Ethical Discourse # 63 – Page 1 of 3

In the Name of All{h, the Source of General Mercy to all of Humanity, the Source of Specific Grace to the Believers

Topic of Discussion: Jih°d Against the Soul
âad|th 50 · Discussion 63
Lectures on Akhl{q [Isl{mic Ethics and Spirituality] Delivered by
his Eminence Ñyatull{h al-`UÉm{ al-H{jj Shaykh N{Äir Mak{rim Sh|r{z|

Translated by Saleem Bhimji
for Al-FatÅ Al-Mub|n Publications [] and Isl{mic Publishing House []

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Text of âad|th:
··. .· · .- ¯ .´.·' - ' ¸,· .´· ¸ ¸· .- .·' . -` ' .- ...· ' .. .
Imam Ja`far ibne MuÅammad As-S°diq has said: “Be aware of your lower desires just as you keep aware of your enemies since there is
nothing more of an enemy to a person than following his lower desires and that which the tongue reaps.”

Explanation of the âad|th:
he month of Ramadh°n has very many specific programs contained within it – one of which is the fasting of the month. There are
some people who think that if they are sick or traveling and are not permitted to fast, then there is nothing left to the Month of
Ramadh°n - whereas the Month of Ramadh°n has other programs in it other than just the aspect of fasting and one of these is the
combat against the lower desires, and this responsibility shines greater than all other acts (contained within this month).
This Åad|th under discussion is in relation to this fact and it tells us that we must keep aware of our lower desires just as we keep aware and
away from our enemies.
The greatest enemy of a human being is to follow and listen to his lower desires and to speak inappropriate things with his tongue and to
follow his refractory desires and wishes.
The lower passions, the uncontrolled desires and the act of rebellion are all what make up a person. If the lower passions are put under the
control of the intellect, then there is no danger; however if they are left without control and parameters to work within and are at the whims
of the desires of the heart, then without doubt the laws of All{h i and the ethical conscience will not be recognized. The name of this
rebellious character within a person is his lower passions and this is the greatest enemy a person has.
When a person recognizes the presence of his enemy, then he would definitely strive to make sure that he is not in the vicinity of his strike
and would strive to ensure that he does not fall prey to his plans. Unfortunately however, there are many people who, in the face of their
enemies, do not put up any fight and in the same way, they are actually friends of their lower passions and desires and even more than this,
we see that there are also people who have taken their lower passions to be their leader and guide and there are many people who even take
their lower passions to be the object of worship:
' ' ` . · ¸ ' - . ` · · . ` ·
“Have you seen the person who takes his lower desires as his Lord?”

BiÅ{rul Anw{r, Volume 67, Page 82
Ethical Discourse # 63 – Page 2 of 3
Thus, sometimes it is possible that a person would prostrate and humble himself in front of his lower desires.
One of the branches of monotheism (TawÅ|d) is TawÅ|d in obedience to All{h i. The person who is a MuwaÅÅid is he who obeys none
other than All{h i (the obedience to the Prophet , the Im{m , one’s father and mother and the Marja’ Taql|d are all done through
the command of All{h i). Thus, if we become those who obey others along side All{h i, then we have transformed our actions into
polytheism (Shirk) in worship.
Sometimes, the lower desires actually transform our heart into the house of idol worship; the heart which must only be the place in which
All{h i is present; however sometimes the various idols such as the love of wealth, love of status, love for our children and other such
things takes up the room in the heart:
æt «ïála ʉataiá ʈ ʄa ɷa ʉɳ ɳɷ ɳa&t ʈ gøe¸t at æsâ ¸t
The poet has stated that sometimes we sit and talk about those people who worship idols in the traditional houses of idol worship whereas
we look within our own souls, we see that it itself is the house of idols and within it, are various types of gods and deities!
¸·.' ¸· . ·· · ,~ ¸
It has been stated that the person who listens to one who tells him something has actually worshipped that person! Thus, when we see that
we listen to what our lower desires tell us what to do, then in reality, we have actually accepted it (and worshipped it). If the person
speaking, extols the words of All{h i then in essence, we have ended up worshipping All{h i however if the person speaking extols the
words of Sha|Ç{n, then we have ended up worshipping Sha|Ç{n!
The actions during the Month of Ramadhan are just for this reason - that we are able to recognize the enemies which we have and then to
purify the society. The statistics in relation to the number of sins which we commit should come down in great number during the Month of
Ramadh{n even if we do not perform the fast. Thus, the fasting of the Month of Ramadh{n is only one way to fight against the lower
passions and desires.
There are some points in the Åad|th mentioned which must be noted:
1. The Åad|th uses the phrase “-” or to be aware and does not say to not obey (the lower desires). When one is aware of something, it
means that he is a person who is always alert and conscious (of what he is doing) so that he does not fall prey to the lower desires and this
is a much higher level than just saying not to follow something.
2. The Åad|th also uses the phrase “.- ·'” or more of an enemy to a person and in our opinion this ‘person’ refers to the one who
possesses character and faith – meaning for that person who is a true believer, the greatest enemy is his lower desires and passions and it is
they who must fear this enemy (more than others). There is a very well known tradition which may also relate to this tradition which reads:
' ´ ` ¸ ¯ ` . ` . · ´ .. . ' · ` .. ' · ` .. ¯ ' . ` . · ´ .. . ' · · .. ' · · .. ¯ ` . ` . · ´ .. . ' ` ` - ` . ..
' ` ` - ` . .. · ¸ - = · = .,
“All people are destroyed except for the scholars; and all scholars are destroyed except for the ones who act (according to their knowledge);
and all of those who act according to their knowledge are also destroyed except the ones with sincerity and the ones who possess sincerity
are in the greatest danger.”
and it is possible that this refers to the following of the lower desires.
3. The word “.-” is the plural of the word “·,.-” and is in the meaning of a thing which is used to gain or reap something. The tongue
has been compared to a sickle which is used to reap and gain something (from the farmer’s field). The sins which are performed by the
tongue fall under the category of following the lower desires however why it is that they have been mentioned separately in our main âad|th
under discussion?
The sins of the tongue are related to the following of the lower desires and the reason why they have been mentioned separately in this
âad|th in the words of the Im{m is to stress the importance of this issue.
By this we mean that the sins of the tongue are such sins that they do not require any special tool or mechanism to perform and they can be
done night and day and in any state which a person is in.
Ethical Discourse # 63 – Page 3 of 3
The danger of this sin is much greater and there are approximately thirty major sins which can be done by the tongue. There is no sin like
the sin of the tongue and there is no sin which in the eyes of the people is as great and important as the sins of the tongue and these are the
most dangerous of all sins since it is this tongue which is always at the disposal of the person (ready to work) and is ready to show its
indecency (when it is instructed to do so). Thus, this is the reason why Im{m as-à{diq has mentioned the sin of the tongue in this way.
It has been mentioned in the aÅ{d|th that the Noble Prophet had one spoken in regards to the tongue and the dangers associated with
speaking and this was being conveyed to a general and common `Arab. The `Arab asked the Prophet :
' · ` . - .. ·
“Shall we truly be taken to account for that which we say?”
To this question, the Noble Prophet replied:
· ¸ ´ ' . ' ´ ¸ · · ¸ - ` · ` . · ¸ ' ´ . - . ' ` . ` .
“Shall mankind be thrown into the hell fire except due to that which their tongues have earned them?”
Therefore, the proof of the importance of the sins which are committed by the tongue can be summarized as the following three things:
1. The number of sins which can be committed with this part of the body is greater than with any other part of the body and there are
approximately thirty major sins which the tongue can perform.
2. The most easy means to committing these sins is available to all people.
3. The despicability of the sins of the tongue is known to all.
The Month of Ramadh°n is the month in which we should seek to reform all of our body parts, our lives and the soul and the society and
we must truly struggle in these regards.

…and all praise belongs to All{h i – only the mistakes are mine.