Chastity and Abstinence

Chastity and abstinence are amongst the highest human values. They provide the power to control man's natural instincts and to use them in the path towards perfection. The closer man goes to the treasures of chastity and abstinence, the closer he becomes to his own humanity and the farther he distances himself from animalistic behavior. If it were not for chastity and abstinence, man would know no boundaries while seeking to please his carnal desires and as a result, he would sink in the cesspool of corruption and sensuality.

Since pious men are the embodiment of virtue and perfection, the most complete role model for mankind, the Noble Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him and his family), was adorned with chastity and abstinence of the highest nature. Not once did he become contaminated with sins that contradict infallibility or chastity.

Rather, he was the manifestation of chastity and abstinence and this state was so strong in him that he even refrained from permissible actions containing even the slight possibility of a lack of chastity. Imam as-Sadiq (peace be upon him), in a narration concerning the Prophet's behavior, has said, "When the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would sit with somebody, he would not take of his clothes (outer garments) until the man would rise (and leave).1"

Similarly, Abu Sa'id Khidri has narrated that: "The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) was more chaste than virgin women behind curtains and if he did not like something, we would understand so from his facial expression (he would not tell us anything).2"

  • 1. Tafsir al-‘Ayashi, vol. 1, p. 203.
  • 2. Makarim al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, p. 17.