A believer cannot attain love for Allah without good character. All religions promote it so we all believe in it, but we all practise it differently. For example, to a non-Muslim shaking a lady’s hand is good manners but for us, we know it is haram. Their benchmark is their religion and our benchmark is ours.
The problem is, we often make the western lifestyle our benchmark by drifting away from the Sunnah and following their ways. This causes our akhlaaq to deteriorate in the sight of Allah. One example of this is fashion. Through designer brands western culture promotes pride, arrogance and excessive concern over appearance. We buy into it, desiring to make an impression everywhere we go. Thus we become busy in showing off.
How then can we display good character, consideration and humility whilst our hearts are immersed in the desire to show off and outdo others? This is precisely the selling point of designer brands; using the name of one disbeliever to brand numerous items, in an attempt to make the owner feel superior when they wear/use it. Not only is this pure silliness, but it is deeply unbecoming of a believer who is meant to follow Nabi ﷺ.
Some of us become Maulanas or scholars of deen so we cannot take our kurtas/thawbs off, but we get as close as possible to western fashion. We want both the Sunnah clothing and western fashion. This attitude is dangerous because if we get too close, we may start grazing on the other side. Remember, the lifestyle of westerners is not our benchmark. The Sunnah of Nabi ﷺ is.
Once we follow this Sunnah we will be able to develop good character. A smile, a kind word, a friendly gesture and all good traits do not require extra time to do. They just require consideration and a bit of thought. Yet, they are the most valuable and weighty on the scales of Allah. Ummul Mu’mineen Aishah رضي الله عنها said that one who adopts good character will receive the same reward as one who prays all day and night. Jannah is a bargain and easy to attain for those with good character therefore, we must make an effort to develop it. Then we can spread its fragrance wherever we go and light up the earth with the Sunnah of Nabi ﷺ.
The akaabireen mastered this field by drawing examples from the life of Nabi ﷺ. Once a bird came to Nabi ﷺ flapping its wings in grief. Immediately, Nabi ﷺ enquired as to who had troubled this bird by taking away its nestling. Nabi ﷺ instructed that the nestlings be released.
SubhanAllah! See how Nabi ﷺ had love for even animals? Now when we have such a fine example, why then do we seek to dress, behave and follow western ways? Be wise and follow Allah’s beloved Nabi ﷺ and then you too will become His beloved. May Allah grant us the ability to follow the Sunnah and may He refine our character through it, Aameen.
— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه الله
Above is an extract from Hazrat’s bayan in Darul Uloom Azaadville on 19/5/2017.