By Babatunde Jose
“A gentleman is to be measured in his speech, generosity in giving, sober in eating, honesty in living, kindness in forgiving, and courageousness in fighting.”–Fray Antonio de Guevara.
People say the world is full of evil men. But this is not so. If most men were evil, the world would not be a conducive place for us to live. A few evil men are enough to cause discomfort and pain for us all. However, it is equally true that most men do not meet up to the standard definition of being called good; they lie, steal, fornicate, are rebellious and do not keep the Commandments of God, the barometer of moral rectitude.
In our journey through life, we have come across certain traits that define a good man.
A good man is supposed to be secure and confident, but not arrogant. He treats his fellow men with respect and human consideration. Not only that, but he also treats people with kindness, humility, and grace.
He has integrity and character: Everywhere he goes, he leaves a mark. It is all about doing what is right in all circumstances. In the Quran, the word ‘taqwa’ has been used against the word ‘fujoor’ (91:8) which means “immorality’ or ‘corruption’ or ‘disintegration’ or ‘impairment of virtue and moral principles. Hence the word ‘taqwa’, while being used in contrast to ‘fujoor’, could mean moral soundness, uprightness, rectitude, and incorruptibility of character. This is what the word ‘integrity’ means. Hence the good man must have integrity; a Muttaqi, that is incorruptible, upright, and morally sound.
To the good man, family and friends always comes first. This could be discerned in the way he attends to things relating to friends and family. He is not one to allow the ties of kinship to break. Allah warns in the Quran: “And those who break the Covenant of Allah, after its ratification, and sever that which Allah has commanded to be joined (i.e., they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e., they will be far away from Allah’s Mercy); And for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e., Hell).” (Quran 13:25)
He is confident but not cocky and has a good self-image about himself and believes he deserves the best. Hence, he is courageous and goes after what he wants. And he is a good listener and does not care about the sound of his voice.
He has initiative and drive and is a natural leader and takes the first step in a group setting and in a relationship. He is also detail oriented.
He has self-respect and gives respect to all. He is empathetic and forgiving. Allah has said in the Quran about forgiveness towards fellow beings, no matter how much they have hurt you… (Qur’an 24:22). When we think of forgiveness we mostly think of Allah’s forgiveness, and we forget how important it is that we also forgive. We need to remember both, because how can we expect Allah to forgive us, while we are not even willing to forgive others?
He is committed and faithful: he says what he means and means what he says. He follows through with his word even with people who do not follow through with theirs. He is loyal in relationships. He talks the talk and walks the talk.
He is just and fights against injustice. Allah loves the just.” O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: That is next to Piety: And fear Allah. For Allah is well acquainted with all that ye do”. (Quran 5:8)
He is honest: The truth can hurt, but it is also the beginning of the healing process. He is humble and prefers others sing his praise instead of blowing his own trumpet.
At work, he is a team player; he understands the team’s success is his success, and cares more about the team winning than his own ego.
He has good manners: his actions are made with care and consideration.
He is always learning and never tired of seeking knowledge. He is never afraid to ask questions. He is shaped by men he respects; he finds mentors, men he wants to be like, and meets with them regularly.
He has true and close friendships and keeps a tight brotherhood around himself and understands “iron sharpens iron as man sharpens man.”
He has temperance (moderate in action, thought, feeling. He thinks before he acts and does not let emotions get the best of him.
He supports and promotes moral excellence: he knows what is right and wrong. And is one to obey Allah’s injunctions when He said: Be kind to your parents 6:151; 17:32; Do not go near Shameful deeds 6:151; 17:32.
There are many Divine Pearls of Wisdom in the Quran. For example, Sura 17 has the Seven Pillars of Wisdom (17:31 to 17:39; We also have the Ten Commandments in 6:151; Do not cheat – give correct measure 6:151; 17:35 and Fulfill your agreements 17:35; Do not get involved with things about which you know nothing 17:37; Stand for Justice even if it against a close relative 4:135; 5:8; 16:90; 42:15. The good man will follow all these tenets and more.
He seeks peace when possible: he confronts in private, but he is never a doormat. The confidence in himself is unwavering in tough times.
He improves his physical health: he knows his body is a temple and works to improve his health and his image.
He is grateful; he works hard and is thankful for everything he receives. Quran 4:147 “Why would God cause you to suffer if you are grateful and believe? In Quran 14:7 Allah promised; “If you are grateful, I will increase you (in favor).
He knows the importance of family: not only is he concerned with the legacy he will leave, but he honors the legacy he has received and the traditions of his ancestors.
Above all, he believes in his Creator: he starts his day in prayer and ends it in prayer.
What would our character and reputations look like if we applied these principles? No man is perfect, but we can all work on becoming better men.
I can attest to knowing someone who is an embodiment of many of these virtues. Next Wednesday, June 16, he will turn 60, In Sha Allah. I know him and I have studied him for sixty unbroken years, I have watched him grow and I am proud to say, ‘he is my beloved brother, in whom I am well pleased’. He is Hamza Babajide Jose. We thank God for his life and his new age and pray that Allah will preserve him and grant him good health and wealth the rest of his days. May those days be long. Bros Jide, as I fondly call him, welcome to the evening of life; Happy Birthday, and many happy returns.
Barka Juma’at and a happy weekend