Good character, morals, ethics, and manners are fundamental to the religion of Islam and how we can achieve salvation in the life to come. Good character is a major theme in the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet. True righteousness is defined by it and the best Muslims are those who practice it. The believers with the most complete faith, who are most beloved by Allah and His Messenger, are those with the best character. Allah says:
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad PUBH) you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Surah Al Ahzab 33:21)
Having a good character is one of the most important things. It distinguishes Muslim from others so that a Muslim should have a good character to live a happy life. A father could not provide his family unless he is good of character and a husband can’t have a happy marriage if he’s not good to his wife. Allah says:
قُلْ كُلٌّ يَعْمَلُ عَلَىٰ شَاكِلَتِهِ فَرَبُّكُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنْ هُوَ أَهْدَىٰ سَبِيلًا
Say, “Each works on his manner, but your Lord (is) most knowing of who [he] (is) best guided (in) way.” (Surah Al-Isra` 17:84)
Allah ﷻ commands us to show kindness and courtesy to everyone without exception, for justice, kindness and mercy are aspects of good character which a Muslim observes in his words and deeds with Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A Muslim ought to embody good character traits as a means to call others to this great religion of Islam. Allah says:
وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا الَّذِينَ صَبَرُوا وَمَا يُلَقَّاهَا إِلَّا ذُو حَظٍّ عَظِيمٍ
“And not it is granted except (to) those who (are) patient and not it is granted except (to the) owner (of) fortune great.” (Surah Fussilat 41:35)
An act of goodness is much dear to Allah Almighty than one’s wealth and richness. We should also know that from where this goodness comes. Goodness comes from good Akhlaq which is the practice of virtue, ethics, morality and also a good character. Allah says:
قَالَ رَبُّنَا الَّذِي أَعْطَىٰ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ خَلْقَهُ ثُمَّ هَدَىٰ
“He said, “Our Lord (is) the One Who gave (to) everything its form, then He guided (it).” (Surah Ta-Ha 20:50)
Even though it’s a part of faith, a good character is a quality that a Muslim should possess to distinguish themselves from others. However, a good character is not given, but to be practised by the time. A Muslim should have a good character in every aspect of their lives. Here are the ways how to have a good character in Islam.
Some Blessed Importance of Good Character in Islam
- The perfection of noble character was one of the most important objectives of the Prophet’s mission: Allah ﷻ says, “It is He who raised among the unlettered [Arabs] a Messenger from them to recite His verses to them and purify them and teach them the Book and Wisdom, even though before that they were misguided.” (Al-Jumu‛ah, 62:2)
- A noble character is part and parcel of faith and belief.
- Noble character permeates all acts of worship: “Establish the prayer, for the prayer restrains from shameful and unjust deeds.” (Al-‛Ankaboot, 29:45)
- Good character will be the heaviest righteous deed to be placed on a person’s scale of deeds on the Day of Judgement.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “No deed that will be placed on the scale of deeds [on the Day of Judgement] will be heavier than good character. Indeed, a person with good character will attain the rank of those with a good record of voluntary fasts and prayers.” (At-Tirmidhee: 2003)
- Almighty Allah has made people into different shapes, colours, and languages. They are all equal in His sight, and no one has an advantage over another except in piety and noble conduct.
- A noble character is not confined only to human beings: Good Treatment of animals-“There is a reward for serving every living thing.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5663; Saheeh Muslim: 2244).
- The noble character in all aspects of life: Islam stresses the importance of noble character among all members of the family, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “The best of you are those who treat their wives the best, and I am the best of you in this respect.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 3895)
- People’s love of wealth may get the better of them and prompt them to engage in forbidden practices, Islam stresses the importance of observing noble character which serves to put an end to such practices: Prophet ﷺ said, “May Allah have mercy on a man who is kind when he buys, when he sells and when he demands his due.”(Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1970)
- The noble character under all circumstances
- Quran is the source to cure our character because the Quran is for all humanity and all purposes of life. Dhikr of Allah Almighty is the thing to improve character. So we have to do sincere dhikr of Allah Almighty and such light will enter into our heart that people will say what good character this person has.
- It’s one of the Most Important Missions of the Prophet’s (SAW)
- It’s the Part of Faith and Belief
- It’s Part of All Worship Acts
- To be Loved by Allah Dearly
- To be the Best Muslim for Allah SWT
- Having Good Manner in Any Situation
- Good Character is a Quality of Muslim
- To be Prevented from the Worldly Matters
- God the Dignified has no mercy for one who has no mercy for others
- Help your brother whether he is an oppressor or an oppressed person
Improving our character, however, is not at all an easy task. One must go through rigorous self-discipline, monitoring, and education to reform our entire way of thinking and acting. Allah says:
وَلَمَن صَبَرَ وَغَفَرَ إِنَّ ذَٰلِكَ لَمِنْ عَزْمِ الْأُمُورِ
“And whoever (is) patient and forgives, indeed, that (is) surely of matters of determination.” (Surah Ash-Shura 42:43)
A believer is one who deserves Allah’s pleasure and for him, there will be a good life and happiness in this world and the Hereafter. The believer is the one in whom the following characteristics are found:
- Having good morals and treating people with respect
- Doing what is lawful and righteous deeds
- Being offensive to no one
- Causing no harm to others
- Respecting other people’s rights
- Having a purified heart and soul, neither hating others nor being hypocritical
- Spending whatever he has out of his wealth in the cause of Allah i.e. in the fields of charity
- These characteristics are only found in truly faithful persons who know Allah well and fear His punishment because those who know Him do not think much of this world’s life, and wish only to achieve the performance of as many good deeds as possible in it, to be rewarded in the life hereafter
It is for this reason that Islam has laid down rules and criteria which govern Muslims’ behaviour even in times of war so that they would not succumb to fits of rage, driven by intolerance which feeds their anger and satisfies hatred and malicious and selfish tendencies. Allah says:
خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ
“Hold (to) forgiveness and enjoin the good, and turn away from the ignorant.” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:199)
Allah Almighty said that person’s Akhlaq is a tremendous thing in His sight. Allah only forbids us to make friends with those belligerent non-Muslims who fight us because of our religion. He also forbids us to admire their way of life which upholds unbelief and polytheist practices. Allah says:
وَاصْبِرْ لِحُكْمِ رَبِّكَ فَإِنَّكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَسَبِّحْ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّكَ حِينَ تَقُومُ
“So be patient, for (the) Command (of) your Lord, for indeed, you (are) in Our Eyes. And glorify (the) praise (of) your Lord when you arise.” (Surah At-Tur 52:48)
One’s good character and good Akhlaq are the reasons that take him closer to Allah Almighty which ultimately takes him closer to Jannah. We should try to improve our relations with those whom we do not get on; we should seek forgiveness from those who are angry with us, and we should create such a feeling of brotherhood that the Muslim ummah becomes one in reality. Allah says:
قُل لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ يَغُضُّوا مِنْ أَبْصَارِهِمْ وَيَحْفَظُوا فُرُوجَهُمْ ذَٰلِكَ أَزْكَىٰ لَهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا يَصْنَعُونَ
“Say to the believing men they should lower their gaze and they should guard their chastity. That (is) purer for them. Indeed, Allah (is) All-Aware of what they do.” (Surah An-Nur 24:30).
Once we develop a more positive, Islamic approach on the events that occur, we will perfect our character. All religions are considered a way of life, including Islam. Muslims, the believers of Islam, live a beautiful way of life because they believe actions are judged based on intentions, one should not harm others and other core values. May Allah Almighty give us knowledge and strength to keep good relation with all mankind! Ameen