| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Ignobility

Lu’m linguistically: Ibn Durayd said: “Al’amu al-rajulu il’ama is said if one does that which results in the people viewing him as lowly. al-Mil’am is he who excuses the ignoble.” [1221] al-Sihah, al-Jawhari (5/2025); Lisan al-`Arab, Ibn Manzur (12/530).

Lu’m technically: is avarice and having a lowly, degraded nature. Ignobility is the antonym of magnanimity and nobility. [1222] See: al-Misbah al-Munir, al-Fayyumi (2/560). The Difference between Ignobility and Miserliness (Bukhl)

The ignoble for the Arabs is the avaricious, lowly in nature and lineage. If a person is solely avaricious, he is miserly, and it is not said to him that he is ignoble. Every ignoble person is a miser, but not every miser is ignoble. The laity confuse the two and conflate them. [1223] al-Zahir, Abu Bakr al-Anbari (2/58). Dispraise of Ignobility and its Prohibition in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “Coarse, and on top of all that, a zanim.” al-Qalam: 13. al-Mawardi said: “Has nine possible interpretations… the eighth is: that it refers to the obscene and ignoble person. This is the view of Ma`ammar.” [1224] Tafsir al-Mawardi (6/64).
❖ Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him, narrates that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The believer is simple and magnanimous, while the wicked is deceitful and ignoble.” [1225] Reported by Abu Dawud (4790), al-Tirmidhi (1964), and Ahmad (9170). al-Shawkani verified its transmitters in al-Fath al-Rabbanii (11/5507), and al-Albani graded the narration as authentic in Sahih Sunan Abi Dawud (4790). al-Khattabi said: “... The wicked is he whose nature is deception and deviousness, having deep knowledge of evil. This is not a sign of his intellect, rather his slyness and lowliness.” [1226] Ma`alim al-Sunan, al-Khattabi (4/108).
❖ Ubay ibn Ka`b said: “I heard Allah’s Messenger ﷺ saying: ‘... Allah’s mercy be upon us and Musa, had he not come early, he would have seen strange things… they then traversed till they reached a township of ignoble people.’” [1227] A long narration reported by Muslim (2380). al-Qurtubi said: “What is meant here is that they asked to be hosted, as hinted towards in His saying: ‘They the townspeople refused to host them,’ al-Kahf: 77, so the townspeople were deservedly shamed and characterised by ignobility as described by our Prophet ﷺ.” [1228] al-Mufham, al-Qurtubi (6/207). Quotes of the Predecessors and Scholars on Dispraising Ignobility

❖ Zayd ibn Aslam used to say: “Son of Adam, your Lord commanded you to be noble to enter the Garden, and he forbade you to be ignoble to enter the Fire.” [1229] Reported by Abu Bakr al-Dinawri in al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir al-`Ilm (7/44).
❖ al-Shafi`i said: “The son of Adam has been given a disposition of ignobility. He seeks closeness to the one who distances himself from him, and furthers himself from the one who seeks proximity to him.” [1230] al-Zuhd al-Kabir, al-Bayhaqi (p. 105).
❖ Ibn al-Qayyim said: “Whoever does not know nor wishes to seek out the way to his Lord is the ignoble about whom Allah said: ‘Whoever Allah disgraces, none can honour.’ al-Hajj: 18.” [1231] Tariq al-Hijratayn, Ibn al-Qayyim (p. 177). Impacts and Harms of Ignobility [1232] al-Mujalasah wa Jawahir al-`Ilm, Ahmad ibn Marwan al-Dinawri (4/452); Rawdat al-`Uqala’, Ibn Hibban (p. 174, 249); Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, al-Mawardi (p. 193); Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (2/231) and (3/121); `Idat al-Sabirin, Ibn al-Qayyim (p. 52-53).
The lowly among people are the slowest to love and the quickest to make enemies. The ignoble does not fulfil others’ needs out of religious duty and decent morality, rather he only does so to be lauded by the people. The lowly are the most persistent in obeying their whimsical desires, and the most impatient in obedience to their Lord. Following up people’s slip-ups and overlooking their good deeds. Ignobility leads to obscenity, cursing, and profanity. The ignoble lacks decency. Ignobility leads one to the most malignant of greedy desires. Forms of Ignobility [1233] Adab al-Katib, Ibn Qutaybah (p. 30); al-`Iqd al-Farid, Ibn `Abd Rabbih (7/227); Adab al-Dunya wa al-Din, al-Mawardi (p. 194); Ihya’ `Ulum al-Din, al-Ghazali (3/132, 157).
Oppression to the closely related. Cursing, having a profane tongue. Miserliness. Divulging secrets. Gossiping, even if truthfully. Inviting oneself to food gatherings without right. Ingratitude to bounties. Reasons for Falling into Ignobility [1234] Rawdat al-`Uqala’, Ibn Hibban (p. 58, 73); `Idat al-Sabirin, Ibn al-Qayyim (p. 52-53); Sayd al-Afkar, al-Qadi Husayn al-Mahdi (1/604).
Accompanying the ignoble. Envy, miserliness, lying, and backbiting. Lack of bashfulness. Betraying one another in dealings. Obeying the devil and following whims and desires. Means to Desisting from Ignobility
Accompanying the noble. [1235] Sayd al-Afkar, al-Qadi Husayn al-Mahdi (1/609). Fulfilling others’ needs out of religiosity and decency. [1236] Rawdat al-`Uqala’, Ibn Hibban (p. 249). Ignobility in Proverbs and Poetry [1237] al-Mustaqsa, al-Zamakshari (1/298).

❖ “More ignoble than Ibn Qarsa`” He is a man from Mina known for ignobility.
❖ “More ignoble than Aslam.” This is Aslam ibn Zur`ah. He had asked the people of Khurasan for some asking which none of them obliged to. It then reached him that the Persians used to place dirhams in the mouths of their deceased. He dug up graves and took out the dirhams.
❖ The poet said:

“I saw that the noble know the rights
Owed to others; denied by the ignoble.

If man is beneficent and magnanimous,
Then likewise shall be all of his deeds.

If you find him lowly and ignoble in nature,
Then as such you will find all his doings.” [1238] Sayd al-Afkar, al-Qadi Husayn al-Mahdi (1/604).

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