15 Nov Building Good Character.Part3
Each person has some duties toward their own self as well. Some of these pertain to the body, and some to the spirit. The following are the main duties that fall into this category:
- Training the body: For everyone it is crucial that the body be kept strong and clean. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “A strong and vigorous believer is better than a frail and weak one.”
- Caring for one’s health: Health is a great blessing; therefore, it is vital to avoid things that may damage one’s health and to seek treatment when one is ill.
- Refraining from dangerous practices of abstinence or selfdenial practiced in the name of spiritual discipline.
- Guarding against things that wear down age and the body.
- Strengthening willpower. A person needs to develop healthy self-control. This involves learning what is good for the body and partaking of it, as well as finding out what is harmful and avoiding it.
- Duties relating to the mind and intellect, such as pursuing learning and enlightenment, awakening higher emotions and positive feelings in the heart, and honing one’s talents and skills.
The family is the very foundation of a healthy society.
Each member of the family must accept some responsibility for the others in the family. Some of the primary duties of a husband, for instance, are to behave kindly toward his wife, to meet her basic needs, and to be loyal to her. A narration of the Prophet says,
“The best of you is he who is the best to his wife.”
A wife who is happy with her spouse will support her husband’s decisions, as long as they do not conflict with religious directives and contribute to protecting the family honor and property. All these are pivotal to happiness in marital relations and to a happy family.
Parents in such an atmosphere commit themselves to nurturing, educating and training their children to the best of their ability, setting them on the path to success in life.
- Fathers and mothers should treat their children equally, holding them in equal regard and affection. They should be gentle towards their offspring, and raise them in such a way that they will not be inclined to rebel. Parents also have the duty to be models of virtue for their children.
Respect and obedience are, in turn, some of the basic duties of children towards parents who have brought them up according to the principles set out above and with love and compassion, feeding and caring for them.
- This is why children should not show displeasure or impatience with their parents. A son or daughter who ignores the wishes of their parents and does not heed them nor come to their assistance if they are in need is not a source of blessing for the parents. Such a person not only is not a useful member of society, but will also stand before God as one who is guilty of shirking their duty.
Likewise, siblings have duties toward one another, such as showing affection and compassion for each other, as well as helping and respecting each other.
- There is a very strong bond between brothers and sisters and this should be maintained at all times. Brothers and sisters who cut their ties with one another over finances or property disagreements cannot be considered to be blessed or benevolent.
Finally, if a household has hired help, this helper also must be treated as part of the family.
- They deserve kindness and gentle treatment and should never be overloaded with work that is too difficult for them to carry out.