Hon­esty: A fun­da­men­tal moral virtue

The Manica Post - - Faith -

HON­ESTY is one of the great­est of all moral virtues. From it springs many of the no­blest of hu­man qual­i­ties like in­tegrity, chastity, and valour. Some peo­ple might sup­pose that hon­esty is re­stricted to words. This is not the case. Hon­esty can man­i­fest it­self in our ac­tions as well as in our in­ner­most state of be­ing.

The great scholar and eth­i­cal thinker, al-Muhâsibî, once said,“For hon­esty to be com­plete, it must ex­ist in three things. It must ex­ist in the heart as one’s faith, it must ex­ist in the in­ten­tions be­hind one’s deeds, and it must be present in the words that one speaks”.

Hon­esty in word and deed

Hon­esty pen­e­trates to the in­ner­most fi­bre of a per­son when his in­ner be­ing is in har­mony with his outer self. A per­son’s deeds are hon­est only when he prac­tices what he pro­fesses. Dis­hon­esty in deed is more de­spi­ca­ble than dis­hon­esty in word, for it is only but a hyp­o­crit­i­cal dis­play of sin­cer­ity. This is what the brothers of Joseph did when they came with Joseph’s blood­ied cloth­ing to their fa­ther. Al­lah says in the Holy Qur‘aan, “So they came with his shirt stained with false blood.” (Ch 12: V18).

Al­lah warns us say­ing, “O you who be­lieve, why do you say what you do not do? It is loath­some in­deed with Al­lah that you say what you do not do.” (Ch 61: V 3). Truth in word is the most fa­mil­iar and ob­vi­ous kind of truth, since ev­ery state­ment that is in­con­sis­tent with re­al­ity is ob­vi­ously a lie. Al­lah says, “Ver­ily those who fab­ri­cate a lie against Al­lah will not find suc­cess.” (Ch 16: v 116).

Al­lah com­mands the believ­ers, say­ing, “O you who be­lieve, fear Al­lah and be among those who are hon­est.” (Ch 9: v 119). Al­lah gives glad tid­ings to the believ­ers who are hon­est. He says, “Al­lah will re­ward the hon­est peo­ple for their hon­esty.”

In the Holy Qur’aan, Al­lah in­forms us that our hon­esty will bring us good even in this world, “And when a mat­ter is re­solved upon, it would be best for them if they were true to Al­lah.” (Ch 47: v 21) And of course, hon­esty will be of doubt­less ben­e­fit to us in the Here­after. Al­lah says,“This is the day that the hon­est peo­ple will ben­e­fit from their hon­esty.” (Ch 5: V 119)

Hon­esty with our Creator

We must be hon­est in our re­la­tion­ship with our Creator, Al­lah. There are many di­men­sions to this most im­por­tant ex­pres­sion of hon­esty. There is our sin­cer­ity to Al­lah in terms of our be­lief — where we ac­knowl­edge and ac­cept that He is The Supreme Sov­er­eign and the one and only de­serv­ing to be wor- shipped. Then there is be­ing cog­nisant that Al­lah is ever watch­ful of what we do. There is the sense of hu­mil­ity and shame that we must feel be­fore Him. If we truly want to be hon­est in our re­la­tion­ship with Al­lah, we must be­come so fully sin­cere to Him that there re­mains in our hearts no other mo­tive for what we do but to seek His plea­sure. We must care noth­ing for the thanks and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of our fel­low men. We can achieve this by mak­ing our great­est con­cern the at­tain­ment of Al­lah’s mercy. We must be con­stantly aware that Al­lah is ever watch­ful over us. This will make us feel too shy to ever will­ingly dis­obey Al­lah.

Hon­esty with fel­low hu­mans

Hon­esty with other peo­ple is also ex­tremely im­por­tant. There are many as­pects to this as well. First, we must be hon­est in our dis­pen­sa­tion to­wards oth­ers. We should not be­have de­cep­tively and present a false face to peo­ple. In­stead, we must be gen­uine and straight­for­ward with peo­ple as much as pos­si­ble.

We must be hon­est in what we say. This re­quires from us to be care­ful to as­cer­tain the truth of the news that we hear be­fore we go ahead and pass it on to oth­ers. The Prophet said, “It is enough to make a per­son a liar that he tells oth­ers every­thing that he hears.”

We must be hon­est in giv­ing ad­vice to peo­ple. We should be sin­cere in our ad­vice and truly do our best to help peo­ple avoid mis­for­tune and at­tain what is good for them.

We need to be even more hon­est with our spouses. We must be able to con­fide in them and speak freely to them about our con­cerns, our se­crets, and our am­bi­tions. A hus­band or wife is a life part­ner, a friend, a con­fi­dant. The more openly a hus­band and wife are able to com­mu­ni­cate with each other in an at­mos­phere of trust and con­fi­dence, the stronger their re­la­tion­ship will be.

Prophetic prac­tice and teach­ings

The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) was renowned for his hon­esty long be­fore he be­gan to re­ceive rev­e­la­tion and be­came Al­lah’s mes­sen­ger. He had been known among his peo­ple for years as Al-Ameen (The Trust­wor­thy). The Prophet in­formed us of the ef­fects that both hon­esty and dis­hon­esty have on our per­son­al­i­ties when he said, “Hon­esty brings about se­cu­rity and ly­ing fos­ters doubts.”

The Prophet also said, “Hon­esty leads to right­eous­ness and right­eous­ness leads to Par­adise. A man re­mains hon­est and con­cerned about hon­esty un­til he is recorded as an hon­est man with Al­lah.

Ly­ing leads to sin­ful­ness and sin­ful­ness leads to the Fire. A man keeps ly­ing and re­mains par­tial to lies un­til he is recorded as a liar with Al­lah.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.