Remedy For The Vices

A medicine that would be a common cure for all the vices is the recognition of the illness and things that are harmful to it, its cause, its opposite case, as well as effects of the medicine. The next step would be the diagnosis of the illness, which is done either by self-research or under the supervision of a guide, i.e. an 'âlim (a deeply learned Islamic scholar). A Believer is another Believer's mirror. Self-diagnosis of one's faults is a difficult task. A recommendable way of knowing your own faults, therefore, would be to consult with a dependable friend. A faithful friend is one who will protect you against dangers and fearful situations. Such a friend is hard to come by. It is to this effect that Imâm Shâfi'î 'rahmatullâhi 'aleyh' stated:

A staunch friend and true medicine,
Are hard to find, waste not your time.
And Hadrat 'Umar 'radiy-Allâhu 'anh' stated:
My friend's warned me about my fault,
This is the true essence of brotherhood.

Since your adversaries will always be seeking ways for criticizing you, they will fling your shortcomings to your teeth once they find them. Such inimical comments therefore can be exploited as efficient references to learn about your faults. Good friends, by contrast, will mostly be inclined to overlook your faults. One day, someone begged Hadrat Ibrâhîm Ad-ham, (a great Islamic scholar and a Walî,) to tell him about his faults and shortcomings. "I have made a friend of you. So, all your manners and ways appear nice to me. Ask someone else about your faults," was the great scholar's reply. Another way of recognizing your shortcomings is to observe others' faults. When you observe others' faults, you should try and see if you have the same fault(s), and, if you see that you do, you should try to get rid of them. This way of identifying vices is another method for curing the vices and is the meaning of the following hadîth, "A Believer (Mu'min) is a mirror of another Believer." In other words, you identify your own faults in others' faults. When Jesus (Îsâ 'alaihis-salâm') was asked who he had learned his virtues from, he answered: "I did not learn them from anyone. I looked at others, observed the things I did not like and I avoided doing the same, copying and imitating the things I liked." When the famous doctor Lokman was asked who he had learned manners from, he replied, "From people without manners!" Reading about the biographies and episodes of Islamic luminaries, such as the (blessed people called) Salaf as-sâlihîn, the Sahâba, and other Awliyâ 'rahmatullâhi 'alaihim ajma'în', is another way of forming good habits.

A person who has a vice should search for the reason (cause) of his contracting that vice. He should try to eliminate this cause and then try to get rid of it by doing its opposite. He should try very hard to do the opposite of the vice for getting rid of it. For, getting rid of a vice is very difficult. The nafs loves evil and ugly things.