My father-in-law told me something wise one day: He said the problems the Muslims have today is because Muslim males do not know how to be men. Properly developed men are those who are best to their families. Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated that the Prophet ﷺ 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.” (Tirmidhi 278, 628, 3264 and Abu Dawud). The important key to developing ourselves as men, and becoming good spouses, fathers, and sons, is building our moral character.
In the famous hadith of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ:
Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for. (Bukhari & Muslim)
Our intentions should be to please Allah, even as we are going down the path of personal development. We cannot reach our potential spouses and parents without the help of Allah.
In this society, we see males who act tough yet have low esteem and little confidence in themselves. As a result, they perpetuate division and destruction in their personal and family life by filling the void inside themselves without the blessing of Allah. It goes against the way Allah told us to change our condition.
People make their own decisions, but most choose to follow their own desires. One of the signs of following our own desires is leaving the way of the Prophet ﷺ and pointing the finger by spewing negativity into the world. It does not unite us, and it leaves us in a spiritually stagnant state. Spiritual stagnation is where Shaytan would like us to remain for eternity.
The solution to strengthening the family is clear: purifying ourselves. That means leaving the sinful behavior and bolstering our faith. We need to perform our five pillars to the utmost perfection we can give them. We then should leave that which Allah and his Prophet emphatically forbade. If that stage is reached, then we should begin doing the acts that Allah and His Prophet have deemed desirable. The strength of a building, like the pillars of Islam, is not on the outside, it is the strength built within.
Personal development takes time and it takes a tremendous amount of humility. We find out how much dirt is inside, our own faults and shortcoming. This is why Allah said in the first chapter (Al Fatihah) and fifth verse: “You alone we worship and you alone we come to for help.” He also said in the 103rd chapter (Al Asr) in the first and second verse: “By time; verily mankind is at a loss.” My brothers and sisters, we are at a loss. This is our nature: to be at a loss without Allah.
When we feel like we do not need others and became self righteous, pointing fingers at others, we only corrupt ourselves. But when we bring out the best in ourselves, we can bring out the best in our spouses, our children, and our families.
Dr. Halim Naeem will be presenting at the Muslim Masculinity in an Age of Feminism conference: