"Who is a Muslim?" by Safiyyah Muhammad-Salisu

From the root of the words Muslim and Islam, it is obvious that Islam is a religion of peace, hence a Muslim should be a lover and promoter of peace.

Muslim Association promises commitment to lasting peace

A Muslim, is defined literally as one who submits to Allah. For one to do this, he or she should live by the tenets of the religion Islam. The Qur’an, which is the Holy Book of the Muslims guides Muslims through life.

Islam has five pillars; faith (iman), prayer (salah), fasting (sawm), alms giving (zakah), and pilgrimage (hajj). These pillars are the framework of a Muslim’s life. Islam is not merely a religion, it is a way of life. A Muslim is defined not just by his spirituality, but by his conduct.

The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said, “Among the Muslims, the most perfect, as regards his faith, is the one whose character is excellent, and the best among you are those who treat their wives well.” This goes to show that a Muslim cannot claim to be very good, simply because they perform the rites of worship as required. Human interaction is an important aspect of a Muslim’s life.

Good character cannot be overemphasised, as the Prophet (P.B.U.H) also said, “On the day of judgement, the dearest and closest to me, as regards my company, will be those persons who will bear the best moral character. Those among you, who talk with affectation and are given to boasting, will be the most repugnant to me and farthest from me on the Day of Judgement.”

He also said, “I guarantee a house in the surroundings of Paradise for a man who avoids quarrelling even if he were in the right; a house in the middle of Paradise for a man who avoids lying even if he were joking; and a house in the upper part of Paradise for a man who made his character good.”

The above statements show that lying and arrogance are disliked. A Muslim should strive to be truthful and humble.

From the root of the words Muslim and Islam, it is obvious that Islam is a religion of peace, hence a Muslim should be a lover and promoter of peace. So many other good characters such as patience, kindness, generosity, fairness, cleanliness and respectfulness are extolled in the Qur’an and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet); while bad characters such as wastefulness, cheating, dirtiness and hypocrisy are discouraged.

“Every deen has an innate character. The character of Islam is modesty," saidProphet (P.B.U.H). Therefore, a Muslim should be modest as this is part of what defines him.

A Muslim is required to be good not just to fellow Muslims, but to people in general, animals, and trees. Treating the vulnerable ones in society- children, elderly people, orphans, and widows kindly, and giving them special care are also duties of a Muslim.

The perfect example of a Muslim is the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who was kind, humble, peaceful, patient, and fair. He was the epitome of good character, and even his enemies could testify to that.

He said, “there is nothing heavier than good character put in the scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection.” And “by his good character, a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.” Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

Safiyyah Muhammad-Salisu is a 4th year medical student at the Lagos State University College of Medicine, Ikeja, Lagos.

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