Akhlaaq

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Much effort was made over the centuries to mislead people into believing the misconception that Islam was spread with the sword. However any student of history knows very well that the "sword" that spread Islam was a "sword" that did not pierce skin, slice through flesh or sever any limbs. Rather it was the "sword" that struck the hearts and souls. It was the "sword" of akhlaaq (good character). Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was blessed with the most excellent character. This powerful magnet drew the people to him and even his enemies fell meekly at his feet.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) himself practically displayed the best character in every aspect of life. Likewise he exhorted the Ummah to also adopt good akhlaaq. Hence he would repeatedly say: "The best amongst you is the one who has the best character (Sahih Bukhari)." In another Hadith Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: "There will be nothing more weightier in the scales of a Believer on the day of Judgement than good character, and verily Allah Ta'ala detests a vulgar and foul-mouthed person (Tirmizi)."

In a similar narration Hazrath Abu Hurairah (R.A.) reports that Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) was once asked as to what will enter people most in Jannah? Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied: "The fear of Allah and good character." He was also asked about what will enter people most into Jahannum. He replied: "The mouth and the private parts (i.e. the misuse of these organs) (Tirmizi)."

MOST PERFECT IMAAN

Good character is strongly bonded with Imaan. This is clearly understood from the Hadith reported by Tirmizi that: "The Believer with the most perfect Imaan is the one who has the best akhlaaq, and the best among you is the one who is best to his wife." The same message is gleaned from the words of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) wherein he stated: "Verily by means of his good character a Believer attains the ranks of those who spend their days fasting and their nights standing in prayer (Abu Dawood)."

Having understood the excellence of good character, some may wonder what is really "good character" in terms of Deen. "Akhlaaq" is a comprehensive code of conduct encompassing all aspects of life for example, how should one conduct the matters that pertain to him and Allah Ta'ala, how should he behave with his family, how should he conduct himself in business or in social life ... the correct akhlaaq are to be adopted in all these spheres of life. However, the bottom line of akhlaaq is that no person must be unjustly inconvenienced in any way. Rather, as far as possible suppress one's own rights, overlook the faults of others and be kind and good to them. Luqman (A.S.) gave the following advice to his son: "Never remember two things - Firstly, the favours that you have done for others. Secondly, the harm that others have done to you." This is the gist of akhlaaq.

 

AKHLAAQ IN TRADE

It is therefore indeed tragic that by-and-large we have forgotten the akhlaaq taught by Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam). As a result our unity and brotherhood is in shreds. Instead of adopting the akhlaaq that touched the hearts, we have generally adopted the attitude of "I must have the best -- even if it be at the expense of the rest." There was a time when a few Muslim traders migrated to Indonesia. Their akhlaaq in trade was such that in a short time the people they traded with were won over to Islam. Eventually the entire country flocked to the Deen of Allah. Now we live in times when to a large extent lack of basic ethics and even blatant fraud is distancing people from Deen. Poor akhlaaq with employees has made them wary about Muslims in general. Bad character is even pushing away those weak in Imaan into the arms of the enemies of Islam.

 

LEARN AKHLAAQ

It is time that we educated ourselves about the correct akhlaaq. Seek the advice of authentic Ulama. Join the company of those who have learnt akhlaaq. Read about the lives of the pious elders and about their excellent akhlaaq and implement the same. Things surely do not happen overnight. But we must start walking in that direction now before it is too late.

It is imperative that we adopt the correct akhlaaq immediately. One of the great auliya of latter times has correctly stated: "Nobody will enter Jannah on the basis of his Ibaadat since we cannot perform any action perfectly enough to be regarded as worthy of presenting in the court of Allah Ta'ala. (Despite this the Ibaadat must never be neglected since Allah Ta'ala, of His grace will absolve us of the obligation if we try to  perform it as best we can). However, overlooking some person's fault, forgiving somebody, etc. -- these are actions upon which we can hope for the mercy of Allah Ta'ala."

 

SIMPLE PRESCRIPTION

A simple prescription for rectifying akhlaaq is to adopt the advice of Hakimul Ummah (R.A.). He states: "Before doing or saying anything ... THINK: Will this word or action cause any inconvenience to anybody?" For instance a perfect thing to ponder about daily in our case would be: "How have a I parked my car in the Musjid parking?"  Likewise think: "Am I disturbing anybody by talking aloud at this late hour of the night? Am I hurting somebody's feelings in any way?...etc." By making a habit of thinking first in this manner, we would become conscious of refraining from any such action and deed that may inconvenience others.

May Allah Ta'ala adorn us with the akhlaaq of Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) and make us true ambassadors of Deen. Aameen.

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