Allah says in the Quran, “O believers! Enter completely into Islam” (2:208). As stated earlier, Islam is a comprehensive religion. Its teachings touch upon all aspects of life. This is because in every aspect of life, the Muslim should be worshiping and serving Allah. There is no compartment of life that can ever fall outside of that general precept.
Islam, therefore, goes well beyond articles of faith and ritual acts of worship. All of a Muslim’s behavior, manners, ethics and practices must reflect his belief that there is none worthy of worship except Allah. It is inconceivable that someone should claim to be worshiping Allah while at the same time he mistreats this person, cheats another person and harms yet a third. This kind of behavior would demonstrate that his claim to belief is either outright false or is very diseased.
For a new convert to Islam, this comprehensiveness may mean that there are many things that he will have to change about himself in order to be a complete and true Muslim. He may have many character flaws from his pre- Islamic days that he will have to work on and correct. He has no choice but to intend to change his ways. He is now stating his belief in Islam. If his belief is true, it must mean that he is willing to accept what the faith is teaching him and he is willing to do his best to implement all of the faith in his life.
As his understanding of Islam increases and as his faith strengthens, many behaviors may change “automatically,” as he now has a new view on life and a correct understanding of reality. This author has witnessed such changes in new Muslims. For example, some non-Muslims get very upset when participating in sports. Any time things do not go their way or when they feel that the other team is getting some unfair advantage, this sets off an angry rage in some individuals. This rage reflects how much weight and importance they are giving to that sports activity. After becoming Muslims, some such individuals change completely. Now, all of a sudden, sports are just for fun and exercise. The new Muslim understands that sports have no long-term value to a person’s real worth. This new understanding of his reality automatically—and sometimes even imperceptibly from the individual’s point of view—changes the person’s behavior and character.
The goal is to make such a transformation with respect to all interactions one has. This transformation is assisted by knowledge of how one is supposed to behave. Therefore, in this chapter, after an introductory section on the importance of behavior and character, the following interactions will be discussed:
(1) AMuslim vis-à-vis his own self.
(2) AMuslim vis-à-vis his/her parents.
(3) AMuslim vis-à-vis his/her spouse.
(4) AMuslim vis-à-vis his/her children.
(5) AMuslim vis-à-vis his/her neighbors.
(6) AMuslim vis-à-vis other Muslims.
(7) AMuslim vis-à-vis non-Muslims.
(8) AMuslim vis-à-vis society as a whole.
(9) AMuslim vis-à-vis wealth and property.