The Virtues of the Prophet
A Young Muslim's Guide to the Greater Jihad, the War Against the Passions
The Islamicists want to reduce Islam to a heartless political ideology; the globalists want to turn it into a ‘licensed’ religion for use in pacifying, and ultimately secularizing, the populations of dar al-Islam. Both groups want to cut Islam down to size, but neither can do this without de-emphasizing and/or falsifying the example of the Prophet Muhammad. His sunnah is both too divine and too human to be anything but a scandal to them.
The word jihad is used so loosely and irresponsibly today that it has nearly lost its original meaning: the defense of the religion of Islam, of al-Din itself, not just of this or that socio-political entity that chooses to identify itself with al-Din, whether or not they are faithful to it. And it is ultimately impossible to get a clear idea of the true nature of the lesser jihad, the defense of Islam against ideological, economic, socio-political, or military attack, unless we understand the greater jihad, the ‘war against the soul’, the struggle against the passions. Outer enemies come and go, but the Inner Enemy is always there—and unless the lesser jihad is carried on so that it serves the greater one, then no matter how great our struggle and sacrifice, we will ultimately beamong the losers.
The Prophet Muhammad was not a god; neither was he a ‘mere’ man. He was, precisely, a man, the norm and exemplar of the human state. His greatness lies in his servanthood; his exaltation as the last prophet of this cycle lies in his willingness to be like a blank piece of paper before the Divine Pen. If we know who he is, we will know who we are called to be—and he who knows himself, knows his Lord.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Greater Jihad—Mercy (Rahman; Rahim)—Spiritual Poverty (Fakr), Detachment (Ihtisab), Humility (Tawadhu)—Courtesy (Adab), Modesty (Haya'), Discretion (Husn al-Tadbir)—Generosity (Sakha'), Hospitality (Nuzul)—Trustworthiness (Amanah), Veracity (Sidq), Sincerity (Ikhlas)—Fear of God (Khawf)—Trust in God (Tawakkul), Patience (Sabr), Contentment (Qana'a)—Courage (Shuja'a) , Manliness (Shahama)—Justice ( 'Adl; Qist)—Dignity (Waqar; Karramah), The Synthesis of the Virtues The Perfection of Virtue: Beyond the Greater Jihad—Tafsir of the Holy Qu'ran—Appendix: The Role of Romance in Character-Development
Charles Upton is a serious thinker from whom I have learned much. His writing merits close attention.
Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions