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Imam Khomeini Highlighted Importance of Ethics and Moral Values

According to Imam Khomeini, purpose the mission of the holy prophet of Islam was the perfection of morality. In the noble traditions, both that are brief and those which are elaborate, moral excellences have been given more importance than anything else after doctrinal teachings.

And their importance is greater than what we are capable of explaining adequately, but that which we know for certain is that the asset of the everlasting life of the hereafter and the capital asset of the life of that abode is the acquisition of noble dispositions and the possession of moral excellences, the great Imam noted.

The leader of the Islamic Republic believes that the paradise which is given to man for the sake of moral excellence is the paradise of Attributes, incomparable to the physical paradise of Act.

Ethics, with this peculiar status, has always had Imam Khomeini’s attention. From the very beginning when he was a regular teacher up to the time when he was in the midst of the political arena, led the people’s uprising, and established the Islamic Republic, he always paid particular attention to morality, and viewed almost all socio-political issues from the moral perspective.

His recommendations and political messages to the officials and the people speak for this, and these [recommendations] can be treated, apart from the occasion of their issuance, as profound moral lessons from which we can learn.

However, from his point of view morality cannot be restricted to some recommendations and decrees. Rather, it is anchored in profound philosophical, theosophical and anthropological principles and precepts.

His view on morality is a philosophical one. It is in this sense that he keenly scrutinizes moral vices and virtues, discusses them wisely, and enumerates the benefits and harms of this and that item. In fact, he has a remarkably profound belief in religious morality and uncovers vices and virtues from the heart of the Islamic narrations from the Infallibles; nevertheless, he does not content himself with the tradition of quoting, but perfectly utilizes intellect in analyzing these narrations and in elucidating moral concepts.

This mode of striking a balance between the intellect [(aql) and narration (naql), which has been acceptable to the great Islamic scholars, is very manifest and conspicuous in the moral discourses of the Imam. Anyone who assiduously scrutinizes the ethical and Gnostic works of the Imam can deduce his system of ethics.

The truth of the matter is that he has based his code of ethics and mystical-moral understandings on theoretical principles, which he does not specify so much. In the same manner that he juxtaposes the fragments of a riddle with one another, so also the researcher must carefully find these principles and place them together. In doing so, he could present the Imam’s code of ethics, which is rooted in a long-standing tradition and founded on the great Gnostic and ethical heritage of the Muslim mystics and teachers of ethics.

In the heart of the great Imam’s way of thinking, ethics has a [special] place, and in fact, all areas of knowledge revolve around this pivot. If man wants to go beyond logic and the law of instincts, then he needs ethics in its broad sense. Ethics in this context cannot be confined to merely a number of ethical rules; instead, it is in fact a knowledge which searches for the deepest recesses of man’s existence, and which cures him.

This ethics is, indeed, a sort of theoretical and practical anthropology. It is awareness of fixed principles and their application. It is owing to this that this knowledge can be considered as the noblest one and the reason of the prophets’ mission.

The Messenger of God’s sayings were a manifestation of such kind of ethics which he made known as the purpose of his mission. In this sense, man can be needless of many types of knowledge; yet, he cannot consider himself needless of ethics since this knowledge is the capital asset of felicities in both worlds:

Thus, by pondering on the ethical writings of the Imam, particularly the Sharh-e Chehel Hadith (Exposition of Forty Hadiths), which is replete with philosophical, ethical and psychological intricacies and subtleties, he has attempted to infer and expound on the principles that he considers as being the underpinning of the Imam’s system of ethics.

990 View | 24-04-2013 | 14:27


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