Character — In and Outside Islam

Nov 11, 2013

Many Muslims think Islam is a magic pill. You take it and everything will be just fine and dandy — as if by magic.

Islam is nothing of the sort, even though Almighty God can do anything he wants; the way he wants it; and when and where he wants it.

That is why he is God: almighty; omnipotent; omniscient; omnipresent!

But God does things following a certain way. He calls it his Sunnat. And that Sunnatullah — God’s way of doing things in his Creation — is eternal, immutable.

So, God wants people to work on their character on their own, as it were: parents; schools; groups; organizations; societies; nations — and individuals.

What is character?

Simply put, character is the sum total of what people — individuals — really are. For example, when people think and talk and behave in the same smart and practical way about Islam the way they think and talk and act about their own and their children’s education, jobs, marriages, homes, cars, vacations and the rest, then they have the right character.

They are the right kind of people. They are the kind of people Islam wants.

If, on the other hand, people will use one standard to think about themselves, their children, their jobs, their schooling, theirs homes, and their vacations but then they will use a very different standard to think, speak and act with regard to Islam and God, then they have a serious problem with their character.

They simply have none. No character. There is a big hole where character should be. They are what is called Empty Suits.

Meaning: Nothing Much to Speak Of.

Paper People!

Hadith Sharif calls them: Ghuthaa’! Language of the Qur’an is much more severe and unforgiving.

And popping all kinds of magic pills in the name of Islam is not going to help them. What they need to do is to address their character issues in a practical and realistic sort of way. That will help them become better people, which in turn will help them become better Muslims.

It is not the other way around.

Muslims got their thinking backwards on this thing, as on many other things.

So, what many Muslims need today is not more Islam, but more character. Once they fix their character, their Islam will take care of itself.

No, don’t give me credit for coming up with this brilliant idea. Just read your Qur’an:

Innallaha Laa Yughaiyyiru Maa Bi-Qawumin Hattaa Yughayyiroo Maa Bi-Anfusihim!

The following may or may not be Islam, but go find these two references and read them:

  1. The Boy on the Burning Deck. Some would say, now that is a story of character.
  2. Tennyson on the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Do you see any glimpses of character in that story?

Well, what can I say?


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