character in Islam

The real meaning of Character in Islam

Since Character and Integrity in Muslim societies, have a different meaning for the elite and the general public, I thought it necessary to correctly define both for Pakistan’s elite and in light of what Islam has to say about it.

Pakistan’s elite, hiding behind lax rule of law, is the reason why the weak are being exploited here.

Word for Character in Arabic

Character, means something different in Islam and Arabic Culture. In Arabic Character is “Miaza” (merit, quality, feature, advantage)

Character in Islam

Character and Integrity are the basic building blocks of a resolute (Muttaqqi) Muslim, the cornerstones of piety in Islam. This aspect has been deliberately ignored by our Pakistani elite – to exploit the weaker segment of society for perpetuity.

Also see, Why the World Hates Islam

Definition of Character

Character means having the strength to follow you internal light, your humanity, directed conviction, and having the integrity is remain steadfast in adversity, while you are at it; “true wealth is richness of the soul” Sahih Bukhari 6081

Islam was introduced in the world to end suffering of the downtrodden by building character and Integrity of the individual.

Merriam Webster’s definition of Character and Integrity

Now, I’ll give you the Merriam Webster authentic definition of Character, Integrity, and morality to anchor my arguments.

  • Character is “moral excellence and firmness”, “attributes or features that makeup and distinguish an individual”
  • Integrity is “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles that you refuse to change” or firmness
  • Morality is “of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior”, being ethical is a kind of synonym.

The funny thing is that there is no accurate word for Integrity in Urdu, maybe this is the reason the concept never permeated the population.

All three words point to the same; having a solid human-focused core and following up on convictions.

Quotes on Character by Western thinkers

  • “Character… is indicated when a man pursues with sustained follow through what he feels capable of doing “[Wolfgang Von Goethe]
  • The Seven Social Sins are: Wealth without (sustained work), pleasure without conscience, knowledge without character, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, and politics without principle” [Frederick L. Donaldson]

Eminent personalities views on Character and Integrity 

  • “I have been sent for the perfection of character” as reported by Abu Hurayrah [Imam Ahmad and Bayhaqi]
  •  “Whoever among you sees a wrong let him change it with his hand, if he is not able, then with his tongue. If he is (still) not able, then with his heart” [Prophet Muhammad Hadees as quoted by Joe Biden]

It’s not Prophet Muhammad only, other philosophers like Plato, in the 4th century BC named courage, and justice as the cornerstone of moral Character too.

  • “The real Dawah to Islam is the (personal) character of a Muslim” [Scholar Noman Ali Khan]

Oppression can only be countered by Character and Integrity

Moving on, these verses and quotes bind the Muttaqi to ensure equality and shunning oppression…

  • “The most beloved people to Allah are those that are most beneficial to people” Al mujam Al Ausat 6192 Sahih.
  • “I have made oppression unlawful for me… so do not commit oppression” [Muslim 45/73]

Character and Integrity in Islam

  • “The best among you are those who have the best character” [Bukhari 3559]

The title of Prophet Muhammad “Al Sadiq” means the integrity of Speech and “Al Amin” is the integrity of conduct and character.

So, there is no room for a true believer not to follow his own personal light that leads him to humanity with Character and Integrity.

Character of Zachariah in Islam

Zachariah is considered a prophet in Islam. He is also a prominent prophet of Israelite and supreme in Character. Zachariya is considered the patron of Mary (the mother of Jesus (Essa))

  • O Zakariya! surely we give you good news of a boy whose name shall be Yahya (John the Baptist).We have not made before anyone his equal (Quran 19:7)”

 

Character and Integrity of Prophet Muhammad

  • “…his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his mission” [Mahatma Gandhi]
  • “…His readiness to undergo persecution for his beliefs, the high moral character of the men who believed in him…and, the greatness of his ultimate achievement — all argue his fundamental integrity” [Professor William Montgomery Watt]

Therefore the major virtues of Character and Integrity in Islam are Humanity, forbearance, morality, Justice, love for living creatures, humility, and trustworthiness – where do you lie on this scale?

What is Character?

So, what the molvi, the crooked politician, the cheat businessman, the dodgy boss, the power-hungry federal officer and the neighborhood auntie are telling you about Character and Integrity is absolutely untrue.

It has very little to do with women and wine and has more to do with following your soul’s direction for the betterment of people and not violating the rule of law, while you are at it.

Don’t even get me started on the exploitation of all women, just by labeling them as a loose character.

Winston Churchill may be great for his own clique of colonial British, but according to Islam’s criteria, he is not of character because he violated the rule of law to benefit a few.

Similarly, General Zia Ul Haq and Mr. Narendra Modi only worked for the betterment of a few and are, therefore, Characterless hypocrites Islam warns against, “There are three signs of a hypocrite; when he speaks, he lies, when he makes a promise, he breaks it, when he is trusted, he betrays the trust” [Prophet Muhammad]

Leaders with weak Characters

Pygmy rulers with weak character and integrity, look for props to buttress them. They trample rule of law, buy weapons, seek foreign intervention, seek wealth, nurture proxies, encourage exploitative institutions, dehumanizing the weak, support the oligarchs; such people don’t last long but destroy the country in the process.

Enjoin what is right

A true democratic society can only survive when there is a band of people who can suffer long for the betterment of the whole – which Islam calls Amr bil maroof, nahi anil munkar

  • “Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong. They are the ones to attain felicity”  Quran 3:104

Let there arise out of you a band of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining what is right, and forbidding what is wrong: They are the ones to attain felicity. — Quran 3:104

Benefits of Good Character in Islam

According to Islam, the benefits of Good Character of a good Muslim is Divine Protection and a peaceful soul

“those who have gone astray will not harm you when you have been guided.(Quran 5:105)”

Conclusion

Pakistan needs elite leaders of outstanding Character and Integrity to burn a path for themselves first and then allow for the weak to better themselves too.

That is possible only when the rule of law is obeyed by everyone.

Now you know why South Asia is still a dump?

Also see,

Commonalities of major World religions

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