Islam is a beautiful and beneficial way of life. Hence a living faith (Deen). A hadith in Sahih Muslim (2658), informs us that every child is born upon the fitrah (natural belief). This means that he’s a Muslim until his parents make him a Jew or Christian. Sadly, the case of Muslim families nowadays is no different. Children are raised devoid of Islamic values in our materialistic societies, as parents fail to set an example. The ensuing tips to become a good Muslim by following the Quran and Sunnah can benefit all sincere seekers of truth. This includes the Muslims who wish to shed their ignorance and the newly reverted ones.
Seek knowledge (ilm) of religion (deen) to become a good Muslim
We can gauge the authority of ‘knowledge’ over all else from the story of Adam’s (PBUH) creation. Allah taught him knowledge of all things, to silence the angels (Malaikah), who had naively questioned his creation. Our beloved Prophet (PBUH) furthermore declared that every Muslim is duty-bound to seek knowledge of his deen. In fact, the first word of the Quran that Allah revealed was ‘Read’ (Surah Alaq); therefore, it stands to reason, that the first tip to becoming a good Muslim commences with this predominant teaching of the Quran and Sunnah. Knowledge of religion, nonetheless, should be derived from the pristine teachings of Islam. Allah perfected Islam on Mount Arafat almost 1500 years ago. No one who came later had the authority to add anything to it.
Six Articles of Faith, Five pillars of Islam – Fulfill the rights of Allah (Huqooq Allah)
Everyone striving to be a good Muslim must know the 6 Articles of Faith mentioned in several Quranic verses. We can find them in the famous hadith (Bukhari and Muslim) of Angel Jibreel (Gabriel), like the five pillars of faith. We must have unwavering faith through belief in Allah, His angels (Malaikah), the Holy Books (Kutub), the Messengers (Rasul), the Last Day (Qiyamah), and Qadr (Destiny). Correct belief in the Unseen (Ghayb), has a direct impact on a Muslim’s behavior. This takes him from strength to strength in his religion (deen).
The Quran emphasizes the five obligatory pillars of Islam on occasion. Whereas, the Sunnah teaches every aspiring good Muslim, their intricacies. They incorporate the testimony of faith (Shahada), Salah (5 daily prayers), Sawm (fasting in Ramadan), Zakat (poor-due), and Hajj (Annual Pilgrimage). A Muslim, who disregards any of the pillars, has forsaken what his Creator made obligatory on him. A hypocritical act, when viewed in the light of professing faith in Allah, without the fearing of His displeasure.
These five pillars of Islam are from amongst the ‘Rights of Allah’ upon His slaves (Huqooq Allah). Thus, every Muslim who believes in the 6 Articles of faith, and fulfills all the five pillars of Islam, is on the straight path (Sirat Al-Mustaqeem).
Fulfill the rights of mankind (Huqooq-ul-Ibaad)
At the end of Surah Kahf, Allah reveals that the good works of disbelievers will be lost and turned to dust. In the same vein, in a hadith reported in Sahih Muslim (218), Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) calls a believer who harms people with his hands and tongue, bankrupt. He vividly illustrates to his blessed companions what the conundrum means.
People will arrive with umpteen good deeds on Judgement Day (Yawm al-Hashar). Yet, owing to them harming other people or infringing upon their rights, they will be deprived of all their salat, Sawm, and sadaqah, etc. Whoever verbally or physically hurt anyone, will surrender his own good deeds to them as compensation. Alas, if he falls short of good deeds, their evil deeds will be placed in his account. As a result, Allah will throw him into the Hell-fire (Jahannam), a fate he will suffer due to reviling, slandering, beating and plundering, etc. other people. The hadith demonstrates to perfection, how in Islam, tyranny, or oppression are not tolerated.
Becoming a good Muslim entails upholding the God-given rights of every member of the society that we live in. Be they one’s parents, young or elderly, neighbors, guests, spouses, relatives, non-Muslims, etc. Even animals have rights on us. Mutual rights between individuals when neglected, dislodge the very equilibrium of society.
Knowing your purpose, for as you sow here, so shall you reap there
Allah, the Omniscient, has categorically stated the sole purpose of the jinn and man’s existence in the Mushaf (Quran). Namely, that we were all created to worship the Almighty. The kind of worship in question here is whole-hearted submission to Allah’s beautiful guidance. Is it not our good fortune that Allah did not merely abandon us after our creation? Should our hearts not overflow with gratitude, knowing that He did not leave us at the mercy of our inferior intellect to figure it all out?
A good Muslim knows the commands of Allah
Brothers and sisters, obeying Allah and His Messenger (PBUH) in all that we think, feel, say, and do is tantamount to worship. Adhering to the prophetic example in our daily life, from the greatest to the most mundane of acts, is also worship. When someone asked Ayesha (R.A) to mention some aspects of the Prophet’s (PBUH) conduct, she enquired if they had not read the Quran. Implying that, if the Quran contains the commands of Allah, then the Messenger’s conduct is the fulfillment of those commands. He lived and breathed the Quran, and so should we. For as we sow here (Dunya), so shall we reap there (Akhirah).
To sum up, we hope that the (above-mentioned) tips for becoming a good Muslim by following the Quran and Sunnah have proved illuminating. The glaring difference between merely wearing the Muslim label, and living according to our life’s real purpose, is mammoth. Still, we can overcome it by acquiring pristine knowledge of the Quran and Sunnah, with sincerity. We also follow that by accepting Allah’s invitation in Surah Al-Baqarah to embrace Islam whole-heartedly.