In our final Purification of the Heart class with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani on March 20th, we had an amazing class filled with beautiful gems about the meaning of good character, patience, good company, and ways to improve our own character traits. It’s impossible to share everything that was covered during the class, but insha’Allah these notes are of benefit.
What is Good Character?
- Imam Zarruq: good character is the established qualities of someone. It is who they naturally are.
- At the heart of good character is restraint.
- Forbearance is the capacity to restrain anger and negative emotions and to respond on the basis of what reason and good character dictates.
- Important aspect of good character is to be mindful of other’s rights and not to be excessively demanding of your own.
- Good character is to deal with people in the way that they want to be dealt with, not necessarily in the way that you’d want to be dealt with.
- Everyone has moments of madness. People are distinguished by how long those moments of madness last and what distinguishes them.
- Aspect of good character is you don’t take people to task. Excellence of character is far beyond that.
- Be easygoing! Don’t rebuke or fault.
- First person you call to good is yourself. If you make a mistake admit to it. Be just and giving. Have sincere concern for relations.
- Numerous hadith exist about good character.
- Believers have four rights over one another (some apply more broadly): to seek the good, to seek forgiveness for those who err, to pray for them, and to love them.
- A means of Divine mercy is to spread the greeting of peace and to seek well of people.
- Fire is forbidden for someone who is easygoing (not demanding), gets along with, and is close to people
- True believer is one that other people are safe from their tongue and their harm.
- Best of faith is mending relations between people. Your concern should be to make things better.
- The one who takes care of orphans and widows is close
- Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) shows us why you do good and how you go about doing good.
- Best of works is bringing happiness to another’s heart
- Best of works in terms of sincerity to God is upholding good character when difficult
The Importance of Good Company
- Bad company causes you to fall into corruption (of action and words), heedlessness and worldliness.
- Company that does not have this, but has a lack of benefit becomes good company if kept in a good way.
- People are naturally disposed to liking those who do good to them (ex: buy coffee for someone, buy gifts, do good, invite people over)
- If you have really good character and excel at your work, you can pretty much get away with anything.
- Choice of company: Do not keep the company of those whose state does not elevate.
What is Patience?
- Adopt patience and know that its first part is bitterness but its last is like honey, and as sweet
- Be patient/steadfast and outdo others in being steadfast. And be mindful of God in order that you attain felicity.
- Patience is illumination
- Patience (sabr): Holding oneself from saying or doing things that go against the pleasure of Allah. Leaving complaints when tribulations befall one.
- Patience is resolve.
- Patience is to remain firm to what is pleasing to God. (injustice is not pleasing to God, so to remain with an unjust situation is not pleasing)
- 2 types of complaints: a) Complaint of neediness, which is an expression of slavehood because it is a recognition that there is no one else to complain to, and b) objection, which is not appropriate.
- Patience is only through making yourself patience. If you’re missing a virtue, figure out what it entails in conduct and state. Hold yourself to that conduct until you find the state.
- Dua in poem: You are my purpose and reliance. My hope in the world and my return
- One of the benefits of travel is that it tests your patience.
- Several barometers to test your standing with God. 1) presence of heart in prayer. If lacking, need to bring remembrance in your life. 2) Ask yourself: how am I in negative situations? When someone cuts you off, the wrong pizza gets delivered, you have bad customer service, how do you respond?
- The standard of character is the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace)
- If find good, ascribe it to God.
- The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is our exemplar. Benefit of having an exemplar is that by Prophetic standards, always falling short.
- Dua: My worldly aspirations are for You and through You. (Ex: you want to get a house, and you have the intention to raise a family in it, to feel thankful, and to have people over)
- Ways to have blessed openings and closings: To begin things with the Name of Allah, with praise of Allah, with blessings upon the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), with need of reliance, and to take the best of means in the best of ways.
- Sunna is complete reliance on Allah and taking the sunna is the best of means.
- Reality of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is that he is pointing you to Allah. So should have a daily point of connection with the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). Read a little bit about him everyday.
- Never take a step or direct yourself towards anything, unless certain that is pleasing to Allah. Then every state of yours will be a means of increase. (How to know whether something is pleasing? Ask.)