The Quran gives so much importance to moral character that it tells the Prophet (PBUH): O Prophet! The next step is the matter of high level of character; that it is because of your high level of character that you are so successful.
On the other hand, no matter how truthful the principles may be; and no matter how powerful the tools of defense may be; if the character of the people carrying out the mission is low then they will not be able to produce any long-term constructive results. This is extremely important.
The Quran has told that the Prophet (PBUH) had highest level of character. At other places it calls his character as the best model for Muslims to follow; some place it calls his character as:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
(68:4) – for, behold, thou keepest indeed to a sublime way of life.
If ever they use their intellect and think sensibly, they will clearly realize that a well-balanced person whose exalted and sublime conduct makes him an embodiment of virtue, can never be a senseless person.
The term “spirituality” is commonly used in relation to the Prophet (PBUH). But the term “spirituality” as we normally understand has never appeared anywhere in the Quran. These so- called spiritual leaders we keep hearing about are the creation and fabrication of much later period after the Prophet (PBUH).
True spirituality is all about purification of character; it is all about high and exalted character. The greatest characteristic of the Prophet (PBUH) that Quran describes is “Khuluqin ‘Azeem” خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ. Otherwise, Allah would have said that you are at the highest level of “spirituality”. And “Khuluqin ‘Azeem” is definitely not high level of what we call spirituality which is designed to deflect our attention from knowledge, from power, from character, i.e., from the world of action. Just say that so and so has acquired high degree of spirituality then that’s it.
No further questions are asked. No one asks them whether they have knowledge of the world of action; whether they have power to defend if they are attacked. No, these things do not matter to them but they do say: leave aside this world and become of the mosque and monastery. They keep on beating this drum. This is then spirituality.
Proceeding further, the word “Khulq” appeared. That is, these people will keep on advancing in their spirituality the more and more they degrade themselves lower and lower in the world of moral character.
Modern psychology has revealed that even if one is able to consciously separate one’s emotion from one’s thought, still, the emotion enters through subconscious mind without the person knowing it. The conscious mind remains unaware of things happening at the subconscious level.
Only Allah’s revelation is purely objective phenomenon.
Did the Prophet (PBUH) receive the revelation and simply conveyed it to others? No, that was not the case. He himself followed the revelation and asked others to follow too, as commanded by Allah. The Quran asked the Momineen as well as the Messenger to follow it.
The importance of objectivity of the revelation can be judged by the fact that even its recipient was asked to believe in it. What is this belief (Iman)? According to the Quran, Iman means to believe in the truthfulness of something and to act on it. The Prophet (PBUH) received the revelation and was told to believe in it and to act accordingly.
And the Quran imposed the responsibility on the Prophet (PBUH) to teach his people this revelation and to train them and to purify their character so that they could embed its guidelines into their hearts which will spur them into action accordingly in order to actualize their potential and abilities:
رَبَّنَا وَابْعَثْ فِيهِمْ رَسُولًا مِّنْهُمْ يَتْلُو عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتِكَ وَيُعَلِّمُهُمُ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَيُزَكِّيهِمْ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
(2:129) – 'O our Sustainer! Raise up from the midst of our off spring an apostle from among themselves, who shall convey unto them Thy messages, and impart unto them revelation as well as wisdom, and cause them to grow in purity: for, verily, Thou alone art almighty, truly wise!'
The result will tell what is true and what is false
The Quran tells its opponents (in many places) through the Prophet (PBUH): Look! If you do not want to listen to us, then work according to your program and we will not interfere in your affairs. But do let us work according to our program and you shouldn’t interfere in our affairs. The result will tell who was true and who was false (6:135).
This by itself is a proof for any claim: to know from the result the truthfulness of a claim. A thermometer will tell if fever is going down and whether the doctor’s prescription is working. This is called pragmatic test. Now these people were not listening; they were not accepting this pragmatic test; they were not letting others follow Allah’s program; they were putting roadblocks in the way of implementing universal justice; and, not only that, they were actively opposing and oppressing those who wanted to. What to do then? The work that was being done was being done for the benefit of all humankind (57:25).
The Prophet (PBUH) and his companions were doing things for the benefit of others not for their own benefit. Now, why would anyone oppose such a thing?! What we call دین (Deen) or Islam – although it starts from a particular place – it is, nonetheless, for the benefit of entire humankind. It is as if Allah wants to build a hospital for all human beings (i.e., all patients). Thus removing the obstructionists from its path, even by force, is Allah’s mercy for all human beings.
The wrong attitude paralyzes human abilities
The Quran says:
وَاِذَا قِيْلَ لَهُ اتَّقِ اللّٰهَ اَخَذَتْهُ الْعِزَّةُ بِالْاِثْمِ فَحَسْبُهٗ جَهَنَّمُ وَلَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ
(2:206) – And whenever he is told, 'Be conscious of God,' his false pride drives him into sin: wherefore hell will be his allotted portion-and how vile a resting-place!
So, the Quran asks the Prophet (PBUH) not to compromise with them:
كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ
(96:19) – Nay, pay thou no heed to him, but prostrate thyself [before God] and draw close [unto Him]!
Therefore, O Messenger, you should never feel the necessity to compromise with them. The question of any compromise between conflicting ideologies of life does not arise. What you have to do is obey and follow the Divine Laws to the maximum possible extent as, in this way, every step of yours will take you nearer to your destined goal. The Quran says:
اِنَّمَا يُؤْمِنُ بِاٰيٰتِنَا الَّذِيْنَ اِذَا ذُكِّرُوْا بِهَا خَرُّوْا سُجَّدًا وَّسَبَّحُوْا بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ وَهُمْ لَا يَسْتَكْبِرُوْنَ
(32:15) – ONLY THEY [truly] believe in Our messages who, whenever they are conveyed to them, fall down, prostrating themselves in adoration, and extol their Sustainer’s limitless glory and praise; and who are never filled with false pride.
In spite of all the evidence, these people will not believe in the truthfulness of Our Law. The only people believing it are those who, whenever the message is conveyed to them, reflect over it (25:73); and then they bow before it in complete submission.
Thereafter they work hard for the practical establishment of the Divine Order, so that when its pleasant and positive results appear, everyone can spontaneously proclaim: 'Most certainly this is the system which deserves all the Appreciation.' They are under all circumstances continuously busy in this struggle and they do not pride themselves about it.
تَـتَجَافٰى جُنُوْبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُوْنَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَّطَمَعًا وَّمِـمَّا رَزَقْنٰهُمْ يُنْفِقُوْنَ
(32:16) – [and] who are impelled to rise from their beds [at night] to call out to their Sustainer in fear and hope; and who spend on others out of what We provide for them as sustenance.
Such is the state of their perpetual struggle and involvement, that their bodies seldom touch beds for rest. They invoke Divine Guidance at every stage in order to create a pleasant atmosphere in their society and to keep it safe from all dangers. To achieve this objective, they keep everything Allah has provided them open for those who are in need.