Sculpting an Ideal Personality
Many motivational speakers and self-betterment courses have mushroomed lately. Like ever before, the need to sculpt the ideal being from the raw resource of the human self, is in demand. The corporate world confines this process to external well-being alone, where importance is given to the external appearance, speech and developing personality traits which impress others, only to make gainful business deals.
I say so because, if the effort was in the right direction, so as to improve the human morals and behaviour, we would have seen less crime and fraud, less divorce and family break ups, lesser greed for materialistic achievements, and no drastic climatic changes, as what is being witnessed now. Unfortunately, it the opposite we get to see.
The process of character or personality development has always been the core of Islamic preaching, ever since its advent. But, from Islamic perspective the development of a person happens from within, and it is a holistic approach. When the results are seen, it will be a complete 360 degree change in the person. The life of Sahaba, or the companions of our Prophet testify to this. How did this change happen so perfectly with the Sahaba, and within a short duration?
The Sahaba imbibed every move of our Prophet, his manners, his talk, his dressing sense, so much so even his hairstyle and walk. Narratives from the Sahaba give us a very clear picture of our Prophet, as his public and private lives were no secret to them. He became an open book running into as many pages, as the number of his companions. Certainly the purpose was to pass the message to the later generations, so that we too learn from it and imbibe the characteristics.
Prophet Muhammad (saws) was a compassionate and loving person: when he promised something to someone, he fulfilled his promise without fail, at the first opportunity. What he hated the most was lying. He spoke only when needed and laughed little, yet he had a sense of humour and liked to see others smile. When he met people he would be the first to greet, before starting the conversation. He disliked loud and rude speech, and preferred soft and gentle speech. He would not listen to people when they had something bad to say about someone.
He was the most generous person: he gave if he had something which people asked. If he did not have, he would not refuse, but would not respond. He never said no. If he knew a person as needy, he gave him without any words, but when he did not know whether the man was truly needy or not, he reminded him while giving that there was no share in charity for him who is not needy. He was very gentle and loving towards women and children. He cast his eyes down more often, than looking up and into the eyes of the other person. He was shy-natured, yet terrifying to the enemies.
He liked to dress in simple clothes, and washed and mended his own. He disliked bad smell, he bathed as often as he could, used miswak to clean his teeth very often. He would not go to bed without brushing his teeth. He perfumed and oiled his hair and beard with musk. He was never greedy, he started eating only after others started, after the meal he prayed for the host.
Although this small article does not do justice in capturing even the glimpse of mannerisms of our Prophet, the last advice of his to the Ummah or his followers, goes thus:
“Do not ever abandon prayer! Do not ever abandon prayer! And fear Allah (swt) in your treatment of those under your control and care.”