RAMADAN – Mending habits and developing character 


Ramadan is the month of heightened Allah-consciousness, of attaining taqwa (piety), of training ourselves to be the best we can be; a month to initiate improvement of reputation, character and for the cultivation of good habits.

People who try their best to live by the highest values are surely people of integrity and indeed people of moral conscience. What is morality though?

Morality describes the principles that govern our behavior and relates to our behavior at three levels…

  • how we as individuals ensure that we are honest, just and compassionate.

  • how we interact with and contribute to society, as asset or liability.

  • how conscious we are of our accountability to our Creator.

Taqwa in an amoral world

In a world, increasingly amoral, perception is considered reality. How one appears to the world has overtaken the substance of who we really are. Impressions, whether real or fake, are given more credence than it deserves.

Though name, image and reputation are what we perceive of people; character is the essence of the “real self”. Taqwa is in reality character development coupled with God-consciousness.

Character and reputation

Character is not only the face in the mirror, but the real person behind the face. Character evolves from conscience; is sustained by conscience and is developed; piece by piece, with every thought, with every choice, and maintained with consistency and determination. The pursuance of piety begins by making our reputation a reflection of our character. In many people, reputation precedes character and there is a distinction to be made…

  • Reputation is what you lead others to believe you are, character is what you really are –

  • Reputation may be reflected in the combination of your name and your image, character is the essence of your being.

  • Reputation is the wrapping, character the content –

  • Reputation is the outer reflection, character the inner reality –

  • Reputation is made in a moment, character is built in a life time –

  • Reputation may be reflected in what people write about you on your tombstone, character is what angels report about you to Allah –

Changing bad habits

The renowned philosopher, Aristotle, once said; ” You are what you repeatedly do “. Habits are conditioned responses, formed through repetition, until the actions or reactions become second nature; they end up as unconscious behavior, automatic reactions in a particular situation; (e.g. The way you sign your name, the reprehensible habit of cigarette smoking after a meal…)

It was the English writer, Shakespeare, who said; ” First we make our habits, then our habits make us “. Thinking in a particular pattern creates a mental path, the mental path affects our attitude and our behavior, and these reflect our personality and character. In other words, our thoughts affect our attitude which affect our actions which determine our habits which reflects our character which could determines our destiny. The Roman poet Naso Ovid rightly said, ” habits eventually become character “.

Virtues and vices

According to Islam, habits are classified as virtues or vices, as repeated actions that are in conformity with or contrary to the rules of morality. Virtuous character emanates from good habits and good habits emanate from resisting negative temptations. Good habits, unfortunately, seem so much easier to give up than bad habits.

Bad habits are like a comfortable bed; easy to get into but difficult to get out. The chain of bad habits are generally too light to be felt until they are too strong to be broken. Remember though, that every habit; whether good or bad, is acquired and can be developed or disowned. Habits decrease or disappear by abstaining from exercising them and then replacing them. In the words of Roman orator, Cicero, ” consuetudo consuetudine vincitur = habit is overcome/ conquered by habit. Ramadan is an ideal training period for filtering out bad habits, developing virtuous character and is thus referred to by Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as a shield against evil and wrongfulness. We are obligated to nurture our noble qualities; control our passions, our anger and emotions. We are instructed to be considerate, generous and compassionate.

Moral improvement and spiritual rejuvenation

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) referred to Ramadan as a blessed month in which Allah has made fasting obligatory on those who are able; whosoever denies himself of the benefits of that month denies himself many virtues. As we undertake the physical duty and spiritual responsibility of fasting in the blessed month of Ramadan, we reflect on the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) who said that the practice of faith will not be correct unless actions are correct and actions will not be considered correct unless the heart is correct.



By: sadullah khan | Source: IslamiCity | Category: Americas, Articles, Faith, Featured | Topic: ramadan | Values: character | Views: 31,488 | Comments: 56

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56 Comments

  1. One thing which each and every one of us can do to help promote Islam is to be good Muslims good representative or Ambassadors of Islam changing our character for the better so that we can give Islam good name being denigrated in the Media. Anything we do like committing any mistake we will not be treated as ordinary human beings like every one but due to prejudice we will be branded as terrorists militants or whatever the Media taking full advantage to destroy the name of Islam the only interested in that. So this is why we have to be good example wherever we find ourselves we are Muslims so therefore let us be serious good Muslims and best examples for every to see.

  2. Allah will not change condition of people until they change what

    is in their hearts.If we are sincere and determined we can

    change our habit for the better if not best.All we need is to

    make sincere intention then put it into practice and see the

    result especially during this time of Ramadan Rahmah is being

    showered in the first ten days before the second ten days of

    forgiveness.So don’t lag behind strive hard so that we be saved

    from the fire and gain entry into Jannah at the last ten days in

    July.May Allah accept our ibadah and the entire Ummah we all

    become the means of guidance.Pray for our brothers and sisters

    in one Country where they stopped them from fasting in the Month

    of Ramadan the Muslim Countries should be united to point to

    this Nation the injustice perpetrated to our fellow Muslims in

    that Country by giving them the freedom which the World together

    with UN has given enshrined in the human rights declaration of

    freedom of Religion. Pressure must be put on this so called

    Nation who think they are civilized by not believing in God.Let

    them keep it to themselves not impose it on others if they don’t

    believe in God we are Muslims we believe so allow our Muslims

    brothers and sisters to practice their Deen allowing them to

    fast in Ramadan.They are not children yes children can be

    persuaded not to fast but not adult.There is no obedience in the

    disobedience of Allah openly coming out to stop people from

    practicing their Religion. Human Right Groups and other Muslims

    must act by reminding the Country that what its doing is wrong

    they should be corrected.Month of Ramadan is Month of Blessing

    no one should be deprived of his/her duty. May Allah give all of

    us including them guidance Amen.

  3. Congratulation ! You have said it in very clear words. I have always

    believed that our formal religious practices/duties like performing

    solah, fasting and giving charity are for character building. To

    transform a Muslim to be a civilize individual. Only then that Muslim

    could bring great impact on others. May Allah reward you for your

    wonderful work.

  4. We can change from bad to good or even from worst to best.A person who

    is cruel(Zalim) can change into a just(adl) person like Sayyadinah

    Umar (R.A).So Islam mends the character from negative to positive.Only

    Islam can stop a person from following his/her desires nothing else

    can do this except true Deen. Just imagine the vices in the society

    like drinking,adultery ,homosexuality, gambling,taking interest and

    all other evils which human being cannot protect himself from their

    temptation human is so weak cannot control himself or any other way of

    life cannot stop them or protect himself only Islam has the capacity

    to stop him or rid the human from such weakness due to Imaan.

  5. Assalamuwaliekum,

    Just wanted to say Jazakallah Khier for writing your paper. I have

    broke my disgusting smoking habit of ten years four months ago.

    However every day is a Mental Challenge to overcome Mind over Matter

    and Alhumdilallah it was motivating to read your paper before

    Ramadan. Inshallah Allah helps you and all of us have a successful

    and self-evolving Ramadan. Ameen.

    Take Care,

    Vikar Khan

  6. Asalam alaikum ya ahlel kheyri it is very interesting program. Inshaallah I will follow it from today onwards……………

    jazakallah khyren!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. To brother Idris: it is widely accepted by the scholars that removing

    a tooth does not nullify the fast. However, this does not cover the

    case where local anasthesia is injected. There is also the almost

    inevitable danger of swallowing liquid used in the tooth extraction.

    If tooth refill does not involve injections or liquid then it does not

    invalidate the fast. And Allah knows best.

  8. I’m quite astounded by this article. In the blessed month of fasting we are reminded of every non-islamic view of habit while a wealth of literature exists on the subject from muslim scholars such as ibn el-jawziya and ibn-khaldoun. Besides there is no mention even of one single prophetic hadith in the month of Ramadhan, not even of the famous hadith “the best actions are those that are consistent”. Simply unbelievable.

  9. Nice article. Jazak Allahu khairan to the author. For all non-Muslims, I would like you to also experience the happiness we muslims feel in Islam and enjoy its blessings like Ramadaan. Come and return to the true religion of the One True God.

  10. This is a really good article. As we approach Ramadan i find myself farther from the right path than i was this time last year, i really needed this insha allah i will grow an mature in this deen.

  11. at first i thought this was a book. i intended to buy it. this is my most favorite subject of self improvement.take good speech for example…i take an ayat on the subject and hold it and glance at it times during day. same way i did economics as spendthrifts are the brothers of the devils. this is the best thing to do to improve character.

  12. As salaamu aliakum wa rhamaatullah wara barakatu,

    This is and excellant article because it reminds me that Allah is not in need of our fasts if during this blessed month we don’t take time to reflect and improve ourselves in our piety,eebadah and deeds. I emailed it too all my friends and I pray that we act on what we read, because after all intellilect is knowledge applied. This is a very knowledgeble article on character and habits. Jazakullah khairun May Allah SWT accept your fasts and prayers. ameen. Ramadaan Mubarak

  13. As salaamu alaikum.

    I am a newcomer.

    This is my fourth Ramadan. I am a smoker

    but since the begining of Ramadan, I have

    only smoked a couiple of times and, Inshala, I

    won’t continue afterwards. With the help of

    Allah I will strengthen my character and

    become a better Muslim. I found the article

    very enlightening particularly the section

    quoting Aristotle and Shakespeare.

    Peace and Blessings

  14. i really liked this article; it helps understand the true meaning of Ramadhan. may Allah accept all of our fasts, and a blessed month to all my fellow muslims. wassalam.

  15. Very well written. I appreciate the references to the Greco-Roman writers and Shakespeare; they help a person with a Western European background understand and relate to the tenets of Islam.

  16. Asalam u alakum,

    I’m a 19 year old muslim brother living in Dearborn, MI.

    May Allah reward the writer of these very kind words. The reality of the words cannot be stressed enough to especially the young people of america. Who have unfortunatly allowed there character detariate by the giving in of there ahwa’s or desires. I urge every person that has read this article to share it with there family, and friends, and try to master the words written for themselves. I belive that the success of the muslims today is must be first throught the mastering of there own self. Asalam u Alakum.

  17. Assalum alaykum ,regarding your Articles ,please give us the permission to print and distrubute your articles in our area , We would be happy if you could e mail us with your articles.

    salam.

  18. The article was enlightening and food for thought. Today increasingly in our society, peoples outward appearance has become the SOLE criterion of their ‘thaqwa’. The essence of the inner being has been lost in this rush to creates image and due to concern of how others perceive us. may Allaah save the Islamic Ummah from outwardly show off and ostentatious behaviour. May he give us a heart filled with thaqwa which will trickle its effects to our behviour and dressing and outward deeds.

  19. Jazak Allah – I have already found this article helpful. However, (while I am not disappointed by sincere attempts at Dawah – Insha’Allah), I would like to say that at least one of the article’s detractors had a point that (perhaps) your website’s editors should at least take the time to consider.

    If I understood “zilzaal azzizi” (of Washington, DC/USA) correctly, if an article (posted at the IslamiCity.com website) is advocating some sort of action (or perhaps attempting to evoke some sort of reaction) on the part of the reader, then that article should also include adequate references to the Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in order to validate whatever action or position that article is advocating. I (personally) would imagine that quoting non-Muslim personalities while making “sentimental” appeals to non-Muslims (to practice particular observances during Ramadan) might seem acceptable enough, at least whenever directed primarily at non-Muslims.

    Articles might be expected, however, to satisfy more exacting requirements before being published at the IslamiCity.com website. This would seem to be because IslamiCity.com represents itself as a source of Islamic instruction – in addition to maintaining a website for Muslims to practice Dawah – Insha’Allah. I would assume that the IslamiCity.com editorial staff could request additions of Islamic scripture from prospective contributors of articles, if such additions where determined necessary to satisfy some sort of standardized requirements for Islamic instruction.

    May Allah bless the workers at IslamiCity.com, IslamiCity.com’s supporters and the authors of articles and other content appearing at IslamiCity.com (as well as IslamiCity.com’s respondents) for their good deeds and intentions.

    Salaam (with good intentions – Insha’Allah),

    Yahya Bergum

  20. i would like to know with all the technology that we have why we can’t agree on a set day for the beginning of ramadan. astronomers can tell when the new moon is to rise 20 years from now but yet we have to wait on the isna to tell us when to begin the fast. there are always 2 or 3 people that argue about if they have seen the new moon or not but yet it has been written in the paper weeks ago. how are we ever to advance as a community if we do not accept what technology has provided for us. i think this is very sad and i’m appalled at such backwards attempt when it is God that created the moon and gave us BRAINS to accept the technology that has been given to us but it seems the moslems still live in the dark ages.

  21. alhamdullahi robili alamin,

    thank you so much for the article. i have not seen this kind for years back. it was really inspiry.

    ma salam

    musbaudeeen

  22. Selamen Selame for Ebed Selam

    Sory I have little Eng.

    But, no problem language barier.

    Now,

    I listening:2002.11.4 tomorrow is RAMADAN 1

    Turkey hour is 22:30 : south africa saw NEW MOON

    But I read calender paper.

    2002.11.5 is RAMADAN 1:two later day.

    Which day is RAMADAN.

    Please HELP me.

    ___

    Thanks.

    ELHAMDULiLLAH

  23. Beautiful description of habits, character, reputation and Ramdan. Accept my congratulations. We pray to Allah, give us the courage and power to pursue all these good habits in ourselves and in our children . Aameen.

  24. Masha Allah, a most inspiring article. May Allah reward you for every letter and May Allah increase you in knowledge to continue to provide to us.

    May Allah Guide You and The Muslims From Every Harm

  25. ramadan is a month of praying to GOD.we should ask forgiveness for all our sins and wrong doings.in this month Allah forgive in millions daily.we must help our needy and poor brothers in this wholy month.we should feel their needs and miseries.true spirit behind ramadan is needed to be understand and follow.All muslim should spread the true message of islam and quran in this month.we should prove to the world that islam is the only real and true religion by observing ramadan in its true spirits and letters.

    REMEMBER ME IN YOUR PRAYERS DURING AFTAR OF EVERY DAY OF RAMADAN.PRAY FOR ME THAT GOD FORGIVE ALL MY SINS AND WRONG DOINGS BEFORE MY DEATH.THANKS AND ALLAH HAFIZ

  26. I M HAPPY THIS SITE I HAVE READ IT @ VERY GLAD U GIVE INFORMATION ABOUT ISLAM EVERY TIME ANY HELP U SEND ME MAIL I WILL TRY

    ASSALAMU-ALAIKUM

    MA’SALAMA

  27. Asalaamalecum

    The article was most certainly beautiful and completely true; thank you very much! I would like to make a request that you please kindly write about disability in an bulletin in the near future in terms of how it should be treated, perception, etc as many muslims I meet don’t seem to be able to treat me right.

    Many thanks and Was Salaam

    Sister

  28. Assalamu Alaikum,

    This is one of the most beautiful, true, clear articles I

    have EVER read!!

    Personally, I’ve been going to write about ‘habit’ & have

    yet to get to it. Inshallah, this will encourage me to

    strengthen my resolve to do so.

    PLEASE keep articles such as these coming regularly.

    Salaam,

    Sister Mary

  29. ASSALAMU ALIKUM.

    THIS IS A VERY GOOD ARTICAL.AND RAMADAN IS APPROCHING INSHALLAH AND THERE MUST BE SOME DETAILE ARTICALS ON THE FRONT PAGE AT LEAST TILL THE 1ST RAMADAN SO, PEOPLE COULD READ BEFORE THE START.AS NON-MUSLIMS ARE READING ISLAMIC ARTICALS AS WELL AND THEY CAN BETTER KNOW ISLAMIC PRATICE.

    THIS WAY THEY WILL NOT HAVE ANY KIND OF DIFFICULTIES TO UNDERSTAND WHAT AND HOW MUSLIMS PRACTICE THEIR PILLERS OF ISLAM.

    MAY WE ALL GET THE BENEFITS FROM THE BLESSINGS OF ALLAH IN RAMADAN.AAMEN.

  30. To continue in the vein of Sadullah Khan, Reputation is the clothing you wear, Character is the man who wears them; Reputation..the light which shines, Character…that which it illuminates; Reputation…that which you speak, character…that which you mean.

    To describe it in a super-simplistic way, the phenomenon of Habit becomng a driving force in making of character, refered to by Aristotle (Who learned this from Socrates) and Shakespeare, is known in Psychology as the tendency to minimise and eliminate dissonance, that is the conflicts between our values and our behaviour. Values modify beliefs, which determine bahaviour. Dissonance can be dissipated by modifying behaviour (habit) and in time, values and belief will chnge to adapt to the “new” ‘habitual’ behaviour as a means of eliminating dissonance between the two.

    Assalaamualaikum,

    Aiman

  31. Editor/Islamicity:

    These comments are to express my deep disappointment to the Editors of Islamicity by printing a rather weak and confusing article by Sadullah Khan on the subject of Islam’s noble month of Ramadan.

    It appears clear to me that the author is trying his best to impress everyone that he is a man of scholarship and deep learning, especially in Western classics, such as, Greek and Roman letters.

    For, in this regard, he attempts to augment his arguments on taqwah and Ramadan by quoting from such ancient sources as Greek philosopher Aristotle, Roman poet Naso Ovid, Roman orator Cicero, and last but not least, English poet Shakespeare!

    What is this man talking about? Where is the relevance of the obscure and impertinent quotations of these ancient men of letters to Islam’s blessed month of fasting? Where is it?

    But Sadullah Khan’s failings did not stop there. The learned writer (and I am sure he is learned), in this entire article, neglected to mention a single verse from the Noble Qur’an, explaining Allah’s pronouncement for Muslims to fast during this venerable month. In addition, the he failed to formally quote in a single, complete Hadith from among the sihah sittah (reliable six canonical texts) to corroborate his somewhat confusing and contradictory postulations.

    Why is this writer trying to extol the virtues, benefits, and inner spirituality of Ramadan by giving us weird and unrelated quotations from ancient men, while at the same neglecting to make a single reference to Allah’s sacred Book or from the Prophetic Tradition?

    I have to confess that I have seen it many times where these learned men of the cloth try to outdo themselves by pretending to be cute in language and rhetoric, only to demonstrate what is patently ridiculous and foolish.

    So, I warn you my friends, let’s beware of these ministers of religion, who tell truth in little things only to betray us in deeds of greatest consequence.

  32. Greetings,

    I am so looking forward to this my second Ramadaan. It is my intention to grow as much as I am able and become the best servant of Allah I can be. Thank you so much for this wonderful article.

    May Allah continue to bless you. As-salamu ‘alai-kum wa rahmatu-llah.

    Zainabou El-Amin

  33. Thank you for the wonderful article. Articles like these

    which define the real essence of Ibadat (worship) and

    which shows and emphasizes the spiritual benefits of

    such acts are the ones which make the real impact on

    the hearts and minds of people. I encourage Islamicity

    to publish more such articles during Ramadan and

    beyond.

  34. This is a wonderful article. I have been born and raised in Canada and the US and I’ve lost a lot of the Islamic practices I practiced more as a child. This sort of article (and site) is another aid in getting me back to being a good muslim and hopefully better than I ever was (Inshallah), especially during out holiest month. Thank you for such a wonderful site and article. Enlightening.

  35. Bismilah Al-Rahman Al-Raheem

    Asalam Alaikum Wa Rahmat’Allah Wa Barakatu.

    This Article “Ramadan-Mending Habits and Developing Charecter” is what i thought to be a very breif, yet very good article harmony wise. It gets to a basic understanding in taking all these principles, and issues, and combining them as a whole, with a very fit intellect. So i would like to say Jazak Allahu Khierun, and insha’Allah, more articles regarding Ramadan will be posted up for everyone to read.

    Wa Alaikum Asalam Wa Rahmat’Allah Wa Barakatu.

  36. I would like to see more articles on Ramadan especially on the convincing blessings in the beautiful month.

    I thank you for the great job you are doing and dont relent as you reward is definately with Allaah (SHW).

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