a few moments), out of revenge and even out of sheer boredom (an idle mind is a devil’s workshop).
We need to remind ourselves over and over again that we are accountable for our deeds in the Court of Allah.  Allah says: “Oh you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.” (Quran 49:6)

6.   Lying

Falsehood of the tongue, or what is more commonly referred to as lying, is rejected by all human beings of the world.  The Prophet said: “A person lies and lies, until he is written with God as a habitual liar.”[5]
The Prophet’s closest friend and immediate temporal successor, Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, said:
“Beware of lying, for lying opposes (true) faith.”[6]
And the daughter of Abu Bakr, Aisha, who was the beloved wife of the Prophet, mentioned that:
“There was no trait more abhorrent to the Messenger of God, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, than lying.”[7]

7.   Being suspicious

“Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the greatest falsehood.  Do not try to find fault with one another, do not spy on one another, do not vie with one another, do not envy one another, do not be angry with one another, do not turn away from one another, and be servants of Allah, brothers to one another, as you have been enjoined.”[8]
Evils such as suspicion, fault-finding, envy and abandonment are evils that destroy a community with harms greater than any enemy could inflict.

8.   Finding fault in others

Some people have an argumentative personality.  “I object”, “It’s your fault” and “You are to blame” are some of their favorite phrases.
One of the greatest behavioral weaknesses of man is the ignorance of his own faults.  Many times we focus our efforts in finding faults in others, but we forget our own self.  The Prophet said,
“A believer is not a fault-finder and is not abusive, obscene, or course.”[9]

9.   Verbally or physically harming others

The Prophet defined the true Muslim as one who avoids harming other Muslims with his tongue (words) and hand (actions).  A Companion said,
‘I asked the Messenger of Allah: “Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?” He said, “One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.”‘[10]
As a general rule, Muslims should not harm other people.  The Prophet Muhammad said,
“There should be neither harming nor reciprocating harm”.[11]
We should be particularly careful to protect those within our own community, but the principle is not restricted only to Muslims.  Rather, it applies to all humanity and even the animals.

10.                   Being boastful

The Prophet said: “Allah has inspired to me that you are all to be humble towards each other such that no one transgresses against or exalts himself above another.”[12]
Unfortunately, we now consider it a mark of confidence to boast about ourselves.  Whatever you have, is because Allah gave it to you or allowed you to have it; whether it is intelligence, looks, wealth, lineage, faith, character or anything else.
If someone thinks that they worked hard and achieved by their own merit alone what they got, they should look at all those who also work hard but do not reach their goals.  If you studied hard and excelled, who made it possible for you to have the time to study?


Footnotes:
[1] Saheeh Muslim
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[3] Tirmidhi
[4] Ibn Majah
[5] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[6] Bayhaqi
[7] Musnad
[8] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[9] Saheeh Al-Bukhari
[10] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[11] Ibn Majah, Al-Daraqutni, Muwatta’
[12] Saheeh Muslim

Part 2

Description: Two lessons will explain a variety of bad morals in Islamic ethics to stay away from in order to be better human beings.   The second part.
Objectives:
·       To learn about another 10 bad morals according to Islamic teachings.
Arabic Terms:
·       Ameer – leader.
·       Sunnah - The word Sunnah has several meanings depending on the area of study however the meaning is generally accepted to be, whatever was reported that the Prophet said, did, or approved.

1.   Doubting the intention of others

Allah says,
“O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion, for some suspicion is aBad Morals to Stay Away From (part 2 of 2).jpggrave sin.” (Quran 49:12)
As a Muslim, we give people the benefit of the doubt and assume the best intentions.  When you give people the benefit of the doubt and assume they have the best intentions, you will be rewarded with a healthier outlook and more positive and productive interactions.
Suspicion could ruin relations between people, particularly when it is based on flimsy evidence or hearsay.  When we doubt the intention of others on no firm basis, we soon become guilty of a worse offense, which is suspicion without evidence.

2.   Taking undue advantage of others

Taking advantage of others is a result of betraying the trust.  Carrying out one’s duties to public office is a trust and taking advantage by taking bribe is forbidden.  Trust demands that if a man is appointed to a certain high office he should not use it for self-aggrandizement or for the benefit of his relatives, for the use of public funds for personal purposes is a crime.  Not performing one’s duty for which one is paid is also taking undue advantage of others.  The Prophet said,
“There will be a flag near the head of every deceiver which he will raise in proportion to his deceit.  Listen, there is none worse deceiver than the Ameer who deceives the public.”[1]

3.   Being deceptive and treacherous

Betrayal or treachery is the opposite of trustworthiness and loyalty.  If trustworthiness and loyalty are the qualities of faith and piety, then betrayal and treachery are the qualities of hypocrisy and evil. 
The Messenger of Allah said: “There are four characteristics, whoever has them all is a pure hypocrite: when he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, when he makes a covenant he betrays it, and when he disputes he resorts to obscene speech.  Whoever has one of them has one of the characteristics of hypocrisy, until he gives it up.”[2]

4.   Envy

Envy refers to the desire that a person feels for the destruction or removal of a blessing that another person has.  Allah orders the believers to seek refuge from the evil of the envious person and envy in general when He says (what means): "And from the evil of the envier when he envies." (Quran 113:5)
The Messenger of Allah also said: “Indeed envy eats up good deeds just as fire consumes firewood.”[3]
There are many stories in the Quran that highlight the dangers and evils of envy like the story of Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) in Chapter 12 and the story of Cain and Abel in Chapter 5.

5.   Being cold and unfriendly

Friendship and companionship are important in Islam.  Humans are social creatures by nature; they are always in need of friends and companions.  Most of our lives depend on interaction with others.  Strong individuals are the core of a strong community, something that Muslims should always strive for.
A good friend is one who accepts your shortcomings, but at the same time guides and supports you.  Believers must never embarrass or publicly harass one another.  They must never expose each other’s faults.  Kindness and mercy must be evident in all dealings.  At the same time, while Muslims must be caring to everyone, one should not develop a close friendship with the opposite gender and get into a relationship.  That type of close proximity is reserved for spouses.

6.   Uncaring and unhelpful

One of the central principles of Islam is helping others.  The Quran and especially theSunnah highlight how helping another human being is a fundamental aspect of Islam.  A Muslim’s primary goal is to worship Allah, but this is done not only through rituals like prayer and fasting but also through treatment of other people.  Allah likes it so much when we help others that He forgives us our sins for something as simple as moving some thorns out of the path where people walk.  Allah grants His forgiveness to those who sacrifice to help the victims of misfortune. 

7.   Miserliness

Miserliness is a relative term.  If one pays all of his monetary dues according to Islam, and at the same time he leads a very simple life, then this is a case of simple living and not a case of miserliness.  But, if one fails to pay his monetary dues and at the same times he lives as a miser, then this kind of behavior is unwanted in Islam.  It is selfishness, and selfishness according to Islam, is an evil behavior.  Miserliness, spending less than what is required, is something which is prohibited.

8.   Being unjust and unfair

There are three broad types of injustice:
1.     To be unjust towards Allah.  This is the most heinous type and can be in the form of disbelief, polytheism, or hypocrisy.  Allah says: 
“Indeed, the curse of Allah is upon the unjust.” (Quran 11:18)
2.     To be unjust towards other people.  Allah says:
“The cause is only against the ones who wrong the people and tyrannize upon the earth without right.  Those will have a painful punishment.” (Quran 42:42)
3.     To be unjust towards oneself.  Allah says:
“Then we caused to inherit the Book those We have chosen of Our servants; and among them is he who wrongs himself.” (Quran 35:32)
In fact, all three types are considered as doing injustice to oneself as one wrongs oneself when one intends to do injustice.

9.   Intolerance

Tolerance is an important trait of a Muslim’s good character.  Muslims should be kind and gentle, patient with people, forgiving of bad character, and lenient whenever possible.  The Prophet commanded the Muslims to avoid causing unnecessary difficulty and hardship in people’s lives and to inspire people with graceful speech,
“Make things easy and do not make things difficult.  Give glad tidings and do not repel people.  Cooperate with each other and do not become divided.”[4]
Intolerance and harshness repels hearts and promotes disunity.  Intolerance breeds hatred and can lead to killing and violence.

10.                   Being arrogant and proud

Prophet Muhammad warned that a person having even an iota of it in his heart will not enter Paradise.  This deadliest of all sins is arrogance.
No one likes arrogance - in others.  We never like a person who is haughty, too proud, or condescending.  We detest a person who belittles us and has a huge ego.  Similarly, we love people who are humble, polite, and easy to talk to.  We love people who give us respect and honor.  Thus if we follow the principle of treating others the way we like to be treated, most of these problems might be cured.


Footnotes:
[1] Saheeh Muslim
[2] Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim
[3] Musnad
[4] Saheeh Al-Bukhari

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