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Masculinity and Noble Manners

- Segments from Hilyatu Talib al-’Ilm - Notes by Imam Abdul Malik

Posted April 21, 2009
Filed under: Islamic Education |

Of Shaykh Bakr Abu Zayd (Rahimahullah) with brief notes by Abdul-Malik Sheikh

Masculinity and Noble Manners

تمتع بخصال الرجولة، من الشجاعة، وشدة البأس في الحق، ومكارم الأخلاق، والبذل في سبيل المعروف، حتى تنقطع دونك آمال الرجال.
وعليه، فاحذر نواقضها، من ضعف الجأش، وقلة الصبر، وضعف المكارم، فإنها تهضم العلم، وتقطع اللسان عن قوله الحق، وتأخذ بناصيته إلى خصومة في حالة تلفح بسمومها في وجوه الصالحين من عباده

“Enjoy masculine qualities; which include bravery, forthrightness, noble manners and giving for the sake of good causes until the ambitions of men [die] before reaching your level.

Equally, beware of the qualities that oppose them (i.e. these qualities) such as being unconfident, impatient and weak in nobility, for they destroy knowledge, and cut of the tongue from speaking the truth, and they lead him headlong to his enemies in [such] a state where they [i.e. the opposing qualities] brush the faces of the pious servants [of Allah] with their poison”

· A man who is able to adorn himself with masculine qualities, as defined by Islam, will be able to become brave, forthright and have noble manners that will lead him to become honourable.
· However bravery and forthrightness are often misunderstood
· While talking about men and masculinity, we do not want to belittle or exclude our sisters and the importance of womanhood and feminine qualities, as defined by Islam.
· Sisters too have to attain and enjoy feminine qualities which again will enable them to become true women, as defined by Islam
· Islam has assigned different roles for men and women, that are fair, based on their physiological, biological and psychological makeup.
· There are people today who say that men and women should be made equal in all aspects of life and in everything
· This is a very strange statement as it is impossible to reach such a state of equality.
· Men and women are different from each other, physiologically, biologically and even psychologically.
· Many sociologists acknowledge this fact but still insist that there should be attempts to challenge and change ‘gender inequality’ until men and women are completely equal and are free to do whatever they like.
· For example American sociologist, Juanita Firestone believes that contraceptive pills have given women a degree of liberty but it’s still not enough. She believes that women will be fully liberated if only they are able to become completely equal to their male counterparts and are able to give birth outside the womb (Haralambos & Holborn, 2008).
· Our understanding of equality is not the same as these people. To us equality is to maintain balance in everything.
· 70% of the earth’s surface is covered by water ( and the remaining proportion is dry land. Now this is not an equal proportion of water and land but it is the required proportion of water and land needed to maintain balance.
· According to Islam, man and woman are two units of a pair.
· When both are taken independent of each other, there will be certain obvious vacuums in the mental, physical and emotional personalities of each.
· Allah has created men and women in such a way that they complement each other in different ways.
· For this very purpose, Allah gave different mental, physical and emotional qualities to the male and the female. These different mental, physical and emotional qualities, on the one hand complement man and woman, and on the other establishes for them different spheres of activity in their interpersonal relationships.
· The Shaykh talks about positive masculinity
· Some of our youths have misunderstood masculinity
· They think that masculinity is to about showing off by trying to be hard.
· They think masculinity is to oppress the weak by dominating them and by doing so they hope gain respect of their peers
· However Islam teaches us defend the weak and remain on the side of justice:

انصر أخاك ظالماً أو مظلوماً، فقال: رجل يا رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أنصره إذ كان مظلوماً، أفرأيت إذا كان ظالماً كيف أنصره؟! قال: تحجزه أو تمنعه من الظلم، فإن ذلك نصره.

‘Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or is oppressed.’ A man asked: ‘O Messenger of Allah! I (know how to) help him when he is oppressed, but how can I help him when he is an oppressor?’ He said: ‘You can restrain him from committing oppression. That will be your help to him.’” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

· Some of these youths also think to be masculine is to wear the latest designer clothes, drive fast cars, have the latest mobile phones
· They forget that Allah does not look at their appearances or their wealth, or anything else

إن الله تبارك وتعالى لا ينظر إلى صوركم ولا إلى أجسامكم ولكن ينظر إلى قلوبكم وإلى أعمالكم

“Allah does not look at your physical features or your bodies, but He looks at your hearts and your deeds.” [Reported by Muslim]

· In the scale of Islam goodness and true masculinity are measured by Iman, sincerity and the quality of one’s relationship with Allah.
· A quality of a man who is strong in the sight of Allah is that he is able to face difficulty, danger and pain in a manner that enables him to maintain control over different challenging situations through his strength and bravery
· Attaining noble qualities and good manners is one of the objectives of Islam for which the prophet Muhammmad was sent:

إنما بعثت لأتمم مكارم الأخلاق

“I have been sent only for the purpose of perfecting good morals.” [Reported by Ahmad]

For a brief bio of Imam Abdul Malik please visit:

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