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How to Know if You Are a ‘Muslim’ Gentleman?

Is Chivalry an Islamic Concept?

In the Qur’an, the Prophet Abraham (pbuh) is referred to in Arabic as fata, a young, noble man who knows how to handle his responsibilities. His sense of integrity and commitment are remarkable.

The word fata is derived from the Arabic word, futuwwa, essentially translated as chivalry.

Being gentle, loyal, modest, honest, compassionate, humble, trustworthy, and selfless is having futuwwa.

How to Know if You Are a ‘Muslim’ Gentleman? - About Islam

In the medieval period of Islam, orders were established around this principle of futuwwa which emphasized that members should uphold these traits and seek to serve society, putting their needs after the needs of those around them.

Then they were teaching young men how to honor their responsibilities, while today we are forcing them to figure it out on their own.

Chivalry is in our tradition. We just have to embrace it again and empower individuals to be those role models that our communities desperately need.

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I have long been impressed by an undergraduate club at NYU called “The Gentlemen of Quality“. Their mission statement reads:

“We, the Gentlemen of Quality, are a brotherhood dedicated to the principles of leadership, service, and scholarship. We seek the academic, social, and cultural enhancement of our communities, irrespective of race, color, creed, and religion.

We recognize, respect, and affirm the diverse backgrounds that bring us together to positively impact the NYU community. We aspire to set standards that will be built upon by future leaders.

Through these principles, we strive to keep inspiring and nurturing a gentleman’s spirit.”

The Muslim community needs a similar program or organization for young men that emphasizes and redefines success and achievement for us in terms of character, not just job titles, credentials, and salaries.

Patterns of emerging adulthood are much later these days in men across diverse backgrounds than they were years ago.

Take a Move

The maturity of an 18-year-old today isn’t the same as his counterpart from twenty or thirty years ago.

Our communities need to bring in well-rounded individuals who understand youth development as a science and build programs from an early age that help boys embrace their sense of responsibility.

We should hire professionals in this regard and not rely on volunteers, as good as their intentions might be.

While much of the same could be said about women, we don’t always present both sides of an issue, especially in one little article.

But this argument sometimes justifies our complacency.

This isn’t meant to be a moment for “well, girls also need to be better” just as much it’s not meant to be a “let’s hate on men” moment.

Islam is about learning to deal with reality, and the reality is that we right now have many issues around marriage in the Muslim community.

Race and ethnicity, culture, socio-economic realities, divorce, ego, domestic violence, mental health issues, pornography, adoption, infertility, loyalty, intimacy, communication, fidelity, in-laws, and much more are all things that can be a part of this discussion.

The main point being that young Muslim men need the nurturing to grow into true Muslim men.


This article is from our archives.

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