Today, we read, listen and post links, argue and try to be superior in talking with "knowledge", but we have no core Islamic values in the way we deal with ourselves, others, and even with Allah. The real knowledge should make us humble, introspective and hungrily seeking good deeds, and should slow us down in the achievement of the material life. The real knowledge will make us want to decorate ourselves with qualities beloved to Allah and Rasulullah SAW, so as to ready us for our inevitable departure from this life.
Usually when we ask people to describe a Muslim, all they focus on are the hijab and the beard, but not the character. Are we aware of the characteristics of the ideal Muslim?
A Muslim is attentive to the rights of others, and fulfils those rights where possible – whether financially, through his energy or his actions. He has no hesitation sharing his wealth or property with the needy. He speaks the truth and refrains from lying. He is true to his commitment, oath and covenant. He loves the truth, even if it incriminates himself. He shuns everything that Allah hates, and enjoins everything Allah loves.
We know our Islam is improving if we love Islam, Allah, Rasulullah SAW and other Muslims. We will avoid all forms of wickedness, whether in our thoughts or actions. We will constantly respect the rights that other Muslims have over us.
In weak reports, it has been said that a Muslim has an obligation to support others who try to engage in good deeds, make du’a for those who commit sins, make du’a for Allah to accept, forgive and guide those who have strayed, and to support others in the da’wah of Allah.
There is plenty of guidance from ahadeeth on how one should treat Muslims in various situations, the rights of neighbours, Muslim men and women, non Muslims, animals and even the environment. Look these up at your own time, and try to live the principles one by one.
Muhsin and Mu'min
In the Jibril Hadith, ihsan (being the qualities owned by a Muhsin – someone who is a higher level than a Muslim) are also explained. It means to "worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and while you see Him not yet truly He sees you.” A Muhsin is in the heightened state of God consciousness, aware of Allah at every moment, whether or not he is alone. He is extremely aware of Allah’s presence all the time, and it is this enhanced consciousness that constantly dictates all his actions.
A Mu’min (devout believer) is recognised by the way he carries himself and affects those around him. The sight of a Mu'min reminds us of Allah. His speech draws us closer to Allah and if we are in need, we will find him. The Mu’min is the one in whom people find peace, and are guarded from his injurious behaviour, whether by the tongue, body or money. He benefits others in all aspects - whether we seek him, share with him, consult him or even walk in his company.
The early Muslims used to say that a Mu’min is one who, when you see him, is a cure for you. If he talks to you, he imparts wisdom. Looking at the smiling and tranquil demeanour of a Mu’min will generate benefit and happiness, even before the Mu’min starts talking.
The Mu’min's goodness is abundant, and his evil is rare. Another sign is that the Mu’min is a companion of silence, and his time is rich with contemplation and the performance of good deeds. He talks with rahmah or mercy, and these qualities make him easy to love.
The nafs of a Mu’min is low – he is not enslaved by desire or base instincts. He cares little about competing for life's riches or glory. He does not discuss the affairs of others. He does not walk with arrogance, haste or pride. He is contented with his Lord. He is not stingy, angry or ignorant. He exercises self-control, avoids arguments, and if someone angers him, he is still just to that person. When he gives a commitment, he fulfils his words. When people err, he forgives. He does not retaliate when insulted. He is straightforward in his speech and actions.
Aren't these wonderful characteristics for us to aspire to? Do we have such people around us? What about our own behaviour, does it repel or attract the good people in our midst?