The Islamic Personality

Islam has provided a complete treatment for man to form for him a specific personality which is distinct from all others. With aqeedah (creed), it treated his thoughts, making it an intellectual basis on which his thoughts are built and according to which his concepts are formed. He distinguishes true thought from false when he measures it against the Islamic aqeedah and builds it on the aqeedah in its capacity as an intellectual basis. So his mentality is formed over this aqeedah. This intellectual basis, the aqeedah thus provides him with a distinct mentality and a true criterion for thoughts. It thus safeguards him against erroneous thought; he expels false thought and remains honest in his thought and sound in his comprehension.

At the same time, man’s actions, which stem from his instincts and organic needs were properly treated by Islam with Shari’a rules, which emanate from the aqeedah itself. The sharia rules regulate but do not suppress instincts, they harmonise between them, not leaving them free without restriction. They enable him to satisfy all his needs in a harmonious manner that leads to tranquillity and stability. Islam has made the Islamic aqeedah an intellectual one, thus making it suitable as an intellectual basis against which thoughts can be measured. It also made its aqeedah a comprehensive idea about man, life, and the universe. This comprehensive idea has solved for him all of his complexities whether internal or external. This made it suitable as a general concept, i.e. a criterion that is used naturally when the association between drives and concepts occurs, that is a criterion according to which inclinations are formed. So, Islam provided man with a definite basis, which represented a definite criterion for both concepts and inclinations, that is for mentality and disposition at the same time. Thus Islam formed the personality in such a special way so that it is distinct from other personalities.

We conclude that Islam forms the personality by means of the Islamic creed. By this Islamic aqeedah both his mentality and disposition are formed. Accordingly, the Islamic mentality is the one that thinks on the basis of Islam, i.e. that takes Islam and only Islam as the general criterion for thoughts related to life. It is not the mentality that is merely knowledgeable or pensive. Rather, the mere fact that a person actually and practically takes Islam as the criterion for all thoughts makes his mentality Islamic.

The Islamic nafsiyyah (disposition) is the one that makes all its inclinations based on Islam, i.e. that makes Islam the only general criterion for all satisfactions. It is not the one,  which is merely ascetical or stringent. Rather, the mere fact that a person actually and practically makes Islam the criterion for all satisfactions makes his disposition Islamic.. A person with this mentality and this disposition thus becomes an Islamic personality, irrespective of whether he is knowledgeable or ignorant, and irrespective of whether he confines himself to observing the obligatory (fard) and recommended (mandoub) rules and to refraining from haram (prohibited action), or he observes besides this other   recommended acts of obedience and avoidance of suspicious acts. In both cases, a person is an Islamic personality because anyone who thinks on the basis of Islam and makes his desires conform to Islam is an Islamic personality.

Yes, indeed Islam did order the Muslim to learn more Islamic culture, so that this mentality grows and becomes capable of measuring any thought. Islam also demanded performing matters beyond the (fard) and demanded the avoidance of matters more than the haram(prohibited actions) in order that this disposition is strengthened, so that it becomes capable of deterring any inclination that is incompatible with Islam. But all this is intended to enhance this personality and to set it to proceed towards a sublime pinnacle. Yet this does not intended to classify as non-Islamic personalities those, which are inferior to this one. Rather, this is an Islamic personality and those inferior to it of the  common knowledgeable who act in accordance with Islam and the educated who confine themselves to performing out the fards (compulsory rules) and refraining from the harams (prohibited actions) are also Islamic personalities. These types of personality only vary in strength but are all Islamic personalities. What matters when judging whether someone is an Islamic personality is whether he takes Islam as the basis for his thinking and inclinations. It is according to this that Islamic personalities, mentalities, and nafsiyyahs (dispositions) become disparate. So those who envisage an Islamic personality as an angel commit a grave misjudgement. Their harm in society is enormous, because they look for angels amongst people and never find them; they do not find an angel even in their own selves. They thus despair and give up hope for Muslims. Those idealistic people verily serve as proof that Islam is utopian, impossible to implement, and is a host of admirable ideals that man cannot implement or endure. Consequently, they repulse people from Islam and render many people too paralysed to act; although Islam came in order to be implemented in practice. Islam is realistic, i.e. it deals with realities and it is not difficult to implement. It is within the potential of every man, no matter how weak his thinking is and how strong his instincts and needs are. Such a man can implement Islam upon himself smoothly and easily after he has comprehended the Islamic aqeedah and become an Islamic personality. This is because he definitely becomes an Islamic personality merely by making the Islamic aqeedah the basis for his concepts and inclinations and maintaining this criterion. The only task that he has to perform afterwards, is to strengthen his personality with the Islamic culture in order for his mentality to grow, and with recommended acts of obedience to strengthen his nafsiyyah, so that he is on the path to a sublime pinnacle, which he would not only reach but also surpass towards ever-elevating peaks. This is due to the fact that Islam has treated man’s mentality with its aqeedah when it made this aqeedah the intellectual basis on which to build his thoughts about life. So, he distinguishes true from false thought when he measures thoughts against the Islamic aqeedah and builds them on it because it is an intellectual basis. Thus, he safeguards himself against erroneous thought, avoids false thought and remains true in his thought and sound in his comprehension. Islam has treated man’s inclinations with Shari’ah rules when it treated his actions, which emanate from his instincts and organic needs. This treatment is sensitive; it regulates instincts but does not harm them by attempting to destroy them. It does not leave them free unrestricted but puts them in harmony. It enables man to satisfy all his needs in a harmonious manner that leads to tranquillity and stability. So, a Muslim who embraces Islam through ration and evidence and fully implements Islam upon himself and understands correctly the rules of Allah (swt), this Muslim is an Islamic personality distinct from all others. He achieves the Islamic mentality when he makes the Islamic aqeedah the basis for his thinking. And he achieves the Islamic nafsiyyah when he makes this aqeedah the basis for his inclinations. Hence, the Islamic personality is characterised with special attributes that distinguish the Muslim and mark him amongst people; he is as outstanding amongst them as a mole on the face. These attributes that characterise him are an inevitable result of his observance of Allah’s commands and prohibitions and of performing his actions in accordance with these commands and prohibitions as a result of his awareness of his relationship with Allah (swt). Thus, his aim from observing the Shari’a is nothing but to please Allah (swt).

After a Muslim has achieved Islamic mentality and nafsiyyah, he becomes qualified for cadetship and leadership simultaneously. He combines mercy and toughness, luxury and asceticism. He truly understands life, so he seizes this worldly life, allocating for it only its due significance, and he gains the hereafter by striving for it. Accordingly, he is not dominated by any of the attributes of worldly life worshippers. He does not drift with religious monomania or Indian asceticism. Simultaneously, he is a hero of jihad and a resident of a prayer chamber. He humbles himself when he is a master. He combines within him leadership and jurisprudence, trade and politics. His most sublime attribute is that he is a servant of Allah’s, his Creator. Therefore, you see him humble in his prayer; he refrains from futile talk; he pays his zakaah; he lowers his gaze; he observes his trusts; he honours his pledge; he keeps his promise; and he performs jihad. Thus is the Muslim. Thus is the believer. Thus is the Islamic personality, which Islam forms and by which it makes a person most righteous amongst people. Allah (swt) described this personality in the Holy Quran with a number of ayahs (verses) when He described the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) and when he described the servants of Allah Most Gracious and when He described those who perform jihad . Allah Almighty says, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers, but compassionate amongst each other,”[29:48]. And He says, ” The vanguard (of Islam), the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of those who gave them aid , and (also) those who follow them in all good deeds, well-pleased is Allah with them as are they with Him,” [100:10]. And He says, “The believers must (eventually) win through. Those who humble themselves in their prayers; who avoid vain talk; who are active in deeds of charity”[1-4:23]. And He says, “And the servants of Allah Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace!” Those who spend the night in adoration of their Lord, prostate and standing.” [63-64:25] And He says, “But the messenger, and those who believe with him strive and fight with their wealth and their persons: for them are (all) good things: and it is they who will prosper. Allah has prepared for them Gardens under which rivers flow, to dwell therein: that is the supreme felicity,” [88-89:9]. And He said, “Those that turn to Allah in repentance; that serve Him and praise Him; that wander in devotion to the cause of Allah; that bow down and prostrate themselves in prayer; they enjoin good and forbid evil; and observe the limits set by Allah; these do rejoice. So proclaim the glad tidings to the Believers.” [112:9]

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