Generally speaking and particularly within Islam there is nothing better and more encouraged than perfecting one’s character. The life of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) was wholly focused on the importance of knowing and living life as the perfect example of good character and it is his character we strive to exemplify as far as it is possible.
For those who accept Islam as their new found faith is encouraged to direct attention towards being more aware of and therefore shedding any bad personal traits in favour of good and virtuous ones.
Trust, humility, truth, mercy, tenderness, forgiveness, patience, modesty and generosity are but a few recommended values which should prevail when dealing with humanity and indeed all of God’s creation.
Tempering negative characteristics is recommended in order to develop meaningful, lasting and fruitful relationships that will enhance personal well being and that of society at large.
Making mischief, singling out individuals to become the focus of ridicule, laughing at or jeering others, racial or intolerant attitudes towards individuals is not the behaviour expected and therefore should not be accepted of a Muslim.
The Messenger of Allah PBUH said "Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is the greatest lie. Do not be inquisitive about one another, or spy on one another. Do not outbid one another with a view to raising the price. Do not feel jealous and do not hold grudges against one another. Do not backbite, but be the servants of God like brothers and sisters amongst yourselves" (Bukhari & Muslim)
Showing anger and arrogance, indulging in slander and suspicion, being rude as an expression of hate towards others, being selfish and niggardly towards those in need are tendencies which need to be addressed and, in time with the right guidance, support and good company, can and should be replaced by the more positive characteristics mentioned above.
The Messenger of Allah said "Strictly avoid envy because envy consumes good deeds as fire consumes dry wood" (Abu Daoud)
Speaking well of people despite being aware of their shortcomings and misdemeanors is commendable. On occasions, when you find yourself in company indulging in conversation of the gossiping kind, it is always better to discreetly divert the conversation in favour of more appropriate conversation.
Related by Abdullah Ibn 'Amr lbn Al'Aas who said "The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) neither talked indecently, nor did he listen to indecent talk. He used to say: 'The best of you are those who have the best manners" (Bukhari & Muslim)
In these circumstances it is always advisable to confide in someone who has a good understanding of Islam, who is trustworthy and is not known to take advantage of the vulnerability of others.
If the problem is of a very personal nature it may be best to seek professional help.
Consequently if approached and entrusted with confidential information by a fellow Muslim it should be guarded respectfully while, at the same time and in view of the nature of the problem, sensitive advice and support should be offered which would be in keeping with or fall within the Islamic perspectives.
Muslims should always try to maintain a cheerful countenance, placing our trust in God and thanking Him for the Mercies and Blessings He continues to shower on us. With patience and His Guidance, all actions both private and public will, in time, come to be based on the guidelines set down by Him and are practically expressed through the life and character of His servant and Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh).
Thursday 23rd of May 2013