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Self Denial and Piety of Imam Ali (as)

Question comes up for discussion about those, who deny themselves and go on without everything though some of them are able to be in easy circumstances and take pleasure in easy life, but they fall into habit with containment and keep aloof from a luxury life.

From immemorial time secession from worldly pleasure had been regarded as a means of purification of spirit and improvement of inner serenity.

Those, who wanted to keep aloof from the worldly attachments, used to go out of cities and stay in the forests or take refuge in the caves of mountains to worship God according to their own principles.

They would pass their life with bare subsistence, if the inhabitants of the nearby villages gave them something to eat or they could find some fruits of wild trees of forests.

At first some people were under necessity of leaving their houses because of the oppression of the rulers but later on whoever determined on saving himself from worldly ties adopted this way of worshiping God and usually took the consequences. But their actions were not governed by a divine law; therefore passions and desires might have overcome them and would break all moral fetters.

Of course Islam does not permit the Muslims to adopt this way of worship nor it does approve leaving their houses to seclude and pray in such fashion, but it has incidentally recommended them to put to use all possibilities of time and place in moderation. A Muslim should be responsible for his wife and children. He should earn his livelihood through lawful means. He should not trespass against the others' rights and should follow virtues and piety, and behave in opposition to carnal desires. These characteristics are the principles of worship in Islam. Such worship brings up in the individuals courage, devotion and generosity.

It is evident that a person is deeply impressed with customs and conditions of his environment and his hereditary particulars. Of course the scientific and religious learning and the spiritual and physical specifications are of great importance too.

Persons do not bear any resemblance in attitude of mind, the reflective faculty and nature and consequently their reactions are not the same towards hardships and difficulties.

Great men are not only praised on account of highness of position or by their extraordinary power, but under the title of greatness they have to hold some attainments and show manly behaviors that are the essential conditions of greatness.

Undoubtedly courage and moral heroism are the best qualities, not only that kind of courage, which someone runs to risk carelessly, but what is acceptable is the bravery of some great leaders, who stand against the heart's desires of the close friends and are patient of unbearable oppositions of the kinsmen or the internal enemies.

In some particular cases, it happens that a man of lacking necessary morals shows an unexpected courage, but to our understanding it can not be called real courage because this kind of courage is neither true nor dependable. Certainly courage is an admirable quality in itself but it is not separated from the other attributes.

It is linked with the other high qualities like honesty, chastity, truthfulness, abiding by one's word, steadfastness and generosity. It is an undeniable fact that people usually prefer morality to vastness of knowledge because so many big cities were destroyed by the command of educated generals (educated in the European universities) especially during the Second World War.

When we inquire into the biographies of some great men and leaders we come across much sincerity, self-sacrifice and purity that will be pleasing to us. It can safely be said that the continuance and duration of the world is indebted to the devotion of Socrates, the philosopher of ancient Greece, who drank water of hemlock to show his astray fellow-citizens the unreliability of the material things and to prove the eternity of the soul for ever.

Jesus Christ used to have a piece of dried bread and to rest on the floor to keep himself pure from implications of the world and also to show the Jews the instability of luxuries.

Many people, trying to achieve their goals, are concerned with materiality and unessential things. They usually plan to earn money as much as possible. They often are intolerant of justice and they try to rob people of their rights, in spite of the fact that the material things are destructible and unreliable.

Now all crimes and murders, which occur frequently allover the world are arisen from Mammonism and unlawful abuses.

It is much unpleasant when we study the pitiful situation of many injured nations, who were ruled by some unjust rulers, so that their natural resources and the products of their labors were looted by foreign exploiters and in addition to it that their national feelings were also trampled upon.

Unfortunately those customs linger in many places of the world.

Adopted from the book : "Imam Ali (a.s.); Sunshine of Civilized Islam" by : "Muhammad Huseyn Tahmasebi"

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