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Levels of Akhlaq


Ekhlaaq k kitny darjy hen?

How many levels of Akhlaq are there?


Salaamun alaykum

Thank you for your question. Moral character traits (akhlāq) are realities that are
graded. That means that they increase in intensity; like light. Dim light and strong
light are at two ends of a spectrum which includes an infinite number of strengths
of light in between. Moral traits such as patience, bravery, kindness, mercy and
forgiveness are the same. So when we talk about levels when discussing these kinds
of realities they are more like milestones within that spectrum. At the same time,
there may be something about the intensity of one level that distinguishes it from
the levels below it. Since these traits find their basis in the Names of Allah there
is no limit to how intense they can be. The Maʿsūmīn (as) possess those traits to
the greatest extent possible and manifest them in their (as) actions and words.

In general the scholars of akhlāq have distinguished between a person having a
certain character trait in the moment as a state (hāl) and someone having that trait
as part of their personality (malaka). But as you can see there is much unsaid in
this distinction if you take any of the traits mentioned above as an example. There
are other expressions. For example in the aḥādīth there is an enumeration of the
different levels of īmān (sometimes 7 or 10 see Muḥammad b. Yaʿqūb al-Kulaynī,
al-Kāfī (Qum: Dār al-ḥadīth, 1429/2008) (3) 109-117). In these instances they can
also be understood as milestones within a connected spectrum. So to answer your
question since the human is on an unlimited journey towards perfection there are
unlimited levels of akhlāq.

May you be successful

Zoheir Ali Esmail