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Living The Quran

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From Issue: 1004 [Read full issue]

Muslim's Character
Al-Ahzab (The Confederates) Sura 33: Verse 35

"For all men and women who have submitted themselves to God, all believing men and believing women, all truly devout men and truly devout women, all men and women who are true to their word, all men and women who are patient in adversity, all men and women who humble themselves before God, all men and women who give in charity, all men and women who fast, all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, and all men and women who always remember God — for them all God has prepared forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward."

When it comes to the purification of the Muslim community and establishing its life on the basis of Islamic values, men and women are equal and have the same role. These qualities grouped together in this one verse work together to form a Muslim's character. These are: self-surrender to God, faith, devotion, being true to one's word, patience in adversity, humility before God, being charitable, fasting, being mindful of one's chastity, and remembering God at all times. Each quality has its own role to play in a Muslim's life.

The first two qualities are expressed in the two Arabic words islam and iman, which mean 'submission' and 'belief' respectively. There is a strong interrelation between the two, or we can say that both are two sides of the same coin. Submission is the outcome of belief and true belief gives rise to submission. 'Devotion' means obedience that results from submission and belief, through inner acceptance, not external pressure. 'Truthfulness' is the quality essential for every Muslim. Whoever does not possess this quality cannot be within the ranks of the Muslim community.

The next quality is 'patience in adversity'. In fact, a Muslim cannot fulfil the requirements and duties of his faith without this quality. Islam needs patience in adversity at every step. Muslims have to be patient, resisting desire, bearing the harm inflicted by others, overcoming impediments, patiently addressing weaknesses and crookedness in other people, and going through the tests of either an easy life or hardship. Essentially, both are difficult predicaments.

'Humility before God' is an inner quality that reflects how we feel God's majesty deep in our hearts and how truly and willingly we obey and fear Him. 'Being charitable' indicates purification from greed and self-indulgence. It also reflects care for others and kindness to them, as well as mutual security within the Muslim community. It is an act of gratitude to God for what He gives us and represents our discharging our duty on wealth.

'Fasting' is considered a quality because of its regular and consistent nature. It reflects an attitude that rises above the essential needs of life, enhancing man's willpower and giving supremacy within man's constitution to human qualities. 'Being mindful of one's chastity' involves not only the element of purity but also the proper control of the most profound and powerful desire in man. In fact, no one can achieve such proper control except one who is a God-fearing believer and who seeks God's help. This quality also regulates relations between people and aims to elevate the meeting between man and woman to a level that is higher than that of the urge of the flesh. It makes this meeting subject to God's law and serves the purpose of creating both sexes to populate the earth and build human life on it. 'Remembering God at all times' provides the link between all human activity and man's faith. It makes man mindful of God at every moment.

Those who reflect all these qualities, essential as they are for the building of Islamic character, are the ones for whom "God has prepared forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward."

Compiled From:
"In The Shade Of The Quran" - Sayyid Qutb, Volume 14, pp. 59-61

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