It was narrated by Abu Huraira that The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “The most perfect believer in respect of faith is he who is best of them in manners.” (Abu Dawood)
I haven’t met any Muslim who doesn’t desire to be a better human being. The religion of Islam preaches excellent behavior and manners, and you and I have come to know that a person’s good behavior ranks highly in the sight of Allah (ta’ala).
If our behavior is so important to how Allah (ta’ala) sees us, then it goes without saying that we should want to spend every day of our lives trying to perfect our character.
It is understandable that we are humans and fallible, but by doing some things on a daily basis, we can get closer to the one who is best in manners. Here are some things we can practice to improve our behavior as Muslims.
Live in the Light of the Quran
When A’isha (RA) was asked about the Prophet (SAW)’s manners, she responded that his manners was the Qur’an. This means that he lived and acted according to the injunctions of the Qur’an. As a Muslim, you have your role model in the messenger of Allah (ﷺ), so as he had his manners be a direct interpretation of the Qur’an, so also should we strive to do the same.
If Allah (ta’ala) forbids us something in the Qur’an, it is part of obedience and good manners to stay away from it. If He (ta’ala) encourages us towards something good, then we go towards it. Part of improving our behaviour is adopting the manners that are mentioned in the Qur’an; practising patience so that you can be from the saabireen, fearing Allah (ta’ala) so that you can be from the mu’taqun, etc.
Treat All Creations Kindly
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Verily Allah has prescribed Ihsan (kindness) for everything. So when you kill, you must make the killing in the best manner; when you slaughter, make your slaughter in the best manner. Let one of you sharpen his knife and give ease to his animal (in order to reduce his pain).” (Riyad us-Saliheen)
No one likes someone who speaks harshly to them, treats them unfairly or bullies them. If the Messenger of Allah (SAW) can tell us to treat animals kindly, how else should we then treat humans and other creations?
Be nice to people regardless of their social status or their closeness to you. The internet is filled with stories of strangers who hurt others just because they think they can. Be the Muslim who comes to the aid of a stranger, be the person who speaks up for others, and don’t be the person that everyone tries to stay away from due to the harm that can come to them from you.
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The dearest and nearest among you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be one who is the best of you in manners; and the most abhorrent among you to me and the farthest of you from me will be the pompous, the garrulous, and Al-Mutafaihiqun.” The Companions asked him: “O Messenger of Allah! We know about the pompous and the garrulous, but we do not know who Al-Mutafaihiqun are.” He replied: “The arrogant people.” (Riyad us-Saliheen)
Seek Feedback About Yourself
When was the last time you asked your spouse, child, parents or friends if they had any complaints about your behavior? This is one thing that many of us do not like to do. We fear asking for feedback about how behavior because we do not want to see ourselves as less than perfect. Many times, we are blinded to our own faults, and when someone tries to point it out to us we may go on the defensive.
It may not be a bitter pill to swallow if someone has something negative to say about your behavior, but it will give you a chance to reflect sincerely and see if you need to change something about yourself. If they are truthful in their assessment of you, then it is good for you because then you can change and improve your behavior as a Muslim. If you sincerely think that their assessment of your behavior is wrong, then maybe there is a need to have a conversation with them so that they can understand why you do the things that you do.
Another plus side of seeking feedback is also that it improves communication between you and others. Rather than having negative emotions buried under the surface waiting to explode, everyone will have an emotionally healthy relationship where they can let you know when you hurt them, or when your behavior is not in line with Islam.
When we dream of being the ‘perfect’ Muslim, we may dream of being memorizers of the Qur’an. We may wish that we have millions of dollars to end world hunger or to buy our loved ones the most fabulous gifts. Sometimes though, what takes us closer to being this ‘perfect’ Muslim is improving on our behavior.
Mu’adh (bin Jabal) (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) held my hand and said, “O Mu’adh, By Allah, I love you and advise you not to miss supplicating after every Salat (prayer) saying: ‘Allahumma a’inni ‘ala dhikrika wa shukrika, wa husni ‘ibadatika,’ (O Allah, help me remember You, expressing gratitude to You and worship You in the best manner)”. (Riyad us-Saliheen)
اللهم أعني على ذكرك وشكرك، وحسن عبادتك