Makarim al-Akhlaq Supplication
Makārim al-Akhlāq supplication (Arabic: دُعاء مَكارِم الأخلاق) is one of the famous supplications of Imam al-Sajjad (a) and is mentioned as the 20th supplication of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya. Given its educational and spiritual messages, this supplication has been discussed by researchers. Several commentaries have been written for it.
This supplication contains 22 parts, each part begins with sending blessings upon Muhammad (s) and his household (a). In these parts, Imam al-Sajjad (a) mentions his requests for being adorned with good characteristics and for being removed of some vices and introduces some moral virtues and vices.
Cause of Naming
This name has been mentioned by Imam al-Sajjad (a). Moreover, great moral knowledge has been mentioned in this supplication. Therefore, it has been considered a supplication for Makarim al-Akhlaq [Honorable characteristics].
This supplication has been referred to by researcher of supplications since many centuries ago and many scholars have written books as commentaries on al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya in general or for this supplication in particular. This can have two reasons:
- To benefit from the Qur'an and hadiths of the Prophet (s) and Imams (a)
- To benefit from the great messages and spiritual and educational content.
- Repeating salawat at the beginning of every part;
- Requests in this supplication address issues from the course of faith, perfection and certainty to the best of intentions, and actions and reaching the states which are grounds for spiritual journey, and strengthening moral characteristics.
Repetition of Salawat
This supplication begins with sending blessings upon Muhammad (s) and Ahl al-Bayt (a). In this supplication, salawat has been repeated 20 times and in every part, after salawat, a new important request is mentioned. It is said that the reason for this repetition is primarily for partitioning and determining the parts, some of which have been divided by nine, eight, or seven requests. Secondly, receiving energy after a new important request is through a request together with another request and a request upon answering another request.
The grounds of the requests mentioned in this supplication show a kind of worldview based on ideological teachings. Some of them which have roots in religious worldview are:
- It is assumed that this world is purposeful and we are not created in this world in vain: "and let me pass my time in that for which You have created me."
- Asking God to save one from being jealous of other people for not having such and such properties or positions.
- Making worship free from arrogance: "and corrupt not my worship with self-admiration!"
- Suggestion to the self that our life need to be godly and directed toward perfect attributes of God: "Let me live as long as my life is a free gift in obeying You."
This supplication is among supplications repetition of which leads to promotion of the society and creation of value in it. Almost half of the phrases of this supplication are related to social aspect. Supplications address social aspect of life because Islam is the religion for life and since self-purification has to show itself outside in interaction between people, no corner of one's life is separate from his spiritual life.
Messages of the Supplication
Requests from God mentioned in this supplication either address individual ethics or collective ethics.
Issues in Individual Ethics
- Perfect faith: "cause my faith to reach the most perfect faith,"
- Best of action: "and take my works to the best of works!"
- Perfection of intention: "and take my intention to the best of intentions."
- Asking for conditional lengthy life: "Let me live as long as my life is a free gift in obeying You, but if my life should become a pasture for Satan, seize me to Yourself before Your hatred overtakes me or Your wrath against me becomes firm!"
- Correction of bad character: "O God, deposit in me no quality for which I will be faulted, unless You set it right, no flaw for which I will be blamed, unless You make it beautiful, no deficient noble trait, unless You complete it!"
- Requesting the competence of moderation: "give me to enjoy moderation, make me into one of the people of right behavior, the proofs of right conduct, and the servants of righteousness, and provide me with triumph at the place of Return and safety from the Ambush!"
- Requesting [complete] forgiveness of God upon the end of life: "O God, seal my term with Your pardon, verify my expectation in hoping for Your mercy, smooth my paths to reach Your good pleasure, and make my works good in all my states!"
- Remembering God in all times: "incite me to remember You in times of heedlessness,"
- Requesting safety from punishment: "and protect me through Your mercy "from the chastisement of the Fire" (2:201)!"
- Expansion of provision: "expand Your provision toward me,"
- Requesting provision upon old age: "appoint for me Your widest provision in my old age."
Messages in Social Ethics
- Requesting for replacing envy with affection: "[replace for me] the envy of the people of insolence with affection,"
- Abandoning criticism of others and trying to correct one's own flaws: "refraining from condemnation,"
- Rejection of seeking power, supremacy, and transgressing others' rights: "let me not be insolent while from You comes my wealth!"
- Observing social etiquette and public morals: "Make everything he causes to pass over my tongue, - the indecent or ugly words, the maligning of good repute, the false witness, the speaking ill of an absent man of faith or the reviling of one present, and all things similar."
- Keeping away from prodigality: "hold me back from prodigality,"
- Giving good answer against bad action: "and point me straight to resist him who is dishonest toward me with good counsel,"
- Responsibility and good management: "place in me excellent guardianship,"
- Turning enmity of close ones to friendship: "the enmity of those close with friendship,"
- Removing others' suspicion and distrust about oneself: "[replace for me] the suspicion of the people of righteousness with trust,"
- Removing the plot of the cunning: "and replace for me the animosity of the people of hatred with love,"
- Collaboration with others and serving the society: "[replace for me] the rejection of fellows with generous friendliness,"
- Well-mannered associating with others and having good manner: "repay him who separates from me with gentle devotion,"
- Respecting human dignity and honor: "suffice me against the burden of shame toward the servants,"
- Having exemplar for expansion of justice: "adorn me with the adornment of the righteous,"
- Creating tranquility and fighting aggression: "quenching the flame of hate, …and correcting discord,"
- Importance of social competition in goodness: "precedence in reaching excellence, preferring bounteousness,"
- Rejection of oppression: "let me not do wrong while Thou art powerful over holding me back,"
- Responsibility and good management: "place in me excellent guardianship,"
- Requesting for safety against faultfinders: "suffice me against the burden of faultfinding servants,"
- Rejection of the causes of harm: "repel [any harm] from me through Your gentleness,"
- Abandoning inappropriate act of goodness: "bestowing bounty on the undeserving,"
- Requesting power against oppression and power of speech against enemies: "appoint for me a hand against him who wrongs me, a tongue against him who disputes with me,"
- Speaking for the guidance of people and taking the best path: "make my speech be guidance."
In addition to commentaries of al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiyya which discuss all the supplications, separate commentaries have been written for this supplication.
|For the full text, see text:Makarim al-Akhlaq Supplication.|
- The material for this article is mainly taken from دعای مکارم الاخلاق in Farsi WikiShia.