| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Decency

Muru’ah linguistically: is a set of spiritual manners which guide man to sound morals and beautiful habits. ‘Fulanun tamarra’a bil-qawm’ means one has sought to be characterised with decency among a people, either through honouring them or rebuking them. [553] al-Mukhassis, Ibn Sidah (1/245); al-Misbah al-Munir (2/569); Taj al-`Arus, al-Zabidi (1/427); al-Mu`jam al-Wasit (2/860).

Muru’ah technically: is taking care of affairs until they are in their best states, that they do not purposefully show what is ugly, nor are deservingly blamed. [554] Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din (p. 325). The Difference between Decency, Gallantry (Futuwwah), and Intellect (`Aql) [555] Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din (p. 325); Madarij al-Salikin, Ibn al-Qayyim (2/340).

Decency is more general than gallantry. Decency is what a person characterises himself with or appears in his dealing with others. Gallantry is solely apparent in dealing with others. Intellect guides to what is most beneficial, while decency guides to what is most beautiful.Commandments of Decency and Encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Take to pardoning and command what is right: pay no attention to the ignorant.” al-A`raf: 199.
❖ He, blessed and exalted, also says - quoting Luqman as he advises his son and gives him lessons in values and decency -: “‘My dear son, establish prayer, encourage what is good and forbid what is evil, and endure patiently whatever befalls you. Surely this is a resolve to aspire to. Do not turn your nose up at people, nor walk about the place arrogantly, for Allah does not love arrogant or boastful people. Go at a moderate pace and lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is the braying of asses.’” Luqman: 17 - 19.
❖ Sahl ibn Sa`d, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: ‘Allah, honourable and majestic, is Noble, He loves the noble. He loves lofty matters and hates lowly ones.” [556] Reported by al-Tabarani (6/181) (5982) and al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (151). al-Albani authenticated it in Sahih al-Jami` (1801). Quotes of the Predecessors and Scholars on Decency

❖ Mu`awiyah, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Decency is leaving desires, and disobeying the ego.” [557] Ghidha’ al-Albab, al-Safarini (2/457).
❖ `Ali ibn al-Husayn said: “A form of perfect decency is a man serving his guests, just as our father Ibrahim, Allah’s intimate friend, served his guest - he and his family served them directly.” [558] Ghidha’ al-Albab fi Sharh Manzumat al-Adab (2/457). Categories of Decency

Avoiding what Allah and the Muslims hate of deeds, and actualising what Allah and the Muslims love of characteristics.Conditions of Decency

Among the conditions of decency is that, through it: one abstains from the impermissible, rises above sin, is impartial in ruling, abstains from tyranny, is not greedy for what he does not deserve, is not oppressive with whom he owns, does not aid the strong over the weak, does not favour the lowly over the prestigious, is not joyous with the consequences of wrongdoing, and does not engage in what compromises one’s name and good mention. [559] Tashil al-Nzar wa Ta`jil al-Zafar fi Akhlaq al-Malik, al-Mawardi (p. 29). Benefits of Having Decency and Avoiding what Compromises it
It is a way to achieve lofty goals and being foremost in accomplishing them, despite abundant competition. [560] Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, al-Mawardi (p. 327). It is face-saving, and increases one in pleasantness. [561] Zad al-Ma`ad fi Hady Khayr al-`Ibad, al-Mawardi. It allows one to refrain from every pleasure that leads to pain and every desire that leads to regret. It is a barrier from impermissible pleasures and destructive desires. It is a means to avoid lying and incites honesty. It makes one refrain from doing something against one’s will, and so more worthy to make one refrain from what is ugly. [562] Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (p. 272). It instigates impartiality with all creation - those lower than one as well as higher. He does not differentiate in their treatment. It calls one to loftiness and highness, vying for the best of this world and the next, not being content except with the most dignified ends. It allows one to rise above lowly and ignoble matters. Forms of Decency and its Manners [563] al-Muru’ah wa Mazahiruah al-Sadiqah Muhammad al-Khidr Husayn, with adaptation. Quoting from al-Muru`at al-Gha’ibah, Muhammad Ibrahim (p. 120-123), with adaptation.

❖ That one is deliberate and calm in one’s speech, eloquent, clear in what one means, avoiding excess and sophistry, choosing the best of words just as one chooses the best of fruits.
❖ To refrain and restrain oneself from the fury of enragement and the beguilement of happiness, being moderate in both joy and grief.
❖ Being candid, rising above evasion, flattery, and hypocrisy.Barriers to Acquiring Decency (Compromisers of Decency)
Derangement (having a corrupt intellect). Irreligiosity. Immodesty. Means to Acquiring Decency
Having high aspirations, being ambitious in having lofty character, rising with the self to high moral stations. Vying with the decent in their decency, and competing with those with lofty morals: “For this let the competitors compete.” al-Mutaffifin: 26. Having a sense of honour, abstinence, integrity, and preserving its morality. Good wealth is a great aid to attain decency. Quotes and Poetry about Decency

❖ The author of ‘Kalilah wa Daminah’ said: “Surely, a man with decency is noble even if he is not wealthy: like a lion who is feared even if he is lying. The indecent rich person is humiliated even if wealthy: like a dog who is never celebrated, even if adorned with ornaments of gold.” [564] Kalilah wa Damiah, Ibn al-Muqaffa` (p. 193).
❖ The poet said:

“If a man gathers between decency and piety
And has shyness with manners, he is complete.” [565] al-Muru’ah, Ibn Marzaban (p. 51).

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