By Jannah As-Sabil
Who do you aspire and look up to? What kind of person do you want to become? Ask yourself these questions with a sincere mind. Is it the wannabe gangsters on the street? The Hollywood or Bollywood stars? The Kings of Rap? Think for a moment. Are these role models going to lead you on a path to success in this life and in the Hereafter?
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much” [Qur’an 33:21]
Following our merciful and honest Prophet (pbuh) builds a character of supreme goodness, founded on the words of Allah (swt.) His behaviour shines through as the best of examples, brighter than the bling chains of rap stars, brighter than the flashy interior lights of a new Mercedes and brighter than the adornment of the Dunya.
HERE ARE 10 SIMPLE TIPS TO HELP YOU BECOME A BETTER MUSLIM:
1. Remain calm, maintain self-control and control your tongue
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
"The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger." (Bukhari)
You should always try to remain calm and not get stressed by any situation, as this will allow peace to fill your heart. When you are angry, you should seek refuge in Allah (swt) from Shaytan by reciting
Aūdhu billahi min ash-shaytāni-rajīm (I seek protection from Shaytan; the Rejected one).
Another good idea is to literally cool yourself down by making wudhu.
When your parents constantly moan at you, your siblings try to pick a fight with you, or your friends take the mick out of you, try to remain patient and control your tongue. The following Hadith is narrated by Anas (ra):
I served the Prophet for ten years, and he never said to me, "Uf" (a minor harsh word showing impatience) and never blamed me by saying, "Why did you do so or why didn't you do so?" (Bukhari).
We should be gentle in our speech and not swear, for the Prophet (pbuh) said:
"Who believes in Allah and the Last Day should talk aboutwhat is good or keep quiet." (Bukhari)
Another way of controlling your tongue is by being truthful and loyal, and by keeping the promises you make, because:
"Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise…” (Bukhari)
2. Be just, merciful and polite; don’t be harsh
Asma’s mother was not even a Muslim, yet Asma’ was still ordered to be respectful and considerate to her. Narrated by Asma' bint Abu Bakr:
“My mother came to me, hoping (for my favour) during the lifetime of the Prophet (pbuh) and I asked the Prophet (pbuh) , "May I treat her kindly?" He replied, "Yes." Ibn 'Uyaina said, "Then Allah revealed: Allah does not forbid you to deal justly and kindly with those who did not fight against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who deal with equity. [Qur’an 60:8]” (Bukhari)
By being polite, you will show your respect and tolerance of others and their beliefs. The Prophet (pbuh) used to visit the sick people from among the Jews, as well as the Muslims, and when the funeral procession of a Jew passed before him, he stood up as a sign of respect for the deceased.
“Why did you stand up for a Jewish funeral?” he was asked. The Prophet (pbuh) replied: "Is it not a human soul?" (Bukhari)
An easy way of being friendly and cheerful is by greeting people with a smile - something which is seen as Sadaqah (charity) in Islam. We should give Salam to fellow Muslims, regardless of whether we know them or not, and we should put our faith into practice by offering our help to those in need, because those who are not merciful to others will not be treated mercifully. (Bukhari)
3. Be humble; don’t be arrogant and boastful
Narrated by Haritha bin Wahb: I heard the Prophet (pbuh) saying,
"… the people of the fire comprise every violent, cruel arrogant person." (Bukhari)
Being arrogant and showing off is one of the ways which leads you to the Hellfire. Whether you flash your cash to gain respect or give to charity just to be seen by other people, remember that you are showing off and taking advantage of the blessings that Allah (swt) has given you. Whenever you do an action, make sure that the right intention accompanies it, so that you do it for the sake of Allah (swt) alone.
4. Seek knowledge, it’s the key to Jannah
The Prophet (pbuh) said
," Whosoever follows a path to seek knowledge therein, Allah will make easy for him a path to Paradise." (Muslim)
So if you don’t have much knowledge about Islam, make an effort to at least learn the basics. Maybe you could attend a study circle, or benefit from reliable internet sites. Without knowledge, Shaytan will put doubts into your mind and try to make you reject things that you don’t understand, so gaining knowledge will increase your faith. Be careful to use reliable sources in doing so, because relying on what any old Muslim says is not a good idea, unless they are knowledgeable and have clear proofs from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
5. Be content and thankful to Allah (swt) for what you have
When you have a load of overdrafts, your grades are low, and your parents won’t pay for your first car, remember that Allah (swt) has given you innumerable blessings such as food, shelter, family and protection, to help you through this Dunya. As a believer, you should always remain optimistic and hopeful, because everything that happens will produce some kind of good. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“How wonderful is the affair of the believer, for his affairs are all good, and this applies to no one but the believer. If something good happens to him, he is thankful for it and that is good for him. If something bad happens to him, he bears it with patience and that is good for him.” (Muslim)
So, no matter what situation you are in, be patient and say “Alhamdulillah” for what you have in this life. The Prophet (pbuh) said:
"He who does not thank people, does not thank Allah." (Ahmad, Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud)
Being thankful includes refraining from becoming jealous of other people, their lifestyle or their possessions, because jealousy destroys good deeds. (Abu Dawud)
Always have faith in Allah’s (swt) Mercy and don’t lose heart or despair when you have sinned. Whether it’s shouting at your parents, lying to your best mate, or even committing zina, you have been given the chance to repent.
“Say: O My servants who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful” [Qur’an 39:53]
6. Be chaste, pure and modest; don’t be lustful
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“A lustful glance is the adultery of the eyes.” (Bukhari)
“Every Deen has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty." (Muwatta)
Being modest means lowering your gaze and avoiding checking the opposite sex out, whether on the street or on the TV screen. You should also wear modest clothing yourself so as not to attract the attention of the opposite sex. Fasting is also a good way to control your sexual desire and keep you away from following the steps of Shaytan.
7. Be generous and charitable; don’t be selfish and miserly
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“There are seven whom Allah will shade in His Shade on the Day when there is no shade except His Shade… (one type of a person is) a man who gives in charity and hides it, such that his left hand does not know what his right hand gives in charity...” (Bukhari and Muslim)
Even if it’s just 20p a week from your allowance, putting 50p in the charity box instead of buying a chocolate bar, or collecting lose change and donating it to charity, every good deed counts on your scale on the Day of Judgement.
The Prophet (pbuh) said,
"Richness does not lie in the abundance of worldly goods but richness is the richness of the soul (heart, self.)" (Muslim)
We should remember that this life is temporary, so we should follow the Prophet’s (pbuh) advice when he said that we should be in this life as if we are strangers or travellers. (Bukhari) This basically means that we should not be materialistic, because in the end, all that we will be left with and all that will actually matter will be our Deeds.
8. Be willing to sacrifice for the sake of Allah (swt)
“Say (O Muhammad ): Verily my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.” [Qur’an 6:162]
“By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, it means here Allah’s Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah’s Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.” [Qur’an 3:92]
If you give up something Haram for Allah (swt,) then He will provide you with something better than it. (Ahmad) Also, by sacrificing anything for the sake of Allah (swt,) whether it’s time, money, or enjoyment, then Allah (swt) will reward you with Jannah insha’allah. What could be better than this?
9. Have Taqwa (piety) and be confident and deep in faith, don’t be doubtful
The Prophet (pbuh) was courageous in every part of his life in order to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt,) so stand firm in your belief and increase your piety by avoiding that which is displeasing to Allah (swt). Never hesitate in the face of falsehood; never cease to call to the truth. By following the previous steps in order to improve your character, your Taqwa, faith and confidence will increase.
“…Surely Allah loves those who have piety” [Qur’an 9:4]
“Truly, Allah is with those who fear Him (keep their duty unto Him,) and those who are Muhsinûn (good-doers) [Qur’an 16:128]
10. Be moderate; don’t be excessive.
The Prophet (pbuh) said:
“Observe moderation in deeds (and if it is not possible, try to be near moderation) and understand that none amongst you can attain salvation because of his deeds alone. They said: ‘Allah's Messenger, not even you?’ Thereupon he said: ‘Not even I, but that Allah should wrap me in His Mercy and Grace.’” (Muslim)
To be a good Muslim, it doesn’t mean you have to give the entire contents of your bank account to charity. It doesn’t mean you have to spend your life in the Masjid. Neither does it mean you have to make your parents dinner for the rest of your life. Be moderate in your deeds, and remember that the deeds most loved by Allah (swt) are small deeds done regularly. (Bukhari, Muslim)
WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
Now, if you try to become a walking, talking advert for Islam and try to live as a Muslim with excellent character then it will help you:
Obey Allah (swt) and the Prophet (pbuh) in order to attain success in the Dunya and in the Hereafter, gaining Allah’s (swt) love.
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): "If you (really) love Allah then follow me (i.e. follow the Qur’an and the Sunnah), Allah will love you and forgive you of your sins…” [Qur’an 3:31]
Everyone is tempted by Shaytan to do Haram in this temporary life, everyone makes mistakes and everyone sins; this is human nature. But the guidance from Allah (swt) in the Qur’an and Sunnah will keep us on the straight path and grant us success in the Hereafter, which is eternal.
How has Allah (swt) guided many, allowing Islam to spread so far and wide? Much of this guidance has been through the Prophet’s (pbuh) and the Muslims’ character, through those who encourage good deeds and forbid the evil. Be a walking talking advert of Islam. People will relate your good deeds to your religion, and this will bring them closer to Islam, whether they are Muslims or not. Even if it’s just a smile, giving Salam, donating a pound or refraining from swearing, Allah (swt) may guide people to Islam through you.
Change the state of the Ummah
“Verily! Allah will not change the good condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves (by committing sins and by being ungrateful and disobedient to Allah)…” [Qur’an 13:11]
So start with the person in the mirror i.e. yourself. Make a change in yourself and this will ultimately benefit the whole Ummah, as our good characters will rub off on other people around us insha’allah.
Gain the trust of others
To many people who came face to face with the Prophet’s (pbuh) upright character, he was known as “Al-Ameen” (the trustworthy one.) When others see us acting in a moral way, they will be able to trust us in every word we say, rather than having doubts. They will take us more seriously and ultimately treat us in a better manner.
Keep away from Fitnah (times of trial or tribulation) and Haram
By doing actions which will improve our characteristics, it will stop us from committing sin. We will understand Islam better and know the truth about what is Haram and Halal, we will increase our piety, do things to please Allah (swt), place our trust in Him and ultimately become closer to Him. We will become better Muslims by becoming role models for humanity, which will help us to obey Allah (swt) by following the Prophet (pbuh).
If we replace the role models who call us to Jahannam with those who call us to Jannah, the following statement of Allah (swt) will be clear to everyone:
“You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind…” [Qur’an 3:110]
NOW ASK YOURSELF: HOW MANY OF THE ABOVE CHARACTERISTICS OF A MUSLIM DO YOU POSSESS?