As-Salamu 'aleikum, dear brothers and sisters,
As Muslims living in a non-Muslim part of the world, we should all be concerned with portraying the proper image of Al-Islam. By presenting Islam to the non-Muslims in its true light, more people will be willing to accept it. One of the ways Islam spreads is through Da'wah-inviting non-Muslims to Islam. And in making His Da'wah. we should show the non-Muslims something which speaks louder than our words. . . our actions. Not only should we improve our actions just to give the non-Muslims a good impression about Islam, but we should do it for each other, ourselves, and most of all, for seeking the pleasure of Allah.
Since we are living in a place where Islam is not portrayed nor manifested properly, ma ny people of this Ummah have unfortunately abandoned Muslim characteristics and have adopted al-jahiliyyah - ignorance. This jahiliyyah appears tempting and pleasing to many Muslims, especially students, who are constantly exposed to this in the universities. So we must hold tight to our religion and we need to stick together. By sticking together, we are guaranteeing ourselves good company and thus preventing ourselves from falling into inappropriate conduct.
Every invention or machine comes with an instruction manual. And the one most qualified to write the instruction manual is the one who invented or created the machine. Likewise, Allah's Revelation - the Qur'an - is the instruction manual for human beings. (After all, Allah created us.) And in this Qur'an, we find guidelines for how to act and behave, just as in the sunnah of the Prophet f, we find guidelines of how to act and behave-for Allah revealed in the Qur'an: Indeed you have in the Mes senger of Allah a beautiful example of conduct (Surah Ahzab). And on the authority of Abu Hurairah j, RasulAllah f said, Surely, I was only sent to complete the most noble character traits (Sahih Muslim). Therefore Islam, through the Qur'an and Sunnah, teaches us how to give ourselves noble characters. By striving to possess a noble character, both non-Muslims and Muslims alike will come to respect you. (And this is one of the first steps in making Da'wah, and even an obligation upon Muslims in general).
So obviously, practicing Islam and displaying good manners go hand in hand-they are inseparable So if we truly want to be good Muslims, we should make sure that our personalities and characters reflect that. Muslims who display ignoble etiquettes and manners, like swearing and lying, are crossing the borders of hypocrisy. (What a grave and serious thing).
Knowing how to clearly distinguish good manners from bad manner s, and also realizing when we are doing either, are vital to our striving and maintaining the noble characters we all want. People who display such respectable traits are modest, humble, and persevering. Of the things many people neglect are, having a cheerful disposition. politeness or courtesy, having a high-class etiquette, and finally, the long-forgotten concept of cleanliness.
The main cause of someone not being able to develop a noble character is anger. The Prophet f warned the Muslims about getting angry numerous times. The things which eventually lead to anger are conceit, unnecessary joking and jesting, disputations, contradictions, treachery, suspicion, and desire for excess wealth, dignity, and popularity. A man once came to Prophet Muhammad f and said: O Messenger of Allah, teach me something which will cause me to enter Jannah - but don 't make it a lot so that I might get weary from it. The Prophet Baasem(RA)replied, Don't be angry. And he repeated that several times (Tirmidhi). Here are a couple more hadith regarding anger
The strong man is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but
the strong man is the one who controls himself when angry (Bukhari, Muslim)
When one of you gets angry and he is standing let him sit and his anger will go away. If not then he should lie down (Abu Dawud)
There are many more hadith regarding ange r. This shows the gravity and seriousness of the emotion in our lives.
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Another problem facing Muslims today, even though many people do not realize it, is suspicion. Suspicion is the result of miscommunication. gossiping and backbiting. Allah commands mankind in the Qur'an, Avoid excess suspicion, for verily in some suspicion are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). An d fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who accepts repentance, Most Merciful. (Al-Hujurat:l2). So obviously, good Muslims are not overly suspicious. They do not judge all those around them guilty. People who are overly suspicious often openly express their opinions about others by accusing them with little or no evidence - and this leads to the grave sins of backbiting and slander.
When the majority of Muslims were once practicing Islam properly, they were leaders of science and technology, as well as morals and understanding. They ruled the world when the disbelievers were living in abject poverty, humiliating filth, and engaging in immoral and abominable practices. During the Crusades, when non-Muslims "visited" Muslim lands, they learned how to dress appropriately and take baths for the first time in their lives. . . they learned how to live life properly. They saw Islam in its true light. And these Crusaders who went to the Holy Land often did not return to their European ho mes - the chose to stay, because they had converted to Islam. And this is evident in the lands between Europe and Palestine, where you find people with arabicized and translated surnames. How many of you heard of the many men and women soldiers who converted to Islam after serving in the Persian Gulf War? Not many people are motivated enough to go read heaps of books about Islam in order to learn more about it. They will just look at the people who call themselves Muslim and see how they fare in lif e. So if we want to consider ourselves Muslims, we should become true representatives of Islam, and we should do our best to ennoble our character.
The qualities that were previously discussed are only a few of the many traits that a Muslim should know about. It is every Muslim's duty to read more Qur'an and Hadith in search for more truth. It is absolutely obligatory upon the Muslims to be obedient and dutiful to Allah. The invitation to Islam is by emphasizing our goodness and instructing peo ple with the proper Islamic laws and wisdom (as did our predecessors). The noble Muslims of the early days strove hard in Allah's cause, and like them, we should strive with sincerity and with all our efforts to make Allah's religion reign superior on the earth. The Muslims of long ago invited people to Islam, explaining the excellence of the religion. Upon observing the Muslims for just a brief period of time, different peoples wanted to be like them. This helped to make the spread of Islam easy. A nd through this kind of Da'wah, Islam spread faster than any other religion and world empire in the course of history. . . toppling the Roman and Persian empires in the process. We are Muslims. In order to show people what Islam is. . . they should be able to see Islam in motion inshaAllah, within ourselves.