In the part 1 of this write up, I quoted verses of the Qur’an where Allah explains the essence of the pillars of Islam. They are meant to purify us. If your Sālat (prayer), Zakah ( almsgiving), Sawm (fasting) and hajj (holy pilgrimage) cannot reform your characters, you are only performing exercises. The same way Muslims can not say that they have possessed good characters and there is no need to perform those acts is the same way those acts must translate to good characters.
It is disheartening to see Muslims, going by what is apparent devoted to Islamic practices but lack moral characters. Some people would even insult you when they see you displaying morality expected of believer that you are too good to be a Muslim. These people may not be blamed for their perception as they have seen many Muslims with bad characters, despite the fact that they are devotees to the pillars of the religion.
Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: “I have only been sent to perfect good moral character.”
Allah says: “It is He who has sent amongst the unlettered people a messenger from among themselves, to rehearse to them His signs, to purify them and to instruct them in the scripture and wisdom,- although they had been, before, in manifest error.” (Quran 62:2)
This great purpose is what Prophet Muhammad declared when he said: “I have only been sent to perfect good moral character.”
The “good moral character” referred to here is comprehensive. It includes how we conduct ourselves with our Lord, how each of us relates to his or her self and how we treat other people. One of the most famous hadiths in this regard is where the Prophet said: “Nothing weighs heavier in the balance on the day of judgment than good character. God hates that which is wanton and base.”
The Prophet was asked what causes the most people to enter paradise. He said: “Fear of God and good character.” He was then asked what brought the most people to hellfire. He said: “The tongue and the private parts.”
The Prophet’s servant Anas observed: “God’s messenger had the best character of all people.” He also said: “I served the Prophet for ten years and he never once rebuked me. He never once said about something I did: ‘Why did you do that?’ and he never said about something I didn’t do: ‘Why didn’t you do that?’”
An-Nawwas bin Saman asked the Prophet about righteousness and sin. He replied: “Righteousness is to exhibit good character. Sin is what disturbs your heart and you hate for others to know about it.”
Lack of moral or good character is weakness of faith.
The Prophet said: “The believers who have the most perfect faith are those who have the best characters and the best of them are those who are best to their womenfolk.”
He also said: “The most beloved and nearest of you to me on the day of judgment will be those of you with the best characters. The most detestable and remote from me on the day of judgment will be those who are babblers, those who put people down, and those who are vainglorious.”
It is enough for us to look at the Prophet’s life, his relationship with his Lord and how he treated people of all walks of life – his household, his relatives, his companions and his enemies.
Once, the Prophet (SAW) borrowed money from a man and the man came demanding payment, speaking very harshly. The companions wanted to respond to the man’s harshness, but the Prophet said: “leave him alone. The one who has a right to something is allowed to speak.”
Whenever the Prophet borrowed something from someone, he would always return it with more and pray for that person. He used to say: “The only reward for a loan is complete repayment and praise.”
Abd Allah bin Salam was one of the leading Jewish scholars in Madinah. He was just-minded and a seeker of the truth. When he heard about Prophet Muhammad’s arrival, he went to have a look at him. When he saw the Prophet’s face, he knew that it was not the face of a liar. The first thing he heard the Prophet say was: “O people! If you spread the greeting of peace among you, feed those who are in need, maintain family relations and pray at night while people are sleeping, you will enter Paradise with ease.” Abd Allah ibn Salam was able to read from the Prophet’s countenance, the signs that he was honest, trustworthy and pure-hearted. Such a countenance is only for people whose hearts are truly pure, whose conducts are righteous, and who devote themselves to God.
When we have known all these and the importance of good characters in relation to our faith and the promise that awaits those who possess good characters on the day of judgment, we must strive to achieve the characters expected of Muslims. We must not allow situations to dictate for us as many today hiding behind keyboards to wrong others.
To be continued..
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