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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES 04

0406-PERSONALITY TRAITS OF GOOD CHARACTER

Tazkirat for orientation of new pharmacy, allied health, and nursing students held at UIA Kuantan on 16th June 2004 by Professor Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. omarkasule@yahoo.com

INTEGRITY

Integrity is when actions are in conformity with your values. Values are universal. Knowledge of what is bad is innate. The Prophet (PBUH) taught that evil is what scratches your chest making you uncomfortable, al sharr ma haaka fi al sadr. Religious teachings of what is right and what is wrong only reinforce what good nature already knows.

 

Integrity in essence means successfully carrying and discharging the trust. The trust may be moral or material. Moral trusts include being truthful, trustworthy, and keeping promises and undertakings. Material trusts are property and financial rights of others that must not be violated. Integrity is needed in work[i], leadership[ii], and moral guidance of others[iii]. A distinguishing human attribute of humans is acceptance to carry trust, haml al amanat[iv]. A person with integrity fulfils the trust, adau al amanat[v]. Believers are conscious of the trust, ri'ayat al amanat[vi]. Any breach of integrity is a breach of the trust, khiyanat al amanat[vii].

 

Never utter an untruth. It is better to keep quiet even in situations in which silence makes you look a fool. There are no white lies. All lies are an untruth and should never be uttered. Your promises and commitments are sacred. Never make any if you are not sure of keeping them. Keeping promises indicates both integrity and efficiency. An organized person who knows what he can or can not do and who manages his time well is less likely to make promises he can not keep.

 

COURAGE

The essence of courage is to stand up to evil with the full realization that such a stand may invite unpleasant consequences for you. This is under the general rubric of forbidding evil, nahy al munkar[viii]. The supreme level of courage is to face one self and stand up to the inner desires and passions, hiwa al nafs[ix]. The high level of courage is to attempt to change evil physically. The middle level is to speak out against it evil. The lowest level is to hate evil in the heart. Courage is needed morally, physically, and emotionally. Moral courage is needed to know your-self, self-criticize, and decide to improve. Social courage is needed to stick to morally right choices in your life even though the society around you may behave differently. Physical courage is needed to stand up for your rights and face the consequences.

 

WISDOM

Wisdom, hikmat, ,  is a sign of maturity. Being given hikmat is being given a lot of good, (p344 2:269). Learn the difference between ‘ilm and hikmat. ‘Ilm is knowledge. Hikmat is a higher level of understanding and using knowledge taking into consideration previous experiences and high moral guiding principles. You are better off with less knowledge and more hikmat. A lot of ilm with no hikmat is positively dangerous.

PATIENCE

Patience, sabr, is needed to deal with problems of life. Problems must be met with inner strength and a sense of hope. Lack of patience is associated with wrong choices and moves. Endurance and perseverance are part of patience. Patience and perseverence is the ability to stick it out and weather all adversities with a strong heart. You must arm yourself to avoid the human tendency to be impatient in expectation of an event or when afflicted by a calamity.

 

HUMILITY

Humility, tawadhu'u, is the beginning of wisdom and is part of iman[x]. Know that you have limitations. Do not deceive yourself that you are superior whatever you may be endowed with. Always remember that there are others who may be your equals or actually better than you. Whatever you may have, you are insignificant infront of Allah the Almighty.

 

SELF RESTRAINT

Self-restraint, 'Iffat,: Iffat has a lot of rewards, ajr al iffat[xi]. The Qur'an has discussed it in many verses[xii]. This is because a human has passions and inner evil promptings that if not controlled will lead to evil action. There are also many temptations in the external social environment that can lead to evil unless countered by a strong self-restraint and self-c0ntrol. Sex is the most powerful drive in humans that can lead to evil. Chastity and sexual discipline is necessary for individual and societal well being. Keep away from zina and what could lead to it. Zina is taken in its comprehensive sense and not the physical act of fornication. Zina of the eye, the mouth, the toungue are destructive to marriage and society in general.

 

MODESTY

Modesty, haya,: Haya is a very important component of character and is considered part of iman. To be modest is to set limits beyond which there is immorality and sin. A modest person stays shy of those limits and will refrain from things that are clearly permissible but if done in excess can lead to transgression of the limits. Such transgression could also occur by mistake with no malicious intent. Haya is part of iman[xiii]. The whole character of Islam is based on it, khulq al Islam al haya[xiv]. The Prophet said that if one has no haya at all then he can do anything. Haya is therefore the protecting barrier against evil. Haya is always good and can never be negative, al haya khayr kullihi[xv]. Haya is a decoration of the persom who has it, al haya zinat[xvi]. Haya is the way of all messengers, al haya min sunan al mursalin[xvii].

 

SIMPLICITY

Simplicity is beauty and power. Make your daily life simple; you will get strength. Do not live in much luxury or crowd your mind with so much of worldly, dunia, concerns. Consider your physical environment as an aid to fulfilling your mission and not an end in itself. Wealth and its accumulation can be a temptation, fitnat[xviii].

 

 

MODERATION

Equilibrium and moderation, i'itidaal & wastiyyat: Moderation is the best approach. Be balanced in your attitudes and actions. Avoid extreme positions because you can never have all the facts and full understanding of a particular situation. Taking a middle path gives you a chance to change positions and follow what is right and what is best. You however should never be moderate where evil and immorality are concerned. You must take a clear and extreme position for what is moral and right. Stick your head up high to be counted among supporters of the good and the moral and among opponents of evil. Your actions regarding an evil situation should, however, be moderate to avoid creating new problems that may be worse than the original problem. Be moderate in expenditure; not wasteful and not miserly. Be calm and controlled in moments of emotional arousal, good and bad. Wrong and inappropriate decisions are likely at moments of anger or emotional excietement when the normal balance is lost

 

SOCIAL ACTION

Good acts and words, al hasanaat, wipe away or neutralize the bad. You should hasten to do good. While always engaged in doing good, there is little room for the bad. Never injure anyone with your tongue. Say good or keep quiet. Learn to work with others in doing good and forbidding bad. Sharing and helping others helps you become even a better human being. It gives you a sense of mission beyond your physical needs. Give charity continuously; it cleanses both your wealth and your soul. Putting interests of your brothers in front of yours helps you discover your humanity and conquers your egoistic tendencies. iithaar involves doing good for others at the expense of some inconvenience to yourself for the sake of brotherhood with no expectation of any reward. Respecting the rights of the older people[xix]. Removing any annoyance from the road[xx].

 

Keep good company. Look for and stay in the company of wise people. You will learn the good from them. Their company will reinforce the good in you. Time spent in such good company is time taken away from possible bad company or bad influences. Do not trust or deal with bad people except in trying to correct and lead them to the right. Ignore stupid and immoral company. They will have a negative impact on you however careful you are. The least they can do is to decrease your sensitivity to evil and increase your toleration for it.

 

PRINCIPLED LIFE

Principled and purposive life: You must have a principled life. To succeed you must be guided in life by high moral principles and not expediency. You must make responsible choices and stick with their consequences. You must understand that there are limits to freedom. You may be constrained by previous commitments in making a new choice. After making the first choice you have only a limited range of later choices that you can make. A complete and well- balanced personality requires consistency, constancy and moving ahead following well defined goals and milestones. Life must have a purpose and goals. The highest purpose is achieving the pleasure of Allah. In addition to seeking the pleasure of Allah, you must set personal goals both long and short term. The goals have to be reasonable expectations, and imaginative. Personal goals must be specific, actionable, attainable, and challenging. You must be committed to the goals and must be attuned to any feedback that helps refine or modify goals. If you are without a clear sense of direction, you will make many mistakes and eventually fail. Personal goals should stay permanent for a reasonable period of time. Frequent shifting of goal posts is a cause of failure.


[i] (28:26)

[ii] (12:54)

[iii] (7:68)

[iv] (33:72)

[v] (2:283, 3:75, 4:58)

[vi] (23:8, 70:32)

[vii] (8:27, 12:11, 12:64)

[viii] (3:104, 3:110, 3:114, 4:31, 5:63, 5:78-79, 6:28, 7:157, 7:165-166, 9:71, 9:112, 11:88, 11:116, 16:90, 18:74, 22:41, 24:21, 29:29, 29:4, 31:17, 58:2, 59:7)

[ix] (79:40)

[x] (Tirmidhi K25 B80)

[xi] (Muslim K48 H100, Tirmidhi K45 B100, Ahmad 2:23, 116, Ahmad 3:142, Ahmad 4:274, Ahmad 5:264)

[xii] (2:273, 4:6, 21:91, 23:5-7, 24:30-31, 24:33, 24:60, 33:35)

[xiii] (Bukhari K2 B3, Bukhari K2 B16, Bukhari K78 B77, Muslim K1 H57, Muslim K1 H58, Muslim K1 H59, Abudaud K39 B14, Abudaud K40 B6, Tirmidhi K25 B65, Tirmidhi K38 B7, Tirmidhi K35 B24, Ibn Majah Intr B9, Ibn Majah K37 B17, Nisai K47 B16, Nisai K47 B27, Darimi Intr B42, Muwatta K47 H10, Ahmad 2:9, Ahmad 2:56, Ahmad 2:147, Ahmad 2:414, Ahmad 2:442, Ahmad 2:501, Ahmad 4:121, Ahmad 4:122, Ahmad 4:205, Ahmad 5:269, Ahmad 5:273, Ahmad 5:383)

[xiv] (Ibn Majah K37 B17, Muwatta K47 H9)

[xv] (Muslim K1 H60, Muslim K1 H61, Ahmad 4:426, Ahmad 4:427, Ahmad 4:436, Ahmad 4:440, Ahmad 4:442, Ahmad 4:445, Ahmad 4:446, Tayalisi H853, Tayalisi H854)

[xvi] (KS 207)

[xvii] (Tirmidhi K9 B1)

[xviii] (Ahmad 4:160)

[xix] (Tirmidhi K25 B15)

[xx] (Bukhari K10 B32, Bukhari K56 B128, Muslim K1 H58, Muslim K12 H54, Muslim K12 H56, Muslim K45 H128, Muslim K45 H129, Muslim K45 H130, Muslim K45 H131, Muslim K45 H132, Tirmidhi K25 B36, Tirmidhi K25 B38, Tirmidhi K38 B6, Ahmad 2:343)

Omar Hasan Kasule Sr June 2004