Imam Khamenei: 4 virtues that God grants only to noble humans

The following is the Supreme Leader’s commentary on a well-known hadith by Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.), as stated on March 3, 2019, regarding the interdependence of certain good traits, qualities and virtues with others, the most important of which are: honesty, truthfulness, helping the needy and reciprocating other individuals’ good deeds.


Imam Sadiq (greetings be upon him) says to Dawud ibn Sarhan, “Oh Dawud, some virtues are dependent on one another and they are closely related. God distributes them among humans the way He wants. Sometimes, these characteristics exist in a man while they do not exist in his son and sometimes, they exist in a slave whereas his master does not possess them. These are some of them: Truthfulness, sincerity towards people, giving to a person who asks and reciprocating other people’s good gestures and good deeds” [Amali al-Tusi, chapter 11, page 301].

The hadiths that I narrated in recent days and the one that I want to narrate today have solid and very reliable documentation, Abi Qatadah [mentioned in the chain of narrators] is also a trustworthy personality.

“Oh Dawud, some virtues are dependent on one another and they are closely related”

Some virtues and qualities are dependent on one another and they affect each other. Their relationship is either a cause and effect relationship or an operational and behavioral one in some way.

“God distributes them among humans the way He wants”

Like everything else, you should consider these qualities and virtues as things bestowed by God. It is He who bestows these things. The affairs of Allah the Exalted are not without reason and our behavior and our willpower are influential in benefiting from divine mercy, but what is given to us – from among all personal qualities, all good things and all blessings including virtues – is from God. It is He Who distributes these things. He gives you something, gives something else to another person and gives yet another thing to another one.

“Sometimes, these characteristics exist in a man while they do not exist in his son”

Sometimes, a good quality and characteristic exists in a father while it does not exist in his son. Nowadays, they refer to these things as “genes” or “good genes”, but these things are not very credible. Sometimes, a father enjoys a good quality, but his son does not. The opposite is also true: the son might enjoy a good quality which does not exist in the father. These are divine measures and divine blessings.

“And sometimes, they exist in a slave whereas his master does not possess them”

And it is not the case that our social position and social status affect this distribution. Sometimes, a slave enjoys a good quality while his master does not. It might occur that your servant has a characteristic which is absent in you. There might be a good trait in one of our employees while that trait is absent in us. This means that he is above us.

Well, what are these virtues and behavioral qualities which they have spoken about so much? Hazrat mentions some of these qualities. These are really the bright manifestations of Islam. The gist of Islam is these characteristics. It is these characteristics which build outstanding individuals and it is because of the existence of outstanding individuals in a community and a human society that outstanding social systems are established.

If a society benefits from honorable, courageous, self-sacrificing and honest individuals, that society will become an outstanding society. Of course, the opposite holds true as well. We should really display these qualities like precious diamonds and gems and we should present them to the world. Now, what are these qualities?

“Truthfulness”

The first one is truthfulness. Today, our country is an Islamic country and to be fair, it is better than many societies in the world in terms of purity and sincerity. Nevertheless, you witness that many of our domestic problems originate from lack of this very quality. There is no truthfulness and honesty. What does truthfulness mean? It means that when you say something, it should conform with reality. If you realize that your words are compatible with reality, this is correct. If not, if you do not know whether what you say is confirmed by facts or not, but you say it anyway, this is not truthfulness.

Truthfulness means stating what you know is true. Take a look at cyberspace: because of rumors, lies, untruthful words and accusations and as a result of attaching labels to this and that, and to people at the top and to ordinary people, an environment of telling lies has been created in the country. Notice that these things are problematic. Therefore, the first quality is truthfulness. All of us should try to state the truth.

“And sincerity towards people

The second quality is sincerity towards people. You should not treat people in a deceitful, dishonest and hypocritical way. The Arabic word means sincerity towards people in action. It means that we should behave in a sincere ways towards people and that we should not be cunning, tell lies and use deception and the like in our dealings with them. If we observe this very point in our various social and political affairs and matters related to elections and other such affairs, notice how greatly the world will improve: “And sincerity towards people.”

“Giving to a person who asks”

If a needy person asks for something, give it to them if you can. Sometimes, there is a poor person who does not ask you for anything. Well, if you help them, it will be good. However, if they ask you – meaning if they make a request – well, then helping them will be a great virtue and refusing him will be against human dignity and virtue.

“Reciprocating other people’s good gestures and good deeds”

The Arabic word means good deeds. It refers to rendering services to others. You should return the favor. It means that when someone does something good for you, you should do something good for them as well. It should not be the case that we treat other individuals’ good gestures with indifference or malice. If someone treats us well, we should treat them well as well. This was the third quality.