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Toward a Concept of Islamic Personality

Abdul-Lateef Abdullah Abstract This paper seeks to advance an Islamic notion of the concept of human personality. It includes a brief description of the impact of the Prophet of Islams personality on the world, and the importance of this issue in re ard to contemporary world events. !ontents of the paper include some discussion on proposed definitions of Islamic personality based on e"istin literature and conventional notions of personality via the field of psycholo y# the concept of moral character as the foundation of Islamic personality# the importance of Islamic knowled e and traditional notions of Islamic psycholo y# and some e"amples from the life of the Prophet himself as the primary model of Islamic personality. The paper is concluded by providin a summary of the proposed introductory concept of Islamic personality and its prominent features, alon with recommendations for further development. $%&'L()A'*+PA!* P,*-I& . / 01 Introduction The reatness of a man does not consist in the workin of miracles or the doin of wonders# neither does it lie in the preachin of sermons or the formulatin of theories. It lies in the possession of a mi hty personality. Personality is one of the indescribable wonders of the world. It conciliates opposition and inspires respect and imitation, which results eventually in implicit obedience. It chan es ideas and revolutioni2es the thou hts, beliefs and actions of enerations of the races of mankind.3i4 Accordin to those familiar with his life both within and outside of the reli ion of Islam, the ideal human personality belon ed to its Prophet, 'uhammad bin Abdullah 5peace and blessin s of 6od be upon him7, who was ar uably able to achieve more in his 89 years of prophethood than any man in history. In fact, 'ichael :art 5;<=>7 in ?The ;@@, A ,ankin of the 'ost Influential Persons In :istory3ii4,? said this about his life( 'y choice of 'uhammad to lead the list of the worlds most influential persons may surprise some readers and may be Auestioned by others, but he was the only man in history who was supremely successful on both the secular and reli ious level. ...It is probable that the relative influence of 'uhammad on Islam has been lar er than the combined influence of Besus !hrist and +t. Paul on !hristianity. ...It is this unparalleled combination of secular and reli ious influence which I feel entitles 'uhammad to be considered the most influential sin le fi ure in human history.C In addition to his tan ible triumphs, the impact he had on his followers and close companions was e"traordinary. To his credit, he molded the character of his fellowmen, reformed them, chan ed their thou hts, put new ideas before them, elevated them to a hi her plane, and, in spite of themselves, drove them onwards and upwards on the path of pro ress to the fullness of a better and holier life. -or the first twelve years of his prophethood, the early 'uslims suffered fri htful persecution at the hands of idolaters, and yet their number steadily increased. Thou h its numbers were subDected to the cruelest of tortures, there were few apostates, and many converts to the faith of Islam. Accordin to 'uslims and non-'uslims alike, it was the personality and character of the Prophet that made Islam row in the nascent period of its birth life.3iii4 6od, in the Euran, refers to the Prophets standard of human e"cellence as( FCertainly you have in the Messenger of God an excellent example for any who hopes in God and the Last Day and remembers God much.C3iv4 Accordin to Gashin ton Irvin in ?Life of 'uhammad,?3v4( :is military triumphs awakened no pride nor vain lory as they would have done had they been effected by selfish purposes. In the time of his reatest power he maintained the same simplicity of manner and appearance as in the days of his adversity. +o far from affectin re al state, he was displeased if, on enterin a room, any unusual testimonial of respect was shown to him.C -urthermore, 6eor e Hernard +haw3vi4 says about him( I:e must be called the +aviour of :umanity. I believe that if a man like him were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solvin its problems in a way that would brin it much needed peace and happiness.C 'ahatma 6andhi3vii4, speakin on the character of 'uhammad, says( II wanted to know the best of one who holds today?s undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind....I became more than convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the ri id simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet, the scrupulous re ard for his pled es, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in 6od and in his own mission.C

-inally, Jr. 6ustav Geil3viii4 in ?:istory of the Islamic Peoples?( 'uhammad was a shinin e"ample to his people. :is character was pure and stainless. :is house, his dress, his food - they were characteri2ed by a rare simplicity. +o unpretentious was he that he would receive from his companions no special mark of reverence, nor would he accept any service from his slave that he could do for himself. :e was accessible to all and at all times. :e visited the sick and was full of sympathy for all. Knlimited was his benevolence and enerosity as also was his an"ious care for the welfare of the community.C Indeed the perfection of morals, manners and character was, accordin to the Prophet himself, his foremost mission as the last 'essen er of 6od. Accordin to Abu :uraira, the Prophet said , "I have been sent only for the purpose of perfecting good morals 5Al-'uwatta7. -rom the life of the Prophet and those of his closest companions to their followers and students, the sayin s, stories and e"amples of the Prophets personality were safe uarded and passed down to help subseAuent 'uslims maintain his e"ample for perfectin personality, conduct and morality for all time. )ot only the important events of his life, but the record of his daily conduct, from birth to passin , is written with reat detail on the pa es of history. 'any of his sayin s, doin s, actions and details of his conduct and character have been preserved. In short, his whole prophethood L at home, in the mosAue and outside L was fully known to his companions, and was recorded as an open book so that the followin enerations could learn lessons and et inspiration from the primary e"ample of Islamic personality.3i"4 The topic of Islamic personality, as e"emplified by the Prophet, is a timely one. !urrently, within the Islamic world, Fthe morality of 'uslims is in a dubious condition. Their character has developed a number of defects, in conseAuence of which they have to face disruption, dislocation and the inevitable downfall.C3"4 Gith the world en ulfed in media reports of terrorism, sectarian violence, social ills, and other problems havin to do with individual conduct and interpersonal relations, the need to re-acclimate to the teachin s of the Prophet of Islam about human personality has never been reater. The planet is now comprised of over ;.8 billion 'uslim men, women and children, representin almost one Auarter of humanity. This community, based on sheer si2e alone, has the potential to do a reat measure of ood, or harm, dependin on its overall condition and direction, of which basic human personality is an important in redient. Islam and Personality Islam teaches its adherents that their role on earth is to be 6ods khalifahs L deputies L and to carry out :is commands for the welfare and benefit of all of mankind. +uch a role relies heavily on the interpersonal conduct, behavior, character and morality of each and every individual 'uslim, in essence, the FAualityC of each personality. This is one of the foremost responsibilities of 'uslims, followin the e"ample of the Prophet, to model ood human relations. Thus, the need to focus on the drive toward self-perfection, reflected in the development of and strivin for the prophetic personality, is a key aspect of the reli ion that has been all but for otten in contemporary movements aimed at revivin the +unnah of the Prophet. Islamic personality is directly linked to the practice of Islam. Islam is a reli ion of action and a way of life that focuses on continuously workin toward the ideal. It is not a mere identity or way in which one is identified. A !hristian, for e"ample, is one who Maccepts Besus !hrist as their personal lord and savior. )o work or effort is inherent in the term F!hristianity,C nor does it imply action of any kind other than belief in the tenets that makes one a !hristian. /ne who enters the fold of Islam, however, has entered a life based on FsurrenderC that reAuires constant effort in surrenderin to 6ods will and on oin dili ence in observin :is commands. It is a lifestyle that is applied literally moment to moment, which is manifested throu h, impacts, and is affected by every aspect of ones personality. To understand the development of a personality rounded in the Islamic reli ion, we must look toward the :oly Euran, the life and teachin s of the Prophet 'uhammad 5Sunnah7, as well as the works of Islamic scholars who, drawin from the Euran and Sunnah, have e"pounded on the notions of personality and human psycholo y accordin to the Islamic worldview. Notions of Science and Psychology in the West *ach human personality is uniAue. In fact, personality is the sum total of all behavioral and mental characteristics by which an individual is reco ni2ed as bein uniAue.3"i4 In Islam, the Euran e"pounds in very clear terms a distinct concept of individual rowth and development. A human bein is body and soul, matter and spirit. It is the uniAue balance between these that makes humans uniAuely what we are, which, accordin to Islamic belief, is the hi hest of all created bein s. It is this fundamental belief and assumption that draws a maDor distinction between the Islamic view on human personality and the Gestern-+ecularist worldview, which tends to study man in a hi hly compartmentali2ed and reductionist fashion. The essential paradi ms and methodolo ies of Gestern psycholo y, alon with its overall view of

man, are invariably materialist and secular. 'odern psycholo y has played a si nificant role in shapin Gestern man and Gestern society. As part of the overall product of modernity, the Gestern worldview is, in effect, predominantly secular -- characteri2ed by atheism, a nosticism, and humanism. In line with this worldview, the dominant trend in Gestern intellectualism is similarly materialistic and secular.3"ii4 In contemporary psycholo y, contemporary man is treated and studied under the Gestern materialist purview. Thus, he is seen and studied fundamentally as a material bein . The spiritual entity in him is either less reco ni2ed or simply dismissed completely. This dismissal of the spiritual component in man became necessary, however, because its presence cannot be established with the standards of ri id empiricism, which have come to hold sway over contemporary behavioral and social sciences.3"iii4 As a result, in todays psycholo y, the idea of a soul or spiritual nature is rarely acknowled ed. Instead, within Gestern psycholo y, a fra mented view of man is presented. In tryin to ain a deeper understandin of human nature, Gestern psycholo ical theories, usin a positivist scientific approach, have tended to focus on one aspect of the self 5e. ., psychoanalysis focuses on the conscious0unconscious mind, co nitive psycholo y focuses on thou hts, and behavioral psycholo y focuses on human behavior7. Althou h important achievements have been made, no model is truly comprehensive in itself in providin insi ht into the interplay between body, mind and soul, and the results of this interplay on human personality development. 6iven these maDor limitations in understandin the whole person, the Auestions of how much knowled e we really have of the self, and how deep an understandin of human personality we really have must be raised. *ven very new, more inte rated therapies that incorporate multiple schools of thou ht have proven limited, as they continue to i nore a dimension of the self that many re ard as central to bein human L the spiritual dimension.3"iv4 The materialistic a e and the nature of modern psycholo ical ailments has caused a re-awakenin amon social scientists who believe that the spiritual component of man is too vital to overlook in re ard to human psycholo ical and personality therapies. As a result, many scientists are reco ni2in the need to understand personality and human psycholo y from a more holistic perspective. !urrently, this can be seen in such contemporary movements such as transpersonal psycholo y, which aims to directly incorporate a spiritual component to psycholo ical counselin .3"v4 Gith this trend, the Islamic worldview, embracin the Prophetic e"ample, has never been more meanin ful to 'uslims and non-'uslims alike, as lobali2ation and its atheistic-materialist values continue to add to the rowin moral decay and declinin social order amon nations. To respond to this crisis of values, it is critical for humanity to broaden its investi ation of human social behavior and undertake the study of human life in a way that is inclusive of all the dimensions that comprise our bein . -or it is the synthesis of these dimensions L body, mind and soul L that make us so comple", eni matic and fascinatin , and what ultimately shapes our individual personalities. The Core of Islamic Personality Moral Character Amon the many factors that influence personality, some are innate and some are learned 5acAuired7. AcAuired traits in a personality e"ert a powerful influence on human destiny L collective and individual. Ghile a constructive behavioral attitude can propel human society to lory, a destructive personality can destroy the foundations of an entire civili2ation.3"vi4 Personality is the manifestation of our character in everythin we do in life. Accordin to 'erriam-Gebster 58@@;7, personality is defined as Fthe comple" of characteristics that distin uishes an individual or a nation or roup# especially the totality of an individual?s behavioral and emotional characteristics.C Personality is how our basic character is displayed to the world. ImNm Abu :amid Al-6ha2ali, as it relates to the notion of personality, has elaborated the Islamic view on the importance of ood character( *verythin in the world has been created with a purpose. 'an, bein the most e"alted of all creation, has a supreme purpose, which is to reali2e the moral throu h the proper e"ercise of the Aualities inherent in him. :e has to develop those Aualities that facilitate moral pro ress and subDu ate those which hinder it. In order to achieve the moral end one has to build a ood character that comprises all the virtues, the most important of which is love of 6od. The actual worth of a virtue is essentially determined by the part it plays in helpin man to achieve perfection whereby he attains nearness to 6od. 6ood character is the beauty of the soul, and like the beauty of the body it depends on the harmonious and proportionate development of all its elements.C3"vii4 -rom this description, moral character is not simply a oal within the life of a 'uslim, but the end oal of the Islamic faith itself. /n this matter, Prophet 'uhammad was asked, FGhich 'uslim has the perfect faith%C :e answered( F:e who has the best moral character 5Tibrani7.C In another tradition, they asked the Prophet FGhat is the best thin iven to man%C :e replied, Fmoral character 5Tirmidhi7.C In spite of the rapid e"pansion of his reli ion and the immense increase in their various tasks, Prophet 'uhammad informed his followers of the fact that on the Jay of Bud ment there will be nothin wei htier in their balance than their ood moral character. Accordin to 'uhammad Al-6ha2ali3"viii4, Fif reli ion is the name of ood conduct between man

and man, then on the other hand, in its spiritual sense, it is also the name of the best relationship between man and his 6od, and in both these aspects there is the same reality.C Al-6ha2ali continues, There are many reli ions that ive the lad tidin that you may embrace any belief and your sins will be washed away, and offerin fi"ed prayers will cancel your mistakes. Hut Islam does not believe in this. Accordin to it, these benefits will be available only when the a"is and center of belief is a conscious step towards virtue and payment of the compulsory dues, and when the proposed worship can become the real source of washin away the sins and eneratin the real perfection. In other words, evil can be removed by those virtues that man makes his own and by which he is able to reach hi h and lofty standards. The Prophet of Islam very forcefully emphasi2ed these valuable principles so that his followers may understand very clearly that the value of morality may not o down in its eyes and the importance of mere forms and shapes may not increase.C3"i"4 Islamic personality, rounded in hi h moral character, encompasses beliefs, e"ternal traits, attributes, behaviors, manners and social races, and adab. It covers every aspect of interpersonal life includin relations between man and man, man and 6od, man and family, man and society, as well as man and the natural world. All of these are clearly reflected in the life stories of the Prophet, and are thorou hly documented in his seerah, or bio raphy. -urthermore, there are volumes of accounts on the hi h moral conduct and personalities of his companions, and their followers from which we can draw many e"amples. The ideal Islamic personality, as the sayin attributed to the Prophets wife, Aisha, makes clear, is the personification of the Euran. That which is pleasin to 6od, should be pleasin to the 'uslim and this should be borne out in every thou ht, word, and action. The Prophet, accordin to 'uslims, reached this sta e of human perfection because he was able to personify the Euran in this manner. As Aisha said, F:e was pleased by what it 5the Euran7 finds pleasin and an ry accordin to what it finds hateful.C3""4 Thus, in effect, the Prophet achieved actuali2ation of the Jivine )ames and the hi hest and most refined character as a result of it. -rom 6ods messen er to the classical scholars, who throu hout Islamic history have attempted to summari2e the Islamic ideal in terms of personality, the notion of Islamic personality can be summed up by Imam Al-6ha2alis description of Fthe odly manC( The odly man is wise, coura eous and temperate in the noblest sense of the words, and in the hi hest de ree. :e en a es in worship, prayers, fastin , alms- ivin , and similar acts, but his duties to 6od do not e"clude his duties to family, relatives, friends, nei hbors, slaves, subDects and society as a whole. :e must earn his livelihood by strictly honest means. :e must cultivate the best manners for all occasions, namely, he should know how to carry himself best at the table, in society, while travelin , and at the atherin of odly people and avoid causin the sli htest pain to his fellowmen on any account. The Prophet should be his ideal and his inspiration all throu h his life. Lastly, his duty is not only to reform and perfect all the aspects of his life but to reform his fellowmen as well. And the motive force behind a perfect life is nothin other than the love and fear of 6od.C3""i4 -rom this description, the primary aspect of Islamic personality is one of dedication to 6od and :is reli ion 5Islam7. As moral character is the very heart of Islamic personality, naturally, obedience and dedication to Allah and worship of him must play the primary role in such a life for the purpose of buildin fear and love of 6od. -or accordin to Al-6ha2ali, all ood aspects of character flow from these two oals of mans relationship with his creator.3""ii4 As personality oes beyond in redients of ood character and into other aspects of daily life, Al-6ha2ali does not e"clude mans duties to his worldly life as bein F odly,C and includes such mundane acts as earnin ones livelihood and table manners in his description. This inclusion of the Fworldly as odlyC is an important feature of Islam and one that separates it from other reli ions. Islam?s uniAueness lies in spirituali2in the whole matri" of life. *very activity, whether related to thin s like prayer and fastin , or to economic transactions, se"ual relationships, diplomatic dealin s or scientific e"perimentation?s, is reli ious if it is undertaken with 6od consciousness and accords with the values and principles revealed by :im# and it is irreli ious if it is in violation of them. Activities related to matters of economy, politics and law, or of se" and social manners, are a part of man?s reli ious behavior and do not fall outside its scope. Life is an or anic whole and the same principles should uide and overn it in all its ramifications.3""iii4 Thus, the drive for self-perfection must include the whole of the 'uslims everyday life, for nothin within it falls outside the scope of personality. Al-6ha2ali calls it a duty to avoid causin harm to his fellowmen. This is a critical feature of Islamic personality that stresses treatin all creatures with compassion. This important feature of Islamic personality stems from the worldview of the oneness and Lordship of 6od above all his creation, of which humanity is the hi hest form. It reflects our duty to act Dustly toward all creatures, as only prescribed punishment and recompense for crimes a ainst the laws of 6od are acceptable. As one of 6ods names is Fal- !dl,C or Fthe Bust,C 'uslims must always strive to act Dustly and dispense Dustice in our daily lives. The concept of Dustice in Islam also implies the need to balance the different aspects of the self

as an important in redient for healthy development of the personality.3""iv4 Bustice is both an outcome of followin the middle way in lifes activities and an important characteristic of the middle way of Islam. Adoption of the Mmiddle way in the Islamic perspective is thus both a means and an aim of personality development and self-fulfillment. Hy takin the middle path we will achieve the ideal state and the ideal state itself is the middle, or balanced state.3""v4 *"hortation to seek a balance in satisfyin both body and soul is found in the Euran( F"ut seek the abode of the hereafter in that which God has given you and neglect not your portion of the world# and be kind even as God has been kind to you and seek not corruption in the $arth%.C3""vi4 Imam Al-6ha2ali concludes his description of the odly man with the all-encompassin statement that Fhis duty is not only to reform and perfect all the aspects of his life but to reform his fellowmen as well.C This is not only alludin to the concepts of self-perfection and stru le, but as well Fcommandin the proper and forbiddin the improper 5 amr bi al ma&ruf wa nahi &an al munkar7,C which is one of the most important principles in all of Islam, as it is stressed repeatedly in both the Euran and sayin s 5hadith7 of the Prophet.3""vii4 The constant concern of the 'uslim with promotin what is ood and Dust, and actively dissuadin what is wron and unlawful accordin to 6od is a very important characteristic of Islamic personality. +uch a preoccupancy implies that the 'uslim is always concerned with promotin the positive values represented by Islam within himself and the controllable world around him. If a 'uslim is to i nore this principle and in the face of wron not react in any way, then this means that in a spiritual and moral sense he is dead.3""viii4 This point is made in a well known sayin 5hadith7 of the Prophet in which he is reported to have said( IIf one of you sees somethin wron , let him chan e it with his hand# if he cannot, then with his ton ue# if he cannot, then with his heart and this is the weakest faith 5'uslim7.I In addition to Imam Al-6ha2alis description of the F odly man,C there are many scholarly treatments on this topic. *ven thou h the Prophet 'uhammad is the reatest and most brilliant e"ample of it, there is no one definition of Islamic personality, and different scholars throu hout Islamic history have pointed to different e"amples of the Prophets life and the lives of his companions to illustrate this point. -or e"ample, 'uhammad Al-6ha2ali, in his book F'uslims !haracter 5;<<O7,C breaks down his notion of Islamic character into several cate ories includin ( Pillars of Islam and moral values# truth# trust and honesty# fulfillment of promise# sincerity# etiAuette of conversation# keep your bosom 5heart7 free from rancor and enmity# stren th# tolerance and pardon# philanthropy and benevolence# patience# economy and moderation# purity and neatness# modesty# brotherhood# unity and collectivism# selection of friends# imposin and awe-inspirin # kindness# learnin and intellect# and full utili2ation of time.3""i"4 Personality can be described as the manifestation of ones basic character into actions, thou hts and words. As such, the two are closely linked. As many world reli ions stress the importance of their uniAue beliefs, perhaps in Islam more than any other is the focus on the actuali2ation of belief, or the application of reli ious knowled e in every aspect of life. +uch application translates into individual conduct, which is e"hibited throu h individual personality. Thus, the development of Islamic personality is a critical end to the reli ion, and reatly influenced by ones education and indoctrination into it, as well as many other factors. Islamic !nowledge and Psychology :uman personality in the Islamic tradition, unlike the Gestern psycholo ical tradition, is understood throu h the total makeup of the human bein L body, mind and soul. Accordin to Islamic tradition, to understand the overall psycholo ical nature of man and his personality development, one must understand the inner workin s, the essence, of the whole person as well as the importance and role of knowled e. -rom the Islamic perspective, knowled e is of two types( FrevealedC Jivine knowled e and Mworldly knowled e. Jivine knowled e is intuitive, subDectively e"perienced and has the potential to transform individuals. MGorldly knowled e is what is enerally considered to be FobDectiveC and is e"perienced more as a process of acAuirin information about the e"ternal world.3"""4 They differ reatly in their actuali2ation. -or e"ample, in todays universities, students may acAuire massive amounts of information but many still raduate with differences only in a e and perceived professional status, not necessarily as more perfected human bein s. Jivine knowled e, however, has the ability to completely transform human bein s, as it did with the Prophet of Islam, his companions, followers, and enerations of 'uslims since. Thus, an increase in material knowled e resultin in a reater amount of FinformationC does not necessarily lead to the FtransformationC of the self. Jivine knowled e and material knowled e are not necessarily contradictory, however, they simply reflect the co-e"istence of two different 5but not opposin 7 dimensions( the spiritual dimension and the physical dimension.3"""i4 In Islamic thou ht, the human bein is considered to be the meetin point of these two different dimensions. The Arabic word for such a meetin is bar'akh# or Finterspace.C In li ht of this Islamic perspective, efforts to ain an understandin of the self reAuire a study of its entirety. Pnowled e of the self, and what it means to be human in modern times, however, has become less of the domain of reli ion as the domain of the field of psycholo y, despite that the word Fpsycholo yC is actually based on the 6reek word FpsycheC, meanin Fsoul,C or Fspirit.C Psycholo y then, in actuality, means the study of the soul, not simply the study of mind and behavior, and thus implies a natural fit with

the reli ious sciences.3"""ii4 Accordin to the Euran, all psycholo ical phenomena ori inate in the +elf. The +elf is the essence of man, and is often referred to by one of four terms in Arabic -- (alb 5heart7, ruh 5soul7, nafs 5desire-nature7, and Ma(l 5intellect0reason7.3"""iii4 *ach of these si nifies a spiritual entity. Thus, accordin to Islam, the essence of a person is the +elf, which is a spiritual entity, not a physical one. In the Euran, personality and behavior are referred to as the nafs, which the Euran has used to describe several states of the +elf( nafs ammarah 5tendency to evil, ;8(Q97# nafs lawwamah 5conscience and concern with moral rectitude, =Q(87# nafs mulhamah 5inspired to piety and 6odconsciousness7# nafs (anu)ah 5satisfied with what it has7# nafs mutma)inna 5calm and tranAuil, ><(8=7# nafs radhiyah 5appreciative, ><(8=-8>7# nafs mardhiyyat 5appreciated, ><(8=-8>7# and nafs kamilah 5perfect7.3"""iv4 Islamic scholars typically hi hli ht the three most commonly referred to states of the +elf in the Euran as( nafs ammarah# nafs lawwamah# and nafs mutma)inna( )afs Ammara 5the commandin or lower +elf7 - Euran ;8(Q9. This self is prone to the lower aspects of the +elf, representin the ne ative drives in man. It can be viewed as analo ous to the -reudian concept of Mid e. . MI want to do it nowR I dont care if its ri ht or wron . )afs Lawwama 5The self-reproachin +elf7 - Euran =Q(8. This state corresponds to the +elf when it becomes aware of wron - doin and feels remorse. A parallel between the -reudian concept of Msupere o and nafs lawwama may be drawn. The feelin of FI shouldnt have done thatC or Fwhy did I do that L I wish I hadntRC )afs 'utmainnah 5The peaceful +elf7 - Euran ><(8=-8>. This is the state of inner peace and happiness, when you feel satisfied and content in yourself. This is the state that we are aimin to achieve. In order to achieve the state of tranAuility and peace one has to activate the remorseful self 5e. . throu h sincere repentance7 and control the lower commandin self 5throu h self discipline7.3"""v4 The state of the +elf is dependent on many different faculties and powers at play within the individual. Thus, the Euranic personality is impacted by a variety of factors includin ( biolo ical inheritance, physical environment, culture, sociali2ation, roup e"perience, and uniAue individual e"periences.3"""vi4 -ar from the simple dichotomy of Fnature or nurtureC as is so prominent in traditional Gestern psycholo ical thou ht, the Islamic notion of personality development is a more comple" one, that is directly linked to the state and health of the individual +elf. Accordin to Islam, man is born in a natural state of purity 5fitrat al *slam7. 5Incidentally, this is in direct contrast to Budeo-!hristian tradition that purports that man is born in a state of Fori inal sin.C7 All of creation comes into e"istence in this state of fitrah+ F,e -ho has made everything which ,e has created most good+ ,e began the creation of man with .nothing more than/ clay.C3"""vii4 Knlike other forms of creation, however, human bein s have within them the ability to leave this state of nature into somethin unnatural.3"""viii4 This potential to do what is unnatural and harmful to the +elf is based on mankinds free will. Thus, in order to actuali2e fitrah, or to return to the natural state of purity, man must ain control over the potential for wron within him. Takin advanta e of free will, throu h the use of the intellect man can apply revelation in choosin what is ri ht and thus reawaken the reco nition of fitrah in him. Althou h man is not born evil, he is vulnerable to evil stimuli or e"ternal sources of mis uidance. This property of the human constitution, to be vulnerable to wron , is intrinsic to man.3"""i"4 The emotional and biolo ical impulses of man are not inherently evil, but are readily susceptible to such evil stimuli. Thus, they need to be controlled and directed in accordance with divinely prescribed laws so that the +elf 5nafs7 can be transformed into the hi hest level of spiritual achievement.3"l4 :uman personality, therefore, is dependent upon the psycholo ical or psychical implications of fitrah that occur within the +elf0 +ince emotions and desires form an inte ral part of man, the psycholo ical implications are directly related to his emotional dimensions. Hoth the emotional and the psycholo ical dimensions have positive as well as ne ative tendencies. If mans emotions are controlled and directed to hi her spiritual ends, then his psychical nature is disciplined. Althou h the biolo ical constitution of man is completely different from the psycholo ical constitution, the former nevertheless serves as an instrument for the drives of the psyche. The lower +elf L comprised of our animalistic desires, passions, etc. L must be transformed into a positive, spiritually hi her state so that the individual may be liberated from bonda e to the lower +elf, for it tends towards ratification of the biolo ical and emotional needs of the individual and away from the service of 6od.3"li4 In terms of human development, accordin to Islamic thou ht it is the early environment that determines how these potentials are enhanced. If the environment is ood, the ood potentials are promoted. If it is bad, the bad ones are.3"lii4 Thus, personal characteristics are set Auite early in life accordin to Islamic thou ht. In fact, if some verses of the Euran and prophetic traditions are studied closely, it will be discovered that Islam has reat concern re ardin the formative periods of phases in the life cycle. They lay the foundation upon which later development builds. In this respect the entire prenatal, infancy, childhood, and adolescent periods can all be considered sensitive in re ard to the impact on the personality of the individual throu hout his or her lifespan.3"liii4 Althou h aspects of the personality can chan e durin life and a person has the capacity to overcome many disabilities in the basic personality, the basic personality itself cannot chan e. This is because the personality itself refers to the permanent within man L his rational

soul.3"liv4 Hehavior, however, does not always reflect the permanent character and can chan e. It is this capacity for self-improvement, takin char e, and strivin for the best that makes humans morally responsible.3"lv4 Islamic personality does not solely refer to mans attributes, but the balance of powers, passions, and principles within the +elf that facilitate the cultivation and development of such attributes. A oal in Islamic personality development, therefore, is to arrive at the ri ht balance within the +elf that can brin it to a harmonious state. This can only occur throu h adherence to 6ods uidance L obedience to :is commands and incorporatin the ways 5 Sunnah/ of the Prophet into our daily lives. The Prophet Muhammad The "#ample of Islamic Personality :istory is filled with bio raphies of people who are considered M reat in terms of their accomplishments. 'any earned this status based on achievements in the their respective fields, for their military conAuests, for their visionary policies, for their discoveries, or for their charisma and leadership. Sery few, however, have earned such re ard based on their pure character and the impact they had on improvin morality and conduct of so many in such a short period of time like the Prophet of Islam. In addition, no other human bein in history was capable of achievin what the Prophet achieved in both the earthly and spiritual realms. -rom the Prophetic e"ample, we can be in to understand and define the beliefs, behaviors, and attributes comprisin the Islamic personality. Knlike other models and concepts of personality, which rarely provide a human e"ample from which to draw, the Islamic notion of ideal personality is based on the life and actions of the Prophet of Islam himself, and from him further e"amples can be drawn from his closest companions and e"ceptional 'uslims throu hout history. In the Euran, 6od makes clear the standard of character of the 'essen er in the words( I!nd you .Muhammad/ stand on an exalted standard of characterI.3"lvi4 As the Euran is, to 'uslims, the literal word of 6od as told to the Prophet throu h Archan el 6abriel, 'uhammad is seen by 'uslims as the full personification of the Euran, and conseAuently, the will of 6od. As mentioned earlier, the Prophets own wife, Aisha, labeled him Fthe walkin EuranC, in that he completely personified its laws and principles.3"lvii4 The Prophet of Islam tau ht the importance of developin moral character throu h his everyday actions in all aspects of life, which was manifested throu h his personality. Throu h his e"ample, we learn that mere teachin s and commands of MJos and MJonts do not form the foundation of ood moral character and personality in a society, because these thin s alone are not sufficient for developin ood Aualities in human nature. The teachin of ood conduct, which is fruitful, reAuires lon trainin and constant watchfulness.3"lviii4 +uch trainin cannot be on the ri ht lines if the e"ample before the society is not such that commands full confidence, because a person havin a bad moral character cannot leave a ood impression on his surroundin s. The best trainin can be e"pected only from such a man whose character, by the force of its morality, would create a sense of admiration in the beholders. They would sin praises of his nobility and feel the irresistible ur e to benefit from the e"ample of his life. The world would spontaneously feel the ur e to follow his footsteps, as was the case with the Prophet.3"li"4 Prophet 'uhammad, accordin to 'uslims, was the e"ample of ood moral character and personality. Hefore advisin his followers to adopt a moral life by ivin sermons and counsels, he was sowin the seeds of morality amon his followers by actually livin such a life.3l4 +ome e"amples of his words and deeds to this effect follow( T Abdullah Ibn Amar says( FThe 'essen er of Allah 5saw7 was neither ill-mannered nor rude. :e used to say that the better people amon you are those who are best in their moral character 5Hukhari7.C Anas says( FI served the holy Prophet for ten years. :e never said FKfC 5e"pressin dissatisfaction7, nor did he ever ask me why I did this or did not do that 5'uslim7.C It is also reported by him( F'y mother used to hold the Prophets hand and used to take him wherever she wanted. If any person used to come before him and shake his hand, the Prophet never used to draw away his hand from the other persons hands till the latter drew away his hands, and he never used to turn away his face from that person till the latter himself turned away his face. And in the meetin s he was never seen sAuattin in such a way that his knees were protrudin further than his fellow sAuatters 5Tirmidhi7.C :a2rat Aisha says( FIf there were two alternatives, the holy Prophet used to adopt the easiest alternative, provided there was no sin in it. If that work were sinful, then he used to run away farthest from it. The Prophet did not take any personal reven e from any body. Ues, if Allahs command were to be disobeyed, then his wrath was to be stirred. Allahs 'essen er did not beat anybody with his own hands, neither his wife nor a servant. Ues, he used to fi ht in the wars in the cause of Allah 5'uslim7.C Anas has narrated( FI was walkin with the Prophet. :e had wrapped a thick chadar round his body. /ne Arab

pulled the chadar so forcefully that a part of his shoulder could be seen by me, and I was perturbed by this forcin pullin of the chadar. The Arab then said( M/h 'uhammadV 6ive me some of my share from the property which Allah has iven you. The Prophet turned towards him and lau hed, and ave orders for a donation bein iven to him 5Hukhari7.C T Abdullah bin :arith has reported that he did not see anybody smilin more than the 'essen er of Allah 5Tirmidhi7. :a2rat Aisha was asked what did the Prophet do at home% +he replied( F:e used to be in the service of his home people# and when the time of prayer came he used to perform ablutions and o out for prayer 5'uslim7.C Anas has narrated( FAllahs 'essen er had the best manners of all the persons. I had an adopted brother, whose name was Abu Kmair. :e had a sick sparrow, who was called M)a heer. Allahs 'essen er used to be playful with him and ask him( M/ Abu KmairV Ghat has happened to your )a heer 5Hukhari7.C Ea2i Aya2 says that the Prophet was the most e"cellent-mannered, most philanthropic and the bravest of all. /ne ni ht the people of 'edina were terribly fri htened. +ome people proceeded towards the sound 5which was probably the cause7. They saw that the Prophet was comin from that direction. :e had rushed before all others to find out what was the trouble. :e was ridin the horse of Abu Talha, without a saddle, and a sword was han in from his neck, and he was comfortin the people not to be afraid sayin there was nothin to worry.3li4 /nce he 5the Prophet7 received seventy thousand dirhams. They were placed before him on the mat. :e distributed them standin . :e did not refuse a sin le be ar till he finished the entire amount.3lii4 Barir bin Abdullah says( F+ince the time I became a 'uslim, the Prophet did not prevent me from enterin 5the house7# whenever he looked at me, he smiled.C3liii4

As can be seen from his words and deeds, recorded and told by his companions and followers, the Prophet of Islam was an e"ample personality. In every facet of life, he epitomi2ed the principles of Islam and the Jivine )ames of 6od as put forth in the Euran. Accordin to Islamic belief, all of the prophets of 6od are manifestations of the Jivine Knity and Perfection, but 'uhammad is its supreme manifestation. :is name is the most e"alted of the Jivine )ames, containin all the )ames within it. Thus, 'uhammad is the spiritual incarnation and manifestation of all of 6od?s )ames, and thus the most perfected human bein and personality.3liv4 There are literally thousands of e"amples from the Prophets life pertainin to his personality that hi hli ht, in intricate detail, his behaviors, manners, thou hts, and beliefs. Ghat is common amon all accounts of the Prophets life, however varied they may be, is that nothin the Prophet did in his daily life was outside the realm of the observable personality, nor insi nificant from a reli ious perspective. *very human interaction, every meal taken, every sermon iven, every battle fou ht, every charity performed, had a lesson in the importance of Islamic personality. Thus, it was not only what the Prophet did that mattered, but how he did it. This is one of several reasons why Allah distin uished him in the Euran as Fa mercy to all the worlds.C3lv4 -or in even the most mundane of actions is a lesson for those who attempt to follow his way of life. This all-inclusiveness of the Prophets way 5Sunnah7 as a uide points to the notion of Islam as a complete system of life, and the importance of infusin 6od-consciousness 5ta(wa7 into daily livin -- F1hose who believed# and whose hearts find rest in the remembrance of God+ verily# in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest.C3lvi4 In doin so, the Prophet showed why the perfection of personality is not only an aspect of reli ion, but the very oal of reli ion itself. -or throu h attainment of such a standard of personality, individual success in both this life and the life to come, in addition to a society based on moral rectitude, mercy, and Dustice, can be achieved. Conclusion Gith this paper an attempt has been made to e"tend a concept and initial understandin of Islamic personality. Hy hi hli htin the ori ins and nature of personality theory in western models, an attempt was first made to illustrate the basic differences between them and the Islamic notion of personality, as well as fundamental differences within its parent field, psycholo y. In an attempt to provide an understandin of the foundation of Islamic personality, the article ne"t e"plored the idea of moral character and its role in the formin of personality. !itin classical and contemporary scholarly works, the article then attempted to provide a brief look into the e"istin literature on Islamic notions of psycholo y, and particularly the Euranic understandin of the +elf as the fountainhead for all psycholo ical phenomena. -inally, the notion of Islamic personality was e"plored usin the real-life e"ample of the Prophet of Islam as the perfect model of

such a personality. The topic of personality from the Islamic perspective is a critical area in which 'uslim social scientists and educators must delve, especially as we attempt to understand our shortcomin s as a community, and strive to improve relations and conduct between people throu hout the world at lar e. Personality development, especially as it relates to youth, must become an issue of the hi hest priority. The challen es facin the youn er enerations are enormous, re ardless as to whether they are from east or west, rich or poor, or 'uslim or non-'uslim back rounds. A combination of factors is hard at work pressin for their developmental failure and the perpetuation of social ills, self-destruction and spiritual decay. -or 'uslim youth in particular, this reality is even more severe. Thus, not only teachin but modelin Islamic personality is critical in order for youth to internali2e what it means to live every aspect of life with 6od-consciousness and piety 5ta(wa7. In order to en a e in this work of personality development, however, we must first understand that personality can and must be Islamic for Islam to be the foundation for success of the 'uslims. $eferences 3i4 Anonymous. 8@@@. 1he ideal personality of sayyidina wa maulana Muhammad .S!S/. ,etrieved )ovember ;W, 8@@; from( http(00www. eocities.com0Xabdulwahid00muslimarticles0inde".html. 3ii4 :art, '.:. ;<=>. 1he 233+ ! ranking of the most influential persons in history0 )ew Uork( :art Publishin !ompany, Inc., p. 99. 3iii4 Anonymous. 1he ideal personality0 3iv4 Ali, A.U. ;<><. 1he ,oly 4ur)an+ 1ext# 1ranslation and Commentary0 Heltville, 'J( Amana !orporation, 99(8;. 3v4 Irvin , G. ;<8@. Life of Muhammad. London. ,etrieved /ctober W, 8@@; from( http(00www.themodernreli ion.com0AuotesYmuhammad.htmZirvin ;. 3vi4 +haw, 6.H. ;<9O. 1he genuine *slam. S. ;, )o. >. +in apore. ,etrieved /ctober W, 8@@; from( http(00www.themodernreli ion.com0AuotesYmuhammad.htmZshaw. 3vii4 6andhi, '. ;<8W. 5oung *ndia. 'adras. ,etrieved /ctober W, 8@@; from( http(00www.themodernreli ion.com0AuotesYmuhammad.htmZ andhi. 3viii4 Phuda Hukhsh, +., ;<;W. ! history of the *slamic peoples# translated from the 6erman of Jr. 6ustav Geils Geschichte der *slamitischen 6olker0 Kniversity of !alcutta, p. 8=. 3i"4 Anonymous. 1he ideal personality0 3"4 Al-6ha2ali, '. ;<<O. Muslim)s character. Jawah Hook !enter( Hombay, p. vii. 3"i4 'ateen, '.T. 8@@@. "uilding a successful personality. ,etrieved /ctober 8Q, 8@@; from( http(00www.whyislam.or 0aa0adha@;0inde".asp%articleYid.W. 3"ii4 +hehu, +. ;<<=. 1owards an *slamic perspective of developmental psychology. American Bournal of Islamic +ocial +ciences, ;W( 8. ,etrieved /ctober 8=, 8@@; from( http(00www.islam-online.net0iol-*n lish0Aadaya0psycholo y80psycholo y;.asp. 3"iii4 Ibid0 3"iv4 UaaAob, +. 8@@@. 1owards *slamic psychology. Presented at MInternational !onference on 'uslim Gomen in +cience( A Hetter -uture -e2, 'orocco, 'arch 88-8W# /r ani2ed by The ,oyal Academy of +cience International Trust 5,A+IT7 and The Islamic *ducational +cientific and !ultural /r ani2ation 5I+*+!/7. ,etrieved )ovember Q, 8@@; from( http(00www.crescentlife.com0articles0towardYislamicYpsycholo y.htm. 3"v4 +trohl, B.*. ;<<>. Transpersonalism( * o meets soul. 7ournal of Counseling 8 Development# 9:(W, p. 9<=. 3"vi4 'ateen, '.T. "uilding a successful personality0

3"vii4 Kmaruddin, '. ;<<;. 1he ethical philosophy of !l-Gha'ali. +h. 'uhammad Ashraf Publishers( Lahore, p. ;O9. 3"viii4 Al-6ha2ali, '., p. ;Q. 3"i"4 Ibid.# p. ;O. 3""4 Al-:awfi, A.'. ;<<O. ;ortrait of human perfection. Jar Al TaAwa( London, p. 99. 3""i4 Kmaruddin, '., p. ;>8. 3""ii4 Ibid., p. ;=8. 3""iii4 Ahmad, P. 58@@@7. *slam+ "asic principles and characteristics. ,etrieved +eptember ;9, 8@@@ from( http(00www.iad.or 0books0IP!.html. 3""iv4 UaaAob, +. 1owards *slamic psychology0 3""v4 Ibid. 3""vi4 Ali, A.U., 8>(==. 3""vii4 +hafaat, A. ;<>=. Commanding good and forbidding evil. ,etrieved on )ovember 8Q, 8@@; from( http(00www. eocities.com0alummah8@@@0!ommandin 6ood.html. 3""viii4 Ibid. 3""i"4 Al-6ha2ali, '., p. Table of !ontents. 3"""4 UaaAob, +. 1owards *slamic psychology0 3"""i4 Ibid0 3"""ii4 Ibid. 3"""iii4 Kmaruddin, '., p. =;. 3"""iv4 Pasule, /.:. 8@@;. ;sychology and mental health. ,etrieved +eptember ;>, 8@@; from( http(00www.iiu.edu.my0medic0islmed0inde".html. 3"""v4 UaaAob, +. 1owards *slamic psychology0 3"""vi4 Pasule, /.:. ;sychology and mental health. 3"""vii4 Ali, A.U., 98(=. 3"""viii4 Adibudeen, T. 8@@;. ,uman development and provisions for the hereafter. ,etrieved /ctober Q, 8@@; from( http(00www.;ummah.or 0articles0humanYdevelopment.htm. 3"""i"4 'ohamed, U. ;<<O. 1he psychological implication of fitrah0 Adapted from( -itra( the Islamic concept of human nature. Ta-:a Publishers( London. ,etrieved )ovember 9, 8@@; from( http(00www.an elfire.com0al0islamicpsycholo y0fitrah0psychimpl.html. 3"l4 Ibid0 3"li4 Ibid0 3"lii4 Pasule, /.:. ;sychology and mental health.

3"liii4 +hehu, +. 1owards an *slamic perspective0 3"liv4 Al-Attas, +.'.). ;<=>. *slam and secularism. Art Printin Gorks +dn. Hhd.( Puala Lumpur, p.;Q8. 3"lv4 Pasule, /.:. ;sychology and mental health. 3"lvi4 Ali, A.U., O>(W. 3"lvii4 Al-:awfi, A.'., p. 99. 3"lviii4 Al-6ha2ali, '.# p. ;=. 3"li"4 Ibid, p. ;>. 3l4 Ibid. 3li4 Ibid, p. 8;. 3lii4 Ibid, p. 88. 3liii4 Ibid, p. 89. 3liv4 Al-'uttaAi, A. ;<Q>. <an'-al-ummal. :yderabad. ,etrieved )ovember 8W, 8@@; from( http(00homeW.pacific.net.s 0Xmakhdoom0seekers.html. 3lv4 Ali, A.U., 8;(;@=. 3lvi4 Ibid, ;9(8>. About the Author Abdul-Lateef Abdullah 5+teven Prauss7 abdYlateef[hotmail.com The author is an American Ph.J. student currently studyin at the Kniversiti Putra 'alaysia 5KP'7 in the field of Uouth +tudies. :is research area of interest is the development of Islamic personality amon 'uslim youth. :e is a recent 5;<<<7 convert to Islam and spends much time writin about his e"periences as a 'uslim-American convert.