Rafed English

A Big Fault

One of the big moral faults is to constantly complain concerning the conditions of life and to discuss the problems and hardships of one's life with people. In this way one detracts from one's personal worth, belittling oneself and compromising one's dignity.

Mufaddal ibn Qays, one of the disciples of Imam Sadiq, may peace be upon him, was once in trouble due to financial problems and his failure to pay back his debts. One day, he went to see the Imam and began complaining about the conditions of his own life. He described his problem in these words: "I am in debt, and I do not know how to repay it. I have no income to meet my daily expenses. I am perplexed, reeling under the pressure of financial problems. To whatever door I turn, I find it closed upon me." Then he requested the Imam to pray for him so that God Almighty may solve his difficulty.

Imam Sadiq, may peace be upon him, called his servant and said to him, "Bring that bag of gold that was sent by Mansur." The bag was immediately brought. Then the Imam said to Mufaddal, "There are four hundred golden dinars in this bag. Use them to meet your expenses." Mufaddal said, "I did not mention my problems for this. I only wanted you to pray for me." The Imam replied, "Very well, I will also pray for you. But remember, do not discuss your personal problems and difficulties with people, for the very first effect it will have is to make it appear as if you have faced a defeat in life and have been knocked down. Obviously that will belittle you in people's eyes and harm your personal worth and dignity." 28

Imam 'Ali, may peace be upon him, said:

To disclose ones personal problems and difficulties for others is actually to expose oneself willingly to indignity. 29

Gillett Berghes (?) writes:

Why do many people deliberately expose their failures and inadequacies and discusses them, while it is better to keep silent about them? They do so for several reasons, perhaps all of which are wrong and off the mark. Some people imagine that they would receive other people's applause and admiration and start complaining as a prelude. For some others, it is the result of their self-pity which has taken the form of a chronic illness with them. To say, 'I am at a loss! I don't know how to make ends meet until the end of the month,' indicates an inferiority complex. Apart from the fact that refraining from discussing one's inadequacies and troubles has certain benefits, the very act of self-restraint is effective in improving your moral character. In the same way that a closed boiling vessel produces high pressure steam, self-restraint also strengthens one and raises the degree of one's self-respect. A man who takes his defeat with a smile, a boy who suffers from a physical difficulty but who does not complain about it or fret over it-these face hardship with a stronger spirit and morale than those who have no control over their tongues and complain continually. Fortitude and self-reliance also enhances their personal worth, wisdom, and influence. 30

28. Al-Majlisi, Bihar al-anwar, vol. 11, p. 114.

29. Al-Amidi, Ghurar al-hikam, p. 422.

30. From Kelidha-ye khushbakhti, trans. from English by Ahmad Aram (Tehran- Shirkat-e Sahami-ye Intishar, 1347 H Sh.), pp. 101-102.

Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"

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