A Muslim as a first priority should strive to cleanse his
(spiritual) heart because heart is the leader of the body and all
organs are under its command. Our Prophet Muhammad ‘sall-
Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ once said: “There is a piece of flesh
in the human body. If this is good, all the organs will be
good. If this is evil, all the organs will be evil. This piece of
[1] Walî (pl. Awliyâ) means a person close and beloved to Allâhu ta’âlâ.

flesh is the heart.” What is described in this hadîth is not the
physical heart but the spiritual heart which is located in the
physical heart. The goodness of the flesh, as explained above,
means its being cleansed from vices and its assimilation of
good morals (virtues). The physical appearance of a human
being is called (khalq). The power or state that exists in the
heart is called habits (khulq). Vices in the heart are called
“maladies of the heart” or unacceptable morals (akhlâq alzamîma).
Their cure is a very difficult task. Correct treatment
requires extremely sophisticated knowledge about the maladies
and correct methodology to apply this knowledge. Habits are
the faculties (malakas) or states or desires in the heart. It is this
power in the spiritual heart which generates man’s belief,
words, actions. His optional behaviour also is the work of (this
power which is called his) khulq.

Changing or transforming the state of the heart from
undesirable, unwanted, unacceptable morals or habits to
desirable, good habits is possible. Our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu
’alaihi wa sal-lam’ once said, “Improve your morals (habits or
character).” Islam does not contain commandments that
cannot be accomplished. Experiences also show that this is the
case. [Experience is only one of the three true-knowledgeacquirement
methods. The other two true-knowledgeacquirement-
methods are understanding through calculation
and information passed to us by our Prophet.] Human beings
do not share equal abilities to correct their unacceptable,
deficient morals.
Origin or source or fountain of morals is three powers
inherent in the human soul. The first one is the power of
understanding (comprehension) of the soul. This is also called
“nutq” or wisdom (’aql). The first and second powers of “nutq”
are theoretical knowledge (hikmat al-nazarî) and practical
knowledge (hikmat al-’amalî) respectively. Theoretical
knowledge which exists in average proportions is called reason
(hikmat). Reason is the power that differentiates between virtue
and vice; right and wrong; and good and evil. A state of excess
in this power is termed jarbaza (the state of being a wiseacre).
A person who suffers from this excess tries to understand
things beyond comprehension. For example, he tries to
interpret verses of the Qur’ân with hidden or metaphorical
meanings (mutashâbîh âyats) or talks about fate and destiny

or occupies himself with futile pursuits such as deceit, trickery,
and sorcery. Conversely, inadequacy of this power is termed
idiocy (balâdat). A person suffering from this inadequacy
cannot differentiate between vice and virtue. When the practical
power of nutq (wisdom) exists in an average intensity, this state
is called justice (’adâlat). There cannot be paucity or plentitude
in justice.
The second power of the sources of morals is wrath
(ghadab). It is the bestial aspect of the soul. Things which it
dislikes and loathes stir its blood. When this force is subdued to
a reasonable intensity by the human aspect of the soul, it
develops into bravery (shajâ’at), which prompts man to
practical and useful enterprises. Examples of this are Muslims’
fighting against disbelievers whose numbers are more than
double theirs and their saving the oppressed from their
oppressors. An excess in this force is tahawwur, which causes
aggressiveness. A person with this temperament becomes
angry fast. If this power exists in less than average proportions,
it is called cowardice (jubn). A person having this character will
not be able to attempt to do the necessary actions.
The third power of the human soul is appetite (shahwat). It
is the bestial soul’s desiring the things that it likes. The human
aspect of the soul mollifies this desire into what we call chastity
(iffat), or honor. A person who has chastity gratifies the needs
of his nature in a manner prescibed by Islam and compatible
with humanity. Excess in this is called greed or debauchery
(sharah). A person having this character tries to obtain all his
desires and wishes without regard to laws or others’ rights.
When appetite is less than average proportions in one’s nature,
it causes a lazy character (humûd). A person with this
character will not even try to get things that are necessary for
himself either because of his extreme sense of shame, fear or
pride, or because of his (psychological) illness.
The aforesaid four temperate forces, i.e. hikmat (reason),
’adâlat (justice), iffat (chastity), and shajâ’at (bravery), are the
essence of all virtues. When a person adapts himself to hikmat,
which is one of the three forces of the soul, he overcomes the
other two forces of the bestial soul, i.e., ghadab and shahwat,
and attains happiness by developing these two excesses into
iffat (chastity) and shajâ’at (bravery). If the theoretical force of
wisdom fails to abide by hikmat, which is its temperate degree,

and overflows unto either one of the vicious extremities, vices
will appear. All six extremities are always evil. In fact, even the
four temperate forces are evil when they are employed for evil
purposes. Examples of employing hikmat for evil purposes are:
to go into a religious career for the purpose of an easy
competence or a high position, and to perform (the daily
prayers termed) namâz or (the struggle for the promulgation
and propagation of Islam, which should be done only to please
Allâhu ta’âlâ and which is termed) jihâd for ostentation. On the
other hand, abstention from a certain kind of pleasure in order
to gratify one’s desire to enjoy another kind of pleasure would
be a good example of misusing iffat.
Each of the four main virtues is recognized by their
attributes. For example, wisdom has seven attributes. Bravery
and chastity have eleven attributes each.
REMEDY FOR THE VICES: A medicine that would be a
common cure for all the vices is the recognition of the illness
and things that are harmful to it, its cause, its opposite case, as
well as effects of the medicine. The next step would be the
diagnosis of the illness, which is done either by self-research or
under the supervision of a guide, i.e. an ’âlim (a deeply learned
Islamic scholar). A Believer is another Believer’s mirror. Selfdiagnosis
of one’s faults is a difficult task. A recommendable
way of knowing your own faults, therefore, would be to consult
with a dependable friend. A faithful friend is one who will protect
you against dangers and fearful situations. Such a friend is hard
to come by. It is to this effect that Imâm Shâfi’î ‘rahmatullâhi
’aleyh’ stated:
A staunch friend and true medicine,
Are hard to find, waste not your time.
And Hadrat ’Umar ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anh’ stated:
My friend’s warned me about my fault,
This is the true essence of brotherhood.
Since your adversaries will always be seeking ways for
criticizing you, they will fling your shortcomings to your teeth
once they find them. Such inimical comments therefore can be
exploited as efficient references to learn about your faults.
Good friends, by contrast, will mostly be inclined to overlook
your faults. One day, someone begged Hadrat Ibrâhîm Ad-ham,
(a great Islamic scholar and a Walî,) to tell him about his faults

and shortcomings. “I have made a friend of you. So, all your
manners and ways appear nice to me. Ask someone else about
your faults,” was the great scholar’s reply. Another way of
recognizing your shortcomings is to observe others’ faults.
When you observe others’ faults, you should try and see if you
have the same fault(s), and, if you see that you do, you should
try to get rid of them. This way of identifying vices is another
method for curing the vices and is the meaning of the following
hadîth, “A Believer (Mu’min) is a mirror of another
Believer.” In other words, you identify your own faults in others’
faults. When Jesus (Îsâ ‘alaihis-salâm’) was asked who he had
learned his virtues from, he answered: “I did not learn them
from anyone. I looked at others, observed the things I did not
like and I avoided doing the same, copying and imitating the
things I liked.” When the famous doctor Lokman was asked
who he had learned manners from, he replied, “From people
without manners!” Reading about the biographies and episodes
of Islamic luminaries, such as the (blessed people called) Salaf
as-sâlihîn, the Sahâba, and other Awliyâ ‘rahmatullâhi ’alaihim
ajma’în’, is another way of forming good habits.[1]
A person who has a vice should search for the reason
(cause) of his contracting that vice. He should try to eliminating
this cause and then try to get rid of it by doing its opposite. He
should try very hard to do the opposite of the vice for getting rid
of it. For, getting rid of a vice is very difficult. The nafs loves evil
and ugly things.
Another useful medicine for getting rid of vices is to establish
a method of retribution. For example, when one commits a vice,
immediately afterwards, one should do some action one’s nafs
does not like. A good way of accomplishing this is to take an
oath. Namely, one should take an oath to the effect that if one
commits a vice, one will do extra goodness such as giving alms,
fasting or performing salâts. Since one’s nafs never likes to do
extra prayers, one will stop committing vices. Another useful
medicine is reading or hearing from others about those vices
which produce harmful results. Many hadîths inform us about
the harms of vices. Some of them are:
[1] For terms such as Walî, Awliyâ (pl. of Walî), the Sahâba, Salaf assâlihîn,
see our other publications, e.g. Sahâba ‘The Blessed’,
available from Hakîkat Kitâbevi, Fâtih, Istanbul, Turkey.

1– “In the sight of Allâhu ta’âlâ, there is no sin graver
than vices.” For, those who commit vices are not aware that
they are committing sins. Therefore, they do not repent for their
sins so that their sins accumulate and increase many folds.
2– “The one sin which human beings commit without
any hesitation or reservation is being a person with vices.”
3– “There is a repentance for every sort of sin but there
is none for vices. Instead of repenting for a certain vice,
the offender commits something worse.”
4– “As hot water melts an ice cube, likewise virtues melt
mistakes and errors. As vinegar destroys honey, likewise
vices destroy rewards (thawâbs) for good deeds.”
Justice (’adalat), chastity (iffat), bravery (shajâ’at) and
wisdom (hikmat), when they are not used with evil intentions
are the sources of all virtues. One should associate with pious
(sâlih) and good-natured people in order to be a good-natured
person or to protect one’s virtues. A person’s akhlâq will be like
his companion’s habits. Akhlâq is contagious like a disease.
One should not make friends with ill-humoured people. It is
stated as follows in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “A person’s faith will be
like his companion’s.” One should shun from useless
occupations and games, harmful jokes, and quarrels. One
should learn knowledge and do useful deeds. One should not
read books that undermine one’s morals or which promotes sex
and should not watch television programs or listen to radio
programs destructive of moral values or which arouse sexual
desires. One should constantly remind oneself of the benefits of
virtues and harmful effects of Islam’s prohibitions and the
punishment they will incur in Hell. None of the pursuers of
wealth and position has attained his wish. However, those who
have wanted rank and worldly possessions to do good deeds
with them have lived comfortably and happily. Worldly ranks
and possessions should not be one’s goals but instead they
should be vehicles to do goodness to others. Worldly ranks and
possessions are like an ocean and many people are drowned in
that ocean. Fear of Allâhu ta’âlâ is the ship which one needs to
survive in that ocean. Our Prophet ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sallam’
once said, “One should live in the world not like a
permanent resident but like a traveler, and should never
forget that he will die!” Human beings will not live in this world

forever. When one is absorbed in worldly pleasures, one’s
troubles, worries and distress will increase. The following
hadîths should never be forgotten:
1– “A slave of Allâhu ta’âlâ who has not performed
many acts of worship will have high grades in the Hereafter
if he has good morals.”
2– “The easiest and the most useful worship is to talk
little and to be a good-natured person.”
3– “A slave of Allâhu ta’âlâ may have many worships
but, his evil humour will deliver him into the depths of hell.
It will sometimes lead him into disbelief.”
4– It is reported that once the Sahâba ‘radiy-Allâhu ’anhum’
told of a very devout worshipper to the Messenger of Allah ‘sall-
Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’. That person was spending his days
fasting and his nights praying, yet he was bad tempered.
Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ answered, “It is not a
good state. His destination will be Hell fire.”
5– “I was sent to complement the virtues and to help
people so that they may assimilate these virtues.” The
virtues also existed in the previously sent monotheistic
religions. Islam was sent to complement those virtues. Since
this religion exists with all the good commandments and habits,
there is no need for another source to inform us regarding the
virtues. Therefore, no other prophet will come after the Prophet
Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’.
6– “A good-natured person will attain both worldly and
next worldly happiness.” A person with virtues performs his
obligations toward Allâhu ta’âlâ and His creatures.
7– “Hell fire will not burn a person who has a good
nature and a beautiful physical appearance.”
8– “To be good-natured means to keep close to (and to
be in good terms with) those who keep away from you, to
forgive those who have hurt you, and to be generous to
those who have been miserly toward you.” A good-natured
person will do goodness to those who keep cross with him or
he will forgive those who harm his honor or hurt him physically
or materially.
9– “Allâhu ta’âlâ will fill the heart of a person with belief
and trustworthiness if he treats others with soft manners

angry as he may be.” He will have no fears or anxieties. The
best of all virtues is to do goodness to people who treat you
improperly. This behavior is a sign of maturity and it converts
your enemies into friends. Imâm Ghazâlî ‘rahmatullâhi ’aleyh’
says that he has read the following statements in the Injîl
(Bible), which was revealed to Îsâ (Jesus) ‘alaihis-salâm’: “But I
say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite
thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” “And if any
man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him
have thy cloak also.” (Matt: 5-39,40)[1] Books inform us about
the cruelties, oppression and torture of Muslims and Jews by
Christians in Spain during the Spanish inquisitions, in India, in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Jerusalem as well as against each
other by the Inquisition courts. Their uncivilized behavior proves
that they are not following the true teachings of the Injîl.
Every Muslim should get rid of vices residing in his heart and
replace them with virtues. One cannot be a good-natured
person by replacing a few vices with a few good ones. A Sufi
order is the path which makes one attain maturity, i.e.,
perfection in all virtues. [A path that cannot provide this maturity
cannot be called a Sufi path. As it often happens, there are
sham practitioners in every field of endeavor. Likewise, there
are some in the field of knowledge and Sufi Path (tarîqat) who
represent themselves as shaikhs (spiritual guides). In reality,
they know nothing about the real Islam and beautiful moral
teachings of Islam. We should avoid these types and their
Sixty vices are well known. We translated and included forty
of them in forty sub-chapters. A person who avoids these vices
and does their opposites will be a virtuous or good-natured




Alî bin Emrullah Muhammed Hâdimî

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