The nature of man is inherently inclined to practise the values of character praised in the Book. Allah revealed the Qur'an, the unique source explaining the values most conforming with the natural inclination of mankind. A man attains true bliss, satisfaction and peace only when he displays complete obedience to the commands of Allah, openly as well as secretly, with wholesome eagerness. Allah relates this in the following verse:
So set your face firmly towards the religion, as a pure natural believer, Allah's natural believer, Allah's natural pattern on which He made mankind. There is no changing Allah's creation. That is the true religion - but most people do not know it - turning towards him... (Surat ar-Rum: 30-31)
Those who do not observe Allah's limits and ignore the Qur'anic values incur unthinkable trouble in their lifetime. That is simply because, in a society where the bounties of Allah are abused, the criteria upon which one determines the right and wrong alter from one person to another. Hence, millions of different criteria ceaselessly clash with each other. By statements starting with "In my opinion…", every individual endeavours to impose his own convictions on others. He orients the conduct of his daily life to gaining personal interests. However, in the Qur'an, man is summoned to a single truth, to the path of Allah.
It is not devoutness to turn your faces to the East or to the West. Rather those with true devoutness are those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, and the Prophets, and who, despite their love for it give away their wealth to their relatives, and to orphans and the very poor, and to travellers and beggars and to set slaves free, and who establish salat (the prayer) and pay zakat (regular charity); those who honour their contracts when they make them, and are steadfast in poverty and in illness and in battle. Those are the people who are true. They are the people who have taqwa. (Surat al-Baqarah: 177)
Adherence to the Qur'an in an effort to seek Allah's Countenance and to attain His good pleasure, makes a believer always pursue perfection in manners. Such a person always seeks the good for others and does it for no price at all. Furthermore, he does not do it to be appreciated. In compliance with the command of Allah, he reacts to bad behaviour with excellent character. He has fear of Allah, and all his attitudes, decisions and reactions reflect this fear. That is why, at any moment, he demonstrates exemplary virtuous conduct as much as he is able.
Nevertheless, there exists no mechanism or reason preventing a man from engaging in misdeeds who does not fear Allah and who believes that when death befalls him - even if in a few decades - he will cease to exist for all eternity. It is not reasonable to expect such a person to be patient, generous or to remain loyal to somebody else for no price. Such a person simply has no reason to display excellent character, except for the cowardly thought that if he doesn't harm others perhaps they won't harm him and if he shows good conduct to them perhaps they will show it to him. On the contrary, he believes such virtuous conduct to be idiotic and a mere loss, except in the selfish form we note. That is because, he believes he will not be rewarded in return for his good deeds in this world and he has no faith in the Hereafter. In this respect, he overcomes every obstacle to attain his selfish goals. Man is prone to abstain from things likely to harm him. Especially, if he believes he will receive punishment in return for bad behaviour, he will never dare to do it. Yet, people who are distant from religion do not refrain from such behaviour, except from shortsighted self-interest.
So, don't pretend you don't grasp that the true values can only be displayed when people observe the limits of Allah. Otherwise, degeneration prevails. If you also want to lead a beautiful life in this world, keep in mind that you have to turn to the religion of Allah.
The sincerity and honesty of a person are the basic indications of the character values with which he strives to earn the good pleasure of Allah. Man is responsible to nobody else but Allah. It is only Allah Who will judge man on the Day of Judgement. Therefore, it is not sensible to resort to lies and insincere behaviour under the guidance of selfish interests and motives. So, don't plead ignorance of the fact that you have no alternative but to be sincere and honest in your conduct while Allah surrounds you and hears and sees whatever you do.
Another indication of good character is modesty. Arrogance and modesty can never remain together. It is obvious that an arrogant person can neither nurture love and mercy in his heart for others nor be generous. A person, however, should be aware of the fact that he personally possesses nothing of which to be proud. If his arrogance is due to his possessions, then he should know that the heavens, the earth and everything in between belong solely to Allah. Allah grants intelligence, good looks and skills to man and it is only a matter of a moment for Him to take them back. Furthermore, man is mortal. He will go alone into the presence of Allah, leaving everything granted him behind. Allah also states in the Qur'an that those who are arrogant in this world will be humbled before Him.
This is surely the truth. Man has nothing to take pride in. No matter how wealthy, beautiful, famous or respected you are, don't pretend you don't grasp this fact! What will make a man fortunate is the good character with which he strives to attain the good pleasure of Allah, and his submission to Him.
Allah gives a detailed account of virtuous, blessed behaviour and attitudes in the Qur'an. Below, the typical attributes of an individual who is sincerely devoted to Allah and who is aware that he will be judged can be listed as follows:
Repelling evil with good,
Having mercy for believers,
Not being led astray by rage,
Engaging in good deeds for no price or reward,
Remaining consistently temperate in one's approach to people
Avoiding ridiculing people because of jealousy and selfishness,
Speaking graciously to people,
Keeping promises and trusts,
Being a reliable witness,
Avoiding vain talk and trifling,
Settling matters wisely
The attributes of believers listed above are only the basic ones. On the Day of Judgement, man will be judged according to what actions he has done and these attributes. Those who have these attributes in this world and who have acted according to the Book, on the other hand, will be rewarded with a beautiful life. Allah gives the good tidings to those who believe:
When those who have taqwa of Allah are asked, "What has your Lord sent down?" their reply is, "Good!" There is good in the world for those who do good, and the abode of the Hereafter is even better. How wonderful is the abode of those who have taqwa: Gardens of Eden which they enter, with rivers flowing under them, where they have whatever they desire. That is how Allah repays those who have taqwa. (Surat an-Nahl: 30-31)
Not so! All who submit themselves completely to Allah and are good-doers will find their reward with their Lord. They will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat al- Baqarah: 112)
No matter under which circumstances you are, it is essential for your eternal life that you never plead ignorance of the fact that you have to live up to the values of the Qur'an.