The problem of the ethics is among the important topics that have been dealt with by Islamic or non-Islamic scientists. A part of ethics deals with the ethical virtues that include acts which are regarded highlighted and excellent. Some behaviors are regarded normal and common for everyone. For example, when someone does you a favor, you will do him a favor in return, and that is very typical. However, if someone shows the ability to control himself, and restrain his emotions to an extent to which he can do goodness and kindness against an unjust action that would be regarded as remarkable. Few people can be as such.

In a narration from the Great Prophet of Islam, the ethical virtue has been interpreted as the following: “O Ali, three things are among the ethical virtues: show generosity toward that who has deprived you, keep contact with the one who has cut ties with you, and forgive the one who has been unjust against you.”1, 2 (1. O Ali, there are three good morals: you give to those who deprive you, you maintain ties with those who cut you off, and you forgive those who wronged you-Tohf al-‘Uquol, pg. 7) (2. Examples of moral virtues can be found in the luminous words of the pure Imams (peace be upon them). For example, it is stated in the Makaram al-Akhlaq prayer of Imam Sajjad (peace be upon him):

(O Allah, bless Muhammad and his family, and grant me success in the benevolence of the one who cheats with me, and I will reward the one who is far from me, and I will forgive the one who deprived me, and the one who is away from me I should cut off and join him and remember good from him, and be grateful for good, and turn a blind eye to bad.-An Example is the supplication of Makarim al-Akhlagh)

The lives of the infallible Imams (PBUT) have been full of ethical virtues. An example of them is narrated in the life of Imam Hassan (PBUH): Imam Hassan (PBUH) was sitting at the door of his house in Kufah. A dessert dweller Arab came and spoke rudely with Imam, and used bad words against him and his parents. Imam called his servant and told him to bring him a pocket of coins. Imam (PBUH) gave it to the Arab and said: apologize me for I did not have any more to give you. When the Arab heard this he said: “I testify that you are truly the son of the Prophet of Allah. I wanted to examine your patience and forbearance.”3 (3. Ehqaq al-Haq, vol. 19, pg. 321)

Attaining to such level of ethical virtue takes a great heart and a high spirit that comes about by self-training, clearing the soul from egoism and arrogance, and actualizing the divine teachings.

(Selection from the Life of Imam Hassan (PBUH) by Rasuli Mahallati (with minor changes))

 

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