Salam alaykum brothers and sisters and welcome to the second part of the Rise Up series called Polishing Our Character.
Having good character is an essential requisite of Islam. Now, we all have weaknesses and can never reach the level of perfection. Therefore, improving our character is not a simple task rather it comprises of learning to adapt good morals and manners in our everyday life, monitoring and self-discipline that will change our way of thinking and acting.
Our Beloved Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said
“The best amongst you are the best in character and manners.” (Al-Bukhari)
So how do we know what a good character is?
Our Prophet peace and blessings be upon him is our perfect model in all aspects as he succeeded in all of his positions in life. Allah the Most High has stated in the Glorious Quran of his salient attributes.
“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day, and who engages much in the Praise of Allah.”
He was honest. Patient. Compassionate. Trustworthy. Gracious and many other attributes which formed a magnetic attraction to anyone around him. He ensured he perfected anything he does and encouraged his companions, may Allah be pleased with them to be the best they could be.
Once a person who hated the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him because of his message and placed faecal matter in the path where the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him used to go pass. The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him would see it until one day he did not see it. He thought this was strange and asked about the person who used to perform this vile action. He found out that the man was ill and went to visit him. The man was so touched that he believed in the message that Muhammad peace and blessing be upon him was giving.
This emphasises that we should continuously be nice to people even those who dislike us wherever you are. This is being kind-hearted. You do not need to know someone to be kind.
Also, help people as much as you can and never turn away a person who asks you for help because what you should want for yourself, you should want for others. However, sometimes you have to be careful especially in a work environment where some people who see you helping others actually take things the wrong way and think you want to dictate or show off which is why it is always best to be cautious too.
Make a habit of saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ – manners do not cost anything. Why do you think parents are determined on teaching their children this because it is part of the fitrah meaning natural inclination.
Another attribute that the Prophet peace and blessing be upon him had was his truthfulness and keeping his promises. Our Prophet peace and blessings be upon him said:
‘Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to al-fujur [wickedness, evil-doing], and al-fujur leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.’ [Al-Bukhari]
Now one may question, why should I be honest, when people even lie to your face.
One may also ask, for instance, I keep my promises and if someone told me something, I would not create a domino effect, but why can’t someone keep something confidential and love to gossip?
I myself came to a stage where I said I got to keep my barrier up and being too soft like butter will lead you to continuous disappointments. Be like a beach, when the sea i.e. people come to shore, welcome them and when the sea goes away remain in your position. Give with a good intention. Advice people sincerely. Accept that you’re a human and make error. Be brave. No that nothing is hidden from Allah and He knows what is in your heart, there are two duas/supplication to recite:
The Prophet peace and blessings be upon him used to say: ‘Oh Allah, I ask you for good health, chastity, trustworthiness, good manners and to be content with destiny.’ [Al-Bukhari]
The Prophet also used to supplicate: ‘Oh Allah! I seek refuge in You from reprehensible manners, deeds and whims.’ [At-Tirmidhi]
So overall, during this blessed month of Ramadan, we need to try and germinate a good moral code to wash and rinse our heads and try to teach ourselves to improve our character as fasting and prayer will not guarantee us Paradise. No matter how much we have been disappointed, no matter how much we give and arrows with fire has been thrown at us, we should never give up and lose hope. Always remember that we have Allah. We have our family. We have many blessings that Allah bestowed upon us. As the generations grow and we meet all types of people we need to develop a more positive approach and polish our character always and adapt just like a chameleon but never forget who you are and your values.
Anything good is from Allah and anything bad is from myself and shaytan.