Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Character of a Believer

As Muslims, it is important that we demonstrate our Islamic character through our everyday interaction with others. This can only be achieved if we acknowledge the importance of our behaviour and the impact it has on society. Needless to say, the character of a believer is as important as any religious duty. However, despite being aware of this fact, we often find ourselves in situations where we put our Islamic temperament to the back of our minds and behave like the very people we hate to associate ourselves with.

Here are a few phrases which describe courtesy:

• ‘Courtesy costs nothing and profits everybody’
• ‘Good manners are treating other people in the way we expect to be treated’
• ‘Listen, smile and take time in our dealings with each other’

Being courteous does not require you to go out of your way to help others. There are much simpler tasks which help to demonstrate this quality. Examples include: holding a door open for someone, offering your seat to a person who needs it more and giving way to a fellow motorist. I’m sure that as drivers, many of us forget our courteous traits whilst in the driving seat, often horning at one another with immense frustration!

It is very easy to do what is common by following the norm. However, the character of a believer is not supposed to be ordinary. It must act as a shining example of the beauty which lies within Islamic conduct. Islam teaches us to be considerate and understanding of one another, so that we can live in peace and harmony. This approach arises from believers having an appreciation of diversity and awareness of the fact that we are all constantly experiencing different circumstances.

Giving Salaam is an important part of Islam, it is this very greeting which unites the hearts of believers and conveys a genuine affection. Unfortunately, in practice, many Muslims often hesitate to use this greeting, others don’t reply appropriately and this can lead to a sense of hesitation which contrasts the desired effect of Salaam. The manner in which we give Salaam is also important, a smile and a positive look are good but they should be the output of a genuine feeling of delight. The importance of the way in which we greet one another can never be underestimated. Giving Salaam is a good deed and it means that you are greeting someone with the intention of earning the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Surely, this is the best way to commence an interaction.