As Muslims, we believe that our purpose in life is to worship and please Allah (SWT). To achieve this, we must constantly strive to better ourselves and our understanding of Islam.
Seeking knowledge is the key to becoming a good Muslim. This includes exploring essential beliefs and progressing through the various aspects of worship and spirituality.
Direct engagement with knowledgeable teachers and scholars is indispensable, as seeking knowledge is a pathway to Paradise, according to a Hadith. Choosing righteous companions and avoiding negative influences are also important to becoming a good Muslim.
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We will discuss how to be a good Muslim in detail, so we can all strive towards fulfilling our purpose in life and gaining the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
How to Be a Good Muslim: Guidelines to Follow
To be a good Muslim, we need to follow certain guidelines and principles that align with the teachings of Islam. Here are some steps we can take to become better Muslims:
- Seek knowledge about Islam
- Perform the five pillars of Islam
- Surround with positive influences
- Respect parents and family relationships
- Control the tongue
- Avoid extremism, debates, and arguments
- Maintain hope and patience
- Practice sincere Dua (Supplication)
- Remain in Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)
- Kindness and forgiveness to others
- Strongly avoid any sin
Now, we will discuss each of these steps in detail with references from the Quran and Hadith.
1. Seek Knowledge About Islam
One of the most necessary steps to becoming a good Muslim is to commit oneself to seek knowledge about Islam. This involves dedicating time to studying the fundamental beliefs of the religion, known as Aqida, and gradually moving on to other aspects of worship and spirituality.
To gain a deeper understanding of Islamic knowledge, dedicate an hour daily or weekly to studying classic texts on worship, spirituality, and Islam’s foundational beliefs.
Seeking knowledge directly from Islamic scholars is of equal importance, as engaging with scholars allows for clarification of doubts and gaining a real grounding in Islamic tradition.
A Hadith found in Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2646, according to Abu Hurairah, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) said: “Whoever takes a path upon which to obtain knowledge, Allah makes the path to Paradise easy for him.” (Grade: Sahih (Darussalam))
So, we must seek knowledge to become better Muslims and ultimately gain the pleasure of Allah (SWT).
Also Read: How To Become A Good Muslim Wife?
2. Perform the Five Pillars of Islam
Performing the Five Pillars of Islam is an essential part of being a good Muslim. These pillars include:
- Shahada (Declaration of Faith)
The Shahada, a declaration of faith in Islam, is an essential pillar that every good Muslim actively embraces. This verse لَا إِلٰهَ إِلَّا الله مُحَمَّدٌ رَسُولُ الله is translated as “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad (S) is the messenger of Allah.“
- Salah (Prayer)
To be a good Muslim, we must actively engage in Salah, the practice of prayer. Salah is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is a fundamental aspect of Muslim worship. It’s a physical and spiritual act of devotion performed five times daily.
- Zakat (Charity)
Zakat plays a significant role in being a good Muslim who follows the guidelines of performing the Five Pillars of Islam.
By practicing Zakat (to those who are eligible), Muslims demonstrate their commitment to social justice and equality. It promotes empathy, compassion, and wealth redistribution, ensuring the community’s well-being and fostering a sense of unity among Muslims.
- Sawm (Fasting During Ramadan)
Fasting during Ramadan, known as Sawm, can make you a good Muslim. It involves abstaining from food and drink from dawn until sunset. Sawm is a time of self-reflection, increased devotion, and spiritual cleansing. It teaches discipline, empathy, and gratitude.
- Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)
Hajj is an obligatory act of worship that every physically and financially capable Muslim should undertake at least once in their lifetime.
It involves a series of rituals, including circling the Kaaba, standing on the Plain of Arafat, and stoning the devil. Hajj is a deeply spiritual and transformative experience for believers.
3. Surround With Positive Influences
Surrounding oneself with positive influences plays a big part in being a good Muslim. Choosing good friends aids in personal development and Islamic spiritual growth. Muslims should seek out trustworthy friends, particularly those who exemplify piety and righteousness.
Having good Muttaqi friends who are committed to their faith and exhibit positive qualities is essential for fostering a supportive environment. The presence of such individuals can serve as a source of inspiration, motivation, and a means to draw closer to Allah.
When like-minded people support each other, it becomes easier to remain steadfast in the faith and lead a righteous and virtuous life. In Surah Az-Zukhruf (43:67), Allah says:
ٱلْأَخِلَّآءُ يَوْمَئِذٍۭ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ عَدُوٌّ إِلَّا ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ ٦٧
“Close friends will be enemies to one another on that Day, except the righteous”
This verse shows the importance of surrounding oneself with righteous and pious individuals as they will be a source of support on the Day of Judgment.
According to a hadith found in Sunan Abi Dawud 4833, narrated by Abu Hurayrah, the Prophet (S) said: “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” Grade: Hasan (Al-Albani)
So, we should carefully choose our friends and surround ourselves with positive influences that align with the teachings of Islam.
4. Respect Parents and Family Relationships
Respecting parents and maintaining positive family relationships is fundamental to being a good Muslim. In Islam, parents are considered to be a great blessing and are deserving of utmost care and kindness.
The Quran instructs Muslims to treat their parents with respect, obedience, and kindness, regardless of their religion. Good treatment towards parents is seen as a means of attaining closeness to Allah and earning His pleasure.
5. Control the Tongue
To be a good Muslim, it’s essential to control one’s tongue and speak with mindfulness, avoiding idle talk, gossip, and harmful speech. Following the guidance of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Muslims are encouraged to speak about what’s useful, good, and righteous, reflecting the principles of Islamic ethics.
In a hadith found in Riyad as-Salihin, Al-Bukhari and Muslim, Abu Musa Al-Ash’ari (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ): “Who is the most excellent among the Muslims?” He (S) said, “One from whose tongue and hands the other Muslims are secure.”
Another hadith found in Riyad as-Salihin 1520, At-Tirmidhi, ‘Uqbah bin ‘Amir (May Allah be pleased with him) said: I asked the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), “How can salvation be achieved?” He replied, “Control your tongue, keep to your house, and weep over your sins.”
6. Avoid Extremism, Debates and Arguments
Being a good Muslim entails staying clear of extreme views, debates, and arguments. Engage in discussions with a mature and respectful approach. This approach promotes positive interactions, leaving room for fruitful conversations and opportunities for Da’wah (Islamic outreach).
7. Maintain Hope and Patience
Maintaining hope and patience is an integral aspect of being a good Muslim, as it allows individuals to face challenges with optimism and trust in Allah’s plan. In the face of difficulties, Muslims find comfort and strength in prayers, knowing that hardships are temporary and serve a greater purpose.
8. Practice Sincere Dua (Supplication)
To be a good Muslim, we should practice sincere Dua (supplication) regularly. Dua is a powerful act of worship that strengthens our relationship with Allah and opens doors for blessings and guidance. There are many prophetic supplications (Duas) that we can incorporate into our daily lives.
One example of a dua is found in Riyad as-Salihin 71, where the Prophet (ﷺ) used to say,
اللهم إني أسألك الهدى والتقى والعفاف والغنى
“O Allah! I ask You for guidance, piety, chastity and self-sufficiency”
Another dua, mentioned in Riyad as-Salihin 1469, is directed towards those who enter the fold of Islam. The Prophet (ﷺ) would teach them how to perform Salat and then direct them to supplicate, saying,
اللهم اغفر لي، وارحمني، واهدني، وعافني، وارزقني
“O Allah! Forgive me, have mercy on me, guide me, guard me against harm and provide me with sustenance and salvation”
9. Remain in Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)
A good Muslim must incorporate regular remembrance of Allah into their daily routine, fostering a constant awareness of His presence. Reciting the words of Dhikr serves as a means of spiritual connection, grounding us in moments of gratitude and reflection.
We can incorporate Dhikr into our daily routine by reciting phrases such as SubhanAllah (سبحان الله), Alhamdulillah (الحمد لله), Allahu Akbar (الله أكبر). Also, La ilaha illallah (لا إله إلا الله), Astaghfirullah (أستغفر الله), and La hawla wa la quwwata illa billah (لا حول ولا قوة إلا بالله), etc.
10. Kindness and Forgiveness to Others
To embody the teachings of Islam and be a good Muslim, it’s essential to exhibit kindness and forgiveness towards others. Islam teaches its followers to embrace compassion and forgiveness as fundamental virtues.
Kindness involves treating others with respect, empathy, and generosity, regardless of their background or beliefs. It requires going beyond mere politeness to seek ways to help and support others actively.
Forgiveness, on the other hand, entails letting go of grudges and resentments and instead choosing to pardon those who’ve wronged us. By practicing forgiveness, Muslims aim to promote reconciliation and cultivate a compassionate and forgiving heart.
11. Strongly Avoid Any Sin
Avoiding sinful behavior is fundamental to being a good Muslim. As Muslims, we must be conscious of our actions and strive to steer clear of any behavior that goes against the teachings of Islam.
Regular self-reflection and repentance are essential in this process, as they contribute to spiritual growth and the purification of the heart.
Embark on the Path to Spiritual Fulfillment and Becoming a Better Muslim
Being a good Muslim is a purposeful journey rooted in the core principles of Islam. It involves a commitment to seeking knowledge, performing the Five Pillars, and fostering positive influences.
Respecting family, controlling the tongue, avoiding extremism, and maintaining hope are integral steps. Sincere supplication (Dua), constant remembrance of Allah (Dhikr), kindness, forgiveness and a vigilant avoidance of sin complete this holistic approach.
Hopefully, we can embody these qualities every day and strive to be the best Muslims we can be, seeking Allah’s pleasure and closeness to Him.
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