| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Goodwill

Husn linguistically: is the opposite of qubh (ugliness). It is said: a man who is hasan (beautiful msc.), and a woman who is hasna’ (beautiful fem.). [181] al-Sihah, al-Jawhari (5/2099).

Zann linguistically: is used for both doubt and certainty, except that it is not the certainty reached through seeing a thing, but that reached from contemplating over its reality. Certainty reached through seeing a thing is only referred to as `ilm (knowledge, science). Zann is used as a noun as well as a verbal noun. The plural of zann the noun is zunun. [182] Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn al-Manzur (13/272).

Zann technically: is the more likely outcome with a possibility still remaining of its opposite being true. It is used for certainty and doubt. It is also said: zann is at either side of shakk (doubt) with respect to likeliness of truth. [183] al-Ta`rifat, al-Jurjani (1.181). Ibn Faris said: za and nun is a sound root which entails two different meanings: certitude and doubt. [184] Maqayis al-Lughah, Ibn Faris (3/463).

Husn al-zann technically: is giving preponderance to the good possibility over the evil one.The Difference between Doubt (Shakk), Belief (Zann), and Delusion (Wahm)

Doubt is the antonym of certitude. Uncertainty between two things, if equal, is doubt. The probable outcome is belief, and the improbable one delusion.Commandments of Goodwill and Encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Believers, avoid making too many assumptions - some assumptions are sinful - and do not spy on one another or speak ill of people behind their backs: would any of you like to eat the flesh of your dead brother? No, you would hate it. So be mindful of Allah: Allah is ever relenting, most merciful.” al-Hujurat: 12.
❖ The Prophet ﷺ said: “Beware of supposition, for it is the most false of speech. Do not stalk, spy on, deceit, envy, hate, nor forsake one another. Be, slaves of Allah, brothers.” [185] Reported by al-Bukhari (6066) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (2563).
Quotes of the Scholars and Predecessors in Goodwill

❖ `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Allah be pleased with him, said: “It is impermissible for a Muslim person to hear a thing from his brother and interpret it badly when it is possible to find a way out for it in understanding.” He also said: “He is not making good use of himself, he who does not exercise his interpretive capacity.” [186] al-Adab al-Shar`iyyah, Ibn Muflih (1/47).
❖ Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab said: “Some of my brothers from the Companions of Allah’s Messenger wrote to me, saying: ‘Place the affairs of your brother in the best possible light so long as nothing comes to you that forces you to do otherwise. Do not interpret a word that comes out of a Muslim person badly as long as you find it can carry another meaning.’” [187] al-Istidhkar, Ibn `Abd al-Barr (8/291). Categories of Goodwill

Belief has two categories: Praiseworthy belief: that which preserves one’s religiosity as well as the religiosity of the person the information is about, once it reaches one. [188] Tafsir al-Qurtubi (16/332). Blameworthy belief: the opposite of the first type. It is what is imagined to have taken place from another without certain proof that it has. If the heart is resolved over such a matter, or the tongue spoke of it without legal concession, then this is the badwill (su’ al-zann) which is unlawful and prohibited. [189] Rawdat al-`Uqala’, Abu Hatim al-Busti (p. 127); al-Zawajir, al-Haytami (2/9). Benefits of Goodwill
Goodwill is a sign of complete faith in the heart of its possessor. It wards off trials and evil, closing their door on the forsaken Satan. It is a way to increase sociability and love within individuals in a society. It preserves the honour of the Muslims lest they be tarnished with falsehood, or are lied against without right to do so. It is a fortified stronghold which protects society from the spread of slander, obscenity, and lewdness. In this way, society is protected from losing their honour. It is a sign of a sound heart, a pure soul, and an adulterated spirit. Forms of Goodwill
Having goodwill of Allah. The Prophet ﷺ said three days before his death: “Let none of you pass away but having good expectations of Allah, honoured and majestic.” [190] Reported by Muslim (2877) from the narration of Jabir ibn `Abdillah, Allah be pleased with them both. Having goodwill of leaders, be they scholars or rulers. The affairs of this Ummah are not set right except through good relationships between its individuals: leaders and led, rulers and ruled, scholars and laity. Having good opinions of brothers and friends. Goodwill between married couples. This is one of the most important factors that make up a sound, sustainable, and tranquil home. Barriers to Acquiring Goodwill
Living in a society wherein everyone has evil opinions of each other and doubts one another. Being raised on having bad expectations of others, preferring to accuse rather than give the benefit of the doubt. Ignorance of the Law of this pure religion, and not adhering to its teachings of goodwill. Ignorance of this characteristic and its positive societal consequences. Envy, rancour, and malice. These characteristics incite one to have bad expectations of others since they wish evil upon them. Means to Acquiring Goodwill
Supplicating to Allah and calling upon Him to grant one a sound heart. Following the model set by the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, his companions, and the Ummah’s righteous predecessors in their goodwill with each other, and how they treated rumours and lies, preserving their love and care for one another. Raising children from a young age upon goodwill. That one puts oneself in the other’s shoes. This is a divinely prescribed remedy. Exerting effort in increasing one’s faith, through performing acts of obedience and treating the hearts illnesses, like envy and rancur. Examples of Goodwill from the Life of the Prophet ﷺ, Companions, and Righteous Predecessors

❖ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ taught his Companions, Allah be pleased with them, to have goodwill. He clarified that the origin of a Muslim’s state is innocence, and that one must give the benefit of the doubt to those around him. One must ward off doubts that, if they settle in one’s heart, will inadvertently lead to deeds with blameworthy consequences. A man came to the Prophet ﷺ having terrible doubts about his wife. She gave birth to their son who was dark, unlike him and his mother. The Prophet ﷺ removed what was in his heart of doubts and evil thoughts by asking him about his camels’ colour. The man replied: “They are ginger.” He asked: “Among them are ashy ones?” He replies: “Yes.” He asked: “Where did their colour come from?” He replied: “Maybe it’s a feature in their ancestry.” He said: “Then perhaps this son of yours got his colour from an ancestral feature.” [191] Reported by al-Bukhari (5305) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (1500) from the narration of Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him.
❖ The Companions, Allah be pleased with them, used to be a model that ought to be replicated and an example followed in their goodwill with believers. Abu Ayyub, real name Khalid ibn Zayd, had his wife, Umm Ayyub, say to him: “Abu Ayyub, did you hear what people are saying about `A’ishah?” He replied: “Yes, and it is all lies. Would you, Umm Ayyub, have done it?” She said: “No, by Allah, I would not.” He said: “By Allah, `A’ishah is better than you.” When Qur’an was revealed regarding the incident, it mentioned what some said of slander, then it stated: “Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, ‘This is an obvious falsehood’?” al-Nur: 12; meaning, say as Abu Ayyub and his wife said. [192] Reported by al-Tabari in his al-Tafsir, and this is his wording, as well as Ibn Abi Hatim in al-Tafsir (15013).
❖ When Imam Shafi`i, Allah have mercy upon him, got ill, and some of his companions visited him, one of them said: “Allah strengthen your weakness!” al-Shafi`i said: “If Allah gave strength to my weakness, he would kill me.” The man said: “I only meant well!” The Imam then said: “I know that even if you curse me, you would only intend well.”Goodwill in Proverbs, Writing, and Poetry

❖ Some scholars were asked: “Who is the worst in their state?” They replied: “He who trusts no one due to his bad thoughts, and he whom no one trusts due to his bad deeds.”
❖ al-Mutanabbi said:

“If the deeds of a man become evil, so will his thoughts,
And he will believe what he habitually hears from the deluded.

He will be hostile to his beloved due to what his enemies say,
And therefore dwell in the murkiness of gloomy, dark doubts.” [193] Diwan al-Mutanabbi (p. 459-460).

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