Character and conduct

Character and conduct

Islam lays a lot of importance on refinement of character and conduct and the Prophet himself was a role model of exemplary character. This is indispensable because the purpose of religion is to connect man to his creator and it is not possible to reach the creator if one treats the creation of God badly.

In normal circumstances majority of the people are well behaved and treat others with courtesy and kindness. However in adverse circumstances when they are angry or under pressure then there is a marked change in their behaviour and they become rude and discourteous and sometimes outright violent.

This is because their behaviour becomes more of a reaction to a situation or a person than a deliberate action. So how can one attain constancy in his good behaviour? It can be achieved if one constantly strives to behave well no matter what the situation is, making sure all his actions are deliberate and not mere reactions, then in time one’s attitude towards others  undergoes such a profound change that no matter what the situation or the pro vocation his behaviour remains the same -  kind and courteous.

There is a wonderful example from history of the demonstration of exemplary character and conduct in battle – perhaps the most difficult of situations for it.

 It was during the Crusades, particularly during the 3rd  Crusade when the armies of Sultan Salahuddin Ayubi better known in the Western world as Saladin, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, was engaged in combat with the army of King Richard of England famously known as King Richard the Lionhearted. During the course of the battle King Richard became ill with fever, and despite being treated by his own physicians there was no improvement in his condition.

 Then Sultan Salahuddin, a devout Muslim and a person of phenomenal attributes, instead of taking advantage of the situation to benefit himself, offered King Richard the services of his personal physician. He also sent him fresh fruit with snow, to chill the drink, as treatment. This was indeed a remarkable thing to do which was lauded even by his enemies. His chivalrous behaviour was noted by Christian chroniclers, and despite being the nemesis of the Crusaders he won the respect of many of them, including King  Richard himself.

Rather than becoming a hated figure in Europe, he became a celebrated example of the principles of chivalry.

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