The Superior Character Traits of A Believer
Vigilance against the wiles of Shaytan
Shaytan continues his work twenty four hours a day; without making any distinction between rich and poor, young and old, pretty or unattractive, and he expends much effort trying to mislead everyone. He feels resentment towards everyone no matter who they are.
Shaytan was filled with this resentment at the creation of the first human being. After Allah created Adam, He ordered Shaytan to prostrate to him but Shaytan was filled with pride and jealousy; he disobeyed Allah and refused to prostrate. As a result of this rebellion and insolence he was driven from the presence of Allah. Our Lord tells us about this in the Qur'an:
We created you and then formed you and then We said to the angels, "Prostrate before Adam," and they prostrated—except for Iblis. He was not among those who prostrated. He (Allah) said, "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you to?" He (Iblis) replied, "I am better than him. You created me from fire and You created him from clay." He (Allah) said, "Descend from Heaven. It is not for you to be arrogant in it. So get out! You are one of the abased." (Surat al-A'raf, 11-13)
Allah tells us in the Qur'an that Shaytan blamed human beings for his fallen condition and asked Allah for a period of time—ending at the Day of Judgment—in which he would begin his work of tempting man from the right path.
He said, "Grant me a reprieve until the day they are raised up." He (Allah) said, "You are one of the reprieved." He said, "By Your misguidance of me, I will lie in ambush for them on Your straight path. Then I will come at them, from in front of them and behind them, from their right and from their left. You will not find most of them thankful." He (Allah) said, "Get out of it, reviled and driven out. As for those of them who follow you, I will fill up Hell with every one of you." (Surat al-A'raf, 14-18)
Shaytan's target is all humanity beginning with believers who strongly embrace Allah's religion. His desire is to draw as many people as possible to be with him in the Fire. He tries to prevent people from worshipping Allah sincerely from the heart, to take people away from Allah's deen and from the Qur'an and, as a result, to draw them into endless punishment.
And those with faith are aware that their greatest enemy, Shaytan, is always working; while they are trying to obey the commands of Allah as best they can, they are always wary of Shaytan's games and tricks. They are awake to the apprehension and groundless fears that he causes and his incitements to act against the teachings of the Qur'an or to put it aside and forget it and to part from the way of Allah. An example of the insinuations Shaytan puts in the mind of man is found in verse 268 of Surat al-Baqara:
Shaytan promises you poverty and commands you to avarice. Allah promises you forgiveness from Him and abundance. Allah is All-Encompassing, All-Knowing. (Surat al-Baqara, 268)
As this verse says, Shaytan tries to get a person who has lost his job to forget that Allah gives sustenance to every human being, and makes him afraid that he will not be able to find any money and so will go hungry. By instilling this kind of fear and by making other kinds of insinuations, he tries to draw people to his side. In the Qur'an, Allah shows human beings what to do against the evil impulses Shaytan provokes in us.
If an evil impulse from Shaytan provokes you, seek refuge in Allah. He is All-Hearing, All-Seeing. As for those who have taqwa, when they are bothered by visitors from Shaytan, they remember and immediately see clearly. (Surat al-A'raf, 200-201)
The most important thing a person can do to protect himself against the wiles of Shaytan is to take refuge with Allah. He must not forget that Shaytan is also under Allah's control and does not have the power to do anything unless Allah wills it. In the Qur'an, Allah commands us to say this prayer in order to take refuge with Him from Shaytan:
Say: "I seek refuge with the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the God of mankind, from the evil of the insidious whisperer who whispers in people's breasts and comes from the jinn and from mankind." (Surat an-Nas, 1-6)
A person who possesses the qualities taught in the Qur'an will always take refuge with Allah from Shaytan and will know the difference between the insinuations of Shaytan that pass through his mind, as if his own thoughts, and thoughts which conform to the Qur'an. He will be alert at every moment and pay no attention to what Shaytan says. He will not let Shaytan interfere in anything he thinks or does. For example, whether busy with his work, or alone by himself, or speaking with someone, when something happens to him or when some difficulty occurs, he always acts with the awareness that Shaytan is waiting in ambush tempting him to speak and act in a way not pleasing to Allah. In this and every situation he will speak and act in a way that conforms to the Qur'an. In this way believer will not fall under the influence of the wiles of Shaytan. Our Lord tells us about this in the Qur'an:
He (Shaytan) has no authority over those who believe and put their trust in their Lord. He only has authority over those who take him as a friend and associate others with Allah. (Surat an-Nahl, 99-100)
Understanding, tolerance and forgiveness
They are never quarrelsome, contrary or negative but interact with people positively and correctly. Because they live according to the teachings of the Qur'an, they display a character that is conciliatory and open to communication. They know that the anger, quarrelsomeness and argumentativeness of those who live without the deen have no place in the way taught by the Qur'an. For this reason, they are forgiving, tolerant and try to see the good in the other. In the Qur'an, Allah draws our attention to this as an expression of a superior character: But if someone is steadfast and forgives, that is the most resolute course to follow. (Surat ash-Shura, 43)
Allah commands us to be understanding, tolerant and forgiving toward others. He commands this in the following verse:
Those of you possessing affluence and ample wealth should not make oaths that they will not give to their relatives and the very poor and those who have emigrated in the way of Allah. They should rather pardon and overlook. Would you not love Allah to forgive you? Allah is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Surat an-Nur, 22)
For this reason, a believer is careful to treat any believer he has to deal with in his daily life with understanding and tolerance. For example, he will be understanding towards a believer who makes noise and wakes him up in the morning. He knows that he acts only by Allah's decree; Allah wanted him to wake up at that moment and the person making the noise was His instrument. This is one possible way of seeing it.
However, this would be an occasion for some people to become irritated and quarrelsome. A believer is careful to behave politely to other believers who harm him by accident. No matter how serious the situation, he does not become angry, lose his composure or upset those around him. He hopes for the same kind of understanding from others when he himself makes a mistake. As we said earlier, he hopes that Allah in His infinite mercy will forgive him his wrong actions. If he does not attempt to exemplify Allah's attribute as the "Ever-Forgiving" in his own behaviour, he knows that this attitude will lead him to act contrary to the teachings of the Qur'an.
A person who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an will have fine qualities of character. Because of the maturity he shows in the course of the day at home, at school or at work, he prevents any tension or anxiety from arising. Moreover, the behaviour of a believer will be an example to others. The most important thing is that his behaviour is that which is praised in the Qur'an and he acts in a way that is pleasing to Allah.
From the information he collected from scholars, Imam al-Ghazali wrote the following about the exemplary behaviour of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, towards those around him:
"… He used to be the first to greet one whom he met. He did not stand up or sit down without remembering Allah... … He used to call his companions by their honorifics to honour them and he used to give honorifics to those who had none. … He was very affectionate and kind in dealing with people." (Imam al-Ghazzali's Ihya Ulum-Id-Din)
Surely what we have to emulate is the noble character of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Those who adopt the values of the Qur'an and follow the Sunnah of our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, can hope to live a good life in this world by Allah's will and receive a great blessing from Allah in the Hereafter.
For example, someone who has to take an important examination may oversleep in the morning because his watch is broken. When he wakes up he hurries to school and gets caught in dense traffic. He wants to telephone the school to let them know he will be late but all the lines are busy. If a friend sitting beside him asks him a question at this point, he may answer with a peevish tone of voice, or just look at him crossly without giving an answer. This person thinks himself a helpful and understanding person, but in a situation like this we might say his patience has run out and he behaves in an unhelpful way.
In every situation and in all circumstances, a believer is determined to act by the values of the Qur'an in the way he lives. He is patient with others who say and do things that are wrong or unpleasant. (For a detailed discussion see Harun Yahya's The Importance of Patience in the Qur'an) For example, someone pushes him out of the way in order to get on the bus first. A friend might say harsh things to him in anger. A careless driver of a passing car might cover him with mud from head to toe as he walks along the road. The possible examples could be multiplied. But a person who has espoused the teachings of the Qur'an will realise that all these things are created this way in his destiny and will never behave in an unseemly, irritated or peevish way. Of course, he will take every precaution against such a thing happening again, and will do everything he can to avoid things that cause irritation. According to the values taught in the Qur'an, even in the case when something happens that causes one harm, a person must be patient with others and if possible repay bad behaviour shown him with better. In the Qur'an, Allah draws our attention to the fact that, through their patience, believers can repel bad actions kindly:
A good action and a bad action are not the same. Repel the bad with something better and, if there is enmity between you and someone else, he will be like a bosom friend. None will obtain it but those who are truly steadfast. None will obtain it but those who have great good fortune.(Surah Fussilat, 34-35)
According to this warped way of thinking, to speak peevishly, to ridicule another person with arrogant and insulting words and to respond with insolence and disrespect is actually a sign of superiority.
Of course, these ideas are totally contrary to the Qur'an. In the Qur'an, Allah gives us the following examples of how blessed polite language is and how it always brings benefit to human beings:
Do you do not see how Allah makes a metaphor of a good word: a good tree whose roots are firm and whose branches are in heaven? It bears fruit regularly by its Lord's permission. Allah makes metaphors for people so that hopefully they will pay heed. The metaphor of a corrupt word is that of a rotten tree, uprooted on the surface of the earth. It has no staying-power. Allah makes those who believe firm with the Firm Word in the life of this world and the Hereafter. But Allah misguides the wrongdoers. Allah does whatever He wills. (Surah Ibrahim, 24-27)
As we see in this verse, a person who speaks edifying words and lives according to them will find great beauty and incomparable blessings both in this world and in the world to come. On the other hand, a person who speaks unedifying words and lives according to them is walking along a dark road that will end in the Fire.
A believer speaks well and wisely to everyone he meets during the day. Wherever he may be, he speaks about Allah's deen, gives advice from the Qur'an, speaks words that recall Allah and the good character of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and speaks to people with respect.
In order to encourage his friends, he praises their good qualities that correspond to the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah and he speaks in a way that will help people to continue through the day more joyfully and lively. We may compare this behaviour of believers to the good fruit tree in the verse above.
However, some people prefer not to speak about the good qualities of others but want to humiliate them by pointing out their errors and shortcomings. As we pointed out, in the verses in Surah Ibrahim, our Lord draws our attention to this and compares this kind of language to a corrupt tree that bears no fruit. Just as a harsh word destroys a good relationship, it will also dampen the enthusiasm of the other party and be the cause of sorrow and regret.
On the other hand, when a believer speaks with someone giving him advice about how to remedy his shortcomings or pointing out his errors, he will take care to choose the best words. In doing this he will be fulfilling the following command of Allah:
Say to My slaves that they should only say the best. Shaytan wants to stir up trouble between them. Shaytan is an outright enemy to man. (Surat al-Isra, 53)
As Allah says in this verse, Shaytan tries to get people not to say good things to one another and, in this way, to make them enemies. When a negative word is spoken, Shaytan immediately starts to introduce suspicions to pry each side apart. A person who feels uncomfortable because he has been addressed unpleasantly will be influenced by the insinuations of Shaytan and respond in the same way to his opponent. This will damage or even destroy their friendship. But a positive word will avert the possibility of Shaytan's drawing people into error. For this reason, believers make every effort to speak to one another as positively as possible so that Shaytan will not have the occasion or the conditions to interfere. Such an attitude will be the means by which they will increase their bond of friendship. Our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has commanded believers always to practice high conduct and to speak positively:
"Do not envy one another; do not hate one another; do not turn away from another; and do not undercut one another, but be you, O slaves of Allah, brothers." (Muslim)
"There is nothing heavier in the scales than good character." (Imam Ahmad and Abu Dawud)
These are also qualities of Allah's Messengers. In the Qur'an we are told about Musa (as)'s subtle way of thinking:
When he arrived at the water of Madyan, he found a crowd of people drawing water there. Standing apart from them, he found two women, holding back their sheep. He said, "What are you two doing here?" They said, "We cannot draw water until the shepherds have driven off their sheep. You see our father is a very old man." So he drew water for them and then withdrew into the shade and said, "My Lord, I am truly in need of any good You have in store for me." (Surat al-Qasas, 23-24)
Being a sensitive man, Musa (as) immediately recognised that the women he met were in need and he helped them without wasting any time. This characteristic of Musa (as) is praised in the Qur'an and people of faith take it as an example in their daily lives. When they see someone who is in a difficult or anxious state they immediately try to do everything they can to help. Besides this, they try to cheer them up and in order to create a happy and beautiful ambiance, they act nobly in a way that will please them.
It is a quality of thoughtfulness to act in a way that will not make people uncomfortable. A person in a family situation who keeps shared things and areas clean and in order, avoids speaking loudly or listening to music loudly where he may make someone uncomfortable, observes whether or not the person he wants to talk to is free to listen to him at that moment, and doesn't hinder someone who is in a hurry trying to do something, is an example of the thoughtfulness that we often encounter in daily life.
Another important indication of thoughtfulness is recognising the precedence of others. In a conversation in which two people are talking on something about which they both know and one of them lets the other speak and someone who lets someone else take the last bit of food are examples of this. Apart from that, offering your seat on a bus to someone who needs it, and letting someone go ahead of you at the check-out after you have finished your shopping are ways in which people can get close to each other and establish good relations. People who are thoughtful towards others will establish sound relationships based on love and respect. In addition, they will enjoy living with the people in their neighbourhood and take pleasure in seeing them again.
On the other hand, in an environment where everyone is trying to do things for others for the advantage and profit they can get out of it, true friendship cannot exist. Putting on airs in conversation and artificial behaviour prevents friendship from forming. Empty chat and sarcasm create a tense atmosphere and no one would want to be in such places where there is no thought for Allah.
In the verses where Ibrahim (as)'s care for his guests is described, the Qur'an shows how to be a host according to the teachings of the Qur'an:
Has the story reached you of the honoured guests of Ibrahim? When they entered his dwelling and said, "Peace!" he said, "Peace, to people we do not know." So he slipped off to his household and brought a fattened calf. He offered it to them and then exclaimed, "Do you not then eat?" (Surat adh-Dhariyat, 24-27)
Believers who take Ibrahim (as)'s hospitality as an example will greet their guests cheerfully with a warm welcome and make them comfortable by showing them respect and love. Then, they will think about what their guests may need, and supply it without their having to say or intimate anything. Moreover, they will try to offer these things without delay because it is the custom of the Muslims based on the personal example of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that guests must be offered the best food in the house.
However, some individuals do not open the door when guests come calling even if they know them, and are forced against their will to entertain guests. They receive them out of custom or social necessity. Their behaviour changes according to the status of their guest: when hosting a poor person, they try to make do without offering special treats. But if their guest is rich and influential, they go beyond offering small treats and make every effort to offer the best possible food with the best possible service.
When a host treats his guests coldly and with disregard for their feelings, certainly he makes them uncomfortable and they feel uneasy. This makes for a situation that each side wants to end soon. The guest is sorry for having come, and the host is sorry for having provided the food and wasted his time.
In conclusion, it is only by practicing the teachings of the Qur'an and emulating the noble and generous behaviour of the last Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the behaviour of the right-acting Muslims right down to our own day that fine conversation and hospitality, unity and cooperation can grow among people.
Mutual peace and respect
In another verse, Allah advises believers to offer the greeting of peace when they enter houses:
... And when you enter houses greet one another with a greeting from Allah, blessed and good. In this way Allah makes the Signs clear to you so that hopefully you will use your intellect. (Surat an-Nur, 61)
When a believer leaves his house, he pleasantly wishes the neighbours he meets a good day and Allah's peace and mercy. He greets people on the street, his friends at school and other people in the same way. If someone greets him, no matter who, he receives his greeting and gives him an even better one in return. This behaviour is one of the beautiful things brought by the Qur'an and Sunnah to social relationships. By offering a greeting of peace, the cold and tense atmosphere between people who do not know one another is removed. People come closer together and a warm atmosphere is created among them even if they don't know one another.
In ordinary society, however, the greeting of peace is generally done out of habit. Some people greet only those from whom they make, or hope to make, some profit. Sometimes they do not receive the greeting from people they regard as inferior in status to themselves, or pretend not to hear it, in order to humiliate them. More seriously, such behaviour is regarded as normal in some circles.
Avoiding anger and dispute
In verse 54 of Surat al-Kahf, Allah draws our attention to this negative quality, and says that human beings are, above all, argumentative. For this reason, believers must at all costs avoid every kind of argument that may weaken or destroy their spirit of unity, togetherness and brotherhood. Allah clearly forbids this kind of behaviour:
Obey Allah and His Messenger and do not quarrel among yourselves lest you lose heart and your momentum disappear... (Surat al-Anfal, 46)
Quarrels break believers' strength, offer no solution to a problem, are of no benefit and come about at the instigation of Shaytan. If a person in good conscience regards arguments and fights as ugly and unacceptable, even so his lower self may push him towards dispute and conflict. For this reason, someone who takes the Qur'an as his guide and always acts according to his conscience will never allow argumentativeness to develop. Even if an argument breaks out as a result of some moment of carelessness, he will collect himself, remember Allah's command, realise that what he did was not pleasing to Allah and abandon this kind of behaviour.
A person with faith may meet various kinds of people throughout the day but will at all costs avoid argument. For example, while doing his shopping he will not engage in argument with the shopowner over prices, or with a bus driver because the bus is late, or with a slow official while waiting in a queue. If he is in a situation where he is treated unfairly, he will not become angry and start an argument but will choose to resolve the situation by acting positively and intelligently. In the Qur'an, Allah says that a believer must not become angry:
Those who give in times of both ease and hardship, those who control their rage and pardon other people. Allah loves the good-doers. (Surah Al 'Imran, 134)
Someone who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an will not change his understanding according to the behaviour of the person he meets. A person may make fun of him, use unpleasant language, get angry, offensive or even aggressive, but a believer's politeness, modesty, mercy and gentleness never change. He doesn't insult a person who insults him first or return ridicule for ridicule, anger for anger. He is calm and controlled if someone is angry with him and will act as our Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, has advised in one of his hadith:
"Fear Allah wherever you are, and follow up a bad deed with a good one and it will wipe it out, and behave well towards people." (Forty Hadith An-Nawawi)
A believer knows that every moment and every thing is created to test him. For this reason, instead of arguing with someone, he prefers to use good language, and steadfastness to overcome anger directed at him. He knows that this is the kind of behaviour that pleases Allah Whose approval he hopes to win.
No selfish greed
Others are envious of people who are rich, successful, knowledgeable, cultured, hard-working or own beautiful houses. Prestige, fame or position can be causes for envy. However, there is one important fact that envious people ignore; and Allah reminds us of it in the Qur'an:
Or do they in fact envy other people for the bounty Allah has granted them? (Surat an-Nisa, 54)
Our Lord Allah is the Owner of all things. He provides for anyone He wills and as much as He wills. A human being has no influence over whether more or less is given to him. The Absolute Owner of beauty, property, possessions and superiority is Allah. A believer is aware of this; so no matter what he encounters in the course of a day that he does not own but finds appealing, it will not make him envious. If he sees someone richer or more attractive than himself, he will think of Allah, the only Owner of wealth and beauty. He knows that Allah has chosen what He wills for whom He wills, has given the blessings He wanted to whom He wanted to give them and that the choice and the decision are totally His. The believer acts in a way that acknowledges that Allah has created everything in the best and most beneficial way and that all the various blessings in the world are given to human beings as a test, that the true world is the world to come and that in Allah's presence value is measured in terms of behaviour that pleases Him.
He does not feel selfish greed in sharing the things he owns with others or giving his possessions away. For example, he is not troubled in giving away a favourite possession as a gift or in letting someone else use it. Allah recommends this kind of behaviour to believers in the Qur'an:
You will not attain true goodness until you give of what you love. Whatever you give away, Allah knows it. (Surah Al 'Imran, 92)
A believer knows that all the blessings of this earthly life have been given to him only for a while for his use and as a test; he knows that negative traits like selfish greed and envy are wrong.
Avoiding suspicion and gossip
These types of behaviour usually go together because someone who slanders someone else does so because they already have unworthy thoughts about him. In the same way, someone who pries into another's business does so because he is suspicious.
In the teachings of the Qur'an there is no room for this kind of unpleasant behaviour and Allah commands believers to avoid it:
You who believe! Avoid most suspicion. Indeed some suspicion is a crime. And do not spy and do not backbite one another. Would any of you like to eat his brother's dead flesh? No, you would hate it. And have taqwa of Allah. Allah is Ever-Returning, Most Merciful. (Surat al-Hujurat, 12)
Allah's verses are always in the mind of a believer who carefully avoids behaving in a way that He does not like. He does not try to collect information on another person with an evil intention; He will not say anything unpleasant, anything he is unsure of, or anything that would hurt another's feelings. He will not be caught up in envious surmise on a person about whom he knows nothing. His thoughts about a person he does not know will always be positive; he will speak only about the good and attractive sides of that person. So, taking the example of the reactions of believers to a slander directed at women, Allah says in the Qur'an that a believer who is not sure about the truth of a matter concerning someone else must think positively about them:
Why, when you heard it, did you not, as men and women of the believers, instinctively think good thoughts and say, "This is obviously a lie?" (Surat an-Nur, 12)
A believer tries always to think positively about his family, friends and those around him, to speak about edifying things and to get others to do the same. But humans are created forgetful as a part of their test in this life and they can make mistakes, but when they become aware of their wrong behaviour, they take refuge in Allah's mercy and ask forgiveness.
To make fun of someone, they use certain words and gestures or mimic certain facial expressions. For the person making fun, it is not important that he may hurt the other person's feelings, make them sad, annoyed, upset or anxious. The important thing is to feed their own pride and to humiliate the object of their ridicule.
In the Qur'an, Allah definitely forbids people ridiculing others:
You who believe! People should not ridicule others who may be better than themselves; nor should any women ridicule other women who may be better than themselves. And do not find fault with one another or insult each other with derogatory nicknames. How evil it is to have a name for evil conduct after coming to faith! Those people who do not turn from it are wrongdoers. (Surat al-Hujurat, 11)
In another verse, our Lord warns, "Woe to every faultfinding backbiter" (Surat al-Humaza, 1) and warns people who behave in this ugly way; who do not live according to the teachings of the Qur'an and who do not think about the account they will render in the afterlife.
No form of ridicule is allowed among believers. Believers know that it is our Lord Who has given to everyone their wealth, beauty, intelligence, talents and other qualities. They take delight in the fine qualities they see in others and, because they seek Allah's approval and not to satisfy their own egos, they have none of the arrogance and jealousy that characterise ignorant society. For this reason believers are always tolerant, positive and modest towards one another.
At the same time believers realise that the defects they see in one another are tests from Allah. For this reason they don't call attention to these defects, but compensate for them by acting positively. They carefully avoid the slightest action, facial expression or word that would suggest ridicule.
Those who think that life is restricted to this earthly life do not put themselves out for others unless they stand to get something out of it, and they will not take the initiative to help someone in need. This is because they do not realise that we will receive perfect recompense in the afterlife for the good and the evil we have done in this world. In some verses of the Qur'an, Allah draws our attention to their perverse way of thinking:
Truly man was created headstrong in greed. (Surat al-Ma'arij, 19)
Have you seen him who turns away and gives little, and that grudgingly?(Surat an-Najm, 33-34)
As for those who are tight-fisted and direct others to be tight-fisted, and hide the bounty Allah has given them, We have prepared a humiliating punishment for those who disbelieve. (Surat an-Nisa, 37)
A person must rid himself of the selfishness and meanness of his self. In this regard, our Lord reveals the following:
So have taqwa of Allah, as much as you are able to, and listen and obey and spend for your own benefit. It is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful. (Surat at-Taghabun, 16)
For this reason, a person who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an will avoid selfishness and make an effort during the day to share what he owns with others around him. For example, he will take pleasure in sharing his food with someone who is hungry. He will happily give prized possessions to someone whose need for them is greater than his own. He will give whatever is surplus to his needs to the needy (Surat al-Baqara: 219). He knows that he will receive a greater reward for it in the afterlife. In the Qur'an, Allah shows us the exemplary behaviour in this regard of the Companions of our Prophet:
Those who were already settled in the abode, and in faith, before they came, love those who have emigrated to them and do not find in their hearts any need for what they have been given and prefer them to themselves even if they themselves are needy. It is the people who are safeguarded from the avarice of their own selves who are successful. (Surat al-Hashr, 9)
Believers take delight in the knowledge that their act of self-sacrifice has made someone else happy. They live with the inner peace of mind that comes from acting out of a good conscience and knowing that Allah is pleased. Even when they themselves are in need, they will give up their own rights without a thought. They will never mention their act of self-sacrifice, they will not behave in order to be praised or singled out and they will try to make the other party not feel obliged because of the favour they have done.
The teachings of the Qur'an according to which they live direct them to oppose any kind of cruelty, to defend the rights of those who have been wronged and to intervene on their behalf. In Surat an-Nisa', Allah describes the believers' superior understanding of justice:
You who believe! Be upholders of justice, bearing witness for Allah alone, even against yourselves or your parents and relatives. Whether they are rich or poor, Allah is well able to look after them. Do not follow your own desires and deviate from the truth. If you twist or turn away, Allah is aware of what you do. (Surat an-Nisa, 135)
Believers will mobilise all their forces to prevent injustice. Even if most people act in the opposite way, their carelessness and lack of conscience do no make believers lax. They know that they will be questioned in the afterlife about what efforts they made on behalf of justice and what they did to prevent injustice. They will not try to escape their responsibility as very many people do in the world by claiming they did not see, hear or notice anything. They remember that if they act carelessly, not only they are the losers but all the people who are wronged by injustice, and that, if they act conscientiously, not only are they are the winners in the afterlife, but all of the oppressed and wronged people will also benefit. For this reason they will never be disinterested observers of injustice. If there is any injustice at all, they will never ignore it by minding their own business and pretending they haven't seen anything.
Even if the teachings of the Qur'an are in opposition to the profit of the individual human, and even if it is hard to accept, it requires that justice be observed without distinction between mother, father, acquaintance, stranger, rich or poor. For this reason, a believer tries not to commit injustice during the day and strenuously avoids closing his eyes to injustice. He tries to give everyone what they deserve.
For example, when passing in front of people waiting in a queue for a bus, he won't be disrespectful and he will not close his eyes to anyone who does this. He will intervene in a way that is appropriate to noble character and without creating tension. In a contest, he will be careful to praise all those who deserve praise and to receive the award. He will defend those in the right without making any distinction between them and his friends. If he or a close friend makes a mistake, he will openly admit it if the error caused harm to another person and he will do everything in his power to make restitution for the harm done.
Despite the fact that they know what they did is wrong and that their lies may be discovered at any time, they resort to this unpleasant behaviour. They don't remember that they will give an account for everything they have said and done on the Day of Judgment.
But believers never compromise in their honesty. They know that they must be honest at all times, as Allah has revealed in the Qur'an:You who believe! Have taqwa of Allah and speak words which hit the mark [i.e., say what is true and appropriate]. (Surat al-Ahzab, 70) They obey this command meticulously every day. For example, as we said when discussing an earlier topic, they do not resort to lies to cover up a mistake. They immediately ask for pardon for any mistake they have made and try to make up for it. They do not tell lies in order to gain more respect or to be better liked. No matter what the reason, they do not see lying as a solution.
For this reason, a person who lives according to the teachings of the Qur'an in his daily life does not need to worry about telling a lie or being discovered in a lie. He lives the good, secure and peaceful life that honesty and sincerity bring. Someone who adopts this praiseworthy way of behaviour in this world will receive an even better reward in the afterlife. Allah gives these good tidings to the right-acting:
Allah will say, "This is the Day when the truthfulness of the truthful will benefit them. They will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever and ever. Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. That is the Great Victory." (Surat al-Ma'ida, 119)