With our hijabs or beards donned, it is easy for anyone to recognize Muslims in public, and our neighbors or friends associate us with being ambassadors of Islam and the way we conduct ourselves is the way they see Islam.
We cannot change that, so we must take the responsibility of being an ambassador and behave in a manner that shows the true spirit of Islam.
We have been taught with an example by the Prophet Muhammad SAW and commanded by Allah SWT in the Qur’an about the importance of good behavior. Several times in the Qur’an, good habits and good behavior is stressed upon the Believers, and doing that can be as simple as greeting a brother!
The Qur’an and the examples of Prophet SAW have always required Muslims to respect others (and each other), to be honest, to fulfill promises, to have tolerance and forbearance and to be kind to living beings in order to be of good akhlaq.
Believers, let not some men among you ridicule others: it may be that the latter are better than the former: nor should some women laugh at others: it may be that the latter are better than the former: do not defame or be sarcastic to each other, or call each other by offensive nicknames. How bad it is to earn an evil reputation after accepting the faith! (Surah al-Hujarat, verse 11)
The Prophet SAW was of such honest nature that he was known as-as-Sadeeq and al-Ameen, and even his enemies did not deny that. When he spread the message of Islam, many said that he was mentally unstable or that he had been possessed but no one called him a liar since he never lied! And because of that virtue many also accepted Islam.
Despite the fact that nearly the entire city of Makkah was against him and his message, he was still good to his neighbors and asked the Believers to be so as well.
The Prophet Sallalahu alaihi wassalam, said: “By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer! By Allah, he is not a believer.’’ It was asked, “Who is that, O Messenger of Allah?’’ He said, “One whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil” (Sahih Bukhari).
In another Hadith it is narrated :
The Messenger of Allah, (Peace and blessings be upon him) says:” He is not a believer who eats his fill whilst his neighbour beside him goes hungry” (Sahih Bukhari).
The Prophet SAW was also exceedingly patient and never stumbled in the face of adversity even though he was thrust out of his home, lost so many who were dear to him, buried six of his children in his lifetime and was boycotted by the society.
We shall certainly test you with fear and hunger, and loss of property, lives, and crops. Give good news to those who endure with fortitude. (Surah al-Baqarah, verse 155)
Fulfilling one’s promises is another virtue which Islam teaches us, with Prophet SAW being the best example.
Keep your promises; you will be called to account for every promise which you have made. (Surah al-Isra’a verse 34)
It is narrated in a Hadith, the traits of a hypocrite or a Munafiq, who will receive the greatest punishment in Hell.
“Three traits single out a hypocrite, even if he prays or fasts and claims to be Muslim: If he speaks, he lies. If he makes a promise, he does not keep it. If he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Let us, as Muslims and ambassadors of Islam, try to imbibe these beautiful qualities of the Prophet SAW and follow the teachings of Qur’an. Insha Allah, they will not only benefit us but also those around us, for in trying times like these we must strive to reflect the true spirit of Islam rather than what the mainstream media is doing to get paid.
Seek Allah’s help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble. (Surah al Baqarah, verse 45)