By Alh. Zakariyah Hassan Sarumi
The concept of morality in Islam centres around certain basic beliefs and principles.
Among these are the following: 1. God is the Creator and source of all goodness, truth and beauty; 2. Man is responsible, dignified and honorable agent of his Creator; 3. God has put everything in the heavens and the earth in the service of mankind; 4. By Mercy and Wisdom, God does not expect the impossible from man or hold him accountable for anything beyond his power nor does God forbid man to enjoy the good things of life; 5.Moderation, practicality and balance are the guarantees of high integrity and sound morality; 6. All things are permissible in principles except what is singled out as obligatory, which must be avoided; and 7. Man’s ultimate responsibility is to God and highest goal is the pleasure of his Creator.
Your attitude is often one of the first things people notice about you. You may not be able to change your height or your body type, but you can change your attitude. Many researchers believe and I wholeheartedly agree – that a positive attitude is not a product of genetics and heredity; but with proper Islamic training, an acquired trait.
The best thing about your attitude is that if it is bad, it can be made better and if it is good, it can be made even greater.
As a Muslim, you have the power to choose a positive attitude over a negative one. If you want an attitude that works for you; that improves the quality of your life, accomplishes your dreams (to become a good Muslim), you have to work for it. You can’t just sit around and wait for positive attitude to come over you.
FULFILLING OF PROMISE
A true Muslim, who is endowed with a positive Islamic attitude, keeps his promises faithfully. It is no exaggeration to say that this attitude is one of the most important factors in a person’s success in his community, and is one of the clearest indicators of his high level of civility and superior standing in his community.
A Muslim is expected to be the best of those who keep their promises. Many verses and Hadiths encourage the fostering of this attitude and indicate that it is one of the signs of faith. In contrast, breaking of promises is an attitude that is condemned and viewed as sign of hypocrisy:
A promise is a covenant with Allah, and gives it a measure of dignity and sanctity: fulfilling it is an obligation, regardless of the circumstance. Allah (SWT) says: “O you who believe! Why say you that which you do not? Grievously odious is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not” (Qur’an 61:2-3); “O you who believe! Fulfil (all) obligations” (Qur’an 5:11); “… and fulfil (every) engagement, for (every) engagement will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning),” (Qur’an 17:34 ).
Breaking promises is one of the odious sins that Allah abhors in His believing servants; true believers therefore, would strive to avoid this sin trembling with the fear of his Lord.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust.” (Bukhari and Muslim). According to a report given by Muslim, the Prophet added: “Even if he fasts, prays, and thinks that he is a Muslim.”
The level of a person’s Islam is not only confirmed by the acts of worship he performs, like Salat, Sawm or Hajj. Rather, it is confirmed by a personality that is characterized by devotion to the teachings of Islam, so that the person is distinguished by his noble virtues, values and attributes, and you see him adhering to the limits set by Allah, obeying His commandments, avoiding that which He has prohibited, and following His guidance in all his affairs.
Thus, the attitudes of falsehood, betrayal and breaking of promises will be eliminated from the life of a true Muslim, because they are diametrically opposed to Islamic attitudes and belong only to hypocrites and as Allah says: “It is certain that a Muslim who fails promise is, according Rasuul (S.A.W) an hypocrite; therefore, Allah has promised hypocritical men and women, and the rejecters of Faith, the fire of Hell: therein shall they dwell: sufficient is it for them: for them is the curse of Allah and an enduring punishment”, Qur’an 9: 68).
Allah added: “As in the case of those before you; they were mightier than you in power, and more flourishing in wealth and children. They had their enjoyment of their portion; and you have yours, as did those before you; and you indulge in idle talk as they did. They – Their works are fruitless in this world and in the hereafter and they will lose (All spiritual good),” (Qur’an 9:69).
This bitter reality should be borne in mind by politicians and employees who break their promises and those who make unredeemed pledges. Those who are entrusted with money, secrets and treasures, and betray the trust shall be doomed here and hereafter. Even if they fast, pray and claim to be Muslims, they are considered to many, as the greatest number of religious worshippers either as Christians or Muslims yet, they are among the most corrupt of people in the World! Why? It is because many of them are worshippers of other thing than Allah, God.
The true Muslim has good attitude in his dealings with others. This is why the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The most beloved to me and the closest to me are those with the best attitudes. And most hateful to me and the furthest from me on the day of Resurrection will be the platters and boasters and al-mutafayhiqun.” The Sahabah (companions) said, “O’ Messenger of Allah, we understand who the prattlers and boasters are, but who are al-mutafayhiqun?” He said: “The proud and Arrogant”, (Bukhari; 1994).
The Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) used to hear the prophet’s noble moral teachings, and they would see with their own eyes the excellent way in which he used to deal with people. So, they would obey his words and follow his example. Thus, they established their society, which has never been equalled by any other in their history of mankind.
Anas said: “The Prophet was merciful. Nobody came to him without receiving a promise of his help, which he willingly gave if he had the means to do so. On one occasion, when the iqamah (call to salat) had been given, a Bedouin came to him, took hold of his cloak, and said, ‘I still have some matter outstanding, and I do not want to forget it.’ So the Prophet went with him and resolved the matter, then he came back and prayed.” (Tirmidhi).
The Prophet did not see anything wrong with listening to the Bedouin and resolving his issue, even though the iqamah had already been given. He did not get upset with the man for pulling on his cloak, or object to resolving the matter before the prayer, because he was building a just society, teaching by his example how a Muslim should treat his brother, and showing them the moral principles that should prevail in a sane community.
If good attitudes and manners among non-Muslims are the result of a good upbringing and solid education, then among Muslims such good attitudes come, above all, from the guidance of Islam, which makes good attitudes a basic characteristic of the Muslim, one which will raise his status in this world and will weigh heavily in his favor in the hereafter. No deed will count for more on the Day of Judgment than a man’s good attitude, as the prophet (PBUH) said: “Nothing will weigh more heavily in the balance of the believing servant on the Day of Resurrection than a good attitude (towards others). Verily, Allah hates those who utter vile words and obscene speech.” (Tirmidhi).
Islam has made this good attitude towards others an essential part of faith, as those who have the best attitude towards others are the most complete in faith, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: “The most perfect in faith of the believers are those who are best in their attitude towards others (Tirmidhi). Ismail was Dhabih Allah, i.e the chosen sacrifice of Allah in Muslim tradition. When Ibrahim (AS) told him of the sacrificed, he voluntarily offered himself for it, and never finished from his promise, until the sacrifice was redeemed by substitution of a Ram, under Allah’s command. He was the fountain head of the Arabian Ummah, and in his posterity came the prophet of Allah. The Ummah and the book of Islam reflect back the Prophethood on Ismail.
“Also mention in the book (The story of Ismail), he was (strictly) true to what he promised, and he was a messenger and a Prophet”, (Quran 19:54).
The Prophet (PBUH) repeatedly emphasized the importance of a good attitude and encouraged his companions to adopt it, using various methods to instill it in their hearts by his words and deeds. He understood the great impact this good attitude would have in purifying their souls and enhancing their morals and manners. For example, he told Abu Dharr: “O Abu Dharr, shall I not tell you of two qualities which are easy to attain but which will weigh more heavily in the balance?” He said: “Of course, O Messenger of Allah.” He said: “You should have a good attitude towards others and remain silent for the lengthy periods. By the One in whose hand is my soul, nothing that people have ever attained is better than these two.” (At-Tabarani). And he said: “A good attitude is a blessing and a bad attitude is a calamity. Piety lengthens life, and charity will prevent a bad death,”(Ahmad).