Episodes: 168

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About Akhlaq

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Akhlaq is most commonly translated in dictionaries as: disposition, nature, temper, ethics, morals or manners. Akhlaq is the plural of the word khulq which means disposition. “Disposition” is a faculty (malakah) of the soul (nafs) which unconsciously inspires activities. Malakah comes into existence through repetitive practice and is not easily destroyed. A particular malakah may appear because of one of the following reasons:

  1. Fitra (natural state): The original state in which humans are created by Allah. Muslims believe Allah determined certain aspects of their lives for which they are not accountable (e.g., their place of birth and physical appearance)
  2. ‘āda (Habit): Formed by continual repetition of certain acts and creates a certain disposition.
  3. Practice and conscious effort: Which if persistent will eventually produce a disposition.

Although fitra produces certain dispositions, man can surpass nature through free will and effort. While dispositions caused by mental faculties (i.e., intelligence, memory, mental agility etc.) are not alterable, all others can change. When we speak of man’s capacity to change his dispositions, we do not mean he should destroy instincts of reproduction or self-preservation. Instead, he should avoid extremes so they perform their functions properly. Abu Hurairah narrated that Prophet Muhammad has said: “Indeed I have been sent to complete the best of character (akhlaq).” Anas, the brother of Abu Dharr is narrated as saying: “I saw him (the Prophet), he would enjoin the people to good character and conduct.” The Prophet also said, “The most complete of believers in iman (faith) are those who are best in character.”

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