Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The Importance of Good Character
What is character? – In short character has been defined as –“what you do when nobody else is looking”, or when you think nobody else is paying attention to you. It’s about your actions, your behaviour, attitudes towards and treatment of others. People can have good character and they can have bad character. Good character involves kindness, trustworthiness and respect while bad character is the opposite of all these virtues.
As Muslims our character should always be good and pure. This was the case with the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) and even non-Muslim writers have to admit to the perfect character of the Prophet (PBUH). For instance, Diwan Chand Sharma wrote about the Prophet (SAW) that:” Muhammad was the soul of kindness, and his influence was felt and never forgotten by those around him.” In addition, Mahatma Gandhi had the following to say about the prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH):“I become more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers and his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle.”
The importance of good character is stressed in Islam. “It was the first object of God to teach the Prophet (PBUH) good manners and conduct. For this reason the Prophet (PBUH) said: I have been sent to complete good conduct”. Furthermore, “God praised the character of the Prophet by saying “You are surely on sublime character”. The Prophet explained it to the people: God loves good character and hates bad character”.
Ayesha (May Allah Be Pleased with her) said: “The Prophet (PBUH) was a complete model of the moral of the Quraan”.
So why the emphasis on having good character? You see, sometimes we tend to forget that our character and attitude towards others determines the outcomes of our lives. Without realizing the vibes that we send out, we get the same vibes back and we then blame other people or events.
“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world; everyone you meet is your mirror” (Ken Keyes, Jr.).
Now it’s true that some people will remain negative no matter how you react to them, but if most people you associate with seem to react to you in a similar negative manner then perhaps it would be a good idea to review the way in which you are reacting to others. You may be surprised at what you find out and what might shock you even more is how your entire life will change when you begin to make important positive changes to your character.
There are 3 important components of Good Character:
1. Moral Knowing- To know what is right and wrong, good and bad.
2. Moral Feeling- A conscience to feel when something isn’t the way it should be. This also includes self-respect, self-control and humility.
3. Moral Action- Actually taking action to change the things that you know and feel are wrong. This requires will power, practice and a whole lot of patience!
“People with good character act truthfully, loyally, bravely, kindly and fairly without being much tempted by the opposite course” (Joe White, author of the book “Pure Excitement”.
Okay, so now it’s time to see what your character rates as, and remember, IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY WITH THE RESULTS YOU GET, IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO MAKE A POSITIVE CHANGE.
RATE YOUR CHARACTER:
Read the statements below and then choose the number that is most appropriate for you.
At the end add up the value of all the chosen numbers and this will be your total score:
If your answer is "ALWAYS" in any of the statements choose the first number next to the statement, If your response is "SOMETIMES" choose the 2nd number next to the statement, and if your reponse is "NEVER" choose the 3rd number next to the statement. In each case the value of the number might be different, but the 1st number will remain "ALWAYS", and so on.
1 It’s ok to tell lies. 1 2 3
2 I make promises and don’t fulfill it. 1 2 3
3 If people give me extra change at the shop I give it back. 3 2 1
4 Telling the truth is best. 3 2 1
5 I cheat other people. 1 2 3
6 It’s ok to take things from people with lots of money. 1 2 3
7 I occasionally shoplift. 1 2 3
8 I exaggerate about things. 1 2 3
9 I make up stories about myself when others show off. 1 2 3
10 I lie to children to keep them quiet. 1 2 3
11 You must respect elders. 3 2 1
12 I honour family rules. 3 2 1
13 I talk back to elders. 1 2 3
14 It’s ok to laugh at others. 1 2 3
15 I interrupt others when they are talking. 1 2 3
16 All people should be treated with respect. 3 2 1
17 I use other people’s things without asking. 1 2 3
18 I know better than others. 1 2 3
19 It’s ok to gossip about others. 1 2 3
20 I am concerned about other people. 3 2 1
21 I am better than others. 1 2 3
22 I ask for help when I need it. 3 2 1
23 I worry about what others think. 1 2 3
24 I learn from my mistakes. 3 2 1
25 I must always be perfect. 1 2 3
26 People need to be criticized. 1 2 3
27 I do things to impress others. 1 2 3
28 People’s faults need to be brought out. 1 2 3
29 You can learn a lot from other people. 3 2 1
30 I do things the right way. 3 2 1
OVERALL RATING:(TOTAL SCORE)
What your score means:
75-90- means that you have good character traits of honesty, respect and humility.
MashaAllah, keep it up!
60-72- means that you are doing well but there is room for improvement, you can
better your character.
30-57- You need to improve your character. It is not impossible or too late, it just
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS SHORT SURVEY, OR IF YOU'RE CONFUSED ABOUT SOMETHING, PLEASE LEAVE ME A COMMENT BELOW!
Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) advised us that we should; “Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” There are many ways in which we can hurt other people. The most obvious form of hurting someone is by physically injuring them. However, there are other ways of hurting people that we might take for granted because we cannot see the effects of our hurtful actions. This can perhaps be referred to as ‘emotional hurting’. We do this when we hurt other people’s feelings. Talking ill of others, backbiting, spreading rumours, teasing, mocking, making fun of someone, lying to someone, speaking disrespectfully, insulting people and even breaking promises are ways in which we hurt other peoples’ feelings. It is better for us not to say anything about other people at all because we never know when we will be hurting the next person. We might not intend to be hurtful but we can still end up hurting someone else. We have to remember that Allah sees all that we do and we will be answerable for it. If we do not pay for our actions in this world then we will have to pay for it in the hereafter.
People often say that; “what goes around comes around”. We see this all of the time, in everyday life. If someone does something to hurt someone else it eventually comes back to them, sometimes it comes back to them after many years and it always comes back in ways that hurt more so we have to be very careful.
“In a Hadith we read that on one occasion, Nabi (SAW) enquired from his Sahabah (RA) whether they knew who a real PAUPER was. When they replied in the negative, Rasulullah (SAW) explained that a pauper is that person who appears before Allah Ta’aala with a tremendous amount of good deeds including Zakaat, Hajj, Saum (fasting), Salaah, Dawaah and Tabligh. However, in spite of having all these virtues, he would have also trampled on the rights of others by having spoken ill of someone, criticised another wrongly, back-bitten or insultingly sworn somebody or robbed another, etc.
His good deeds will now be used to compensate for all the evils committed by him until all his rewards and sawaab would be eliminated. Therefore the sins of those whom he had wronged would be transferred upon his shoulders and thus, as a real PAUPER, he will be cast into Jahannam. (May Allah save us all from such a plight!).”