Imam Khomeini Attached Great Significance to Ethics& Morals

Imam Khomeini Attached Great Significance to Ethics& Morals

Imam Khomeini, the great spiritual and religious leader of the Muslim world attached great significance to the special role of ethics and morals regarding knowledge and practical perspectives of life.

From Imam Khomeini’s viewpoint, ethics has a [special] place, and in fact, all areas of knowledge revolve around this pivot. Imam Khomeini, by citing a hadith (Prophetic tradition) from the Messenger of God. all kinds of knowledge can be placed in three general categories. It is because the human being possesses three existential presences and three types of world: one, external and sensory; another, the allegorical world; the third, the intellectual one.

Social science, juristic precepts and transactions are examples of the first category while rational sciences are instances of the third type. Yet, what is related and complementary to the second type is called ethics. 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 raison d’être 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:
The purpose and result of the mission of the Seal of the Prophets  is 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 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 narrations [ahadith] from the Infallibles (peace be upon them); 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 Shia scholars, is very manifest and conspicuous in the moral discourses of the Imam. Anyone who assiduously scrutinizes the ethical and Gnostic and mystic works of the Imam can deduce his system of ethics.

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