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Neglect (Ghaflah)

Ghaflah means indifference and lack of attention; its opposite is attention and resoluteness. If what is neglected is our ultimate felicity and well-being, it is a vice. However, neglect and indifference to baseness and wickedness is a virtue. That is, care and attention given to evil and base things is a vice, while care and attention given to things having to do with our well-being and felicity is a virtue. Both negligence and resoluteness, or care, are derived either from the Power of Passion or the Power of Anger. For example, if one is intent on getting married, the motivation for such a resolution is rooted in the Power of Passion, and is a virtue. If one resolves on defending oneself against some enemy, that resolution is rooted in the Power of Anger and is also a virtue.

This was a general description of negligence and care or resoluteness. However, as a term used in Quranic verses and traditions, negligence usually refers to indifference to the real aims of human existence and the agents of man's well-being and happiness in this world and the next; and its opposite, resoluteness, is also interpreted as clarity of will and purpose in the same sense. In this sense, therefore, negligence is always bad and resoluteness is always good. The Quran makes the following remark about the neglectful:

We have prepared for hell many jinn and men; they have hearts wherewith they understand not, they have eyes wherewith they see not they have ears wherewith they hear not. They are like cattle; nay, rather they are further astray. Those-they are the neglectful. (7:179)

Adapted from: "Jami' al-Sa'adat" by: "Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi"

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