Once a group of acquaintances and friends were having a discussion about what makes a marriage work. Everyone was suggesting different things based on their observations and experiences. Some said it was love. Others said it was compromise and sacrifice.
There was one who suggested for a successful marriage it’s important that spouses are God fearing and have some level of religiosity. This will ultimately make them fulfill each other’s rights out of fear of Allah.
On this another lady went onto relate how she knows a couple where the husband is seemingly religious but is worst in behaviour with his wife.
Unfortunately this has become an uncommon reality. Men and women regular with prayers, Hufadh of Quran, perfect in their islamic outlook. Yet they backbite, not considerate of their surroundings, are malicious in their character, beat up their children, not kind to their parents and spouses. And worst of all, lie and cheat.
Yes worship and rituals, how we dress have their place in Islam. But what’s even a notch above is our character, morality and our behaviour with those around us.
The Prophet ﷺ said,
The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.Sunan al-Tirmidhi
In another narration, heﷺ said,
“The Muslim is the one from whose tongue and hand the people are safe, and the believer is the one who is trusted with the lives and wealth of the people.”Sunan an-Nasa’i
In other words, a Muslim, by definition, is someone who is not unjust and doesn’t harm other people with his words and actions. He shows good behavior to family members, neighbors, guests, and people in general.
Of course, when a Muslim does commit any moral and behavioural offences, they remain a Muslim in the outward sense. But their faith and practice of Islam becomes deficient until their behavior matches the Prophet’s definition of a Muslim and a believer.
Perfecting both the inward and outward moral dimensions of faith comprises the very essence of Islamic teachings, as the Prophet ﷺ said,
Verily, I have only been sent to perfect righteous character.Al-Adab Al Mufrad
The above quoted Ahadith clearly show importance of good character. How we behave arises from what’s in the heart. And it’s an important element of faith, that we put in the effort to purify our hearts from spiritual diseases such as malice, envy, greed, and worldliness. Allah said,
He has succeeded who purifies his soul, and he has failed who corrupts it.Surah Shams:9-10
Hence we can conclude that a Muslim as an individual cannot be perfect in all spheres of Islamic teachings. Some of us excel in some areas of Islam while some are deficient in others. But what’s important to note that the deficiencies and imperfections of individual Muslims reflect their own weaknesses, ignorance, and shortcomings. There is no flaw in Islam or in the Qur’an and Sunna (if we care to study). The faults and flaws are always our own.