By: Sadullah Khan IslamiCity* -
Ramadan is the month of heightened Allah-consciousness, of attaining taqwa (piety), of training ourselves to be the best we can be; a month to initiate improvement of reputation, character and for the cultivation of good habits.
People who try their best to live by the highest values are surely people of integrity and indeed people of moral conscience. What is morality though?
Morality describes the principles that govern our behavior and relates to our behavior at three levels...
how we as individuals ensure that we are honest, just and compassionate.
how we interact with and contribute to society, as asset or liability.
how conscious we are of our accountability to our Creator.
Taqwa in an amoral world
In a world, increasingly amoral, perception is considered reality. How one appears to the world has overtaken the substance of who we really are. Impressions, whether real or fake, are given more credence than it deserves.
Though name, image and reputation are what we perceive of people; character is the essence of the "real self". Taqwa is in reality character development coupled with God-consciousness.
Character and reputation
Character is not only the face in the mirror, but the real person behind the face. Character evolves from conscience; is sustained by conscience and is developed; piece by piece, with every thought, with every choice, and maintained with consistency and determination. The pursuance of piety begins by making our reputation a reflection of our character. In many people, reputation precedes character and there is a distinction to be made...
Reputation is what you lead others to believe you are, character is what you really are -
Reputation may be reflected in the combination of your name and your image, character is the essence of your being.
Reputation is the wrapping, character the content -
Reputation is the outer reflection, character the inner reality -
Reputation is made in a moment, character is built in a life time -
Reputation may be reflected in what people write about you on your tombstone, character is what angels report about you to Allah -
Changing bad habits
The renowned philosopher, Aristotle, once said; " You are what you repeatedly do ". Habits are conditioned responses, formed through repetition, until the actions or reactions become second nature; they end up as unconscious behavior, automatic reactions in a particular situation; (e.g. The way you sign your name, the reprehensible habit of cigarette smoking after a meal...)
It was the English writer, Shakespeare, who said; " First we make our habits, then our habits make us ". Thinking in a particular pattern creates a mental path, the mental path affects our attitude and our behavior, and these reflect our personality and character. In other words, our thoughts affect our attitude which affect our actions which determine our habits which reflects our character which could determines our destiny. The Roman poet Naso Ovid rightly said, " habits eventually become character ".
Virtues and vices
According to Islam, habits are classified as virtues or vices, as repeated actions that are in conformity with or contrary to the rules of morality. Virtuous character emanates from good habits and good habits emanate from resisting negative temptations. Good habits, unfortunately, seem so much easier to give up than bad habits.
Bad habits are like a comfortable bed; easy to get into but difficult to get out. The chain of bad habits are generally too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. Remember though, that every habit; whether good or bad, is acquired and can be developed or disowned. Habits decrease or disappear by abstaining from exercising them and then replacing them. In the words of Roman orator, Cicero, " consuetudo consuetudine vincitur = habit is overcome/ conquered by habit. Ramadan is an ideal training period for filtering out bad habits, developing virtuous character and is thus referred to by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a shield against evil and wrongfulness. We are obligated to nurture our noble qualities; control our passions, our anger and emotions. We are instructed to be considerate, generous and compassionate.
Moral improvement and spiritual rejuvenation
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) referred to Ramadan as a blessed month in which Allah has made fasting obligatory on those who are able; whosoever denies himself of the benefits of that month denies himself many virtues. As we undertake the physical duty and spiritual responsibility of fasting in the blessed month of Ramadan, we reflect on the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who said that the practice of faith will not be correct unless actions are correct and actions will not be considered correct unless the heart is correct.
True Muslims basically follow the Quran and Sunna of prophet Muhammad:
1- The best of us is the prophet Muhammad God said it in the Quran" You are of great moral character" and his wife Isha told us his moral is that of the Quran.
2- Thus to be having morals is to be on that of the prophet Muhammad and Jesus Peace Be Upon them.
3- Thus we have complete moral code from Quran and Sunna, if you want also to read the Bible do it but in the Quran and Sunna you will find everything God want us to be.
4- Morality is grades as faith is also grade and the good Muslim is better than the less good.
5- The idea of God since our creation is to live this moralistic life he wanted us to live by for our good in this earth and the afterlife.
6- The hierarchy of the Muslim community should come from the top to bottom, if like the tyrant era you start by the most corrupt in the top you will have corrupt and immoral societies. That is why removing the Muslim oppressive tyrants is the best Jihad particularly they lift you only with one option to remove them which is violence against their violence.
7- There is no sin free community or the perfect city, Humans not angels and less than prophets but they can strive to be better.
8- Your personal relation with God is most important, less so to impress other people.
9- One of the best morals of Muslims comes with their interaction together, how to justly and humanly deal with them is very important.
10- The paradox of the Islam is that how Muhammad (PBUH) was very kind and gentle person and meanwhile would get angry to God's laws and justice. He was also fighting and had to be in wars to defend God's religion and oppression against him and his people.
11- Morality go hand on hand with spirituality, that is why you find a lot of moral people particularly Christians look like emanating light like a lot of good Muslims. In fact there is a chapter in the Quran about morality and it is named the light. Which most of us attest to that when one become moral and spiritual and close to God he feels light emanate from him. The opposite is true.
12- When I hear nowadays secular and leftists against Islamists or Islamists against Sofi I got upset. Islam in large part accommodate all secular and leftists are calling for. There is too conservative Sunni or traditionalists who would follow the prophet peace upon him even in his close and every little thing in his daily life which is not a problem for most main stream or moderate Muslim. Listening to Music and non-vulgar songs movies and all forms of entertainment is OK in Islam. The best movies and songs where in the era of Om Kalthom, Abd Alwahabb, Farid Al atrache, Abd Al heliem Hafez with romance was the public image of love while sex in the people bed rooms as sacred relation as God wanted it. Sofi is high spiritual state of Islam it means you did all your dues and felt your relation with God is love and you enjoy it. Most of the Sofi are on good morals, they obeyed first then they moved to higher relation with God and they achieve that by worshiping him more and praising him more. It was well known that the prophet was the most to spend his time in praying and praising God. The Shia sect in Islam has to come in terms with Islam what God told us and we learnt it through his prophet Muhammad the Quran and Sunna. Sunni Muslims do not fight people because of their secting or religion. But it is very clear that the only one inspired clearly is Muhammad (PBUH). Time to have the Sunni and Shia reconcile like I called and keep calling few years ago. Al Mahdi will only repeat the right way what the prophet told us, he will be angry for the injustices and oppression against Muslims. His enemies will be a lot and even oppress him even before he rises up. The criminal Mubarak knew about me for years as well the other tyrants. However, Muslims will realise that there is no way out to them but to go back to God and Islam. They will see has plans and God will show them that he will make him victorious.