In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Grandeur Accompanied By disgrace!
Keeping balance between internal emotions and external behavior enables the individual to preserve one’s positive traits during the ups and downs of life. This refers to the ability to neither become egocentric or on the other hand loose one’s self esteem and self dignity.
Keeping such balance is a capability of a virtuous person. But how can one achieve that balance? Referring to the prayers narrated from the Ahl al-Bait (PBUT) is one of the ways which we can learn about the method to the moral principles including internal balances.
One of the most magnificent sets of prayers available to the Muslims is the Sahifa Sajjadiah that is comprised of 54 prayers from Imam Sajjad (PBUH). Imam Sajjad (PBUH) in the prayer known as “Makarim al-Akhlagh” introduces internal disgrace or, in other words, humbleness as the remedy for egocentrism. Humbleness or obsceneness is mentioned in the prayer:
“O Allah, send salutations upon Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bait and don’t add to my rank among the people unless you equally make me feel unimportant for myself.”
We can conclude from this verse that worldly rank or in other words external glamour can cause egocentrism and make one forget the modesty one once enjoyed while being an ordinary person among people and make one look down upon people.
The following is the story of a faithful officer that had come up with some questions after reading that verse. He went to visit one of the scholars and asked:
“After the morning Salat I was reading the Makarim al-Akhlagh prayer that this verse caught my attention. It mentions “rank” that in our profession is the criterion for showing one's status; the military officers reach to higher positions by achieving the “ranks.” I wondered that if military ranks are somehow relevant to the meaning of the verse?”
The scholar replied that: “rank in this part of the prayer is the worldly glamour and the respect an elite enjoys among people. But one can depict the concept implied in this verse by Imam Sajjad (PBUH) in your profession like the following:
If you are a brigadier general, when the ordinary people come to your office, you should stand with them humbly and shake hands with them; then sit with them. If you received promotion and became a colonel, you must become more humble and become more respectful toward them. When they refer to you, you should come from your desk and shake hands, and then sit after when they sat.
If you received more promotion and became a major general, your humbleness must become even more. Stand up from your seat, come to the middle of the office and shake hands with him. When he sat, you sit too beside him and don’t return to your desk.
In brief the more your worldly rank gets high you must become more and more humble in your own mind. In this case the worldly success will not hinder your path toward virtue and your human duty and greatness.”
Therefore glamour and worldly popularity in life is one of God’s blessings. The one who enjoys this blessing must be grateful and act in accordance to one’s religious and sensible duty, and remember that, similar to other blessings, worldly rank is temporary too. Therefore one must keep in mind its impermanence and ask God to make one equally humble from within.
The greatest merit of the glamour which is balanced by such humbleness is that it will not lead to pride and ignorance; for that one knows that with a small turn things might change radically.
(The above is a selection taken from “Explanation and Interpretation of Prayer Makarim", by Hujjat al-Islam Muhammad Taqi Falsafi)
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