How Can I Be a Good Muslim?

13 November, 2016
Q Salam. I'm a 17 years old Muslim living in Australia. Thankfully I pray and fast and I try not to a bad person. However, I want to feel closer to God. I want to make my faith stronger, while also having fun learning more about Islam. I was hoping maybe you could help me with that if possible… Thank you.

Answer

Salam Dear Sanaa,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam. Sure we all find your words echoed in our own hearts.

Well Sanaa, once we are regularly practicing the five pillars of Islam, we are in contact with Allah. Prayer is our direct communication with Allah and this requires the correct intention, full concentration and humility.

We can still improve our relationship with Allah by doing more voluntary good deeds. These voluntary good deeds may take the form of extra prayers, fasts, charity (sadaqa). This can also include reading and understanding the Quran, memorizing more of it – even competing with family or friends, and generally helping others, whenever we can.

We can even avoid raising our voices, avoid arguing – and of course swearing… We can do more for our parents, share more with our brothers and sisters – whether blood relatives or not…

In fact, it is also an obligation for Muslims to seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. If we are sincerely doing this for Allah, He will support our efforts and in this way we will feel closer to Allah.

The Quran says in Surah 47, verse 17:

{And [as for] those who follow the right direction, He increases them in guidance and gives them their guarding [against evil]}

Then, the knowledge we learn should be put to some use. That is, we should contribute to the society we find ourselves in. We can find ways to help, for example, some people give speeches in schools, visit the elderly, run errands for those who have limited mobility, help younger ones with homework, teach if they have skills that are in demand, etc.

For example, there is a growing movement in the UK for community centers, to be utilized by ethnic groups for learning functions. This includes teaching computer skills, aerobics, language classes – Arabic – and so on. I don’t know if this is a possibility in your country, or if you can even use classrooms in schools after the classes have finished?

In addition, there is this product that I used. It was a compu
ter based quiz program (PCIQ) available from the Islamic Computing Center – along with others – where you can learn a little about Islam. You can do this, at the same time as competing with a friend on your knowledge of Islam.

Also, every Muslim should be familiar with the life of Muhammad (peace be upon him). In fact, I recommend the Sealed Nectar, which is a very good account in English. Also, we should read the stories of the sahabah (companions of the messenger), may Allah be pleased with them all.

The last suggestion is to find yourself a group of good religious friends. Have someone as the coordinator and do some group study of the Quran and sunnah (biography of the messenger). It is best to do this with a native Arabic speaker, or at least someone who knows Arabic. That way, you stay within the boundary of the Quranic Arabic, when you have your discussions.

These are known as ‘study circles’. Generally, you study a passage from the Quran, read and discuss a hadith (sayings of the messenger) and look to see how to apply these in your daily life. While this can be done on an individual basis, it is easier in a group. Perhaps even a family group, if there were not many Muslims around you, would be a good idea…

One more thing, perhaps, to bear in mind, is that the first revelations to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) came to build up the inner person, to improve one’s faith, to strengthen one’s ‘imaan (faith and belief), to give hope of Paradise and how to avoid Hell. Therefore, the Makkan Surah’s are the ones to study first, perhaps…How Can I Be a Good Muslim

I have taken your words of ‘having fun’ to mean sharing with others, as learning is a serious business.

On a more light-hearted approach you could look into various cultural aspects of the Muslim world. Some aspects of culture are not always Islamic. This is even in Islamic countries. In fact, you and every Muslim need to be aware of that.

Food is usually such a fascinating subject and dress is another… But, there is also architecture and calligraphy, and probably more that you can think of. It really depends on your own interests.

God willing, you will have an exciting time learning and practicing your religion.

I hope this helps address your concern.

Salam and please keep in touch.