بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
We often hear people saying that first be a good human being before being a good Muslim or I am not a good Muslim but a good human being. For urdu speaking people, acha musalmaan vs acha insaan is a hot issue right now. But what is a good Muslim? And what are the qualities which can qualify us a good human being?
The problem is that until we do not have a yard stick to measure against we can never give a definition of a good human being or even a good Muslim. And so Allah Himself gives us a definition of “goodness”.
Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous. [Al Baqara: 177]
There are two extremes when it comes to people’s definition of goodness. On one side there are people who are very good with the rituals of religion like praying, dress code etc. But when it comes to moral or ethical side of Deen, like being a good neighbour or a good employee/employer, a good parent/offspring/sibling or an honest trader etc., they are not good at it. They think all the Deen is contained in the religious rituals and Deen has nothing to do with stuff like cleanliness or parking your car in a right way.
On the other hand we have people who think that being a good neighbour is more important than reciting Quran. They think that you are a good person if you abide by the law, you take care of your parents, your kids, you are honest at work, you pay your taxes, and you do not need to be dressed a certain way to be a good person or a good Muslim. You don’t need to offer your salaah in the masjid or wear a hijaab or done a beard to be a good person.
But in this ayaah Allah is telling us the correct balance between the two extremes. He is telling us His way, His definition of the right path, His definition of “al Birr” – the good deeds.
In the eyes of Allah there is no difference between a good person and a good Muslim. We cannot be a “good Muslim” without being a good person. And no matter how much acts of charity we do, if we have no Imaan, it is still not “goodness” in the eyes of Allah.
سبحانك اللهم و بحمدك نشهد ان لااله الّا انت نستغفرك و نتوب اليك