Allah ﷻ does not forbid you from being good 

Signs of Good Character in Islam

Good character, morals, ethics, and manners are fundamental to the religion of Islam and how we can achieve salvation in the life to come. Good character is a major theme in the teachings of the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet. True righteousness is defined by it and the best Muslims are those who practice it. The believers with the most complete faith, who are most beloved by Allah and His Messenger, are those with the best character. Good character and behaviour are an integral part of most faiths and Islam is no different. Allah says:

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ 

“And march forth in the way (which leads to) forgiveness from your Lord, and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious.” (Surah Al ‘Imran 3:133)

Character (or morality) is deeply rooted in the heart, where the decision is made for every deed. Behaviours that spring from the habitual desire to do good are referred to by the phrase “good character”. Allah praised the Prophet’s character and set him as an example for all believers to follow. Allah made the character a cause for admission to Paradise. Allah says:

وَلِكُلٍّ وِجْهَةٌ هُوَ مُوَلِّيهَا فَاسْتَبِقُوا الْخَيْرَاتِ أَيْنَ مَا تَكُونُوا يَأْتِ بِكُمُ اللَّهُ جَمِيعًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“And for everyone (is) a direction – he turns towards it, so race (to) the good. Wherever that you will be will bring you (by) Allah together. Indeed, Allah (is) on everything All-Powerful.”  (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:148)

The purpose of upbringing plays an important role in determining good or evil in one’s character. When these traits result in the desire for virtue and truth, love of good deeds, longing to perform charitable deeds and being pleased with good things, being displeased with disgraceful things, and when this is the basic source of motivation to habitually do good deeds, then this is called “good character”. Allah says:

لِيَمِيزَ اللَّهُ الْخَبِيثَ مِنَ الطَّيِّبِ وَيَجْعَلَ الْخَبِيثَ بَعْضَهُ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ فَيَرْكُمَهُ جَمِيعًا فَيَجْعَلَهُ فِي جَهَنَّمَ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

“That Allah may distinguish the wicked from the good, and place the wicked some of them on others and heap them all together, and put them in Hell. Those – they (are) the losers.” (Surah Al-Anfal 8:37)

Islam orders good character and encourages Muslims to be trained in that, developing it in their hearts, nurturing faith in the worshiper through the virtues of the soul, and Islam through good character. They order people to be benevolent with parents, to uphold family ties, to be benevolent with neighbours, to be kind with orphans, travellers, and the poor, and to be gentle with servants. Allah enjoined him to behave with good character. Allah says:

اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ

“Recite what has been revealed to you of the Book, and establish the prayer. Indeed, the prayer prevents immorality and evil deeds, and surely (the) remembrance (of) Allah (is) greatest. And Allah knows what you do.” (Surah Al-`Ankabut 29:45)

Good character is not merely recommended or secondary to issues of doctrine. Rather, good character, morals, ethics, and manners are the spirit that breathes life into our doctrines. It is the very essence of righteousness spoken about throughout the Quran. It is accessible to our innate rational nature, as Allah has bestowed upon all of us the power to recognize righteousness and sin even without the aid of revelation.

Here are some ways we can implement good character in our lives:

  1. Good character instructs us on the general welfare of mankind
  2. Good character the scale of deeds on the Day of Judgement
  3. Good character can only be attained by purging one’s heart
  4. Good character provoke about good moral character
  5. Good character elevate and perfect the moral values
  6. Good character will be the heaviest righteous deed
  7. Good character will be the closest to the Prophet ﷺ 
  8. Good character urges to honour their obligations
  9. Good character work under all circumstances
  10. Good character is the Testimony of Faith
  11. Good character apply in all aspects of life
  12. Good character permeates all acts of worship
  13. Good character is required to follow the Islamic law 
  14. Good character is part and parcel of faith and belief
  15. Good character advises workers of ethical principles  
  16. Good character is not confined only to human beings
  17. Good character leads to kindness and courtesy to everyone
  18. Good character instructs us to make the world a better place
  19. Good character urges traders to show kindness and leniency
  20. Good character is the deed that will lead people to enter Paradise

Allah and His Messenger love those with good character. Those who cultivated good character and manners will be the closest to the Prophet and the righteous on the Day of Judgment, whereas those who indulged in bad manners will be the furthest from them. Before you can effectively develop a character, you must determine the role they’ll play in your story.

Allah ﷻ says in the Holy Quran:

  • “Allah does not like corruption.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:205)
  • “Verily, you are upon great moral character.” (Surah Al-Qalam 68:4)
  • “And We have revealed the Book to you explaining everything.” (Quran 16:89)
  • “… lower your voice. The most hateful voice is the donkey’s bray.” (Surah Luqman: 19)
  • “Take zakat from their wealth to purify and cleanse them with it.” (Surah At-Tawbah: 9:103)
  • “And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth easily, and when the ignorant address them (harshly), they say (words of) peace.” (Surah Al-Furqan, verse 63)
  • “Why, when you heard it, did not the believing men and believing women think good of one another and say, ‘This is an obvious falsehood’?” (Surah An-Nur, verse 12)
  • “Do you order the righteousness of the people and forget yourselves while you recite the Scripture? Then will you not reason?” (Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 44)
  • “Mankind! Eat of what is good and lawful on earth. Do not follow in the footsteps of Satan, (for) he truly is an outright enemy to you.” (Surah Al-Baqara: 168)
  • “… be good to your parents, relatives, orphans, and the very poor. Speak good words to people…” (Surah Al-Baqara: 83)

The believers encourage people to reconcile relations with those who have cut them off. The virtues of good character and their practical manifestations: acts of mercy, justice, fairness, patience, forbearance, modesty, humility, piety, kindness, compassion, and so forth. In each case, good character involves respect due to Allah, as well as the respect due to human beings and animals as the creations of Allah. Allah says:

وَقَطَّعْنَاهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ أُمَمًا مِّنْهُمُ الصَّالِحُونَ وَمِنْهُمْ دُونَ ذَٰلِكَ وَبَلَوْنَاهُم بِالْحَسَنَاتِ وَالسَّيِّئَاتِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْجِعُونَ

“And We divided them in the earth (as) nations. Among them (are) the righteous and among them (are) other than that. And We tested them with the good and the bad, so that they may return.” (Surah Al-Araf 7:168)

There are no exceptions whatsoever when it comes to talking about a good moral character in Islam. A Muslim is required to follow the dictates of Islamic law and observe noble character even in times of war and in difficult times, for there is no such thing in Islam as the end justifies the means. In other words, bad or unfair methods of doing something are by no means acceptable even if the result of that action is good or positive. Allah says:

الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا

“The wealth and children (are) adornment (of) the life (of) the world. But the enduring good deeds (are) better near your Lord (for) reward and better (for) hope.” (Surah Al-Kahf 18:46)

Good character is a very important part of being a Muslim. We should always try to be the best we can be. It is for this reason that Islam has laid down rules and criteria which govern Muslims’ behaviour even in times of war so that they would not succumb to fits of rage, driven by intolerance that feeds their anger and satisfies hatred and malicious and selfish tendencies.