Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi

Morality, A Quranic Perspective


Derived from a larger work by the same author, this book gently introduces divine moral concepts in an easy to read and accessible manner.


About the Book

The realisation of perfection is a goal ingrained in every human’s primordial build (fitrah). However, the path to this perfection is often marred by obstacles both from within and without, hindering progress. A more difficult path is attaining moral perfection, which often entails fighting against oneself, ego, and often cultural and societal norms.

This book Morality: a Quranic perspective, is a collection and categorisation of verses from the Holy Quran that pertain to this divine struggle (jihad al-akbar), guiding the reader gently through the fundamental aspects of this struggle and how to overcome it. Each verse contains a brief commentary that exposes the profound meanings.

This book is written for both young and old as a handy daily reminder of overcoming struggles and choosing the more Godly path. It is also highly recommended for parents and teachers, to inculcate these divine values in younger children.


Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi

Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi is an Iranian Shia marja’ and religious leader. He was born in the city of Shiraz, Iran. His ancestors were Iranian Jews who converted to Shia Islam. At the age of 24, he was granted complete ijtihad by two senior scholars in Najaf. Ayatollah Muhsin al-Hakim also wrote a short, comprehensive letter of commendation for him.

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وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا.

The servants of the All-beneficent are those who walk humbly on the earth, and when the ignorant address them, say, ‘Peace!’ (25: 63)


Summary of Commentary:


In this verse, the reference is made to one of the most outstanding attributes and moral virtues of a group of God’s special servants. Verses 63-74 in Sura al-Furqān lists twelve great virtues of this group of the faithful, and the first one is humility. This confirms that as arrogance is the most dangerous vice, humility is the most important or one of the most important virtues. God says, “The servants of the All-beneficent are those who walk humbly on the earth.” He adds then, “and when the ignorant address them, say, ‘Peace!’”

This verse discusses the humility of this group of servants towards the pure nature of AllahT. God says, “Those who spend the night for their Lord, prostrating and standing [in worship]” (25: 64).

In his book entitled “Mufradāt”, Rāghib writes that the word “humble” has two meanings. One of them is the humiliation that is in the nature of mankind and is worthy of praise (then he refers to the verse in question) and a hadith from the Prophet a who is narrated to have said “the believer is humble.”[1]

The second virtue is the humiliation imposed upon man by another person and makes him despicable.

The sentence “those who walk humbly on the earth” does not mean that they only walk humbly, but it also means to deny any selfishness and arrogance that are apparent in all deeds of mankind and even in the quality of his walking as the easiest act. Moral traits always manifest themselves in the context of man’s speech and behaviors to the extent that many of his moral traits can be seen in the many ways he walks.

The first indication of God’s special servants is their humility that influences all parts of their existence and is even manifested in their walking. And when in verse 37 of Sura al-Isrā, God orders to the Prophet a, “Do not walk exultantly on the earth”, it is not just about walking, but the humility in all affairs as a sign of being God’s servant and worship Him.

[1]. Kanz al- `Ummâl. No of hadith, 290.

Long-term Ambitions


ذَرْهُمْ يَأْكُلُواْ وَيَتَمَتَّعُواْ وَيُلْهِهِمُ الأَمَلُ فَسَوْفَ يَعْلَمُونَ.

Leave them to eat and enjoy and to be diverted by longings. Soon they will know. (15: 3)


Summary of Commentary:


In this verse and addressing the Prophet of Islam a, AllahT refers to the infidels and polytheists and says, “Leave them to eat and enjoy and to be diverted by longings. Soon they will know.”

They are like livestock that does not understand anything except for water and grass. The only difference they have with these animals and make them lower than the animals is a bunch of long-term ambitions filling their minds so full that they are unable to think about their destiny, avoid ignorance and go back to the right path before they pass away.

Here, the negative influence of long [worldly] ambitions in man’s existence is well explained and shows how much the wishes engage man and make him neglect God.

The phrase “leave them” clearly indicates that there was no hope to guide this group; otherwise, the Prophet a would have never been ordered to leave them.

How one can be hopeful to lead a group whose ultimate goal is to eat and sleep like animals, and long-term [worldly] ambitions do not allow them to think for a moment about the end of life, about the Creator who provides them with these life benefits, and about the purpose for which are created.

Islamic narrations with various interpretations condemn long-term wishes; for instance, Imām ‘Alī G says, “The previous nations were tormented just because of their long ambitions and forgetting the end of their life until the time of the promised doom, the doom when any apologize will be rejected and the doors of repentance will be closed.”[1]

[1]. Nahj al-balāgha, No of khutbah, 147.


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