Introduction To The Fourth Printing In Farsi

Stability Of Nations And The Importance Of Etiquette

This book, The Islamic Moral System which was written close to thirty years ago, contains a discussion on the Islamic principles and values as mentioned in the blessed Surah of the Qur’an, al-Hujarat. These topics were explained in a way that could be easily understood by all readers and it was our intention and prayer to Allah (Glorified and Exalted is He) that the youth would take notice of this book, and through the manifestation of the Islamic etiquette (mentioned in this book), they would be able to reach to great (spiritual) levels during the course of their lives.

Since we desired that this close relationship with the dear readers of this book (especially the youth) should be re-established (through this work), we have edited and re-published this work once again.

We remind the readers of one point in relation to the importance of developing the noble ethical traits, just as an ‘Arab poet has stated:

فَإِنَّمٌا الأُمَمُ، الأَخْلاٌقُ مٌا بَقِيَتْ فَإِنْ هُمْ ذَهَبَتْ أَخْلاٌقُهُمْ ذَهَبُوا

So then surely they are (the true) nations,
Whose etiquette has remained behind (for us);
Then if they lost their etiquette (when they existed),
Then they too have ceased to exist (now).

Who are those nations that had made a pledge to uphold these valuable ethical traits such that these priceless qualities would rule supreme over them and through this, have remained in existence? If one day we see that a nation is destroyed and becomes extinct, then the only reason for this can be that they did not pay attention to the noble ethical traits, and thus they were pulled into confusion and destruction.

During the ‘Abbasid Empire, all of the branches of knowledge (with the exception of Akhlaq – Morals and Ethics) of the Greeks were translated into the ‘Arabic language and were widely and openly accepted (by others) and even the Muslims struggled (to understand these texts).

However in the opinion of the Muslim thinkers, the ethical and moral teachings of the Greeks did not even carry the slightest importance since the moral commandments that Islam possessed were much more superb, such that no other ethical teachings could compare to them. Therefore after the book Taharatul A’raq of Ibn Maskuyah, most of the books of Akhlaq written were concerning the Islamic etiquette.

It is our hope that this book will be the guiding light to the (straight) path for the Muslim youth.

Qum, Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him) Institute
27th of the Blessed Month of Ramadhan, 1418 AH
Ja’far Subhani

Introduction To The English Translation

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Allahumma salli ‘ala Muhammadin wa Ali Muhammad

Surah al-Hujarat, the forty-ninth chapter of the Qur’an, lays out many of the social-ethical concepts in Islam. It covers various themes from submission and obedience to Almighty Allah and His Messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), to the status and honour of the Prophet in eyes of Allah; its talks about the brotherhood of the Muslims and the ethical duties that they have towards one another; it emphasizes on the concern that Muslims should have for solving internal disputes, and for supporting justice against injustice; it presents the equality among the believers irrespective of their ethnic and racial differences; it highlights the importance of spiritual conviction (Iman) over the physical submission (Islam).

Al-Hujarat was my favourite Surah since my student days in Qum in the seventies. When I was invited by the Imamia Students Organisation (of Pakistan) in Ramadhan of 1979, I started a tafsir program in their four local chapters in Karachi and used Surah al-Hujarat as the theme. All praise is due to Allah that the program became a success even, and that tradition of tafsir in Ramadhan nights has continued ever since in Karachi.

When I came to Vancouver (Canada) in sUmmr of 1983, I initiated the tafsir program in Ramadhan where I again started with Surah al-Hujarat. That Surah was also used by me as the pilot project for the plan of An Explanatory Translation of the Qur’an which has been published in three volumes covering half of the holy Qur’an (and the remaining three volumes will be published soon, Insha-Allah).

The Persian commentary of Surah al-Hujarat by Ayatullah Shaykh Ja’far Subhani was one of the sources that I referred to when doing the tafsir of that Surah. Ayatullah Subhani is one of the leading scholars of Qum, and his multi-volume commentary of the Qur’an (under the title of “Mafahimu ’l-Qur’an”) may be considered as a pioneering attempt in the thematic approach of Qur’anic commentary.

And so it was indeed a delight to know that Shaykh Saleem Bhimji has translated the commentary of Surah al-Hujarat of Ayatullah Subhani and has thus helped the English speaking students of the Qur’an to study the moral/ethical concepts of Islam from its original source.

May Almighty Allah bless Shaykh Saleem Bhimji for his endeavours in translating this book and increase his tawfiqat.

18 August 2003 / 20 Jumadi ath-Thani 1424
Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi