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Ali's Advice to His Son

Submitted by Marjana on Sat, 31/08/2013 - 10:53
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The following is an excerpt from the text Mukhtaaraatul Adab (مختارات الأدب) which was taught to last year's Dream students by Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda.

Ali advised his son, Hassan:
My dear son, I advise you to firmly hold on to taqwa* (God-consciousness) and to speak the truth whether you are pleased or angry.
My dear son, whoever dug a well for his brother* fell into it.
Whoever is impressed with his own opinion,* he has lost his way.
Whoever feels independent because of his intelligence, he has slipped.
Whoever mingles with people of bad behavior, he has been disgraced; and whoever sits with the people who embody their knowledge (scholars) has been dignified.
Contentment is a wealth that does not diminish, good manners* are the best of inheritance, and excellent character* is the best of close companions.

Commentary by Shaykh Abdul Nasir:

Taqwa—Taqwa is the foundation for everything and should be the thing that guides everything we do. We should strive to act with God-consciousness not only in religious matters and ritual issues, but apply it to every aspect of life.

Ill-will and plotting against your brother—Nothing good comes from harboring ill-will towards someone else inside of us. If our feelings drive us to the point where we devise plots against our brothers and sisters, understand that we are playing with fire and the only one who will definitely get hurt is the person who is behind the scheme, whether it's in this life or the next.

Being impressed with ourselves—In order for us to get over ourselves and the conceit we may feel for ourselves, it is crucial for us to be our own harshest critics and to sincerely be grateful for all of the blessings that Allāh has given us. When we understand that Allāh has enabled us to do everything and has given us everything, we are more likely to keep it real with ourselves and give the credit to Whom it is rightly due.

Good manners—Having good manners is something that each of us should constantly work on developing and improving within ourselves. The Prophet is the best example of this and someone we can all strive to learn from. Good manners is something we should strive to teach others, but the best way to teach good manners is to show and share good manners with others.

Excellent character—We should never reserve our best face and set of actions solely for dealing with others outside of the home. A close companion is someone who never leaves us, and this is how we should think of our character as well.