Aswad ibn Asram (RA) once asked Rasulullah (SAW) for advice. Rasulullah (SAW) asked him to hold tight with his hand. If unable, then to hold his tongue. If unable, not to spread his hand and his tongue except with goodness, which in other words means to be careful of what he does and says.
Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari: that the Prophet (SAW) was asked:"Which of the Muslims is most virtuous?" He said: "The one from (the harm of) whose tongue and hand (other) Muslims are safe." (Tirmidhi)
Hence the requirement is two fold – to be an active part of spreading goodness, and to refrain from doing harm.
The mu'min deals with what he likes and dislikes equally. He knows that nothing can happen without the will of Allah. Being happy with Allah when things are going smoothly is easy. But what if we slipped and fell because someone spilt water on the floor and didn't clean up? If we obey our nafs, we would get upset. However, if we think like a mu'min, we will not complain or be melodramatic over the injury or allow it to ruin our day. We will make du'a because we acknowledge that it was caused by the Creator, and we will not harp on it. Yet, how many of us still talk about an incident that happened ten years ago and we still get wound up about it? Can talking about it undo the event or the damage?
Allah has provided us the guidance – the Qur'an has been there before we were born, so why are we so slow in emulating those qualities encouraged by Allah? It is because we link quality with money, beauty, clothing, and education. We admire those who drive luxury cars, are rich or successful in their jobs and education, and then try to emulate their achievements. But these are not the real qualities that ultimately matter for our journey of finding Allah.
Quality comes from Allah according to how much effort we put into earning it, and how much He bestows upon us. This will not come easily if we are drowning in the material life, where all our goals are focused on comfort on earth, without room to plan for comfort in the Hereafter.
If we say la ilaha ilallah with truthfulness and sincerity, it will lead us to goodness, and the goodness will lead us to paradise. Lying on the other hand, is not just uttering an untruth, but where our actions do not correspond with what we way.
Malik (RA) related that he heard that Abdullah ibn Masud (RA) used to say, "The slave continues to lie and a black spot grows in his heart until all his heart becomes black. Then he is written, in Allah's sight, among the liars." (Malik)
'Abdullah (RA) reported Allah's Messenger (SAW) as saying: "Truth leads one to Paradise and virtue leads one to Paradise and the person tells the truth until he is recorded as truthful, and lie leads to obscenity and obscenity leads to Hell, and the person tells a lie until he is recorded as a liar." (Muslim)
If we want to assess if our actions and qualities are sincere for Allah, examine the way we make our decisions in life:
What criteria do we apply?
How and why do we choose our colleges, jobs we apply for or the persons we want to marry?
Do we make decisions in haste?
Are we truly the slave of Allah?
Where do our loyalties truly lie?
How do you allocate your thoughts, love, desires and ambitions?
What is your underpinning motivation in life for yourself and your family?
Are you consciously living as an ambassador of Allah, or are you just fulfilling your material objectives?
If any of the answers are not as they should be, it is time to map out a different path for your journey.