What is Model Character?
As Muslims for us, a model character may mean something different than it does to non-Muslims. Although both it would consist of noble characteristics for Muslims, a model or Islamic character should be sound, righteous, and in accordance with the teachings of Islam, Allah, and Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
Verily Allah does not look to your faces and your wealth but He looks to your heart and to your deeds.
(Sahih Muslim 2564 c)
Hence good behavior and characteristics have been made an essential part of one’s faith and Allah سبحانه وتعالى grants numerous rewards and blessings for maintaining such conduct.
“Nothing is placed on the Scale that is heavier than a good character. Indeed the person with good character will have attained the rank of the person of fasting and prayer.”
(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2003)
How to Achieve Such a Character?
The first step to achieving such a character would be Introspection. We need to understand what our current standing is. What our shortcomings are. We easily judge others on their behavior and characteristics without paying heed to ourselves.
Here we shall present some ways you can identify flaws in your own attitude and behavior.
1). Ask a friend. A sincere friend is one who will always try to help out his fellow Muslim brother or sister and because of the close relationship friends are usually aware of our habits, shortcomings, and behavioral issues. This is what makes the selection of good friends so important.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.”
(Sunan Abi Dawud 4833)
2). In such situations, even your enemy can act as a friend as they are usually quick to point out a person’s fault.
3). Engage and interact with people. The more people we meet, the more likely we are to observe characteristics that are displeasing. As such displeasing traits are something we ourselves should aim to avoid.
This is one way of attaining an Islamic character. The most important way, of course, is to follow the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. Indeed, he had an Immaculate character and was the perfect role model for the whole of humanity. The Holy Prophet ﷺ stressed the importance of good behavior repeatedly.
“Have Taqwa of Allah wherever you are, and follow an evil deed with a good one to wipe it out, and treat the people with good behavior.”
(Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1987)
The Essential Characteristics:
There are four characteristics and Manners, the attainment of which can form the foundation of strong character.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari: 6114)
- Control of Desire
- Strong knowledge
- Balance of all three characteristics
It’s prudent to mention here that by strong knowledge the meaning here is the basic understanding between right and wrong.
Achieving the Perfect Balance:
Balance is crucial to everything in life. As mentioned previously the 3 characteristics mentioned above need to be maintained in balance. The balance of which will lead to the formation of a strong character. There are two ways in which people attain this balance.
- It’s already inherent by the grace of Allah سبحانه وتعالى
- Train yourself to achieve balance
In case you have been blessed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى and already have a strong conscience and an inherent balance then you are already halfway there on your path to the perfect character but if that is not the case, there is still hope. One can train themselves to achieve anything.
Inflicted by bad traits like greed? Want to be more generous. Push yourself to be generous until it becomes second nature. It may be hard at first but definitely not impossible.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said, “They say Al-Karm (the generous), and in fact, Al-Karm is the heart of a believer.”
(Sahih al-Bukhari 6183)
إن شاء الله, this small insight will help you all out in developing a model character. There are also a number of books offered by Darussalam on character development or simply read the Prophet’s Seerah for the ultimate guide.
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