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Volume VIII - The Art of Being

The Privilege of Being Human

Chapter XIV
Consideration - Muruwwat

Muruwwat is a virtue most delicate to express in words. It is refraining from action out of respect for another, be it in consideration for his age, position, knowledge, goodness or piety. Those who practice this virtue do not necessarily have that respect only for someone who has a high position or who has much piety; when they develop this quality it manifests itself in their dealings with all people.

Muruwwat is the contrary of what is called bluntness in English. It is not necessarily respect, it is something more delicate than respect: it is consideration and respect together. This virtue in its full development may even rise to such an extent that, out of consideration and respect, a person may try to sustain the lack of the same virtue in another. But when one arrives at this stage then ordinary manner ends and sage manner begins.

Man in this world is not born only to eat, drink and make merry. He is born to arrive at the fullness of humane character, and he realizes this by a greater thoughtfulness and consideration. If not, with power, position, wealth, learning, and all good things in the world, he remains poor without the riches of the soul which is good manner. All the beauty around man is something outside of him; the only beauty which is dependable is to be found and developed in his own character.

A person may show lack of muruwwat, if not in words, his glance. He does not need to speak in order to be rude; in his look, in his turns or twists, in his standing up or walking, in closing the door on leaving the room, he can show his feelings. If man does not speak he makes the door speak. It is not an easy matter to manage oneself when one's mind escapes one's hands. Plainly speaking, muruwwat is acting with consideration and respect for another in a situation where a rude impulse is called out; it is controlling oneself, refraining from committing an insolence, out of respect for another.

Delicate ideas such as these are most difficult to learn and to practice in life. Today many may wonder if they are not weaknesses. But nothing in the world can prove to be a weakness when it can only be practiced by mastering oneself. There is no loss if thought or consideration is given to someone who does not deserve it; for if such an action does not bring any profit, it is still practice – and it is practice which makes man perfect.


checked 26 nov 2015