In the name of Allah, the Most-Merciful, the All-Compassionate
As-Salaam Alaikum Wa-Rahmatullahi Wa-Barakatuhu
"May the Peace and Blessings of Allah be Upon You"
Praise be to Allaah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own souls and from our bad deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allaah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allaah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Hadeeth 27: Righteousness is in Good Character - by Imâm an-Nawawi
On the authority of an-Nawwaas bin Sam'aan (radiAllaahu anhu) that the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: "Righteousness is in good character/morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about." It was related by Muslim.
And on the authority of Waabisah bin Ma'bad (radiAllaahu anhu) who said : "I came to the Messenger of Allaah (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) and he said : "You have come to ask about righteousness". I said : "Yes". He said : "Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels at ease and the heart feels tranquil. And wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and causes uneasiness in the breast, even though people have repeatedly given their legal opinion [in its favour]."
Explanation of Hadeeth:
His (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "Righteousness (al-Birr) is in good character/morality" means that good character is the greatest characteristic of Birr, [and not its only characteristic]. This is similar to his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "The Hajj is [standing in] Arafaat", ie. standing in the plain of Arafaat on the 9th of Dhul-Hijjah is the greatest part of the Hajj, but is not all of the Hajj. As for Birr then it is that which encourages its doer to perform good righteous actions, and it is associated with the abraar [righteous, pious individuals], and they are the ones who are obedient to Allaah 'azza wa jall.
And what is meant by 'good character' is justice in ones dealings, and kindness and consideration in ones endeavours, and justice in ones orders, and being generous in offering help and other than these from the characteristics of the believers, those whom Allaah ta'aalaa has described by saying :
"The believers are only those who, when Allaah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses (this Qur'aan) are recited unto them, they increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord alone. Who perform as-Salaat and spend out of that which We have provided them. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and Forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise)." [Soorah al-Anfaal 2-4]
And Allaah has said :
"(The believers whose lives Allaah has purchased are) those who repent to Allaah (from polytheism, sin, etc.), who worship Him, who praise Him, who fast (or go out in Allaah's Cause), who bow down (in prayer), who prostrate themselves (in prayer), who enjoin (people) with Al-Ma'roof (all what Islaam has ordained) and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (all that Islaam has forbidden), and who observe the limits set by Allaah. And give glad tidings to the believers." [Soorah at-Tawbah 112]
And He has said :
"Successful indeed are the believers. Those who offer their Salaat with all solemnity and full submissiveness. And those who turn away from Al-Laghuw (dirty, false, evil, vain talk). And those who pay the Zakaat. And those who guard their chastity. Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame; But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors; Those who are faithfully true to their Amanaat (all the duties which Allaah has ordained, honesty, trusts etc.) and to their covenants; And those who strictly guard their (five compulsory congregational) Salawaat (prayers) (at their fixed stated hours). These are indeed the inheritors [of Paradise]." [Soorah al-Mu'minoon 1-10]
And He said :
"And the slaves of the Most Beneficent (Allaah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness ..." [Soorah al-Furqaan 63], until the end of the Soorah.
So whoever is unsure of his condition should compare himself to these aayaat, and if he finds in himself all of these good qualities then this is a sign of possessing good character, and if he finds that he does not possess any of them then this is a sign of bad character. And if he finds only some of them, then he should strive to retain that which he posseses and to obtain that which he does not.
And let not one think that 'good character' is interpreted as being only gentleness, and leaving fawaahish (lusts), and sins, and that whoever does only that has purified his character. Rather, good character includes all that along with all the other characteristics of the Believers that we have mentioned above.
And from good character also is patiently bearing bad treatment, as has been narrated in the two Saheehs [of Bukhaaree and Muslim] that a bedouin pulled at the cloak of the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) until its hem left a mark upon the shoulder of the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam), and he [the bedouin] said : "O Muhammad! Grant for me from the Wealth of Allaah that is with you", so the Prophet (sallAllaahu alayhi wa salaam) turned to him and laughed, and then ordered that he be given something.
And his (sallAllaahu alayhi wa sallam) statement "and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul, and which you dislike people finding out about" means that wrongdoing is that thing which results in aversion/dislike in the heart, and this is a principle that is depended upon in distinguishing sin/wrongdoing from righteousness: that sin is that thing which wavers in the breast and the individual hates that the people should come to know of it. And what is intended here by 'the people' is those who are equals in status and respectability, or the best of society, and not the common riff raff. So this is what is sin/wrongdoing, so it is to be left, and Allaah knows best.
•That righteousness is beautiful character
•That one should not do good acts begrudgingly and with bad manners
•That what is sinful perturbs the uncorrupted soul
•That secrecy about our acts, generally speaking, shows the sinfulness of those acts
•That the feelings of the heart should be considered when doing something
•That righteousness leaves the soul and heart at peace
•That wrongdoing causes an uncomfortable feeling which does not leave no matter how much you are advised in its favour
•That the legal verdicts and exhortations of people do not make a sin a right thing to do
•That a teacher can pre-empt a pupil's question in order to help the student understand his queries