| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Nobility

Nubl linguistically: nubl is intelligence and excellence. One who is nabil is the intellectual, insightful. Nabil al-ra’y (noble in opinion) is he of sound opinion. It is also said: it is one who is gentle in rectifying great matters. [580] Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (11/640).

Nubl technically: is a praiseworthy moral the possessor of which is adorned with intellect and excellence in himself, and virtue and gentleness in dealing with others, whilst having deep insight and adept action. [581] Nadrat al-Na`im, a number of authors (8/3471). Quotes of the Predecessors and Scholars on Nobility

❖ Mu`awiyah said: “Do you know who the noble one is? Whom you are awed of when you see, and whom you speak well of when he is absent.” [582] al-Rasa’il al-Adabiyyah, al-Jahiz (p. 133).
❖ Mu`awiyah, Allah be pleased with him, was asked about nobility. He said: “It is having brotherly ties with the qualified, and exercising cajolery with one’s enemies.” [583] al-Muru’ah, Ibn al-Marzaban (p. 42).
❖ al-Jahiz said: “If you are noble, expending yourself will not harm you. If you are not, feigning nobility will not benefit you.” [584] al-Rasa’il al-Adabiyyah, al-Jahiz (p. 133). Benefits of Nobility

Nobility: Those who have it live and die honourably. Is from the virtuous, praiseworthy morals. Is the characteristic of the great and the wise. Is a sign of having high aspirations and self-esteem. Other good morals branch off from it, like forbearance and patience. Leads to astutely dealing with others. Barriers to Acquiring Nobility
Arrogance and haughtiness with the people. Lowliness and immorality. Oppressing others. Miserliness and greed. Hastiness, insolence, and poor thinking, having a lack of wisdom in matters. Means to Acquiring Nobility
Having humility. Having forbearance and patience. Having generosity and magnanimity. Rising above lowly matters. Examples of Nobility from the Companions and Predecessors
Sa`id ibn al-`As said: “I have never cursed a man since I became one. If I curse, then I am cursing one of two people: a noble person, in which case I am more deserving of my curse, or an ignoble person, in which case I am more deserving of rising above it.” [585] al-Tadhkirah al-Hamduniyyah, Ibn Hamdun (2/18). Yahya ibn Aktham said: “al-Rashid said: ‘What is the most noble of stations?’ I replied: ‘What you enjoy, Commander of the Faithful.’ He said: ‘Do you know anyone more majestic than I?’ I replied: ‘No.’ he said: ‘But I do. A man in a sitting saying: “So-and-so narrated to us from so-and-so from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ.”’ I said: ‘Commander of the Faithful, is he better than you, while you are the son of Allah’s Messenger’s uncle and the crown prince of the believers?!’ He said: ‘Yes, woe to you! He is better than me, since his name is joined with that of Allah’s Messenger. He will never die, whilst we will. We will perish, and scholars will remain for the ages.’” [586] Miftah Dar al-Sa`adah, Ibn al-Qayyim (1/170). Abu `Asim al-Nabil had memorised some thousand narrations from the good ones. He was a humorous person. It is said that he was nicknamed ‘al-Nabil’ (the noble) because, when an elephant came to Basrah, all the people went to see it but he. Ibn Jurayj said to him: ‘How come you are not looking at it?’ He said: ‘Nothing can replace you in my eyes.’ He replied: ‘You are noble.’ [587] Siyar A`lam al-Nubala’, al-Dhahabi (9/482).

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