| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Contempt

Jafa’ linguistically: the origin of jafa’ is the synthesis of one thing from another. Jafa’ is the opposite of righteousness and dutifulness. Jufa’ is what is cast off by the flowing riverbed, and the free etymological root of jafa’. [874] Maqayis al-Lughah, Ibn Faris (1/465); al-Nihayah fi Gharib al-Hadith wa al-Athar, Ibn al-Athir (1/280, 281); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (14/147).

Jafa’ technically: is coarseness in companionship, ungainly conduct, and lack of gentleness in dealing with matters. [875] al-Tawqif `ala Muhimmat al-Ta`rif, al-Manawi (p. 128). Dispraise of Contempt and its Prohibition in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “It is out of Allah’s mercy that you Prophet have been lenient with them. Had you been cruel or hard-hearted, they would have certainly abandoned you.” Al `Imran: 159. In this noble verse, Allah reminds His Messenger ﷺ what He endowed him with of mercy and affection for the believers. Had he been characterised with contempt, harshness, and cruelty of heart, he would find no one around him to support him.
❖ Ibn Mas`ud, Allah be pleased with him, said that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Faith is there,” pointing with his hand to Yemen, “Contempt and cruelness of heart is found among the callous camel herders whence the devil’s two horns originate, in Rabi`ah and Mudar.” [876] Reported by al-Bukhari (4387) and Muslim (51).
❖ Abu Bakrah, Allah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Bashfulness is from faith, and faith is the Garden. Profanity is from contempt, and contempt is the Fire.” [877] Reported by Ibn Majah (4184), Ibn Hibban (5704), and al-Tabarani in al-Mu`jam al-Awsat (5055). al-Bukhari said in al-`Ilal al-Kabir (315): “it is well-memorised.” al-Hakim authenticated it in al-Mustadrak (1/118) and said: “It is so according to the conditions of the Two Sheikhs.” Likewise did al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah (4184). Quotes of the Predecessors and Scholars on Dispraising Contempt

❖ Maik ibn Anas said: “A people’s traditions do not perish but that their desires become wild, and with the lack of scholars contempt becomes rife among them.” [878] Reported by al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in al-Faqih wa al-Mutafaqqih (1/383) on the authority of Ibn Abi Uways.
❖ Sufyan al-Thawri said: “Beware of sitting with the contemptuous. Accompany only the believer, invite the pious to food, and not befriend the wicked nor sit with them.” [879] Reported by Abu Nu`aym in Hilyat al-Awliya’ (7/47).
❖ Sa`id Ibn Jubayr said: “Four things are considered forms of contempt: a man entering the mosque and praying at the back, letting others pray ahead of him; a man passing in front of another during his prayer; a man wiping his forehead before concluding the prayer; and a man having food with those who are not of his religion.” [880] Reported by al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (7/42) (9380).
❖ Yahya ibn Mu`adh, Allah have mercy upon him, said: “True love is neither increased by dutifulness nor decreased by withdrawnness.” [881] Mentioned by al-Raghib al-Asfahani in Muhadarat al-Udaba’ wa Muhawarat al-Shu`ara’ wa al-Bulagha’ (2/411). Forms of Contempt [882] `Idat al-Sabirin, Ibn al-Qayyim (1/50).
The slave’s contempt for his Lord, despite Him being his master who is ever-watchful of him. Contempt for His Prophet, and a manifestation of this is to not pray for his exaltation upon his mention. Contempt for one’s parents by being harsh in words or completely cutting off ties with them. This is from the greatest forms of contempt and its most severe. It is the true essence of being undutiful. A man’s contempt for his wife and family. Contempt with friends for whatever reasons. Contempt with those who were gracious and helped one during their need. Impacts of Contempt
The people not standing one another, especially if contempt is the norm among them. The contemptuous not having anyone there for him at difficult times. His being led to a painful, after-worldly punishment in the Fire. The lack of sympathetic friends at times of loneliness. The people not dealing with him since they are repelled by his nature. Reasons for Falling into Contempt
Weak faith and little knowledge. The devil designing this trait as being desirable to its possessor, that it is a form of virtuous strength or its like. Envy begets contempt among those who have it and increases repulsion between them. Individualism at the cost of social welfare There being no sense of care to advise and direct others, especially those who slip into this character trait, giving them sincere advice until they desist. That one is raised upon this feature or acquires it from his surroundings, such that he grows up with it and it becomes entrenched within him, making it exceedingly difficult to later get rid of it. Arrogance which falls into the hearts of some of the contemptuous, enticing them to have contempt for the people. Means to Desisting from Contempt
Endowing oneself with faith and beneficial knowledge. They are guarantors of a soft nature and sound morals. Following the example set by the master of creation ﷺ in how he treated others, his care for them, and his gentleness in dealing with them. Mixing with the people and being patient over their harm is another reason for leaving off this moral. The more a person isolates himself from the people and their congregations, his nature becomes harsh and his heart becomes cruel. Brothers advising and directing each other sincerely guarantees a lack of contempt among them. That he who is trialled by this spiritual sickness is aware of the punishment incurred by those who possess it and exhibit it continuously. Knowing that one shares the same trait with evil tyrants which Allah, blessed and exalted, hates in His creation. Patience over Contempt
Patience over he who has power over you, and you do not have power against him. Patience over whom you have power against, and he has power over you. Patience over whom you have no power against, nor has he any power over you.

The first is humiliation and weakness and is not virtuous. It is the state of the one who is patient over a disliked thing since he fears that which is even worse. The second is a form of virtue and righteousness, and is forbearance in its full. It is what the virtuous are characterised with. The third is split in two: It may be contempt which is accidental or unintentional. Its instigator is aware of its ugliness and regrets that it came from him. Patience with such a person is a virtue and an obligation, and it is true forbearance. As for he who thinks particularly highly of himself and feels entitled to show contempt and therefore does not regret it, then being patient with such a person is humiliation for the patient and further corruption for the one shown patience. It increases his daringness for evil. Dealing with an individual of this nature is tedious. The right course of action is to let him know that one could very well have avenged oneself from him, but refrained due to how inferior he is and not being interested in engaging with him. That is as much as should be done. Contempt from the lowly has no reward but being made an example of for others. [883] al-Akhlaq wa al-Siyar fi Mudawat al-Nufus, Ibn Hazm (p. 26-27). Contempt in Proverbs [884] Tanbih al-Ghafilin, al-Samarqandi (p. 371); Ghurar al-Khasa’is al-Wadihah, al-Watwat (p. 42); Majma` al-Hikam wa al-Amthal, Ahmad Qabish (p. 7).

❖ “Whoever gives his self its due share of goodwill with brothers will enjoy a restful heart.”
❖ “Whoever adorns himself with loyalty (wafa’), abandons contempt (jafa’), then he is a comrade truly genuine (safa’).”
❖ It was said to some sage: “Give me counsel.” He said: “Have not contempt for your Lord, the creation, nor yourself. As for contempt with your Lord then it is to busy yourself with others' service over His. Contempt with the creation is that you mention them in a bad light with others. Finally, contempt with oneself is to neglect Allah’s obligations.”

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