In these passages from the first part of his work on statecraft, Māwardī addresses the moral dispositions of the king (akhlāq al-malik), distinguishing between two kinds of dispositions: innate dispositions (akhlāq al-dhāt) and actions rooted in volition (afʿāl al-irāda). In discussing virtues (faḍāʾil),Māwardī differentiates between virtues that represent beginnings and those that represent ends. He presents rational intellect (ʿaql) as the first of all virtues, since other virtues arise from it and are ordered or conceptualized by it. Justice (ʿadl) appears as the last of the virtues, since it is a product of them all. All other virtues fall somewhere between intellect and justice, with intellect ordering them and justice evaluating them. Next, Māwardī presents the four foundations of a virtuous disposition: discernment (tamyīz), courage (najda), temperance (ʿiffa), and justice (ʿadl). All other virtues, he says, are derived from them. Māwardī also explores the roots of vices (radhāʾil), which, he claims, begin with foolishness (ḥumq)and end with ignorance (jahl). Rather like Aristotle, Māwardī explains that each virtue lies midway between two vices, which might be visualized as extremities. Furthermore, different virtues might be joined together to generate other admirable virtues. For example, intellect combined with courage yields patience in adversity and loyalty in commitments. In her analysis of Islamic mirrors-for-princes literature on judging in Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, Louise Marlow cites these passages to elucidate Māwardī’s theory of just kingship.
This source is part of the Online Companion to the book Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts, ed. Intisar A. Rabb and Abigail Krasner Balbale(ILSP/HUP 2017)—a collection of primary sources and other material used in and related to the book.