Bismillahir rahman ir raheem
March 25, 2009
Good Character, the Means to Allah’s Love—Sh. Muhammad Hassan
Asalamu alaikum wrt wb,
All praise be to Allah, Lord of the Worlds, All praise be to the One Who did not take a child, and has no partner in dominion, the One Who has no helper, Whom there is no god except He, the Creator of all things, and there is no creator other than Him. Allah deserves all forms of worship, that is because Allah is the Truth, and what they call on other than Him is falsehood, and Allah is the Highest, the Greatest.
I bear witness that there is no god other than Allah, unique in His Actions, Names, and Attributes; He has no equal, no partner, no opposite, no wife, no parents, nor children. “Say: Allah is One, the Lord and Sustainer of the Universe, He has no children, no parents, and there is nothing like Him.”
And I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, the Leader of those who declare God’s Oneness, and His close Friend. He is the most knowledgeable of people from amongst Allah’s creation, who said about Allah: Indeed Allah does not sleep, and it is not befitting of Him to sleep. His veil is Light, if it were lifted, the vision of the onlooker would be set ablaze.
May Allah send peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, the Shining Sun, and Allah opened through him blind eyes, sealed hearts, and left us on a clear manifest guidance, its night like its day. He is the caller to the best of actions and speech and character, and may peace be on his companions, family, and all those who follow his guidance and Sunnah, until the Day of Judgment.
Welcome my noble brothers and honorable sisters, and may Allah reward you for your efforts. You have done well, and earned a place for yourself in Jannah. I ask Allah the Loving and Generous, who joined us during this blessed hour, to join us with the Best of Callers, and Imam of the Prophets in the Gardens of Paradise.
My beloved: Jibreel asks, and the Prophet pbuh answers. Lessons in Aqeedah and Tawheed, based on the Hadith of Jibreel, I present it to the beloved Ummah in a unique presentation, the questions and answers that take place between the Prophet pbuh and Jibreel. Why not, and the questioner is Jibreel the trustworthy one of the heavens, and the teacher is Muhammad, pbuh, the trustworthy one of the earth.
And we continue with this immense and noble means of teaching, Hadathani Abee, or ‘My Father Taught Me,’ but I repeat at each of our meetings, this hadith, so that we can memorize it, and what is more beautiful than us learning and memorizing the words of Allah, and then the words of the Prophet, pbuh.
In a hadith narrated by Bukhari in its abridged form, and Muslim, Ahmed, and others at length, and the version I chose for us: Some people began to believe that all events happen spontaneously, and that Allah doesn’t know about them until they happen. Ibn Umar said, they don’t believe until they follow the way of the Prophet, pbuh. Ibn Umar then said, my father (Umar bin al-Khattab) narrated to me: “While we were sitting with the Prophet, pbuh, a man suddenly came upon us, his clothes were extremely white, and his hair extremely black, and he had no signs of travel upon him, and none of us knew him. He sat next to the Prophet, placing his knees next to his knees, and placing his hand on his thigh and said, ‘Oh Muhammad, Teach me about Islam…’
The Prophet pbuh said, ‘Islam is to bear witness that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is his messenger, establish prayer, pay Zakat, fast Ramadan, and perform Hajj if you are able.’ The man said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ We were amazed that he asked him a question, then told him he was correct! He then said ‘Teach me about Iman.’
The Prophet replied, “To believe in Allah, His angels, His Books, His Messengers, and the Day of Judgment, and to believe in Destiny, its good and evil.” He said, ‘You have spoken the truth.’ He then said…’Teach me about Ihsaan…’ The Prophet said, “To worship Allah as if you see him, and if you aren’t able to see him, then He indeed Sees you.” He said, ‘Teach me about the Hour…’
The Prophet replied, “The one being asked does not know more than one questioning.” The man said, ‘Then tell me about its signs.’ The Prophet said, ‘A slave-woman will give birth to her master, and you will see barefoot, naked, herdsmen competing in building tall buildings.”
Then the questioner left. We sat for a while, then the Prophet pbuh said: ‘Do you know who the questioner was oh Umar?’ I said, ‘Allah and His Messenger know best.’ He replied, ‘He is Gabriel (Jibreel), he came to teach you your religion.’ ”
My honored friends, we continue with this foundational means of Tarbiyya, or teaching, ‘hadathani abi’ or ‘my father taught me’, and I have spent a long time on this means of teaching, and I will continue to spend a long time on this issue. Since we are in dire need of this means of teaching, and I cannot think of a single household that doesn’t need to return to this means anew.
I spoke of Tarbiyya (Upbringing) by example, love, and Aqeedah, and last time, about Upbringing through Worship.
Our topic today, is on the fifth foundational means of Tarbiyya, and it is not less important that of upbringing by example, love, Aqeedah, or worship.
It is : Tarbiyya through Akhlaaq, good character.
And I don’t know why you are in a hurry, this is your provision, on the tongue of this servant of yours.
Tonight, we will begin a new means of building our youth, which is critical, not less critical then teaching by other means.
No, rather Tarbiyya through Akhlaaq is present in all other forms of upbringing. For nurturing Aqeedah in the hearts of children is for the purpose of perfecting their character.
Did Allah send the prophets to teach Aqeedah and then to not live by it and exemplify it in their character?
Did Allah command us to acts of worship by body alone, and these acts don’t affect our character, nature, our interactions with others, would Allah do that?
No, Tarbiyya through Akhlaaq permeates all forms of upbringing, through love, emotions, beliefs, it is hidden in all these forms of teaching.
It might take us 50 more programs to finish this topic of Tarbiyya, so don’t be in a rush, since I want to lay down a foundation for raising our children based on the pure Quran and Sunnah, and so you can listen or read these lessons in the future, and I ask Allah to give us guidance, and make our children the coolness of our eyes.
Come tonight, to lay the foundations of this most critical quality, Akhlaaq and good character, which our Ummah is desperately in need of.
Akhlaaq is in our interactions with Allah, i.e. in worship, it is in our interactions with the Prophet pbuh, i.e. in following him, it is with your neighbors, your family, the environment, with water, these things all have adaab and manners in dealing with them.
Imagine, even when slaughtering an animal, or when in the Masjid, at home, when getting in the car, or you are at home, and your friend is by your side watching TV with you,
Or in the street, while sitting with your family in the park, these all have adaab and Akhlaaq.
The Crisis of the Ummah is the Crisis of Akhlaaq, don’t you see that most of the creation has fallen into hypocrisy? We hear words, and they sound beautiful, but we don’t see any actions to back up these words.
We hear these nice stories put forth, but no action. This is the key difference between our predecessors, and our generation.
The Prophet pbuh was able to create a noble generation, out of the middle of a desert, in such a small period of time, a period that is insignificant with respect to history, he built this building of righteousness. He was able in this short time, to print 10,000 books on righteous action, but it wasn’t on pages of paper or magazines, no he printed them on the hearts of the Sahabah with the ink of Light, so these people went out to the world, with good character, and made what they learned into a way of life to emulate.
They had sincerity, bravery, manliness, piety, asceticism, generosity, this is the difference between them and humanity today.
Since the Ummah today has gone away from this foundational quality, good manners and character. Today, I’m not going to speak of the details of good character, like: truthfulness, patience, bravery, no I am not speaking about these specifics.
But I am speaking in general, of how good character permeates all aspects of one’s life.
Good character is a high station, which is immense, and honorable in the religion of Allah, and with the Prophet, pbuh.
Good character is proof of the perfection of Imaan.
The Prophet pbuh said, “The most perfect believer in Faith, is the best in character.” Look at these words, the most perfect believer in faith, is the one who has good character, look at the importance of this in the religion of Islam! It is best way to get closer to Allah, and approach Allah and earn His pleasure.
Can you imagine, you could get close to the Prophet, pbuh, so close that no one else can attain, by your good character, you will be the closest person to the Prophet in Paradise, can you imagine this?
Good character was made by the Prophet pbuh the goal of his message, as he said: “I have only been sent for the Perfection of Character.”
You see a huge difference between what the creation should be on of noble character, and what really exists. Don’t you agree with me, my honored brothers and sisters, that bad character, in words, intentions, actions, is the clear means of distinguishing evil people?
We don’t want to spend a long time without explaining, what is good character, that the Prophet pbuh said, “I have only been sent to perfect good character.”
Nawas asked the Prophet, as narrated in Muslim, ‘What is righteousness?” the Prophet pbuh said, “It is good character.”
Imagine the vastness of this word, “good character.”
Akhlaaq permeates all means of Tarbiyya, all aspects of religion, oh would that the Ummah knew that importance of good character!
You will never hear a Muslim with good character say, “The ends justify the means.” No, those who say that, they take it from other than the Prophet pbuh, they take it from the West.
Ibn Khuldun, he speaks how nations imitate the victorious, and if the Muslims took from the pure sources, the Quran and the words of the Prophet, by Allah, they would be leaders of the world, and attain happiness in this world and the next.
Come, let us learn more about the word Khulq: It means the nature of a person, his qualities, briefly.
But Shaykh, are you saying, that character is inherited, than we cannot change it?
No, some is inherited, but other qualities are acquired.
We are commanded to acquire good character, and if it weren’t that we are able to acquire it, we wouldn’t have been commanded to perfect our Akhlaaq, since it is impossible for Allah to command us to do something we are unable to do.
“Allah does not burden a soul except what one is capable of doing.”
Reflect with me, my honored friends, these words, some of the scholars gathered describing good character: “ The one who has good character is the one who: has much modesty, but little harm to others, much piety and honesty, but less vain speech, a lot of good actions, but few failings, is patient, thankful, content, wise, a good companion, chaste, doesn’t curse, or backbite, or spread calumnies, isn’t hateful, or stingy, or jealous, loves for the sake of Allah, and hates for the sake of Allah, is made joyful for Allah, and is angered for Allah.”
Yusuf ibn Asbaat said good character is ten:
1.) Not differing or bickering with others.
2.) Being Just.
3.) Not seeking out the faults of others.
4.) Having a good opinion of others.
5.) Making excuses for others’ mistakes
6.) Smiling in the face to others
7.) Correcting one’s own mistakes before others
8.) Blaming oneself
9.) Busying oneself with the defects of his own character
10.) Kindness to young children and elders.
Let us listen to these words about the high stature of good character: apply them first on yourself, then teach them to your children, and one who doesn’t have a thing cannot give it to his children.
Good character is the reason why Allah sent the beloved Prophet, pbuh. “I have only been sent to perfect good character.” The whole purpose of the message of Islam is to perfect human character.
It is answering the command of Allah, to perfect our character, as Allah says in many verses, and perhaps we may not reflect on them: “Forgive others, and command to goodness, and turn away from the ignorant.” This verse summarizes good character, and its foundations.
Be generous with others, and turn away from their shortcomings, and mistakes, “forgive, turn away from the ignorant,” and don’t be arrogant, with the young, old, weak, be flexible with their states, and interact with others with easiness.
“And command goodness,” in speech, and in states, but if you do this, be sure there will be many ignorant don’t treat you with these qualities, so Allah commands you to “turn away from the ignorant.”
Let your chest accommodate their ignorance, even if they harm you with a word or an action, or even a gesture, or physically, turn away from the ignorant.
We must know that the path of the seekers is not rose lined, no it is filled with thorns, and don’t think that the religious callers will never be hurt by the criminals and hypocrites, if this were so, the Prophet would never have been harmed by the ignorant, but he bore with patience their ignorance, and he didn’t return their ignorance with ignorance.
“If you were harsh-hearted and strict, they would have turned away from you.”
Let those we seek the Path of the Righteous remember that they must command to good with good. The good doers will be the target of hypocrites and evil ones in all ages; his life, limb, they will be affected by their evil, but he should be patient at the time of hardship.
Good character, also, is the fulfillment of the command of the Prophet, pbuh, who said to Muadh bin Jabl, as narrated by Ahmed, “Oh Muadh, fear Allah wherever you are, and follow up an evil deed with a good one and it will wipe it out, and have good character with others.”
This is beautiful advice from the Prophet pbuh for us. But we see something else in the streets, in homes, in government places, in the malls, what are these evil words we hear from youth, parents, words that tear the hearts apart, and perhaps one finds out that the one who speaks these words, he prays all his prayers, or goes to Hajj!
No, I don’t deny that a woman might get upset sometimes, but I am saying that when she does she should not use these harsh words, even if you say that you want to teach your child, or get the attention of your husband. No, we can change this habit.
Get up and make wudu, or pray, these actions put out the fire of anger in the hearts and eyes.
I have heard words that have no connection to our religion, in homes, in every place.
This is the command of the Prophet, pbuh. Do you love the Messenger of Allah? Yes, then follow his advice.
Don’t curse your wife, or your child. I heard a child say, calling his friend, as if they were fighting each other, and then I found out they were joking: “Oh son of an adulteress!”
I said, come here my brother, what are you saying? What year are you in? Don’t you know that it is a major sin to accuse another of adultery, and there is a prescribed punishment for it?
How many people accuse others of adultery…and yet there are other words much worse than this, but I chose a lesser example, and many don’t even realize the danger of what they are saying.
Some even go so far as to curse the religion of Allah, or the Prophet, pbuh. “But be with others with good character.”
Let us be on good character, in order that we impart good character on our children.
Also, the Prophet pbuh said, to Anas, “You should strive to perfect your character, and spend much time in quietness, for by Allah, human beings are not perfected except by these two means.”
Speak what is beneficial, in this world, or in the afterlife. But someone might say words to make others laugh, and he earns by them the anger of Allah.
Our Prophet pbuh said, in Bukhari: “A man says a word from the pleasure of Allah, unknowingly, and Allah raises him by it in Paradise, or he says an evil word, which causes him to sink far into the Fire.”
Also, from the merits of perfecting one’s character, and we will finish with these: It is a means of success and the love of Allah, oh Allah, if you knew what this means. I speak to parents, teachers, and our youth:
Imagine, the King of the Heavens and the earth loves you, what a noble rank! It is what so many have strived for from our predecessors, for it is the provision of the heart, and desire of the soul, and the relaxation of the mind, and the apple of the eye, one whom Allah loves, everything else will love him, and the earth will love him, and he will be happy in dunya and Akhirah.
In Tabaraani, the Prophet said, “The most beloved servant of Allah to Allah is the best of them in character.”
Are you not in need of Allah’s love? If you are, then interact with others with good character. And who is the closest to the Prophet pbuh on the Day of Judgment? We will answer this question next week, inshallah.
And we will speak about how to raise our children on good character, in order to benefit their societies, and indeed all of humanity is in need of these noble characteristics.
May Allah make us of those with good character, and I seek refuge in Allah from saying something and I am not one who practices it, for one should not speak on this topic except one who has perfected his character, and by Allah, I don’t think I am one of them.
“An impious one teaches others! It is like a doctor treating others, and he himself is in need of treatment!”
I ask Allah to beautify us with good Akhlaaq. I say these words, seeking forgiveness in Allah for you and for me.
Wassalamu alaikum wrt wb.