Without a doubt, the apex of goodness in a person is believing in Allah and following such belief with a good moral character. Some will claim that they have pure hearts and that they don’t harm even a fly but yet they are not forthcoming in the acts of worship prescribed in Islam.
How can one be good without first obeying his maker? How can one claim to have a clean heart for mankind and the flora and fauna around him, yet he ignores the worship of his Lord? All such claims to goodness are false and rooted in misguidance inspired by Satan and his lieutenants.
The pinnacle of goodness is accepting the oneness of Allah, believing in His prophets, His angels, His Divine books and His decrees, either good or bad. Then this is followed up with practical actions of worship and being merciful to those around you and to the environment that you live in.
Below we take a look at few other things that make a person ‘good’.
1. Being Generous
After the belief in Allah and the performance of the tasks of worship as prescribed in Islam, being generous to Allah’s creatures on earth is the next most sacred form of worship.
A good Muslim ought to be kind-hearted and compassionate towards all of Allah’s creatures on earth. Treating your fellow human beings with dignity and respect, offering them financial and moral help whenever possible, protecting animals and the environment, eating up or using the bounties that Allah has availed His creation only when necessary, are all acts of goodness.
A good Muslim does not harm the people around him. He does not unnecessarily kill the animals around him nor does he destroy his environment. These are all acts of generosity and are rewarded by Allah if done for His sake.
2. Kindness to Others
Kindness to one’s parents, his spouse(s) and children, and to the people he knows and even to those he doesn’t know, is highly recommended for every Muslim. It is a manifestation of goodness when one is kind.
A Muslim should not have a constricted heart nor should he harbor jealously towards others. Kindness to humanity and the rest of the creatures of Allah on earth is a form of worship.
It is among the traits of goodness that a person is patient regarding the things that befall him, his family, his businesses or sources of income and the affairs of his fellow Muslims and all mankind. A Muslim should not despair at every turn, must not constantly complain about every ill that befalls him and must learn to trust in Allah.
In the Quran Allah told us regarding patience:
O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. (2:153)
So the best way to respond to a calamity in one’s life, business or family is by being patience. This is a manifestation of trust in Allah and signifies goodness in the person. A patient person will bear the hurt directed to him and not go on a revenge campaign. Such is the teaching of Islam.
Lying is so rampant nowadays that many just lie without stopping to think about it. It is easy to lie. People make promises that they know they don’t intend to keep; they lie about where they are and various other things. They lie in job applications and they falsify documents. Yet, they continue to ‘lie’ to themselves that they are good individuals.
A good person who believes in Allah and the Last Day will not lie even whereas he is telling a joke. That is another sign of goodness.
As we have seen, being good transcends the mere basics. Done correctly, a person stands to gain both the pleasure of Allah and the praise of his people, even where he is not preoccupied with the later.