Posts Tagged ‘benevolence’

Why morality? Three moral gradations of morality mentioned by Quran

March 8, 2014

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“Fide Dubitandum”
“Amoral Morality?”

paarsurrey :March 8th, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Quran mentions three gradations of morality:

[16:91] Verily, Allah enjoins justice, and the doing of good to others; and giving like kindred; and forbids indecency, and manifest evil, and wrongful transgression. He admonished you that you may take heed.

Thus explained by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad- the Promised Messiah:

“This means that we are commanded to return good for good, and to exercise benevolence when it is called for, and to do good with natural eagerness as between kindred, when that should be appropriate.

God Almighty forbids transgression or that you should exercise benevolence out of place or should refrain from exercising it when it is called for; or that you should fall short of exercising graciousness as between kindred on its proper occasion, or should extend it beyond its appropriate limit. This verse sets forth three gradations of doing good.

The first is the doing of good in return for good.

This is the lowest gradation and even an average person can easily acquire this gradation that he should do good to those who do good to him.

The second gradation is a little more difficult than the first, and that is to take the initiative in doing good out of pure benevolence. This is the middle grade. Most people act benevolently towards the poor, but there is a hidden deficiency in benevolence, that the person exercising benevolence is conscious of it and desires gratitude or prayer in return for his benevolence. If on any occasion the other person should turn against him, he considers him ungrateful.
On occasion he reminds him of his benevolence or puts some heavy burden upon him. The benevolent ones have been admonished by God Almighty:

[2:265] O ye who believe! render not vain your alms by taunt and injury

That is, O those who do good to others–good that should be based on sincerity–do not render it vain by reminding them what favours you have done them or by inflicting injury on them. The Arabic word for alms (“Sadaqah”) is derived from a root (“sidq”) that means sincerity. If the heart is not inspired by sincerity in bestowing alms, the almsgiving ceases to be alms and becomes mere display. That is why those who exercise benevolence have been admonished by God Almighty not to render vain their benevolence by reproaches or injury.

The third grade of doing good is graciousness as between kindred. God Almighty directs that in this grade there should be no idea of benevolence or any desire for gratitude, but good should be done out of such eager sympathy as, for instance, a mother does good to her child. This is the highest grade of doing good which cannot be exceeded. But God Almighty has conditioned all these grades of doing good with their appropriate time and place.

The verse cited above clearly indicates that if these virtues are not exercised in their proper places they would become vices. For instance, if equity exceeds its limits it would take on an unwholesome aspect and would become indecent. In the same way, misuse of benevolence would take on a form which would be repelled by reason and conscience; and in the same way graciousness between kindred would become transgression.

The Arabic word for transgression is “baghi”, which connotes excessive rain which ruins crops. A deficiency in the discharge of an obligation or an excess in its discharge are both “baghi”. In short, whichever of these three qualities is exercised out of place becomes tainted. That is why they are all three qualities conditioned by the due observance of place and occasion.

It should be remembered that equity or benevolence or graciousness between kindred are not in themselves moral qualities. They are man’s natural conditions and faculties that are exhibited even by children before they develop their reason. Reason is a condition of the exercise of a moral quality and there is also a condition that every moral quality should be exercised in its proper place and on its proper occasion.”

Pages 64-67- “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam”

Click to access Philosophy-of-Teachings-of-Islam.pdf

Natural qualities done at proper occasion and place under the control of reason become moral qualities

May 27, 2013


Human beings have many natural qualities in them; the natural qualities done on proper occasion and place with a rational approach become moral qualities.

I would like to quote here in this connection from the book “ THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE TEACHINGS OF ISLAM” by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad- the Promised Messiah:

Mirza Ghualm Ahmad- the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi says:

“The truth is that corresponding to every physical action there is an inner quality which is moral; for instance, a person sheds tears through the eyes and corresponding to that action there is an inner quality which is called tenderness, which takes on the character of a moral quality when, under the control of reason, it is exercised on its proper occasion. In the same way, a person defends himself against the attack of an enemy with his hands, and corresponding to this action there is an inner quality which is called bravery. When this quality is exercised at its proper place and on its proper occasion, it is called a moral quality.

Similarly a person sometimes seeks to relieve the oppressed from the oppression of tyrants, or desires to make provision for the indigent and the hungry, or wishes to serve his fellow beings in some other way, and corresponding to such action there is an inner quality which is designated mercy.

Sometimes a person punishes a wrongdoer and corresponding to such action there is an inner quality which is called retribution. Sometimes a person does not wish to attack one who attacks him and forbears to take action against a wrongdoer, corresponding to which there is a quality which is called forbearance or endurance.

Sometimes a person works with his hands or feet or employs his mind and intellect or his wealth in order to promote the welfare of his fellow beings, corresponding to which there is an inner quality which is called benevolence.

Thus, when a person exercises all these qualities on their proper occasions and at their proper places they are called moral qualities.

Pages 30-31



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