Morality is a journey from where we are at present to either the best and highest or lowest possible level for humanity. This is a journey in which our companions can be prophets (a), righteous people, and truthful people. God says:
َمَن يُطِعِ اهلل وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَئكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اهلل عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ
النَّبِيِّنَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشّهَداءِ و الصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُوْلَئكَ رَفِيقًا
Whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle they are with those whom Allah has blessed, including the prophets and the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous, and excellent companions are they!
So if we want to be on the right path and travel fast towards God, we should take these people as our companions. On the other hand, God forbid that instead we go downwards and take bad people as our friends, such as those with whom God is angry or those who are misguided.
Thus, the whole of life is a matter of struggling to become better or failing to undertake this struggle to become better. Certainly, we should equip ourselves with correct beliefs and proper practices along with morality, but these are not separate from moral enterprise and struggle. Indeed, if someone has no commitment to the truth or is not thoughtful or thankful, then how can they become a believer? Why do we believe? Is it not because we have concern for the truth? Is it not because we want to be humble before the truth? Is it not because we want to find out who has given us all these blessings so that we can be thankful to them? Is it not because we do not want to live a life of negligence and heedlessness? These are all moral qualities.
Why did Abū Dhar or Salmān embrace Islam while others did not accept Islam? There must be a reason for this and it is a moral reason. There must have been certain good qualities in Abū Dhar, Salmān, ‘Ammār, Miqdād and others who believed, which led to their embrace of Islam. They were idol-worshippers or disbelievers in One God and yet they later changed. However, there were also other people who remained idol-worshippers and wanted to fight against the Prophet (s). What was the difference between them? The difference is something very fundamental. There may be two idol-worshippers but one of them may worship idols out of ignorance because they do not know the truth and have not been introduced to it. However, as soon as they come to know about the truth, and as soon as truth becomes available in their search for the truth, they believe in it wholeheartedly. On the other hand, there are also people who insist on doing wrong.
Therefore, after careful thought and consideration, faith also appears to be something very much related to our moral
character. This is why we find that in many verses in the Qur’an, God blames those who have decided not to become faithful. They could not be blamed if it was not a matter of their own choice, but from the Qur’an we realise that faith and disbelief are voluntary actions which require certain moral qualities. Therefore, we have to realise that morality is an issue which should be the focal point in our struggle to become a better person and to be as close to God as possible.
7 The Arabic text is as follows: