PHYSICAL AND MENTAL NECESSITIES

Human being is the composition of two elements: body and spirit. These two elements are correlated and interacting. Man’s happiness depends totally on the soundness of these two elements each of which has its own desires and necessities.

The physical necessities are the material factors that achieve growth, health, and vitality, such as food, drink, clothing, and other life necessities.

The mental necessities are the intellectual and spiritual desires, such as knowledge, freedom, justice, peace of mind, and the like.

For gaining sound body and soul, it is essential to respond to these necessities. For instance, weakness and ailment are the results of depriving the body of its necessities, while puzzlement, worry, and misery are the results of depriving the soul of it s necessities.

Physical Rights

Briefly, the physical right is to attend to the health regulations, such as moderation in food and drink, evasion of alcoholic drinks and drugs, abstinence from sinful carnal desires, habituating to cleanness, practicing physical activities, treating of the ailments, following the physicians’ advices, and the like matters.

Mental Rights

Many people ignore the mental health because they are far away from the spiritual values. Few groups of people, however, can realize the mental complications that appear in the form of recalcitrance, rebellion, inclinations to the commitment of sins, excessive fondness of materiality, and desertion of the mental values. In view of that, the treatment for the spiritual defects has been more difficult and more laborious.

In the same way, scholars and intellectuals have paid a greater attention to self-discipline and mental education; therefore, it is necessary for people of reason to care for such affairs.

(1) Self-education

Self-education can be achieved by enlightening with the divine recognition and the true belief and supplying with the beneficial knowledges that lead to the right guidance. Naturally, human souls incline to the belief in God, tend to knowledge, and yearn for discovering mysteries of the cosmos and secrets of life.

(2) Well Intention

Man enjoys two forms: one is external and represented by his body, and the other is internal and represented by his mental and moral traits. Man’s external form is the target of praise and dispraise, according to its beauty or ugliness. In the same way, the internal form is the target of praise or criticism, according to its goodness or evil. Like beautifying the external forms, rational people are accustomed to beautify their internal forms by means of clinging to well intention and well behavior, and avoiding showing off, hypocrisy, envy, and the like vicious manners.

Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) said: “Scholars and wise people used to correspond to each other three statements only: As for those whose main concern is the (preparations for the) life to come, Allah will satisfy their worldly concerns. As for those who maintain their hidden intentions, Allah will maintain their public affairs. As for those who establish good relations between Allah and them, Allah will establish good relations between people and them.” ( 1 )

Imam as-Sadiq (a) said: “As for anyone who keeps secret a good deed, Allah will, sooner or later, reveal a good reputation for him. As for him who keeps secret an evil, Allah will, sooner or later, reveal an ill reputation for him.” ( 2 )

(3) Self-control

Due to the charming instincts and desires, mentalities tend to deviation to take to the depths of corruption. Hence, it is essential to control and immunize oneself against sins:

“… And (I swear) by the soul and that (Power) which designed it and inspired it with knowledge of evil and piety, those who purify their souls will certainly have everlasting happiness and those who corrupt their souls will certainly be deprived of happi ness. (91:7-10)”

“However, those who had feared their Lord and restrained their souls from acting according to their desires, Paradise will be their dwelling. (79:41)”

The Prophet (s): “The faith of those who enjoy three traits is perfect: those whose rage does not take them out of the right, whose satisfaction does not take to the wrong, and who pardon when they are powerful.”( 3 )

(4) Self-Judgment

Self-judgment is to call oneself to account every day regarding the good-deeds as well as the wrongdoings. If the scale of acts of obedience overweighs the scale of acts of disobedience, we must thank God for such success. But if the scale of acts of dis obedience overweighs the scale of acts of obedience, we must discipline ourselves by reproach and criticism for the irregularity and going astray from the courses of the obedience to God.


1. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; 1/62 (as quoted from al-Khissal, al-Amali, and Thawab ul-A’mal).

2. Quoted from al-Wafi; part 3 page 147 (as quoted from al-Kafi).

3. Quoted from Safinat ul-Bihar; vol. 2 page 550 (as quoted from al-Khissal).

Ethical Role-Models

By: Sayyid Mahdi as-Sadr

P. 320 - 323
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