| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Poise

Waqar linguistically: is forbearance, steadiness, and stillness. Rajulun dhu qirah refers to a composed, poised man. Rajulun muwqqar refers to an experienced man. [676] al-Sihah, al-Jawhari (2/848); Mufradat al-Qur’an, al-Raghib (p. 880); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (8/4889-4891); al-Misbah al-Munir, al-Fayyumi (2/668).

Waqar technically: is being steady and firm when needing to be. [677] Tahdhib al-Akhlaq, Miskawayh (p. 28). It is also said that it is abstinence from curious and useless talk, and excessive fidgeting and movement where unnecessary. It is not being angered, listening well when posing a question, and pausing when given an answer, not being hasty while still being swift in dealing with matters. [678] Tahdhib al-Akhlaq, al-Jahiz (p. 22). The Difference between Poise, Adulation (Tawqir) and Tranquility (Sakinah) [679] al-Furuq al-Lughawiyyah, al-`Askari (p. 147); Sharh al-Nawawi `ala Muslim (5/100).

Adulation is used to mean exaltation. It is said: waqqartahu if one exalted another. Tranquility is carefulness in movement and avoiding futile pursuits. Poise manifests in one’s appearance, like averting the gaze, lowering the voice, and not deliberately not paying attention to some specific thing.Commandments of Being Poised and Encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “The servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk humbly on the earth, and who, when the foolish address them, reply, ‘Peace’” al-Furqan: 63. Meaning, those who walk with tranquility, composure, and humility, not striking the ground with their feet, nor grinding or dragging their sandals thereupon. [680] Tafsir al-Zamakhshari (3/291).
❖ Allah, exalted, also says: “‘Go at a moderate pace and lower your voice, for the ugliest of all voices is the braying of asses.’” Luqman: 19. Meaning, let your walking be moderate, not arrogant nor rushed. It was also said its implication is: ‘Walk with poise and tranquility, as He has said: “Walk humbly on the earth.” al-Furqan: 63. [681] Tafsir al-Baghawi (6/289).
❖ `A’ishah, Allah be pleased with her, said: “I never saw the Prophet ﷺ being so overtaken with laughter until his palate can be seen; rather, he would smile.” [682] Reported by al-Bukhari (6092) and the wording is his, as well as Muslim (899). Quotes of the Predecessors and Scholars on Praising Poise

❖ Dhu al-Nun said: “Three are the signs of poise: having respect for the elderly, compassion for the young, and forbearance with the lowly.” [683] Shu`ab al-Iman, al-Bayhaqi (13/360).
❖ `Imran ibn Muslim narrated that `Umar ibn al-Khattab, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Learn and teach the people, and learn composure and tranquility in seeking it. Have humility with those who teach you and those whom they teach. Do not be tyrannical scholars such that your knowledge does not rectify your spiritual ignorance.” [684] Reported by al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (1789). al-Bayhaqi said in al-Madkhal ila al-Sunan al-Kubra (2/153): “This is the authentic statement of `Umar. It is mentioned that it is narrated and raised to the level of the Prophet ﷺ, but this is weak.”
❖ Ibn Muflih narrated from Ibn `Aqil that he said: “When we saw the Law prohibit from being flimsy in character, abolished musical beats and instruments, and forbade lamentation, bewailing, adulation, and arrogant pomp, we realised that the Law wishes for us poise, not dissolution.” [685] al-Adab al-Shar`iyyah, Ibn Muflih (2/433).
What is understood from such narrations is that he ﷺ would not go over smiling, or perhaps he would laugh sometimes. What is disliked is excessive, unmitigated laughter as it compromises composure. [686] Fath al-Bari, Ibn Hajar (10/505). Benefits of Poise
Poise adorns its possessor with bashfulness, rather it is a consequential result of having composure. Poise dresses its possessor in a garment of solemnity and gravitas, giving him a beautiful demeanour. It protects the slave from wrongdoing and debasing actions. Repeated friction decreases one’s gravitas and status. Others hold the poised in high regard and have love for him, giving him a sense of gravitas among the people. Means to Acquiring Poise
Following the tradition of the prophets and righteous who adorned themselves with composure. Being abject in devotional worship, and doing abundant good deeds. Seeking knowledge. Tranquility. Distancing oneself from anger or clumsiness, as they compromise one’s poise and gravitas. Adhering to silence and not talking except in meaningful matters. Barriers to Acquiring Poise
Publicly sinning. Insolence. Anger. Vulgarity, and among its manifestations is not being well kempt and groomed. Excessive humour leads to compromising one’s composure. `Umar, Allah be pleased with him, said: “Whoever jests will be taken lightly.” [687] al-Muwashsha, al-Washsha’ (p. 13). Clumsiness and fury. Listening to music and swaying to it. Examples of Poise from the Life of the Prophets, Companions, and Predecessors

❖ In her description of the Prophet ﷺ, Umm Ma`bad said: “If he is silent, then he is composed, and if he speaks, then he is esteemed by gravitas. He is the most beautiful of people and most esteemed from a distance, and most handsome and beautiful from close. He is pleasantly rational, solemn - not mute nor babbling - as if his speech is poetic beads rolling forth moderately.” [688] Reported by al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak (4274), and he said: “Its chain is authentic.”
❖ Sa`id ibn Musayyib said: “Ibrahim was the first person to host his guest, the first to trim his moustache, cut his nails, and shave his private hair. He was the first to be circumcised, and the first person to go white in hair. He said: ‘My Lord, what is that?’ He said: ‘It is poise.’ He said: “Allah, increase me in poise.” [689] Reported by Ibn Abi Shaybah in his Musannaf (26997).
❖ `Umar, Allah be pleased with him, said: “On the day of Saqifah, Abu Bakr was more forbearing and poised than I. By Allah, he never missed a sentence that I liked in my own prepared speech, except that he said the like of it or better but spontaneously, until he became silent…” [690] Reported by al-Bukhari (6830) and this is his wording, as well as Muslim (1691) from the narration of `Abdullah ibn `Abbad, Allah be pleased with them both.
❖ Ibn al-Mubarak said in praise of Imam Malik, the Imam of Dar al-Hijrah (the land of immigration - Madinah):

“He refuses to answer, not asked again due to gravitas
While those who ask him bow down their chins humbly.

The manifestation of poise, the honour of piety’s kingship:
He is the one who people have awe of, without a kingdom.” [691] Min A`lam Ahl al-Sunnah wa al-Jama`ah - `Abdullah ibn al-Mubarak, al-Zahrani (1/41). Adages, Proverbs, and Poetry in Poise [692] Maqamat al-Zamakhshari (p. 179); Muhadarat al-Udaba’, al-Raghib (1/276).

❖ They say: “The garments of poise and forbearance are the prettiest of cloaks those of knowledge can wear, so be forbearing and poised, even if they are not from your disposition.”
❖ A sage saw a king in affluence, so he said: “Those of knowledge among kings do not boast about their crowns of gold and silver, rather those of poise adorned with the rubies of forbearance. The most insolent of kings are the simple ones when they slip up, despite being vastly powerful.”
❖ The poet said:

“Surely, the perfection which men have ruled with
Is being poised, and joining knowledge with action.

Say, therefore, to him who is beguiled by his intellect
While his heart is in the chains of timidness and hope:

‘Slow down, for Allah is not unaware of your mess -
Your appointed time is very close by indeed!’” [693] Mawarid al-Zam’an, `Abd al-`Aziz al-Salman (4/82).

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