Sunday, January 27, 2008

Perfecting One's Character

Perfecting One's Character

In the Name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, May Allāh blessings and peace be upon His Messenger.
Ibn ul Qayyim al Jawziyyah once wrote that the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to make a number of supplications related to good character:
  •  "O Allāh, guide me to excellent character, none guides to excellent character but You..." [Muslim]
  • "O Allāh, I seek refuge in you from bad character, deeds and desires." [At-Tirmidzi]
  •  "O Allāh, You perfectly created me, so perfect my character." [Ahmad]
  •  "O Allāh, I seek refuge in you from disability and laziness; from cowardice and avarice; from decrepitude and harshness; from negligence and impoverishment, from lowness and humiliation. And I seek refuge in You from poverty and disbelief; from sinfulness, disunity and hypocrisy; from notability and riyā' (show off)..." [Ahmad, Mālik, Bazār, Haithami and ibn `Abd al-Barr authenticated it]
Three Conditions to Acquire Excellent Manners

This is one example of the excellent manners with which Allāh has equipped his Messenger (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam).

Allāh described him as: "Verily, You [Muhammad] are on an exalted standard on character." [68:4]

`Aishah, (radiallāhu `anhu) described him as:"His character was just [a reflection of] the Qur'an." [Muslim, Abu Dawud, Ahmad]

Such excellent character cannot be attained without three conditions:

1. The foundation must be good. If one has a rough and dry nature, it will be hard for him to submit to this [excellence of character] through knowledge, will, or practice. On the other hand, a mild and smooth nature will be ready and willing to receive the plowing and the seeds [to prepare it for character excellence].

2. The soul must be strong and capable of conquering calls of laziness, transgression, and desire. Those matters contradict perfection, and souls which cannot defeat them will always be defeated and conquered.

3. [One must possess] a discerning knowledge of the truth of matters, enabling one to put them in the rightful position, and to distinguish between flash and cancer - between glass and jewels.

Ibnni Qayyim stressed that if these three qualities are present in a man, and Allāh's facilitation helps him, then he will be among those whom the best (Husna) has been decreed and for whom Allāh's care has been secured.

[Excerpted from "The Magnificent Journey" by ibn ul Qayyim, published by QSS; Via Islam.Com]

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