| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Courage

Shaja`ah linguistically: is being firm during intense difficulty or battle. [327] See: al-Sihah fi al-Lughah, al-Jawhari (3/1235); Mukhtar al-Sihah, al-Razi (p. 354); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzoor (8/173).

Shaja`ah technically: is going forth into that which one dislikes and may be a cause of his destruction when necessary, being steadfast at times of fear, and belittling death. [328] Tahdhib al-Akhlaq, al-Jahiz (p. 27). See also: al-Ta`rifat, al-Jurjani (p. 125). The Difference between Courage, Tenacity (Basalah), and Boldness (Jur’ah)

Courage comes from the heart, and it is to be firm and calm in times of fear. Basl linguistically refers to the impermissible. It is as if it is impermissible for one who is basil to be afflicted with harm in battle due to his prowess and tenacity. Courage is boldness, and the courageous one is he who is bold and forthcoming in battle, regardless whether he is weak or strong. Boldness is strength to go forth into potential harm. Courage implies boldness, and tenacity implies intensity. Boldness is going forth due to a lack of care of the consequences, rather the self daringly goes forth when it ought not to, refusing to notice reasons not to - either it is victorious or losing.Encouragement towards Courage in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Believers, when you meet the disbelievers in battle, never turn your backs on them: if anyone does so on such a day- unless maneuvering to fight or to join a fighting group- he incurs the wrath of God, and Hell will be his home, a wretched destination!” al-Anfal: 15, 16.
❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Prophet, urge the believers to fight: if there are twenty of you who are steadfast, they will overcome two hundred, and a hundred of you, if steadfast, will overcome a thousand of the disbelievers, for they are people who do not understand.” al-Anfal: 65. Meaning, Allah enticed them to Him with everything that strengthens their resolve, instilling within them high aspirations, encouraging them to meet the enemy in battle, admonishing them from anything other than doing so. He mentions the virtue of patience and courage, and the consequences thereof of goodness in this life and the next. He mentions the harms of cowardice, and that it is from ignoble morals which compromises one’s religiosity and integrity. He reminds them that courage is more befitting for the believers than other than them. [329] Tafsir al-Sa`di (p. 325).
❖ Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: ‘The strong believer is better to Allah than the weak one - in both there is good.’” [330] Reported by Muslim (2664).
❖ `Amr ibn Maymun al-Awdi said: “Sa`d used to teach his children these words just as the teacher would teach writing to his students, saying: ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ would seek refuge from them after every prayer: Allah, I seek refuge in You from cowardice; I seek refuge in You that I be delayed until debasing age. I seek refuge in You from the trial of the worldly life, and I seek refuge in You from the punishment of the grave. I mentioned this to Mus`ab, and he confirmed it.’” [331] Reported by al-Bukhari (2822). Quotes in Courage

❖ Abu Bakr, Allah be pleased with him, said to Khalid ibn al-Walid, Allah be pleased with him: “Be keen to meet death and life will be gifted to you.” [332] al-`Iqd al-Farid, Ibn `Abd Rabbih (1/92).
❖ Ziyad wrote to Ibn `Abbas, saying: “Describe to me courage and cowardice, munificence and miserliness.” He wrote back: “You wrote to me asking me about qualities that have been infused into man the same way his limbs are infused unto him. Know that the courageous fights on behalf of the one he does not know, while the coward flees his own wedding, and that the munificent gives those whom he has no responsibility for, and that the miserly is stingy with his own self.” [333] Nihayat al-Arab fi Funun al-Adab, al-Nuwayri (3/347).
❖ Some sages said: “The body of war is courage, its heart is planning, its tongue is trickery, its wing is obedience, its lead is gentleness, and its drive is victory.”Categories of Courage [334] al-Dhari`ah ila Makarim al-Shari`ah, al-Raghib (p. 328).

Courage is five types: predatory; like one who goes forth in raging fury, or to give victory to another. Bestial; like one who fights for food or to mate. Experiencial; like one who repeatedly fought and kept winning, so made that his habit and founding principle. Jihady; for the one who fights in honour of the religion. Finally, wise; which may be any of the former based on principle, awareness, need, and context. One who rushes the disbeliever in fury for the sake of Allah’s religion is still praiseworthy. He hopes for Allah’s reward, fears his punishment, or relies on Allah giving victory to His allies. All this is praiseworthy, even if pure courage is to not hope for reward or act on fear of punishment.

Among forms of praiseworthy courage is man’s struggling against himself and others, each of which is further subcategorised into two. Struggling against oneself by word, through seeking knowledge, and through action, by subduing desire and fanaticism. Struggling against others by word is by adorning the truth to them and teaching them, and by action is by repelling falsehood and its representatives in war.Benefits of Courage and its Impact
It is a reason for one’s relief. It is the root of virtue. It elicits honour within one, and favouring lofty morals and values. The brave one has good expectations in Allah. The affairs of rulership are not set right but through bravery. Pride in oneself, being able to bear difficulty and ready for mighty events. Ability to give rescue - deliverance, which is the self-confidence at times of trepidation, and not being fainthearted. Bearing toil, which is a strength allowing one to train and prepare well. Forms of Courage
Going forth in the fields of battle in the path of Allah, belittling death and not fearing it. Boldness in rebuking evil and clarifying truth. Courage which is necessary in dangerous fields that are not suitable for the fainthearted, like firefighting, coal mining, surgery and nursing, and others of their like. Being present-minded in timorous, intense moments, meeting them calmly and steadfastly, with a rational mind and a clear vision. Academic bravery, which is to say truth with sound etiquette even if the people hate to hear it, and admitting being at fault even if there is a punishment involved. Means to Acquiring Courage
Returning to Allah in supplication and remembrance. Reaffirming one’s faith in divine destiny and decree, and that man is not affiliated except by that which Allah has willed for him. Strong faith in the Final Day. Instilling faith in what Allah has prepared of bliss for those who fight for His cause. Training by putting oneself in situations wherein there is no escape except through being courageous. Conviction in that the instigators of cowardice are but whims without a basis in reality. Giving room for honest competition, and rewarding the bravest graciously. [335] 2 - 8: al-Akhlaq al-Islamiyyah, `Abd al-Rahman Habankah al-Maydani (2/568), with adaptation. Examples of Courage from the Life of the Prophet ﷺ, Companions, and Scholars

❖ `Ali, Allah be pleased with him, said: “On the day of Badr, we found ourselves sheltering behind Allah’s Messenger ﷺ as he was the closest among us to the enemy. He was the most intense in battle that day.” [336] Reported by Ahmad (654) and Ibn Abi Shaybah (33281). al-`Iraqi graded its chain as good in Takhrij al-Ihya’ (2/467), and Ahmad Shakir in his analysis of Musnad Ahmad (2/64).
❖ Anas, Allah be pleased with him, said: “The Prophet ﷺ used to be the best of people, the most generous of people, and the most courageous of people. The people of Madinah were stunned by a sound on some night. People went towards the sound, only to see the Prophet ﷺ returning therefrom, having beaten them to it, saying ‘Don’t be afraid, don’t be afraid.’ He was riding a steed that belonged to Abu Talhah bare without a saddle, carrying a sword around his neck. He said: ‘It rides like the sea,’ or ‘It is indeed the sea.’” [337] Reported by al-Bukhari (6033) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (2307).
❖ Hisham ibn `Urwah narrates from his father: “On the day of the battle of Yarmuk, the companions of Allah's Messenger ﷺ said to al-Zubayr: “Won’t you go forth so that we may follow?" al-Zubayr replied: ‘If I do, you will belie yourselves.’ They said: ‘We won’t.’ So al-Zubayr went forth and pierced through the enemy lines, and went beyond them and none of his companions were with him. He then returned and the enemy got hold of the bridle of his horse and struck him two blows on his shoulder. Between these two wounds there was a scar caused by a blow he had received on the day of Badr. When I was a child, I used to play with those scars by putting my fingers in them. On that day `Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr was also with him and he was ten years old. al-Zubayr had carried him on a horse and left him to the care of some men.” [338] Reported by al-Bukhari (3975).
❖ al-Baji narrates an incident to the Sultan of Scholars, al-`Izz ibn `Abd al-Salam, Allah have mercy upon him. He said: “Our sheikh `Izz al-Din went to find the sultan in his castle on a particular Eid day. He saw soldiers in rows in front of him, the throne he was in, and the pomp around him. He went to the people adorned and beautified as the sultans of Egypt did during that time. The emirs were kissing the ground where he was to pass. The sheikh faced the sultan and said: ‘Ayyub! What is your argument before Allah when he says to you: “Have I not given you kingship over Egypt, then you made lawful alcohol therein?!”’ He said: ‘Did this take place?’ He replied: ‘Yes. Such-and-such bar sells it and other illicit products, whilst you are enjoying the blessings of this kingdom,’ He was calling out to him at the top of his voice, while the soldiers were there. The sultan said: ‘Master, I did not do this, rather it was from the time of my father.’ He replied: ‘You are of those who say: “We saw our fathers following this tradition!”’ al-Zukhruf: 22. The sultan then ordered that it be closed.” al-Baji then says: “I asked the sheikh about what happened after he returned from there, and the news had spread of what he had done: ‘Master, what happened?’ He replied: ‘Son, I saw him in that state of affluence, so wished to humble him so that his ego does not become empowered and harms him.’ I asked: ‘Master, did you not fear him?’ He replied: ‘By Allah, my son, I internalised the awe of Allah, exalted, and the sultan became like a cat in front of me.’” [339] Tabaqat al-Shafi`iyyah, al-Subki (8/211). Implications of Courage

❖ That it be used for fighting for the sake of Allah.
❖ That it be in its place, such that the courageous one goes forth at the right time, is firm where he ought to be, and desists where he must abstain.
❖ That it be coupled with sound opinion.Courage in Poetry

It is said that the couplet with the greatest meaning of courage is the statement of al-`Abbas ibn Mirdas al-Sulami:

“I rush towards the battalion, indifferent to
Whether my end lies therein or elsewhere.” [340] `Uyun al-Akhbar, Ibn Qutaybah al-Dinawri (2/211).

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