A true believer in Allah is someone who is not only convinced of His presence, but also seeks to live in the manner He has prescribed. Such a person is mindful of the guidance Allah has bestowed on humanity through the ages, and summed it up in the form of the Qur’an revealed to Muhammad ﷺ. A true believer does not just worship Allah because one “has to”; rather he or she feels truly content in serving the Creator, and possesses the peace of heart that sincere remembrance of Allah entitles one to. It is worth remembering that true believers are not free of faults or invulnerable to sin; yet, whenever they sin, they are quick to repent and admit their wrongdoing which increases their faith in Allah.
A believer strives for self-improvement all the time, focusing on both the spiritual dimension and interpersonal behavior. The following are twenty praiseworthy traits, derived from the Qur’an, which true believers possess.
I. They believe in Allah and have no doubts about His existence and sovereignty; they are deeply conscious of His presence. They believe in His messengers and scriptures, and are certain about the reality of the hereafter.
II. They devote their worship to Allah alone. They invoke no deity other than Allah, nor beseech anyone to intercede with Allah on their behalf, and consider none to be equal or even comparable to Him.
III. They do not turn a deaf ear, or a blind eye, to Allah’s signs. They rather take heed from His numerous signs that they encounter in daily life: the earth He created, the firm mountains He placed herein, the rain that revives the earth, and the green plants with many uses for humanity, to name a few. They use their intellect, and reflect on the purpose and realities of this life.
IV. They express gratitude to Allah for His innumerable blessings in their lives, and do not take those for granted. They are content with what they possess instead of complaining frequently, and help others to recount Allah’s favours in their lives too.
V. They supplicate to Allah often. They seek to establish a deep connection with Him by turning to Him in times of both ease and difficulty, realizing that He is closer to a person than one’s “jugular vein.” (Qur’an 50:16)
VI. They keep up the formal prayer, offering Salah at the prescribed times, and also observe fasts in His cause. They remember Allah in the quiet hours of the night and do not neglect His mention in the busy hours of the day.
VII. They share with others what Allah has provided them with: their possessions, resources, time, knowledge, and skills. They are not obsessed with their belongings; their love for Allah far exceeds that for worldly wealth. They are very charitable, aware that helping the needy is equivalent to lending to Allah “a goodly loan.” (Qur’an 2:245)
VIII. They are neither wasteful nor niggardly in spending money; they neither spend excessively on luxuries, nor do they hoard their wealth or deny the poor their right. They ensure that their needs, and those of their dependents, are satisfied.
IX. They maintain good ties with their relatives, and are especially considerate towards their poor or orphaned relatives. They are particularly good to their parents, and show immense kindness and patience towards them when they reach old age.
X. They adopt a helpful attitude in their interpersonal dealings, and do not deprive anyone of his or her rights. They are good to their neighbours, kind to their subordinates, and always willing to lend a helping hand to those in need such as the orphans, needy widows, and those struggling to repay their debts.
XI. They are just and equitable in all aspects of life. They never give false testimony, nor do they hide evidence for fear of their own safety. They strive against what is false and deceptive, and make an effort to eradicate all oppressive practices.
XII. The true believers support one another and strengthen the bond of unity among them. They denounce sectarianism and creating divisions within religion, and instead adhere to the Qur’an and the practice of the Prophet ﷺ.
XIII. They fulfill all their promises, and are true to their word, whatever the circumstances. They honour all their agreements and pledges. They are thus trustworthy and honest individuals; others find it easy to rely on them.
XIV. Steadfastness is another one of their traits. They are resolute in the face of difficulty, and patient when confronted with grief. They trust Allah in all situations and never despair of His help and mercy.
XV. They repel evil with good whenever they can. They are quick to forgive others’ excesses, and exercise clemency when revenge is within their power. They try to influence others in a positive way, countering hatred sensibly with a good gesture.
XVI. They live with humility. They are never boastful of their possessions or achievements, nor do they look down on others. There is no air of superiority in their demeanour. They are totally free of arrogance and the delusion of self-importance.
XVII. Whenever they see people involved in vain or useless talk, they pass by with dignity without getting involved. Similarly, if someone jeers at them or tries to disengage them from the right path, they simply reply with a greeting of peace, and move on. They consciously avoid indulging in backbiting.
XVIII. They keep themselves chaste, and are always on guard against immodesty and all forms of obscenities. They also have a high regard for physical cleanliness as ordained by Allah, knowing that “He loves those who purify themselves.” (Qur’an 2:222)
XIX. They eat what is clean and wholesome, taking care to refrain from what Allah has prohibited. They ensure what they eat is earned lawfully – hence, they avoid earning income through bribery or fraud, and means involving usury or gambling.
XX. They urge one another to truth, steadfastness, and compassion. They desire Allah’s reward not only for themselves but also for those around them. They encourage and race one another to good deeds and righteousness.
“For men devoted to Allah and women devoted to Allah, believing men and believing women, obedient men and obedient women, truthful men and truthful women, steadfast men and steadfast women, humble men and humble women, charitable men and charitable women, fasting men and fasting women, chaste men and chaste women, men who remember Allah often and women who remember Allah often, Allah has prepared forgiveness and a rich reward.” (Qur’an 33:35)