The Link Between Character and Success

Having good character is a foundational brick of success. When mentioning the heart (soul), the Qur’an says:

قَدۡ أَفۡلَحَ مَن زَكَّٮٰهَا (٩) وَقَدۡ خَابَ مَن دَسَّٮٰهَا (١٠)

“He has succeeded who purifies it, and he has failed who instills it [with corruption].”

[Qur’an; 91:9-10]

The direct link between success and character is also elucidated by the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that,

“The heaviest thing which will be put on the believer’s scale (on the Day of Resurrection) will be good morals.”

[Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi]

The importance of good character is further emphasised through the following teachings from the Qur’an and hadith.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is also reported to have said, “I was sent to perfect good character.” [Muwatta Malik]

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) used to say, “The most beloved to me amongst you is the one who has the best character and manners.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari]

 

تِلۡكَ حُدُودُ ٱللَّهِ‌ۚ وَمَن يُطِعِ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ ۥ يُدۡخِلۡهُ جَنَّـٰتٍ۬ تَجۡرِى مِن تَحۡتِهَا ٱلۡأَنۡهَـٰرُ خَـٰلِدِينَ فِيهَا‌ۚ وَذَٲلِكَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ

“These are the limits [set by] Allah, and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted by Him to gardens [in Paradise] under which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein; and that is the great attainment.” [Qur’an; 4:13]

 

إِن تَجۡتَنِبُواْ ڪَبَآٮِٕرَ مَا تُنۡہَوۡنَ عَنۡهُ نُكَفِّرۡ عَنكُمۡ سَيِّـَٔاتِكُمۡ وَنُدۡخِلۡڪُم مُّدۡخَلاً۬ كَرِيمً۬ا

“If you avoid the major sins which you are forbidden, We will remove from you your lesser sins and admit you to a noble entrance [into Paradise].” [Qur’an; 4:31]

لَّيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةِ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلۡمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِى ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰكِينَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآٮِٕلِينَ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّڪَوٰةَ وَٱلۡمُوفُونَ بِعَهۡدِهِمۡ إِذَا عَـٰهَدُواْ‌ۖ وَٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ فِى ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلۡبَأۡسِ‌ۗ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْ‌ۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَ

“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the East or the West, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous.” [Qur’an; 2:177]

“Righteousness is in good character…” [Muslim]

“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow.” [Sunan An-Nasa’i]

One can conclude that a key purpose (maqsad) of Islam is to instill the best character.