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For better understanding of Islam and Muslims, I suggest reading the posts in order starting from August with the label Introduction to Islam (scroll down and look to the right for blog archive for proper order (from bottom to top)).

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Please leave comments or questions you may have regarding Islam or Muslims. I will get to them as soon as possible. Enjoy your time here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Muslim Quality Control: Develop Your Character this Ramadan by Anum Ali

Globally acclaimed companies like Unilever, Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola Company, and others all have a secret formula for corporate success: “Quality Control.” The quality of what they deliver is what wins them awards for their performance. Similarly, a Muslim must function like the global best, and aim to be their best. Ramadan is a month of quality control for a Muslim which allows us to polish our character, realize and refine our virtues, and introduce and instill good manners. Ramadan is the Muslim’s quality control, contributing to success in the Hereafter, inshaAllah.

The Screening Process: Self-Awareness

If you don’t want to acknowledge your shortcomings or are too proud to fix them, you will not be able to correct and improve yourself. On a visit to a beverage factory, I observed how the bottled drinks are screened in high-power screening lights to check for solid impurities. You should screen yourself similarly before the onset of Ramadan so you know what you have to scoop out of your personality, character, habits, and heart.

Think of it like this:
• Your solid impurities are what you can observe visibly: your dressing, appearance, gestures, and living environment.
• Your chemical impurities are the way your manners and behavior are when interacting with people: family, friends, Muslims, non-Muslims.
• Finally, your microscopic impurities are the ones that infect your heart, mind, and soul like: backbiting, slander, lies, lust, greed, envy, excessiveness, wasting time, cheating, impatience, ungratefulness, so on and so forth.

So before Ramadan begins, make a ‘Screening Checklist’ ready with a list of:
(1) Personal impurities
(2) Social impurities
(3) Impurities of the heart

Personal Grooming

A strong filter and cleanser is needed to get rid of the solid, apparent impurities. Personal grooming, modesty, health and hygiene are a strongly emphasized Sunnah and yet we find several brothers and sisters either ignoring it or not understanding it. Each one of us is a representative of Islam, especially if the sisters are wearing hijab/jilbab and the brothers observe beards. Therefore we should abide by the prescriptions of grooming and cleanliness that Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings be upon him) gifted to us.

The state of fasting is a state of spiritual purity and it should reflect in our physical appearance as well. It’s time to get our act together and research the habits of cleanliness a Muslim should have (for example Miswak, ghusl on Fridays, cleaning with water after using the bathroom). You should work towards perfecting your Wudu (ablution), your clothing, and your appearance. Also keeping a clean room, house, or kitchen provides more tranquility for the mind and family.

Consider a Muslim as a book and if this book is to be judged by its cover, the cover should be modest, devoted to Allah the Exalted, following the Prophet (peace be upon him) as much as we can, and gleaming with cleanliness and iman.

Beautifying Social Mannerisms

We have countless social flaws – some of which are major sins – ranging from our communication to our interactions. It is the duty of every Muslim to be a brother or sister of another Muslim, and to beautifully invite others to Islam. Take the time to make improvements to how you interact with others.

If you feel you’ve been antisocial or absent, reconnect with family and righteous friends to revive the bonds of love and friendship. Ramadan provides the most beautiful of opportunities. You can arrange to meet at mosques and community centers for prayers or arrange for a communal iftar. Ramadan is a time to repent and resolve not to go back to ill social actions.

Polish the Virtues

An untamed self is like a raging bull that Shaytan loves to ride. This means that if you do not control it, it would be easier to misguide you. Your biggest challenge is to identify areas of weakness because most of the time we’re in a state of denial about them. Once you acknowledge what they are, then you can start working to reduce and eliminate them. Brainstorm what you can, consult authentic websites or books, and perhaps consult family and friends to create your checklist. The primary step is to block the sources that lead to the development of these ill personality traits. If you are a habitual liar, begin training yourself to take a moment to think before you respond to somebody, and take that moment to decide not to lie.


At the end of it, constructively evaluate yourself. Offer thanks to Allah for the ones that you overcame with His help and highlight the ones you have yet to overcome, improving our character is a constant journey. It could also be beneficial for you to connect with a Muslim mentor, peer, or life coach. If you happen to find a sincere or a learned friend for direct communication, it’s the best guidance you can get. If you cannot access them personally, then there are always the beneficial resources available online.

This Ramadan make the intention to improve your character so you emerge as a spiritually beautiful Muslim this year, inshaAllah.

For more information, visit your local Islamic book shop or online to purchase books on Muslim character, manners, and diseases of the heart.

About the Author
Anum Ali has a BA Business Administration. Sr. Anum is also a Writer and Media Director for Habibi Halaqas.


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