by Khawlah bint Yahya
It is the main reason people will enter Paradise.
It counts highest on your Scale of Deeds and makes you close to the Prophet on Day of Judgment.
It causes you to reach the stations of those engrossed in worship.
And it was the way of the Prophet ﷺ.
What is it?
It is husnul khuluq— good inner and outer character, the absolute link to being truly productive as a Muslim. Looking at yourself now, how is your character?
Good Character in Islam: The Missing Link
Anas ibn Malik radiyAllahu `anhu said, The Messenger of Allah ﷺ had the best character of anyone. I did not touch any silk brocade nor silk softer than the palm of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. I did not smell any scent sweeter than the scent of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. I served the Messenger of Allah ﷺ for ten years and he never said to me, ‘Uff‘ nor did he say about anything I had done, ‘Why did you do that?’ nor about anything I had not done, ‘Why did you not do that?’
To start off, according to Islam, good character is made up of two aspects: khalq is your outer character (how you interact with others, your looks) and khuluq refers to the inner (like respect for others, love of Allah ‘azza wajal, patience). If someone has good khalq and khuluq so that his character is good from the outside and the inside, then he has a complete character.
It happens a lot that people use the “inner” as an excuse to not have a good outer character. Some people are very pious and are always in the masjid but they interact with others in a very harsh way.
Or people simply focus on the outer, neglecting the inner. They are great with people but their relationship with Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa is neglected.
Sometimes we are not in need of increasing our acts of worship, but we need to improve the quality of our acts of worship and the quality of how we interact with others.
If you truly desire to be productive and fill up your Scale of Deeds, then you strive to be good inside and outside.
Don’t You Want To Be the Best of the Best?
‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-’As radiyallahu ‘anhu said, The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was neither obscene nor indecent. He used to say, ‘The best of you are the best in character.’
Good character is an attribute of the prophets and the truthful and the opposite leads to the many ways of Shaytan. Having good character is not something you only do for yourself; it has an incredible effect on your children and on non-Muslims. SubhanAllah, showing good character is the best dawah ever! Imagine someone becoming a Muslim by the Grace of Allah, just by being motivated by your character.
What is Good Character?
Hassan al-Basri said, Good character is generosity, striving to help others and giving people the benefit of the doubt. Ibn Mubarak said, It is to have a warm smile, struggle towards good and avoid harming others. Imam Ahmad said, To avoid anger, threatening others and grant people the benefit of the doubt.
Seven Amazing Virtues of Good Character!
1. Good character is the main reason people will enter Paradise.
Rasulullah salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, And what is most likely to send people to Paradise? Being conscious of Allah and good manners. (Al-Bukhari)
He salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam also said: I guarantee a house on the outskirts of the Garden to anyone who abstains from disputation, even if he is in the right, and a house in the middle of the Garden for anyone who abandons lying, even when he jests, and a house at the highest of the Garden for anyone who has good character.
2. Be highest on the scale.
Rasulullah salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: Nothing is weightier on the Scale of Deeds than one’s good manners.(Al-Bukhari)
3. Be close to the Prophet on the Day of Judgment
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, Those I love most and those sitting nearest to me on the Day of Rising will be those of you with the best character. Those most hateful to me and the furthest of you from me on the Day of Rising will be the pompous, the braggarts and the arrogant . . .” [part of the narration]
4. Reach the stations of those engrossed in worship.
‘A’isha radiyallahu ‘anha said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah say, ‘By his good character a believer can reach the same rank as someone who fasts and prays at night.”
How beautiful is it if the person fasts and prays at night, and perfects his character, then no one can compare to him.
5. Be beloved of Allah and His Messenger ﷺ.
The Prophet said, in Tabaraani, “The most beloved servants of Allah, to Allah, are the best of them in character.”
6. Good Character was the way of the Prophet ﷺ.
In Surah Qalam, ayah 4 Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa says: And indeed, you are of a great moral character.
7. Maintain the most perfect belief.
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, The believers with the most perfect belief are the best of them in character. The best of you are the best of you towards your wives.
Now, is it possible to improve your character?
There are two types of people; some are blessed by Allah to have naturally a noble character and others have to develop it by training themselves with knowledge and effort. An example is people who are very calm by nature and people who easily get angry. It takes the latter struggle and practice to restrain their anger and gain the reward from Allah ‘azza wajal.
An example is the companion Ashj ʻAbul al-Qayis to whom the Prophet ﷺ said, You have two qualities which Allah and His messenger ﷺ love – forbearance and ease. In another narration, Ashj asked the Prophet ﷺ, Are these qualities that I have acquired, or did Allah fashion me this way? The Prophet ﷺ responded, Allah created you that way. Upon hearing this Ashj responded, All praise be to Allah who created me with two characteristics beloved to Him and His messenger!
So thank Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa for the qualities He blessed you with!
The Prophet ﷺ said, I was sent only to complete noble character. This means having a noble character, inside and outside, is within reach for all of us!
So how to attain it?
By learning and practicing. Good character is based on five important qualities: Knowledge; A willingness to change; Patience; Good nature; Sound submission – Islam. (Ibn ul Qayyim)
Here are some practical tips on how to strive for a good character:
1. Be sincere in asking Allah to give you good character; make dua day and night!
2. Be patient and keep trying; fight your nafs to leave lying, bad words, bad environments, etc.
3. Be with people of good character; make dua Allah ‘azza wajal brings righteous people on your path.
4. Accept advice and seek forgiveness from others; if your mother says, my son, don’t say that. You should listen to her, and don’t be arrogant. Arrogance is rejecting truth, even if it is from your child, or your wife. You will not enter Paradise if there is even a grain of arrogance in your heart. Even if it is a disbeliever who corrects your mistake, accept his advice.
5. Read books about good character; look in the Seerah, it was said: I don’t beautify Muhammad by my words, rather he beautifies my words.
Try to use this dua made by the Prophet sal allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam from now on.
Oh Allah, guide us to the best of character, none guides to it except You! And turn away from us evil character, for none can turn it away from us except You.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa help us in our struggle for a noble character. Ameen!
I pray you will benefit,
~Khawlah bint Yayha, United Kingdom
THE AYAH JOURNAL, Qur’an & Productivity is a global project with the exciting goal to inspire every Muslim worldwide to open the Qur’an every day, pick one ayah and apply it to your own life by making acting on the ayah your mission for the day. Let’s bring back the message of the Qur’an to our daily life! Check www.ayahjournal.com and follow us on www.facebook.com/ayahjournal for vibrant Qur’an & Productivity tips.