Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|The power of ethos...|
|07/21/01 at 01:44:07|
[i]Ethos[/i]:the distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, or guiding beliefs of a person, group, or institution
In other words, [i]ethos[/i] can be thought of as your credibility. How credible are you? And perhaps more importantly, how credible can you portray yourself to be?
We may not notice it much, but the [i]way[/i] we carry ourselves, the [i]way[/i] we dress, the [i]way[/i] we write, the [i]way[/i] we talk, etc, are often as compelling,if not more compelling to our audience when we're trying to prove an argument then is the actual content of our argument. Consider if you will, the following examples.
Gary Condit, conservative Democratic Senator, upstanding citizen, hasn't lost an election in 26 years, overall--a great guy. He had what most would consider very good ethos. Recently he has scandalously revealed his extra-marital relations with MANY women, the most famous of which is the missing Ms. Chandra Levy. He is now facing the possiblity of being charged as an accessory to the disappearence of this young lady.
George Bush Jr., a goofy, smily, nice guy. Not the sharpest tool in the shed perhaps, but he is carrying a Yale degree under his belt. His ethos level? Waay down. Has he done anything scandalous? (Besides the DUI thing, which most Americans have forgiven and forgotten) Not by the American standards..yet. His problem? People just don't take him seriously because he hasn't proven himself as a serious character.
If you submit a resume chocked full of mistakes, it somehow seems to reflect on your work ability, and most employers would toss it out without a second look.
I am from Alabama, a state synonymous with the "Southern Drawl." Because this accent connotates a lack of education and even racism, my Speech professor told us that if we wanted to improve our ethos when speaking to a diverse audience--we'd have to lose the accent. (One I don't have by the way! :))
Let me give an example that will perhaps ring closer to home. Many of you reading this are probably frequent visitors of this board. There are certains posters whose posts and ideas you would readily agree with, and there are others, whose ideas you would doubt *perhaps* simply on the basis of presentation. Now I am not putting down anyone's posting habits--as this is not an academic environment where such standards are imposed; I am simply making an observation. When a poster uses proper English and proper spelling and grammatical standards, his/her ideas and views are often taken more seriously than those posts which are grammatically undecipherable or written in "Internet Lingo".
So essentially, the reason I posted this was because, I really think the Greeks were on to something. Sometimes we get so passionately involved in our theories and ideas, that we don't spend much time on our actual presentation. When we want to give Dawah, are we dressed appropriately? Are we speaking in coherent, well-developed English sentences? Are we articulating our words, sounding out EACH syllable knowing that every word was vital? Now this might all sound worldly and irrelevant, but it is a standard that was upheld by none other than Prophet Muhammad (SA) himself. Of course in addition to all of this, we have to be well-versed in the information we are divulging, and we have to act in a matter befitting of our deen. This however, goes almost without saying, and pretty much no one would argue it.
An interesting thing to note would be that ethos is often miscalculated, ie, someone has high credibility when they don't deserve it and vice versa. Just look at some of the examples given above. This does not, however, mean that ethos is a bad thing.
Now ethos is not something that is important only when giving dawah. We should maintain a certain level of ethos in all walks of our life.
I have flirted with the issue above, but I will lay it out plainly now. Maintaining your credibility is a two part process. Not only do you have to *know* your stuff, but you have to present it in a way that is pleasing.
I mention all of this because of one of my favorite verses from the Quran.
[i]"Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah." 3:110[/i]
We are the [i]best[/i]. This means we strive to walk the best, to talk the best, to learn the best, to eat the best, to teach the best ,to live the best etc...
We have a message to get across; this means we have to get people to listen. Which means we have to earn credibility.
So what do you guys think? How can we, as Muslims, strive to be the BEST..in even the smallest of things?
|Re: The power of ethos...|
|07/21/01 at 16:21:29|
Mash Allah! What a wonderful post and certainly an important and interesting topic!
How to be the best? I think striving to be the best is very important. Not to say "oh..I'm the best" and to sit back and enjoy life.
Remembering Allah, Muhammad and the Sunnah in every small part of every day is a good start.
Being a good example to our fellow Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
More I don't know, and will leave it at that, because if I've learned one thing from this board it's to keep your mouth shut if you don't know what you're talking about!
|Re: The power of ethos...|
|07/23/01 at 02:24:24|
[i]Innallaaha katabal iHsaana 3alaa kulli shay'in[/i]
Indeed Allah has ordained excellence in everything.
Is it a hadith or ayah? Can't remember. I think it's relevant here!
More later, insha Allah ...
Great topic starter Nazia.
|Re: The power of ethos...|
|07/24/01 at 21:27:14|
|When we want to give Dawah, are we dressed appropriately? Are we speaking in coherent, well-developed English sentences?|
Great Nazia! Now I will have to write on this message board as if writing a paper for a class.
Thank you for pointing it out. *sigh* :)
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