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House of Virtue

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

Oxford Dictionary defines virtue as behaviour showing high moral standards and virtuous as having and showing moral standards. This behaviour should be apparent in consistent manners.

Some define virtue by the term excellence. The virtue of a water bottle is the excellence of being a water bottle —it lies in the ability of the bottle to hold the water and maintain its quality without sacrificing the ergonomic aspect.

The virtue of a human is the excellence of being a human. We will focus to talk about human virtue but without all the classic philosophical debate — straight from the perspective of the Islamic teaching which is the foundation of my belief system.

“Enjoin that which is virtuous and forbid that which is vicious” [Quran 3:110].

A hadist give a contrast between virtue and vice.

Virtue is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and vice is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters again and again.

Hey. Read that again, then one thing comes.

Virtue is about consulting the heart.

But, before anything else, what is heart?

We actually need another essay to explain the heart. But in short, the heart is something burning (fuād), easily changing (qulb), and a place where we keep our secrets and motives (sadr).

So have they not traveled through the earth and have hearts by which to reason and ears by which to hear? For indeed, it is not eyes that are blinded, but blinded are the hearts which are within the breasts.

Quran 22: 46

So, to be virtuous is

to ask our heart every time before we take an action or determine a decision.

So, in the end, regarding virtue…

Is this act or thought of my choosing give me comfort, at least, in the end? Am I living my life only by pure knowledge and logic, driven by my desire, or dictated by the ever-changing environment around me?


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