There are two aspects of good characteristics and high morals and they constitute the gist and the compendium of the teachings of Islam. One, to worship God so that we can do our duty towards Him, to shun evil and all that God the Almighty has forbidden us to do and to do what He has commanded that we should do, to be ever prepared for doing all that He has commanded us to do. Two, that we should not be slack in doing our duty towards our fellow beings and to do them as much of good as lies in our power. Those who do not do their duties towards the human beings, even if they are doing their duties towards God, are in a precarious position and they are not secure. The reason is that so far as God is concerned He covers up the sins and He also forgives; He is Merciful and forbearing and He pardons the people; very often He forgives the sins. On the other hand, so far as human beings are concerned they do not easily forgive anyone and if a man does not forgive the other person who has done him some wrong, the offender is not safe and his good deeds are liable to be wiped out – even though he might have been trying all that he could to act upon the commandments of God by offering five daily prayers and doing other acts of this nature.
That is why a true believer is he who does his duty towards God and also does his duty towards his fellow beings – and he does so with great care. It is only the people who perform these two kinds of duties that can be said to be acting upon all the teachings of the Holy Quran, otherwise it will be said that he is acting upon the teachings of half of the Holy Quran.
But it must be remembered that it does not lie in the power of man to act on both the aspects of his duties of his own will and power. Man is tied down with the chain of low passions of the self. Unless he is vouchsafed the grace of God and unless God enables him to do these things, he cannot do anything whatsoever. That being the case one should always continue supplicating to God that He may enable him to do good and grant him riddance from the low passions of self. The self (which is prone to low passions) is a great enemy of man. Had it not existed, the Satan also would not have been there. It is an enemy that works inwardly and it can be aptly described as a snake under the grass. As for the Satan, it is an outward enemy.
It is a common knowledge that when someone wishes to break into somebody’s house, he has to have some inmate of the house to be his friend and informant. The thief who has to come from without cannot act unless he has somebody from within with whom he has made a secret plan. That is why the Satan works from without and the self works from within and that is how the faith of the man is robbed and the light of belief is extinguished. God says in the Holy Quran ….. that is to say, I do not take myself to be free (it is Joseph who is made to say this). Verily the self which is guided by low passions carries the man towards evil.
(Malfoozat vol. 10, pg. 290)