Changing One’s Personality

enjoy your life

By Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi – Prominent figure in the field of Dawah and author of more than twenty published works

The diversity in people’s personalities becomes noticeable when one analyzes the way they react to the various stories or incidents that are related to them. You can carry out this experiment yourself: Try relating a sad story to a group of people and see how differently they react.

I recall delivering a Friday sermon, wherein I mentioned the story of Umar’s (rta) assassination. When I came to the part where Abu Lulu, the Magian, stabbed Umar (rta), I said in a loud voice: “Suddenly, Abu Lulu jumped at Umar (rta) and stabbed him three times! The first stab hacked his chest. The second went into his stomach. Then, with all his strength, he thrust his sword into Umar (rta) below his navel and dragged the knife across his body until his intestines emerged.”

I noticed that people’s reaction to my words varied: Some individuals closed their eyes, as if they were witnessing the murder taking place in front of them. Others wept. Yet others showed no reaction at all.

Another lesson that I have learnt from my life is that you will almost inevitably come across another person, who is uncouth and ignorant. Such a person can neither articulate himself appropriately, nor is he courteous to his audience.

I recall one such person sitting in a public gathering. He decided to relate an incident involving a shopkeeper. As he related the story, he said: “This shopkeeper was huge, like a donkey.” He then said: “He looked like Khalid!” While saying this, he pointed at the person next to him. I have no idea how he managed to liken poor Khalid to a donkey!

Can one change his own personality to suit the personality of the one with whom he is interacting? The answer is: Yes.

Umar (rta) was known for his strong personality. One day, a man quarrelled with his wife and came to Umar (rta) to ask for advice. When he stood at Umar’s (rta) door and was about to knock, he heard Umar’s (rta) wife shouting at him, while he remained silent. He neither shouted back, nor rebuked her!

The man was amazed, and turned to leave. Umar (rta) heard a noise at the door. He went out and called the man: “What do you need?”

He said: “O Ameer Al-Mumineen, I came to you to complain about my wife, but then I heard your wife shouting at you!”

Umar (rta) said, “She is my wife who sleeps with me, makes food for me, and washes my clothes. Shall I not be patient with her?”

One must be patient with others and try to ignore their bad traits in light of their virtues. The amazing person in this regard is he who is able to win all kinds of hearts by knowing the personality of the one with whom he is dealing. If he travels with a miser, he wins his heart by being economical. If he sits with the emotional, he too becomes emotional and his companions love him. If he accompanies the light-hearted, he jokes and laughs along with them. He deals with each situation accordingly and thus, earns people’s love.

Adapted (with permission) from Enjoy Your Life published by Darussalam. Compiled for Hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.

Be Observant and Complimentary

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The Prophet (sa) had an observant and caring personality. He would make others feel valued and give them the impression that they were important to him. He valued their efforts, no matter how insignificant they were. When he missed them, he mentioned them with good words, encouraging others to do the same.

There was a dark-skinned lady in Madinah, who was a righteous believer. She used to clean the Masjid. The Prophet (sa) would see her every now and then, and marvel at her keenness. Later, several days went by and the Prophet (sa) did not see her. When he asked about her, his companions said: “She has passed away, O Messenger of Allah.” “Why did you not inform me about this?” replied the Prophet (sa).

The companions began to minimize the importance of her death, saying that she was a poor and obscure person – she was not worthy enough for the Prophet (sa) to be informed about her death. They also said: “She died in the middle of the night, so we did not want to wake you up.”

After her death, the Prophet (sa) was very keen to pray for the woman, even if the people deemed it to be insignificant. He asked his men to lead him to her grave. The Prophet (sa) prayed and said: “These graves are filled with darkness for their dwellers, but Allah (swt) illuminates them when I pray over them.”

Unfortunately, we live in a society where kindness is not valued. But we shouldn’t be discouraged by worrying about what certain others think. I remember another incident that happened to someone I know.

A young man, whom I know, was once invited to a great wedding ceremony, where very important people were also invited. He passed by a marketplace on his way and entered a perfume shop. He pretended that he wanted to buy a perfume. The shopkeeper welcomed him kindly and began to spray various brands on him.

When this friend of ours managed to cover his entire garment with perfume, he said to the shopkeeper, “Thank you very much! If any of these perfumes impress me, I might return to you.”

He then rushed off to the ceremony. He finally arrived and sat next to his friend Khalid, but Khalid did not seem to notice the scent or even pass a comment. This friend of mine then asked Khalid: “Can’t you smell the beautiful scent?”

“No,” he replied.

My friend said: “Your nose must be blocked!”

Upon hearing this, Khalid responded: “If my nose was blocked, I would not have smelt your foul odour!”

Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by Darussalam. Compiled for Hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.

Be Concerned About Others

Be Concerned About Others

By Dr. Muhammad Abd Al-Rahman Al-Arifi – A prominent figure in the field of Dawah and author of more than twenty published works

People usually like to be valued. This is why we sometimes see individuals acting in a certain manner in order to attract attention.

Imagine this: a person returns home form work, tired. He enters his living room and finds his four children sitting. One is watching television; the other is having his dinner; the third is playing with his toys, while the fourth is doing his homework. The father greets them enthusiastically: “Assalam ualaikum!” The first three children remain engrossed with whatever they are doing, and simply mumble an inaudible reply. The fourth one, however, stands up, rushes to his father, kisses his hand and greets him warmly.

Which of the four children do you think will be the most beloved to their father? I am certain it will be the fourth one. This would not be because he is the most intelligent or the most handsome. It would only be because he showed his father that he valued him. Hence, the more you care for others, the greater their love and respect will be for you.

Here is another example: suppose a person enters a gathering and does not find a place to sit. Someone maneuvers a little, offers him a place and says pleasantly: “Please come here and sit.” The newcomer will immediately appreciate this gesture of concern from a stranger and warm up to him.

The Prophet (sa) would give utmost importance to this. While he was delivering a sermon from his pulpit one Friday, suddenly, a Bedouin entered the mosque, walked through the rows, looked at the Messenger of Allah (sa) and said in a loud voice: “O Messenger of Allah, I am a person who does not know what his religion is. Teach me what my religion is!”

The Prophet (sa) descended from his pulpit and turned to the man. He asked for a chair, sat on it and began to speak to the man and explain to him his religion, until he understood. He then resumed his sermon.

Who knows, if the Prophet (sa) had ignored the man, he may have remained ignorant about to his religion, until he died.

If we were to learn about the Prophet’s (sa) character, we would find that when he would shake someone’s hand, he wouldn’t withdraw his until the other person withdrew it first. If a person spoke to him, he would completely turn towards him, meaning that he would turn his face and body towards him, in order to listen with full attention.

The Prophet (sa) would also make everyone feel as if their issue was, in fact, his own problem, and that their worry was his personal worry. Since he also educated the Companions, they would also show concern for others, be approachable and share with them their moments of grief and happiness.

Experience tells us that whenever you show people that you value and care for them, you capture their hearts and are thus, endeared to them.

Adapted (with permission) from “Enjoy Your Life” published by “Darussalam”. Compiled for hiba by Bisma Ishtiaq.