What Kind of a Character Does Allah Demand from Us?
The Qur'an, which is a guide to all humanity, is the Speech of Allah. We can attain the character that will please Allah by reading the verses of the Qur'an and living by them. This is really easy. But despite this, some people make the mistake of drifting away from the values that please Allah. If one day, everyone around you complied with Allah's wishes and embodied the values Allah demands from man, then this world would become a much better place. Now let's see briefly what these qualities are.
We all know that Allah created man. Consequently, Allah best knows the good and wicked qualities man possesses. A person may well deceive other people, but he can never hide anything from Allah. That is because, unlike us, Allah knows man's inner thoughts. Therefore, a person must always be sincere and honest towards Allah. One verse reads:
A person who is aware that Allah hears every word he utters, knows each act he does and every thought that crosses his mind, would never dare to engage in a wicked act, even if it were hidden from other people. This means that, to be truly good, people must absolutely believe in Allah's existence and His unity, acknowledge His might and be aware that He sees and hears everything. This is one of the prerequisites of attaining the values Allah demands from His slaves.
Loving Allah and Putting One's Trust in Him
You cherish the love your parents show you, do you not? You also love them. They protect and love you and meet your needs. You trust them. If you encounter a difficulty, you know they are always there to help you.
Have you ever thought how much you love Allah and trust Him?
Allah meets all the needs of all the beings He creates. Thanks to His infinite mercy, we live in this world in peace and enjoy countless blessings.
Allah created the sun so that we can live on earth. Allah also created vegetables, fruit and animals for us. We have bread, milk, meat and various other delicious vegetables and fruit because Allah creates them all for us.
Allah created rain so that we can have fresh water to drink. He created oceans, the continuous bodies of salt water. Without rain there would be neither fresh nor salt water on earth. Water is vital for us. As you know, man can only survive without water for a few days.
Allah loves steadfast people. The term "steadfastness" in the Qur'an is not limited to being steadfast in the face of ordeals, but means being steadfast at every moment of one's life. The steadfastness of a person who has faith does not change according to people or events. For instance, a person with little fear of Allah may be good to someone from whom he expects to derive benefit, but fail to demonstrate this praiseworthy attitude consistently. Once he feels his interests are at stake, he may abruptly change. A person of faith, however, meticulously avoids misconduct. He responds to everyone with excellent manners and is committed to keep doing so, no matter what the conditions are or what people's attitudes may be. Even though he is enraged, he manages to control himself and shows steadfastness.
In one verse, Allah commands people to compete in being steadfast:
The steadfastness of the prophets mentioned in the Qur'an sets an example for us. As you will remember, the suffering of Ayyub, peace be upon him, lasted a very long time. But this noble slave of Allah showed steadfastness and prayed to Allah. Allah answered his prayer and showed him a way out.
Nuh, peace be upon him, displayed steadfastness when people mocked him because of the Ark he built. He remained calm and counselled them. These are the extraordinary examples of steadfastness displayed by these noble people. Allah relates in many verses that He loves His slaves who are steadfast.
Allah, on the contrary, does not love arrogant people who show off. Not all people enjoy the same material benefits in this world. Some have beautiful houses and cars while others may possess nothing, but what matters is that one conducts oneself correctly. For instance, assuming that one is superior to one's friends because one has better clothes is an attitude that displeases Allah. That is because Allah commands us to value people according to their faith, not their appearances.
For Allah, the measure of superiority is not wealth or might, beauty or strength. Allah values people according to their taqwa (awe of Allah), the love they feel for Him, their loyalty and their commitment to living by the values of the Qur'an. These are the criteria for assessing superiority in Allah's sight. In the Qur'an, Allah relates the story of Qarun to teach us a lesson.
Qarun was a very wealthy man. He was so rich that the keys to his treasure had to be carried by several people. Ignorant people around him yearned to be like Qarun and wished they had everything he had. But Qarun was an arrogant and boastful person who was not obedient to Allah. He denied that Allah had given him all his wealth. So, Allah inflicted a terrible disaster on Qarun: He and all his possessions disappeared in one single night. Upon this terrible disaster, those who yearned to be like him expressed their joy at not being in his place. They all recognised that this was a punishment from Allah.
Qarun is mentioned as an example in the Qur'an as follows:
Spying on someone's mistakes, backbiting and making a person a target for mockery are behaviour that a person who fears Allah must studiously avoid. In the Qur'an Allah forbids gossiping and backbiting. The relevant verse reads:
As is also evident from the verse, Allah tells us in the Qur'an that backbiting is as disgusting as eating one's dead brother's flesh.
Allah tells us to conduct ourselves correctly in the course of our daily lives. Life is an opportunity granted by our Lord to follow His right path. Today, most people are unaware of this. Instead of complying with Allah's commands and advice, they seek other guides. Being influenced by the films they watch or the songs to which they listen, they adopt erroneous values. For instance, young people who watch a merciless and cruel hero in a movie often start to imitate him right after they leave the theatre.
A wise and sincere person, however, always displays the character traits with which Allah is pleased. The prophets are the people in whose footsteps we must follow. The character traits we must have are those values with which Allah is pleased. These include being merciful, forgiving, modest, humble, steadfast and obedient to Allah and His Messenger. A person who adopts these noble values does not stoop to becoming involved in disputes; He rather settles them and shows tolerance. Instead of being rebellious and disobedient to one's parents, the Qur'an commands us to be obedient and respectful. In the Qur'an, Allah stresses the importance of being respectful towards one's parents:
Being obedient towards one's parents, not showing the slightest sign of irritation to them by saying "Ugh," and always being merciful and tender-hearted towards them are important character traits Allah demands from us. Showing these traits will both earn us Allah's love and make us more happy and peaceful in our daily lives.
One can only display these character traits praised in the Qur'an when one lives by Islam. Disbelieving people can hardly be committed to embodying these noble values. You must avoid being like these people and always keep in mind the verse that reads: "Or did you imagine that you were going to enter the Garden without Allah knowing those among you who had struggled and knowing the steadfast?" (Surah Al 'Imran: 142) Never forget that Allah will love you more and grant more of His blessings to you when you are steadfast, humble, self-sacrificing, generous, and when you conduct yourself correctly.