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Distinguishing Features of Noble Character in Islam

Noble character in Islam is characterised by unique qualities which distinguish it from all other faiths, including the following

  1. . Noble character is not confined to a particular type of people
Almighty Allah has made people into different shapes, colours and languages. They are all equal in His sight, and no one has an advantage over another except in piety and noble conduct, as the Qur’an states, “O mankind, We have created you of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may know one another; verily, the most honourable of you, in the sight of Allah, are the most pious of you.” (Soorat Al-Hujuraat, 49:13)
Indeed, noble character characterises Muslims’ relationship with all members of society: There is no difference whatsoever between rich and poor, black and white, Arab and non-Arab, or a prince and a pauper.

How to Treat Non-Muslims

Allah ﷻ commands us to show kindness and courtesy to everyone without exception, for justice, kindness and mercy are aspects of good character which a Muslim observes in his words and deeds with Muslims and non-Muslims alike. A Muslim ought to embody good character traits as a means to call others to this great religion of Islam.
The Qur’an says, “Allah does not forbid you from being good to those who have not fought you on account of your religion or driven you from your homes, or from being just towards them. Allah loves those who are just.” (Soorat Al-Mumtahinah, 60:8)
Allah only forbids us to make friends with those belligerent non-Muslims who fight us because of our religion. He also forbids us to admire their way of life which clearly upholds unbelief and polytheist practices, as the Qur’an states, “Allah only forbids you respecting those who made war upon you on account of [your] religion, and drove you forth from your homes and backed up [others] in your expulsion, that you make friends with them. Whoever takes them for friends are wrongdoers.” (Soorat Al-Mumtahinah, 60:9)
A Muslim always maintains high moral standards when dealing with people regardless of their religion or race.
  1. Noble character is not confined only to human beings

Good Treatment of animals

The Prophet ﷺ once mentioned that a woman deserved punishment in Hellfire because of a cat that she had restrained and left it to starve to death. He also mentioned the story of a man whom Allah had forgiven after giving a thirsty dog some water to drink: “A woman entered Hellfire because of a cat which she had tied, neither giving it food nor setting it free to eat from the vermin of the earth.”(Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 3140; Saheeh Muslim: 2619)
He also said, “While a man was walking along a road, he became very thirsty and he found a well. He lowered himself into the well, drank and came out. Then he saw a dog panting and eating mud because of excessive thirst. The man said,‘This dog has become exhausted from thirst in the same way as I.’ He lowered himself into the well again and filled his shoe with water and gave the dog some water to drink. Allah thanked him for his good deed and forgave him.” The people asked, “Messenger of Allah! Is there a reward for us in serving these animals?” “Yes,” he replied, “There is a reward for serving every living thing.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5663; Saheeh Muslim: 2244).

Preservation of the environment

Islam urges its adherents to safeguard the environment.
Islam instructs us to make the world a better place by utilising theearth’s natural resources to build a civilization and engage in development and production for the general welfare of mankind, while at the same time trying to preserve such resources and prevent others from abusing or unnecessarily wasting them. Corruption in all its forms and by whatever means it may be caused is frowned upon in Islam and abhorred to the Creator Himself, as the Qur’an states, “Allah does not like corruption.” (Soorat Al-Baqarah, 2:205)
In fact, Islam is so concerned about this issue that it goes as far as to direct its adherents to do righteous deeds and engage in such things as cultivating the land even in times of great turmoil and under terrifying circumstances, such as the Day of Judgement. As the Prophet ﷺ once instructed, “If the Day of Judgement takes place [and you recognise the Event], while a man is holding a palm-tree seedling [to plant in the soil], let him, if he can, plant it.” (Musnad Ahmad: 12981)
  1. Noble character in all aspects of life

The Family

Islam stresses the importance of noble character among all members of the family, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “The best of you are those who treat their wives the best, and I am the best of you in this respect.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhee: 3895)
  • Despite being the best human being of all time, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ shared household chores with his wives and helped around the house, as ‛Aa’ishah May Allah be pleased with her, one of his wives, once said about him, “He used to help his wives with the housework.”(Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 5048)
  • He also used to joke with his family members. ‛Aa’ishah ~ said, “I accompanied the Prophet ﷺ on a certain journey when I was young and thin. The Prophet ﷺ asked the people to move on, and they marched ahead. Then he turned to me and said, ‘Come on, let us have a race’. I raced him and I won the race. He did not mention this incident again.However, when I later put on more weight and I forgot all about this incident, I accompanied him again on some other journey. He asked the people to march ahead, and they did. Then he asked me to race him. I raced him, but he won. The Prophet laughed and said, ‘This was to make up for my previous defeat.’”(Musnad Ahmad: 26277)

Trade

Because people’s love of wealth may get the better of them and prompt them to engage in forbidden practices, Islam stresses the importance of observing noble character which serves to put an end to such practices. The following are some examples of the points Islam stresses in this respect:
  • It warns traders who deal with fraud against a severe punishment on the Day of Judgement, as the Qur’an states, “Woe to those who give short measure or weight; those who, when they take a measure from people, exact full measure, but when they give them a measure or weight, hand over less than is due.” (Soorat Al-Mutaffifeen, 83:3).
  • It urges traders to show kindness and leniency, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “May Allah have mercy on a man who is kind when he buys, when he sells and when he demands his due.”(Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 1970)

Industry

Islam advises workers to observe a number of ethical principles and standards, including the following:
  • To be as highly proficient at their jobs as they possibly can. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah likes to see that when you do something that you do it well.” (Musnad Abu Ya‛laa: 4386, Al-Bayhaqee’sShu‛ab Al-Eemaan: 5313)
  • To honour their obligations, as the Prophet ﷺ said, “The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks he lies, when he promises he breaks his promise and when he is entrusted he betrays the trust.” (Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree: 33)
  1. Noble character under all circumstances
There are no exceptions whatsoever when it comes to talking about good moral character in Islam. A Muslim is required to follow the dictates of Islamic law and observe noble character even in times of war and in difficult times, for there is no such thing in Islam as the end justifies the means. In other words, bad or unfair methods of doing something are by no means acceptable even if the result of that action is good or positive.
It is for this reason that Islam has laid down rules and criteria which govern Muslims’ behaviour even in times of war so that they would not succumb to fits of rage, driven by intolerance which feeds their anger and satisfies hatred and malicious and selfish tendencies.
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