While coming home the day before yesterday, I was reading a self improvement article titled, “How to become a real man”. It was a typical self-improvement article, which contained some typical pieces of advice. Like “to become a real man, you should believe that you can achieve anything”. Although there seems nothing wrong with this statement, a closer look tells us that the statement is actually not as innocuous as it seems. Do we Muslims really believe that we can achieve anything just by self-belief and hard work? The answer is NO. Because we believe that we can only try, we cannot force our desired outcome. It is Allah who determines the outcome. Nothing in this universe happens without His leave.
While the believers have been instructed to pick up wisdom wherever he or she finds it, as long as it is appropriate and does not contradict the Quran and the Sunnah (the tradition of the Messenger of Allah), I believe we should first look into our own beautiful deen (religion) first for anything. Because Allah said in the Quran:
This day those who disbelieve have despaired of [defeating] your religion; so fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion. [The Noble Quran 5:3]
When something is perfect, no addition or alteration is necessary. Allah has declared the religion of Islam perfect, and He also declared that this religion shall remain pertinent for all ages till the commencement of the Hour.
We have been blessed not only with this beautiful deen, but also with a personality, who was the perfect embodiment of this deen. He is Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace be upon him), the greatest Messenger of Allah, the seal of the prophethood, the mercy of Allah for this universe, and the leader of the humankind on the Day of Judgment.
So, the idea came into my mind: what could be 50 Islamic ways to become a real Muslim man? I compiled the following list. Most of them are inspired from the biography of the Messenger of Allah, and his sayings.
So, here we go. You are a real Muslim man if/when:
01. A most beautiful damsel in extremely revealing outfit and passes by you, your heart aches to look at her, yet you immediately lower your gaze instead of prolonging it. You do so because (i) you immediately remember Allah’s command of lowering the gaze; (ii) you honor a human being for who she is, and you do not let your heart judge someone by outside appearance, and (iii) you do not give the Shaytan (devil) any chance to corrupt the spiritual purity of your heart.
02. You do not panic outside and lose your composure, even if you freak inside. If it is a situation of danger, you reassure yourself that Allah is the wali (guardian) of the believers; if it is a dispute, you try to settle it with dignity.
03. You do not spank anyone.
04. You are an intelligent diplomat- you keep both your mom and wife happy. You keep your mom happy because Jannah (heaven) under the feet of your mom; you keep your wife happy because according to the Messenger of Allah, “‘The best of you is the one who is best to his own family.”
05. No matter how rude people are with you, you react and respond to them kindly and honorably.
06. You give salam to every Muslim, without making any distinction between young and old, rich and poor, senior and junior.
07. Temptation may make you die inside, yet you do not give up because you are ever vigilant over your nafs (lower self) and you love Allah.
08. Your heart is not attached with duniya (this world).
09. You cultivate haya (modesty) in three different ways: physically, spiritually, and intellectually. Physical haya means you feel shy to use the blessings of Allah like your limbs to commit acts that displeases Allah. Spiritual haya means you feel ashamed when you stand before Allah and you think how much Allah has blessed you and yet how disobedient and ungrateful you have been to Allah. Intellectual haya means conceding that Allah knows everything and you know nothing. Intellectual haya prevents you from becoming like those scientists/philologers, who thinks they know or can know everything, whereas they do not know what will happen after five minutes.
10. You listen carefully.
11. You vehemently guard your tongue. You do not speak of anything that is not related to your affairs. If you speak, you speak only good.
12. You reserve your tears only for Allah.
13. You are never jealous, and you are always content with and grateful for what Allah provided you with.
14. You sometimes feel that you are the luckiest, happiest, and enormously blessed person on the earth because Allah have let you know who is you creator, what is the meaning and purpose of your life, and where you have come from and where you are going.
15. You take good care of your parents and never ever show any signs of disrespect towards them either by words, attitude, behavior, or facial expression.
16. You really think about and feel for the under privileged of the society.
17. When a calamity befalls you, you keep it secret, and make sabr (patience) your cloak until Allah rescues you from this situation.
18. You are zealous about performing each obligatory salah (prayer) in congregation, and your heart fills with sadness and remorse when you miss any.
19. Music fills your heart with anxiety, but Quran fills your heart with tranquility.
20. Your hardened heart softens and eyes moisten when you sit with the scholars and the students of knowledge and they remind you about Allah and His Messenger.
21. You sometimes feel ashamed thinking how much the Messenger of Allah endured for you, and how much he cared for his ummah (nation), and yet how little you do for the beautiful religion that he brought for us from Allah.
22. You live only to please Allah.
23. You take good care of your body (hygiene, cleanliness, and exercise).
24. You do not argue with the arrogant and the fool.
25. You hate to remain indebted to anyone. Like if someone gives you a gift worth five riyals, you can’t remain in peace until you reciprocate with a gift worth ten riyals.
26. You make no compromise when it comes to the deen of Allah and sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.
27. You seek honor only through Islam, and nothing else.
28. You are proud of the deen of Allah and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.
29. After Allah have illuminated your heart about the truth and the beauty of Islam, you hate to go back to ignorance, kufr (concealment of the truth), and shirk (partnership with Allah).
30. You follow those who are above you in authority, as long their instructions do not contradict the tenets of Islam.
31. You hate to see you as the cause of inconvenience to any other people.
32. When you look at something or somebody, you look straight and do not cast a slant or furtive glance.
33. You always keep your ego in check and you constantly try to remain humble. You never ever look at anyone with disdain, because you neither know their end nor you know their status with Allah.
34. You dearly love your family, and your love for them motivates you to raise them in a way that will enable you to meet them again in Jannah (heaven).
35. You care about the state of Muslim brothers and sister, irrespective of wherever they are living.
36. You pray Tahajjud (night prayers).
37. Your action is in line with your words, lest you may become a hypocrite in the eyes of Allah.
38. When it comes to the worship of Allah, you look at people who are above you, so that you strive more to perfect your worship of Allah. When it comes to worldly possessions, you look at people who are below you, so that you never ever become an ungrateful slave of Allah.
39. You remain extremely careful about the lawfulness of what you eat and what you earn.
40. You do not completely fill your stomach when you eat.
41. You fear Allah, as He should be feared, and you always keep the reality of akhirah (hereafter) in mind.
42. You never lose hope in the mercy of Allah.
43. You show both sympathy and empathy.
44. You are self-disciplined, and you do not break the rules that you have laid out for yourself unless the there is an extreme need.
45. You are more concerned about fulfilling the rights of others than about thinking what rights you have from others.
46. You frequently make repentance to Allah, seek His forgiveness and make a lot of dua.
47. You take your God-given responsibility of earning livelihood for your family extremely seriously.
48. You do not indulge in idle gossiping.
49. You enjoin good and forbid evil.
50. You are truthful.