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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Islamic Personality

Syed Adil

The Islamic Personality – What is it? How can we develop a system or
a methodology that will enable our children to imbibe the Islamic
values naturally even as they grow? Obviously it is not an easy task
but not something that is insurmountable. This is a task that the
Ummah will have to undertake if they wish to come out of the morass
in which they find themselves in today. There are sacrifices that
will have to be made and the people who can play the most important
role in this are those who are on the threshold of matrimony or the
young married with little children. It is these people whose hearts
and minds have to be opened to the responsibility that beckons at
them and how it is they who can truly help raise their children as
the true Standard Bearers of Islam or those with an Islamic
Personality.

Remember Islam grew by leaps and bounds only after the conquest of
Makkah. The Makkan Jews, Christians and Pagans saw the Islamic way
of life that was based on justice and fairplay, equity and honour,
valour and concern for others, truthfulness and trustworthiness.
These were the qualities of Muslims that endeared them to one and
all and as a result Islam went on to spread light to all parts of
the World. The Khulafa e Rashidin following our Prophet SAS were
able to successfully enshrine the Isalmic form of governance that
was based on the rule of Allah with the Khalifa merely being a
trustee at best. The subsequent elements of kingship and hunger for
power initially diluted and subsequently completely took away the
concept of Allah's rule in Khilafat to set in motion a process of
degeneration in the Ummah as a whole. However the initial good work
of the four Sahabas (Khulafa e Rashidin) was enough to establish
Islam as a faith that continues to even today attract Non-Muslims in
its fold in large numbers. Only this time it is so not because of us
as a People but despite us.

As an Ummah we will have to collectively reflect on our affairs on
the basis of Quran and Sunnah. This has to be understood in no
uncertain terms if we really desire to make our respective
contribution to the cause of our Deen. I said If for something that
is really a must. As the best of Ummah (Aal e Imran 110) chosen by
Allah SWT, it is enjoined upon us to act in a certain manner, which
in a nutshell amounts to not just live Islam as it is prescribed to
us for peace, contentment and happiness in this World but also to
ensure a smooth transition into the Afterlife or the Hereafter. The
Hereafter is our Goal and the way to it is through a test by fire in
this world. Remember Iblees/Satan with not so inconsiderable powers
and with due permission from Allah SWT Himself is out here to make
this journey into the Hereafter as difficult as possible. This is
the test we have to live and this is the test we have to pass and
the examiner in this case is the Most High, the All-Powerful Allah
SWT Himself.

What is the system or the method that we need to develop and put in
place for our young to imbibe and follow? First and foremost of all
we need to understand what is the way Allah SWT has shown through
His Words (Quran) and how the same was practiced by our Prophet
Muhammad SAS (Sunnah). It has to be understood that Islam is not
just about the so called five pillars (Shahadah, Salat , Saum, Zakat
and Haj) because they only constitute the first two aspects of the
larger whole, i.e. Total Deen, which comprises of (Imani'yaat
[Belief and Aqaaid], Iba'daat [Worship], Mua'malat [Dealings with
people], Mua'shirat [Environment and Society] and Akh'laq[Manners]).
This in turn can be split into various attributes that go into
making of an Islamic Personality. As we all know it was the persona
of the Prophet SAS himself that can be termed as an ultimate Islamic
Personality. It is the attributes of his personality that we should
seek to impart on our young even when they are growing up and are
able to evolve as an Islamic personality naturally. The Prophet SAS
himself possessed in abundance a personality that was based on
Forbearance (hilm [state of dignified bearing and constancy despite
provocation]), Self Restraint (ihtimal) in the face of pains and
physical injuries, Patience (Sabr) which encompasses a much larger
meaning and incorporates values of moderation and restraint in what
we eat, how much we sleep, what we say, see and do. Finally and
perhaps most importantly Forgiveness (Awf [ the will to not hold
something against someone or the courage to let go]). Allah
Says: "Show forgiveness, enjoin good and turn away from the
foolish". Al-A'raf 199. When the Prophet SAS asked Hazrath Jibrail
to interpret this Ayat to him, Jibrail said: "Wait until I ask the
one who knows" and then after coming back he said, O Muhammad SAS,
Allah commands you to unite yourself with those who cut you off and
to give to those who refuse to give to you and to pardon those who
are unjust to you". Elsewhere Allah Says: "Let them pardon and
forgive. Do you not love that Allah should forgive you?" An-Nur 22.
There are innumerable instances that can be cited to establish how
the Prophet SAS always stood true to the highest values of character
and piety. Indeed at one time in the Battle of Uhud when the Prophet
sustained severe injuries on his face and his tooth broken, the
Prophet never lost his temper nor cursed the enemy. In fact the
Prophet supplicated to Allah to forgive them and guide them. When
some of the Sahabas (companions) including Hazrath Umar (RA)
said, "if only you had invoked a curse against them, the Prophet SAS
replied, I was not sent to curse, but I was I was sent as a Summoner
and as a mercy. O Allah, guide my people for they do not know". The
Prophet never took revenge for himself unless the honour of Allah
was violated. One recalls the Prophet forgiving the man who had come
to kill him while he was resting alone under a tree and at another
time when someone used black magic against him or even when a
Bedouin pulled at the Prophet's cloak so hard that it made an
impression on his neck. Bibi Aisha (ra) said about the Prophet that
she never saw him strike anyone with his hand, except when doing
jihad in the way of Allah. Instances of the Prophet's forbearance,
patience, piety and kindness, generosity, liberality, courage,
bravery, modesty, good manners, good nature, integrity, probity in
contracts, maintaining ties in kinship, humility, sense of justice,
trustworthiness, decency, truthfulness, sedateness, silence,
deliberation, manly virtue, excellent conduct, abstinence regarding
worldly things, his fear of Allah, obedience and intensity of his
worship are so many that one can go on endlessly. The point to note
is that here is a Prophet of Islam, the Rehmat ul Aalameen (Mercy to
Mankind) who is a shining example of one who possesses all that is
good (Al Birr) and one whose every word, deed and practice is
recorded to the last detail, yet his Ummah (the nation of Islam)
finds itself so lost and struggling to blend the Quran (Word of
Allah SWT) and Sunnah (Ita'at [Obey Prophet]
3:32,3:132,4:59,5:92,8:1,8:20,24:54,47:33,58:13,64:12,48:17,

24:52,33:71,9:71,49:14,4:64,4:80,4:14,33:36,72:23,8:13,9:63,24:56,4:8
0,53:3 and Ittiba [Follow Prophet SAS] 3:31,7:157,9:117,
8:164,12:108, 57:27,14:44,2:143,36;20, 33:21 together in order to
create a Society, a people, an Ummah that we are meant to be, i.e.
we enjoin Al-Ma'ruf (the Islamic Monotheism and all that Allah has
ordained and forbid Al-Munkar (polytheism, disbelief and all that
Islam has forbidden. Aal e Imran 110.

In order to keep this brief, I have chosen to highlight the
attribute of forgiveness (Awf) in a greater detail simply because I
have seen from my own experience that harbouring of ill-will or not
letting go your suppressed anger at an injustice done to you can
simply consume you and even bring to knot the positive traits in
your personality. I believe what we end up nurturing in our hearts
as a result of this is nothing but iblees/satan that actually starts
living with us.

May Allah SWT bless us with all that is good (Al-Maruf) for us and
protect us from all that is bad for us (Al-Munkir).

Jazak Allahu Khairan
Syed Adil

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