What do scholars of Islam say, I want to improve my character and be closer to the Quran. I want to know how to make my character like the beloved Nabi ﷺ. What method and books would you recommend?
MashAllah, May Allah ﷻ help you to achieve this amazing aspiration, Ameen.
Here is a simple plan for you to follow:
- Read and inwardly digest my book, ‘Seven steps to moral intelligence.’ So, read it thoroughly, mark, reread and learn its meanings. This will help you to understand the nature of strong character, and the various moral values you must learn about and then develop. It must be done with soul and heart.
- Alongside this, study ‘Tokens of wisdom’, this book sets out to show how the beloved Messenger ﷺ lived these moral, spiritual, and social values. Its full of many examples. The book has 45 chapters from Riyad Salihin by Imam Nawawi, and amazing compendium of Islamic teachings.
- Read the Majestic Quran, my translation. Study the 67 shorter suras from surah 47 to 114 and make sure you understand every surahs central theme. Apply these to your daily life.
- Find a competent teacher/shaikh to mentor you and monitor your progress. Pay attention to him and trust him.
- Be active and not hide behind excuses, distractions, daily routines, or our fear of what others might say. Rather contemplate about life, who we are and ask ourselves the difficult questions about the requirements of imaan and if we are living up to them. Are we happy with our current state and would it allow us to be successful on the day of judgement?
- Reading and reciting the Qur’an along with contemplation of its meaning. Allah ﷻ states that: “If his verses were recited to them, their faith increased.” (Surah Al-Anfaal:2)
- Making as much dhikr (mentioning and glorifying Allah ﷻ) as possible. If we mention our Lord, faith increases in our hearts – particularly saying لا إاله إلا الله. Abu Hurayra reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Renew your faith.” They said: “Oh Messenger of Allah, how can we renew our faith?” The Prophet ﷺ said: “Say often there is no God but Allah.” (Ahmad)
- Accompany those who bring you close to Allah ﷻ by their manners and actions.
- One of the means of strengthening, renewing, and increasing faith is to remember our own mortality and death. Remembering death, the grave and all related issues heightens everyone’s level of consciousness about their journey in life and to consider their status in the hereafter.
- The increase in good deeds and abandonment of sins increase faith and vice versa. If a person commits a sin, he should not be struck with apathy and be pessimistic but must repent and return to Allah ﷻ.
- Allah ﷻ readily accepts wrongdoers, and we should be seeking His ﷻ forgiveness constantly. Good deeds are not confined or limited to a particular category, they can easily vary from helping your next-door neighbour to looking after the elderly and vulnerable in society; and extend to environmental issues or social activities and causes. No deed is a small deed. In fact, the holy Prophet ﷺ counted smiling as being a good deed.
Importantly, a good deed is not exclusive to only a fellow Muslim. It should cover all people and creatures of Allah ﷻ. We are fortunate to be living in a society where opportunities are available to join numerous charities and social organisations. Caring and helping others refines the heart and makes one more conscious of other people and ultimately strengthens one’s faith. Remember faith isn’t merely a list of “Do’s and Don’t’s.”
- Making dua to Allah ﷻ. It is reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Verily, the faith of one of you will wear out within him, just as a fabric becomes worn out, so ask Allah to renew faith in your hearts.” (Al-Mustadrak)
Finally, it is an obligation for every adult Muslim to strive in seeking and obtaining knowledge of the Islam. Knowledge of Allah ﷻ, His ﷻ attributes, the sunnah of Prophet ﷺ, knowledge of how to refines one character, knowledge of the diseases of the heart. These are all means to increasing one’s imaan.
When a Muslim seeks knowledge for the sake of Allah ﷻ, with every increase in knowledge, they will increase and strengthen in their faith. I hope you embark on this great and most fruitful journey, the essence of good life.
And Allah ﷻ knows best
This Fatwa is written By Dr. Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari