Saturday, 14 March 2009

Self Improvement & Islam

How many of us can say that we constantly try to challenge ourselves to be better all rounded individuals? I'm not simply talking work wise as most of us have some sort of motivation or the other when it comes to work. We want to be able to get a raise, a promotion, not lose our jobs, not look bad in the eyes of other co-workers so we try to work hard. What about other aspects of our lives?

Do you look in the mirror when you've gained a few pounds and say, "Hmm, I need to start eating healthy food and keeping fit" and then try to make changes in your life that benefit your health? I don't mean checking your weight obsessively and going through fad diets & rigourous exercises until you've attained some model like figure. There's a difference in being thin and being healthy and fit. I'm talking about the latter. Even thin people need to eat healthy foods and get daily exercise.

How about learning new skills? Have you ever found yourself thinking about teaching yourself skills to be self-reliant? You may not have succeeded but the point is, did you try or did you just give up?

How about improving language skills, whether it is English or trying to learn Arabic, the language of the Holy Quran.

My point isn't that one should not be happy with themselves but to not give up learning and growing as individuals. Not to settle for being second best. And I don't mean competing with others but with yourself. Challenging yourself to be better than what you already are in every aspect of your life. The excellence of knowledge can be seen in the following verses:

"Allah will raise in rank those of you who believe and those who have been given knowledge," (Quran 58:11)

"Say: 'Lord, increase me in knowledge.'" (Quran 20:114)

"Are they equal: those who know and those who do not know?" (Quran 39:9)

If you truly follow and understand Islam, you will realize that Islam is a way of life and about being a well rounded person. And if we follow Islam in it's true sense, we would be better in every respect.
"Mu'awiya was heard to say in a khutba, "I heard the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, 'When Allah desires good for someone, He gives him correct understanding in the deen. I am an even-handed distributor, but it is Allah who gives. This community will remain straight following the command of its Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and will not be harmed by those who oppose it until the command of Allah comes." " (Bukhari)

According to Islam in growing closer to Allah:
“Anas reported from the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, in what he reported from his Lord, the Mighty and Majestic. He said, "When the slave comes towards Me a hand-span, I go an arm-length towards him. When he comes towards Me an arm-length, I go a fathom towards him. When he comes towards Me walking, I go towards him running."” [al-Bukhari]
'Abdullah b. Mas'ud reported: I said: Messenger of Allah, which of the deeds (takes one) nearer to Paradise? He (the Holy Prophet) replied: Prayer at its proper time, I said: What next, Messenger of Allah? He replied: kindness to the parents. I said: What next? He replied: Jihad in the cause of Allah. (Muslim)
Being good to your family, neighbours, orphans, friends:
(Picktall) “And serve Allah. Ascribe no thing as partner unto Him. (Show) kindness unto parents, and unto near kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and into the neighbor who is of kin (unto you) and the neighbor who is not of kin and the fellow traveller and the wayfarer and (the slaves) whom your right hands possess. Lo! Allah loveth not such as are proud and boastful” (Quran 4:36)
(Picktall) "Thy Lord hath decreed, that ye worship none save Him, and (that ye show) kindness to parents. If one of them or both of them to attain old age with thee, say not "Fie" unto them nor repulse them, but speak unto them a gracious word." (Quran 17:23)
(Picktall) The Prophet is closer to the believers than their selves, and his wives are (as) their mothers. And the owners of kinship are closer one to another in the ordinance of Allah than (other) believers and the fugitives (who fled from Mecca) except that ye should do kindness to your friends. This is written in the Book (of nature). (Quran 33:6)
"Abu Safwan 'Abdullah ibn Busr al-Aslami reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "The best of people is the one who lives a long life and whose actions are good." "[at-Tirmidhi]
Narrated 'Aisha: The Prophet said "Gabriel continued to recommend me about treating the neighbors Kindly and politely so much so that I thought he would order me to make them as my heirs. (Bukhari)
Narrated Abu Shuraih: The Prophet said, "By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe! By Allah, he does not believe!" It was said, "Who is that, O Allah's Apostle?" He said, "That person whose neighbor does not feel safe from his evil." (Bukhari)
Being kind to another Muslim:
"He who relieves a hardship of this world for a believer, Allah will relieve a hardship of the Day of Resurrection for him; he who makes it easy for an indebted person, Allah will make it easy for him in this world and the Hereafter; he who covers a Muslim (his mistakes and shortcomings), Allah will cover him in the World and the Hereafter; Allah will be in a person’s need, as long as he is in his brother's need." (Tirmidhi)
A Muslim is not a fault-finder and is not abusive, obscene or coarse." (Tirmidhi)
So don't forget to strive harder to be a good Muslim. Do not give up if you fail. Keep challenging yourself.


Indefinable said...

Yeah - I definitely have a lot of improvement to do!