The i’tidaal of Ilm is man’s ability to distinguish between statements of falsehood and truth; between beliefs of Haqq and Baatil, and between deeds of vice and virtue. When this ability has been cultivated the fruits of wisdom (hikmat) will be experienced. Kegarding such hikmat, Allah Ta’ala says:
“He who has been granted hikmut, indeed he has been granted abundant goodness.”
In reality this hikmat, is the root of all significance and excellences.
The faculty of wrath and the faculty of desire
The i’tidaal of these two faculties is that both begin to operate along the lines of Hikmat and Shariat, submitting in entirety to the demands and commands of the Shari’at and abstaining from it prohibitions.
The Faculty of Justice
The i’tidaal of the faculty of justice is to hold the reins of the faculty of wrath and the faculty of desire and to ensure that the! conform to the Deen and Intelligence. Aql (intelligence) is like the king and the faculty of justice is like the deputy of the king. It has to comply with the orders of the king.
The faculties of ghadbiyah (wrath) and shahwaaniyah (desire) should be like the trained hunting dogs of a hunter or like a well-trained horse, answering and acting in accordance with the call of the master. When these conditions are cultivated and become praiseworthy man will be described at the repository of beautiful character. His seerat u-ill be said to be beautiful.
About the Faculty of Wrath
When this faculty is in the state of i’tidaal it is known as shuja-at (valour, bravery). This is praiseworthy by Allah Ta’ala. An excess in this faculty will he called tahawwur (rashness) and a deficiency will be termed jubnat (cowardice). Both rile conditions of tahawwur and jubnat are reprehensible.
In the wake of the laudable state of shujaa-at (valour) flow the qualities of kindness. chivalry, courage, generosity, forbearance, steadfastness, tenderness, the ability to restrain anger, dignity and far-sightedness in all affairs. The state of tahawwur produces inexperience, boastfulness, pride, inability to restrain anger, and vanity. The state of jubnat creates cowardice, disgrace, contempt, inferiority. All these lowly qualities find external manifestation.
ABOUT THE FACULTY OF DESIRE
The name of the state of i’tidaal of the faculty of desire is called Paar-saa-i (Chastity). When this faculty exceeds equilibrium, it will be termed hirs (greed) and hawaa (lust). Allah Ta’ala loves the condition of chastity. The excellences produced by chastity are generosity, shame, patience, contentment and it is also termed ittiqaa. In this state man’s desire and hope decrease, fear and humility increase and the wish to aid others is engendered. If this faculty falls below itidaal it results in greed, expectation, flattery, servitude to wealthy persons, contempt for the poor, shamelessness, extravagance, show, narrow mindedness, impotency, envy, etc.
ABOUT AQL (INTELLIGENCE)
Equilibrium in Aql makes man wise, cultured, sharp-witted and far-sighted. His advice will be sound and he possess the ability to act in all affairs. Ingenuity manifests in him. If Aql exceeds i’tidaal it will be called deceptive, fraudulent and imposture. Aql below the degree of i’tidaal will be ignorance, dim-wittedness and stupidity. The consequence of this is that such a person is quickly misled.
In short, man will be described as having a beautiful seerat only when all these faculties are in the state of equilibrium. It has been said that the best of affairs is its middle (its state of equilibrium). Allah Ta’ala says:
“Our servants are such that they neither are extravagant nor are they niggardly but they remain in a condition in between (i.e. in the stare of equilibrium).”
Internal beauty (seerat) varies with people just as external beauty (soorat) differs. The possessor of the most beautiful seerat was Rasulullah (saws). About Iris excellence, the Qur’aan declares:
“Verily, you me on a splendid character.”
Among the Muslims the degree of beauty of character (seerat) will be in proportion to the degree in which they resemble the character of Rasulullah (saws). The greater the resemblance in them with the character of Rasulullah (saws), the greater will be the beauty of their seerat. It is evident that success and fortune in the Aakhirah will be in proportion to the beauty of seerat acquired.
ALL AKHLAAQ ARE NATURAL
All qualities of seerat (akhlaaq) are natural propensities. In so far as natural propensity is concerned an attribute is neither reprehensible nor praiseworthy. The attributes become praiseworthy or reprehensible by operation. Rasulullah (saws) said:
“He who gives for the sake of Allah and withholds for the sake of Allah, verily, he has perfected his Imaan.”
The stipulation, “for the sake of Allah” is related to both “giving” and “withholding”. It is clear from this, that unrestricted generosity is not praiseworthy neither is niggardliness (i.e. to withhold spending) in itself reprehensible. Both will be praiseworthy if employed for the sake of Allah Ta’ala and both will be reprehensible if not for the sake of Allah Ta’ala.
The principle governing the elimination of akhlaaq-e-zameemah (reprehensible attributes) is “for the sake of Allah or not for the sake of Allah.” Insha-Allah this will be explained in detail further on. All reprehensible attributes are inter-related. Hence, the nafs will come under control only after the elimination of all such attributes. Rectifying one attribute while ignoring another will not prove beneficial. One afflicted b! a number of ailments will be considered healthy only after all the ailments have been cured. Similarly, man will have acquired a beautiful baatin (internal form) when all his internal conditions have become praiseworthy. Rasulullah (saws) said that a Muslim in fact is he whose character is perfect. He also said that the noblest Believer is one who has the best character. This basis is thus called Deen, and Rasulullah (saws) came to perfect this Deen.
KINDS OF AKHLAAQ
There are two kinds of Akhlaaq-e-Baatiniyah (internal attributes). One type is related to the heart and the other to the nafs. Akhlaaq-e-Baatiniyah related to the heart are called Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah (the Beautiful Attributes) and Malakaat-e- Faadhilah (the Excellent Faculties). These are also referred to as Maqaamaat. They consist of:
Tauheed, ikhlaas, taubah, muhabbat-e-ilaahi, zuhd, tawakkul, qanaa-at, hilm, sabr, shukr, sidq, tafweez, tasleem, ridhaa, fanaa, and fanaa-ul-fanaa. (These will be dealt with in detail further on).
The type of Akhlaaq-e-Baatiniyah related to the nafs are called Akhlaaq-e-Razeelah (the Despicable Attributes). They are:
Tama’, toolul aml, ghussah, darogh, gheebat, hasad, bukhl, riyaa, ujub, kibr, hiqd, hubb-e-maal, hubb-e-jah, hubb-e-dunya.
The process of purifying the nafs from these attributes is called Tazkiyah-e-Nafs. In this regard, Allah Ta’ala says:
“He who has made tazkiyah (purified) his nafs, verily, he has attained success.”
Allah Ta’ala says:
“And, Allah has created you and your deeds.”
“And you desire nothing, but that Allah Ta’ala desires it.”
Rasulullah (saws) said:
“Know that if all creation united to benefit you, they will not be able to grant you any benefit but that which Allah has ordained for you. And if they unite to harm you, they will not harm you in the least, but that harm which Allah has ordained for you.”
THE NATURE OF TAUHEED
Tauheed in this discussion refers to Tauheed-e-Af’aali or Unity of Actions. This means that one has to have implicit and strong faith that without the Will of Allah nothing can happen.
This state of Tauheed is acquired by contemplating on the weakness of creation and the power of the Creator.