Staying On The Right Path In This Worldly Life

In this section vices will be dealt with. As we have explained in the previous sections, the essence of good nature consists of four main virtues. Similarly, the essence of bad nature consists of four main vices.

1– Scandal (razalat) is the opposite of wisdom.

2– Cowardice (jubn) is the opposite of courage (shaja'at).

3– Debauchery (fujur) is to follow the desires of the nafs [1] and to commit sins. It is the opposite of chastity (iffat).

4– Tyranny (jawr, zulm) is the opposite of justice.

There are innumerable vices corresponding conversely to every virtue. For, goodness occupies the medial position. To be on the right or left of the middle means to have digressed from goodness. Farther away from the middle way farther away from goodness. There is only one correct path but there are many aberrant paths. We could even state that there are infinite deviated paths. Never departing from the right path after finding it and staying on that path permanently is very difficult.

The hundred and twelfth ayat [2] of Sura Hud [3] purports: "Therefore stand firm (in the Straight Path) as you art commanded,– ..." (11-112) When this ayat-i karima was revealed, Rasulullah 'sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sal-lam' stated: "Sura Hud has caused my beard to turn hoary." To stand firm in the straight path as commanded in the ayat-i karima, Prophets 'alaihim-us-salawatu- wa-t-taslimat', Awliya [4], and Siddiqs [5] 'rahimahumullahu ta'ala' spent their lives in great anxiety. It is this dread which made the beard of the Best of Entire Creation (Afdal-i-kainat) 'sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sal-lam' hoary. It was for this reason, again, that it was stated: "The Bridge of Sirat [6] is thinner than a hair and sharper than a sword." An ayat-i karima in Sura Fatiha purports: "Invoke Allahu ta'ala to guide you to the straight path!" What is primarily incumbent on a Believer (Mu'min) in this world is to hold fast to the right path. Passing the Bridge of Sirat on the Day of Rising requires having abided by the right path in this worldly life.

[1] nafs: a force in man which wants him to harm himself religiously; an-nafs al-ammara. A negative force within man prompting him to do evil. (Nafs-i ammara). Nafs is ammara by creation, that is, it always wishes evil and harmful deeds to be done. It is reluctant to obey the Shari'at. The nafs of a man who obeys the Shari'at and makes progress in the way of tasawwuf becomes mutmainna. It wishes to obey the Shari'at.
[2] ayat: A verse of al-Qur'an al-karim; al-ayat al-karima.
[3] suura(t): a Qur'anic chapter [a chapter of the Qur'an].
[4] awliya: (pl. of Wali) a person loved by Allahu ta'ala.
[5] siddiq: one faithfully loyal to the Prophet; a Wali of highest status.
[6] sirat: the bridge in the hereafter.